Organic Produce or Not?

Fugly 12.jpg

This has always been one of the first questions I get from people wanting to eat healthier: Is it really that important to buy organic produce?  Well, the short answer is yes and no.

I remember several years ago when it started off as being the latest craze.  I was so skeptical that I never tried the organic produce.  I was also just out of college and not looking to spend any extra money on food than was already necessary!  So I remained stubborn for quite a while – probably a few years even.

That is until I started doing a little research.  You see, my sister was diagnosed at the age of 30 with Stage 4 breast cancer.  To make that even worse, my mom was diagnosed only a couple of weeks later with Stage 2 breast cancer.  I’m telling you now, those two things really made me question what I was putting in my body!  There just had to be a reason for all of the rise in cancer.

So I began doing research and started out small.  I discovered what is termed the dirty dozen.  These are the top 12 produce items that should be at the top of your list to purchase organic.  There is also the clean 15 list which is the list of 15 produce items that are at the bottom of the list in importance to purchase organic.  This list is published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) each year.  Personally, I try to buy all of my produce organic when possible.  However, I believe it is still better to eat your fruits and vegetables even if they are not organic!

So why are there 12 products that are singled out each year as the “dirty dozen”?  These produce items tend to be those that do not have a thick outer shell to protect them from absorbing all of the pesticides.  For example, pineapples, sweet corn, and avocado are all typically on the clean 15 list because of their protective outer skin.  On the other hand, strawberries, apples, and grapes are often on the dirty dozen list.

The dirty dozen consists of those produce items that are tested and found to have the highest levels of pesticide residue.  While you should wash all produce, organic or not, before consuming, these items are recommended to purchase as organic because the pesticides will simply not wash off.

So, here is the list of the 2016 dirty dozen produce:

  1. Strawberries485A8936.jpg

  2. Apples485A8944.jpg

  3. Nectarines


  4. Peaches485A8940.jpg

  5. Celery485A8937.jpg

  6. Grapes485A8947.jpg

  7. Cherries485A8935.jpg

  8. Spinach485A8934.jpg

  9. Tomatoes485A8939.jpg

  10. Sweet Bell Pepper485A8941.jpg

  11. Cherry Tomatoes485A8933.jpg

  12. Cucumbers485A8946.jpg

I recommend writing these down on a small card and carrying it in your wallet so that you always have it to refer to!  Update it yearly with any changes in the list (typically, the list may change by only a couple of different produce).  I’m eager to hear how many of you currently purchase organic produce and who is going to try switching to at least these twelve.  I look forward to hearing from you all!


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