A Dozen Things You Should Buy Organic

By on May 9, 2011

Not all things are created equal, and there are some products that you eat, drink, or keep close to your body that are more likely to give off dangerous chemicals and pesticides.  Here are our choices for products you really have to draw the line about and just say NO, unless they’re organic.

1.     Beef.  Hormones and antibiotics given to industrial ag cattle,  the so-called cafo cattle should make you say no.  Choose organics or grass-fed.  Safer.

2.     Strawberries. Succulent little porous jewels absorb everything.  Choose organics.  We like Driscoll, who uses a vacuum cleaner to remove pests from the berries in the field. No pesticides, thank you very much. Other fruits that should be bought organic because they’re eaten skin-on include peaches, apples, blueberries and cherries.

3.     Pots and Pans. Like I’ve taught in cooking classes forever,  any pan is nonstick if it’s clean and properly preheated.  Preheat the pan dry and the molecules start jumping around, forming a safe nonstick surface.  Ixnay on the coated pans.  No matter what the marketers tell you,  that junk comes off and some of it is carcinogenic.

4.     Microwave popcorn.  Its actually the coated bag that’s the problem,  but there you go.  Say no.  Too many chemicals.  Ick.

5.     Lawn and garden pesticides. Make yours organic.  Then neither you or your pets will be absorbing poison through the skin.  If you think half a minute and realize that pesticides are absorbed through the skin of the insects,  you just have to think of yourself as a big bug to get it.  Organics only here.

6.     Common household cleansers. Some of these contain phthalates which are known as endocrine disruptors.  Particularly dangerous to small children because this can cause premature sexual maturity.  Just think of it this way.   A little dirt just build their immune systems.  Don’t go crazy with cleansers.

7.     Plastic water bottles.  Don’t buy unregulated drinking water in plastic bottles. And transfer your own pure filtered water from home into a stainless steel bottle to carry along.  Quite frankly,  I can never understand why people have to keep swilling water every minute anyway!

8.     Plastic Food Storage containers.  Glass is best because all that icky stuff oozes out of the plastic and into your food.  And NEVER put these containers into the microwave where the added mischief of the microwaves and plastics create serious health risks.

9.     Milk. You knew this.  Same deal as beef.  Ordinary milk is loaded with hormones and antibiotics.  Ugh.  Especially bad for kids.  Can also cause premature sexual development.

10. Celery. Simple stalks absorb everything in the field and can be the home for as many as 14 different pesticides.  Choose organics as well as organic bell peppers, spinach and potatoes.  Ditto.

11.Tomato sauce and paste. They line those cans with all sorts of crap you don’t need to be eating.  Choose glass jars or boxes.  Like Pomi tomatoes.  This also holds true for commercial marinara sauces.  Choose glass.

12.   Mattresses and carpets.  Take care to choose products not reeking of chemicals.  A nice Persian rug and a mattress coated with wool or silk under the cover is best.

About Linda Eckhardt

Linda West Eckhardt, is an award winning journalist, food writer, and nutritionist. Her more than 20 cookbooks have garnered prizes including the James Beard prize for the best cookbook for a text she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Their next book, The High Protein Cookbook, Clarkson Potter, remains a best seller after 12 years. That book was designed to accompany low carb diet plans. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child award. Her award winning radio work with Jennifer English, for a national show on the Food and Wine radio network, was nominated for a James Beard Prize for a show called, “I Know What You Ate Last Summer.”