We're covering food quality in produce; something that is more important to be aware of than ever. Funny that it happens at the same time budgeting is more important than ever, too.
If you don't have time for reading this entire article, here are the fruits and vegetables you should not buy conventionally and purchase organic instead.
Fruits include Apples, Peaches, Strawberries, Nectarines, Grapes, Blueberries, Hawaiian Papayas and Cherries. Vegetables to buy organically are Celery, Peppers, Spinach, Lettuce, Cucumbers, Potatoes, Green Beans, Kale/Collard Greens, Corn, Zucchini, and Squash. More detail is published below so keep reading.
First, we'll cover the meanings behind your PLU labels on produce.
Price Look-Up Codes differ by their quality in 3 different ways.
BEST QUALITY : Five-digit codes starting with a 9
WHAT IT MEANS: This food is ORGANIC and is grown without chemicals or pesticides. Buy it up!
MODERATE QUALITY: Four-digit codes starting with a 3 or 4
WHAT IT MEANS: This food is conventionally grown with chemicals and pesticides. Refer to the chart below for safe purchasing.
LOW QUALITY: Five-digit numbers starting with an 8 means GMO.
WHAT IT MEANS: This food is grown unnaturally through genetic modification. Do not purchase these foods.
The problem with labeling
Millions of people aren't aware that genetic modification even exists. Now that you are armed with the proper PLU decoding techniques, you should be able to eliminate all of these dangerous foods from your life right?
Actually, the labeling of GMO's is currently a voluntary action by food companies and IS NOT required. Now you see the problem; if companies labeled the GMO produce and other products in every instance, the grocery store would start to look like a biohazard.
GMO is safe and other myths
Companies are scared their ponzi scheme is going to collapse. If the forced labeling of GMO happens (give it time), we are going to become even more careful with our food choices. If they want to stay in business, they will have to give us quality food.
But I've heard GMO is safe on TV? Well, it's on TV, the ultimate source of disinformation. Let's go through a couple of the common misconceptions about GMO's. The following information comes from earthopensource.org and the PDF guide titled GMO Myths and Truths is available to download in PDF form here. Earth Open Source is a non-profit organization educating and researching GMO.
Michael Antoniou, one of the authors of this guide has a PhD is reader in molecular genetics and heads the Gene Expression and Therapy Group, King’s College London School of Medicine in London.
Myth: Genetic engineering is just an extension of natural breeding
Truth: Genetic engineering is different from natural breeding and poses special risks
Myth: Genetic engineering is precise and the results are predictable
Truth: Genetic engineering is crude and imprecise, and the results are unpredictable
Myth: GM is just another form of mutation breeding and is nothing to worry about
Truth: Mutation breeding brings its own problems and should be strictly regulated
Myth: GM foods are safe to eat
Truth: Studies show that GM foods can be toxic or allergenic
Genetically modified (GM) crops are promoted on the basis of a range of far-reaching claims from the GM crop industry and its supporters.
They say that GM crops:
● Are an extension of natural breeding and do not pose different risks from naturally bred crops ● Are safe to eat and can be more nutritious than naturally bred crops ● Are strictly regulated for safety ● Increase crop yields ● Reduce pesticide use ● Benefit farmers and make their lives easier ● Bring economic benefits ● Benefit the environment ● Can help solve problems caused by climate change ● Reduce energy use ● Will help feed the world.
On the contrary, evidence presented in this report indicates that GM crops:
● Are laboratory-made, using technology that is totally different from natural breeding methods ● Can be toxic, allergenic or less nutritious than their natural counterparts ● Are not adequately regulated to ensure safety ● Do not increase yield potential ● Do not reduce pesticide use but increase it ● Create serious problems for farmers, including herbicide-tolerant “superweeds”, compromised soil quality, and increased disease susceptibility in crops ● Have mixed economic effects ● Harm soil quality, disrupt ecosystems, and reduce biodiversity ● Do not offer effective solutions to climate change ● Are as energy-hungry as any other chemically-farmed crops ● Cannot solve the problem of world hunger but distract from its real causes – poverty, lack of access to food and, increasingly, lack of access to land to grow it on.
“Most studies with GM foods indicate that they may cause hepatic, pancreatic, renal, and reproductive effects and may alter haematological [blood], biochemical, and immunologic parameters, the significance of which remains to be solved with chronic toxicity studies.” – Dona A, Arvanitoyannis
That's a lot of information to digest.
The food industry is a large business. However, this industry that puts human health second to profit is the opposite of what we need.
This is especially important when there are millions of people like you waking up to the fact that our food system is broken. We want quality food at a good price, which is where the struggle ensues.
Saving money and eating healthy sounds like a paradox, not always. Let's cover the different foods that are safe to eat non-organic and the foods that should be purchased organic.
You can reduce your pesticide exposure by 80% and avoid GMO produce 100% of the time by reading this list. If you can get organic without paying much more, do so. -Jayson Calton, PhD in the book Rich Food Poor Food.
It's safe to eat these conventionally raised, non-organic foods with little risk of GMO or pesticide residue:
Fruit: Pineapple, Mangoes, (remember mangoes and pineapple in moderation because of high-glycemic index), Kiwi, Cantaloupe, Grapefruit, Watermelon, Avocado
Vegetables: Onions, Cabbage, Sweet Peas, Asparagus, Eggplant, Sweet Potatoes, Mushrooms
You should choose organic to reduce risk of GMO and pesticide residue in:
Fruit: Apples, Peaches, Strawberries, Nectarines, Grapes, Blueberries, Hawaiian Papayas, Cherries
Vegetables: Celery, Peppers, Spinach, Lettuce, Cucumbers, Potatoes, Green Beans, Kale/Collard Greens, Corn, Zucchini, Squash.
If you don't see your food listed and can afford organic, do it.
What should I do with all of these delicious foods?
1. You could start by making a smoothie, a very easy way to consume concentrated amounts of immune-boosting nutrients.
2. You can practice your cooking skills with some of the top Paleo Cookbooks, these won't leave your counter.
3. EAT THEM! Can't get much easier or better than that. Every time you eat a healthy meal, it's like refueling your car with premium fuel and adding some octane booster.
4. Focus on the other aspects of your food quality too. Have you read my post explaining Paleo terminology? It covers meat quality, eggs and other aspects of our diet. Wow I'm hungry, time to eat. In case you're curious, I'm eating eggs from a friend's chicken, half-chewy bacon cooked in grass-fed butter, a smoothie containing spinach, almond milk, blueberries and vanilla whey protein.
How have you conquered the groceries, markets and stores to get the most bang for your buck? Share your stories, tips and hacks below! Thanks for reading! :-o