Happy National Food Day!

In honor of National Food Day, I thought I’d take the chance to talk about something that seems to be a major buzz topic lately. Should I, or should I not eat organic?

Organic foods… are they better for us? What if I can’t afford to buy all organic? Are there certain foods I should or should not buy organic? What about eating local?

As a dietitian, I think that many times people confuse or intertwine “healthy eating” with “eating organic” or “eating local”. Let me start off by telling you how I eat; there is no wrong or right way to eat, purchase food, or feed your body. Everybody eats differently, requires different things, or is in a different financial situation which dictates what they “do or do not buy”.

When it comes to eating organic, my thoughts are: If it comes straight from the ground, don’t mess with it; If it breathes like you and I do, don’t inject or alter it (how would you like if someone injected you with a plethora of hormones to beef you up?).

On the opposite side of the spectrum: If it requires more than 6 ingredients, it’s technically man-made right? If there is any added salt or added sugar, it is being preserved or enhanced in some way, correct, even if it’s not necessarily “chemically” altered?

Eating organic doesn’t have to be as stressful as some people make it to be. It also doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” lifestyle. The main food items that I purchase organic are produce (lots and lots of fruits and veggies!) and any meat (although I am mainly a chicken and turkey kind of girl). Sometimes, when my budget is tight, I don’t even purchase those items organic… and I’m still breathing and living normally! My beliefs are that living substances such as plants or animals should not be altered with. They should not be enhanced, preserved with chemicals, or changed from their initial state. When it comes to “snack foods” or anything that does not come off of a tree directly, sprout up from the dirt, or come out of the womb of another animal (ex. pasta, bread, cheese…wouldn’t t be great if there were cheese trees?!), I am not as worried about buying an item organic.

Have you even heard of the dirty dozen (actually now it’s 14) or the clean 15? The dirty dozen contains the top 12 foods that commonly contains the highest amounts of pesticide residue on their skin, and are foods that we typically don’t take the skin off of before eating. The clean 15 is the exact opposite. If you are really struggling on what foods to try to buy organic, maybe this is something that would help you out or give you a list to “prioritize”. dirty-dozen-list

Lastly…my views on eating local: If you can, why wouldn’t you? Giving back and helping fuel your community is something that is very important to me. Those involved in agriculture or local farming work hard for our benefit and expect little in return. Eating local can help keep your home and your community running efficiently, and your getting a great product in return. What is not to like?!

I hope this gave you a little bit to think about or a little extra information on National Food Day! What can you do differently in your diet? Or, what are you really proud of that you do already? Have a great day!

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