Should I Buy Organic Foods?

by Matt on January 18, 2011

organic-harvest-ideas-for-summer

Think about this situation: You are trying trying to stick to a pretty tight food budget, but you are trying to eat foods that are wholesome, fresh, and good for your body.

What do you buy?

There are so many conflicting opinions out there about which products are truly the best to buy organic, but you are never going to find a straight up correct answer.

  • Some people agree that you should buy organic produce.
  • Some people think it is more important to buy organic meat and poultry.
  • The list goes on…

On a limited budget, how do you choose?

Nearly every week, I get asked the same question over and over…

How do you afford to buy so many organic products on a limited budget?

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It really is not that tough. I use to plan my budget, so I just cut costs in other areas.

  • I pack my lunch and dinner if I am going to be out.
  • I ride my bike save gas.
  • I shop the sales and eat what is in season.

If you want more tips, give me a shout.

But what if your budget is still tight?

When it comes to buying organic, I think that the best way to decide which organic products to purchase is to carefully examine your diet. If you are eating something consistently, go ahead and buy that organic.

If you drink a gallon of milk a week, make it organic milk. If you eat a ton of fruits and vegetables, purchase the organic variety of the ones you eat the most.

Here are few foods I ALWAYS buy organic:

Meat: Raising animals with conventional modern methods often means using hormones and antibiotics. Not only are these chemicals dangerous to the animals, but they are also dangerous to the environment. To meet USDA standards, organic meat can come only from animals fed organic feed and given no hormones or antibiotics. Grass fed beef is my meat of choice ;)

Milk: I do not normally buy dairy milk to drink, I do use it for cooking quite often. Milk that is labeled “USDA Organic” must come from cows that have not been treated with bovine growth hormone (BGH) to increase milk production. Another requirement is that the cattle must be raised without the use of antibiotics and must be fed certified organic grains or grass. Not only is this better for the cattle and the environment, it is also better for the humans consuming it.

Eggs: We all know that I love eggs and I go through around a dozen every week, so I definitely buy them organic. You can read my thoughts on organic eggs here.

Coffee: Call me crazy, but I always buy organic coffee. It is something that I drink every single morning, so I feel the need to buy organic beans. Many of the beans you buy are grown in countries that don’t regulate use of chemicals and pesticides. When buying coffee, look for Fair Trade certified beans as well.

Fruits and Vegetables (certain ones):

  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas (fair trade certified)
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Leafy Greens
  • Baby Carrots

I buy these fruits and vegetables organic because they really are not that much more expensive than the conventional variety. At , I can get a 3 pound bag of organic apples for $3.99. That really is not that much more expensive than the pesticide ridden ones.

I can also get a 5 pound bag of organic potatoes for $4.99.

I also consume these fruits and vegetables EVERY DAY, so I feel the need to buy them organic. If I am buying something for one or two meals, I will normally buy conventional. If the organic version is only a little bit more, I will most likely pick that up.

The next time you head to the store, make sure you take this list with you.

I have it memorized ;)

I eat this way because I like the fact that I am supporting the companies and farmers who are providing us with REAL FOOD. I have also noticed an increase in my energy levels, digestion, and overall way off life.

What do you always buy organic? What are your thoughts on buying organic?

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

January 18, 2011 at 8:37 AM

I always buy organic when possible.
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LeenieNo Gravatar January 18, 2011 at 8:48 AM

Morning Matt.

Thanks for another thoughtful, solid, organized post.
I really appreciate how you communicate your lifestyle habits without any undertones that might suggest that your way is the only/best/etc. way.
I agree with you whole heartedly, for sure.
The way I see it– I can’t afford NOT to buy organic, you know?

Leenie

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January 18, 2011 at 8:49 AM

I try to buy organic fruits and veggies. I don’t tend to on foods that have a flesh or skin that I’m not going to eat like avocadoes or bananas. But definitely for berries, apples, potatoes, etc.

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January 18, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Because I am also on a ‘budget’ ;) I buy organic for the fruits and vegetables that have edible skins, like apples. Fruits like oranges and clementines I don’t stress about as much.
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January 18, 2011 at 9:22 AM

Thank you so much for your tips! I never know if buying organic will work with our budget. Now I know it’s possible! :-)
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January 18, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Thanks so much for this post! Since reading “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan I’ve been on this organic kick! I’m getting to the point where I’m considering “green-ifying” other products I use as well. Thanks for the info–it’ll help me prioritize!
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January 18, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Love your philosophy of buying organic of the foods you eat every day – that’s a great tip!
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January 18, 2011 at 11:39 AM

I am going to be honest, I have never bought any organic items. I do not have the opportunity to shop around for my groceries and normally go to Walmart because it is close to my house. That being said, you have definately made some excellent points and I would love to give the organic prdocuts a shot :)

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January 18, 2011 at 11:48 AM

Great informative post! I almost always buy organic produce, especially the dirty dozen, and my husband buys almost 100% organic meat and fish. I know it’s expensive but you can’t put a price on good health! (And you’ll pay for it later in doctor bills…)
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January 18, 2011 at 12:24 PM

I don’t buy organic nearly as often as I should. I don’t eat a ton of dairy, but I think that’s important to buy organic when possible.
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January 18, 2011 at 1:03 PM

super informative post! i agree with a lot of points here – i love that you say buy organic what you eat a lot of. it totally makes sense!!! also, word to fair trade, organic coffeeeeee!

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January 18, 2011 at 2:07 PM

You are motivating me big time….I will be showing billy this later and hopefully he will want to switch to organic!!! THANKS MATT!!
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January 18, 2011 at 2:42 PM

on the whole i don’t buy organic. mostly due to cost reasons. i do buy locally when i can (and when available) but i don’t really go out of my way for it. sometimes i’ll buy half of my apples (or whatever) organic and the other half regular. i’d be interested in hearing what foods you eat non-organic because your list of organic foods seems all encompassing ;)
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January 18, 2011 at 2:52 PM

Great post Matt!!! I too try to buy organic whenever i can :)

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January 18, 2011 at 3:37 PM

I am with you on the organic coffee!! I usually don’t buy organic unless it’s on sale due to budgeting issues. But I love this post, you are so right that it is worth it and I can make it work if I really want to.

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January 18, 2011 at 11:10 PM

I agree with your organic eats! I think it’s important for each person to do as much as he/she can…it might look different for everyone, but I suggest starting with meat/dairy and then doing what you’re financially capable of. I really like that you aren’t eating organic food because it’s popular…you have good reasons for buying the specific products you do.
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January 18, 2011 at 11:53 PM

I’m loving your post! :) It’s AWESOME!!!
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January 20, 2011 at 7:58 PM

I definitely try to buy/eat organic whenever possible. I always go for organic milk, eggs, greens, certain fruits, coffee. When I see a great deal, I try to stock up. It’s not always easy on a budget, but food is a pretty bug priority ’round here ;)
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