As you begin your journey of learning to live a more natural and holistic life, you will be much more aware of what you put in your body. So many processed foods contain chemicals, additives, MSG, and so many more ingredients that you not only want to digest, but are completely unnecessary. That is why eating a clean diet is recommended so often.
Types of Food Additives
It helps to first understand what food additives might be in your food, which tells you which direction to go. Look closely at the ingredients of any processed food you eat, specifically for some of these ingredients:
High-fructose corn syrup – There is no reason you should ever need to buy something with high fructose corn syrup. This is a type of additive that makes your food sweeter, and is even used in foods you wouldn’t need to sweeten. For example, some store-bought premade chicken salad that is used in chicken salad sandwiches contains high fructose corn syrup, even though it should be naturally sweet with the cranberries and apples used.
Nitrates and Nitrites
These are most often found in deli meat and other processed meats. It is a type of preservative that is going to help keep the food fresher longer, as well as giving it the salty flavor you want. The problem is that it has been linked to a higher risk of certain cancers, higher cholesterol, and just in general not a healthy or necessary additive.
Lastly, look out for artificial food coloring in your food, yet another unnecessary ingredient often used in processed foods. All it does it change the color and brightness of food to make it look more appealing, but there is no reason to use it. You might see ingredients like Yellow 6 or Red 40, which are just food dyes.
When to Choose Organic
Now that you understand what chemicals and artificial ingredients might be used, you can start eating a cleaner diet. This often means going organic, but when do you really need organic foods? Here are some things to start with.
Will you eat the skin?
A really easy way to choose what produce to buy organic is if you will eat the skin. For example, bananas get peeled, which means it doesn’t really need to be purchased organic if you are on a budget. However, fruits and vegetables like apples and pears, you typically do eat the skin, so in this case it might be better to choose the organic option.
There is a list known as the dirty dozen, that includes 12 fruits and vegetables that tend to contain more pesticides. If you can purchase these organic, that is highly recommended. They include spinach, kale, strawberries, grapes, cherries, peaches, apples, nectarines, celery, pears, potatoes, and tomatoes.
Eggs, meat, and fish
Beyond produce, it is also a good idea to go organic, farm fresh, and pasture raised with things like eggs, meat, poultry, and fish.
When you can afford it
Last, don’t underestimate the importance of sticking to a budget. This allows you to have extra money for other areas of your new holistic living journey. If you can’t afford organic, don’t worry too much about it.
Do you follow an organic diet?