fruit and veg

Organic on a budget

Written by Jodi on . Posted in holistic nutrition

Even though organic produce is becoming more common in today’s supermarkets, it still tends to cost more than regular produce. The benefits, however, are real and it is well worth the effort to include as many organic foods as you can afford

to in your diet. This guide will help you make more informed decisions about when you should really stick with organic and when conventional produce will do.

Why buy organic?

To reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals, e.g. pesticides, herbicides, etc.;

  • To increase the nutrient value of your foods;
  • Animals raised organically get more fresh air and are generally treated more humanely;
  • Organic farming is more sustainable. Organic farms use 70 percent less energy than industrial farms, and since they don’t use pesticides, they help preserve ground water. Their farming techniques help to build topsoil and don’t contribute to its erosion. (source:

Getting started

Switch over to organic slowly, a bit at a time.

  1. Always compare prices and check what’s on special. In some cases, the organic produce may be the same price or only a little bit more than the conventional produce.
  2. Get to know a farmer. Prioritize organic/free range meat and dairy to reduce the amount of pesticides and hormones in your diet (toxins are stored in fat so meat and dairy will contain more).
  3. Buy in bulk. Many oils, grains, nuts and seeds can be purchased in bulk at a much lower price.
  4. Refer to the produce lists at the bottom to help you prioritize what to switch first. Some produce is grown with higher amounts of pesticides and should always be purchased organically whereas some produce is grown with less and conventional produce can be purchased to save some money without drastically impacting your health.
  5. There are very few regulations regarding the use of pesticides in Mexico so I tend to favour produce from other countries and aim to avoid Mexican produce.
  6. Eat seasonally. Instead of fainting at the price of organic strawberries in February, wait until summer and eat the local ones – so much better anyway. Choose what is naturally in season to alleviate the sticker shock.

The Dirty Dozen:


Foods you should always buy organic


  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines (imported)
  7. Grapes (imported)
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/Collard Greens


The Clean Fifteen:


Foods lowest in pesticides and OK to buy non-organic (but be sure to wash them well with fruit & vegetable soap!)


  1. Onions
  2. Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Mangoes
  8. Eggplant
  9. Cantaloupe
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweet potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushrooms




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