The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen

*Updated as of August 2019*

As many of you know, I am totally obsessed with being healthy and eating green. But I want to stress something to you that I may have overlooked in my previous posts….the importance of buying organic produce.

Oftentimes, when we are shopping at the supermarket and notice that organic fruits and veggies are more expensive than conventionally grown produce, we grab what’s less expensive. Since it all looks similar, we assume we are making a good choice. It’s better than buying chips and dip, right?

 

I hate to break it to you but buying organic is one of the single best things you can do for your health…..and the health of the planet. Most conventional produce is bombarded with pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and fungicides. These chemicals may help keep the plants alive (kinda) but the price is too high to pay. Quite frankly, they are poisons that end up in our soil, water, food and most problematic, our bodies. Plus, many are known neurotoxins (which means they damage of nervous system) AND carcinogenic. And you thought eating an apple a day was healthy!

With organic farming, care is given to the soil to maintain its nutrient density. And instead of chemicals and poisons for pest control, they use natural fertilizers and other earth friendly remedies to maintain productive crop yields. Even more, by eating organic food, you avoid contaminating your body with excess chemicals of which are known to cause cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, endocrine dysfunction, birth defects, ADHD, behavioral and neurological problems and many more frightening diseases.

 

Luckily, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), one of my fav activist groups in the country, developed two lists called the Dirty Dozen, naming the top 12 worst offenders in the produce market in terms the amount of chemicals sprayed, and the Clean Fifteen, a list of what’s least contaminated and safe to purchase and consume if not organic. As of 2012, the EWG has expended the Dirty Dozen with a Plus category to highlight two crops, summer squash and leafy greens, because both were found to have high levels of toxic pesticides. So if you don’t have enough money to buy ALL your fruits and veggies organic, you can use these lists as a guide.

The Dirty Dozen includes:

Strawberries

Spinach

Kale

Nectarines

Apples

Grapes

Peaches

Cherries

Pears

Tomatoes

Celery

Potatoes

* A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.

 

And the Clean 15:

Avocado

Sweet Corn

Pineapples

Frozen Sweet Peas

Onion

Papayas

Eggplants

Asparagus

Kiwis

Cabbage

Cantaloupes

Cauliflower

Broccoli

Mushrooms

Honeydew Melon

Despite the higher price tag, when you take into account all the damage and danger conventional farming causes, both to ourselves and the planet, it’s easy to understand why organic produce is substantially better for you and the earth. Plus, organic crops have greater concentrations of antioxidants and vitamins, anywhere from 10-30 percent higher!

So please, continue to eat a diet in fresh fruits and veggies and as much as possible, buy organic. You can lower your pesticide intake (and avoid yucky diseases) by simply buying organic varieties of the Dirty Dozen!

 

To donate to the EWG, please click here.

 

To get a small downloadable guide for the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen, please click here.