I tend to see the organic versus conventional produce debate a bit like the old Vitamin D and skin cancer nutshell. Let me explain.
So you’re out in the sunshine soaking up that all-important Vitamin D, essential for good health. Go you! Rejoice for healthy bones! Until you realise that too much sunlight can give you skin cancer and you’re diving for the 30+. What the deuce? What’s a girl to do?
Same goes for fruit and veg. You’ve put in all the hard work, juicing, blending and chopping, stocking up on leafy greens and orchestrating a green smoothie movement. You’re a goddamn wellness warrior! But wait, was that apple organic? And how about that bunch of kale? Suddenly you’ve not only got to worry about eating enough fresh produce, but you need to ensure it’s free from pesticides, herbicides, and hormones. Not to mention the dreaded GMO-ohh no!
Stressed? Confused? Considering throwing it all in and retreating to the canned soup isle? It’s okay – there ARE some easy, and budget friendly ways you can incorporate organic into your everyday meals, and reap the benefits along the way.
1. Know your dirty dozen
Ever heard of the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen? They are two lists compiled by EWG (Environmental Working Group) that shows the highest and lowest levels of pesticide residue in fruit and vegetables. It’s an American list, but mostly rings true for Australian produce – also taking into consideration how much imported produce is stocked in our supermarkets. Apples, strawberries, celery and cherry tomatoes top the list for the most heavily sprayed, while avocados, sweet corn and asparagus are pretty much in the safe zone.
There is a free iPhone app you can download, and refer to when wandering the isles. It helps you decide which vegetables are worth paying that little bit extra for – and which ones are fine to buy conventional.
‘The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Use this guide to reduce your exposures as much as possible, but eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all.’ – EWG
2. Shop at farmers markets
Here you’ll find huge selection of affordable, organic fruit and veggies that will put your conventional supermarket to shame. Set your alarm – the kale goes out the door early! PLUS you’re buying local, which is great for your community and the environment.
Check out this list of Sydney’s best farmers markets.
3. Get delivery
Early mornings at the market not your style? Get organic goodies delivered straight to your door for about $25 a week. Pretty sweet! I’ve used Aussie Farmers Direct (Australia wide) and Ooooby (Sydney & Auckland). You can choose from a single, couples or family size box depending on your budget and/or hungry housemates.
4. Or, eat out
Swap your usual local café with an organic one, or seek out an organic restaurant when on holidays. Sydney is one of Australia’s best spots to find organic food – check out some of my favourite spots below.
- Cooh Café – North Curl Curl
- Pure Wholefoods Café – Manly
- About Life – Bondi
- Sadhana Kitchen – Newtown
- Iku Wholefood – Neutral Bay, Glebe, CBD
- Dose Espresso – Willoughby
5. Take it easy
Start off small, and work your way up. Don’t be anxious about organic, nor smug (there’s nothing worse than someone condemning that conventional pear you’re about to eat). Do the best you can, and be open to different ways of sourcing your food. Hell, you might even start your own veggie patch.
Organic breakfast inspiration
I’ll get straight to the point. I’m seriously digging my new Green Bircher Muesli. This little breakfast experiment has set up shop in my morning routine, and is the topic of hot discussion amongst friends (ie. ‘what’s the deal with this green stuff you’re eating then?’ Or more frankly ‘um, what actually is it?’ )
Okay, it’s not the prettiest looking breakfast, but it’s good enough to have replaced a green smoothie on my favourites list, and is something I am so excited to share with you all. This sweet, light and nutritious Bircher is also gluten, grain and dairy free, full of fibre and tastes freaking amazing.
Whizzing up a bowl is also a fab way to sneak a huge bunch of raw green leafy veg into your day (hello Vitamin A, C and K!), whilst benefiting from a good boost of protein.
What you’ll need
- 1 big handful of washed organic kale
- 1 chopped organic apple (organic pink ladies are my choice)
- ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- ½ peeled orange
- ¼ cup of organic almond milk (I use Australia’s own organic)
- 1 tsp super green powder (I use Synergy Natural or Good Green Stuff)
- 2 tsp lucuma powder
- Cashew butter
- Goji Berries
How to go about it
Process all ingredients until just combined. You should still see the shredded apple and coconut, resembling a typical Bircher muesli.
Top with a dollop of cashew butter and sprinkle with goji berries for an extra tasty crunch.