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  • Writer's pictureErin Stefanacci

Organic or Bust? Optimize Your Health and Grocery Dollars

Updated: Aug 23, 2020

Organic or Bust? Optimize Your Health and Grocery Dollars by Health Coach Samantha Coffin

By Samantha Coffin, Health Coach and Office Manager

Do you ever find yourself wondering if buying organic is a fad for the wealthy, the only ones that can seem to afford it? Well, we are here to share with you two things. First, organic doesn’t always mean more expensive and second, there are many health benefits to avoiding pesticides and GMO crops.


When buying organic, your exposure to a neurotoxic chemical called glyphosate is greatly reduced. Glyphosate is banned in other countries and some cities across the US. Unfortunately, these laws are not in place everywhere so it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen, which we will also dive into in just a moment.

Say No To GMO

A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism whose genetic makeup has been modified in a laboratory. GMOs are used to create crops that don’t organically occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.

Many of the products consumed on a daily basis contain GMOs. In an effort to increase your wellness, we encourage everyone to reduce exposure to GMOs whenever possible. To learn more about the impact of GMO crops, we suggest you to visit and watch these two documentaries:

Dirty Dozen

The EWG makes a list every year of crops that are found to have the least and most amount of pesticides. The 2020 EWG “Dirty Dozen” list includes:


  1. Spinach

  2. Kale

  3. Nectarines

  4. Apples

  5. Grapes

  6. Peaches

  7. Cherries

  8. Pears

  9. Tomatoes

  10. Celery

  11. Potatoes

Clean 15

Thankfully, on a more positive note, the EWG also creates a yearly “Clean 15” list. The 2020 list of fruits and veggies with the least about of pesticides include:

  1. Avocados

  2. Sweet corn

  3. Pineapple

  4. Onions

  5. Papaya

  6. Sweet peas (frozen)

  7. Eggplants

  8. Asparagus

  9. Cauliflower

  10. Cantaloupes

  11. Broccoli

  12. Mushrooms

  13. Cabbage

  14. Honeydew melon

  15. Kiwi

5 Way to Save While Shopping Organic

Ok, so it is easy to want to buy everything organic for the health and wellness of your family. But how can you afford it? Let us share our top 5 tips for staying on budget while shopping organic and GMO-free!

  1. Focus on the Dirty Dozen - If you can only buy some things organic, buy the foods listed in the Dirty Dozen. This small shift can dramatically reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals and GMOs. Keep a copy of the dirty dozen on your phone for easy visibility while you are shopping.

  2. Eat what is in season - Whether you shop at the grocery store or visit your local farmer’s markets when you buy in season, you will get a better deal. Why? Because this is when there is an abundance of a crop. Ask any farmer, there are times there is simply too much of something and they’ve got to keep it moving. Check out this awesome graphic to learn what is in season during each month in western North Carolina.

  3. Buy frozen vegetables and fruit - Did you know organic frozen vegetables and fruits are usually more affordable and just as many nutrients? Sometimes they even have more nutrients because they are picked and frozen at their peak! This is also a great way to make sure you always have healthy meal options on hand. We are sure to always have a bag or two of frozen broccoli in the freezer.

  4. Meal plan - When you are intentional with what you buy each week, you will dramatically reduce your food waste, saving you lots of money! We also recommend you eat the foods that spoiler faster first! Vegetables like kale and potatoes are quite hardy and are likely to stretch beyond a week if necessary.

  5. Grow Your Favorite Vegetables - If you have a food you absolutely love and it is on the Dirty Dozen list, consider growing it in your yard or on your porch! This is sure to give you plenty, allow for some to share with friends and family and perhaps even preserve some for the winter. Spinach and TOmatoes are super easy to grow and both do well in containers as well as in the ground, making them a crop accessible to just about everyone’s living arrangement.

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