• Intern: Odelya Niknam

The 411 On Organic Eating

This is a guest post by our Summer Intern, Odelya Niknam

Hi friends!

Today we’ll be talking about “the BIG O”, other known as organic eating! First and foremost, it’s more than just a trend, it’s how our lifestyle is meant to be- free of any harmful chemicals! For a food to be considered organic, it has to be grown and processed by the approval of the USDA and their trusty guidelines. Be sure to look for the USDA Certified Organic sticker on your food to certify that what you are buying is 100% organic!


  • GMO-free!

  • Reduces presence of any pesticides, fertilizers and heavy metals.

  • Fresher product so the food will last longer.

  • Organic meat, dairy and eggs have more Omega 3 fatty acids, a healthy type of fat.

  • Organically raised animals are not given antibiotics, growth hormones, or fed animal by-products, keeping the animal healthy to eat from.

Natural vs. Organic

A common misconception is that we think natural means organic, but that is NOT true!

Natural foods are processed in a minimal way that they do not contain any artificial ingredients. They are not regulated by the FDA or USDA, only with the exception of meat and poultry. Organic foods contain no synthetic pesticides, herbicides, GMOs and chemical fertilizers but they are regulated by third party government inspectors. A win-win :)


On the topic of healthy eating, I want to discuss GMO's. “GMO” stands for Genetically Modified Organism. The name literally says it all. A non-GMO claim refers to organisms whose genetic material has been changed, creating different combinations of genes that don’t happen naturally or through cross breeding methods.

While going organic is totally a preference, the Environmental Working Group comes out with a list of fruits and veggies every year to inform us which ones were sprayed with the most pesticides.

Dirty Dozen (sprayed with the most pesticides- best to buy these organic!)

  1. Strawberries

  2. Spinach

  3. Nectarines

  4. Apples

  5. Grapes

  6. Peaches

  7. Cherries

  8. Pears

  9. Tomatoes

  10. Celery

  11. Potatoes

  12. Sweet bell peppers

Clean Fifteen (least contaminated produce- it’s okay to eat these conventionally grown)

  1. Avocados

  2. Sweet corn

  3. Pineapples

  4. Cabbages

  5. Onions

  6. Sweet peas frozen

  7. Papayas

  8. Asparagus

  9. Mangoes

  10. Eggplants

  11. Honeydew melons

  12. Kiwis

  13. Cantaloupes

  14. Cauliflower

  15. Broccoli

For some of us, the switch to organic foods can be tough; but if we care about what we put into our bodies, the switch can be simple! It's important to view organic eating as contributing to your health and towards a better world :)



Odelya Niknam is a student at Queens College majoring in Nutrition and Dietetics. We are very excited to have her as our Stef Health Tips Summer 2018 Intern. Learn more about Odelya in this introductory blog post.

#organic #summerintern #dieteticintern #foodlabels #nutrition

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