You probably heard sayings like this when you were a kid...
Like when you put so much syrup on your pancakes that your sister asked you, "Do you want some pancakes with your syrup?"
Or when you lathered the butter on your potatoes until your parent said, "Do you want some potatoes with your butter?"
It was their way of putting things in perspective. What are you actually eating more of?
So, would you like some veggies with your chemicals?
The sad reality is that today most conventional produce is overwhelmed with chemicals - pesticides, insecticides, etc.
Each year the Environmental Working Group puts out a report about which produce has the most pesticide and the least. You can read the full report on their website. It has a lot of information to help you understand the current situation of produce in America, including information about GMO's, studies that have been done on the effects of pesticide in children, etc.
Just to give some perspective, here are some quotes from the report:
"The USDA tests found a total of 230 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products on the thousands of produce samples analyzed."
"A single sample of strawberries showed 20 different pesticides."
"People who eat organic produce eat fewer pesticides. A 2015 study...found that people who report they often or always buy organic produce had significantly lower quantities of organophosphate insecticides in their urine samples."
This problem is for real. And while not eating any fruits or veggies might seem like the easiest path, thankfully there is information to help us make good decisions about what we put in our bodies.
So to help us shop smarter, EWG uses the research and data to make two lists:
1) The "Dirty Dozen" - the fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides.
2) The "Clean 15" - the produce with the least amount of pesticides.
They suggest, and I agree, to buy organic produce whenever possible. However, if you can't, then you can use these lists to help you know which produce is vital to buy organic or to just avoid, and which produce has fewer chemicals, if you choose to not buy it organic.
12. Sweet bell peppers
+Hot peppers (tested positive for insecticides)
If you aren't already buying organic for these fruits and veggies, you might want to consider it. Or check your local farmer's market, as sometimes they sell organic for less or they may use fewer chemicals in their farming.
2. Sweet corn*
6. Sweet peas frozen
*Some sweet corn, papayas, and summer squash come from genetically modified seeds, so to avoid GMO's, you might want to buy these organic.
Obviously, it's vital to wash your produce and to peel it before consuming it. And try to be mindful of this reality when shopping or eating out. Eating a salad at a restaurant might actually be putting more chemicals in your body than doing it good from eating the salad.... I know it's not fun to have to deal with this challenge. But your body will thank you for being aware and thoughtful about what you put into it.
I hope this information will help you find good produce to enjoy and that will contribute to good health!