This past week I’ve spoken with several people about the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen.
This topic has always been on my need-to-cover list, and with summer now underway it’s become particularly relevant (and important) as we up our salad and fruit intake.
If you’re into buying organics you’ve probably heard about these lists before, but if you haven’t or if you’re interested in organics but don’t know where to start – get ready to feel empowered!
The Dirty Dozen is a list produced every year by US organisation, the Environmental Working Group. The group analyses the Department of Agriculture’s data to determine which fruit and vegetables have the most pesticide residue when they reach the consumer.
On the flip-side, the Clean Fifteen uses the same data to rank which fruit and vegetables you can safely buy non-organic, as the levels of pesticide residue are incredibly low or in some cases non-existent.
Why is this list important and fantastic?
Today, there are many different types of pesticides that are used, each with a particular purpose. In fact, it’s been found that some fruit and veggies can have up to 50 different pesticides on them when they reach the consumer. When built up in your body, these pesticides have the potential to harm your nervous system, reproductive system and hormonal system (which can create a number of issues).
This is where clean eating comes in.
Clean eating is being mindful of your food’s pathway between its origin and your plate and eating foods that are as close to their natural form as possible.
While this all seems good in practice, it doesn’t take long to learn that living such a lifestyle isn’t easy. Shopping organic can be incredibly expensive (I once paid $5 for an eggplant…), and in many cases, it can be really time consuming and difficult to do properly.
If you can, memorise these lists. It’s been estimated that by following the Dirty Dozen you can reduce your exposure to pesticide residue by up to 80%.
The Dirty Dozen
- Berries – Strawberries, Cherries, Blueberries
- Leafy Greens – Lettuce, Kale, Collard Greens, Spinach
- Plus one extra – I’ve heard sweet corn should also be on this list in Australia
The Clean Fifteen
- Sweet peas
- Rock melon
- Sweet potatoes
- Peas (frozen)
How do you buy organic?
When I first started trying to buy organic, I was surprised to see that even my local specialist green grocer only carried a very limited supply of organic produce.
Thankfully this is slowly changing. These days Woolies, Harris Farm and Coles are growing their organic selection quite impressively. When it comes to fruit and veg, Woolies tends to have a better selection of product, About Life is also an awesome option. I always mark my shopping list with a tick to ensure I remember which products must be bought organic.
But, if you want the real deal and a consistent selection of produce I recommend you head on down to your local farmers’ market. If you’re based in NSW, this list will help you find your closet weekly spot.
I do warn you however, prepare to buy a lot! There are so many delicious, whole and clean products at these markets, it’s very hard to stick to your shopping list.
Also I should add, while using American data, I believe these lists still apply to the Australian market.
Do you eat organic? Or visit your local Farmers’ Market? I’d love to hear about your experiences.