One of the most important steps we can take toward reducing our toxic load is to use discretion with what we eat. Of course we want to eat healthy, "real" foods and eliminate added sugars from our diets. Beyond that, though, it is important to consider eating organically.
Why and when to go organic:
- To avoid chemicals
- For more nutrients(a Stanford University study suggests not, but a followup study published in the British Journal of Nutrition indicates 20-40% higher levels of anti-oxidants)
- To avoid GMOs (here again, the evidence is mixed, with studies on both sides of the issue)
- To avoid hormones, antibiotics, drugs in animal products
- To preserve the environment
Most of us probably agree that we don't want or need to eat unwanted chemicals with our food. The evidence is also clear that widespread use of hormones, antibiotics and drugs in animal products impacts human health negatively. If we eat 100% organic, we reduce our toxic load significantly. For those concerned about GMOs, organic foods ensure that what you eat is GMO-free.
While prices for organic foods have come down, they remain higher on average than conventional food. In addition, organic foods are not always available in all areas. If you must make strategic decisions about what fruits and vegetables to buy organically, how can you do that?
The Clean Fifteen & The Dirty Dozen
Each year, the Environmental Work Group publishes a Pesticides in Produce Guide. Part of this Guide is a Dirty Dozen list, which in 2016 includes, in order starting from the most chemically laden: strawberries, apples, nectarines, peaches, celery, grapes, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, hot peppers, kale/collard greens. These are items it is most important to avoid or buy organically if possible.