As a nutritionist and health coach I strive to get as much organic food into my body as I can. However there are times when it's very challenging to get all organic. It helps to know which foods to always get organic and which foods it's okay if I can't find organic.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non partisan, non profit organization that compiles a list every year of the cleanest and dirtiest fruits and vegetables that are grown. It's good to check out their website every year to get a better handle on which foods you absolutely want to get organic.
If you go to farmer's markets get to know the farmers in your area. For small farms getting the full certification to become organic may be cost prohibitive. From speaking with the farmer you may learn they use organic growing methods. It helps to get to know the people who are growing your food.
What's the big whoop about pesticides anyway?
Many of the pesticides and herbicides used in agriculture are either cancer causing, neurotoxins or endocrine disrupters. When they gather in your body they have an opportunity to do some real damage over years and decades. Washing fruits and vegetables isn't enough as many toxic chemicals become a part of the cellular structure of plants, making it impossible to wash them off.
Glyphosate, a chemical found in the herbicide Roundup, is so pervasive in the environment and food system that it has been found in breast milk! New borns and babies are being fed toxic chemicals when their body is at its most fragile and just developing. Thankfully there is a way to remove glyphosate and other chemicals from your body. I've been using Biome Medic with my clients for the past year. I've seen clients improve their overall gut health, regain energy, eliminate or drastically reduce food sensitivities, improve skin conditions as well as autoimmune conditions. Learn more here.
Dirty Dozen List
These are the fruits and vegetables that you want to get organic all the time, as they're loaded with pesticides and herbicides.
Strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes.
Some of the other foods that are also close to the dirty dozen are sweet bell peppers, lettuce, cucumbers and blueberries. Get those organic as well.
These are the fruits and vegetables that if you're unable to source out organically, it's not the end of the world. They have 4 or fewer pesticides. That doesn't mean that they have no pesticides, it's just that they have considerably less than the Dirty Dozen list.
Avocados, sweet corn, pineapple, onions, papayas, sweet peas, eggplants, asparagus, cauliflower, cantaloupes, broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage, honeydew melon, kiwi.
Remember that the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list changes slightly from year to year. Make sure you check out the EWG every year. Some of the other things you can do to reduce the toxic load on your body is to switch to chemical free makeup and personal care products, switch to chemical free cleaning products and stop buying factory farmed meat.
Factory farmed meat usually has GMO corn and/or soy in it. It's also full of antibiotics. Besides the chemical side there are health risks to the consumption of meat and dairy in terms of saturated fat, cholesterol and heme iron. Switching to a 100% plant based diet ensures a reduction in inflammation in your body as well as drastically reducing your risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
When it comes to herbicides and pesticides because you can't see them it can be a bit out of sight, out of mind. However these chemicals are very problematic for long term health. I recommend to all my clients to stay on Biome Medic daily for a number of reasons. It's actually the only gut support I recommend because it functions as a 4 in one product. Plus it's all organic, non GMO and gluten free.
Biome Medic helps support the good bacteria in their gut but more importantly it helps remove heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides from their gut along with repairing their gut lining. It's more powerful than a probiotic and ensures better health in the event that organic foods are hard to find or too expensive. In a preclinical trail people on the Standard American Diet (SAD) saw an improvement in their health for those who were on Biome Medic even though their diet was poor. Their glyphosate levels dropped by 74% and their c-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) dropped by 75%.
Until government regulators decide to clean up the food system, the average consumer is at the mercy of the food companies. Knowledge is power when it comes to how you're nourishing your body. Being proactive instead reactive will go a long way towards creating vibrant health!
Photo by Louis Hansel
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