Monday, November 28, 2011

Beware the Dirty Dozen: Go Organic

This weekend, after an afternoon shopping the Black F discounts, my mom, sister, and I did some food shopping together.  Unloading the bags at home, I noticed my mother bought organic bananas.  This was likely an effort to make me happy (thanks, Mom!), but I was quick to inform her that her "organic budget" would be better spent elsewhere.

Who else is confused about why and what to buy organic?  Let's discuss.

What does organic mean?  "Organic" refers to agriculture that does NOT use chemicals, genetic modification, or irradiation.

Why go organic?  Those chemicals that conventional (not organic-certified) producers use can be (and are) toxic for your body.  Some toxins should be 100% eliminated from your bathroom, bedroom, and most importantly, your kitchen!  The foods you and your family eat should be as natural and chemical-free as possible.

Some organic-skeptics claim that it's silly to pay more for produce that is no more nutritious than the "regular" stuff.  Keep in mind that nutrients are not the point; the main reason to buy organic isn't because of what the produce provide, but rather because of what they don't have: dangerous pesticides.  Even so, more recent research is beginning to show that organic produce may, in fact, more often contain more nutrients than conventionally-grown.  So there!

Does EVERYTHING need to be organic?  In perfect world, all foods would be grown without chemicals, GMOs, or irradiation, but in our reality, buying all organic can be daunting and expensive.  This is where the "dirty dozen" comes in!  If you want to buy organic where it counts the most, then beware the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables.

  • Apples 
  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Nectarines (imported)
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Potatoes
  • Blueberries (domestic)
  • Lettuce
  • Kale/collard greens

For other produce, feel free to buy conventionally-grown, like those fruits with a thick skin that goes uneaten.  Here are the 12 least contaminated fruits and veggies, lowest in pesticides:
  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet corn (frozen)
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Papaya
Next time you go food shopping, bring these lists with you!  They make it simple to choose where to spend your money on organic, and where it's okay to buy conventional.  If you buy local or from the farmer's market, it's very possible that the food is actually grown without the harmful stuff, but just isn't "organic certified", so it might still be okay.  Ask the seller!  If you're headed to a regular supermarket or even when you're shopping the local markets, just keep that "dirty dozen" list with you so that you know which are most important to splurge on the good stuff.  Remember how harmful the chemicals can be to your body and to those you're feeding.  If you haven't started buying organic yet, make the change NOW with those twelve top culprits.  You may not notice it, but the difference in your body will be worth it.

So go organic!  I did it, so can you.  I dare you! 


  1. This is great!!! Honestly, I KNOW that there are certain ones that are more "important" than others when buying organic, but beyond knowing apples are good and bananas aren't as important... I never remember!

    This makes me glad I bought organic potatoes yesterday... even though I just bought them because they were on sale and the same prices as the regular ones! haha

    Thanks for sharing!!

  2. there is also an app for this from EWG who puts out the list, I think even if people switch their most commonly consumed items over to organic an important step OR choose from the clean 15 list.


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