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To Buy or Not to Buy Organic: What You Need to Know to Choose the Healthiest, Safest, Most Earth-Friendly Food [Paperback]

Cindy Burke

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Book Description

March 2 2007
Food journalist and former professional chef Cindy Burke writes in the introduction to this book: "Organic food can be so expensive and difficult to find that I always wondered if I was spending my money wisely. I decided to become informed, really informed, about the options - organic, conventional, local, sustainable - so that I could choose the healthiest, safest food available." To Buy or Not to Buy Organic is the result of Burke's investigations. It tells you how to choose the healthiest, safest, most earth-friendly food, as you make your way through the supermarket, your local farmer's market, or your natural foods store. Highlights include: Making sense of the choices presented by organic, local, sustainable, minimally treated, grass-fed and cage-free foods Reducing your exposure to pesticides Save money by knowing the foods you want to eat only if they're organic and the foods that are pesticide-free even when they are nonorganic Protecting your child's health from pesticides An at-a-glance shopper's guide to more than 100 foods

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1 edition (March 2 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569242682
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569242681
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.4 x 20.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #393,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Cindy Burke is the coauthor, with Kim Severson (now the New York Times 's high-profile food reporter), of The Trans-Fat Solution. She writes often about food, organic farming, and nutrition for numerous publications. She studied at the school for American Chefs in Northern California's Napa Valley, before working as a chef and food consultant. She lives with her family in Seattle, Washington.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
IN RECENT years, consumers in the United States and other countries have become more health conscious, more sophisticated, and more choosy when it comes to the food they eat. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  33 reviews
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! March 22 2007
By Gingersnap - Published on
This book answered all the questions I had about buying or not buying organic foods. I realized that I wasn't even sure what "organic" meant, and I certainly didn't know anything about the politics of organic farming. Ms Burke really knows her stuff and presents the facts clearly and well. (Of course, I would expect this from her, as I read a book that she co-authored entitled The Trans Fat Solution, which cleared up that whole transfat thing for me.)

Particularly valuable is the chapter entitled "The Dirty Dozen" - the 12 foods to eat only if they're organic. Strawberries topped that list, and potatoes, especially russets, also showed up. This is balanced by "The Clean Fifteen," fruits and vegetables that consistently test negative for pesticide residue. Happily, avocados and blueberries show up on that list. Then there's The Shopping Guide - priceless!

This book is a treasure trove of information, and a MUST READ for everyone who cares about making healthy food choices while keeping sustainable farming in mind. As I said - awesome!
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily Disgestible and A Quick, Great Read March 16 2007
By NotAGreenFreak - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When I received this as a gift, I did not expect to read the entire book (ok, I admit - any of it) about organic foods in one sitting. However, Burke has written an extremely interesting and helpful guide on exactly what to buy organic (the dirty dozen), what not to buy (the clean fifteen), and why. She also enlightens us on the erosion of the "Organic" standards caused by government lobbying by powerful supermarket/food corporations (think, Nestle and Coca-Cola).

Read this if you want to know whether its worth it (or even safe) to buy organics at your local supermarket, and if not, where to get them.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Source! June 13 2007
By Crystal - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a GREAT book! I learned so much from the author. She really did her homework and knows her stuff. This book inspired me to take the complete jump into organic living w/o fretting the grocery bill cost. She makes sense when she discusses this bill versus the health of your family and health costs. I don't even care anymore about the grocery bill because I know I'm making the most informed and healthy choices for my family. She has also inspired me to be more "green" and not just buy organic, but think about buying sustainable foods and at local farmer's markets. Never really grasped that concept and reasoning until now. Thanks so much!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars answers the question being asked... April 13 2008
By buyo - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Because I haven't been able to grow a garden of late, I'm forced to shop for most of my groceries. What I wanted to know is what I should buy or not buy. The author answers this perfectly and efficiently with a list in the latter part of the book, stating the produce in question, buy organic or not, and the reasons why.

What surprised me was that she also talks about how FAR food frequently travels and the carbon cost as a result. Is it worth buying organic if it's traveled across the ocean? While I understood this before, her book has made scrutinize this aspect of my food purchases even harder than before.

The book was an easy read but I admit to glossing over some of the talk about why you should eat organic or buy locally. What I wanted was precise information to help make my shopping more effective. I got exactly that.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Putting the Icing on the Organic Gardening Cake Dec 20 2008
By Jill Wiest - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Being a 15-year organic gardening veteran and seeing more and more organic products in the grocery store had me curious -- where did it come from and is it truly organic. Is it worth it to pay more for organic than non-organic. This book is for every individual who wanted those same questions answered. As an example, garlic is often used as a companion plant (for me it was with roses) to deter aphids. So obviously garlic isn't going to have pests on it, thus, little pesticide use, thus no need to spend the money on organic garlic. The author lists many, many foods that you should or should not buy organic, provides interesting stories from organic farmers, and also goes into exactly what is organic. The part that really sold me is how organic certification has become yet another piece of bureaucratic red-tape and even the big boys are jumping on the band wagon -- at a price to the smaller, local farmers (undercutting their prices). But the USDA organic standards are stretched by agribusiness - so beware when purchasing "organic" from a large company. Not to mention the costs to the environment by agribusiness. Excellent book and highly recommended for the experienced organic grower.

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