The Dirty Dozen & The Clean Fifteen

Photo from the Environmental Working Group

If you have ever stepped foot in a grocery store (or have breathe in your lungs right now, for that matter), then you have without a doubt seen the word “organic” listed on products everywhere. It’s a buzzword, a marketing term, and usually comes with a higher price tag. In a perfect world we could all buy organic everything. But we don’t live in a perfect world, and most of us have limited budgets. So what is “organic” and how can you tell which products are actually important to buy organic or not?

According to www.organic.org: “Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation.” I don’t think it’s really necessary to go into detail on why all of those things have a negative affect on our health… They are pretty self explanatory.

Every year the Environmental Working Group puts out a report that identifies the produce with the most pesticide residues and those with the least. It only covers produce, but if you’re working with a limited budget then produce is one of the things that it is definitely worth looking at organic options for.*

Here is a list of the “Dirty Dozen”, which are the 12 produce items that were found to have the most pesticide residues on them. These are the 12 types of produce that they highly recommend buying organic.

Dirty Dozen:

  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

Here is a list of the “Clean Fifteen”, which are the 15 produce items that were found to have the least pesticide residues on them. These are the 15 types of produce that are least important to buy organic.

Clean Fifteen:

  1. Avocados

  2. Sweet Corn

  3. Pineapples

  4. Cabbages

  5. Onions

  6. Sweet Peas

  7. Papayas

  8. Asparagus

  9. Mangoes

  10. Eggplants

  11. Honeydews

  12. Kiwis

  13. Cantaloupes

  14. Cauliflower

  15. Broccoli

Sometimes it can be overwhelming to know where to start when it comes to improving health and nutrition choices. My advice to anyone who feels this way is take baby steps. It may not be realistic for you to buy all 12 of the dirty dozen items organically (it’s not realistic for me, either). Just pick one or two items and start there. Every little improvement counts and makes a difference in your health. Start small and build on it over time. Your health is worth the investment and your quality of life today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your life is worth paying attention to!

For more information on the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen, check it out here.

*We believe that the most important thing to source organically and of high quality is meat. Produce comes second to meat. If you want to learn more, check out our blog about it here.