As you make the transition to a healthier weight loss diet, the idea of shopping organic may cross your mind. Walk into the produce section of any grocery store and you’ll see a vibrant display of organic fruits and vegetables, likely priced well above the rest of the items in the store. What is it about organic food that draws so many people to spend more money at the market, and is it something worth doing?
It is not necessary to shop organic during your medical weight loss program. For the most part, you’ll get the same nutrients and health benefits out of conventional produce as you will from organic. Making the shift to eating more fruits and vegetables—however they are grown—is a good first step, but as you learn more about what it means for something to be “organic,” you may quickly want to purchase all of your produce this way. And that, unfortunately, can quickly grow expensive.
A Quick Lesson in Organic Foods
Essentially, organic food is grown naturally. They are not exposed to any pesticides, the seeds are not genetically altered in any way and the produce is not treated to make it last longer than it would otherwise. Organic produce is as nature intended it to be. There might be some natural discoloration on the skin and the shape may not be as perfect as a genetically modified organism (GMO), but the flavor is generally better for it. The biggest reason people buy organic foods is to avoid the chemicals introduced during the conventional growing process.
Organic foods are harder to grow and ship than conventional produce. They don’t last as long on the shelf and aren’t as resilient against bugs, due to the lack of pesticides used during the growing process. As a result, when stocked next to conventional produce at the grocery store, organic items can carry a hefty price tag.
If you are thinking of trying out organic foods, be smart about it. Here are a few ways you can save money while buying organic:
- Buy what matters. Some foods aren’t as susceptible to contamination by conventional growing practices. Things like onions, sweet corn, cabbage, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and eggplant are usually very safe in their conventional forms.
- Shop local: Your neighborhood grocery store has to pay for produce to be shipped in. Transporting organic foods is expensive, especially since the produce has a short shelf life. When you buy organic at the food store you are partially paying for the shipping. Head to your local farmers market to buy produce directly from growers to skip out on the shipping cost. The East Brunswick Farmers Market opens on June 8th, 2013 from 10 to 4 pm.
- Buy in season: Plants thrive during certain parts of the year. If you buy something while it is in season, it is cheaper. That is because there is generally an abundance of it. Rotate the vegetables you eat daily based on what is in season right now.
Give organic produce a try. By finding items through local resources and shopping in season you can get organic produce at close to the same cost as conventionally grown items. You can decide if the improved taste is enough to convince you to keep up the healthy habit.