The George Mateljan Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation with no commercial interests, is a new force for change to help make a healthier you and a healthier world.

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What do you do when you can't buy organic?

At the World's Healthiest Foods, we are strong supporters of organic farming, and we encourage you to purchase organically-grown foods whenever possible. But what should you do when it's not possible to buy organic? Here are some recommendations when you can't buy organic:

  1. Make sure you've exhausted all of your local options. Check farmer's markets, community-supported farms, even roadside food stands. Locally-grown foods may or may not be lower in pesticides and other contaminants, but it's easy enough to ask and you may be surprised how many local growers you'll find within driving distance and how close to organic some of their foods may turn out to be. Sometimes local growers simply don't have the money to fund an organic certification process, even though they practice organic techniques in the way they grow their crops.
  2. Talk to your local grocers. You may be surprised at their willingness to experiment with new foods, particularly if you are a patron of the store. In addition, ask questions about their non-organic produce and meats. These foods may turn out to be very different in terms of their quality. What information does the buyer have from the supplier? Can the buyer get more information? Could you contact the supplier yourself?
  3. Shop online. Three sites that offer a variety of organic foods are:,, and
  4. Read the ingredient lists on all non-organic food packaging. Although you cannot trust the terms "natural" or "all natural" on the front of the package, you can trust the ingredient lists to include most of the substances added to the food. Look for the terms "artificial flavor" and "artificial color." Also look for the FD&C colorings (for example, Yellow 5). Of course, you won't find pesticides, heavy metals, or other potentially toxic residues listed on ingredient lists. But watching out for other potential toxins is still very worthwhile.
  5. Rinse your produce thoroughly and use a vegetable brush to help remove potential toxins found on the surface of the food. If you don't have a water filter installed on your kitchen sink, consider installing one so that your rinse will involve drinking water of high quality. For green leafy vegetables, consider soaking for several minutes in water or water and a small amount of lemon juice before rinsing.
  6. Peel all waxed fruits. Also peel any fruits you know or suspect to be heavily sprayed.
  7. Continue to use all of the other World's Healthiest Foods principles in your food selection. For example, continue to choose 100% whole grain products, even when they are not organic. Similarly, continue to choose cold pressed olive oil, lean meats, cold water fish, and a wide variety of natural spices and seasonings.
  8. Enjoy the delicious flavors and textures of your food. Even when you haven't been able to buy organic, take satisfaction in the selections you've made and recognize the benefits of nutrient-dense, minimally processed foods, one-of-a-kind foods!