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Think Twice Before Blowing the Budget on Organic Food

by Clare Deville (follow)
Editor in Chief of www.healthyhints.com.au
Health (15)      October Contest (5)     
The nutrition industry in Australia is booming. The market is awash with a glut of nutritional products, some of which are actually beneficial for your health, and some of which are a complete scam. It’s partially because people are becoming more health conscious, and partially because science is finally putting some time and money into researching the link between nutrition, health, and any number of chronic diseases, and getting overwhelmingly convincing results.

happy eggs, ethical eggs in australia, organic eggs, why buy organic
Beware nutrition scam products! Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net

Those of us who aren’t scientists but have a little common sense, have long been aware that proper nutrition is paramount to optimal health and wellbeing. The organic market is also burgeoning; consumer demand for organic produce is growing at an unprecedented rate (though not enough it seems for retailers to price competitively…).

Organic produce will always be more expensive than traditionally grown produce due to the smaller yields that come from not using chemical growth stimulants, and because it is more labour intensive.

There is no doubt that organic produce is better for your health, the environment, and animal welfare, but a weekly 100% organic shop remains unaffordable for the majority of Australians. So before you blow your budget on organic produce consider the following:

Organic doesn’t necessarily mean a product is completely chemical free – there are some naturally occurring chemicals allowed in organic farming. The producer will not however, have added any chemicals, or used genetically modified constituents.
The majority of research has found no significant difference of nutrient levels between organically grown and traditionally grown produce – a small amount of research does support the benefits of organic over traditional, and it could simply be a matter of the right people not having the funding for scientific research. And some people innately sense that organic produce is superior and have no need for scientific ‘evidence.’

organic, is organic better, why buy organic
Sometimes the proof is in the pudding....Image courtesy of cool design/freedigitalphotos.net

If you’re someone who buys organic, or someone who would like to buy organic, here are some tips to help you save money and optimise your organic experience:

Buy organic eggs, meat and dairy wherever possible – this type of organic farming values the humane treatment of animals, and you avoid nasty residue from steroids, hormones and drugs such as antibiotics.

happy eggs, ethical eggs in australia, organic eggs, why buy organic
Happy eggs from happy chooks. Image courtesy ofrakratchada torsap/freedigitalphotos.net

Buy from farmer’s markets wherever possible – organic retail outlets in Australia are still few and far between so prices remain exorbitant.
Be sure that what you’re buying is actually organic – the use of the word ‘organic’ is not regulated in Australia, which means anyone can use it. Be sure the produce has been ‘certified organic’ by one of the seven Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) accredited certifying agencies.
You can stretch the budget by buying a combination of organic and traditionally grown produce - to minimise your exposure to toxic residue select your organic produce according to the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, and your traditional produce from their Clean Fifteen list.

organic, is organic better, why buy organic
Image courtesy of amenic181/freedigitalphotos.net

Don’t be put off by the imperfect appearance of organic produce – traditionally grown produce is artificially and chemically made to look aesthetically pleasing.
If you’re concerned about pesticide residue on traditionally grown produce, there’s a growing number of people rinsing or soaking their produce in a water/white vinegar solution – there is no scientific evidence to support this notion but many people swear by it.

If you'd like to learn more organic produce in Australia, check out Organic Federation of Australia website.

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* The skinny on skim milk - why it's doing you more harm than good
* Pesticides and fresh produce - the best and worst
* Ethical dairy in Australia
* How free are those free range hens?

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