Guest Blogger: A Silent Cure – Organic vs Non Organic…What you need to know

25 Sep

Always great when new guest bloggers reach out and say hello. One such blogger, Kate Murray, is also an author. Her book, A Silent Cure, will be published in the fall of this year. Here’s a little about Kate. She is an avid runner and lives with her husband and two children in Shillington, Pennsylvania. She is passionate about educating people about how overall wellness is deeply rooted in proper nutrition. She received her Master’s of Business Administration in 2003 and her Bachelor of Science in Communication in 1996. Kate also holds a post graduate certificate in plant-based nutrition. Please connect with Kate through her site, Facebook, Twitter and Pintrest. Welcome Kate!



There is a lot of confusion out there
about what foods to buy organic and what not to, especially with the
recent Stanford University study that hit the mainstream
media this morning, and also since the organic aisles in our grocery
stores now carry things like ‘non-gmo, organic animal crackers.’ The
fact is, the food industry has caught on and the overuse of the word
organic is exploding which makes it all the more difficult for people to
sort out.

Here is what you need to know:

While the study found little significant difference in “health
benefits,” what the media neglects to point out is the fact that organic
fruits and vegetables have a 30% lower risk of pesticide contamination.

Organic is a word which refers to biodynamic farming methods and means
that fresh produce (anything grown in the ground or from a tree) is not
sprayed with any chemicals or pesticides.

So, when you’re talking about something like, say, crackers, the term
‘organic’ refers specifically to the grain that was used to produce the
cracker. It is important to understand that the ‘cracker’ has still be
processed, most times in oil. That means that the nutrients, vitamins,
and minerals have been stripped away from the grain during the refining
process, changing the chemical composition of the grain anyway. For all
intensive purposes, there is not much of a difference between buying an
‘organic’ cracker versus buying a non-organic cracker. On the other
hand, when you’re talking about fresh produce, like apples, grapes, and
celery for example, the fact that those were sprayed with harmful
chemical pesticides is a big issue. Note that some fruits and
vegetables are much more heavily sprayed than others. There are two
important issues to consider: 1) Financial and 2) Availability. From a
financial perspective, not everyone is able to buy all organic produce
all the time, and further, not all grocery stores carry the “organic”
version of all varieties of produce.

Each year, the Enviornmental Working Group ( puts out a list
which outlines the ‘Dirty Dozen’ and the ‘Clean 15.’ Dirty Dozen refers
to the most heavily sprayed produce, and Clean 15 refers to the least
sprayed. For 2012, the group has expanded the Dirty Dozen™ with a Plus
category to highlight two crops – green beans and leafy greens, meaning,
kale and collard greens – that did not meet traditional Dirty Dozen
™criteria but were commonly contaminated with highly toxic
organophosphate insecticides. These insecticides are toxic to the
nervous system and have been largely removed from agriculture over the
past decade. But they are not banned and still show up on some food

Commodity crop corn used for animal feed and biofuels is almost all
produced with genetically modified (GMO) seeds, as is some sweet corn
sold for human consumption. Since GMO sweet corn is not labeled as such
in US stores. In other words, BUY ORGANIC CORN. Here is the list of the
Dirty Dozen…the most pesticide laden fruits and vegetables:

1. Apples
2. Celery
3. Sweet bell peppers
4. Peaches
5. Strawberries
6. Nectarines – imported
7. Grapes
8. Spinach
9. Lettuce
10. Cucumbers
11. Blueberries – domestic
12. Potatoes

Plus: Green beans, Kale/Greens – May contain residues of special

The Clean 15 (Lowest is pesticides, ok to buy not organic):

1. Onions
2. Sweet Corn
3. Pineapples
4. Avocado
5. Cabbage
6. Sweet Peas
7. Asparagus
8. Mangoes
9. Eggplant
10. Kiwi
11. Cantaloupe – domestic
12. Sweet Potatoes
13. Grapefruit
14. Watermelon
15. Mushrooms

This information is based on the analysis of 51,000 tests for pesticides
conducted by the USDA and the FDA from 2001-2009. The produce was rinsed
and peeled so that they would simulate the conditions in which they are
normally consumed.

A diet that contains large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables
outweighs some of the negative consequences of exposure to the
pesticides, however, if you use the list above as a simple guide, it
will help you make better decisions about what items to buy organic and
what not to…and avoid toxic residue. Now, if you still want to buy the
organic animal crackers be my guest, but I would focus on buying organic
produce and then look for the crackers without any partially
hydrogenated vegetable oil. That, however, is a topic for a different



3 Responses to “Guest Blogger: A Silent Cure – Organic vs Non Organic…What you need to know”

  1. The Savvy Sister September 25, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    So glad you’re getting this word out. I can’t stand all the big name companies gobbling up the little ones and pretending to have our best interest at heart by making us think that the word “organic” means healthy.
    Looking forward to your book!

    • Kinenchen September 25, 2012 at 9:45 am #

      I agree! I understand the marketing strategy of conflating health with organic and why companies use it but it cheats consumers out of the best reason for buying organic: reverence for the earth and a healthier planet now and for future generations. I can’t help but wonder if “Silent Cure” is a play on Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”.

  2. An Unrefined Vegan September 25, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    Welcome, Kate! Great information here – thank you!

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