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Organic Ingredients

Vegetables in a grocery storeSo you're off to do your grocery shopping, equipped with a list of the essential ingredients for the dinner you'll be making tonight for your friends. You get to the store and are faced with a now-familiar dilemma - to buy organic or conventional? Does it matter? Will your friends be able to tell the difference?

In short, yes and yes (unless their diet usually consists of frozen pizzas). In general, organic ingredients taste better, are healthier for you, and are better for the planet. Certified organic food is free of pesticides, artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives. That translates to more flavor and less residue and additives in your body and in the earth and waterways.

If you want to buy organic but are on a budget, try out a couple of products at a time, and decide what you like and what you can afford.

  • Start with the ‘dirty dozen.’ If you haven’t heard of it yet, this is a list of 12 fruits and veggies that contain the most pesticides. Since pesticides are not in our recommended daily allowance, it’s best to keep them out of your diet!
  • Patronize local> stores and resources. The average supermarket food travels 2500 miles - that’s a lot of carbon dioxide emissions for those potatoes. Check out the Eat Well Guide for local sources of meat and dairy, Organic Kitchen for general products, or your local community center for local organic stores and farmer’s markets.

And, to reward yourself for all that shopping, why not pick up a bar of organic chocolate - it’s ‘healthy’ and you’re doing a good deed for the planet!