Organic vs. Conventional…Is There a RIGHT Answer?

There’s a lot of conversation about whether or not the health benefits of organic fruits and veggies outshine the health benefits of conventionally grown produce.  This week, I thought that I’d present the facts about both sides of this national food debate:

Conventional fruits and veggies are mass-grown with the use of pesticides.  When I say pesticides, I mean any chemical fertilizers such as insectides, fungicides, and herbicides, some of which have been found to be carcinogenic.  Unfortunately, these pesticides also have a negative effect on the environment and lead to much pollution.  In addition, it has been found that the soil in which conventional produce is grown isn’t as rich as the soil of fruits and veggies that aren’t treated with chemicals.  Lastly, whenever you purchase a conventionally grown food, you never know what kind of chemicals it was treated with, or if it is free or not of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Unlike conventional foods, organic foods are grown without pesticides and GMOs.  Therefore, the soil is much more plentiful and hearty because its nutrients haven’t been depleted.  Furthermore, organic food growers don’t pose such a detrimental risk to the environment.  Organic food is usually grown on a smaller scale and special attention is paid to caring and honoring the plant’s well being.  In other words, organic farmers let nature take its course.

As we all know, there’s no question about the price of organic and conventional foods.  Organic produce is definitely more expensive than conventionally grown fruits and veggies.  However, I think that not enough light is shed on the additional future costs of conventional produce.  Although you pay less for conventionally grown foods now, you’ll more than likely be paying more for it later on in life.  This is because overtime, the pesticide residue from the fruits and veggies will build up in your body and could cause illness and disease.  Nevertheless, I don’t  think that it’s completely necessary for everybody to become “all in” organic shoppers.  Obviously, a strawberry would be more susceptible to excess chemical residue than corn would, which is protected by an outer covering.  Consequently, I’ve provided lists for the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15:

The Dirty Dozen:  (try to always buy these organic)

  • celery
  • peaches
  • strawberries
  • apples
  • blueberries
  • nectarines
  • peppers
  • kale and collard greens
  • cherries
  • potatoes
  • grapes
  • lettuce

The Clean 15: (usually okay if purchased conventionally grown)

  • mango
  • sweet peas
  • asparagus
  • kiwi fruit
  • cabbage
  • eggplant
  • cantaloupe
  • watermelon
  • grapefruit
  • sweet potatoes
  • sweet onions
  • onions
  • avocados
  • corn
  • pineapple

I’d be interested to know where you stand on organic foods vs. conventional.  Are you 100% organic all of the time,  do you mix and match, or do you eat conventionally grown foods? What do you think about the health benefits of each?

Until Next Week…Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

🙂 Katie


Cox, Jeff. The Organic Food Shopper’s Guide. Hoboken, New Jersey, John Wiley and Sons Incorporated, 2008. Print.

Pou, Jackie. “The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 of Produce.” PBS. PBS. 13 May 2012. Web. 4 November 2012.