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Cutting Corners? Which Items to Buy Organic and Which to Avoid

When it comes time to head to the store, whether we are struggling college students or six-figure entrepreneurs, our minds inevitably head first to our checkbooks.  As important as it is to buy as many organic and environmentally-conscious products as we can, we must admit that these types of items also come with heftier price tags. However, the reason we buy organic is, first and foremost, to protect our bodies from harmful toxins and to provide them with better nutrients, and there are many ways to get the most bang for your buck with this primary goal in mind. Here are a few ways that you can divide up your shopping list according to what most definitely should be purchased organic, and what can be fulfilled with generic products. Read on for some of the top products to buy organic, and where to skimp:

Buy Organic:

1. Thin-skinned produce.

One of the determining factors in the level of pesticides that will be found in a piece of produce is the amount of protection the fruit or vegetable has against these sprays. Fruits and veggies that are especially absorbent or that have very thin skins are most susceptible to pesticide contamination. Fruits like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and apples, and veggies like lettuce and celery should always be purchased organic when possible.

2. Dairy.

Organic dairy is guaranteed to not have come from cows injected with hormones or growth enhancers. The cows should have also been fed only organic, vegetarian grain, and there should be no additives in the final milk, cheese, butter or yogurt. Because dairy is used to often in our diets, this is a great place to lower your intake of toxins and hormones.

3. Grains.

Grains are not something that many people put on the top of their organic-only list, but grains are actually among the worst offenders in pesticide counts. This is because, with grains like rice, for example, they are grown contained in water. Once a pesticide source gets in the water, it will remain there and constantly be integrated into the grains as they develop.

4. Tea.

Teas are made from very light, delicate leaves. When these leaves are sprayed with pesticides, the nutritional benefits of the steeped tea become negated by the pesticide count. Stick to organically-grown tea if you want to reduce your toxin levels and gain the nutritional benefits.

Don’t Buy Organic:

1. Thick-skinned Produce.

The same concept here applies. The thicker the skin of the produce, the lower the overall pesticide count. Fruits like pineapple, cantaloupe, kiwi, oranges, and grapefruit and veggies like corn on the cob, eggplant, sweet peas, avocado and onions are much safer than most.

2. Junk Food.

If you’re buying organic foods for the health benefits, you may as well skip the added cost if it’s going to be put towards junk food. Even if you are eating potato chips made from organic potatoes and organic oil, the health content is still zilch. The same goes for any sort of processed organic junk foods and treats. Since you want to limit these from your diet anyway, there is no reason to break the bank buying them organic.

3. Drugstore Cosmetics.

It’s definitely important to spend your money on beauty products that are eco-friendly and organic. Unfortunately, true manifestations will not be found at your local drugstore. All common manufacturers of cosmetics use extremely toxic ingredients, like parabens and phalates, as additives in their products, even if they sneak in an organic ingredient or two. Do your research online and find a brand that not only uses organic materials, but does not add any irresponsible or harmful ingredients.

(Picture Credit – Pettinato Photography 12 Greene Street New York)