Organic vs. Non-organic. It’s the million dollar question. Non-organic produce is prettier and bigger and doesn’t have bugs in it. BUT it’s been sprayed with poison. Organic produce is usually more expensive, smaller, uglier, and often has little worms or bugs, but no toxins. The scary thing for me is that we don’t know what kind of damage pesticides are doing to us. Are they causing cancers or other physical and mental ailments? We just don’t know… There are lots of differing opinions out there and it is an evolving issue in that pesticide regulations and FDA regulations keep changing and we keep finding out more. I’m reading Dr. Weil’s book right now (on my sidebar) and he is all about whole foods, so I was curious to see what he said.
On page 58: “What about pesticide residues? Should [we] be worried? In a word, yes.” He goes on to explain about the heavy chemicals and poisons that are sprayed on crops and that we still don’t know the long term effects of them. Although washing produce, even with soap or special pesticide removers (don’t waste your money) gets a little bit off the outside, many chemicals are sprayed on fruits and veggies during germination so it gets into the roots and into the flesh of the produce. In this case there is no amount of peeling or washing that can get it out.
The good news is that many fruits and veggies are considered “clean” in that the pesticides can’t get through the thick skins, or they are not sprayed while growing. You might have heard of the “dirty dozen” and the “clean fifteen.”
Here they are:
Dirty Dozen (as in try to get these organic if you can)
- Bell Peppers
- Imported Grapes (U.S. grown is ok)
Clean Fifteen (limited exposure to pesticides)
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
- Kiwi fruit
- Sweet potatoes
- Sweet onions
The summer is so amazing because of all the local farmers markets and fresh produce stands. Local produce really does taste so much better. There is an organic farm just a mile from my house and their peaches are like candy. I seriously couldn’t get enough and neither could my kids. Grocery stores get lots of their produce from California or Florida or a million miles away, so they pick it before it’s ripe so it doesn’t spoil during the truck ride.
Here is a regular tomato from the grocery store:
And one from my garden (no spray):
Look how RED it is. I can guarantee you it was 10 times tastier. And better for us.
Bottom line: Do what you can. At least try to steer clear of the dirty dozen. Buy local or grow your own when possible. Don’t stress about the rest.