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Shopping Organically & Avoiding the Dirty Dozen


By Eliana Eissler, Itsabelly Chicago

In this economy, many households simply cannot afford to go 100% organic all the time. However, we all fear buying non-organic produce because of the high levels of pesticides found in many fruits and vegetables that are not grown organically. Imagine making your own baby food at home to ensure your baby is receiving the healthiest and most natural food possible, only to realize that the conventionally-grown apples you just put in the food processor were covered in pesticides. The solution? Focus on which produce items you really need to buy organic. Itsabelly has some tips on which fruits and vegetables you really need to buy organic, and which ones you can get away with purchasing conventionally-grown.

Did you know there is a list called the Pesticide Dirty Dozen? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has just released an updated Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, which details the top fruits and veggies containing the most pesticides. At the top of the Dirty Dozen are the peach, apple, bell pepper and celery, followed by the nectarine, strawberries, and cherries. The Clean Fifteen is a list of the items lowest in pesticides. At the top of the Clean Fifteen are onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapple, mango, asparagus and sweet peas.

EWG research has found that people who eat the 12 most contaminated fruits and veggies consume an average of 10 pesticides per day! Pretty scary. People who eat the 15 least contaminated conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables ingest fewer than 2 pesticides daily.  Many people think that washing and peeling conventionally-grown produce is enough to “clean” it from pesticides. First of all, most pesticides are oil-based (this is needed to ensure the pesticide stays on after rain and watering), therefore you would need to use soap to take off the oil. And while peeling helps, valuable nutrients often go with the skin. The best approach is to eat a varied diet, rinse all of your produce, and buy organic when you can.

The EWG has created a wallet-sized guide, which you can download here, and keep handy for the next time you are buying groceries. Now we can exhale and enjoy our trip to the supermarket… Happy Shopping!

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