Food Selection is a Gray Area These Days

After discussing whether purchasing organic food was worth the extra cost or not, the answer really comes down to deciding how much information you want to know about the food you are buying and how your body is reacting to it. Until you buck the notion that “ignorance is bliss” when it comes to the American food system, you may be unknowingly causing health issues that will affect you both now and later. There are a lot of suggestions out there for which foods are the most important to buy organic, based on the amount of pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics they retain. I prefer certain organic foods based also on taste, as we discussed before. The general rules we follow as to whether it’s worth it to buy organic or not is unfortunately not something that is black and white. Living in Michigan certainly limits the availability of organics in the cold season, so buying organic strawberries for example can be downright impossible or very expensive. Regardless, if you are looking at your long term health, and especially growing children’s long term health, these are some ways to decide whether it’s worth it to splurge or save on particular foods. 

1. Look for bargains on organics.

Kroger often puts organic items on closeout, and often their prepackaged vegetables and organic milk and bread are on manager special. Also, Whole Foods has great coupons available in their in-store kiosk, as well as online for printing out.  Hollywood Markets has a great selection as well, and you can get good deals from the weekend paper.

2. For produce, a good rule of thumb is that if you eat the skin, choose organic. Like I mentioned, sometimes it’s not possible to find an organic option, but produce like apples, strawberries, tomatoes, and celery can be loaded with pesticides if you choose conventional options. I personally choose organic bananas and avocados even though I don’t eat the skin.  I do this simply because their flavor is so much richer.

3. Dairy and meat, whenever possible, should be organic or at least hormone free. Unfortunately the animals don’t have the choice as to what they eat, so unless you choose organic, you really don’t know what they are being fed. Meat can be loaded with antibiotics and even sanitizing solutions to keep it fresh despite poor conditions in factories. Your best bet is to find a local farmer whom you trust. Southeastern Michigan farmers markets are generally a great place to get familiar with a farm, and they often allow you to buy in bulk.

3. Don’t waste money on organic “junk.” Snacks, like pretzels and chips shouldn’t make up a big part of your diet, so it shouldn’t be as important to buy organic with these. Do read labels though when selecting snacks, as many sneak in high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or MSG. Plain potato chips or tortilla chips are a great choice for being clean and cheap. Corn or potatoes, oil and salt should be the only ingredients listed. Also, be cautious about juice and cereals loaded with artificial flavors and colors as well as HFCS. These are doing nothing to nourish you. Instead, pick oatmeal or a banana with peanut or almond butter.

These are just a few of the ways you can decide whether it’s worth it or not to buy organic. Studies are showing that organic foods really are cleaner for your body, and do often offer you more nutrients. If you still are unsure if organic foods are right for you, do some of your own research, or watch Food Inc. to see a harsh take on the food industry. Food purchases are no longer black and white for the typical consumer; it’s become a personal and ethical conviction that only you can decide for yourself.

About Heidi Morris

Rochester Hills mom of three. Loves life, loves family, loves to share new and interesting things with everyone. Contact her today at

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