Organic Food! We’ve all heard about it, and it seems to be gaining increased popularity now as more of us strive to live healthier and more sustainable lifestyles.
As someone who likes to try and eat healthily, the idea of organic food is very appealing, especially as more and more grocery stores are opening near me, with an abundance of organic food available to choose from.
However, like me, you may have noticed that organic produce has a significantly higher price tag than conventional fruit and veg. This factor has most people running in the opposite direction!
But what really is organic food? Is it actually better for you? And is it worth the money?
If it is worth the cost, which organic shops in Sydney are the best options?
What Is Organic Food?
Before deciding whether organic foods are worth the money, we need to accurately understand what the label ‘organic’ means.
When we talk about organic food, it describes how it has been produced. In order for foods to be labelled organic, they must have been grown without using hormones, antibiotics, GMOs (genetically modified organisms) or artificial chemicals.
They must also not contain any artificial food additives, such as preservatives, flavourings, colouring, artificial sweeteners or MSG (monosodium glutamate).
Why is it important to know all this? Because we want to make sure that if we do spend money on organic food, we are getting the real deal! Whenever you shop at a supermarket near you, it’s always a good idea to check the label, to make sure that the ‘organic’ food really is what it says it is. If it contains any of the extras mentioned above, it’s definitely not true organic food.
Are Organic Foods Healthier?
Although there have been plenty of studies into the benefits of organic vs non-organic foods, the results are often mixed. However, the evidence still shows foods that have been grown organically are often more nutritious and contain a higher level of vitamins and anti-oxidants!
Organic produce has also been shown to contain up to 30% less nitrate than regular crops. High nitrate levels have been linked to some types of cancer, so eating food with lower nitrate levels is a way to reduce cancer risk.
But it’s not just our bodies that organic food is healthy for! According to the Harvard Medical School website, organic foods are “healthier for the planet because they support an agricultural system that avoids synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.” It also explains that eating organic “promotes a more biodiverse ecosystem, with attention to the health of waterways, soil, air, wildlife, farm workers, and the climate.”
Organic farmers are expected to maintain the quality of their soil, using clever techniques such as cover cropping and crop rotation. These techniques, including the fact that organic farming does not use harsh chemicals and pesticides, ensure that food grown organically gets what it needs from healthy, nutrient-rich soil. Healthier soil, healthier food, healthier you!
You might have heard others claim that organic food is tastier and thought it was just a scam to get you to buy it. But it’s actually true, and the reasoning behind it makes sense!
As mentioned above, organic foods are grown without using chemicals and pesticides. This means the food grows naturally, producing higher levels of flavour chemicals, resulting in naturally tastier crops.
Organic food is often in season and locally sourced, which means it’s better for both your tastebuds and the environment!
How To Shop Smart
After discussing some of the benefits of eating organic food, you might be interested in trying it out for yourself.
If you are in a position to buy all organic produce, that’s fantastic! Your body and the planet will indeed thank you for it. But, for many of us, including myself, that’s simply not realistic. With the ever-rising cost of living, we want to keep our food bills low, not increase them!
However, there is a way to eat well without breaking the bank! The key is to focus your money on the foods that matter the most. Although we would like none of our foods to contain pesticides and chemicals in an ideal world, there is a great benefit to simply reducing the levels of pesticides in the food we eat.
With this in mind, The Environmental Working Group provided a list of produce with the highest pesticide residue on it. This list is called the Dirty Dozen, and here are the top offenders:
You can check the official list for any updates. (Although this list originates in the US, it is still an excellent guideline for buying from organic shops in Sydney.)
So how is this list helpful? Well, if you are looking to eat organic food but don’t want to break the bank, start by replacing these products in your shopping cart with the organic version! By purchasing organic varieties of the above foods, you can significantly lower the number of pesticides and chemicals in your food without spending too much.
Some organic grocery stores really hike their prices up more than necessary. So a meaningful way to shop smart is by finding an organic shop in Sydney that offers quality organic foods at a reasonable price!
A grocery store near me that I really enjoy shopping at is Maloney’s Grocer, as I know I can be sure I’m getting certified organic goods at a great price. If you live in the Sydney area, I definitely recommend checking them out. If you live in another area, there is bound to be a good organic store you can find if you do a little research or ask some friends!
So, Is It Worth The Price?
Let’s review the facts! Although organic food may be pricer, it seems to be healthier, tastier and better for the environment.
Buying organic food is an investment in your own health and the well-being of our planet. In addition, as we have seen, you don’t need to bust your budget in order to eat more organic foods. Remember that Dirty Dozen list, and focus on making small swaps in the beginning. You can always swap out other foods for organic when you are ready!
Finally, make sure to find a high-quality organic supermarket near you so you guarantee that you get the best produce for your hard-earned cash.
So is it worth the price? On balance, I would say yes! But don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself and see what you think!