Organic foods are usually good for the environment. But they're often hard on your wallet: The USDA found the costs of organic fruits and vegetables typically run more than 20% higher than conventional produce. Sometimes the difference is much higher, especially for things like organic milk and eggs. Are they worth the extra expense? In some cases, yes. It may lower your exposure to chemicals and artificial ingredients. In others, it may not be healthier than buying conventionally grown products. Some basic information can help you make the smartest choices for your budget and the health of your family.
Organic livestock raised for meat, eggs, and dairy products must be raised in living conditions accommodating their natural behaviors (such as the ability to graze on pasture) and fed organic feed and forage. They may not be given antibiotics, growth hormones, or any animal by-products.
How your food is grown or raised can have a major impact on your mental and emotional health as well as the environment. Organic foods often have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally-grown counterparts and people with allergies to foods, chemicals, or preservatives may find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic foods.
Organic produce contains fewer pesticides. Chemicals such as synthetic fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides are widely used in conventional agriculture and residues remain on (and in) the food we eat.
Organic food is often fresher because it doesn't contain preservatives that make it last longer. Organic produce is sometimes (but not always, so watch where it is from) produced on smaller farms nearer to where it is sold.
Organic meat and milk can be richer in certain nutrients. Results of a 2016 European study show that levels of certain nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, were up to 50 percent higher in organic meat and milk than in conventionally raised versions.
Organic food is GMO-free. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods are plants whose DNA has been altered in ways that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding, most commonly in order to be resistant to pesticides or produce an insecticide.
The ongoing debate about the effects of GMOs on health and the environment is a controversial one. In most cases, GMOs are engineered to make food crops resistant to herbicides and/or to produce an insecticide. For example, much of the sweet corn consumed in the U.S. is genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide Roundup and to produce its own insecticide, Bt Toxin.
GMOs are also commonly found in U.S. crops such as soybeans, alfalfa, squash, zucchini, papaya, and canola, and are present in many breakfast cereals and much of the processed food that we eat. If the ingredients on a package include corn syrup or soy lecithin, chances are it contains GMOs.
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the biotech companies that engineer GMOs insist they are safe, many food safety advocates point out that no long term studies have ever been conducted to confirm the safety of GMO use, while some animal studies have indicated that consuming GMOs may cause internal organ damage, slowed brain growth, and thickening of the digestive tract.
GMOs have been linked to increased food allergens and gastrointestinal problems in humans. While many people think that altering the DNA of a plant or animal can increase the risk of cancer, the research has so far proven inconclusive.
As mentioned above, one of the primary benefits of eating organic is lower levels of pesticides. However, despite popular belief, organic farms do use pesticides. The difference is that they only use naturally-derived pesticides, rather than the synthetic pesticides used on conventional commercial farms. While natural pesticides are believed to be less toxic, some have been found to have health risks. That said, your exposure to harmful pesticides will likely be lower when eating organic.
Rinsing fresh produce reduces but does not eliminate pesticides. Peeling sometimes helps, but valuable nutrients often go down the drain with the skin. The best approach: eat a varied diet, wash and scrub all produce thoroughly, and buy organic when possible.
According to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that analyzes the results of government pesticide testing in the U.S., the following fruits and vegetables have the highest pesticide levels, so are best to buy organic:
Shop at farmers' markets. Many cities, as well as small towns, host a weekly farmers' market, where local farmers sell their produce at an open-air street market, often at a discount to grocery stores.
Remember that organic doesn't always equal healthy. Making junk food sound healthy is a common marketing ploy in the food industry but organic baked goods, desserts, and snacks are usually still very high in sugar, salt, fat, or calories. It pays to read food labels carefully.
Organic food is more labor intensive since the farmers do not use synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or drugs. Organic certification is expensive and organic feed for animals can cost twice as much. Organic farms tend to be smaller than conventional farms, which means fixed costs and overhead must be distributed across smaller produce volumes without government subsidies.
A comparison of the best places to buy organic food online so you can eat healthy and save money at the same time. Learn the pros and cons and top picks from each online store, plus how to get freebies and further discounts on the organic groceries you love!
That said, I do have some tips for maximizing the value you get from ordering organic food online. If you do it well, you can find your favorite organic groceries, including pantry staples and organic meat at the lowest prices.
Imperfect Foods is a company on a mission to reduce food waste and build a better food system for everyone. They rescue those misshapen fruits & vegetables and packaged foods with outdated packaging, and get them into the hands of people who will eat them! At Imperfect Foods you will find imperfect (yet perfectly delicious) produce, affordable pantry items, dairy, eggs and meat. The company used to be called Imperfect Produce but have since branched out into other food categories. Products are delivered locally and are not available in every market.
ButcherBox is a subscription service for organic, grass-fed and humanely raised meats. You choose from a curated selection of meats or a custom selection of the cuts that work best for you. Personally I think ButcherBox is the best place to buy organic meat and other sustainably sourced meats. I love the quality and the convenience of having healthy meat available to feed my family!
FoodtoLive is another place that is good for dry organic beans, seeds, and grains. It is cheaper to buy in bulk from them, but their quality is good. Vitacost is my usual go to for online organics. Will have to check out ButcherBox!
Typically, cattle that are grain-fed start their lives on pasture, but they are later confined to feedlots where their diets can include grains. A grain-based diet primarily consists of processed grains like corn and soy. A grain-based diet and life in the feedlot cause animals to grow much quicker.
Hungry Harvest is on a mission to help eliminate food waste and end hunger with its food rescue program. The company rescues perfectly edible produce that would have been thrown away to put together its harvest boxes.
In addition to the regular harvest boxes, you can also sign up for organic harvest boxes that come in mini, full, and super sizes. All you have to do is decide which size you want and how often you want it delivered.
Plus, not only does Hungry Harvest make it easy to get organic produce delivered right to your home, but every box delivered also helps the company fight hunger by supporting reduced-cost Produce in a SNAP Markets and other hunger-solving organizations.
Since they partner directly with farmers and food makers, they can pass outstanding savings on to you. As a matter of fact, your free membership can unlock savings of up to 40% or more compared to grocery store prices!
The great thing about this program is that you can get all of the same outstanding organic foods you find in a Whole Foods Market store delivered to your home. This includes produce, snack foods, frozen foods, dairy, meat, cheese, eggs, pantry items, breads, and more.
Did you enjoy learning more about the top places where you can buy organic groceries online? Are you interested in discovering even more helpful tips about eco-friendly living? Then please be sure to check out some of our other popular posts:
The rules for organic farming do deliver some clear benefit in the livestock sector. Producers of organic meat, milk, and eggs are required to provide their animals with more space to move around, an important plus for animal welfare. Also, animal products cannot be labeled organic if the animals were fed or treated with antibiotics, which is good for slowing the emergence of resistant bacterial strains dangerous to human health. Yet even for livestock the organic rule malfunctions, since the animals can only be given feeds grown organically, and organic corn and soy have lower yields per acre, so more land must be planted and plowed.
Consumers tend to favor organic food because they believe the advocates who claim it is safer and more nutritious to eat, but there is little or no scientific evidence to support these claims. Others buy organic food because they assume it comes from farms that are smaller, more traditional, and more diverse, but this is not a safe assumption either. Most organic food on the market today comes from highly specialized, industrial-scale farms, not so different from those that produce conventional food. 781b155fdc