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To choose organic or not to choose organic?

to choose organic or not

Is it just me, or does the answer to whether or not to choose organic keep changing?

For many years, I’ve been a strong believer in consuming mostly organic produce and packaged goods whenever possible. When it comes to produce, I’ve been ESPECIALLY picky in choosing organic for items appearing on the dirty dozen list. I basically stopped eating strawberries for years since certified organic is often unavailable. Since strawberries have been the number 1 offender on the dirty dozen list multiple times, it makes sense to just avoid them, right?

Okay, so let’s put strawberries aside for a moment, and look at the rest of the list below.

EWG’s 2018 Dirty Dozen (1)

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Grapes
  6. Peaches
  7. Cherries
  8. Pears
  9. Tomatoes
  10. Celery
  11. Potatoes
  12. Sweet Bell Peppers

Keep in mind, this list changes slightly each year and is based on the data and pesticide use from samples in the previous year. So, the 2018 dirty dozen list is determined by samples gathered and tested for pesticide use in 2017 produce samples. See the problem? Now someone will argue that, yes even though there are a few changes, many of the 12 items will be repeat offenders from year to year. So as long as you’re avoiding conventional produce for these 12 items, you’re doing okay right?

However, we do occasionally see a new item that makes the list which wasn’t found on the previous years list. For example, even though cherry tomatoes have often made the list, regular tomatoes were not included in the dirty dozen list in 2015, however, it did appear in 2016. I remember the shock and disappointment I felt when I saw this change. Being Italian, we use tomatoes and tomato sauce a LOT! (Think pasta, pizza…yummm) So, when using the dirty dozen list as our guide to buying organic (again, based on last years info) you may be consuming a very dirty produce item and not realize it until the following years list is available. So now you’re thinking, should we just be buying organic everything whenever possible? Well, that’s a personal choice, and a tough one, but for most of us, it’s simply not affordable.

When it comes to packaged foods, more importantly than buying organic (in my humble opinion) is reading the ingredients. Typically, the less ingredients in that box of cereal, or packaged granola bars, the better. Especially be on the lookout for the ingredients you can’t pronounce or don’t recognize as these will usually be preservatives or other chemical ingredients.

Over the last little while, I’ve been trying to incorporate more and more plant based menu options in this healthy kitchen of mine. Because of this, my stance on whether or not to choose organic has slowly been changing. Where I once avoided ‘dirty items’ when I couldn’t find organic alternatives, I will now choose what’s available. So, if I really want strawberries and the grocery store only has conventional strawberries available, yes I’ll now buy them. After all, that “dirty” strawberry is probably still better for you than a bag of potato chips!

What do you guys think? Do you always choose organic? Some organic? Let me know in the comments below! 

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    I used to buy all organic produce, then I slowly started buying some conventional produce and now, although I prefer organic and will look for that first, I’ll buy what’s available because imo it’s probably better to have the nutrients from that fruit/veg than to go without. I also started washing my produce in water with baking soda to help remove as much pesticide residue as possible. (Ratio: 2 cups of water and 1 tbsp baking soda). Let your fruits/veg sit in a bowl with of water/b.s. for 10 minutes then give it a good rinse with running water to rinse off the baking soda.

  2. Jessica McLaughlin

    I totally feel you on this.
    I try to consult the list on a shopping by shopping basis. In all honesty convenience wins out most often; although I am buying much more organic than I ever have.
    And plant based is slowly creeping into our home as well. I’m loving the changes. 🙂

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