I constantly get asked, “Is organic really better? Is there really any difference?” In some cases we can be fooled by the “organic” label, but given the dangers of pesticides it is best to choose organic when possible. Pesticides can stay on foods despite washing and can stick around in our bodies for years {especially with the kind of congestion our detox pathways can be up against now a days!} Here are some interesting facts I pulled from a wonderful site on pesticides:

  • An average American child gets 5+ servings of pesticide residues in their food and water each day.
  • 888 million lbs of pesticides are applied each year in the US- that’s about 3 lbs per person each year.
  • Atrazine, a pesticide, is found in 94% of drinking water in the US. Banned in Europe, atrazine disrupts hormone systems.
  • Six suspected hormone disruptors were found on cranberries. These chemicals are linked to cancers, obesity and developmental disorders.
  • 14 different pesticide residues were detected in one strawberry sample. 697 of 741 tested positive for residues.

Um, I don’t know about you, but that scares me. Of course it is impossible to avoid pesticides completely, but I think the effort put in to avoiding them {without being a maniac about it} is well worth it.

I have a lot of friends/family who challenge me on this topic. I think the evidence is quite loud and clear if you do a little research on the subject. I looked up apples and there were 42 pesticide residues found by the USDA Pesticide Data Program. Of these 42 pesticide residues 13 are known or possible carcinogens {cancer causing}, 18 suspected hormone disruptors, 10 neurotoxins and 6 developmental or reproductive toxins. That was just apples my friends! Blueberries had 52 pesticide residues, grapes had 34 and celery {the dirtiest of them all} had 64! Enough said. You make the choice.

How can we make buying organic practical and easier our wallets?

If budget or availability is an obstacle for choosing organic, consider these two points…

Some produce contains higher amounts of pesticides than others due to such things as water content, the softness of the skin or where it is produced. Choosing to buy these higher pesticide containing foods {the “Dirty Dozen”…see below} in the organic variety may be a better choice while being less strict about the foods that contain less pesticide residues {the “Clean 15”…see below} as you transition into the “organic” lifestyle.

Eating seasonally is another great way to cut down on the cost of produce. Fruits and vegetables that are in season are much more affordable as they are naturally abundant during certain times of the year. This can be a difficult task as we have grown accustomed to eating most foods year round because of our ability to transport foods from all over the world. Try choosing dishes and recipes based around produce that is in season and you’ll save yourself a penny or two.

Hopefully these tips will be helpful in easing the transition and make your grocery list more affordable, not to mention colorful!

Don’t hesitate to leave comments/questions!

The “Dirty Dozen”

1. Apples

2. Celery

3. Strawberries

4. Peaches

5. Spinach

6. Nectarines (Imported)

7. Grapes (Imported)

8. Sweet Bell Peppers

9. Potatoes

10. Blueberries

11. Lettuce

12. Kale/Collard Greens

The “Clean 15”

1. Onions

2. Sweet Corn

3. Pineapples

4. Avocados

5. Asparagus

6. Sweet Peas

7. Mangoes

8. Eggplant

9. Cantaloupe (domestic)

10. Kiwis

11. Cabbage

12. Watermelon

13. Sweet potatoes

14. Grapefruit

15. Mushrooms

Enjoy your flavorful and ooberly delicious produce! And don’t forget to SHINE BRIGHT!