About a year ago I decided to switch to buying organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible.
The crazy amount of pesticides and chemicals sprayed on commercial produce can really take a toll on our bodies in the long run. Our bodies were never made to process any of those chemicals.
Many produce farms have warning signs like this. If it isn’t safe to enter, how can it be safe to eat?
Have you ever wondered why the rates of diseases like cancer are climbing in our generation? A few generations back, cancer was rarer but these days, it seems like everybody left, right and center is falling terminally ill. A lot of it has to do with what we feed our bodies. Introducing foreign substances can be so harmful, and it all adds up in the long run.
Long term pesticide exposure have been linked to cancers, skin disease, kidney complications, reproductive disorders and hormonal related disease in farmers handling commercial produce on a daily basis. Granted, we aren’t exposed to these chemicals in the same amount, but why risk it? Even small exposures can add up over a lifetime.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG), an international nonprofit initiative partnered with federal agencies to launch a 9 year research study performing pesticide tests on produce. The results found were shocking.
The Dirty Dozen
These produce were found with the highest concentration of pesticide and chemical residue. Try to buy these in organic form whenever possible.
- Sweet bell peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Snap peas
Next, these contain organophosphate insecticides, which EWG characterizes as “highly toxic” and of extreme concern:
- Hot peppers
Apples top the Dirty Dozen list.
If I Cannot Afford/Refuse to Switch to Organic Produce, What Can I Do?
- Opt for fruits with a thick outer core
The thick outer skin makes it harder for sprayed pesticides to penetrate the edible fruit. Thus there is less chance of consuming the dangerous chemicals as compared to fruits/veggies with thinner skin. Examples are avocados, cantaloupe (melons), durians and oranges.
Peel off the outer layer. Yes some nutrients may be lost but it is better than ingesting toxins. Vegetables like carrots are generally safe after peeling off the outer layer.
- Fruit Washer
Buy a vegetable/fruit washer. Certain stores like Cold Storage carry organic washers specifically formulated to remove pesticides.
- Soak With Vinegar
If you don’t want to buy a fruit washer, make your own soak with vinegar. Mix 3 parts water with 1 part vinegar. Soak produce for 10 minutes to remove wax and pesticides.
- Grow your own!
This is the best way to ensure you are eating safe produce. For those with the luxury of having a garden, plant your own fruit. It is easy enough! Back home, my family has a whole garden full of homegrown organic fruits and vegetables.
- Refer to this list
The Dirty Dozen is a list of produce with the most alarming concentration of pesticides. Produce in the Clean 15 list are generally safer to consume.