The benefits of eating fruits and vegetables at every single meal is endless! It is important that we nourish our body with the highest quality food possible with the lowest pesticide residue. Buying organic is one of the ways that you can ensure you are eating clean, non-genetically-modified, nutrient dense food.
Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases their annual Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list. The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 refers respectively to the fruits and vegetables that are the most and the least likely to harbor pesticide residues, according to the EWG.
The Dirty Dozen have the highest level of toxic organophosphate insecticides. The Clean 15 are the lowest level of pesticides.
This list should in no way deter you from eating fruits and vegetables. However, it should make you more aware that the chemicals used to fumigate soil and kill weeds, microbes and bugs has some unwanted side effects, including killing soil health and beneficial microbes. Also, pesticides are linked to dozens of health problems, including certain cancers, symptoms of ADHD, autism, Parkinson’s and a whole host of other issues.
Again, always eat your veggies! But make informed choices in the produce aisle to help minimize your pesticide consumption especially when it comes to the Dirty Dozen items.
How to Tell if Produce is Genetically Modified, Organic or Conventionally Grown
Conventionally grown produce will have a 4-digit code sticker starting with the number 4.
Organic produce will be labelled with 5 digits and will begin with the number 9. However, sometimes a product is labelled as organic and it may not be fully organic. 100% organic label is the ideal label when it comes to searching for quality organic food products.
Genetically modified produce will start with the number 8 and often assigned with 5 digits. Products labelled "Non-GMO" or "GMO-free" are statements that indicate the absence of genetically modified ingredients.
Systemic pesticides are inside the produce and we can't wash and/or peel our way out of the problem. However, we can clean our produce with a homemade natural apple cider vinegar produce wash to remove some residents.
Here's the recipe:
- In a large mixing bowl, place produce in the bottom and fill with water until covered.
- Add a generous splash of apple cider vinegar (about 1/4 cup) and let sit for 15 minutes, turning the produce frequently to get all the outside produce immersed in the solution.
- After thoroughly soaked, simply drain the bowl and rinse produce with plain water.
- Dry produce and eat or store in your refrigerator.