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On the Cinco De Mayo Menu: When to Choose Organic Vs. Non-Organic

By HERWriter
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On the Menu for Cinco De Mayo: Choosing Organic Vs. Non-Organic Elena Elisseeva/PhotoSpin

I was shopping for my upcoming Cinco De Mayo party, looking for organic wine to make my sangria. I realized that perhaps I should find out which items on my list were worth buying organic, and which were not.

It turns out , organic wine may be worth it, according to DrWeil.com. “Many people who buy and eat only organically grown fruits and vegetables often don't consider that the grapes grown to make wine might be sprayed with the same pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides used on other conventionally grown crops.”

So how about some of the other fruits I may marinate in the vino? Many of you may have heard of the 'Dirty Dozen' and 'Clean Fifteen' lists, as featured on EWG.org. These comprise a list of produce that are most or least affected by pesticides. I discovered that apples, grapes, peaches and strawberries all are listed as part of the 'Dirty Dozen.'

If I peel my oranges and lemons, I should be okay. “A burst of citrus can be lovely at the beginning (or end) of your day, and rest assured you're fine to buy these thick-skinned fruits in the non-organic aisle,” HuffingtonPost.com says.

Cherry tomatoes for salsa or salad are part of the 'Dirty Dozen' but the wonderful avocado — a party fave and crave at my casa — tops the 'Clean Fifteen.' Here is why, according to Huffington Post. “Thanks to their thick, scaly skin, the pesticides used on avocados don't make their way into the flesh we love in guacamole, in salads, or pretty much on anything.”

Onions used in the salsa and guacamole are also safe, but the spicy peppers are all part ofthe 'Dirty Dozen.' Good thing we are using our home-grown habanaros and jalapenos from our garden. Cilantro is not on either list, but growing my own is next on my gardening “bucket” list.

Now on to the meat. “Use of organic compounds on animals means that they are not fed antibiotics or growth hormones and that they are fed organic food,” the National Institute of Fitness and Sports explains.

ConsumerReports.org gives a high-to-medium priority level for both poultry and beef. As for the pollo, or chicken, or Consumer Reports says that organic poultry is almost always raised without the routine use of antibiotics. Widespread use of antibiotics in food animals has caused an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

I will go a step further with my beef chili — “for optimal nutritional benefits, look for organic meat that’s also labeled 'American Grassfed Approved' or 'USDA Process Verified grass-fed,' which guarantees that the animal was raised on a diet of 99 percent grass and forage and had seasonal access to a pasture,” Consumer Reports advises.

For my recipes topped with queso, or cheese, Consumer Reports makes similar recommendations for dairy. “Research has found that organic milk contains about 60 percent more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids than nonorganic versions, a benefit that also extends to cheese and yogurt.”

To top things off for Cinco De Mayo — did you know they also make organic tequila? Now, onto perfect my margarita for a muy bueno fiesta!


“Should You Drink Organic Wine? – DrWeil.com. Dr. Weil. Web 29 April 2015.

“Food News – EWG.org. EWG. Web 29 April 2015.

“Organic vs. Non-Organic Food – HuffingtonPost.com.” The Huffington Post. Web 29 April 2015.

Employee Health and Nutrition: The Pros and Cons of Organic Foods – Wellness.nifs.org.” Web 29 April 2015.

When to buy organic food - How to shop smarter and healthier –ConsumerReports.org.” Consumer Reports. Web 29 April 2015.

Joanne Sgro-Killworth is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist and Publicist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training.

Joanne's fitness plans, recipes and lifestyle advice are available globally on her website http://www.happiwoman.com/ She resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her husband and children, where she runs her fitness and publicity business, JSK PR, http://www.jskpr.com/

Reviewed April 30, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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