I Switched to Organic Produce, Here’s What Happened Next

After moving into a new neighborhood at the beginning of the year, my partner and I found ourselves within striking distance of two organic stores.

At the time we were still taking advantage of our health insurer’s loyalty scheme, which offered us 25 percent cash-back on all our ‘healthy food’ purchases. When you’re vegan and love vegetables, that’s a pretty sweet deal.

The downside was that the local retailers they’d partnered with only stocked conventionally-grown fresh produce. We figured it was still better than eating drive-thru cuisine and watched gleefully as our bank account swelled.

And swell it did. (They definitely didn’t see us coming.) But after spending some time on a permaculture farm, we experienced firsthand the benefits of eating organically-grown vegetables.

When a third organic grocer opened a couple of blocks from our apartment, we took it as a sign. It was time to start focusing on more than just our financial health. We could no longer be driven solely by our desire to save money.

I Switched to Organic Produce, Here's What Happened Next

Organic Produce vs. Non-Organic

We all know organic is the better choice, but is conventionally grown food really that bad for us? I didn’t think so, but the Environmental Working Group says otherwise.

According to their 2018 Shopper’s Guide, 70 percent of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables contain up to 230 different pesticides or their breakdown products. Yikes.

If fresh produce came with an ingredient label listing all of those pesticide residues, perhaps we wouldn’t be quite so laissez-faire in our approach to the food we eat.

[Video] Pesticides on Produce: The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen

Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom. Adhere to the EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists, and you’ll significantly reduce your intake of pesticides.

EWG updates the lists annually based on test data it receives from the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration. In general though, you can assume that produce with a thick, non-edible skin—like a banana—won’t contain as many pesticides as say, spinach or blueberries.

Health Benefits of Eating Organic Produce

organic produce

It Tastes Better

You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten an organic strawberry; I kid you not. Those things are so delicious they should come with an age restriction. Honestly though, I had the same reaction when I ate organic broccoli and gem squash and, well, everything, really.

It all tastes better. So much so that I don’t even bother with recipes anymore. I just steam everything and enjoy the vegetables without all the condiments. (I’m a veggie nerd, I know.)

It’s Not More Expensive*

We’ve actually found organic produce to be largely on a par with conventionally grown, from a price standpoint. When we order the weekly pre-packed box selection, it’s often less expensive. However, I should offer the caveat that we live in South Africa. I’m not sure how prices compare elsewhere in the world.

If organic produce is more expensive where you are, it’s worth considering that the short-term expense will offset the long term health implications of eating food laden with pesticides.

One final factor to take into account. The more we support organic farmers, the higher the demand will be. According to Dr. Zach Bush, “Monsanto’s own research revealed that when the market for organic food reaches 16% of market share, big farming will no longer be profitable.”

Your Health Improves

Best of all, your health improves in ways you can actually notice. It’s nice to know that eating organic is better for your overall health and that it offers improved heart condition and antibiotic resistance, but you can’t tell if that’s actually true. You just hope it is.

We’ve enjoyed a notable improvement in our skin tone (we’re all glowy, in a good way). I used to wake up with sore joints in my right hand and that’s definitely on the decline. Bruises disappear faster and cuts and scrapes heal more quickly, too.

Digestive issues are also a thing of the past (thankfully), and there’s a definite spring in our step. Whether the latter is a result of what we’re eating or because we’ve started enjoying a glass or two of organic wine with dinner, I’m not entirely sure. Hic.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

63 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y16 days ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y16 days ago

thanks

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John J
John J16 days ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J16 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Angela K
Angela K19 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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heather g
heather g21 days ago

Nothing beats South African food!

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Christine D
Christine D22 days ago

In Canada, organic is much more expensive than conventional. We are fortunate though where I live to have a lot of local organic farms and farms that grow conventionally without nearly as many pesticides as produce imported from the US.

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Sara S
Sara S22 days ago

I totally agree, given that I have Multiple Chemical Sensitivities.

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Paula A
Paula A23 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Catherine Z
Catherine Z23 days ago

Oops! Posted the comment before actually writing it! Lol. I not only learned a few things but enjoyed reading it as well. It was humorously written AND informative. Organic is quite a bit more expensive where I live, but we'll worth it in the end. P. S. Organic wine?? Hmm!

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