Eating organic food is no-doubt better for us, it means we're not ingesting harmful pesticides or chemically enhanced produce, however it's not always realistic that we buy organic 100% of the time. Organic food costs more and the majority of us can't afford to push our budget, but there are ways of eating a good organic diet even with a smaller budget.
Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen
These are lists of produce that are the most important to buy organic as non-organic versions contain the highest amounts of harmful chemicals and the clean fifteen is a list of produce that contain the least amount of pesticide residue when non-organic. Sticking to these lists means you don't have to worry about buying absolutely everything organic but you know that you're reducing your chemical intake dramatically if you buy the dirty dozen foods organic.
The Dirty Dozen list mainly consists of fruit & veg that has thin skins or doesn't need peeling, this means they absorb far more pesticides and even after thorough washing it's impossible to get rid of the chemicals. Produce on the dirty dozen list include -apples (99% of non-organic apples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue), potatoes (the average potato had more pesticides than any other produce), spinach, grapes (a single grape sample can show up to 15 different pesticides), cucumber and cherry tomatoes (these have around 13 different pesticides a piece). The full list can be seen below.
The Clean Fifteen list contains food that is safer for consumption when non-organic as they contain the least pesticides/chemicals, these include - avocados (only 1% of avocados show up pesticide residue), cauliflower, kiwi, sweet potato and pineapple (89% of pineapples showed no pesticide residue). The full clean fifteen list can be seen below.
It can be really overwhelming with all the information about organic & non-organic produce out there, so I find these lists to be brilliant at keeping costs down and I often refer back to them if I'm a little confused as to what I should be buying organic to help me stay the healthiest I can be.
In most supermarkets there is a good range of organic frozen fruit and vegetables for far cheaper prices than you'd find if you were to buy them fresh. This is especially good for things like smoothies (I actually find it creates a creamier texture and flavour when you use frozen produce in smoothies...win win!). I like to buy frozen organic berries and spinach.
Buying seasonal fruit & vegetables is a really effective way of keeping your shopping bill down because these items don't require anywhere near as much effort to be grown and they won't have to be imported. Seasonal fresh fruit & vegetables taste much better too! Think cabbage, cauliflower, parsnips, leeks, blackberries, brussels sprouts and squash in the Autumn/Winter and spinach, raspberries, strawberries, lettuce, peas and cucumber in the Spring/Summer.
Visit Farmers Market
Do some research and find a local farmers market to go to - this is a great way to find fantastic fresh, local, amazing produce at a lower price than you'd find them in the supermarkets. It's a lot of fun, better for environment and it's always nice to support local companies.
Eating organic is definitely a good idea and we should aim to buy organic as much as possible, but do remember that it's better to eat non-organic veggies than none at all! If you can't afford to buy organic produce don't fret about it because the non-organic kale, spinach, berries, etc will still be providing your body with powerful nutrients to keep you healthy and make you happy. Plant power!