In 52 Healthy Changes, Food, Newsletter

hy bother with organic spices? In reality, we use such a small amount, is it really necessary? My answer is a resounding YES! Non-organic herbs and spices are treated/processed with chemicals, often contain GMOs and are irradiated (exposed to radiation). Beyond this, almost all conventional spices that are sold here in the states are fumigated (or sterilized) with chemicals banned for use in foods in other countries.

The problem with treating herbs and spices with chemicals and irradiation is that the it produces a less than stellar product. Irradiation is deemed “necessary” to kill off any bacteria (which occurs naturally on all plants) but causes a decrease in vitamins and beneficial enzymes in the final product. If you’re wanting to use herbs or spices for medicinal purposes you’ll want to stick with organic options. Non-organic herbs/spices can be altered to the point their medicinal qualities can no longer be realized. I, for one, enjoy spices like cayenne – for curbing hunger, turmeric – for killing cancer cells,  cinnamon – for fighting inflammation and paprika – for boosting metabolism! (Source)

But don’t let that cupboard full of conventional spices overwhelm you or get you down. This oughtn’t be a burden! I’m not expecting you to cull every herb and spice in one fell swoop. Rather, as one runs out, replace it with an organic, non-irradiated counterpart. To save money, consider buying in bulk. Many grocery stores have bulk offerings these days, but I buy most of my herbs/spices by the pound and store them in these cute re-sealable jars. Don’t want to buy new jars? Just refill your old empties!

This healthy change could take upwards of a year to complete, but remember, even herbs and spices have expiration dates! Expired herbs and spices probably won’t make you sick, but their medicinal qualities and flavor will diminish significantly. So that huge, Costco-sized canister of marjoram you bought five years ago because it was a good deal? It’s probably time to toss it!

To extend the shelf life of your herbs and spices be sure to store them in a cool, dry and dark environment. Check out our Products Page for links to all the herbs and spices we use and love.

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  • Kourtney

    Here’s another example to sign up for Thrive! They just rolled out their own private label of organic spices for prices that are comparable to non-organic spices at our local store. You can buy them one at a time in pouches that will refill your 2 oz. jars, or replace all your spices at once by purchasing their 15 pack for $39.95. What a deal! Thank you, Kelsey, for spelling out the importance of organic herbs and spices. I had always looked at it from the perspective of avoiding pesticides, and never considered the nutrition I was missing out on. Making healthy change #28 straight away!

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen

      Awesome! Way to go Thrive! Thanks Kourtney, I hadn’t seen the spices on Thrive yet…now I’ll have to pull out my spice cost spreadsheet, add another column and price compare! You know my love of spreadsheets! Ha!

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