Why buy local? Why buy organic?

Wellness RN

Jenn CorbettDecember 16, 2011 

Dear Wellness RN,

I know their has been a huge push in the media to buy local grown, organic produce.

Can you explain the benefits of this?

This has become one of my favorite topics to discuss when looking at health and wellness. While the media has backed the idea of buying organic it is still a controversial topic.

First you must understand that in order for food to be certified organic is must follow strict regulations set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Regulations state that in order for it to be organic it must be produced without most synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Meat and dairy must be free of antibiotics, growth hormones and feed made from animal parts.

In 2010 the organic industry had become a booming $10.6 billion dollar business. The consumer has decided that the benefits of buying organic out way the increase in the price to do so. Research has proven that consuming a diet high in pesticides will cause neurological and reproductive damage.

Pregnant women, the unborn fetus, and small children are in the highest risk category. With infant reproductive organs still forming, the brain developing through age 12, and young livers and immune systems being less able to rid the body of contaminants this group needs to be protected.

There are two things you can do to help take the first steps towards a cleaner diet.

Every year the environmental working group puts together a list of the "Dirty Dozen" and the "Clean 15." The Dirty Dozen: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines, grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce and kale have been found to have the highest concentration of dangerous pesticides as of 2010 review.

The Clean 15: onions, sweet corn, pineapple, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mango, eggplant, cantaloupe, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit and mushrooms have the lowest pesticide use and residue.

The best thing you can do for your family is to make a conscious attempt to avoid the dirty dozen. Lean in to eating clean, decide to cut out a few of the dirty dozen. Remember nothing ever has to be all or none.

When eating out, support food establishments that make an effort to provide you high quality and clean menu items. In our mountain community we have two eateries that knock it out of the park. The Produce Place on Crane Valley Road (426) strives to provide high quality food options that are not only organically produced but locally grown. They do this while still providing food at a very affordable price.

The Country Fair Cinnamon Roll located in The True Value Home Center parking lot on Highway 49 also provides options that are made with organic flours, served in earth friendly biodegradable packaging. They offer a Healthier Choice Bread that tastes amazing and is lower in calories, fats and sugars.

I hope this helps. For more answers to this question you can check out the Environmental Working Groups website at ewg.org or my website, rnforwellness.com.

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