This week I bring you part 2 in my 3 part article series about organic food. If you missed part 1 you can view it here, Going Organic – Is It Worth The Bother?
As promised this week’s post will give you 27 different foods which you should aim to eat organically as these foods are worst affected by pesticides.
If you remember last week we spoke about pesticide residue, today we will look at the foods with the highest pesticide residue and other toxic chemicals.
These 27 foods have been picked due to the large amounts of harmful pesticides and other toxins which have been found on or in them.
Just to summarise why we eat organically:
- Increased health
- Nutritionally denser & tastier foods
- Environmentally and animal friendly
The bottom line is non organic foods are grown using pesticides and chemicals which harm our health. Some non organic foods are safer to eat than others, you will find more about the safer foods(which you dont need to buy organic) in part 3 in a fortnight’s time.
Pesticides are used to protect plant and crops from diseases, weeds and pests. They are designed to protect the plants. They must be authorised by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate before they can be used in the UK. The Food Standard Agency is responsible for ensuring that the food authorised by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate is safe to eat.
There are limits in place to decide how much pesticide residue can be used on crops, these are called Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs).
Copy this link for more info www.pesticides.gov.uk/guidance/industries/pesticides/topics/pesticide-approvals/legislation/pesticide-law.htm
If you want to see how much pesticide is allowed on certain foods use this link www.pesticides.gov.uk/guidance/industries/pesticides/advisory-groups/PRiF/Latest+results+and+reports/2012_Results_and_Reports
The Foods Standard Agency says that the current levels of pesticide residues within the UK food supply do not present a significant concern to human health. I would disagree.
That comment already doesn’t fill me with confidence, plus I know that it DOES cause a major concern to human health, from the research I have read and my own personal experiences!
It has also been stated that imported food is found to have a slightly higher pesticide levels than those grown in the UK – because it has to travel further. I think it is important that you eat food as close to the source as possible, it gives me peace of mind to know that my fruit and veg were grown locally.
I touched on the fact last week, that food is not what it used to be, the nutritional value of the modern food can be up to 75% or more less than it used to be.
Many organic foods have been the fastest growing brands over the last decade. As a result, many businesses who started small and local are now owned by global food manufacturers, one great local example of this is Rachel’s Organics, in Aberystwyth, was owned by Dean, and is now owned by Dairy and French food giant Lactalis.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
See which foods on the list you eat and try to get alternatives WHERE POSSIBLE, remember it’s impossible to be 100% organic.
So without further ado here are my top 27 foods that I have picked that you should aim to eat organic. Eating these foods will lower your pesticide intake level and boost your health:
- Meats (beef, pork, chicken) – The food that non organic animals are fed contain, GM Ingredients, many antibiotics and synthetic growth hormones. It is likely that these harmful substances will be present in the meat which we eat.
- Fish – There are many pesticides and chemicals which end up in the water that the fish live in which can make its way onto our plate.
- Milk – Cows are regularly fed pesticide covered grains, hormones and antibiotics, obviously this ends up in the milk that we drink.
- Butter – Organic butter uses more quality ingredients and contains less toxins and pollutants than normal butter.
- Eggs – Pesticide levels often pass from the chicken to the egg which we eat. The benefits of organic eggs are that the chickens are not subject to growth hormone or antibiotics.
- Baby Food – Baby foods are extremely vulnerable to pesticides so it is vitally important to buy organic to protect your baby’s health.
- Peanut Butter – Normal peanut butter is extremely high in pesticides and fungus! Not nice.
- Wine – Due to the high levels of pesticides in grapes (see number 15) it is very likely that wine contains high levels of pesticides too. There is a lot of organic wine available so don’t fear. Obviously I’m not recommending you drink too much wine! Wine is wine even if it is organic…
- Chocolate – Cocoa beans are grown across the developing worlds where pesticides regulations aren’t so important. This means that the chocolate you eat contains pesticides. If you are going to eat chocolate aim for 80-90% dark organic chocolate, a couple of pieces every now and then.
- Apples – When you look at most important foods to eat organically apples are always somewhere near the top. Apples contain loads of pesticides so eat organic apples as much as you can. More than 40 different pesticides have been found on apples.
- Coffee – Much of the coffee grown abroad doesn’t have to be tested for chemicals quite so much as in the UK. Coffee is the most sprayed crop in the world with over 300 different chemicals reported to be used.
- Celery – Celery is sprayed with pesticides to ward off insects like caterpillars from harming the food.
- Cherry Tomato – These contain many pesticides so look out for organic or home grown tomatoes instead.
- Cucumbers – Due to cucumbers being so delicate they are sprayed heavily with pesticides to strengthen them. If you can’t find organic, peeling the skin off will slightly lower the pesticide levels.
- Grapes – Rot occurs quickly with grapes, farmers spray with fungicides to protect the grapes from this.
- Nectarines – Around 97% of non organic nectarines are found to contain pesticides. The imported nectarines are the worst.
- Peaches – According to the Environmental Working Group, peaches and pears (below) contain the highest concentration of pesticides.
- Pears – As above. 94% of non organic peaches and pears contain pesticides.
- Potatoes – You will often find pesticides remaining on potatoes, even after they’re washed and cleaned. Nearly 80% of potatoes contain pesticides.
- Hot Peppers – Around 68% of non organic peppers contain pesticides.
- Sweet Peppers – Peppers absorb pesticides like a sponge!
- Strawberries – Up to 90% of non organic strawberries contain pesticides, their thin skin makes them very vulnerable.
- Spinach – Due to the large surface area of spinach it is easy to contain a lot of pesticide residue. The spinach plant also sucks up chemicals from the soil.
- Kale – Kale often described as a superfood still contains high levels of pesticides. It is easy to find organic kale so you should be okay.
- Courgette – Courgettes are laced with pesticides. Try to grow your own courgettes to be on the safe side.
- Lettuce – Similar to spinach the large surface area of lettuce means it is likely to contain a lot of pesticides.
- Blueberries – Insects target blueberries so farmers ward them off with pesticides.
(Adapted from the Dirty Dozen www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php)
So there are the top 27 foods you should aim to eat organically, it may seem like a lot but don’t worry next week you’ll have a list of foods you don’t need to eat organically.
Just a quick word on toxins and dairy products. As you know toxins can lead to an increase in body fat levels. Non organic animals tend to store much of the environmental toxins they are exposed to in their fat, this is called bioaccumulation. So sadly when we purchase food products from these animals’ especially dairy products (because they are so high in fat content) we are subject to the toxins stored in the animal’s fat.
So this is a big reason why things such as cream, ice cream and cheese are so bad for you and one of the big reasons that I advise people to cut down on dairy. I advise my clients, if it doesnt disagree with them, to have cream or natural yoghurt once or twice a week. I also allow butter and a small amount of hard cheese on my eating plan.
Good news is that if you look at the list above and thinking I eat all of those foods, then well done because you are eating loads of good foods.
Basic logic – Eating NON organic fruit and veg is better than eating no fruit and veg at all.
Before we leave it there for this week, I’ll remind you about a couple of tips (I gave these last week too) :
- Buy British seasonal food – If you know that the particular fruit and vegetables are British and are in season then it’s a safe bet that the process was a lot more regulated and more natural. Our standards are still pretty high compared to other countries but there are constant attempts to dilute these standards.
- Try and get local food – Like I said earlier if you know where the food has come from you should get much fresher and more natural food. Try going to a farmers market for your fresh meat and produce, you can get some tasty bargains!
- Grow your own – or watch out for your neighbours growing too much 😉
- Lidls now do organic food – and it’s cheaper than tesco too.
If you know the source of the food is good then it doesn’t necessarily have to be organic. I buy my meat which is not certified organic, but I have a client (and friend) who is a master butcher and eats clean like me, so he sorts all my meat out.
I know it’s close to organic quality because (I’m assured) the field they graze has never been sprayed with pesticides and the animals are the best in Wales (they are treated like royalty) – animals which were winners of the royal welsh show this year (Welsh Blacks). I’m told that the farmer has just never completed the process of becoming registered organic, I have been told it’s a big task becoming certified organic, so some farmers choose not to bother.
As usual I would be honored if you could press a few of those social media buttons and share this with your friends, family and network.
To Move Onto the third and final part of the organic series click the following link:
Until next week,
PS – I have just been informed about a business in Neath called Tres Bien, it is selling one of my favourite TREAT foods – BREAD, and its Organic. (I eat bread once a week). They do lovely buffets and deli stuff, I would highly recommend giving them a try next time you need a nice quality buffet.