Body,  Nutrition

The Dirty 12 & Clean 15: How to Prioritize When Shopping Organic

Shopping for organic produce can get expensive. If you want to shop organic but also not break the bank, it can be tricky. I am a firm believer that buying high-quality food is worth the price. Disease and the medical expenses associated aren’t cheap. It costs you years off your life, thousands of dollars, and a poor quality of living while you’re still alive. But if I can find ways to shave dollars off my grocery bill, I’m all about it!

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) supplies a list of the most pesticide laden produce and the produce that is most likely to have limited pesticide exposure even if it’s not marked “organic”. This list is called the dirty 12 & clean 15.

Dirty Dozen

The foods you should always buy organic fall into the dirty dozen category. These types of produce statistically have the highest concentration of pesticides. You should opt to buy organic produce from this list instead of “conventional”.

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectaries
  4. Apples
  5. Grapes
  6. Peaches
  7. Cherries
  8. Pears
  9. Tomatoes
  10. Celery
  11. Potatoes
  12. Sweet Bell Peppers

A bonus #13 is hot peppers because nearly 3/4 of hot peppers sampled contained pesticide residue.

Clean 15

These are the 15 types of produce you can buy without having to worry about all those nasty pesticides being on your food. I will say that just because a food is on the clean 15 list doesn’t guarantee that it’s pesticide free. That’s what the organic label does. This list can be used as a guideline to prioritize which produce contains the most and least concentrations of pesticides if your budget forces you to choose.

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbages
  5. Onions
  6. Frozen Sweet Peas
  7. Papayas
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangoes
  10. Eggplants
  11. Honeydew Melons
  12. Kiwis
  13. Cantaloupes
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Broccoli

A quick note about corn. Corn is a popular crop for genetic modification, so even though less than 2% of corn tested contained any pesticide residue, buy organic to avoid any GMOs.

So there you have it! A crash course on shopping for produce for when you’re getting started making the transition to organic or your budget needs a little help.

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