When you’re on your health kick, it’s easy to just say “I’ll eat more fresh fruits and vegetables”. But it’s not that simple! Let’s chat about organic foods, spray free foods and your supermarket foods. More specifically, fruits and veggies.
“ORGANIC” seems to be the trendy word at the moment. The whole health food revolution has brought organic cafes, organic coffee and organic treats into the limelight. Sometimes it’s hard to justify the cost of organic produce though, as it feels like it’s almost twice as much than if I just go to Woolworths.
In Australia there is quite a lengthy process to have products and produce organically certified. Farmer must ensure that their farming practices and the cultivation of their land meets strict organic certification standards. Among many requirements, this includes ensuring that physical, biological and mechanical controls are used primarily to control pests and that any substances used to protect their produce from pests and insects (usually as a secondary measure), are approved by Australian Certified Organic (ACO). Organic doesn’t necessarily mean spray free. While organic farmers and food producers grow and produce food without using synthetic pesticides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics and artificial fertilisers, certain naturally occurring pesticides or herbicides such as pyrethrins, light oils, copper and sulphur and biological substances are permitted for use in organic farming. Therefore, it’s still important to remember to wash all fruit and vegetables before consumption!
Eating organic can bring plenty of benefits to your body and the planet:
- Organic produce helps to reduce your body’s overall toxic burden
- Organic foods are NON-GMO (they’re not genetically modified!)
- Organic farming is good for the earth
- Organic crops are more nutritious!
I feel the next best produce is “spray free” produce. The terms “pesticide-free” and “spray free” are often used very loosely in agriculture and there is no legally recognised definition or labeling regulation of these terms. Unfortunately, this means that these terms can sometimes be used in a misleading way. For example, if something is labelled “spray-free”, the crop may have been spared from being sprayed with a chemical pesticide, but the soil could have been primed with artificial fertiliser or the seeds may have been dipped in fungicide. Similarly, if something is labelled “pesticide-free”, a farmer may not have used synthetic herbicides or insecticides, but may have used genetically modified plants or seeds. When buying produce with these descriptions, it is most important to ask as many questions as possible about the produce. Some questions may include asking how they protect their crops, what is meant by “spray-free” or “pesticide-free” and how that produce is grown.
SO WHAT PRODUCE ARE YOU BUYING IN THE SUPERMARKET?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard some pretty rotten stories about fruits and veggies on our supermarket shelves. I’ve had plenty of experiences of buying rotten fruits and vegetables or some that are one the turn. It’s important to remember that the supermarket offers all fruits and vegetables, no matter what the season is. If you’re buying produce in the supermarket, here are some tips to make sure you’re putting nutritious foods into your body:
- Buy what’s in season
- WASH, WASH, WASH!
The produce you’re buying isn’t washed before it hits the shelves, so wash everything REALLY well!
- Just warning you, your apples are at least 11 months old.
They’re picked at their prime between January and April, then are put in cold storage.
- Don’t judge a fruit or vegetable by it’s shape.
We’re quite shallow and fussy as humans. We like things to look perfect and tasty. You’ll notice this at the supermarket – potatoes are washed, all the produce is the same shape and it all looks shiny and fresh. But remember that sometimes the most oddly shaped rockmelon will be the tastiest!
- Some foods are worse than others!
You may have heard of a list called “the dirty dozen”. These are the fruits and veggies that ranks the most popular fruits and vegetables based on their pesticide residue levels, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in America. Whilst there’s been no study quite the same as this in Australia, there seem to be some overlaps. Scrub these foods REALLY WELL before eating them:
- Cherry Tomatoes
So, try to grab yourself some spray free or organic produce while you’re clean eating (and beyond), otherwise ensure you wash your produce really REALLY well! The pesticides and herbicides we ingest can contribute to all sorts of problems, plus cause toxicity in the body.
Try to head to our local farmers markets every weekend to buy our fresh produce – it’s a great vibe at the markets plus you’re able to chat with the farmers directly about how they grow their produce.