Going organic: How to do it right -- and for less

Sloane Miller Health Guide
  • I have a friend who's allergic to the pesticides used on fresh fruit -- even fruit that has a peel, like an orange. She gets an itchy, tingly mouth. Realizing it was pesticides that were the issue, she switched to eating organic fresh fruit.


    Problem solved.


    For years, when I opened, say, Sun Maid apricots, I had an immediate wheezy reaction. When I mentioned this issue to my allergist, he said, "You're allergic to the sulfites used on dried fruit. Open the package and let it air out for a while." It helped certainly but I didn't relish the idea of eating something preserved in a substance that makes me wheeze. I switched to organic dried fruits without sulfites and haven't had any wheezy symptoms since.

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    During the 17 years I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian, I ate only organic, hormone-free dairy, cheese and eggs and regular veggies. Now that I'm eating meat again, I make every effort to eat only organic/hormone-free fowl and grass-fed or natural beef when possible. With fruit and veggies very often I eat locally produced goods purchase at my weekly Greenmarket. [You can find you local greenmarket here].


    For me, someone with multiple food allergies and food intolerances, buying fresh, local produce cuts out the middleman. Fresh produce isn't processed, and I can create healthy food without any allergens.


    Need another reason to go organic and local? The link between these chemicals and reproductive cancers. I was part of a podcast [you can listen here] last month sponsored by Luna Bar and the Breast Cancer Fund. It opened my eyes to going organic and chemical free everywhere: cosmetics, household cleaners and especially food.


    Have you thought about going organic?


    The organic market has exploded, no longer relegated to the funky local hippie shop. Mega stores like Whole Foods and Wild oats [newly acquired by Whole Foods] have made getting organic food much easier. Wal-Mart dipped a toe into the organic market, supplying its stores with 40 organic items in 2006 [they have since scaled back due to weak demand]. Even my local Food Emporiums are carrying more organic pantry items and fresh produce mixed in with conventional items. Organic Heinz ketchup anyone?


    But what to get exactly? There's more and more debate about what's important to buy organic and what is still okay conventionally grown. But are you totally confused? I know I am.


    The "Well" blog of the New York Times quotes pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene's new book, Raising Baby Green. He gives some good guidelines on at least 5 places that are essential to go organic for Americans: milk, potatoes, peanut butter, ketchup and apples. These are essential mainly because Americans consume massive quantities of these items and switching to organics in these items would have the greatest impact with the least economic impact.


    Alisa, on her blog, GoDairyfree.org, has a larger run-down of where it's easy to go organic for the greatest impact, again with the least cost.


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    As a person with environmental and food allergies, I'm always looking for ways to lessen the impact of these allergies on my quality of life. Breathing in fewer chemicals by switching to green household products [I'm not allergic to lemon, salt, vinegar and elbow grease]. Great idea! Ingesting fewer processed foods? So much better! Going organic, hormone and pesticide-free where it counts! Yes!


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Published On: November 08, 2007