To avoid pesticides, must I go completely organic?

What is the problem with "conventional" produce?

"Conventional" produce is exposed to pesticides (e.g., herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides) that cannot always be completely washed away. By contrast, "organic" produce is not exposed to pesticides. In other words, 

Conventional = Organic + Pesticides

You would not choose to add a sprinkle of pesticides to food you are about to eat, but this is what you are in effect doing with at least a subset of "conventional" produce. 

To avoid pesticides, do I need to go 100% organic?

No. By being aware of which fruits and vegetables are most susceptible to serious contamination by pesticides, you can buy only the organic versions of these items. 

There is an organization called the Environmental Working Group that has produced a pesticide avoidance guide that identifies which items should only be bought as organic and which can more safely be bought as conventional. What follows are EWG's recommendations. Thank you, EWG!

What are the "Dirty Dozen" that I should only buy in organic form?

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines
  7. Grapes – imported
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries 
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/collard greens

What are the "Clean Fifteen" that I should be comfortable buying in conventional form?

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Mangoes
  8. Eggplant
  9. Cantaloupe 
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweet potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushrooms

The Takeaway

As we seek to boost our body's ability to combat illness and disease, let's not handicap our efforts with unnecessary, avoidable exposure to toxins such as pesticides. Let's make smart choices about what you put into our shopping cart and onto our plate. 

To learn how to rid your body of the various toxins already present, you may want to revisit Detoxification: Ridding Your Body of Toxins

As always, it comes down to making savvy choices and to committing yourself to doing what is necessary. You can do this! Let us know how we can help.