Times are a changing and the green movement has taken hold throughout most of the country. People are recycling, buying more environmentally friendly cars, re-using shopping bags, and eating organic. To some, this great switch to save our planet could cause some frustration as not all stores offer organic; and going from regular milk to hormone-free, organic milk may take a chunk out of your paycheck. Not to fret my eco-conscious friend!
There is a great website by the Environmental Working Group that examines the least and most toxic fruits and vegetables to help you decide how organic your budget can go. Of course, the more hormone-free, non-toxic you can be for you and your family the better.
Let’s start with what you should absolutely buy organic because they are the MOST toxic. In order of toxicity: peaches (absolute most), apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, lettuce, grapes, and pears. The problem lies in their sweet, juicy, thin skin that enables pesticides and herbicides to absorb right in to the body. Even if you peel your skins, the fruit/vegetable itself holds many nasty chemicals you doesn’t need.
The next list is the top 10 LEAST toxic fruits/vegetables and is probably okay to buy non-organic. In order of low-level toxicity: onion (absolute least), avocado, sweet corn (non-GMO), pineapple, mangoes, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi, bananas, and cabbage. Do you see a pattern? These foods don’t have thin, juicy skins; they tend to have tougher outsides that are pealed and therefore difficult to penetrate by a chemical. Even the difference between lettuce (which is more toxic) and cabbage (least toxic) lies in the stiffness of their leaves. Cabbage leaves are much more firm and difficult for chemicals to absorb inside.
Please consider these lists when you are out shopping and doing your part to support the environment. If your neighborhood stores don’t carry organic, look to farmer’s markets and buy local.