Amid fears of excessive hormones, harmful pesticides, and our declining environment, more and more consumers are opting for organic foods when making decisions about their diet. If you’re someone who wants to make this change too, it can be overwhelming knowing just where to begin. What should you look for? Where should you shop? Will it be expensive? Follow this guide for the fundamentals of shopping organic:
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has given organic foods a national standard. They state the term ‘organic’ means foods that have been produced without antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, irradiation, and bioengineering. But be warned, there are different types of organic products – some are 100% organic, some contain 95 -100% organic ingredients and can be labeled ‘organic’, while others with less than this percentage will state they are made with organic ingredients’ (70% and up) or ‘contain organic ingredients’ (less than 70%). Make sure you check labels on your food products carefully to know what quality of product you are buying.
Pick your organic options
You might not be able to switch your whole diet to organic – this option could be too expensive or just not practical – but you can decide which foods you believe are worth buying in the organic form. Read up on the foods that are considered to be most affected by pesticides, hormones, etc. e.g. apples, strawberries and dairy products and least affected too, e.g. avocados because of their tough skin. Then make your organic choices accordingly.
Shop around for best prices
Organic foods are generally priced higher than regular ones but the range can vary greatly – from 10% to 200% higher! Make sure you visit a range of stores which supply organic foods to get the best value on different foods. Visit health food stores, your local farmer’s market, shop online, or browse through the organic sections of large retail chains.
Get your timing right
Since organic foods do not use chemicals to help preserve their freshness, many fresh foods have to be consumed quite quickly after they are bought. Buy unripened fruit or vegetables when appropriate and talk to your store owner, farmer or grocer about when their deliveries are made so you can time your purchases to get the best quality foods.
Get the whole family involved
If it’s not just yourself who’s turning organic but your whole family too, try and get everyone involved in being educated about your new choices. You could do something adventurous like trying to grow your own organic ingredients in your garden or find cooking classes for kids that uses only organic ingredients. Education will be the first step towards enjoying your new healthier lifestyle!
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