Avoiding the "Dirty Dozen" and How it Relates to Clean Eating

Secrets to making clean eating affordableIf you are good to your body, there is a good chance your body is going to be good to you. The best thing you can do for your health is to eat nutritious, pure foods. When you do, you’ll be practicing the latest and greatest diet trend: eating clean.

Clearly, eating processed snack cakes and additive-filled hot dogs are out on the clean eating regimen, but what about un-organic produce?

Must Everything We Eat be Organic to be Considered “Clean”?

Ideally, yes. Eating clean is all about providing yourself with natural, truly healthful fuel. Pesticides and chemicals are anything but natural. In an ideal world, we could all zip to the grocery store or farmer’s market around the corner and pick up an entire list of affordable organic produce.

But we live in the real world, and for many of us, a shopping list of entirely organic produce is not available or within our budget. What’s a clean-eating shopper to do?

Just consult the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. In it are two lists, both famous: the Dirty Dozen™ and the Clean Fifteen™. If you, like many, are budget-conscious, these lists show you what produce is especially prone to harbor pesticides (even after washing/peeling) and the produce that typically has the least amount of pesticides.

Spend your precious food dollars on organic produce that is typically on the Dirty Dozen™ list, and buy conventional produce that is on the Clean Fifteen™ list. It’s that simple.

What Are the Foods on the Dirty Dozen™ List?

  • apples
  • strawberries
  • grapes
  • celery
  • peaches
  • spinach
  • sweet bell peppers
  • imported nectarines
  • cucumbers
  • cherry tomatoes
  • imported snap peas
  • potatoes
  • hot peppers
  • kale/collard greens

You may notice that there are more than twelve items on this list. Hot peppers, kale, and collard greens were added as ‘plus’ items to the list this year because, according to the EWG, “they do not meet traditional Dirty Dozen™ ranking criteria but were frequently contaminated with insecticides that are toxic to the human nervous system. EWG recommends that people who eat a lot of these foods buy organic instead.”

What Foods Are on the Clean Fifteen™ List?

  • avocados
  • sweet corn
  • pineapples
  • cabbage
  • frozen sweet peas
  • onions
  • asparagus
  • mangoes
  • papayas(not from Hawaii since their papaya’s have infiltrated with a GMO variety)
  • kiwi
  • eggplant
  • grapefruit
  • cantaloupe
  • cauliflower
  • sweet potatoes

The Risk of Pesticide Exposure is Scary. Should I Eat Less Produce?

Even if you can afford very little organic produce, the EWG states, “The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure.” So do eat your vegetables and fruits, even if they’re not all organic.

Clean eating is all about doing the right thing for your body. Every time you crunch into that celery, feel the juice of fresh watermelon drip down your chin, or snap into a sweetly bitter stalk of asparagus, savor the satisfaction of knowing you are giving your body the vital nutrients it needs. Your body will reward you with renewed energy, less sickness, and improved moods.

Want to know more about clean eating? Wonderful! Download our free guide below and get started on a healthier, happier body today.