People often tell us that they can’t afford to buy organic food and complain that healthier food options are expensive. While we understand that at times eating and shopping for healthy alternatives can be dearer than what is available in your average supermarket, it needn’t be.
As we know only too well that the health costs associated with a poor diet and lifestyle is high—when you consider degenerative diseases and cost of prescription medications—we believe that paying a slightly higher price at the checkout justifies the expense. However we understand that for many families, cost is a real issue and puts a strain on an already strained family budget. So we recommend eating as clean as possible within your budget and this is where the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen come in.
What are the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen?
The ‘dirty’ and ‘clean’ list of foods are created by Environmental Working Group (EWG), a U.S. health and environmental research organisation that analyses the fruit and vegetables most commonly laden with synthetic pesticide and fertiliser residues.

add more greens to your diet

Credit: Flickr

Each year, after conducting research, they provide revised lists of the cleanest foods to purchase and the dirtiest foods to avoid (and purchase organic). “We are saying, eat your fruits and vegetables,” said Sonya Lunder, EWG’s senior analyst. “But know which ones have the highest amounts of pesticides so you can opt for the organic versions, if available and affordable, or grab a snack off the Clean Fifteen.”
This year, the 12 conventionally grown foods people should avoid purchasing—and is highly recommended they purchase organic— are:
– apples
– strawberries
– peaches
– nectarines
– grapes
– celery
– spinach
– capsicum
– cucumbers
– cherry tomatoes
– snap peas (imported)
– potatoes
The 15 ‘cleanest’ foods or the foods least contaminated by chemical residues are
– avocados
– sweet corn
– pineapples
– cabbage
– sweet peas (frozen)
– onions
– asparagus
– mangos
– papayas
– kiwi fruit
– eggplant
– grapefruit
– cantaloupe
– cauliflower
– sweet potatoes
Why avoid chemical pesticides?
There have been increasing research findings linking pesticides to a number of health problems including a number of studies focussing on pesticide-related health problems and farmers and the chronic effects it can have such as adverse reproductive outcomes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
organic food clean fifteen dirty dozen
There is also research linking synthetic pesticides to a number of health problems in children such as lower IQ, attention and learning difficulties such as ADHD and paediatric cancer.
In addition, the chemicals that are sprayed in the ground often run off into our waterways, creeks, streams and rivers. So not only do the chemicals destroy the fertility of the soil in which food is grown, it also wreaks havoc on our natural environment and affects our wildlife.
In addition to reducing consumption of the ‘Dirty Dozen’ other inexpensive ways to reduce pesticide exposure are:

  • Grow your own food wherever possible so that you have control over the inputs. Herbs can be easily grown in a small backyard or in pots on your balcony or kitchen. If you have a larger space, try your hand at urban gardening.
  • Swap or barter with friends and family who grow chemical-free food.
  • Go shopping at farmers markets and get to know your producers. Learn more about how and where your food is grown. If purchasing from an organic food store, ask about the suppliers, how and where the food is grown.
  • Buy organic food in bulk to save money. If you don’t have the extra disposable income to purchase in bulk, you can also pitch in with friends and family and take advantage of bulk discounts and savings.

If you’d like more information on our wholefood range or want to know how organic food can help achieve your health goals, contact us on 07 3399 1002.