Join us for Still Rockin’: A Night of Music to Support Programming and Resources for Older Adults

Join us for Still Rockin’: A Night of Music to Support Programming and Resources for Older Adults

By now I think it’s safe to assume we have heard a lot about why we should and shouldn’t buy organic. Those of us who choose to buy organic are noticing the price difference when we whip out our wallet at the counter. In these tough economic times, we may be forced to pick and choose what we can and cannot afford with regards to organic products at the grocery store. Therefore, the question becomes: What are the crucial organic foods we should purchase and what are the ones we can get away with purchasing nonorganic?

Organic Produce

What Makes a Product Organic?

First, let’s define organic foods: they are foods produced by means of organic farming methods –meaning very little pesticides and fertilizers are used while food additives are kept to a minimum. With regards to livestock, it means they must be raised without constant use of antibiotics or growth hormones and have access to a pasture. For processed foods, it means that they must contain only organic ingredients or 95% of the ingredients must be organic.

Fruits & Vegetables to Purchase Organic

Based on tests performed on produce, the foods below had the highest concentration of pesticides. Even though trace amounts of pesticides have not been proven to cause any diseases, it is the buildup of them over time that can be toxic and possibly cause health issues. 

Therefore, if you are concerned about exposure to pesticides, these are the foods that you should buy organic as they have thin or no skins to protect their inner substance.

Apples  Peaches Nectarines Celery Hot Peppers
Strawberries  Bell Peppers Cucumbers Spinach Grapes
Zucchini  Squash Kale & Collards Cherry Tomatoes Potatoes


Fruits & Vegetables that are okay to Purchase Nonorganic

When looking for non-organic, budget-friendly options, head for these foods below. Because they do not absorb as much pesticide and are typically peeled before eating, it is not as important to purchase these foods organic.

Asparagus Avocados Bananas Broccoli Cabbage
Mango Onions Papaya Pineapple Kiwi


Meat, Dairy & Eggs – You Decide

Beyond fruits and vegetables are all the other stuff we eat like meats, dairy products and eggs.

The organic meat movement grew from the onset of mad cow disease in the 1990s. These products are less about pesticides and more about drug-resistant strains of bacteria due to the overuse of antibiotics and growth hormones. Choosing organic meat means that not only are those two things prohibited, but also the grain livestock are fed must be grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides and that they are given no feed that contains meat by-products. This removes the threat of mad cow disease altogether.

The same factors hold true for dairy products, but it is especially significant for children who consume a lot of milk due to the growth hormones present in nonorganic milk. Organic milk comes from dairy cows that are fed a grain-based diet that is free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. It also contains zero antibiotics or growth hormones. With eggs, organic also has less to do with pesticides and more with avoiding growth hormones and antibiotics.


Information taken from:

Carrie Robertson
Research & Community Education
Chicago Skilled Nursing
Chicago Senior Living

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