Starving Dietitian

Angels Response: Organic v. Conventional

Last weeks post Devils Advocate was less than well received, with no surprise on my part. Once people think they know the true story they rarely listen to rational arguments. Dogma is a two lane road.

With all that in mind, I figured I’d follow up for those who do want to eat Organic. The instructions follow last week’s points so familiarize yourself  before we get started.

1) Pesticides; Wash and Select.

It may have come as a shock that some Organic produce shows no difference in pesticide levels. It came as a surprise to me too.  It only means that “organic” is not synonymous with “found in nature”, as many wrongly believe.

All produce; GMO, Conventional, or Organic needs to be washed. No exceptions. At a minimum rinse with water and scrub but it’s slightly better to use food-grade rinse like Fit Fruit and Vegetable Wash.

Keep in mind that certain foods inherently have less pesticides.

Here’s a handy cheat sheet.


I wouldn’t say you should always buy left-side foods as organic, but that is where you’ll get the most bang for the buck. Right-side foods are already low in pesticides and don’t require the added price of organic. It’s as simple as that.

2. Pollution; Duck and Cover

This one is more difficult. The good news is that levels of pollutants are similar between organic and conventional, meaning you can save some money. The bad news is, there’s not much you can do about it. Buying local may give some benefit as you are probably more accustomed to the pollutants, but I realize there’s no satisfying answer to this one. Buy from trusted growers and refer to Step 1, wash, scrub, peel.

3. Phytotoxins; Blanch for Safety

Remember how I said plants don’t want to be eaten? How they try to poison us so they can keep reproducing? Turns out they didn’t plan on us cooking them.

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussel sprouts produce toxins classified as goitrogens. These pesky little chemicals block uptake of iodine, slowing metabolism and potentially causing goiter. Hence the name.

Luckily they’re not so impressive when it comes to heat. Just 3-5 minutes blanched in boiling water will break them down, without affecting nutrient levels. Video tutorial for the curious.

There you have it. You can eat organic and have your cake too. Bought and prepared wisely I have no doubt the price is justified. Just know they’re far from natures perfect food

Educate and be good to each other.

-J. Iufer


  1. Pingback: True Trends Don’t Lie | Starving Dietitian

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