Are you worried about eating organic with your family, but also need to stay on a budget? Dr. Samantha Radford is going to talk about her best tips for eating safe on a budget.
Today’s guest is Dr Samantha Radford from Evidence-Based Mommy. She is a former chemist with focus in public health. She has a whole course on safe chemical usage for families. I love that she has the science to tell us what’s safest for our families.
Big thanks to our sponsor The Organized Home — being organized is one of the BEST ways to save for your family. Knowing what you have will keep you from over-buying!
In this episode
What foods you should splurge for organic on.
How organic foods can STILL have pesticides.
Purchasing roadside produce
Processed vs Organic
Buying canned/frozen/farmers markets
Other things that might interest you
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other parenting podcasts:
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[00:00:00.180] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys, welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Today on Episode 95, we’re talking about the Dirty Dozen. OK, it’s not like that. Let’s untangle it.
[00:00:18.830] – Hilary Erickson
Welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast, I’m Hilary, your curly headed host on the podcast, where we untangle everything from pregnancy, parenting and home routines. I want you to know that there are no right answers for every family. And I find that simplifying my priorities is almost always the answer. It’s tangled, just like my hair.
[00:00:43.810] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys, before we get started, could you leave a review? I mean, this podcast is one hundred percent organic. There is not a single ounce of pesticide coming to you. So leave a review. OK, so when I lived in the Bay Area, we were real house poor and shopping for groceries on a budget was a severe passion of mine. I loved going through the list, finding the best deals so that we could still eat.
[00:01:06.000] – Hilary Erickson
We probably also got a lot of crap with that because when you’re using coupons a lot of times with cereal and fruit snacks, I got both of those at great deals very frequently. But I’m excited to have today’s guest on. She is the mommy behind evidence based mommy. She has a PhD in all things, toxins and chemicals. And she also has an awesome course that we’re going to talk about in here. That would have saved me a lot of worry when my kids were licking the walls.
[00:01:29.460] – Hilary Erickson
I want to introduce today’s guest, Samantha Radford.
[00:01:33.480] – Hilary Erickson
Do you ever just feel like it’s unfair that some people can have company over at a moment’s notice? Their house is just super easy to clean up and they can relax on the couch with Netflix, where you feel like you always have things to do around your house. That can totally be you. The organized home is all new in 2021. We’re talking about de cluttering, zones, organization systems that actually work. We’ve got assignments and challenges. I hope you’ll join us.
[00:01:57.540] – Hilary Erickson
You can use coupon code UNTANGLED. Look for the organized home, link in the show notes.
[00:02:03.360] – Hilary Erickson
Hey Samantha, welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast.
[00:02:05.820] – Samantha Radford
Hey Hilary. How are you?
[00:02:07.200] – Hilary Erickson
So good. I am so excited about this because I mean, I did groceries on a budget for a long time, especially when we lived in California. We were super house-poor very normal in the Bay Area.
[00:02:17.880] – Hilary Erickson
But do you believe people can really eat safely on a budget?
[00:02:21.120] – Samantha Radford
Oh, gosh, yeah, absolutely. So it’s just kind of knowing what to go for and that’ll help you both get the nutrition that you need and avoid pesticides and toxins, all that kind of stuff.
[00:02:31.200] – Hilary Erickson
Probably not the fruit snacks I was getting for like 30 cents a box. So, I mean, I’m pretty sure they were not organic. So I’m just going to put that out there.
[00:02:41.010] – Hilary Erickson
Are there organic fruit snacks?
[00:02:42.390] – Samantha Radford
There are such a thing. I don’t know if that’s worth like, but that’s exactly what we’ll be talking about.
[00:02:47.760] – Hilary Erickson
OK, let’s jump in. So what are your best tips for eating safe?
[00:02:50.550] – Samantha Radford
OK, so when people think about eating safe, they automatically think, oh, I need to get organic everything and I need to go to Whole Foods and buy like the most expensive whatever. And that’s not always the case.
[00:03:02.010] – Samantha Radford
So there are some foods so like strawberries, for example, that do tend to be produced with a lot of pesticides. So something like that then. Yeah, that’s worth splurging organic on. But then there’s other foods, avocados. So that’s good. So avocados, for example, they don’t have much pesticide on them either way. So you don’t really have to worry about like, oh gosh, I need to buy organic avocados so you can save money right there.
[00:03:28.320] – Samantha Radford
Just kind of knowing which foods you need to splurge on in which you can just get what we call conventional produce.
[00:03:34.410] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. So obviously with an avocado, you’re throwing away that peel and it’s super easy to peel off. an avocado is probably the easiest vegetable to peel. But obviously with strawberries you’re eating the whole darn thing.
[00:03:47.520] – Samantha Radford
Right. And just like it depends on which bugs they attract and there’s just a whole bunch into it. Whether or not the food is grown low to the ground like strawberries are, the residues are kind of there, more. Like there’s a bunch to it. But yeah, that’s also one part is whether or not you feel it.
[00:04:03.870] – Hilary Erickson
OK, now I have bought organic strawberries and I feel like they go bad so fast. Do you ever notice that? It could just be what I bought.
[00:04:11.640] – Samantha Radford
That could be, yeah. Some of them actually they irradiate the strawberries to kind of kill all the bacteria on it before they package it.
[00:04:20.220] – Hilary Erickson
Oh, and is that safe for us?
[00:04:21.990] – Samantha Radford
[00:04:23.580] – Hilary Erickson
OK, so they wouldn’t irradiate organic.
[00:04:25.800] – Samantha Radford
Yeah, I don’t think they do.
[00:04:27.060] – Hilary Erickson
OK, and organic can still have pesticides, correct?
[00:04:30.300] – Samantha Radford
[00:04:31.110] – Samantha Radford
Yes. That’s something people don’t realize too. So they use different. There’s a few different ways they could still have pesticides on them. So for one thing it could just be different pesticides. So actually there are some pesticides that you’re allowed to use for organic that are actually more toxic than the more conventional pesticides. But the difference is that they break down very quickly. So hopefully they shouldn’t still be there by the time they get to you. The other thing is, of course, they try to avoid this.
[00:04:59.400] – Samantha Radford
But like if you have your organic farm and then across the street there’s a conventional farm and the wind blows the wrong way and blows their pesticide onto this organic farm, then. Yeah, I mean, because I like when I was in graduate school, this is what I did, was I tested foods to see how much pesticide were on them and I would get organic baby food and there would be a little bit, not much, but there would be some pesticide sometimes.
[00:05:27.150] – Samantha Radford
On the organic food too.
[00:05:28.410] – Hilary Erickson
Well, I mean, it does get rained on. Yes. And the wind and all that. Right. Right, right. They’re not growing. Well, I mean, I guess if they grew it in a green house, would that make it less likely to. Maybe, I mean, probably, but not sustainable, I mean, when you see these fields, it’s acres and acres of strawberries. Yeah, I mean, that’s just part of it.
[00:05:48.230] – Hilary Erickson
OK, so I know there’s like the Clean Clean 15.
[00:05:51.390] – Samantha Radford
Yes. Yes. So the Environmental Working Group has to list they put out every year, which really doesn’t change much from year to year, but they do it every year. So it’s called the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15. OK, what they do is they look at the FDA’s pesticide data program and they look and see which kinds of produce have the most pesticides on them. That’s the dirty dozen.
[00:06:13.460] – Samantha Radford
And then which ones have the least and that’s the clean 15. So when I pulled strawberries and avocados all the year, I knew that because of those two lists.
[00:06:21.930] – Hilary Erickson
OK, and is there a great way for us to quickly know those?
[00:06:25.490] – Samantha Radford
Yeah, I mean, just Google Environmental Working Group, Dirty Dozen, or Clean 15.
[00:06:30.620] – Hilary Erickson
Probably the Dirty Dozen would bring it up because I’ve heard about it before. Yeah. And so those ones we want so the Dirty Dozen, we want to try and buy organic, right?
[00:06:40.280] – Samantha Radford
[00:06:40.730] – Hilary Erickson
And does it matter like if we’re buying it at the local Kroger versus sprouts versus Costco, organic because organic is organic. Is that true?
[00:06:48.260] – Samantha Radford
Yeah, there’s a certain set of regulations that you have to go through for something to be certified organic.
[00:06:54.350] – Hilary Erickson
[00:06:54.710] – Samantha Radford
But since you bring up buying from different places, one thing to keep in mind so I don’t know about in Arizona, but I know like down south in Georgia, all over, I guess, more rural areas, you could be driving down the road and you see somebody selling their fresh tomatoes at the side of the road or their fresh corn or whatever. I don’t know how well regulated that kind of thing is. And so it depends.
[00:07:17.400] – Samantha Radford
You would probably honestly want to ask, because if they’re just growing their own food and then kind of selling on the side and they’re not regulated, they could possibly be using more pesticide than they’re supposed to. So one of the things that I remember when I was when I was in grad school, I’d gone back home to visit my parents and they had BlackBerry bushes in the backyard. And I saw that my dad had this bag of diazanon, which is a pesticide now.
[00:07:45.860] – Samantha Radford
It’s like they banned that in nineteen ninety eight and this was like two thousand seven or something. And he, he’s like, yeah, it really keeps the bugs off the Blackberries. So he didn’t care that it causes all these neurodevelopmental effects and kids and all this stuff. He just didn’t want bugs on his BlackBerry.
[00:08:00.530] – Hilary Erickson
So just that’s interesting. Yeah. So what about like farmer’s markets? I mean most of those I think they’re going to tell you if it’s organic, they’ve set up a booth.
[00:08:09.020] – Hilary Erickson
But is that better to buy in or down at the farmer’s market or grocery store or. I mean…
[00:08:13.970] – Samantha Radford
I think the great thing about the farmer’s markets is that you’re getting to support local businesses and a lot of them go through that process to to go organic. It does cost them extra money to get the certifications for organics. So it might be that they just tell you, like, I promise, I don’t use pesticides on this or whatever, but they haven’t gone through the expense of getting it certified.
[00:08:35.930] – Samantha Radford
So talk to your person.
[00:08:39.020] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, because usually who’s at the farmer’s market has a real good idea because they’ve probably worked there. Well, that’s cool too. I would like to find more farmers markets in Arizona, but I, I grow a lot here during the summer.
[00:08:49.610] – Hilary Erickson
I have to tell you, the surface of the sun does not grow a lot of things apparently. OK, so what do is there anything that we should just be avoiding? Even beyond the produce aisle, like in cans. Like canned tomatoes, is that worth getting organic, you think?
[00:09:04.820] – Samantha Radford
I mean, when you process foods, which any kind of cooking is processing, a lot of times that breaks down the pesticides anyways, which is good. So offhand, I don’t remember the pesticide residues, organic or not organic and canned tomatoes.
[00:09:19.910] – Samantha Radford
But then there’s other things to think about with cans like if they’re lined with like all cans are lined with the plastic coating. So if they’re lined with something that has BPA, bisphenol A in it, that could be concerning, particularly with tomatoes because tomatoes are acidic. I’ll be honest, I still get canned tomatoes. Most places have removed those bisphenols from their plastic linings.
[00:09:42.650] – Hilary Erickson
Will it say on the can?
[00:09:43.970] – Samantha Radford
They won’t say like this has BPA, but a lot of times it’ll say that it’s a BPA free can.
[00:09:51.950] – Hilary Erickson
Well, OK, I haven’t looked into that.
[00:09:53.720] – Samantha Radford
But but then at the same time, a lot of times when you remove one toxic chemical, you it’s there for a reason, like it helps in this case. I think it helps make the lining, like, more flexible. So they have to replace it with something else. So they’ve replaced BPA with BPS, Bisphenol S, so there’s also problems with that chemical. So sometimes just because something says that it’s free of one chemical doesn’t make it any safer.
[00:10:20.720] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, yeah. So great. That’s it. I’m not eating anymore.
[00:10:25.280] – Samantha Radford
And that’s I mean, that’s exactly the problem. Like, that’s the hard part about this is you have to remember with pesticides, for example, like when we first came up with pesticides, not that I’m saying we should go back to this at all. It was a huge thing like it was, they called that a green revolution and green in that context is very different. It was, we can grow all these crops because now we can kill all these bugs and we can use this fertilizer.
[00:10:49.530] – Samantha Radford
And I mean DDT, which is something we banned back in the 70s. But it was a pesticide that you could argue saved thousands of lives from malaria and still does in some areas like Africa, for example.
[00:11:03.060] – Samantha Radford
So all that to say, like if you have to choose between getting no food, of course you got to eat. Everybody’s got to eat. But if it’s the difference between, like, oh, man, I can’t afford the organic apple, like, just get regular apples, make sure that you’re giving your kid those nutrients.
[00:11:20.790] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And I know you said before that if you’re trying to decide between, like, the highly processed pouch of applesauce that’s organic versus just giving your kid an apple, just toss them an apple either way, right?
[00:11:31.770] – Samantha Radford
Yeah. So there’s so many things like organic, like they’re not goldfish crackers or what, like whales or bunnies or something. But not that I’m knocking those specifically, but they’ve got organic everything out there that super processed. But you would be better off just feeding your kid like real food even if it was conventionally raised.
[00:11:52.200] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, I think that’s a good reminder for all of us that if we’re sticking the produce or like things we make on our own with flour or whatever, we’re probably better off than whatever’s on the shelf saying it’s super healthy.
[00:12:03.750] – Samantha Radford
Yeah, like they say, shop the perimeter because I mean, I can even remember seeing like those they have these snacks called veggie straws and they’re like, it’s healthy because it’s vegetables, but it’s like, no, it’s like a little bit of powdered spinach, but it’s mostly just like potato starch. Like it still just starts with a little bit of coloring in it. Like just because someone calls something veggie…
[00:12:23.550] – Hilary Erickson
It’s so tasty and crispy and salty though.
[00:12:29.880] – Hilary Erickson
But my kids have tried to make that at Costco too. Mom, it’s vegetables. I’m like, girl, I’ve been parenting a long time, but I’ll still buy them because they’re so salty and yummy. All right. Well, I think this gave us some good ideas. So shop the perimeter, buy organic on the dirty dozen when you can. And if you can’t, then don’t. But because all vegetables still going to be better than you know.
[00:12:56.250] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Veggie straws.
[00:12:58.650] – Samantha Radford
You buy stuff in season when you can, you’ll get less pesticides that way. And if you like, desperately need a particular vegetable that’s not in season, like you can get it frozen and that’ll be good too.
[00:13:09.900] – Hilary Erickson
Oh yeah. Frozen.
[00:13:11.550] – Samantha Radford
Where… When stuff is frozen.
[00:13:13.020] – Hilary Erickson
So I always wonder, like, what’s in season. Is there a way again, Arizona, nothing’s in season here. Is there a way to know like what’s seasonally great in your area?
[00:13:22.410] – Samantha Radford
I mean, I don’t have a specific resource, so I guess just kind of being aware, like I know tomatoes are in the summer, I mean, basically how like tomatoes taste way better in the summer than in the winter.
[00:13:33.390] – Hilary Erickson
[00:13:33.390] – Samantha Radford
That’s because they’re in season. So whenever you’re kind of seeing all the stuff go to the farmer’s market, that’s a good, that’s a good indicator that it’s in season.
[00:13:42.100] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And often, like, at sprouts.
[00:13:44.310] – Hilary Erickson
It’s like what’s on sale because they put the ones that are on season on sale, which is great for your budget.
[00:13:49.330] – Samantha Radford
Yeah, that’s true.
[00:13:50.190] – Hilary Erickson
Make your kids sick of watermelon and then by the end of the summer, the next summer, they’ll love it. Yeah. Yeah. All right. Great tips. Shopping on a budget is so important because your grocery bill could just eat you and there’s so much marketing in the grocery store. I like the idea of shopping the perimeter, trying to eat less processed foods because that saves you money in general and… Yeah! And not stressing about it too much because you’re doing the best you can.
[00:14:14.070] – Samantha Radford
Yes, that’s important.
[00:14:15.000] – Hilary Erickson
All right. Thanks for coming on, Samantha.
[00:14:16.710] – Samantha Radford
[00:14:17.250] – Hilary Erickson
OK. I hope you like this episode because, I mean, it’s something that I think about what I’m at the grocery store. I need to just, like, put the Dirty Dozen in a Google note file for myself because, yeah, I also just got some grocery bags. I’ll put them through the show notes, but they are keeping things a little bit better.
[00:14:33.510] – Hilary Erickson
And so that’s been exciting. We also got a new fridge that seems to be keeping my produce a little bit better. I would love to know in the show notes if you guys find that organic stuff goes bad, worse, and if you have any tips for making it stay better, I would love to know you can or you can comment on my Instagram or wherever this is posted. I think that would be really interesting for all of us to hear because I’m always looking to make my produce last longer and also to eat with less toxins.
[00:14:57.780] – Hilary Erickson
It’s a real balance of the Erickson household. I’m guessing it’s a balance of yours, too. Oh, definitely. Check out Samantha’s course. I’m going to go check it out right now.
[00:15:05.250] – Hilary Erickson
Thanks so much for joining us today. I hope we help smooth out a few of the snarls in your life. We drop an episode every Monday and we always appreciate it when you guys share and review. Until next time, we hope you have a tangle free day.