In the perfect world, we’d all be able to buy EVERYTHING organic ALL THE TIME.

Or really, in the perfect world, there wouldn’t be any need for “organic” — food would be food and that would be that.

But the world is not perfect. And as much as many of us wish we could buy all of the food on our grocery list organically-grown, we unfortunately simply cannot. For this reason, it’s very important to know which foods are the most important to buy organic so you can prioritize.

The most important foods to buy organic:

Highest trace pesticides

Every year, the Environmental Working Group updates their Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, which identifies those fruits and veggies with the most and least trace pesticides (dubbed the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen”), even after washing or peeling as the typical consumer would do. This year, in addition to the Dirty Dozen, they identified two veggies, kale and hot peppers, that exceeded the levels of trace pesticides typical of the Dirty Dozen. These both tested positive for organophosphate pesticides (potent neurotoxins that can affect children’s IQ and brain development, even at low doses) and organochlorine pesticides (including dieldrin, DDT and heptachlor, neurotoxins that studies have linked to cancer, neurological damage, Parkinson’s disease, birth defects, respiratory illness and abnormal immune system function).

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Snap peas
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Kale +
  • Hot peppers +

Common GMOs

Genetically modified foods are actually pretty easy to avoid when it comes to whole foods (non-processed foods, that is). There are just 8 high-risk crops as identified by The Non-GMO Project. They also consider animal-products such as meat, eggs, dairy, and honey to be high-risk due to the common use of GMOs in animal feed. Learn the ABCs of GMOs to help understand more about why you want to avoid these “frankenfoods.”

  • Alfalfa
  • Corn
  • Canola oil
  • Cotton oil
  • Papaya
  • Soy
  • Squash
  • Sugar beets
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Honey
  • Meat

(There are of course a number of other reasons to purchase organic meat and dairy, notably the antibiotics, hormones, and pus (dairy) that end up in the final product and then in consumers/our bodies. Yes, I said pus. I personally drink raw milk from pasture-raised cows and eat meat and eggs from pasture-raised animals.)

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