The Dirty Dozen
Organic foods used to be only in health food stores, but now they can be found regularly in most supermarkets. This has stirred up quite a debate, not only between my wife and I, but the whole country. Is organic food safer? More nutritious? Worth the money? Organic foods are foods that have been produced using methods without synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and do not contain genetically modified organisms. They are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives. It is important to point out that if one currently consumes minimal vegetables, then worrying about whether organic vegetables are better than non-organic is pointless, first you need to actually include produce in the diet because eating pesticide treated produce is better than not eating any at all. There are countless studies that show the consumption of produce, whether organic or not, is related to lower rates of cancer and increased disease prevention. But if you already eat plenty of nutrient rich produce in your diet then there ARE many benefits to making the switch to organic. Organic produce usually has more nutrients, especially minerals and antioxidants. Organic apples, plums, blueberries, grapes, strawberries, and corn have all been shown to have higher antioxidant capacities than their non-organic alternatives. Scientists believe that when plants are grown without pesticides they are forced to deal with the stress of insects which forces them to produce more antioxidant compounds, which is of course better for us and our immune systems. You’re probably wondering why this blog is called the dirty dozen. Well, the Environmental Working Group provides periodic lists of produce they call the ‘Dirty Dozen’ (highest in pesticides), and the ‘Clean 15’ (lowest in pesticides). The most recent dirty dozen list consists of celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, potatoes, and imported grapes. These foods should be bought organic whenever possible. 97% of peaches test positive for pesticides and have the most pesticide residue of all fruits. The most pesticide-laden vegetables are celery and bell peppers, with 64 different pesticides found on them. Imported are more likely to contain high levels of pesticides. The ‘Clean 15’ which are generally the lowest in pesticides and therefore not as beneficial to buy organic are onion, avacado, sweet corn, pineapple, mango, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potato, and honeydew melon. Organic cropland in the US has increased 5 fold since 1995 but still only accounts for .57% of total cropland. By supporting organic agriculture the demand for organic produce will increase and decrease the percentage of farmland and workers exposed to harmful agricultural chemicals. If a lot of non-organic, pesticide treated produce is consumed from the ‘Dirty Dozen’ list the body is most likely toxic because of it and a Metabolic Rejuvenation Program would be advised. To recap, eating pesticide treated produce is better than eating no produce at all. But organic produce is better for overall health, immune system, and the environment. Make the switch today and immediately feel better for it. Not to mention organic foods taste better!