Organic vs. Conventional…is it worth it?

You’ve heard organic is better for you but now you’re at the store in the produce section looking and weighing all your options. You see the strawberries and they look delicious! .99 cents on sale for a carton of conventional strawberries!! Then you look up at the organic strawberry price right above the conventional…$3.88 for the same amount of strawberries! That’s almost $3.00 more than the others. You find yourself once again succumbing to price and grab the conventional…you do have a family to feed after all and you are on a budget. Helplessly defeated by price once again you walk away at least thinking you had good intentions. Has this ever happened to you? It happens to me all the time! In fact, I was so defeated every time by the organic price that I completely stopped walking by the organic section….until now!!
It was a switch in my brain that went off. I became more and more educated about organic produce vs. conventional including the farm practices and soil quality and how that can really play a role in our health. Before I go any further, let’s define what the word “Conventional” means, then “Organic”

  • Conventional: Sometimes referred to as industrial agriculture, this describes a system of growing food that uses technology and synthetic chemicals to help increase yields. Conventional farming may include growing the same crop on the same plot each year (monocropping), genetically modifed organisms (GMOs), confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and synthetic chemicals that target insects and weeds.

    • Organic: Food produced through more traditional, sustainable methods that align with the natural rhythms of the land – organic regulations prohibit the use of antibiotics, hormones, GMOs, and synthetic insecticides and herbicides. Organic methods help encourage biodiversity through crop rotation and support mineral-rich soil. 
    There is a debate floating around that Organic produce wasn’t any more nutrient dense as conventional. What the study did not do however was look at the soil.  1 spoonful of organic soil contains at least 11,000 different species of microbes. Organic farmers are constantly testing their soil. You want these microbes in your soil. They produce the most nutrient dense produce. So get to know your farmer. 

    But let’s talk Pesticides for a minute. A crazy amount of pesticides are sprayed onto conventional produce to yield more produce. When you buy a pack of conventional strawberries at the store and eat one (without washing it god forbid) keep in mind there are over 70 different pesticides on that strawberry. Let’s say you washed it….guess what? Tests were done even after washing conventional produce and found around 17 or more pesticides still on that strawberry! So what’s wrong with pesticides you ask? They are certainly endocrine disrupters. That also means if you are experiencing thyroid issues or adrenal fatigue you especially need to take caution. But how about infertility issues? You bet!! Definitely you need to take caution.  AND this part is important so listen up….Our children are being born pre-polluted!!! Because of our diets and the pesticides and chemicals in our food system, these sweet babies are being born with over 300 different chemicals found in their chord blood. 117 of those chemicals are cancer causing and 178 of those are toxic to the brain!!!  There are so many chemicals in our environment that we just can’t control. But guess what??? There is so much we CAN control. We can choose for one not to use chemicals while cleaning our homes. A simple microfiber cloth an water will properly sanitize your surfaces. You can choose to make a budget for organic produce. You can use personal care products that are more natural and without fragrance. Maybe you eat out less often or choose not to buy that bag of chips and cookies. Better yet, you can grow a garden right in your own backyard!! Imagine if we all did this. There would be no need for conventional produce. You could grow a tower garden right in your living room even!! The upfront investment might be heafty ($500-$700). BUT you’ll get that back again and again in produce in the years that follow. 

     So here is how to know if something is truly organic or not: Get to know the PLU code. If you purchase most of your produce from supermarkets, price lookup (PLU) codes may be one way to determine if a food is organic or conventional. Foods that are produced organically typically have ve-digit PLU codes that begin with the number 9. Conventional produce usually has a four-digit code that begins with a 3 or 4. Keep in mind, however, that this system is completely voluntary and not all produce will have this signifying label.8


    So really the choice is yours when it comes to ORGANIC vs. Conventional. I personally will be making some changes and voting with my dollars. Heck, if all of us did this, maybe price would be driven down due to more farms producing organic!
    Here are some helpful tips to getting it cheaper though:
    1. Shop at  a Farmers Market. It’s not always cheaper there but I have seen some produce cheaper due to the yield the farmer has. 
    2. Check your weekly ads. We have a SPROUTS Farmers Market where I live and they send out a weekly ad. I buy the organic produce that is on sale.  Which is usually the seasonal produce that you should be eating anyways! 
    3. Try “Bountiful Baskets” if you have one in your area. If you don’t, you should start one! You get an entire laundry basket full of organic produce for around $25. Website is: www.bountifulbaskets.org  I believe.  
    4. In Arizona we have something called a P.O.W.W.O.W. You can go pick up 60lbs of produce (mostly lorganic) for only $10!! You have to do this early on a Saturday morning (just like bountiful baskets) but it’s worth it. It’s usually : http://www.borderlandsfoodbank.org . Some of it is on it’s last leg so you gotta learn how to can your food or share it with neighbors. 
    5. Join a CSA in your area. It’s a farm share. Google “CSA in ______” and you’ll find things pop up! You can get awesome organic produce for cheaper! 
    6. And of course, GROW A GARDEN!! Just getting your hands dirty will help you to live longer! But if you’re looking for an amazing indoor growing tower, “Juice Plus” is a company that sells them. You’ll want the grow lights and the cage as well I am told. Just google “Juice Plus” or find a sales rep in your area. 

    I have given you some great tips at finding organic produce! I hope you’ll change your mindset this week and make the switch. Let me know how it goes! 

    And here is my Norwex Fruit and Veggie wash for cleaning your produce naturally! It’s amazing as well. You can purchase the produce wash HERE: www.heatherlmitchell.norwex.biz While you’re at it, pick up some microfiber envirocloths and window cloths so you don’t have to use chemicals to clean anymore. 

    In regards to the “Dirty Dozen and Clean 15” 
    The Dirty Dozen are the foods you want to focus your efforts on buying “Organic”. These are the foods most contaminated with pesticides. As for the clean 15..If you choose to buy conventional, these are the ones that scored “Less contaminated” Than other produce. So always buy organic everything if you can, and if not, refer to this sheet and buy as you can.
    ALL IN ALL: You have the choice to buy organic or not and vote with your dollars the way you want to!  

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