Organic or not to organic, this is the question

July 22, 2013

Organic or not to organic, this is the question

By Dr. Meghan Walker

A study in the latter half of 2012 examined the benefits of consuming organic produce. Using nutritional density as their marker of choice, the authors concluded that there was no discernible benefit to consuming and thereby investing in organic produce. While I appreciate the knowledge that soil depletion appears to be as common in organic produce as with normal veggies, I am still surprised that there was little comment made regarding the benefits of avoiding the pesticides associated with non-organic fruits & veggies.

My encouragement to select organic produce has never had anything to do with acquiring additional nutrients. It has everything to do with wanting people to avoid heavily sprayed crops. Pesticides, like other chemicals that we are frequently exposed to, are linked to significant endocrine (hormonal) disruption and in some cases, specific forms of cancer.

The Environmental Working Group has done an excellent job in identifying the 12 most toxic produce items available at grocery stores. The dirty dozen, as they are known, are a great place to start when it comes to investing in organic produce.

Check out the dirty dozen as well as the Clean Fifteen:

If buying organic is out of your budget or locating organic produce has proven difficult, (especially in the depths of winter), a little bit of vinegar and water will go a long way. (Sound familiar from the other day) 1 part vinegar: 5 parts water is highly effective at removing pesticide residue. The acid is what is needed to pull the pesticide from the produce.  This little trick is easy to implement and highly effective. I am constantly amazed at how many people tell me that they don’t even bother washing their vegetables. If you are going to go through the motions of selecting healthy produce for your diet on a daily basis, don’t dose yourself with preventable toxicity at the same time.

The Integrative Health Institute is located downtown Toronto at the corner of King and Sherbourne St. Check out more from Dr. Walker at her blog,

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