As a health coach, I often get asked if I always buy organic-only. Short answer is no, I don’t always buy everything organic.
So how do I decide? Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes lists called “The Dirty Dozen”, a list of fresh produce containing the highest amounts of pesticide residue and “The Clean Fifteen” fresh produce with mere trace amounts of pesticide residue. EWG are a non-profit, non-partisan organisation dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. They research the amount of pesticides in our foods, among all the other great work that they do. I refer to these lists when deciding whether or not to buy organic.
Now, in my book of life, veggies and fruit of all types are a gift from nature. I also truly believe that, where veggies are concerned, more is better. That’s because countless peer-reviewed studies have linked these powerhouses with benefits for health, weight management, and countering long-term chronic disease risk. So don’t allow these lists to dissuade you from enjoying these gifts of nature. Enjoy them, and be smart about how you go about it.
If you can’t find organic fresh produce where you live or you’re simply averse to paying the premium for organic, non-GMO produce, do not be discouraged.
There’s an excellent home-made solution available that’s cheap and cheerful, and that solution is baking soda and water. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a bowl with 6 cups of water. Soak your veggies in this solution. Wait 15 minutes. Drain. Rinse well, rinse again for good measure, and voila – the baking soda helps to break up pesticide molecules which can then be washed away. Told you it was cheap and cheerful.
It’s also worth considering minimally processed whole foods. Eat these foods in their best form, as nature intended for them to be consumed, i.e., with its fiber intact. Fruits instead of fruit juices. Fresh tomatoes instead of off-the-shelf pasta sauce. As they are, sans sugar/sweeteners (they already contain fructose), or other additives. You get the point.
In summary: If it’s on the dirty dozen list – buy organic when possible, otherwise use baking soda solution. If it’s on the clean fifteen list, go ahead and buy regular produce, and you won’t need to soak in the baking soda solution, but if you want to then that’s your prerogative. Really that simple, go on and spread the word.
Author: Mayuri Punjabi