Updated: Sep 10, 2019
The excuse that commonly is associated with eating healthy is that it's "too expensive" and that buying everything organically is just an easy way to break the bank. Now, as much as I do agree that it is an investment, I do counter that argument with something along the lines of, "well, would you rather invest in your health now, or in your illnesses later?" --- I mean, that's true, right? It's all about focusing on what your priorities are in your life --- your family, your health, your children, your career, your faith life, your travels, etc. Regardless of the order, I'd like to think that health would be (and should be in my opinion) at the top of that list! Aren't a few bucks here and there worth it long-term? I think so (especially if a future family is on your radar!)
Either way, I'm here to share with you a list of fruits & vegetables that are known as the "Clean Fifteen and the Dirty Dozen" which is evaluated every year thanks to the Environmental Working Group. The list is analyzed as well by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Pesticide Data Program (PDP) to ensure that the proper foods are being identified. Together, both parties do all of the research and sift through all of the fruit and vegetable markets/farms to determine which types of conventionally grown crops are the "Clean Fifteen" (meaning they contain the least amount of chemical pesticides) and the "Dirty Dozen" (which if you can guess, means they contain the most and are the most harmful to our health).
According to their research this year in 2018, up to 70% of the fruits and vegetables that are found in our markets today have been contaminated with pesticide resides. That's crazy to me! A pesticide is a poison, simple as that. Just to think that we are ingesting them daily into our bodies (either intentionally or simply not knowing) is simply scary..... imagine the harm that is being done without even realizing!
Pesticides can be found in more than just our food (toxic home cleaning products, our air, our water or even breast milk) that it's important to focus on eliminating our to exposure to them as much as we can. Pesticides not only cause short-term impacts such as headaches, nausea, rashes, or respiratory discomfort but also contribute to more major issues as well such as cancer, reproductive harm (check out this fertility article ladies - scary!), nerve disorders, anxiety, depression, hormonal imbalances, reduced motor skills and thyroid tumors. Do those sounds like things you want to suffer from one day? Not me.
The good news is that this list will help you to not only save money each year (cha-ching!) but also provide you with some healthier options so you won't put yourself or your family at risk. If you're able to spend a few extra dollars everyday on your sugar-loaded iced-latte from Starbucks, I think you can invest in a buying a few vegetables organically (if anything) to not only reduce your pesticide footprint but have a positive impact on your health.
2018 Dirty Dozen:
***Always Buy Organically***
12. Sweet bell peppers
2018 Clean Fifteen:
***Can Be Bought Conventionally***
2. Sweet Corn
6. Frozen sweet peas
11. Honeydew melon
Just to make it easy.... fruits & vegetables with a thicker skin tend to be a safer option to buy conventionally (if budget is an issue). Now, if you're making the big bucks and can afford all organic produce, buy it! It's always better to be safe, than sorry. I hope this was helpful and will encourage you to make some better choices the next time you're in the produce aisle!