The dirty dozen sounds like an old western movie. Watch out, the dirty dozen is heading for your town and everyone should take cover. The dirty dozen: a gun slinging gang of bandits bringing trouble into every town they set foot in.
In reality the dirty dozen is twelve fruits and vegetables that have a high number of pesticides and you should consider buying organic instead. The only thing these fruits and vegetables are guilty of is serving up a high level of pesticides.
Before I dive into which fruits and vegetables are the dirty dozen lets go into some of the background of why conventional produce isn’t always the best. In the days before World War II organic wasn’t a thing because all produce was pesticide free. Then chemical farming and food processing was introduced changing everything.
Our fruits and vegetables were sprayed with chemicals that leached into our water supplies, affected the nutrient content of our food, contaminated our soil, the people spraying it and the the people consuming it. This affects us and the world we live in. This is not meant to be a doomsday rant but to help you see the full picture of how pesticides can affect many areas of our food supply and health.
Obviously there are many benefits to eating organic. When we choose organic we help our bodies, the individuals who produced it and the earth have less exposure to pesticides. In theory we all would love to go to a local farm see where our food is grown and hear from the farmers lips that he/she is growing only organic.
Most of us live busy lives where we don’t have the luxury of going to a farm or we live far from a farm. We end up going to the grocery store where we see organic and conventional produce. The price differences can be a major drawback from buying organic. I know I don’t always buy organic because my budget doesn’t always lend kindly to it. This is where we get into the nitty gritty of the dirty dozen.
The dirty dozen is a guideline from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). They have tested far and wide to find the produce that is best to buy organic because of its high levels of pesticides. They also have the clean fifteen that are the least likely to show pesticide residue.
The dirty dozen are: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines, grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce, and kale/collard greens.
Keep these twelve in mind when you are shopping and try to steer towards the organic. Ultimately, it is better to eat fruits and vegetables rather than not eat them at all, but if your pocketbook allows, do your body a favor and buy organic.
A couple rules of thumb to think about when you are shopping: fruits and vegetables that don’t have a outer covering that you peel off or if you are eating the leaves of a plant, you want them organic. These fruits and vegetables are being sprayed directly with pesticides hence them testing with high levels of pesticides.
A few mind bending facts from the EWG are potatoes had more pesticides by weight than any other produce and strawberries showed 17 different pesticides. Those are some astonishing facts. Makes you realize why these are on the dirty dozen list.
To bring it all together lets give a shout out to the clean fifteen. Drum roll please. Here we have onions, corn, pineapples, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, cantaloupe, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, and mushrooms.
Multiple pesticides are rare on these guys so eat up. These can loosen your pocketbook so you can spend more on the items from the dirty dozen.
These are guidelines and suggestions to take with you. Conclusively, you get to choose what is best for you. Use these recommendations when you go shopping to best feed yourself and your family even if buying all organic is an option.
Today’s blog was written by my fabulous friend and blogger, Registered Nutrition and Dietetic Technician, Kalen. She has an awesome blog called Dash and Drizzle. Thank you, Kalen! As she says, “Kalen hopes Dash and Drizzle is a place where your soul is nourished and your belly fed.”
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