Nutritious News

“Going Organic – A Step at a Time”

When faced with the choice between two heads of lettuce with a similar appearance, it might be tough to choose the one that’s more expensive just because it’s labeled organic. For many, cost is understandably the key influence for what to buy. And “going organic” can seem a costly choice.

For proponents of organic living, the question is less about cost and more about health and the impact on our environment. Many choose organic not only for what’s in it but for what’s not in it. Organic foods do not contain synthetic pesticides and herbicides. Rather organic farming relies on crop rotation and green-friendly composting and pest control practices. In addition to avoiding ingesting toxic chemicals, proponents of buying organic also tout the benefits to the environment – no contaminants for the soil and waters supply and the workers are not exposed to chemicals in the field.

So is it worth it to go organic? Many recommend taking small steps. And knowing which products are worth the extra buck or two is a good place to start. Luckily, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit environmental research organization, has produced a list of the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean 15.” By referencing these simple lists, people can get the most bang for their buck by buying “Dozen” organically grown. These include (in order of most residue to least): peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce, imported grapes, carrots, and pears.

The EWG’s “Clean 15,” the fruits and vegetables with the least pesticide residue, are (in order of least residue to most): onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mangoes, asparagus, sweet peas, kiwifruits, cabbages, eggplants, papayas, watermelons, broccoli, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes.

The kind folks at the EWG have produced a snappy little pocket guide. You can visit http://www.foodnews.org/ to download this printable PDF.