When I shop at the grocery store, I always remind myself of the dirty dozen and avoid the conventional versions on that list to reduce my family’s exposure to pesticides. Until I had the list memorized I would often take a copy of it along. I was aware of the dirty dozen for some time before I really started taking it seriously. It was during my first pregnancy, after reading about the amount of chemicals a fetus was exposed to in the womb, that I knew it was important to me to limit that amount as much as possible.
It is estimated that pesticide exposure can be reduced by 80% if consumers switched to buying organic for the 12 items on the Environmental Working Group's annual list. The price of organic is often more than conventional prices, however the potential health benefits of avoiding all those pesticides (not only for your body, but for the soil left to our children and grandchildren) may be a factor to consider while doing your grocery shopping.
Even though my family buys mostly organic ingredients we have found that we spend less on our monthly food bill than the average person. We manage this by looking for sales on organic products and stocking up when the price is low enough. From this we preserve, dry, or freeze so that we can extend the shelf life of the item. Another way we cut our costs without compromising on our food is to grow as many of the dirty dozen as we can. We started with spinach and salad greens (spinach freezes well), and are now branching out into growing our own blueberries and planting fruit trees. Foraging for wild berries has also allowed us to benefit from pesticide-free fruit, without spending any money.
While some people may be disgusted at finding bug bites in their produce, I am relieved to see that a bug deemed the item edible. It is when insects will not touch the food that I begin to worry. Perhaps they know something that we should pay attention to. For more info on the dirty dozen checkout these article from The Daily Green
The Dirty Dozen
6. Nectarines (Imported)
7. Grapes (Imported)
8. Sweet Bell Peppers
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