The first week we went Paleo, everything we bought was organic, or cage free, or grass-fed. Our shopping bills went through the roof. We needed to figure out how to balance our desire to eat clean while working on a budget. The answer came in the form of the Dirty Dozen.
Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes two different lists - The Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15. The Dirty Dozen outlines the 12 fruits and vegetables that contain the highest levels of pesticide residue. The Clean 15 outlines the 15 fruits and vegetables with the least amounts of pesticide residue. We decided we would spend the extra money to buy organic only those items listed on the Dirty Dozen. The Clean 15 gave us confidence that we don't necessarily need to purchase those items as organic if they weren't really cost-effective. When we do make organic purchases outside of the Dirty Dozen it is because there is a sale, or a general agreement between us that the organic version tastes much better (e.g. bananas). Or it's my birthday, when I pretty much do what I want.
So here they are, in all their glory:
The Dirty Dozen 2011 (in alphabetical order)
- Blueberries (domestic)
- Grapes (imported)
- Kale/Collard Greens
- Nectarines (imported)
- Sweet Bell Peppers
The Clean 15 2011 (in alphabetical order)
- Cantaloupe (domestic)
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas
- Sweet Potatoes
Check out the Environmental Working Group's website for more information: