7 Things You Need to Start Buying Organic

Got organic veggies and milk down pat? It's time to expand your organic-only shopping list.

By Leah Zerbe

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Demand for organic is spilling over into many supermarket aisles. Sustainable Nurtured Skin & Hair
Repeat after us: "Natural means nothing." This is generally true with food labels and claims made on everything from your soap and shampoo to your shaving cream and nail polish. Unlike the food industry, though, personal-care product makers can use the term "organic" loosely. For truly organic personal care products, look for the actual USDA organic symbol on the product, not just "organic" in the product name.

OG Picks: Try Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild or peppermint organic soap for bathing, hand-washing, and even shampooing to get started. To find out how your current products rate and find safer, truly organic versions, visit Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

Truly Natural Meat
Organic beef sales are up nearly 50 percent compared to 2010 sales. Choosing this type of meat means customers don't have to deal with the possibility that their meat was injected with ammonia gas, food dye, or any of the other nasty substances the food industry typically uses.

OG Pick: At the supermarket, look for the USDA Organic label—not wording like "natural"—to find meat free of pharmaceuticals and other contaminants. For more information on getting sustainable beef, read Your Guide to Buying Grass-Fed Beef.

Milk
Along with produce, milk is a priority organic product for many consumers. Sometimes referred to as the gateway into organics, many parents line the fridge with organic milk to avoid exposing their family to cancer-causing, genetically engineered growth hormones used in some conventional dairy operations. In 2011, organic milk sales grew 25 percent over 2010 levels, meaning the industry is alive and well…to help keep you well.

OG Pick: Organic Valley milk; it's farmer owned!

Chickens That Don't Eat Chicken
Industrial chicken production is causing many Americans to lose their appetites. Last year, organic chicken saw a nearly 20 percent increase in sales. As news reports of factory farms feeding their chickens food laced with chemicals, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, and even parts of other chickens grow more common, the U.S. public is shifting toward a more sustainable source.

OG Pick: Local grass-fed chicken supplemented with organic grains. These are known as pastured birds, and in pastured operations, they often live in open-air, floorless pens where they can eat fresh grass and bugs all day. In well-run operations, the pens are moved to fresh grass several times a day. Visit LocalHarvest.org to find this type of chicken in your area.

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