10 Organic Products Experts Would Never Buy
While buying organic can be beneficial, health-conscious consumers don't have to pay extra for that label on every food or cosmetic product they buy, say experts.
Here are ten organic grocery and drugstore items experts say they wouldn't put in their carts:
1. Organic Wild Seafood a Misnomer
"Don't buy wild-caught seafood labeled organic, because there is no such thing as organically-grown wild seafood," says Jeff Cox, author of The Organic Cook's Bible. "The diet of the sea creatures can't be ascertained or controlled. Anyone selling wild-caught seafood as organic is committing fraud."
2. Smelly Veggies Are Usually Pest-Free
Cindy Burke, author of To Buy Or Not To Buy Organic, says she rarely splurges for organic onions, garlic, shallots and leeks.
"They have such a strong sulfurous smell that few pests are attracted to them -- particularly the bulb part -- so they don't need pesticides. Green onions are the exception because they are grown more for the top part and it's important that they look good, so farmers tend to spray them with pesticides."
Pests also don't like cruciferious vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, Burke adds. "They too have a strong sulfurous smell so pests don't find them very appealing. Pests are more attracted to something that is sweet, tender and juicy -- like humans."
3. Organic Junk Food Remains Junk Food
Jonny Bowden, a Ph.D, CNN board-certified nutritionist and author of 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, says the one thing he would never splurge on is "organic junk food."
"On a daily basis, I see absolutely junky cereals that are 'organic,' like organic Cap'n Crunch or organic Choco-Krispies. Just because it was made of organic ingredients -- like organically-grown wheat, organically-grown sugar, etc. -- doesn't mean it's not a high-carb, processed junk food. It annoys me to see the label 'organic' on these foods, because it is meant to imply that they're somehow good for you when all it means is that the junk food was made out of junky ingredients that were grown without pesticides."
4. Non-Organic Grains and Rice Mixes Work Fine
"For grains and products that do not include meat or dairy, it is not necessary to buy organic," says Sophia Aslanis, a registered dietitian and founder of Nutrition 4 Life. "A better alternative would be choosing whole grain items and less processed foods. Organic rice mixes that include the 'Clean 15' vegetables like sweet peas, sweet corn, eggplant and sweet onions are not necessarily worth the extra cost."
5. Save by Growing Your Own Herbs
"Growing your own organic culinary herbs is one way just about anyone, even those living in very small spaces, can save money, says Gayla Trail, Yougrowgirl.com blogger and author of Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces. "Herbs are a very cost-effective crop in that one plant can provide a very reasonable harvest over a long period of time. Mint, oregano, thyme, rosemary, marjoram and parsley plants purchased as small transplants and transferred to a few very large pots will start to produce small harvests in just a few weeks and keep producing over the growing season with little effort," she says.
Cilantro, basil and dill, for example, are easily grown from seed. Trail recommends eating fresh herbs during the prime gardening months and preserve the rest by freezing or drying for use during the off-season. Thyme, oregano, marjoram, chives and parsley are fairly resilient plants that will tough it out on a sunny windowsill, she says. "So you can add small snips of fresh herbs to your meals through the winter months."
6. Skip Organic Fruits and Veggies With Thick Skins
While it's better to buy organic fruits and vegetables if you can, it's okay to economize when it comes to "thicker-skinned fruits and vegetables, like cantaloupe, bananas, watermelon, squash, etc.," says holistic nutritionist Rick Schaff. "They should typically contain less contaminants once the skin has been peeled and discarded. If you choose to buy conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables, be sure to soak them in water or a safe wash solution to get rid of as many chemicals as possible."
7. Organic Moisturizers are Really Just Marketing
If you're shopping for a moisturizer, look at old-fashioned cold creams, recommends Ruth Winter, award-winning journalist and author of A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients. "Cold cream, originally developed by the Greek physician Galen, consisted of a mixture of olive oil, beeswax, water and rose petals. Mineral oil is now usually substituted for olive oil, which can become rancid. Cold cream is hundreds of dollars less expensive than highly-promoted moisturizers with supposedly exotic natural ingredients wrapped up in fancy containers and a lot of hype."
"The FDA and USDA have washed their hands, so to speak, of trying to set standards for 'natural' or 'organic' cosmetics. They're stumped by natural and organic products being processed with synthetic chemicals," she says.
8. Any Mascara Brand Goes the Distance
9. Make Your Own Organic Cosmetics Instead of Buying Retail
Creating homemade beauty products is an effective way to save money on cosmetics, says Liz Thompson, founder of Organicbeautysource.com. "Olive oil makes a great cleanser for dry skin and you can whip up your own face and body scrub using organic milk and sugar. Green tea is the perfect toner for all skin types, and one cup lasts a whole week. And when purchasing organic cosmetics, remember not all products labeled 'natural' or 'organic' are created equally. Be sure to read your labels and follow brands committed to safety in cosmetics."
10. Leave Organic Parabens at the Store
Parabens, chemicals used as preservatives, are "popping up in so-called organic lotions and cleansers," says organic esthetician and chemist Kimberly Sayer, founder of Kimberly Sayer of London Organic Skincare, "If the product contains parabens, it is not organic. To identify parabens in an ingredient list, look for prefixes including methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl parabens."