How important is healthy eating for you? What does healthy eating mean to you?
The second one might be a more important question because our understanding of what is healthy can vary drastically. For some people it means ‘low fat’. For others this means ‘low carb’. Some people will try and grow some of their own fruits, vegetables and herbs.
And when we start with a new client we will do a consult and assessment. The answer for many of them regarding their nutritional habits is to qualify the quality of their nutrition with saying where they buy their groceries.
This is kind of funny. Funny because even ‘health food’ stores sell cookies, pop, ice cream and all other types of junk food that you can find at regular supermarkets.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the current flyer for your local health food supermarket. You will find gluten free cookies, cane sugar soda, dark chocolate, soy based ice cream all on sale.
But here’s the problem…you can’t make junk food healthy simply by using a natural ingredient or removing the worst ingredient of the day. This could be trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, gluten or whatever is the current nutritional villain of the day.
Now I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here. You aren’t the types to believe gluten free cookies will help you towards your weight loss goal. Or that cane sugar cola all of sudden become a healthy choice. I’m sure you get this.
But there is an area where many people get tripped up.
And that is when they buy organic.
(pause…wait for crickets…)
Now I may have the attention of a few more of you that this refers to.
Do you buy organic? If so, what are your reasons for buying organic? Is it to save the planet? Is it to be healthier? Or trendy? Or because you enjoy paying as much as three times as much for a particular food?
Because depending on your answer(s) to the above questions buying organic may not make much sense.
Now which foods could you drop from your organic shopping list?
Well the most obvious ones would be ones that come in a peel, rind or natural packaging of some type. Examples include bananas, watermelons, cantelopes and honeydew melons. Basically if you wouldn’t eat the outer shell, peel, rink, husk etc then you probably don’t need to invest in organic versions of these.
And if your goal is to be more planet friendly you need to consider the source of your organic foods. I’m not sure of the statistics for Canada but in the US there a limited number of dairy farms producing organic milk. So buying organic could mean increased fuel costs to transport to your grocer as opposed to local non-organic producers.
Besides the additional transportation and carbon footprint costs of organic food there is also the issue of lower nutritional content. In order to cover great distances some organics will lose nutrients from the time they are picked during the time to transport to your locale.
Does this mean buying makes no sense? Are we just being duped and ripped off? Well I’m not going that far but I would say the list of foods to buy organic can be reduced the following.
This list of the Dirty Dozen comes courtesy of Dr. Chris Mohr’s presentation at the PB Long Beach Summit. The order is significant as higher ranking foods makes more to sense to buy organic than lower ranking ones.
The Dirty Dozen
3. Bell peppers
6. Nectarines (imported)
And ones not on the list?
You may be able to buy conventional produce and do just as well. Or buy from your local farmer’s market. Or grow your own.
Hope this helps you make wiser food buying decisions.
Chris Okanagan Peak Performance Inc.