Eating healthy this week: If you’ve chosen to eat organic, this is what you should know.

Organic produce is grown without using most conventional pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Organic meats, eggs, poultry and dairy come from animals that are given organic feed, allowed access to the outdoors, and have not been given antibiotics and growth hormones.

Organic foods and pregnancy

Eating organic foods can benefit your baby in many ways. You’ll be reducing your own exposure to potentially harmful chemicals, you’ll be protecting your baby from these substances, and you’ll be contributing to a healthier environment for the future.

If you can’t afford an exclusively organic diet, there are ways you can reduce your exposure to pesticides

  • Wash all fruits and vegetables, then rinse well.
  • Remove the peels from fruits or vegetables that aren’t organic. Also, remove and discard the outer leaves of foods like lettuce.
  • Choose organic when buying strawberries, peaches, grapes, cherries, blackberries, winter squash, green beans, apples, spinach, pears and tomatoes.
  • Choose domestic produce over imported produce.
  • Remove visible fat from meats and remove skin and fat from poultry because pesticides accumulate in fatty tissues.
  • Buy organic butter, cheeses and milk for the same reason or choose low-fat milk products.

Why doesn’t everyone eat organic foods?

Organic farms must adhere to strict standards, and the costs of food production and handling are higher. This means organic foods are more expensive to buy. Also, the produce may not always be picture-perfect, and may initially seem less appealing to some consumers.

Bottom line: Opt for organic produce when it’s practical, but remember that what’s most important in the produce aisle is choosing a wide variety of fresh, ripe fruits and veggies in a range of colours. And never assume that organic means completely safe. Though it won’t be treated with pesticides, organic foods can still be contaminated with bacteria. So whether you buy organic or conventional, cook your meat, poultry and fish thoroughly and wash your produce meticulously before eating it.

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