Center for Health & Wellness

Organic vs. Conventional

organic signage (2)

CLEAN 15 (Lowest in Pesticides)

Asparagus                  Eggplant                      Onion                          Sweet Potatoes

Avocado                     Grapefruit                     Papaya                        Mushrooms

Cabbage                     Kiwi                              Pineapple                   Sweet peas (frozen)

Cantaloupe                Mango              `          Corn

DIRTY DOZEN (Buy these organic)

Apples                         Cucumbers                   Peaches                     Sweet Bell Peppers

Celery                          Grapes                           Potatoes                     Collards & Kale

Cherries                      Hot peppers                  Spinach                      Summer Squash & Zucchini

Tomatoes                   Nectarines                    Strawberries

There is much confusion surrounding the benefits of eating a diet that has been produced organically, but the truth about organic vs. conventional foods really comes down to the health of not only the human race, but also the earth itself.

Conventional food is actually relatively new in the history of farming. It was not until the twentieth century that chemical fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides and pesticides began to be used in natural food production. Prior to that time, all farming was organic! Thankfully, today we are choosing to revert back to more traditional methods.

Since there are no chemicals used in organics, the food products are naturally better for humans to consume. These chemicals are added to conventional foods in order to prevent crop damage caused by insects and bugs, and also to help the produce last longer. Unfortunately, these various herbicides and pesticides have entered the water supply as well as the food chain, and have been found to cause some nasty diseases and health conditions. A gradual buildup of poisons in the body can add weight, cause headaches and/or a lack of energy and result in digestive problems, to name only a few of the many health issues that have been linked to some conventional foods.

More importantly, these chemicals introduce free radicals into the blood stream. Free radicals are cell destroying atoms that can occur naturally through chemical reactions in the body. They are also introduced through pollution and a variety of environmental factors. The body can protect itself to a point, but it can also become overwhelmed, especially now that they are being brought into the system through food consumption.

Free radicals attack healthy cells and can cause premature aging, as well as cancer and other serious conditions. Therefore, switching from conventional methods to more organic food production is highly recommended in order to reduce the risk of bringing extra toxins into your body.

Organic and local pumpkinsBuying local, organic food can benefit you in other ways as well. Most supermarkets are filled with fruits and vegetables that have been made in other countries, which are often lacking nutritionally. Vitamins and minerals gradually decrease in fresh foods, so the quicker it reaches your plate, the greater the health benefits will be.

Eating food that is not made locally means that not only will they have added chemicals and preservatives to help them look nice on the outside; but the vitamin content will be present in much lower levels as well. A good rule of thumb is to try and locate suppliers within twenty miles of your home. It is not only healthy; you will also be supporting local businesses and farms.

The soil in which organic food is grown in is also affected adversely by conventional farming methods. The chemicals seep into the ground and kill off important bacteria and fungi, which are essential to the health of the land. It is through the soil that plants obtain their minerals, so if they are grown in poor or dead soil, their nutritional quality is compromised. Less microbial activity in the soil will not give the plants enough minerals to grow as well as they could, and the end result is foods that contain fewer vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Make it a point to seek out locally produced organic foods the next time you go shopping. The practice of “local” and “organic” shopping will ensure that the foods you consume will have the highest nutritional quality and least amount of toxins, as well as help support positive environmental factors (less pollution, less water consumption and better soil quality!).

organic onionP.S. A few labeling facts to help guide you and your family as you navigate the “organic” labels…

  •  Organic produce will always have a “PLU” number that begins with a 9!!
  • The Organic labeling system, is governed by strict government standards. An example of some criteria that must be met in order to earn the organic label include: the products are made without the use of toxic pesticides and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, antibiotics, synthetic hormones, genetic engineering or other excluded practices, irradiation or sewage sludge! 


Products certified with 95% or more organic ingredients may use this USDA seal.

USDA Organic label

  • “100 percent organic.”  To use this phrase, products must be either completely organic or made of all organic ingredients.
  • “Organic.”  Products must be at least 95 percent organic to use this term.
  •  “Made with organic ingredients.”  Products that contain at least 70% organic ingredients. (Can’t use the USDA seal).
  • “Natural or Free Range or Hormone Free.”  These terms are all allowed on product labels, but are very different than “organic.”

Be mindful when feeding yourself and your family and remember that there are plenty of ways to support local and organic within your community (delivery services, crop shares or local farms, to name a few)!

Contact for more information about her functional nutrition services or to learn more about going organic!