Originally published June 9 2008
Organic Produce vs. Conventional Produce: Which Is Best to Buy?
by Kal Sellers
(NaturalNews) Because we advocate so highly that at least 70% of your diet by volume should be fresh, live produce --high water content vegetables and fruit -- this is a question we get asked a lot. We'd like to go over the pros and cons of both, so that you can make an informed decision, and get what's right for you and the people you feed.
Recently we had the opportunity of comparing the two in a way that changed our perception of both. Our family had decided to go out to eat at a restaurant we knew would have excellent food choices that would allow us to keep our high dietary standards: Sweet Tomatoes, the Salad Buffet Restaurant. (Not to be confused with Green Tomatoes, a chain here in the South that is also a buffet of all the same foods, except they are breaded and deep fat fried.) This restaurant was a considerable drive from where we were, so we decided that on our way there we would stop for a small appetizer. We stopped in to the Life Café in Marietta.
Kal grabbed a little "to go" container of fresh organic salad greens, organic sprouts and organic raw hummus, and we shared bites on our way to the restaurant. It was delightful and fresh, and we looked forward to filling a whole plate with the live, raw goodness we knew awaited us at Sweet Tomatoes, as we had eaten there many times when we first made our transition to increase the amount of live food in our diets when we were living in Salt Lake City, UT.
We filled our plates with great anticipation and as we sat together eating our salads, we both realized that we were both experiencing the same thing. This raw salad, though almost identical to the appetizer we had shared, was not nearly as good. It just lacked a dimension of energy and nourishment that the organic salad had. For the first time, after eating live food for 8 years, we could taste the difference. This had never before happened to us, and we have eaten organic produce plenty of times. Now, we are investigating new sources for our staple produce, looking into organics, because the difference was so profound. We are ready to make the switch. Before you assume that we are 100% Pro for organic, read on.
Our experience at the restaurant brought to light what we have always assumed, Organic Is Better. And the question remains, is that what we should buy? For us, the answer now is yes. But if you had asked us a month ago, a year ago, 8 years ago, the answer would have been No. Why? Because then, it would not have been congruent for where we were in our transition. When we first started to change, simply switching from dead food to live food was reward in and of itself, and we tell you now, as we will continue to tell anyone who takes Traci's classes, you don't need organic produce to be healthy. I would take a live, conventionally raised salad over an organic white flour pasta any day. (Of which there are tons of varieties, we are not sure why people go to the trouble to grow organic wheat, only to refine the good stuff out of it.) Food that is alive has more power to nourish us than dead-processed organic food any day.
So Pro for conventional produce, it is alive. And if you are at the point in your transition where the choice is between dead and alive, choose alive conventional produce.
Second issue, Cost. Where are you at financially? It is true that the cost and availability of organic produce is improving. This is going to be helped tremendously by your willingness as a consumer to choose organic (it is a supply and demand thing). And although the margin of cost difference is decreasing, it is still a reality. We have to share with you something that one of our students said in a class we taught recently where the question of Organic vs. Conventional came up. She says she looks at that margin of difference between the organic choice and the conventional, chooses the organic and says to herself, "I'm worth it." we loved her candor and attitude. Yes, we too are worth it. 50 cents, a dollar? "I am worth it."
On the the flip side, does going for organic place such a strain on your budget that you feel like you can't get very much, if any at all? If this is where you are, and the question is conventional produce or no produce, buy conventional. The road to being Truly Healthy is paved with live vegetation. Keep your road full of produce, because that matters more than whether or not it is organic.
A few years back, we tried to switch to all organics and found that we couldn't get nearly the same volume we could in conventional. Then, at home, we were cringing whenever someone wanted a piece of fruit! We were rationing it out, so there would be enough to last until the next grocery day. We had tension and stress over my family eating too much produce. Whoa! We teach this! No way did we want them to not eat their produce! No way did we want tension around our live food! For us then, I would rather have my family partake freely and lovingly from a case load of conventionally raised oranges than a small basket of hoarded organic oranges. So Pro for conventional produce, it is cheaper.
Now the pesticide question. That is the biggest reason why we want organic, right? Because there is no pesticides on it. I would just like to put the pesticide issue into perspective. In Traci's Principles book, available as a free download from (www.bestfoodist.com) if you haven't gotten it yet, she has a chart that shows pesticide residues in common foods in parts per million. In a potato, the pesticide residue is .003 . in a piece of animal flesh, it is .281, nearly 100 more parts per million in every bite. It would take you over 90 days of eating conventionally grown potatoes to get the same amount of pesticide residue that one serving of chicken contains. Why? Because not only do the animals' bodies collect and concentrate the poisons into their flesh, their feed is allowed to have 20% more pesticides used than that of crops grown for human use.
So if you are weighing the pros and cons pertaining to pesticides, consider what else is on your plate besides the produce. You can also reduce surface pesticides significantly by scrubbing well (root vegetables) or peeling (fruits) your produce. For those who have already eliminated the more concentrated sources of pesticides from their diet, or for those battling a serious health condition, the question becomes, poison or no poison? It is one more thing your body will have to eliminate, and the organic produce has far less or none. So Pro for organic, it is better.
As we write along here, more issues between conventional and organic produce keep coming to mind that we haven't addressed. We think the examples we have given here though, express the point we want to make sufficiently. We are neither pro-organic or pro-conventional, we are PRO-Produce! Eat food that is alive.
The decision to go organic is going to depend on you as an individual. Where are you at in your transition? Are you just starting to add in produce or have you been a long time user? If you are still working on how to get off of processed foods, white flour, sugar and dairy, focus on that. If you have a handle on eating healthfully and the difference between an organic salad and a non organic one is profound, it is time to make the switch. Wherever you are, be sure to chew well and savor every bite and you will find health returning to you or increasing in your life.
Love from your friends,
Traci and Kal Sellers, MH
About the authorKal Sellers, MH currently operates KalsSchool.com and teaches a 2-year curriculum for Natural Medicine, via live teleclasses.
Kal is a Master Herbalist and holds several other certificates and licenses for hands-on healing modalities. He maintains a current practice in the Atlanta area.
Kal and Traci have six children, the last four of which were delivered at home. They live now in Powder Springs, GA where they teach live classes on food and medicine. Kal is also a full time Chiropractic student.
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