The Dirty Dozen

Conventionally raised foods are grown with pesticides and herbicides. These are chemicals designed to kill. Consequently, it does not make sense to ingest these products if you can avoid them.

Some conventionally grown foods are more contaminated than others. These are called “The Dirty Dozen”. These foods are: red and green bell peppers, celery, spinach and other greens, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, nectarines, apples, cherries, pears, and potatoes. Avoiding these foods can reduce your exposure to pesticides and herbicides substantially. Andrew Weil, a Harvard trained M.D., has said he would not eat a grocery store strawberry!

            Some conventionally grown foods are relatively safe in terms of exposure to pesticides and herbicides. These are broccoli, cauliflower, avocados, asparagus, pineapples, pears, and onions. If you need to economize on organic foods these are good choices to buy conventionally.

            There are other ways to reduce your exposure to toxic agricultural chemicals. One is to buy in season. Foods grown in warmer climates often come from countries with less rigid health standards. Eat locally grown foods. Vermonters tend to be conscientious about environmental issues and therefore are more likely to use fewer toxic chemicals. Peeling fruits and vegetables can also reduce your exposure because the skin is where most contaminants are found. Eat a variety of foods -not only will you reduce the likelihood of any one toxin to build up in your system, but  you  will also increase your overall nutrition.

While not everybody can afford eating organically grown foods, if you avoid eating the dirty dozen you can substantially reduce your exposure to the chemicals toxicity of pesticides and herbicides. Having a perfect diet is a tough feat. Fortunately there are ways to maximize your nutrition while avoiding toxins: avoid the Dirty Dozen, eat locally and enjoy a wide variety of foods.

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