Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thrifty Thursday - The Dirty Dozen & The Clean Fifteen Fruits and Veggies

After a few weeks of mentioning The Clean 15 and The Dirty Dozen during the weekly deals, I'm finally gonna explain them. So we know that we should eat more fruits and vegetables, and also that organic produce is preferred. But what happens when your budget doesn't allow for you to buy all organic produce? Well, that's where the dirty dozen and clean 15 come in. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) put together a list of produce that will help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic. You can lower your pesticide intake substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated produce.

The EWG recommends buying organic whenever possible. Not only is it smart to reduce your exposure to pesticides, but buying organic sends a message that you support environmentally friendly farming practices that minimize soil erosion, safeguard workers and protect water quality and wildlife. However, they know that organics are not accessible or affordable for everyone, so they created the Shopper's Guide to help consumers make the healthiest choices given their circumstances. EWG always recommends eating fruits and vegetables, even conventionally grown, over processed foods and other less healthy alternatives. (Paragraph borrowed from EWG FAQ section)

Pesticides are toxic by design. They are created expressly to kill living organisms -- insects, plants, and fungi that are considered "pests". Many pesticides pose health dangers to people. These risks have been established by independent research scientists and physicians accross the world. As acknowledged by U.S. and international government agencies, different pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems, including: brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone disruption, skin, eye and lung irritation. Now, if you pick five servings of fruits and vegetables from the 12 most contaminated would cause you to consume an average of 14 different pesticides a day. However, if you choose five servings from the 15 least contaminated fruits and vegetables, you'll consume fewer than two pesticides per day. (Paragraph borrowed from EWG FAQ section)

You can check out the EWG's website for more info, it's very easy to read and understand. It's also quite fascinating! You can also download the EWG app for your smartphone so you can reference the list while you're at the grocery store. You can also find the full list of fruits and veggies here, the lower the numbers = more pesticides.

Introducing 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 - Domestic
11. Lettuce
12. Kale/Collard Greens

And Last But Not Least, The Clean 15 -
1. Onions
2. Sweet Corn
3. Pineapples
4. Avocado
5. Asparagus
6. Sweet Peas
7. Mangoes
8. Eggplant
9. Cantaloupe - Domestic
10. Kiwi
11. Cabbage
12. Watermelon
13. Sweet Potatoes
14. Grapefruit
15. Mushrooms

I hope you find this information helpful, and that it helps you eat better and keep your budget down!

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