Buying Organic & Local Does it Really Matter?

The beauty of buying organic local fruits and vegetables ensures freshness, sustainability and supports smaller family farms. In addition,┬áthe quality and taste of the produce is amazing, it is also healthier because they don’t require long distances for transportation. According to Dr. Alejandro Junger, “The time has come when we are waking up to an alarming truth. We are polluting ourselves with the very chemicals we invented to improve our lives. ” The fact of the matter is that conventionally grown produce is swarming with pesticides, herbicides, and GMOs. The roots of these plants absorb chemicals into the cell walls of the plant itself, so guess what? washing isn’t enough. In this way, buying organic will pay off in the long run. Take the next step, and support local organic farmers by seeking out sustainable farms, co-ops, and farmers markets. Also, consider growing your own garden.

Learning how to eat to be healthier, means shopping at local farmers markets, and going back to the way things were done years ago. The time has come to consider how fruits and vegetables are grown and even starting your own garden. How important is it to be, “fresh” and “safe to eat” are the main reasons consumers purchase organic local produce. A big benefit of farmers markets is your ability to look the farmer in the eye and ask anything you want about how the food was grown. Ask about how to cook it, and whether it is coming in or out of season. Learn all you can about the farmer’s growing practices. Be sure and bring your own bags or maybe a cooler, it’s good for the earth too and is the hippie chic thing to do. As a bonus, you are being kind to the farmers, by not cutting into their already slim profit margins. You are also being kind to yourself because there is no way to carry a watermelon in a plastic bag. Most farmers markets are cash-only operations, and most farmers do all their daily dealings from petty cash. It takes time to change habits, and try something new, just like with anything, but when one experiences more energy, less sick days and improved well-being, it makes good sense.

Eating sustainably-grown unprocessed fresh fruits and vegetables, has a number of health benefits, including; decreased total cholesterol levels, decreased risk of cancers, improved digestion and elimination, and increased intake of important nutrients and minerals. While increasing intake of fruits and vegetables is important, there is evidence that sustainably grown fruits, vegetables, and grains are higher in nutrients. This is related to several factors, including the way in which food was grown, harvested and transported. Organic production improves soil health, which in turn improves plants’ root systems and the ability to absorb vital nutrients. Additionally, using organic fertilizers provide a wider range of micronutrients that the plant can take up through the root system. To elaborate, organically grown tomatoes have higher levels of flavonoids, and potent antioxidants found in plants. In general, all organic local fruits and vegetables have higher levels of nutrients, such as vitamin C, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.

Fruits and vegetables that are in-season, harvested closer to peak ripeness, and transported in a shorter distance retains more nutrients and tastes much better. Industrially produced fruits and vegetables are frequently picked unripe, then artificially ripened, which decreases vitamin C content, other nutrients, ecofriendly and is noticeably different. It’s true it really matters how fruits and vegetables are grown. The proof is in the taste. Organic fruits and vegetables taste better. It’s not my opinion; it’s science. Eating at home and preparing fresh fruits and vegetables for you and your family is healthy and easier because less time is needed to prepare foods when they are fresh. Food is a source of fun for most people, and so is shopping local and organic, as well as consuming and feeling a sense of well-being.

The Environmental Working Group, (EWG), guide is a great tool for reference when it comes to targeting the fruits and vegetables with pesticides of special concern. The shoppers guide named it the dirty dozen, and they are; Apples, Celery, Cherries, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Grapes, Hot Peppers, Nectarines (Imported), Peaches, Potatoes, Spinach, Strawberries. Additionally, Collards and Kale, Summer Squash, Sweet Bell Peppers and Zucchini, are rife with pesticides and herbicides so make sure and buy these organic when possible. On the flip side of the coin, the guide named several you don’t have to be so concerned with, the clean fifteen, and they are: asparagus, avocado, cabbage, cantaloupe, corn, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mangos, mushrooms, onions, papayas, pineapples, sweet peas (frozen), sweet potatoes.

Everything around us is energy. Food is no different. Have you ever noticed how your surrounding’s effect your mood, and outlook? You can make healthier food choices and invest in your health, not only will you notice physical changes, but it boosts your energy level, improves your outlook and reduces health issues. The bonus with buying local foods are many; vegetables taste more vibrant, farm fresh eggs have a brighter egg yolk (more nutrients), grass fed meats are nitrate & antibiotic free. Eating healthy is a lifestyle because it takes time and intention to shop and prepare meals yourself. Who knew healthy eating could be easy & taste delicious? Did you know that fresher foods are more nutrient rich and vitamin fortified? Healthy eating is about raising your vibration or life force energy. When you change your eating habits you start to feel better and have more energy throughout the day too. These elements are responsible for the nourishment of your mind, body and spirit.

I have coordinated a Farmers Market Co-op in my neighborhood for over eighteen years. It is a great way to keep a seasonal variety of fruits and vegetables on hand. It ensures high quality whole foods and keeps the prices down. This time of year, when the heat is unavoidable, fruits and vegetables can help keep you hydrated. To mention a few; watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon carry a lot of water so they help keep the cells hydrated and the body balanced. Vegetables like cucumbers, eggplant, and summer squash have a lot of water content too. There’s no time better than the present to reap the benefits of healthy produce that’s in season. Our bodies are made up of 75% water, so during the 100 degree days not only will water keep us hydrated and thriving but fruits and vegetables help out too. So consider shopping one of the many farmers markets in the area. Farmer’s markets are open year round, but peak season is considered the summer time. So, stop in and pick up some local produce or purchase organic in the grocery store.