Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Produce: When you should and should not buy organic!

Every time I shop at my local organic grocer and I see the price of greens beans at $5.99/lb versus $2.99/lb at the local chain grocery store... I have a hard time rationalizing that price difference. It can be challenging to debate whether or not to buy organic... when is it really worth it?

Specific health benefits have been noted for consuming organically grown produce that is largely related to a reduced intake of chemicals like pesticides. Consumption of pesticides and other chemicals found in food can increase the risk of contracting debilitating diseases like cancer. Consuming less and preferably minimal amounts of pesticides will reduce the amount of preventable damage we do to our bodies just like stopping or avoiding smoking cigarettes. Research suggests that avoiding chemicals and pesticides is particularly important for growing children due to it's impact on development.

In a ideal food economy we would all consume organically grown foods, minimally processed, antibiotic and hormone free meats, and foods that were processed in a way that prevented their oxidation. However, we live in this day where for years people have spent their food dollars supporting cheaply grown and heavily processed foods. Due to the economic support for the heavily processed food industry those prices have decreased while organically grown food prices have seemingly increased. It's all about supply and demand :-) Fortunately... the winds of change are sweeping the country.

In March of 2009 the Environmental Working Group (EWG) announced the release of the "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides." The Shopper's Guide to Pesticides is a list of 12 fruits and vegetables that tested positive for at least 47 and up to 67 different chemical pesticides. Their research found that by avoiding the dirty dozen one can reduce their exposure to pesticides and other chemicals by as much as 80%. On the Shopper's Guide to Pesticides you will also find a list of 15 fruits and vegetables that one can purchase relatively worry free due to their findings that they contain minimal to zero amounts of chemical pesticides in their non-organic form.

The Dirty Dozen:

1. Apples
2. Domestic Blueberries
3. Celery
4. Kale, Collard greens, and spinach
5. Cherries
6. Lettuce
7. Nectarines
8. Potatoes
9. Peaches
10. Sweet Bell Peppers
11. Imported Grapes
12. Strawberries

The Clean 15:

1. Asparagus
2. Avocados
3. Eggplant
4. Cabbage
5. Cantaloupe
6. Grapefruit
7. Kiwi fruit
8. Onions
9. Sweet onions
10. Mango
11. Pineapple
12. Sweet Potatoes
13. Sweet Corn
14. Sweet Peas
15. Watermelon

The EWG is a non-profit team of scientists focused on providing information to the public to support our health as well as that of the environment. We have lots of new information at our finger tips to empower us to turn down the processed and chemical laden fruits, vegetables, and meats and use our spending dollars towards promoting minimally processed food.

The "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides" in a handy printable wallet sized form at:


Contact Keri to find out more information about buying organic and saving money, incorporating a more nutritious diet into your lifestyle, and finding recipes to suit your needs.,

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