Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Newlywed Nutrition: The Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen

Organic? Pesticides? Chemicals? WHAT!!! Sometimes going to the produce section of the grocery can be more of a headache than it needs to be. With every grocery store offering a wider selection of organic goodies it's hard to figure out what is really worth buying organic or not -especially when organic can be so dang expensive!! $5.00 for a red bell pepper? No thank you! So how do you figure out what produce is worth buying organic? Follow the rules of The Environmental Working Group and their list of "Dirty Dozen" high pesticide produce and the "Clean Fifteen" lower pesticide produce and you'll be off to a good start!**

The clean 15 and the Dirty dozen is a list of produce that is split between what should always be bought organically, and what is ok to buy from the regular section of the grocers produce section. If you notice, most of the ''clean'' products have a hard shell or peel that shelters the fruit/veggie from the harsh pesticides or chemicals. Also many of the ''clean'' products are heartier and tougher.
The Dirty Dozen 
domestic blueberries
sweet bell peppers
spinach, kale and collard greens
imported grapes

The Clean Fifteen
sweet corn
sweet peas
kiwi fruit
sweet potatoes
sweet onions

 My Paper Crane came up with this adorable cheat sheet that you can pop into your bag when you go shopping.


Now keep in mind that these 2 lists were compiled using conventionally grown produce and no matter what, when buying non-organic produce even the ''clean'' products will have traces of chemicals and pesticides in them. There is just no getting past the fact that in order to grow thousands of tomatoes at a very low price, chemicals are needed to keep the product fresh and cheap. With that said, remember to ALWAYS clean your produce before eating (even if they have a peel) to help lower the amount of chemicals even more.

** I am in no way trying to push anyone to go organic or change their eating habits. Nick and I don't even eat purely organic foods nor do I think we need to. However, when it comes to foods such as produce I do try to be a bit more careful with chemicals/pesticides etc as the chemicals tend to be higher and much more present than in, lets say, a pasta product. I am more of a firm believer of buying locally grown in season products. This is because when produce is grown and sold in season, they have a much less need for pesticides and chemicals than those items that are trying to be grown out of season (they won't grow as big or flavorful during the off season without the help of chemicals). These farms are also trying to grow thousands of tomatoes to service a large grocery store chain- these local farms tend to have less stock but are better in quality. 

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