Organic or All-Natural? Is There a Difference?

IMG_0882During the winter months, it is difficult to find locally grown produce, particularly if you live in the Midwestern United States or the East Coast. The option is to buy organic. Some foods you may not have to buy organic; however, there are foods that you absolutely must. Here are some recommendations:

  1. Tomatoes. During the peak season, many people buy tomatoes locally grown. Since the origin of these tomatoes is unknown during the winter, it is best to buy organic ones.
  2. Dairy products.  Ice cream, milk, and eggs fall in this category. When you buy ice cream, always read the product label. If you read the ingredients on an organic ice cream label, each ingredient is organic. Beware of words like “fat-free”, “sugar-free”, or “all-natural”. If ice cream does not contain sugar, then it has an unnatural sweetener, like sucralose, in addition to other chemical ingredients added to it. With milk, many cows are injected with the Recombinant Bovine Growth hormone (rBST) in order for them to increase milk production. When you buy eggs, they should be organic, cage-free, and from vegetable-fed hens. Some chickens are injected with antibiotics.
  3. Lettuce.  This covers spring mix (which contains spinach) and is a must since lettuce is sprayed with pesticides.
  4. Meats.  As was previously mentioned, beef and chicken are injected with hormones and antibiotics; organic is best. Certain farmers inject their chickens with antibiotics; they grow twice as fast in a given amount of time. Their breasts are so heavy that the chickens’ legs cannot support their bodies.
  5. Apples.  Apples should not be shiny or very large. When you buy locally grown or organic apples, they tend to be smaller and have a “dusty” appearance.

On the other hand, there are foods that you need to make sure are all natural, but not necessarily organic.IMG_0860

  1. Nut butters. The only ingredients that you should see listed are nuts and maybe salt if it’s salted nut butter.   Also, all-natural nut butters tend to be less viscous.
  2. Oranges.  Since we know that they typically come from California or Florida, you don’t need to buy organic.
  3. Coffee.  Buy a high-quality blend, like 100% Arabian.
  4. Bananas.  Since you don’t eat the peel, the actual fruit is less likely to be exposed to pesticides.
  5. Pineapples.  Again, the edible part is not exposed.

If there is any doubt about what to buy, always buy organic. Yes, it costs more, but we all know that it’s more expensive to eat healthy.