The Dirty Dozen

I always get so confused on which are the best foods to buy organic and ones you don’t necessary need to go organic for. Well I finally found a easy understandable guide.

“Not all of us can afford to go 100% organic every time we shop. The solution? Focus on those foods that come with the heaviest burden of pesticides, additives and hormones. According to the Environmental Working Group(EWG), consumers can reduce their pesticide exposure by 80% by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating only the cleanest. If consumers get their USDA-recommended 5 daily servings of fruits and veggies from the 15 most contaminated, they could consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat the 15 least contaminated conventionally grown produce ingest less than 2 pesticides daily.”- The Daily Green

Here’s the list of the 12 (+ a few newbies) foods you should buy organic; for a healthier more sustainable lifestyle:

1. MEAT– meat production is the king of foods when it comes to environmental impact aside from its pesticide residue.  Animals raised with conventional modern methods often means using hormones to speed up growth, antibiotics to resist disease on crowded feed lots, and both pesticides and chemical fertilizers to grow the grain fed to the animals. (AND you ingest all of this! Gross) THE SOLUTIONCertified Organic Meat–  To meet USDA standards, this meat can come only from animals fed organic feed and given no hormones or antibiotics. Searching out cuts from grass-fed animals ensures that you’re eating meat from an animal that was fed a more natural diet, and looking for a local source of meats lets you question the farmer directly about the animal’s diet and the farmer’s method of raising it. It cuts down on the environmental cost of transportation, too.

2. MILK– Pesticides and other man-made chemicals have been found in human breast milk, so it should come as no surprise that they have been found in dairy products, too. While any residues detected have been rare, and of low concentration, milk is of special concern because it is a staple of a child’s diets. Organic dairies cannot feed their cows with grains grown with pesticides, nor can they use antibiotics or growth hormones like rGBH or rbST. The overall impact of the herd is lessened when you choose organic milk. (AND it lasts longer!)

3. COFFEE– Many of the beans you buy are grown in countries that don’t regulate use of chemicals and pesticides. Look for the USDA Organic label to ensure you’re not buying beans that have been grown or processed with the use of potentially harmful chemicals. Go a step or two further, and look for the Fair Trade Certifiedlabel to ensure that your purchase supports farmers who are paid fairly and treated well. And look for shade-grown varieties for the trifecta: Then you know the coffee is being grown under the canopy of the rainforest, leaving those ancient trees intact, along with the wildlife — particularly songbirds — that call them home. (Look you can kill 3 birds with stone!)

4. PEACHES– Multiple pesticides are regularly applied to these delicately skinned fruits in conventional orchards. Usually fruits that have skin which you eat are the most harmful since the pesticide is applied directly to the fruit and you ingest the peel.

5. APPLES- Like peaches, apples are typically grown with the use of poisons to kill a variety of pests, from fungi to insects. Scrubbing and peeling doesn’t eliminate chemical residue completely, so it’s best to buy organic when it comes to apples. Peeling a fruit or vegetable also strips away many of their beneficial nutrients.

6. SWEET BELL PEPPERS– Peppers have thin skins that don’t offer much of a barrier to pesticides. They’re often heavily sprayed with insecticides.

7. CELERY- Celery has no protective skin, which makes it almost impossible to wash off the chemicals that are used on conventional crops

8. NECTARINES– There were 26 different types of pesticides found on tested nectarines. WOW

9. STRAWBERRIES– If you buy strawberries out of season, they’re most likely imported from countries that use less-stringent regulations for pesticide use

10. CHERRIES- Even locally grown cherries are not safe. In fact, cherries grown in the U.S. were found to have three times more pesticide residue then imported cherries.

11. KALE– Traditionally kale is known as a hardier vegetable that rarely suffers from pests and disease, but it was found to have high amounts of pesticide residue when tested this year.

12. LEAFY GREENS– Leafy greens are frequently contaminated with what are considered the most potent pesticides used on food.


13. GRAPES– Imported grapes run a much greater risk of contamination than those grown domestically. Vineyards can be sprayed with different pesticides during different growth periods of the grape, and no amount of washing or peeling will eliminate contamination because of the grape’s thin skin.

14. CARROTS– Imported grapes run a much greater risk of contamination than those grown domestically. Vineyards can be sprayed with different pesticides during different growth periods of the grape, and no amount of washing or peeling will eliminate contamination because of the grape’s thin skin.

15. PEARS– As insects become more resilient to the pesticides used on pears, more and more chemicals are used. The safest bet is to go organic.

** ALTERNATIVE TO ORGANIC SHOPPING FOR VEGGIES/FRUIT/MEAT…BUY LOCALLY. If you can’t afford “organic” go to the local farmers market. This way you can ask the grower/farmer directly if they use any chemicals. Most likely they cannot afford it or simply don’t believe in unnatural food production. This way its cheaper and you are stimulating yoru local economy. So dont get down if you cannot afford organic their are always SIMPLY EASY ALTERNATIVES TO A MORE SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE


Thanks for staying informed!

Go Green!

– Erica


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