Last weekend my husband and I stayed with our dear friends, Liza and Jake. Liza is a naturopathic doctor, an expert when it comes to toxins in and around the home. We’ve stayed with them a number of times, but for some reason, this last visit really opened my eyes.
I hate to admit this, but pesticides, hormones, etc. have never really been on my danger radar. Opting for the cheaper fruits and veggies when grocery shopping usually points me toward non-organic produce (unless organic happens to be on sale). I’ll eat a few grapes here and there straight from the bag without washing them off, and I know I don’t clean produce thoroughly enough when running it under the faucet.
Because even if I scrub my fruits and vegetables till my fingers fall off, those pesticides can still sometimes go past the peel and seep into the flesh of the fruit or vegetable.
Now that I’m trying to become more informed, the articles and studies I’m reading really kinda freak me out. Did you know that modern day pesticides were originally used as chemical warfare agents? You know, toxins that could kill off humans! It’s mind-boggling that pesticides are still legal in this country.
Throughout the next few posts, I’ll be sharing what household items have been linked to cancer as well as other health issues, where you can find safer alternatives, how to save money on organic products, etc.
But today, I’m starting out with two lists of produce.
The first list is called the “Dirty Dozen” (apparently they’ve added a couple since creating the name because now there’s 14). These non-organic fruits and veggies are notorious for high amounts of pesticide residue.
According to the David Suzuki Foundation, “Different pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems, including hormone disruption, cancer and brain toxicity.”
It doesn’t stop there though. Pesticides can also cause reproductive problems, birth defects, asthma, diarrhea and vomiting, just to name a few!
The second list, the “Clean Fifteen,” shares the non-organic produce considered to have the least amounts of contamination.
If you are on a budget, as most people are, buying only organic can get pretty pricey. These lists help you determine which fruits and vegetables you should try to purchase in organic form, verses the produce that’s okay to buy non-organic.
3. Cherry tomatoes
4. Collard greens/Kale
7. Hot Peppers
11. Snap peas – imported
14. Sweet bell peppers
12. Sweet Corn
13. Sweet Peas
14. Sweet Potatoes
I know that’s a lot of produce to throw at you, but a good rule of thumb is if you can eat the skin, choosing organic is more than often the way to go.
Are you are purchasing only non-organic at the moment? Yep, join the club. As I mentioned earlier, I’m guilty of gravitating toward the non-organic fruits and veggies because it’s the least expensive choice.
Well guess what? All is not lost because I actually found a blog post on, Healthy Bliss, explaining what you can do to clean non-organic produce as best you can.
Start by using a bucket that’s solely for the purpose of cleaning fruits and veggies. The blog’s author, Jennifer Thompson, suggests letting the produce soak in the bucket for 10 minutes in an activated charcoal powder/ water mixture before rinsing and enjoying the heck out of it.
Activated charcoal powder binds to toxins and can be used when someone has overdosed or ingested poison. You can find this powder online or in any health food store.
Despite my best intentions though, I know myself. Laziness, at some point, would take over. I’d end up buying the charcoal, only to let it sit in the cupboard and continue to shove my face full of non-organic produce covered in pesticide remains.
So needless to say, I am now working to include more organic in my diet, and make my transition as painless as possible.
Be sure to check out my next post on buying organic food on a budget. I’ll be sharing lots of tips on how save you money. (Although I don’t always use my inherent knowledge these days, I did learn from the consummate couponer, aka my mother.)
Hey I have a great idea! Subscribe to my blog for FREE and you’ll receive my money-saving post right in your inbox. Automatically. No remembering required.
I mean, who doesn’t like to save money? Especially when it comes to organic;-)