Fruit and vegetables are associated with being healthy, wholesome, fresh, tasty and nutritious. I chose to eat them because I love the taste and equally importantly because I believe by eating them I feel better, look better and have far more energy. Eating fruit and vegetables that have been treated with chemicals seems at odds with all of the associations of health, wholesomeness and nutrition. I want to reap the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables without ingesting chemicals and pesticides.
The thoughts of ingesting chemicals is scary. I know to some extent it is unavoidable. Chemicals are all around us. But when it comes to my food, I just don't trust official guidelines relating to permissible levels of chemicals in fruit and vegetables. I believe that by eating non organic fruit and vegetables, people are consuming significant amounts of chemicals every year without any real understanding of the health consequences of doing so. I think back to when Governments and health professionals told people that it was ok to smoke and that smoking didn’t damage your health. Maybe this was the line because they didn’t have a full understanding of how bad smoking really was for people or maybe it was the line because the tobacco industry was so powerful that politicians dare not say otherwise. Is it that hard to believe that the same thing might happen with the chemicals sprayed on fruit and vegetables? Could a writer in 40 years’ time from now be commenting about how people back in the early noughties thought it was no big deal to eat non-organic fruit and vegetables and wonder how that was the case?
I do not claim to be an expert on chemicals or any related health issues associated with consuming these chemicals. However, I do trust my instincts on this and all of my instincts tell me to eat organic fruit and vegetables as much as possible.
For me, the question of buying organic fruit and vegetables or not comes down to four issues: Health, taste, affordability and availability
I believe that by choosing organic, I am choosing health. I juice a lot and want my juices to be as clean as possible. By juicing organic produce I feel I am getting the most from my juicing. By juicing non-organic products you still get nutrients, but why sell your juice short? I want my juice to be as effective as possible and so for me organic is a no brainer. The same principles apply to the fruit and vegetables I use in my salads and my cooking.
I recently started getting a box of locally grown, fresh organic vegetables delivered to my door every week from a local farmer. I have been buying organic for some time but from various different sources and have always rated the taste as far better than non-organic. However, I was blown away by the taste and flavour of the vegetables from this local farmer. Dishes made with them were noticeably tastier and more flavoursome. My first-hand experience is all the evidence I need that organic produce win the taste test hands down.
Affordability: Buying organic fruit and vegetables without making other changes in your grocery shop means higher food bills. So for some this is where hard choices must be made. If money is not an issue affordability is likewise not an issue. However where you are on a budget, the question of whether or not you can do without something else in order to buy organic arises? For some where budgets are already squeezed to the max this may not be an option. But for others it may be a case of sacrificing something else. If you are moving towards a plant based diet, it may mean that your meat and dairy bill is cheaper each week, freeing up some of the grocery bill to buy organic. Another option is to focus on the fruit and vegetables that are known as the ‘Dirty Dozen’ - the 12 fruit and vegetables considered must toxic when grown non-organically. They are apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, nectarines, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, chilli peppers and potatoes.
Most supermarkets have an organic section and many large towns have a farmers’ market once a week. An organic delivery service is also a good option if you don’t have time to go shopping yourself. If you are flexible as to what fruit and vegetables you use, you should be able to find a decent selection easy enough. The more specific you are as to your requirements the more the likelihood is that you will have to try a few different sellers to get what you need depending on what is in season.