This article was given to GalTime with permission by Lori Reamer, RD, author of The Food That Fits: A Guide to Mastering Your Food Style.
While fashion always leaves us guessing as to what color will be this season's "new black," the increased awareness around Eco-friendly eating definitely lets us know that green is the new black in food. Eating in simpatico with the environment will score you everlasting style points.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) maintains a resource known as the Shopper's Guide to Pesticide in Produce. For any of you who are unfamiliar with this resource, EWG estimates that if you avoid what they refer to as the "dirty dozen" from conventionally farmed sources, you can minimize your toxic exposure from pesticides and chemicals by as much as 85%.
Conversely, the "clean fifteen" list represents the least contaminated sources of conventional produce and while organic is rarely a bad way to go, it provides you with more flexibility in your purchasing options. Consider loading the complimentary “Dirty Dozen” app for quick reference while shopping.
Without further ado, the lists...
Dirty Dozen (buy organic when possible):
6. Nectarines - imported
7. Grapes - imported
8. Sweet bell peppers
10. Blueberries - domestic
12. Kale/Collard greens
Clean Fifteen (lowest in pesticide):
2. Sweet corn
6. Sweet peas
9. Cantaloupe - domestic
13. Sweet potatoes
People often ask me if a peeling on a fruit or vegetables acts as a barrier against pesticides. While it provides some protection, it is not a guarantee. Pesticides can be sprayed at any time during the maturation process of a plant and if a plant is exposed to a chemical at an early stage in its life cycle, it will absorb and retain those chemicals.
Lastly, just in case you are thinking it is fashionable to avoid eating fruits and vegetables to limit your exposure, you will be limiting your exposure to fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals too. Many, including EWG, agree that it is better to eat your fruits and veggies first and foremost and when you can be eco-choosy, it’s all the better for you, the environment and your enviro-friendly style!