First of all – Keep eating lots and lots of fruits and veggies. Actually, EAT MORE! We all know that the this is the best fuel for your body. That said, if you haven’t heard of the “Dirty Dozen” before here is a quick rundown:
Every year, since 2004, The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has put out a raking of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that were the most and the least contaminated by pesticides – The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen. This raking was based on laboratory tests by the USDA Pesticide Testing Program and the Food and Drug Administration. This DOES NOT evaluate absorption of pesticides, the type of pesticides found (not all are created equally harmful to you). However, all are tested as they are typically eaten, “For example, bananas are peeled before testing, and blueberries and peaches are washed. Because all produce has been thoroughly cleaned before analysis, washing a fruit or vegetable would not change its ranking in EWG’s Shopper’s Guide.”* You can read the report here.
Dirty Dozen List
- Sweet Bell Peppers
Clean 15 List
- Sweet corn
- Frozen Sweet Peas
The recommendations the EWG makes is whenever possible get The Dirty Dozen Organic. What does Organic mean? Well, “Organic is a designation used by the USDA National Organic Program to certify food that was produced without synthetic chemicals or fertilizers, genetic engineering, radiation or sewage sludge.”* This means they are still using things to control pests, and some are still very toxic. You can see the whole list here. So, the take away here is The Dirty Dozen are probably best if purchased organic, but grown at home is always the best. With anything, the more you know the better. There is NOTHING better than a home garden. (think spinach.. lots, and lots, of spinach)
Take a good look at what fruits and veggies you are getting. Not only how many servings you are eating, but also how many different types you are getting. Here are a few good tips for getting your nutrition on!
- ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS wash your produce.
- Try eating every color in the rainbow each week. Fruit and Veggie Color List
- Before you say “no” to a new fruit or vegetable try at least 2 different preparations – Unless it is beets. There is no saving those suckers, I know they are really healthy so even I choke them down from time to time. If you like them – You’re crazy and blessed, and maybe an alien.
- Please don’t use them solely as a delivery method for ranch dressing or whipped cream… cause I’ve never done that like ever (that dill dip though).
- Look at labels! If it is prepackaged like a veggie tray, there are almost always hidden ingredients like preservatives and, lord help me, the sugar and salt!
Megan is an Integrative Wellness and Life Coach