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The Dirty Dozen

Need some help deciding which foods to buy organic, and which foods you can choose conventional if money is extra tight? Here’s some guidance and the science behind it.

The US Department of Agriculture found that some foods are easier to wash than others in terms of cleaning off pesticides. In other words, even after thorough washing, significant pesticide residue remains. They came up with this list of the “dirty dozen” foods that are extra important to buy organic:
  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach

This is a wise place to put your grocery dollars, even if they cost more, and if you need to cut costs elsewhere, consider eliminating some of those empty calories you might be buying in snack foods and prepackaged meals. Whole foods are much healthier, and can even be cheaper!

The other thing to consider is to buy organic animal products. Because they are further up the food chain, conventional animals have eaten pesticide ridden foods, and those pesticides wind up in their tissues, particularly the fat. This is a great reason to choose organic free range-meat, milk, eggs, and butter. Your local co-op often has much better prices on these foods than even the dig grocery stores. You can also offset the higher cost by eating smaller servings of meat. Americans tend to eat much higher servings than is healthy.

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