I hear this question all the time when discussing the fact that organic produce is so much more expensive than traditionally grown options.

I also hear questions like:

Why do we need to buy organic anyway? Is it really that much better?

Well, the answer is yes and no. You don’t HAVE to buy organic, but there are certain items that you should, and others that aren’t completely necessary. The complete list will be outlined below.

What are pesticides? Why are they even used?

Pesticides are just what they sound like – for the eradication of pests. They are extremely toxic substances that are sprayed all over produce to kill any bugs that may be trying to also eat the produce.

What about herbicides and fungicides?

Herbicides are also what they sound like – for the eradication of weeds and other plants that interfere with the growth of the crop. Fungicides are used to eliminate the growth of fungus or diseases that attack the crops.

What is the problem with these chemicals?

Pesticides have been linked to many human health conditions, such as nausea, headaches, cancer, reproductive issues and endocrine disorders. There are also dangers like nerve, skin and eye damage, dizziness and systemic poisoning, but these conditions are more likely to occur in those individuals applying the chemicals. Most concernedly for the general population are the compounding effects due to longterm exposure or ingestion. Pesticides are responsible for causing my types of cancer, such as leukemia, Non-Hodgkins lymphoma, brain, bone, breast, ovarian, prostate, testicular and liver cancers.

So how do I stretch my dollar and protect my health? Which fruit and vegetables should I buy organically?

This list of The Dirty Dozen are the most heavily sprayed products and should be purchased organically if at all possible:

The Dirty Dozen (in order of contamination) Apples Celery Sweet bell peppers Peaches Strawberries Nectarines Grapes Spinach Lettuce Cucumbers Blueberries Potatoes

This list of the Clean 15 can be purchased as conventionally grown produce, as the risk of toxic accumulation and contamination is significantly lower.

The Clean 15 (in order of least contamination) Onions Sweet Corn Pineapples Avocado Cabbage Sweet peas Asparagus Mangoes Eggplant Kiwi Cantaloupe Sweet potatoes Grapefruit Watermelon Mushrooms

What about meat? Should I buy it organically?

Most importantly, meat should always be purchased organically whenever possible. You should also try to source out meat that is free range (chicken), grass fed (beef), wild caught (fish) and everything grown antibiotic free. You see, because these animals, especially cattle and pigs, are so large, they have a much greater ability to accumulate higher degrees of toxins. For example, they need to eat hundreds of pounds of feed to grow into adulthood, and if they are continually eating feed that has been coated in pesticides while it was growing, they are accumulating these toxins rather quickly. Added to that, the antibiotics and growth hormones in their feed, you are setting yourself up to ingest a toxic stew if you are purchasing meat that is not organic. I always recommend that if you are going to eat meat, it should be organic! Organic meat is very expensive at the grocery store, so try to find a local farm that raises animals ethically and organically and buy right from the farmer! With Sources from: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/queen-of-green/faqs/food/what-are-the-dirty-dozen-and-the-clean-fifteen/ http://www.toxicsaction.org/problems-and-solutions/pesticides

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