11 Aug The Basics of Organic Eating and the Dirty Dozen
When I write about cooking and eating food I always make it a point to push for organic (and ideally local) produce, but it’s important that you understand why. Many people do not grasp what organic really means or why eating organic foods is so crucial to a healthy body and a long life.
Organic foods are those which have grown without the use of pesticides, fungicides, or other poisons. Organic foods are also non-GMO (genetically modified), and are grown in soil that is not laced with chemicals. The word “pesticide” is similar to “homicide” or “suicide” because it indicated death or killing, and while pesticides are supposed to only kill the “pests” which plague plants, numerous animal tests and human statistics indicate that pesticides are poisonous to everything, including humans.
When data from more than 100,000 government pesticides tests from 1992 to 2001 were analyzed, 192 different residues were detected on foods. Some of the foods contained many chemicals, others fewer. Eating the 12 most contaminated foods, called “the dirty dozen”, exposes you to an average of 15 pesticides A DAY. Crazy! Aside from the dirty dozen (listed below), peanuts are also considered a highly contaminated food, with pesticides which build up in your fatty tissue. Cacao, which is used to make chocolate, is one of the most heavily pesticide-sprayed crops in the world. Coffees and teas also contain large amounts of pesticides, and brewing with hot water can concentrate the pesticides making them even more potent. Mushrooms are sprayed with fungicides to extend their shelf life, and bananas, which used to be relatively safe, are now highly contaminated thanks to foreign plantations which are using 20 times more pesticides than the US.
Think ingesting some chemicals isn’t such a big deal? Consider the fact that pesticide consumption has been scientifically linked to cancer, asthma, respiratory diseases, damage to the nervous system (including Parkinson’s disease), damage to the reproductive system, hormonal imbalances, birth defects and more.
The argument I hear the most against eating organically is “but it’s sooo expensive to buy organic foods!”. Consider how much more costly cancer treatments are in comparison to the few more dollars you would spend on organic raspberries rather than the ones soaked in poison…and think about whether your health is worth more than money. It should be. In our addictions we trash our bodies, pump them full of poison and run them through the ringer. Once we are sober, the last thing that we should do is continue to fill our bodies with pesticides.
Listed below are the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables as well as the 12 least contaminated ones. If you can not eat entirely organic, then compromise and make a goal to not buy any of the 12 most contaminated fruits/veggies unless they are organic. Familiarize yourself with which ones are “better” and which are “worse”. When that little voice starts protesting over the price, just remind yourself that pesticides cause asthma and nerve damage, and I guarantee that little voice in your head will go silent. Eat organic and your body will thank you in the long run!
12 Most Contaminated Fruits and Vegetables
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- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Grapes (Imported)
12 Least Contaminated Fruits and Vegetables
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- Sweet Corn (Frozen)
- Sweet Peas (Frozen)
- Kiwi Fruit