It is becoming more and more difficult to decide what to buy in the grocery store. There are so many options and a lot of times in a hurry we just grab something to get the shopping done. Our food isn’t the same as it used to be. We are trying to produce as much as we can in as little time, so there are more pesticides being used and crops are being genetically modified to grow bigger, thicker and quicker. All of this, is a risk to us. I am trying to find a balance of the healthiest food at an affordable price. Here is a quick guide to what I do:
Produce: I use the EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) Dirty Dozen List to decide which fruits and vegetables to buy organic. The Dirty Dozen is the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables. The list is updated each year, but here is this year’s list to definitely buy organic on:
Apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, spinach, nectarines, cucumbers, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, hot peppers, kale, and summer squash. I also buy all corn organic to ensure that it is non-gmo.
The fruits and vegetables I buy conventional are mostly those with skin on it. Including, onions, avocados, bananas, mangos, watermelon, kiwi, cantaloupe, grapefruit and eggplant. And, those with thick skin are okay to buy conventional such as cabbage and asparagus.
There is an EWG app that you can download for free to have the list convenient while you are shopping!
In the winter, I rely on frozen fruits for smoothies and try to buy the vegetables that are in season at the time. Trader Joe’s is where I like to buy my organic frozen fruit. The prices are the best I have found.
Fish: I buy wild caught vs farm raised. Farm raised are kept in tight quarters and the incidence of disease is much greater because of it (such as sea lice, parasites and other viruses). They are also injected with lots of antibiotics to help prevent some of these diseases. Many farm raised are later treated with food coloring and other unnatural additives. When shopping, look for wild caught. It is more expensive but you get what you pay for.
Whole Foods has some fish/shrimp that are labeled Responsibly Farmed and is verified by a Third party. They do not use antibiotics or growth hormones. I do buy some with this label when I cannot find wild caught.
Meat: We do not eat a lot of meat in our family…but when we do, it is always organic. Whole Foods is where I shop for organic ground turkey and organic or free-range chicken. Again, this is important place to go organic. Otherwise, it has been injected with antibiotics and growth hormones.
Eggs: This is another confusing thing at the grocery store…so many options! Brown vs white does not matter (it is just a different type of chicken). Look for cage-free & naturally fed chickens. Those eggs are healthier and will have omega-3s. My favorite is Vital Farms Pasture Raised – you can taste the difference! The yolks are bright and taste so fresh. You can buy at Whole Foods. I also like Phil’s Fresh Eggs which can be found in the mid-west, I know Dierbergs carries them in St Louis, MO.
Dairy: Again, this is another place I go organic. Milk, yogurt, cheese etc. Organic cheese is can be found at Whole Foods and now more stores are branching out. Trader Joe selection is all without rBST hormone. My all time favorite yogurt is Wallaby’s Organic Greek Yogurt from Whole Foods, Dierbergs and some Targets. The consistency and taste are the best!
More on grocery shopping to come…