Should I buy Organic?

The definition of a pesticide is “any substance used to kill, repel, or control certain forms of plant or animal life”. Pesticides on our food can affect the nervous system, disrupt hormones and cause cancer. It is best to choose organic produce as much as possible! The Environmental Working Group ( puts out a list every year with the Dirty Dozen (the produce you should definitely buy organic) and the Clean Fifteen (the produce you don’t need to). Keep in mind that choosing organic is always the best for the overall environment, and when you can choose local!
• People who eat organic produce eat fewer pesticides!
• A recent study found that people who report they “often or always” buy organic produce had significantly less organophosphate insecticides in their urine samples, even though they reported eating 70 percent more servings of fruits and vegetables per day than adults reporting they “rarely or never” purchase organic produce
• Several long-term observational studies have indicated that organophosphate insecticides may impair children’s brain development.
• The pediatricians’ organization cited research that linked pesticide exposures in early life and “pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems.”

EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce
• Calculates that USDA tests found a total 165 different pesticides on thousands of fruit and vegetables samples examined in 2013.
• Pesticides persisted on fruits and vegetables tested by USDA, even when they were washed and, in some cases, peeled.

Dirty Dozen:image (1)
• EWG singles out produce with the highest pesticide loads for its Dirty Dozen™ list. Each of these foods tested positive a number of different pesticide residues and showed higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce items.
• Apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes, plus Kale, collards and hot peppers
• 99 percent of apple samples, 98 percent of peaches, and 97 percent of nectarines tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
• The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce.
• A single grape sample and a sweet bell pepper sample contained 15 pesticides
• Single samples of cherry tomatoes, nectarines, peaches, imported snap peas and strawberries showed 13 different pesticides apiece.

The Clean Fifteen™
• EWG’s Clean Fifteen™ list of produce least likely to hold pesticide residues. Relatively few pesticides were detected on these foods, and tests found low total concentrations of pesticides on them.
• Avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and sweet potatoes
• Avocados were the cleanest: only 1 percent of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.
• Some 89 percent of pineapples, 82 percent of kiwi, 80 percent of papayas, 88 percent of mango and 61 percent of cantaloupe had no residues.
• No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen™ tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides
• Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen™ vegetables. Only 5.5 percent of Clean Fifteen samples had two or more pesticides.

See the full list at

Veggie Wash Recipes
If you do purchase non-organic produce form the dirty dozen, to help wash them use the following fruit and veggie homemade wash recipes.

Wash Recipe 1
• 2 cups of cold tap water
• 1/4 cup of white vinegar
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Mix these ingredients well together and pour into a spray bottle. Squirt your produce 2-3 times, let it rest for two minutes on the produce and then rinse off with more tap water before consuming

Wash Recipe 2
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/2 cup vinegar
• 2 tablespoons salt
This mixture is more concentrated, and should be used as a half-hour soak for your dirty dozen fruits and veggies. The salt will help to draw out the bugs and the vinegar works to cleanse!

Watch the segment here: