Which Foods to Buy Organic


Conventional or Organic? That is the question.

Research varies about whether organic foods are healthier than conventional foods. However, one of the biggest arguments for buying organic is in regards to pesticide exposure. Convincing evidence is revealing that the pesticides we eat, drink and inhale are stored in our bodies creating potential health risks including decreased immunity, toxin-associated cancers, neurological issues and thyroid disorders. So, it makes good sense to reduce pesticides when possible.

If you’ve ever shopped the organic aisles in the grocery store or farmer’s market, you know organic foods often cost more than their conventionally raised counterparts. So, before we fork over more money for food purchases, it would be nice to have a way of determining which foods are at the highest priority for buying organic.

EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen

Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) researches and compiles USDA and FDA data about the pesticide content of fruits and vegetables. EWG publishes a shopper’s guide to pesticides in produce which is a great tool to help when shopping for produce and making the decision between conventional and organic.

The Dirty Dozen lists produce most commonly contaminated with pesticides while the Clean Fifteen lists foods least likely to contain pesticides. These lists are updated annually and are available online. You can also request a free downloaded PDF of the guide for handy reference.



Summer Garden Spaghetti Sauce

Makes 20 Servings
Click Here for Printable Recipe

Long summer days give us extra hours to be outdoors. That translates into less desire to be in the kitchen. This recipe uses lots of beautiful summer produce and makes enough for three to four dinners for a family of four giving you extra nights of leisure.

After the first meal, refrigerate the remaining sauce overnight (the flavor improves overnight). Then divide it into two or three equal portions and freeze for later.



1lb 90% lean ground bison (or 96% lean ground beef)*
1 (20.8oz) package 100% ground turkey breast
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp Homemade Lawry’s Seasoning Salt


1 medium red bell pepper, diced (organic, if possible)
1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced (organic, if possible)
1 large Vidalia onion, diced
1 (8oz) carton sliced fresh mushrooms (any variety)
4 cups fresh broccoli florets, finely chopped (from about 4 large broccoli crowns)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes, draned (or 4-5 fresh tomatoes, grilled or raw, diced)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
½ tsp Homemade Lawry’s Seasoning Salt


1. Chop peppers and onions with an Alligator® chopper and finely chop broccoli florets with a mini-chopper (or use a sharp knife). Check out this Chews Strategically Blog post to learn more about the Alligator.

2. In a large stock pot, brown turkey breast and bison in 1 Tbsp olive oil with ½ tsp Homemade Lawry’s Seasoning Salt. Remove meat from pot and set aside.

3. In the same pot, sauté all the vegetables except for the tomatoes in 1 Tbsp. olive oil plus ½ tsp Homemade Lawry's Seasoning Salt.

4. When onions are clear and vegetables are tender, add the tomatoes and bring to a low boil to remove moisture (about 4 minutes).

5. Add the pasta sauce, red wine, herbs and sugar. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer on Low heat for 45 minutes.

*A Note About Bison: My family has grown to prefer Bison over Beef. Carolina Bison is a ranch in Asheville, NC. They raise free-range, pasture-raised, natural grass-fed bison without the use of antibiotics, hormones or stimulants. The herd is highly respected and humanely treated by the ranchers. Carolina Bison participates in Animal Welfare Approved harvesting. You can buy Carolina Bison at Harris Teeter for $6.99 per pound. Check them out at http://carolinabison.com.

More Information! Since it's impossible to avoid exposure to all the pesticides and contaminants in our environment, it's essential that your body is in tip top shape for efficient detoxification. Join us as we delve into healthy ways to naturally detox with Foods for Natural Detox and Lifestyle Habits for Healthy Detox.


About Author

Cathy Greer Mazanec, MPH, RDN, LDN

Cathy is the Senior Manager of Nutrition and Healthy Living Programs at SAS Institute Inc in Cary, NC. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, functional medicine nutritionist, blogger and food photographer. Cathy's specialties include integrative and functional nutrition, gut health, food allergies and intolerances and culinary nutrition. She is also a Certified Biofeedback instructor. An avid lover of the outdoors, Cathy spends her free time biking, golfing, kayaking, paddleboarding, sitting under the stars and spending time with her grandson. Follow @CmazanecRD on Twitter.


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