Do You Strive to Eat Organic? Do you care?

HappyDude20

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Jul 13, 2008
2,684
191
Los Angeles, Ca
I'm proud to say that a year ago I changed my nutritional lifestyle from being one who would spend over $200-$350 a month on solely fast food, to one who would eat primarily vegetables for every meal, with the occasional beef or turkey meal once a week or so.

It was only until recently that when people would see me eating veggies and fruits they would ask if I would only eat organic, to which my answer was always "no" or "organic doesn't matter."

Since however I've had people, both healthy and unhealthy, show me the crazy upsets when it comes to GMOs. Something of which truly shocked me and even more so to a higher degree when I bought organic food for the first time a few days ago.

Essentially what shocked me was that in the latter part of 2013 when I was buying on veggies, I would buy them at Ralph's or Walmart for a total of about $30-40 and the amounts were huge; huge collard green leafs, bountiful broccoli florets, etc.

Then when I bought organic at whole foods I spent closer to $60, but the veggies themselves looked real, as opposed to these freak Frankenstein creations at Walmart. It was crazy seeing how one bunch of collard greens at Walmart was $1.79 and at Whole Foods it was $3.99. At Whole Foods you get a less smaller looking amount but it sure does taste better, and has more nutritional content, not to mention the lack of GMOs... But what really scared me were the droves of families at Walmart buying these huge fake collard greens for a low price and mothers most likely feeding these to their children at the dinner table and many not even knowing of what they're really putting In their systems. I'm sure others do know but whole foods is certainly really expensive. I'm not sure if I'll be returning to whole foods weekly, perhaps once a month, but my question for those in the know would be: where can I buy quality organic veggies for the best price?
 

And

macrumors 6502
Feb 23, 2009
389
1
92 ft above sea level, UK
You could always grow your own? Even a few items can cut down on expenses. I grow Jerusalem artichokes, strawberries, herbs and rhubarb, but I only have a backyard to grow in, so pots only.

Over in the UK, you can get organic veggie boxes delivered to your house, they are usually what is currently growing at the moment so it is seasonal, you don't know what you'll get. You also tend to cut out the middleman too, so they are better value.

Other than that, I buy at my local wholefood co-operative. Yes it is expensive, so I have to buy the odd thing rather than exist solely on organic food. But some effort is better than none?
 
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sviato

macrumors 68020
Oct 27, 2010
2,274
44
HR 9038 A
My family went all organic a few years ago, though we still eat meat (not sure why you'd cut this out).

As for veggies, try going to farmers' markets or grow some of your own if you can.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,851
30,365
Boston
LOL,
I had cap'n crunch for breakfast this morning, probably the very antithesis of organic foods.

I avoid fast foods like the plague, but that doesn't mean I eat all sorts of veggies and what not.

I generally don't eat meat, other then chicken and fish and I feel I'm fairly healthy and in shape.

I'm not totally sold on organic food, some of it probably better, but a lot of it is plain marketing. I see little difference in some of the offerings in Trader Joes then my local mega supermarket - other then I'm paying a premium. In a number of cases its the same product, just priced higher.
 

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Menel

macrumors 603
Aug 4, 2011
6,199
1,042
I'm proud to say that a year ago I changed my nutritional lifestyle from being one who would spend over $200-$350 a month on solely fast food, to one who would eat primarily vegetables for every meal, with the occasional beef or turkey meal once a week or so.

It was only until recently that when people would see me eating veggies and fruits they would ask if I would only eat organic, to which my answer was always "no" or "organic doesn't matter."

Since however I've had people, both healthy and unhealthy, show me the crazy upsets when it comes to GMOs. Something of which truly shocked me and even more so to a higher degree when I bought organic food for the first time a few days ago.

Essentially what shocked me was that in the latter part of 2013 when I was buying on veggies, I would buy them at Ralph's or Walmart for a total of about $30-40 and the amounts were huge; huge collard green leafs, bountiful broccoli florets, etc.

Then when I bought organic at whole foods I spent closer to $60, but the veggies themselves looked real, as opposed to these freak Frankenstein creations at Walmart. It was crazy seeing how one bunch of collard greens at Walmart was $1.79 and at Whole Foods it was $3.99. At Whole Foods you get a less smaller looking amount but it sure does taste better, and has more nutritional content, not to mention the lack of GMOs... But what really scared me were the droves of families at Walmart buying these huge fake collard greens for a low price and mothers most likely feeding these to their children at the dinner table and many not even knowing of what they're really putting In their systems. I'm sure others do know but whole foods is certainly really expensive. I'm not sure if I'll be returning to whole foods weekly, perhaps once a month, but my question for those in the know would be: where can I buy quality organic veggies for the best price?
While that doesn't surprise me about Walmart veggies.

I don't buy generic. But Kroger in my area has fantastic produce isle. I like their normal produce better than the local WholeFoods.

I rarely buy organic. I think quinoa when I cook with it is, some of the Larabar sports bars I suspect are organic. etc. But If I'm making a cabbage soup, chilli, or steaming veggies. I go right for the normal stuff.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
17,038
16,520
The Misty Mountains
I think the organic concept is important primarily due to less pesticides and overall healthier products. Years ago in National Geo they compared two brothers who both owned commercial orchards. One went organic. When they checked out the soil in the orchard, they found that the organic orchard had healthy soil full of the right organizsms including worms, while the non organic orchard soil was comparitively sterile with a higher chemical content. There was a time before commercial fertilizers that farmers grew with natural nutrients vs chemicals.

My problem is that frequently organic foods can cost twice as much. Organic bananas .80 cents a pound vs .40 cents. If you apply this to your entire food bill, I don't think it's economically viable.
 

velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,600
1,185
Georgia
No, I don't buy organic exclusively or even try to do so.

What matters to me is how ripe the produce is at the time of purchase. Then I make my purchase based on that. Sometimes I end up buying organic other times I end up with regular.

Now I do most of my produce shopping at Harry's Farmers Market, a Whole Foods subsidiary. This is because the produce selection in regular grocery stores in GA sucks. Nothing is ever ripe and often the produce are the giant bland fruit and veggies you describe. When I lived in CA there was at least some competition in high end grocery stores for good ripe produce.

I also buy spices at Harry's because they are cheaper and specialty items because they have them. Specialty items being foreign foods, vastly superior sauces and low sodium alternatives. Big name BBQ and hot sauces just can't compare to some of the stuff produced by no name companies. Good coconut water can't be found anywhere else or for less (365 - Whole foods generic brand).
 

.Andy

macrumors 68030
Jul 18, 2004
2,946
583
The Mergui Archipelago
I eat a fair amount of organics indirectly insomuch as I don't particularly search them out. I'm a vegetarian and try to buy really good quality fruit and veg that is as local as possible. I am lucky as I live near some great green grocers and markets (I never buy from supermarkets) as well as some rural locations where farmers sell roadside. My fave local green grocer lists where each item is grown in the local area and grades the produce in tiers of organic, minimal spray, or regular farmed.

There often seems to be an overlap between low food miles, good quality, and organic for the most part. It does mean that a few things are out of season though (such as garlic and tomatoes) which can be a bit of a hassle but one soon learns to cook around the limitations.
 

AustinIllini

macrumors demi-goddess
Oct 20, 2011
10,810
7,422
Austin, TX
No. I don't eat organic. I only eat fruits, vegetables, meat, essentially. I like to buy hormone free meat, but organic fruits and vegetables are probably more harmful than they are good. Half of their pesticides are carcinogenic. I really can't emphasize enough how wasteful of a practice organic eating is.

I guarantee you if you suddenly "feel better" eating the same food but organic, you are experiencing a placebo effect.

See Eating Organic may be Harmful—The Truth Behind Organic Produce

Edit: This coming from a guy who lives in the Whole Foods capital of the world. There are about 15 within 40 miles in any direction.
 

Tomorrow

macrumors 604
Mar 2, 2008
7,115
1,246
Always a day away
But what really scared me were the droves of families at Walmart buying these huge fake collard greens for a low price and mothers most likely feeding these to their children at the dinner table and many not even knowing of what they're really putting In their systems.
For the benefit of any other dumb yokels such as myself who actually enjoy being able to buy more produce for less money, would you please explain how Walmart's produce is "fake"?
 

citizenzen

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2010
1,433
11,628
Given the choice and a reasonable price, I buy organic with the intent of supporting farming practices that are more sustainable and beneficial to the environment than "conventional" methods ...

Organic farming – environmental benefit, yield cost?

Many studies of the environmental effects of “organic” versus “conventional” have been done, and organic often does show environmental benefits. In 2000, Stolze et al. attempted to synthesize the then-available data and knowledge on this question with regards to European countries. They surveyed specialists in 18 different countries as their primary source, and did an extensive literature review as a secondary source. They found organic systems generally increased soil organic matter and soil biology, but information on soil erosion was scarce. There were similar or lower levels of nitrate leaching with organic systems and no water quality contamination from synthetic pesticides since they were not used. Organic had lower emissions of CO2 per hectare, but higher emissions per unit of product due to generally lower yields on organic farms. The trend for N2O was similar based on limited data. Ammonia emissions were lower with organic systems. Organic systems typically had a nutrient balance near zero (inputs equaled outputs). Thus, organic systems did appear to provide environmental benefits, more so for some parameters than others.

Since that time, much more research has been done. A recent paper by Tuomisto et al. (2012) reports on their meta-analysis of published research regarding the environmental impacts of organic farming in Europe. Tuomisto and colleagues found that soil organic matter was an average of 7% greater on organic farms, mostly due to higher inputs (+65%) of organic materials, often manure. Nitrate leaching was 31% lower per unit area with organic, but 49% higher per unit of product. There were no significant differences between systems in field studies, while modeling studies predicted the greater leaching for organic, and may in fact be overestimating this. N2O emissions were 31% lower per unit area for organic and 8% higher per unit of product. Energy use averaged 21% less on organic farms per unit of product, with wide variation among products and studies.

http://csanr.wsu.edu/organic-farming-environmental-benefit-yield-cost/
Iowa State study shows soil-building benefits of organic practices

AMES, Iowa – Producers making the switch to organic crops to meet growing market demand not only fetch premium prices, according to a recent study; they also build healthy soil and sequester carbon, making organic agriculture a useful strategy for dealing with climate change.

Organic agriculture also promotes practices such as extended crop rotations and soil amendments including animal manure and compost. Although organic practices are not the only way to improve soil health, the ISU experiment showed that some of the biggest changes over time were in soil quality, particularly once the system was established.

“Soil health is critical to any agricultural production system, and organic practices are among many ways to improve the health of our soils,” said Leopold Center Director Mark Rasmussen. “We hope that what we are learning from the LTAR experiment can be applied to other production models.”

http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/news/05-23-2013/soil-building-benefits-organic-practices#sthash.T7Pyw61o.dpuf
 

Mr. McMac

Suspended
Dec 21, 2009
2,969
341
Far away from liberals
I'm almost 62 years old in excellent health and not overweight. I eat red meat, pork, dairy products, you name it. If it tastes good, I'll eat it. I like to enjoy my life. If I gain a few years eating so called healthy, it's not worth it, at least for me it isn't.. BTW, I don't smoke cigarettes, never have, never will..
 

AustinIllini

macrumors demi-goddess
Oct 20, 2011
10,810
7,422
Austin, TX
I'm almost 62 years old in excellent health and not overweight. I eat red meat, pork, dairy products, you name it. If it tastes good, I'll eat it. I like to enjoy my life. If I gain a few years eating so called healthy, it's not worth it, at least for me it isn't.. BTW, I don't smoke cigarettes, never have, never will..
It should be interesting going forward how the overall decrease in smoking affects our health. Things like cancer and heart disease incidents would in theory drop, or at least life expectancy would increase before we succumb to such maladies.
 

sdilley14

macrumors 65816
Feb 8, 2007
1,232
190
Mesa, AZ
I've never made an effort to eat organic. I'm a fit and healthy person. I haven't gotten "sick" since I had strep throat in 2008. I have "cheat" meals at least once a week where I eat whatever I want (pizza, fast food, etc.). But I also lift weights intensely 5-6 days a week, I do some form of cardio at least a couple times a week, and aside from my cheat meals I try to eat a balanced diet (lean meats, fruits, veggies, protein shakes).

I think a balanced diet and being active are FAR more important and beneficial compared to eating organic. Eating organic seems to be more of a trendy, "buzzword"'y thing to do these days.
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
45,440
30,696
The Far Horizon
Some very interesting replies here.

I think that attitudes may differ somewhat in Europe, as the Green movement tends to be fairly well regarded by a significant minority within some of the populations, and eating organic has become a lot more mainstream in the last decade or two.

As it happens, I live and work abroad a lot, and when abroad, circumstances dictate a more restricted diet, and seeking organic food is very much an outrageous luxury unless it becomes the norm because one is living in a country which is so poor that they have not even got around to using pesticides.

However, when I am at home in western Europe, I buy organic, usually at farmers' markets, and thus, tend to eat organic, most of the time.
 

citizenzen

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2010
1,433
11,628
I'm almost 62 years old in excellent health and not overweight. I eat red meat, pork, dairy products, you name it. If it tastes good, I'll eat it. I like to enjoy my life. If I gain a few years eating so called healthy, it's not worth it, at least for me it isn't.. BTW, I don't smoke cigarettes, never have, never will..
The thing is ... eating organic, when it's available and an affordable price, wouldn't lower your enjoyment of life one iota.
 

palmerc2

macrumors 68000
Feb 29, 2008
1,604
641
Los Angeles
Yes and yes. First and foremost, guessing you also live in Los Angeles with your location, a good place to get good organic produce that's less expensive than Whole Foods is Sprouts Farmers Market. Henry's is also part of the same company, I believe. Whole Foods is just a big cash cow at this point, you're just paying for the name IMO. Not saying you can't get good stuff there, because you certainly can. But when 2 bags of groceries can go north of $100 that's a bit much. I like to buy my produce and groceries at sprouts, seafood at Santa Monica seafood, and meat products at whole foods. They each offer something unique....not as difficult as it seems bouncing around like that.

I've always eaten really well, vegetables everyday. More specifically fresh organic produce. Vegetables that haven't had the snot cooked out of them, because they don't have any nutritional value at that point. Best veggie to eat, is leafy mixed greens. If you're set on having other veggies such as broccoli or asparagus, just blanch them for a minute. That's it. You still want to have them very crunchy. I personally eat both.

I avoid GMO's as much as possible, for health reasons and to avoid giving Monsanto more $$$. I believe in local farmers.

Also going a little further, there's a big benefit of taking supplements. I personally take 4,000MG of Vitamin C after each meal to keep my immune system as good as possible. Another good vitamin is Personal Radical Shield. Last time I was sick was 4 years ago, and never have had any vaccine or flu shot or whatever, but that's a different conversation :)
 

HappyDude20

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Jul 13, 2008
2,684
191
Los Angeles, Ca
My family went all organic a few years ago, though we still eat meat (not sure why you'd cut this out).

As for veggies, try going to farmers' markets or grow some of your own if you can.
Well I didn't cut out meats completely, but definitely reduced my intake to lose some weight, but still consume it about 2-3 times a week. A huge reduction from having heavy meals all the time.

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No. I don't eat organic. I only eat fruits, vegetables, meat, essentially. I like to buy hormone free meat, but organic fruits and vegetables are probably more harmful than they are good. Half of their pesticides are carcinogenic. I really can't emphasize enough how wasteful of a practice organic eating is.

I guarantee you if you suddenly "feel better" eating the same food but organic, you are experiencing a placebo effect.

See Eating Organic may be Harmful—The Truth Behind Organic Produce

Edit: This coming from a guy who lives in the Whole Foods capital of the world. There are about 15 within 40 miles in any direction.
I do agree I may be feeling a placebo effect of sorts, which is why I'm inquiring here for various viewpoints.

Admittedly the biggest shock personally was seeing and comparing veggies from a local low priced grocer that sells 8 cucumbers for one dollar, versus the organic place that sells them for 59 cents each. How they each look befuddles me. The organic one looks normal in size, while the low priced one looks comically bigger... But of course I only recognized this after comparing the two.

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For the benefit of any other dumb yokels such as myself who actually enjoy being able to buy more produce for less money, would you please explain how Walmart's produce is "fake"?
I enjoy spending less money too. Back at university a year ago when I started this endeavor of eating more healthily, I would only go to Walmart or Food 4 Less here in California...and the quantities I received were huge. The Walmart collard green were about the size of two iPads, while the organic stuff at whole foods were about the size of ipad minis.

My biggest reason for starting this thread, and glad its garnered many responses, is that I've seen some research done regarding those who've only eating gmo foods and those who've gone strictly organic and all these little defects going on whether in the brain, muscle or nervous system when it comes to eating gmo's due to the pesticides and whatever Monsanto is putting in their crops.
 

sviato

macrumors 68020
Oct 27, 2010
2,274
44
HR 9038 A
Well I didn't cut out meats completely, but definitely reduced my intake to lose some weight, but still consume it about 2-3 times a week. A huge reduction from having heavy meals all the time.
Okay, I see. If weight-loss is one of your goals, do you consume kale? A few friends of mine have had success with daily kale shakes. Also I've heard that it's best to steam your vegetables, organic or not, before consumption even if just a little bit.
 

themumu

macrumors 6502a
Feb 13, 2011
717
558
Sunnyvale
The problem with organic is that there are no strict standards as to what qualifies as "organic" and sometimes it is simply a label used to justify a price premium when there are no practical benefits over the alternatives. So I do not seek out organic foods unless I can determine that the food in question is actually better than the non-organic (taste, texture, etc).

There are many vegetables that are prone to the kind of exploitative growing practices which result in a veggie that is big and luscious looking, does not spoil for a very long time, but tastes like grass. It's a real shame, and occasionally when I get something that is actually decent and full of flavour, I realize how terribly amiss things are in the current state of agriculture. Tomatoes are my biggest pet peeve. I don't think I ever got a really good tomato in a grocery store, organic or not. Thankfully there is a nice tomato farm within driving distance of my city, run by a nice Italian family. I always go there when it's in season, but that only lasts a couple of months out of a year. Tried some other farms as well, with their organic heirloom tomatoes - and it's just a tad better than generic grocery store stuff.

I've always wondered this, why is it so hard to find a good tomato here, in North America?