Most organic grocery shoppers here in Denver head to Whole Foods or Vitamin Cottage. The majority of items at natural food stores are 100% organic and eco-friendly. Does that mean they're healthy? Not necessarily. What if you are shopping at a regular grocery store? How do you know which items to buy? Is it organic? Is it all natural? Is it healthy? All these questions can be answered by reading labels carefully and keeping a few simple facts in mind. You should do this whether shopping in a health food or regular grocery store. Going green the healthy way means being informed about what goes into your body.
Fruits and Veggies
If you're talking about fresh produce, the process is pretty simple. Most Denver grocery stores, natural or not, carry organic produce. Just look for the organic label and you're set. What about frozen vegetables? In the case of frozen vegetables, these should be labeled organic as well Don't stop there. Make sure that if you are buying a package of green beans, the label has one ingredient, green beans. Otherwise, you may be paying for fillers and sweeteners. Sure, the fillers and sweeteners are organic. That doesn't mean they are healthy.
Prepackaged foods may be green inside, but are they green outside? Check the packaging. Is it recyclable, biodegradable or at least reusable? Convenience foods contain fillers and other items you may not want in your diet. Vegetarians beware, sometimes that natural flavor listed is meat broth. Sometimes natural flavor means MSG too. Another deceptive word for MSG is hydrolyzed soy protein. Some people see the word soy and assume the ingredient is healthy. Never make assumptions and be sure everything on the label is a food you recognize as healthy.
One of the best ways to insure your organic food is good for you is to buy only single ingredient foods. The more ingredients there are in a food, the less likely it is to be healthy. This is true, whether you are buying those frozen green beans or something in a box. A container of oatmeal should simply say oats, whole grain oats or something of that nature. Watch for words that sound like the item has been manipulated. These will be descriptive words or adjectives such as hydrogenated, in the case of vegetable oil.
Organic But Deceiving
Did you know that high fructose corn syrup is considered to be a natural product? So is white flour. That doesn't mean either is good for you. Salt is all natural and sometimes organic but eating too much can cause overwhelming health problems. Yes, even sea salt is bad for you if there is too much of it in what you are eating. Potato chips are bad for you even if they are 100% natural, organic, contain sea salt and are blessed by a Rabbi. They're still potato chips. Cookies are cookies and still full of sugar, no matter what kind of sugar it is. Yes, even honey is bad for you if you eat too much of it. So be careful about what you eat. Just because it's organic, doesn't mean it's healthy.
More from this contributor:
Organic Junk Food - Bad Idea for so Many Reasons
How to Read Organic Packaged Food Labels
Denver Organic Food and Produce Delivery