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DEAR SLAVEY - September 19th Edition
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[Today's edition of Dear Slavey comes from the new TDV Homegrown newsletter. Be sure to read the Parting Shot to find out more about how the new letter can help you and how you can sign up below.]
One question Slavey hears time-and-time again is whether or not one should value organic foods over price savings or vice versa. This is a great question, and very relevant for the first issue of Homegrown – Slavey’s new home – in which TDV examines whether or not one truly spends that much more money while eating out.
But, in the meantime, let’s look at the question at-hand: "Is it worth it to buy mostly organic food or is it more important save money?"
This is a great question, and so let’s get down to basics. Quite frankly, it is nearly impossible for a middle class earner with a family today to live in the USSA only on true organic foods; that is, those found at local farmer’s markets where conspiratorial talk and mistrust of the government flourishes. And, this is not merely because the farmers markets are too expensive for the middle-class-with-a-family-and picket-fence-income. The forty-hour workweek is a thing of the past for those who are not self-employed contractors working on their own terms. A multitude of individuals work for now oftentimes 50-hours a week just to make ends meet. That means the End of the Weekend. And so, to sacrifice time spent one-on-one with a partner or children in order to forage can be burdensome. So, for some, the farmer’s market is simply not only too expensive, but also too inconvenient.
And, the government-certified organic foods found at mainstream supermarkets are not truly organic. If the government had an agenda of ensuring its population receives the most high quality of foods, state-run health care like Obamacare would be booed off the political stage. That’s why it is so important to do your research and learn about third-party organic certifiers whom you feel you can trust. This also means going a bit further to the more alternative market. Here are some third party organic certifiers for you to consider. Be most interested in those certifiers nearest to your place of residency, as they could lead you towards valuable local producers. Slavey tries to stay away from the certifiers who feature a world locked in a grid as their logo, such as this one:
From a strictly health standpoint, organic and locally grown (local is important as the further food travels from the farm to store, the more nutrients it loses) food is better than conventional food. Scientific studies demonstrate that organic fruits and vegetables carry less toxic pesticide and herbicides than conventional produce, while organic meat and animal products allow you to avoid digesting antibiotics and growth hormones. Organically grown foods contain more antioxidants and micronutrients such as folic acid and Vitamin C than conventionally grown foods. So the benefits are clear.
A balanced mixed of both conventional foods and organic foods is key if you are on a budget. If you do this though, prepare to taste the difference between organically grown foods and conventionally grown foods. That’s okay, though, because eating organically can be affordable, too. Especially if you follow portion control covered above in “Does Take Out Save You Time, Hassle and Money?”
As far as conventional foods go, Consumers Union, which publishes the Consumer Reports magazine, has examined the residual levels of pesticides on many common fruits and vegetables. In a report by the Environmental Working Group, with data from the US Food and Drug Administration, it has been demonstrated that “much of the health risks associated with pesticides are concentrated in a relatively small number of fruits and vegetables.” The list below is compiled from these reports.
Highest levels of pesticide residue non-organic:
Substitutions (approx. nutritional equivalent)
Here are some good tips for steering clear of too much pesticide residue in North America:
While apples have comparatively high amounts of pesticide residue, apple juice ranks low, making it a great substitute for non-organic apples.
The residue levels in canned peaches have been found to be much lower than for fresh peaches. The processing requires vigorous washing which removes most residues from the skin. Moreover, the varieties grown for canned experience less pesticide while growing.
Sprouts are easy to grow at home, very inexpensive and provide lots of nutrition. In fact, sprouts might represent the simplest source of organic produce for you and your family.
The amount of pesticide on a fruit or vegetables varies depending on the country where it was grown. For instance, cherries grown in the US are three times more contaminated with pesticides than their imported substitutes, which are among some of the cleanest fruits and vegetables analyzed. Cherries are healthy, as they contain a compound known as ellagic acid which counteracts carcinogens. So, if you are in the USSA or Kanada, it could be a good idea to seek out an imported source of cherries.
There is very preliminary evidence demonstrating that canned and frozen fruits, due to the washing and blanching during their preparation, have 80-90% less pesticide residue, according to the US based National Food Processors Assocation.
There can be no doubt that one can construe a healthy diet from both organic and conventional foods. A mixture of the two is ideal for the individual or family on a budget. The above can serve as an introductory guideline to where sacrifices can be made and where they cannot be made. It is generally presumed that a diet heavy on fruits and vegetables is one of the healthiest diets for a person, and so getting your hands on the best quality produce in your area is important. But also be sure to sometimes eat whatever you like, as this will contribute to your overall feeling of well-being and prevent unnecessary binging on things like potato chips and sodas.
Today we are celebrating the launch of a brand new service here at TDV. We'd gotten so much feedback from readers for whom leaving the USSA just isn't an option. So we thought it was time for a service specifically to help those who will be stuck in the Homeland as the empire crumbles, the dollar collapses and the police state blossoms.
Enter TDV Homegrown.
We will still be featuring some samplings of Dear Slavey in these pages of the free blog, but the majority of his work will be found in TDV Homegrown from now on, along with contributions from your TDV crew on strategies to help you live better and healthier right in the heart of the USSA.
Those of you who are already paid subscribers to the TDV newsletter will get TDV Homegrown -- and extra doses of Slavey -- for free automatically. The rest of you can sign up for the new Homegrown newsletter here. Just click on the link and scroll down the page and select your "Account Type" as "Homegrown" for only $39.00 per year.
And by all means, keep those questions to Dear Slavey coming.
Editor, The Dollar Vigilante