Which produce should I buy organic??? Tips to save your hard earned money by shopping SMART this season!

Photo Credit: EWG

A big part of staying healthy is about being conscious about what you eat and getting educated on healthy eating and living. While you may eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, some of the produce your consuming could be covered in pesticides. Washing and peeling these foods may also not remove all of the pesticides either and they could still be contaminated. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) shares a lot of great information on their website to educate us on making healthier and more environmentally friendly choices in our lives. One of the wonderful things they do each year is they provide a list of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen produce items. The Dirty Dozen is the list of all of the fruits and vegetables that were tested in labs and came back with high amounts of pesticides and residues. The produce that is in the list of the Clean Fifteen were the items that came back with low amounts of pesticide or no pesticides on them at all. These lists help us to choose our produce wisely which is especially important when buying all organic produce is not possible for financial reasons or because of availability in a certain area. With the two heavily researched guides, you make an educated decision on the food you are going to purchase and eat. It's as easy as looking up the list on their website.

The list changes every year, but luckily, for us, EWG creates a free printable PDF file that is easy to carry with you when you go to the grocery store. You can also keep the lists open on your web browser or take a screenshot of each of them to bring up while you’re shopping. The 2018 Dirty Dozen list includes strawberries being the fruit with the highest levels of pesticides in them, followed by spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, and pears with more to follow. All of the food on this list came back positive for many types of pesticide residue. So for example, if you eat a lot of spinach in your home which is great for getting your daily dose of fibre and also plenty of vitamins and minerals, you will probably want to buy your spinach organic since conventionally grown spinach contains a lot of chemicals. Apples are another produce item on the Dirty Dozen that you should buy organic as well as lettuce and cucumbers. So always try and buy these foods organic when possible.

On the other hand, the Clean Fifteen list contains fruits and vegetables that will be less likely to have pesticide residue if any at all. This list includes avocados, sweet corn and onion amongst others like cauliflower and broccoli. These items can be purchased non-organic since they contain fewer pesticides. So this would be a great way to save some money on groceries. A good idea is to take a look at all of the fruits and vegetables you eat on a regular basis in your own home and see which items you will need to buy the most. Then look for them in both of the lists and find out whether they are on the Clean Fifteen list, which would mean you can buy them non-organic, or whether they are on the Dirty Dozen list which means you should probably opt for the organic option if there is one. Even though organic can be expensive sometimes, in the long run, it’s always best to pay a bit more money when it comes to keeping yourself in good health. Ingesting foods with pesticides over a long period of time has been shown to cause different illnesses and some people are very sensitive to them. Educating yourself is the first step to good health.***

Learn MORE at EWG

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