Each year The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a public health research organization, sets out to test which fruits and vegetables are being sprayed most heavily with pesticides. They form a list to better inform the population on what is going on their food (and in our bodies). Each year they publish a list of the 12 most heavily sprayed fruits and vegetables, and the produce with the lowest levels of toxins.
Buying organic can be expensive, but so is getting sick after years of exposure (and hello bioaccumulation!) to these chemicals. We now know that these chemicals are being found in high levels in the umbilical cords of newborns. They can also be found in breast milk, which means our exposure starts very early in life. This is why we love the clean fifteen list – it lets us know where we should prioritize paying for and sourcing organic produce.
Reasons to buy organic (and follow the clean fifteen):
- Better soil quality and higher nutrient content of fruits and vegetables grown on organic farms
- Pesticide and herbicide exposure accumulates in our tissues, thus buy organic to decrease your toxic load
- Pesticides and herbicides are well researched for disrupting our hormones by mimicking them within our cells, thus increasing risk of hormone related cancers and impacting infertility
Top tips to lower the pesticide content of our food:
- Scrub with a produce brush
- Wash all produce
- Remove what you can i.e. out layers of cabbage, romaine
- Grow your own herb garden
- Purchase from local organic farms for higher nutrient content
A note on organic meats:
This list doesn’t cover organic animal products or grains. Grains are tiny in size and thus have a high surface area that can be exposed to chemicals. Non – organic grains are often genetically modified. When it comes to GMO’s, there are no long terms research to suggest this won’t have an impact on our health. If you can’t seek organic quinoa for example, look for a non GMO label and rinse / soak your quinoa well.
Animal products have more than pesticides and herbicides, you are what you eat, eats! Animal products also have antibiotic and growth hormones present. Buy organic chicken, turkey and eggs where possible for less exposure and better quality fats.
We encourage you to check out EWG’s list and make small changes towards buying organic produce!
EWG Shopper’s Guide can be found here: https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/clean-fifteen.php