Is it Organic?

By Sharon Martinez
In December 5, 2010
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The persimmons and squash are organic, the bok choy is not.

I was telling a patient recently to check out one of the new Asian supermarkets in town.  In the produce section, you can find wonderful greens, purple sweet potatoes, exotic mushrooms still growing in their little plastic tubs, and more.  “But they don’t have organic, do they?” my patient asked.  Not as much, I admitted, as say, Henry’s or Whole Foods.  But today I got my McDougall newsletter (sign up for free at and this is what he has to say:  pesticides bio-accumulate in animals.  The higher we go up the food chain, the more pesticides we encounter. Do not fear the inorganic kale as you would a slice of bratwurst or some egg-nog made with factory-farmed eggs.

Consider this scenario:  a farmer grows a crop with pesticides and feeds it to a steer.  The steer is fattened on by-products such as fish meal from a fish who has accumulated toxins at sea.  The steer concentrates the environmental toxins and pesticides into his tissue.  The remnants of the steer, once he is butchered, go into factory chicken feed.  And we, the consumers of beef, chicken, fish and other animal products, may have the greatest concentration of toxins in our tissues of any species on the planet.

My advice is to buy lots of organic produce when you can, and buy lots of conventionally grown produce when you can’t.  Eat at least two pounds of fresh produce daily.  When you replace animal products with plant food a lot of worry should go out the window.

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