Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Are You Going to Eat That? - Why I Pay More for Organic

You should know that I LOVE food. I often joke that with my admiration of food I should be 300 pounds! I love everything about food, shopping for food is an adventure for me, cooking food is an art form and going out to try new foods is a hobby. When I “greened” my life I had to switch over my eating habits. I thought I would only have to make small adjustments, and I first. I will begin to disclose mostly simple and a few not-so-simple organic food tips. In this blog I am going to talk about dairy, fruit, veggies and grains; the basics. Later I will blog about specifics like coffee, spices, meats, baking and wines.
I can skip candy, chips and soda but what I really love is fat. Jewish roots go deep and my family has to have the butter...on everything. I love sour cream, cheese, milk and anything fatty. The one exception is ice cream, which my stomach hates but my taste buds love. When it comes to dairy is pays to go organic. A few years ago the media shead light to the horrible effects of the synthetic growth hormone used in dairy cows on not just on the poor cows but on humans as well. We are not supposed to skip our teenage years but that is exactly what that hormone does to little Bessy, then it makes her produce much more milk then her body would normally. Now even conventional milk says something like “Our cows are not treated with the growth hormone rBGH”.
But before we rejoice there are a few more things to consider. The basic rule when it comes to dairy and meat is if the animal roamed freely and lived a happy life then it will taste better. If it was in a tiny metal stall standing in its own yuk then it will not taste as good. Organic cows are fed yummy organic grass, are free to travel around green pastures and produce as much milk as their bodies feel is right. An added bonus is with organic dairy you do not have to worry about antibiotics or other medicines invading your coffee with cream.
The simple step with dairy is to pay the extra $.50 to $1.00 and go organic. These days you can find organic dairy at Target! The bigger step is to go raw. I know I may have lost some of you with the “r” word, but raw has been bullied by the media and not for good reason. Many countries still drink raw dairy products with out the rigourous standards we have here and you never hear about people becoming ill or dying from a glass of milk! Another plus is raw milk has natural enzymes which help to break it down in your system. If you find your stomach reacting poorly to cow milk give raw a chance. I drink raw milk, I am lucky enough to buy it straight from the source at my local farmer’s market. Here is what my raw milk farmers have to say,
    “Every batch of milk is tested to exceed California Department of Food and Agriculture raw milk standards for market Grade A milk. State standards require that raw milk sold to consumers contain less than 15,000 bacteria count per milliliter.
Our milk is analyzed with an onsite state-of-the-art FOSS machine, or sent to an outside laboratory for Standard Plate Counts (SPC) to assure compliance with State of California raw milk standards. Our milking teams are so proud of our low bacteria counts, we put them on our Web site for everyone to see.” - Organic Pastures
Yes organic produce usually costs more but have you ever tasted organic fruit compared to regular? It has so much more flavor. That alone gets my vote. If you are on a budget here is the basic rule for fruit, if you eat the peel then buy organic. There are certain fruits that are very important because they are covered in pesticies and usually the farmer uses GMO seeds (genetically modified organism) which are not good. Those fruits are grapes, all berries and apples. Fruit with heavy peels like bananas and oranges do not matter as much but even my husband has noticed that organic oranges have more flavor and requests them when I go to Whole Foods.
The rule is the same as fruit with one exception, if you eat the peel then go organic. Veggies like avocados and onions are fine. The one exception is potatoes, those need to be organic.The veggies that are also important to buy organic are tomatoes and any leafy veggie like spinach and lettuce. My all time favorite organic veggie is heirloom tomatoes, add a little basalmic and you are in heaven!
Not all grains are counted the same. This is one section where I look more for the type of grain over organic. For breads the most healthy option is a sprouted grain like Ezekiel bread. There are also many “gluten free” options these days made with different flours like potato, brown rice and tapioca. If you think that you may have a wheat allergy there are some amazing bread choices these days, in fact, there is a whole aisle just for you at Whole Foods!
Rice is a different matter, for rice go organic. Rice crops can be heavily pesticide laden. I also urge you to explore outside of normal white rice and dive into wild and brown rices. There is a whole world of exciting and flavorful rice just waiting to be discovered. People usually shy away from these types of rice because they take longer to cook. In regards to rice, you do not want it to have a short cook time. If it does that means that the factory did something to the rice to make it cook faster like take it out of the husk. Rice takes a long time to cook for a reason, embrace the cooking time. I make short grain brown rice in large quantities and house the left overs in the refridgerator. The ratio is simple, 2 1/4 cup water to 1 cup of rice. This type of rice typically takes 30-40 minutes to cook but it reheats very well unlike jasmine rice that becomes hard. Give it a chance, I promise that the rice will be more flavorful. There are other wonderful grains like quinoa that have great properties but if you have a finicky eater at home like I do it is hard to mask something SO healthy!

Book Resources
Green Babies, Sage Moms by Linda Fassa
Ecoholic by Adria Vasil
Healthy Child Healthy World by Christopher Gavigan
Organic Baby, Simple Steps for Healthy Living by Kimberly Rider

Web Resources


  1. We try to go organic as much as possible, I have celiac so organic is definitely a plus for me!

    I just wanted to pop in and say Hi, I found your blog on Etsy and I'm following. I'm at

  2. Thank you! I hope my tips help :)
    I am following you too.

  3. Hi Anya! I found your blog through Bethany linking on FB and am a new follower! I too, am trying to live a greener life. I think it's wonderful that you're planning to adopt I look forward to reading more posts in the future!