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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Avoiding Pesticides in Produce

When you're buying produce, do you ever wonder which foods are the highest in pesticides and which are the lowest? I know I have. JunkMale and I would love to be able to afford organic everything, but it's just not possible with our budget. We have to prioritize. But how do we know which foods are OK to buy regular and which should be bought organic?

The good news is that there have been studies done that tell you which are the worst/best produce items as far as pesticides go. I am going to reproduce one of these lists for you here:

High Pesticide Foods (buy organic):

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Bell Pepper
  • Celery
  • Nectarine
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Grapes
  • Carrots
  • Pears
Lowest in Pesticides (ok to buy regular produce):
  • Onion
  • Avacado
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Papaya
  • Watermelon
  • Broccoli
  • Tomato
  • Sweet Potato
I can vouch for the strawberries and apples being high in pesticides. When I eat non-organic strawberries and unpeeled non-organic apples, my throat and tongue feel a bit thick and swollen. I used to think I was slightly allergic to apple peels and strawberries. But I have since learned that I can eat organic strawberries and organic apples (peel and all) with absolutely no throat-closing incidents. S0 apparently I'm just allergic to the pesticides. I'm surprised that broccoli and corn are so low in pesticides, but happy to hear it.

According to the information compiled by the researchers, people who eat the foods highest in pesticides consume - on average - 10 different pesticides a day. Eating the foods lowest in pesticides exposes you to about 2 pesticides a day. Washing doesn't do enough to help. Peeling helps a bit more, but you lose valuable nutrients.

How do you prioritize your produce purchases? Do you buy organic all the time? None of the time? Whatever's on sale (Mom)?

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4 have poured out their souls in electronic text:

  • Laura

    We can get organic chicken for $1.39/lb on sale and organic milk and eggs for only slightly more than the regular price.

    Somehow, though, most organic produce is way more expensive than the regular version. Many aren't even available organic at our local stores. So we have just a few that we get organic -- carrots, celery, occasionally bananas (the flavor is so much better, they last longer before going bad, and it's only pennies more) -- and the rest we get regular. If I could grow my own, I'd add peaches, apples, strawberries, pears, and lettuce. One day...

  • Harmony

    Organic meat and dairy are super expensive down here. We can't afford organic eggs, either, although we do get a decent price on the 18-packs of Egglands Best.

    Most organic produce is really expensive at the regular grocery stores, but if I go to Trader Joe's, the cost of organic produce is only a tad bit more expensive than normal. They have excellent prices on organic apples, which we have taken full advantage of.

  • christopherclark

    I do almost 100% of my shopping at healthier grocery stores like Henry's, Mother's Market, or Trader Joe's. They have a great variety of organic produce and other products. I buy only organic milk and eggs, and meat if I can afford it (that's usually a little pricier)

    I do my best to only buy all organic produce to avoid pesticides, to support sustainable farming. It's better for your body, it's better for the environment, and it's better for the workers running the farm. And it's the way people farmed hundreds of years ago before DDT was invented.

    If you buy organic produce at a healthier grocery store, they're only pennies more than regular produce, and they taste much better.

    These kinds of grocery stores also sell dry goods in bulk, like flours, cereals, dry beans, lentils, rice, pasta, nuts, etc. And it helps me to make things at home instead of buying them pre-bought. Sometimes it's not that much more work, it's WAY cheaper, and let's me spend more time at home with my girlfriend!

    My demographic, in case your tracking readership:
    Liberal
    Agnostic
    Alternative medicine supporter
    A person who loves staying home and cooking healthy meals instead of eating processed store bought!

  • JunkMale

    Hi Chris,

    We loooove Trader Joe's. That would be our main grocery store if there was one closer by. Currently, the closest one is about 25 minutes from here, while we have 5 or 6 grocery stores within 10 minutes drive. But the good thing is that Trader Joe's is on the way to Harmony's midwife office, so we stop by there every time.

    Our main reason for buying produce is largely selfish ;) It's better for us, so that's why we do it as much as our budget will allow. Of course, even better is planting your own, which (if you've looked around) you should have seen here.

    (how did you find your way here anyways?)