Organic Versus Non-Organic
These days there's much debate about the quality of our food and whether or not Organic is best.
It is a fair debate to have, because there's no question that big agribusiness has progressively impacted the integrity of what we eat with its mass farming methods, the over-use of pesticides and even genetically modified foods, so we definitely need to be more conscious these days about 'the source' of our food.
With that said, I don't totally buy into the false science that claims a lack of minerals in today's soil, therefore meaning our food is devoid of the nutrition it had just 40 years ago.
Now don't get me wrong...
In simple terms, what I mean by that is that if a tomato seed is planted, cultivated and it grows up to become a tomato, it got everything that it needed - otherwise, it could not have become that!
Plants are intelligent.
And when you understand that they rely on a process called "photosynthesis" to grow - an 'electric spark' from microbes in the soil, together with salt, water and sunlight - it removes a lot of the crazy confusion.
What about Pesticides?
Yes, Pesticides are a big issue in conventional farming, and this alone is a really good reason to go with organic if it's available locally and your budget allows.
It may help you to realise though, that there are certain fruits and vegetables that are impacted more by pesticides and tend to hold on to their residues a lot more than others.
For this reason, these foods are known as the "Dirty Dozen" (studied and put out by 'The Environmental Working Group' since 1995) and in particular, you should try to buy organic versions of these whenever you can:
Apples, Pears, Peaches, Nectarines, Strawberries, Cherries, Grapes, Bell Peppers, Carrots, Celery, Lettuce and Kale (Leafy Greens).
Then, there are those fruits and vegetables referred to as the "Clean Fifteen", and together with most fruits with a 'protective skin' (e.g. citrus) are less impacted by pesticides and therefore you should be less concerned about, which are these:
Onions, Avocados, Sweet Corn, Sweet Potatoes, Eggplant, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Cabbage, Asparagus, Snow Peas, Pineapples, Kiwi Fruit, Mangoes, Papaya and Watermelon.
What about Meat and Dairy?
As you probably know I've been vegetarian my whole life, but if you are going to eat meat I highly recommend that you only eat grass fed, organically raised animals. Any animals that have been penned up I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole, because of the stress running through their bodies and the fact that the grains they're fed are typically genetically modified and/or heavily sprayed with pesticides, which ends up in their meat and in you.
I'm all for Dairy provided that it's only organic, non-pasteurised, non-homogenised and from a local, earth-friendly raised source.
Can I remove Pesticides from my produce?
Years ago, Dr. Norman Walker - who invented the 'Norwalk' slow, expeller-press juicer - showed me through spectral analysis how conventional produce could be cleaned of pesticide residue easily and retain similar nutritional content to it's organic counterpart by using Apple Cider Vinegar.
Simply add 1 cup of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar into a sink of 2-3 litres of clean water, lightly swish it around and allow your produce to soak for about 5 minutes, before rinsing and patting dry. Then store.
This will remove almost all chemical residues and you'll notice a much cleaner taste.
It's important to understand that plants also have what Dr. Walker referred to as 'Aliochemicals', which is essentially a protective membrane that ensures that any chemical residues stay on the surface area of the produce, preventing them from seeping in the fruit.
Farmer's Markets: The next best thing to growing your own.
Consider getting Organic or 'Spray Free' from your local Farmer's Markets.
You'll notice the difference in the colours and quality, you can meet different growers in the one place, learn about their farming methods and you'll typically find that it's cheaper than buying from your local supermarkets.
The big problem with buying produce from supermarkets is that you really have no idea about the farming practices, the source and there's a good chance that most of it has been in storage and transportation for weeks, travelling through multiple distribution centres before it hits the supermarket shelf...and then it could sit there for days or even weeks!
That's why I prefer local Farmer's Markets.
You get to know your source, you taste the difference and your health benefits from eating fruits and veggies that are in season, grown and harvested in the same temperate zone where you live and that deliver a harmonic frequency of nutrition to you that your cells can truly identify with.
Grow Your Own!
The best option of all of course, is to grow your own if you can. If you have a back yard and room for a garden bed or clay pots (even if it's on your window sill), you can easily grow your own herbs, fruits and vegetables. It's fun to do and it'll be the most trusted source of whole food nutrition you'll ever find.