Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Dirty Dozen (and the Clean 15)

When we made the switch to Paleo we started to learn about the real effect the food we consume actually has on our bodies and overall health. We realized that it's not only about the type of food you are eating, but also how that food was cultivated. To me, the word "organic" just used to mean "expensive". But after much reading I've come to see that organic fruits and vegetables not only have fewer levels of pesticide residue, they on average also have more nutrients.

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)
  • Apples
  • Blueberries (domestic)
  • Celery
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Kale/Collard Greens
  • Lettuce
  • Nectarines (imported)
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet Bell Peppers

The Clean 15 2011 (in alphabetical order)
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe (domestic)
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Pineapples
  • Sweet Corn
  • Sweet Peas
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Watermelon

Check out the Environmental Working Group's website for more information:

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