CTV Morning Live with Karlene Karst – To Organic or Not?


When we enter the grocery store we are bombarded with decisions on what to purchase, what brand, and then we also need to determine whether or not we should buy organic or conventional. We also know that sometimes, not always, organic can be more expensive. I want to talk to you about what products to invest and spend a little more to buy the organic (these are also the ones that I personally buy organic), and also some ways to cut costs for organic shopping.

What does organic mean? To be certified organic means that the food or ingredient in question has been growing without the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, dyes that have been deemed to be potentially dangerous for people’s health or to the environment. 

According to the Environmental Working Group they’ve established a list called the Dirty Dozen which rank the highest on pesticide residue list. We also want to consider, what food items do we eat daily. If for example you only eat pasta occasionally, then maybe you don’t worry about it being organic. Therefore, frequency of consumption and use is a big one for me. 

  1. Apples–99% of apples tested contain pesticide reduce. Go organic and give a good wash. 
  2. Dairy- cows have not been treated with antibiotics or hormones and they’ve received organic feed. This is important as the extra hormones given to the animals can be hormone disruptors for our own bodies. 
  3. Eggs–same thing. Choose organic as the feed is organic and they’ve also not been treated with hormones or antibiotics. 
  4. Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries—a summer favourite, these beauties are found to contain at least 50 different pesticide residues. So go organic. 
  5. Celery–use it daily between soups, sauces, juicing etc. 64 different types of pesticide residues found. 
  6. Thin skin or produce that you eat the skin–grapes, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, nectarines, peaches etc. 
  7. Cucumbers–one of the dirtiest–so always buy organic, or if you can’t peel the skin. 
  8. potatoes, sweet potatoes
  9. Leafy green veggies–leaves offer a greater surface area for pesticides to stick to and they can be tough to clean. Be VERY diligent when soaking your greens. This includes kale, spinach, chard, lettuce etc. 
  10. In terms of grains–I usually buy organic oats, some cereals for the kids because they LOVE to eat cereal so because they are eating it daily this is a big one, and bread.

If you can’t buy organic, or even if you do–make sure you soak or wash your produce in cold, clean water for 1-2 min, then dry with a paper towel. This has been shown to remove 98% of the bacteria. You can take it one step farther with commercial veggie wash preparations or add vinegar in a 3-1 dilution of water/vinegar to further remove the wax and pesticides. 


Some Ways to save money when buying organic. 

  1. Buy seasonal and local when possible 
  2. Shop frozen
  3. shop online–often offer coupons
  4. Bigger box stores like Costco, Walmart and Loblaws offer a BIG organic section at better prices. 
  5. Peel the skin
  6. Use a veggie brush for thicker skin produce
  7. Wash with water, vinegar