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Organic Harvest Month Interview with Toby Amidor, MS, RD

Thank you to my friends at Kashi for sponsoring this post!

Good morning! I have a fun interview to share with you guys today with fellow dietitian Toby Amidor. Toby Amidor, M.S., R.D., is a Kashi nutrition partner and author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day. I’ve never met Toby before, but have followed her on social media for quite awhile, so I was excited to have the chance to interview her via Kashi in honor of Organic Harvest Month™.

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I didn’t become passionate about buying organic until I went on a Blogger Barnstorming tour a few years ago. On that trip, I learned firsthand from farmers why they farm organically, how it affects the cows, crops, and their businesses, what is involved in getting that organic stamp on their products, and more. (If you’re interested in learning more specifics, check out my Organic Farming Q&A and Day on the Farms posts from that trip.)

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I certainly won’t claim that we buy ALL organic food now, but I do make a big effort to purchase organic when it makes sense – with a special focus on organic animal products and the “dirty dozen”.

I thought it would be interesting to share an interview with Toby about her approach to organic. I hope you enjoy it!

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1) Hi, Toby! Before we get into the meat of the interview – tell me about yourself and your path to becoming an RD. How do you fill your days?

I attended New York University with my mom (yes, my mom!). We graduated together and received our master’s degrees in nutrition. I started off working as a clinical dietitian in a hospital in Brooklyn, NY and then teaching at a culinary school in New York City. I then worked in some online companies and finally made my way to become a blogger for FoodNetwork.com Healthy Eats. I now write for a variety of publications include US News & World Report Eat + Run blog and have a regular column in Today’s Dietitian Magazine. Plus, I just published my first cookbook titled The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More than 130 delicious, healthy recipes for every meal of the day (Grand Central Publishing, 2014).

2) When did you first become interested in eating organically?

Once I had children, I started seeing the rise in popularity in organic foods. My first purchase of organic was jarred baby food. I usually made my own, but on occasion (like long plane rides) I would purchase organic pre-made baby food. It’s wonderful that people do have a choice to choose organic foods—there are now so many available at the market.

3) Why is it important to you?

It is important that people have a choice to buy organic if they so choose. I want my kids to eat foods made without chemicals and pesticides.

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4) What foods do you personally purchase organic vs. non-organic?

I like to purchase organic foods that are in season to help keep on my budget. For example, today I found organic cilantro and celery at the market and purchased it. I like to see what is available and within my budget.

5) What are some of the benefits of supporting organic food?

Organic farmers must adhere to very strict practices in order to keep their organic label. But many local farmers who may not have the organic label may also follow organic practices. Your best bet is to talk to your local farmer to see if they follow organic practices. I would also recommend visiting an organic farm if you have the chance. It is very interesting to see how organic farms are run and you can get a better sense of how food really flows from the farm to your table.

6) How can one incorporate organic into their daily diet in an affordable way?

Organic food can get expensive. However, these days you can find many more organic choices at the market that are affordable. You can now find organic cereal (like Kashi’s Organic Promise line), fruits, vegetables, herbs, whole grains, juices, and much more. It is important to set a budget when you choose organic foods.

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7) Any tips for consumers on what to look for at the grocery store?

I always suggest eating as wholesome as possible. Choose whole foods like fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. If you want to purchase organic packaged foods, I always trust the Kashi name. For other packaged foods, check the ingredient list on the nutrition facts panel. You want a short ingredient list with words you (and your children) can pronounce.

8) What is your favorite way to eat Kashi’s Organic Promise cereals?

I like to top my plain Greek yogurt with strawberries, blueberries and a handful of Kashi’s Organic Corn Flakes, Simply Maize Cereal.

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Thank you for taking the time to share with us, Toby!

Now it’s your turn – Do you make it a priority to buy organic? Why or why not? Are there certain foods you are more likely to buy organic than others?

Comments

  1. 1

    Great post! I am a huge advocate of supporting organic foods. It is important to be mindful to help stay on a budget too. That is why it is important to research where to put your money and understand what can be bought conventionally and where you need organic items. I also try to do cost comparisons at my local stores to see what I should buy where.

  2. 2

    I try to buy organic produce as much as I can. I think of it as an investment into my health and my community. I also find that organic produce just tastes so much better than non-organic food.

  3. 3

    Great interview! I try to go organic for meat and any fruits/veggies where I eat the skin. Things such as bananas, avocados or oranges aren’t as big of a priority for me because of their thick peels.

    • 4

      Yes, I agree re: veggies that you eat the skin!

      • 5

        I generally follow this rule too, but beware it doesn’t always work! There are a lot of studies now that show conventional potato flesh is LOADED with toxic pesticides, so peeling wouldn’t solve the problem. Luckily, organic potatoes don’t break the bank ;) and have you ever tasted an organic sweet potato?! OMG they taste 100x better

  4. 7

    i’ve learned to prioritize and buy the foods i eat most (& on DD/eat the SKIN) organic! always STRAWBERRIES, zucchini & lettuce ( I go through strawberries & zucc like CRAZY!), usually cucumbers, other berries & tomatoes. the rest depends on price & where it is from.

  5. 8

    Toby is great! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her a few times this year and always enjoy my visits with her. And her cookbook is fabulous!!!
    As for organic vs. non, I typically buy organic fruits & veggies if I am eating the skin of it {like an apple or peach} and skip the things like organic pineapple, etc. I usually also buy organic dairy and meats.

  6. 9

    Yes, I try to buy organic whenever possible. It can be more expensive at times than conventional, but paying more upfront is worth it to me for a good return on my health. I try to focus on the dirty dozen and buy seasonal when possible. I’ve also started to look more closely for the Non-GMO label now in addition to organic!

  7. 10

    Great interview! And fully agree with importance of organic production.

  8. 11

    I wish Toby had gone into more detail. You ask how we can incorporate organic food in an affordable way, and she suggests to set a budget. Well… yeah. But that’s not very helpful. What would be helpful is to have a better understanding of the tradeoffs. If I have a limited budget for buying organic, where should I focus my dollars? For which foods does it matter most? Similarly, you ask about the benefits about organic food, and she doesn’t really answer that question either. Just a little constructive feedback!

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