Natural Options: The 10 Most Important Foods to Buy Organic

By Stevens, Francine; Lydon, Betsy | E Magazine, September-October 1997 | Go to article overview

Natural Options: The 10 Most Important Foods to Buy Organic


Stevens, Francine, Lydon, Betsy, E Magazine


In 1984, Elizabeth Ryan bought a farm in New York's mid-Hudson Valley. The farm and orchard had been managed conventionally for many years, but Ryan decided to severely restrict the use of chemical pesticides. Her farm is now run under an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system, which uses chemicals only as a last resort. "When I see my customers, I am reminded that I am directly accountable for the way I grow my food," she says.

September is National Organic Harvest month, a good time to reflect on what's in our food. Unfortunately, pesticides are part of the mix. Of the 300 pesticides approved by the federal government, 73 (including some of the most frequently used) are "probable" or "possible" carcinogens. Cancer, however, is not the only health problem linked with pesticide-ridden food. Pesticides known as organophosphates and carbonates are neurotoxins that can cause nervous system damage.

Children are at a heightened risk from pesticides, because they eat more food relative to their body weight and because their nervous systems are still developing. And according to the National Research Council, children eat more fresh fruit than adults, which can expose them to multiple pesticides. An alternative is to go organic, which means eating food produced without chemical pesticides or fertilizers. "Certified Organic" products, which have been approved by state-certified organic boards, carry a guarantee that the product was grown and handled according to strict procedures.

Most people don't make the switch to naturally-grown overnight, but if you want a good place to start, here's a list of 10 foods to buy organic for the sake of both personal and planetary health:

Baby Food. The National Academy of Sciences reported in 1993 that federal pesticide standards provide too little health protection for infants. Building on those conclusions, the Washington-based Environmental Working Group (EWG) commissioned laboratory tests of eight baby foods made by industry leaders Gerber, Heinz and Beech-Nut. Some 16 pesticides were found, including three carcinogens, live possible carcinogens, eight neurotoxins, five endocrine disruptors (which can mimic or interfere with hormones) and five very dangerous "toxicity one" chemicals. More than half of the samples - 53 percent - had detectable pesticide levels. Organic baby food is widely available (Earth's Best and Well-Fed Baby are two supermarket brands), and you can also make your own by cooking, pureeing and freezing organic fruits and vegetables.

Strawberries. The fresh, sweet strawberries you buy in the supermarket are the single most heavily contaminated fruit or vegetable in the U.S., according to another 1993 EWG study. Seventy percent of all strawberries tested contained at least one pesticide, and 36 percent contained two or more. Strawberries are also laced with endocrine disruptors. According to Consumer Union's Pest Management at the Crossroads, strawberries can receive a dose of 500 pounds of pesticides per acre. Out-of-season strawberries are the most likely to have been imported, possibly from a country with less-stringent pesticide regulations. Organic brands include Golden River Farms, Cascadian Farms and Boulder Fruit Express.

Rice. An incredible 70 to 80 percent of the world's calories come from rice. Because rice allergies are practically nonexistent, rice is a primary ingredient in baby cereals and snacks. Both water-soluble herbicides and insecticides have contaminated groundwater near rice fields in California's Sacramento River valley. The herbicide 2,4,5T, used as a defoliant in Vietnam, was commonly sprayed on rice fields until it was banned in 1984. Many different types of rice are available organically (from Eagle Agricultural Products, Lundberg Family Farms and MacDougall's Wild Rice). And like most grains, rice can be bought in money-saving bulk.

Oats and other grains. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends six to 11 servings of grains daily. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Natural Options: The 10 Most Important Foods to Buy Organic
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.