What makes a food “organic” and what’s so special about it other than a higher price tag? Simply put, organic food is produced without using harmful pesticides, antibiotics, or growth hormones. Organic farmers emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water. To be classified as organic, food must meet standards defined by the USDA.
What does that have to do with fertility?
An observational study of women undergoing fertility treatments found that eating fruits and vegetables with high amounts of pesticide residues was associated with lower probabilities of pregnancy and live birth. For men, a diet high in pesticides is linked to lower sperm count and prevalence of oddly shaped sperm.
Swapping your regular fruits and veggies for organic is a manageable change that could have a real impact on your fertility. But… isn’t eating organic expensive?
The answer: Well, it can be, but it doesn’t have to be! Yes, if you start buying all of your groceries at Whole Foods, you’ll probably have higher bills. However, as awareness of the importance of eating organic has grown, so have our buying options. No matter how much time you have to dedicate to your food and where it comes from, I have a suggestion on how to fit organic into your current lifestyle.
First Things First: The Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen
Before we dive into your organic shopping options, a key tip every single one of us can benefit from right away: Know which fruits and vegetables are on The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists. These guides, updated yearly by the Environmental Working Group, help us reduce exposure to toxic pesticides by breaking down when it matters to buy organic and when regular is just fine.
That’s right, there are plenty of fruits and vegetables (like avocados!) that are okay to eat non-organic. On the other hand, in 2020, twenty two different pesticides were detected on a single strawberry sample. Keep the lists handy to save where you can.
Buy organic… without leaving the house!
If this all sounds great in theory, but you don’t have time to add more stops on your grocery run, sit back and let fresh organic food come to you. Misfits Market sends you organic produce and more at a lower price point (up to 40% cheaper!) than you’ll find in stores. Imperfect Foods is another option, offering more than 60 different kinds of produce and hundreds of dairy, proteins, and pantry staples. Almost half of the food grown in the U.S. is thrown out before even being put on shelves. These services take in the high-quality food that grocery stores won’t sell and find good homes for it. Farm Fresh to You, Farmer Jones Farm, and Oddbox are a few other options to consider.
Buy organic… on your normal grocery shop!
Happy with your current grocery routine and not looking to add any new steps, even a direct shipment? If you haven’t browsed through the organic section at your local big name grocery store in a while, take a look. Many wallet friendly stores like Aldi, Costco, Food Lion, and Walmart carry organic produce at low prices. These stores also often run discounts and offer coupons. Lovely, affordable organic produce might be lurking under your very nose.
Buy organic… make it a fun activity!
One of my favorite things to do in the spring and summer is browse farmers markets. The colorful produce, the cute items handmade with love, the fresh baked goods, the smells wafting from food trucks… visiting a farmers market is a great way to slow down and exhale over the weekend. If shopping small and local is important to you, do some research to find out when and where your farmers markets are. You can also visit the website LocalHarvest to learn about organic farmers near you.
Grow organic… start a new hobby!
For all of the overachievers out there looking for one more thing to excel at: Try growing your own organic produce at home. Better yet, foster community by starting a small garden at work, school, or church. Nothing brings people together quite like food, and nothing is quite as satisfying as feeding yourself and your loved ones with something you grew with your very own hands.
Whether you start small in your backyard o go big with a community garden, swapping pesticide heavy produce for organic is a simple change that will enhance your fertility and overall health.
Embrace Fertility offers integrative fertility support to help you naturally boost your fertility wellness. Click here to learn more.