“Dirty Dozen, Clean 15” – a handy guide to knowing which produce is the dirtiest with pesticides

"Dirty Dozen, Clean 15" - a handy guide to knowing which produce is the dirtiest with pesticides

Can we eat just a little dirty?

Is it possible to compromise sometimes on eating only organic fruits and vegetables? How can you know when it’s ok to eat conventional produce?

The Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) is an amazing non-profit organization that does a lot of work for us in answering these questions.

Every year, this amazing organization tests the pesticide level of hundreds (thousands?) of foods to see which are most saturated with pesticides, when produced conventionally. This can change significantly year by year, with foods rising in either non-toxicity…or in toxicity (hello, kale, I see your dirty self over there).

Why it's important

Of course, there are many reasons to eat organically. Besides the obvious health impact of reducing chemicals that we eat, something dear to my heart is the importance of supporting regenerative farming practices and the farmers who use them.

This is huge for our family. I want to do my part in healing the earth for my children and my children’s children. I know that without a healthy soil microbiome, it’s very difficult if not impossible to grow foods rich in all the healthy components necessary to build up our own healthy microbiome. Depleted soil = depleted nutrients = depleted building blocks for us to build health.

The health of our dirt is the health of our planet!

I want to support the innovators working to correct our depleted soil, growing foods in soils rich with worms, natural symbiotic organisms, and most importantly, without using glyphosate (RoundUp).

But sometimes it's hard...

However, what about those times times it’s difficult to obtain organic produce? Perhaps you’re traveling, or you live in an environment where less organic produce is available overall, or you’re eating at a restaurant, or maybe the organic produce available to you is much more expensive than conventionally grown and your budget is straining.

This post is for you!

Use the chart below to know which foods you should absolutely NOT compromise on, and make sure to buy (or grow) those items organically. These are the “Dirty Dozen,” meaning that when grown conventionally, these food are THE MOST chemically saturated (for example – only ever eat organic strawberries, because conventionally grown strawberries are loaded with pesticides). 

"Clean 15, Dirty Dozen" handy guide

The “Clean 15” are foods (ex: avocados) that bear a lighter chemical load when produced conventionally. These foods are where you can compromise if you need to, and purchase non-organic.

I ALWAYS default to organic, non-GMO, except when the control is completely out of my hands. For example, if I am eating out or dining at a friend’s, I go with my best choice of what is offered, and I don’t make a stink!

What else you’ll find at EWG.org

The EWG.org “Skin Deep” database lets you evaluate the safety of your personal products, like shampoos, skin care, and cosmetics. There is also a data base of household cleaning products. A super important list they curate: healthy sunscreen. EWG.org ranks all these products according to the toxic and even carcinogenic products they contain. They even have an app.

And – find out how safe your water is!

EWG.org also maintains a database of water quality according to municipalities, according to 31 million state water records. Check yours simply by entering your zip code. VERY important, because even if you don’t drink your tap water, you are exposed to the chemicals it contains as you shower, bathe, wash dishes, use for car washing, etc.

Linda and I support this organization with our charity dollars, and hope you will please consider doing so as well. Several times a year they offer a great “swag” bag for donors. Closer to the summer, it’s full of healthy sunscreens. Linda found some new favorites in a cosmetic-focused swag bag, and right now, they are offering a “sustainable swaps” holiday-focused compilation.

Join me in improving your health – and the health of our planet for everyone alive now and those yet unborn – by using resources such as the Environmental Working Group’s “Clean 15, Dirty Dozen” guide below – and make sure to share this post with those you care about. 

The daily small choices you make over and over have HUGE impact on your well being!

Dirty 12/Clean 15 List

Always looking out for you!

Dr. Wade

Share this with someone you care about.

Leave me your comments about switches you have made in your home to get healthier.

Dr. Wade Binley, DC CFMP

Dr. Wade Binley, DC CFMP

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