Organic or Not?

organic or not

The choice between organic fruit and vegetables or not? Whenever I talk about organics the most common reply is that they are too expensive! But are they really? I mean define what expensive means to you? Is it the initial cost or the overall cost to your health and if the later then are they really that expensive?

I agree that organic fruit and vegetables at the supermarket are expensive (along with excessive packaging). But if you look to a local supplier then you will find the cost far more reasonable. If you read my previous post in regards to seasonal eating, then the principles apply to organics as well. Finding a local farmers market and eating seasonal produce will make organics much cheaper and far better for you.

Knowing your pricing will help you to determine whether the price is high or not. I shop around and look at a number of different places so I can determine the value of my purchases. Quite often I will find my local organic farm shop (Organic Empire) prices to be comparable or sometimes cheaper than the major shopping chains for conventional produce.

But why bother? This is a contentious point for some. I bother because I choose to eat fruit and vegetables that are grown without pesticides. Organic produce has significantly lower exposure to pesticides and other harmful chemicals compared to those used in conventional agriculture. Organic standards prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides, so it stands to reason that organic foods are less contaminated.

What do all these pesticides do? They can harm the body in a number of different ways including being linked to infertility, birth defects, neurological disorders, endocrine disruptors and cancers.

In Australia the WWF publishes a list of our most dangerous pesticides, with 17 registered products known, likely or probable carcinogens and another 42 that are possible or suspected carcinogens. Conventional broccoli has been found to have 33 pesticide residues and 5 of them are carcinogens, 6 are neurotoxins and 15 disrupt hormones!

You can find the download at to discover what pesticides are used on the different crops.

Research is starting to show the benefits of an organic diet on long term health. Dr Liza Oates is an Australia naturopath and mentor (and I was lucky enough to have as a clinic supervisor) conducted a study with RMIT. This study showed that people consuming organic produce for only a week can dramatically reduce the amount of Organophosphate pesticides (OP’s) demonstrating that an organic diet plays a key role in reducing pesticide exposure.

You can read more about Liza’s research at the links below or you can hear her interviewed by the amazing Andrew at FX medicine podcast series.

Another great resource to give you a greater understanding of what is going on in our food supply, is a book called “One Bite at a Time – Reduce Toxic exposure & Eat The World You Want”. Both of these authors have spent decades exploring chemical toxicity, nutritional medicine and the impact of these environmental threats on our body.

The book covers how chemicals are tested her in Australia and the difficulties on getting consistent information. It has wonderful information that will make you think about the food you eat. Find a copy at

You can also follow the guidelines set out by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) who produces a list of the dirtiest or most contaminated and the cleanest or least contaminated fruit and vegetables. While this is produced in the US it is still a good guideline especially when you are starting out and wanting to know where to put your organic dollars.

The lists can be found at

So for me it’s too costly not to eat organic and with a bit of research and planning it isn’t that difficult or expensive either.

If you are wanting to know more about your nutritional status then you can book in with me for a naturopathic or nutritional consultation.

This article was authored by Jan Caton, Bachelor of Health Science-Naturopathy. Jan is the Director of Magnolia Apothecary and a practicing Naturopath, Nutritionist and Herbalist.

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