Thursday, January 29, 2015

Paleo on a Budget: Don't Buy Organic

     The proponents of the Paleo diet will tell you that eating organic is key to being at the peak of health, and it's true, but what's worse: eating grains and junk food because you can't afford organic or eating non-organic Paleo foods?

    For us, it's more important to eat non-organic Paleo foods. We would love to eat organic, but we can't afford it. The fact is, we love feeling better from eating this way, so we do what we have to in order to continue to eat this way.

     There's also the middle way. This involves buying as much organic as you can afford, especially the fruits and vegetable that rank the highest in pesticide load known as the Dirty Dozen Plus. These include:
  1. apples
  2. strawberries
  3. raspberries
  4. blueberries
  5. grapes
  6. cherries
  7. celery
  8. peaches
  9. pears
  10. spinach
  11. bell peppers
  12. nectarines
  13. cucumbers
  14. potatoes
  15. cherry tomatoes
  16. hot peppers
  17. kale/collard greens
  18. summer squash
     We eat a few things from this list, including apples, blueberries, pears, spinach, bell peppers, cucumbers, hot peppers, kale, and zucchini on a regular basis. We always buy organic raw spinach, but our frozen spinach is not organic. We also always buy organic pears because they are more of a weekly treat than a daily fare,  and we try to buy organic apples whenever possible because we eat those almost daily.

     On the other hand, there is a list of fruits and vegetables that rank lowest in pesticide load known as the Clean 15 Plus, and these can be eaten without concern for how they are grown. They include:
  1. mushrooms
  2. sweet potatoes
  3. cantaloupe
  4. watermelon
  5. grapefruit
  6. kiwi
  7. eggplant
  8. asparagus
  9. mangoes
  10. papayas
  11. frozen sweet peas
  12. bananas
  13. cabbage
  14. avocados
  15. pineapple
  16. onions
  17. corn
  18. broccoli
     Unfortunately, corn is not Paleo, and should not be eaten, and peas are in the gray area, so if they are eaten, it should be only occasionally, and you should see how it makes you feel. We eat several things from this list as well, including: mushrooms, sweet potatoes, watermelon, kiwi, eggplant, mangoes, bananas, avocadoes, pineapple, broccoli, and onions.

     The choice is yours. You don't have to be perfect to follow this eating plan. There are few purists, and most of the Paleo community is pretty accepting when it comes to doing the best that you can in order to improve your health. The true joy of the Paleo diet is to make it fun, tasty, and above all doable.