When you hear the term “The Dirty Dozen” this image may come to your mind:
However, when I hear the term “The Dirty Dozen”, this image comes to my mind:
This term is more recently associated with these twelve crops above that are most heavily sprayed with pesticides.
Each year the Environmental Working Group publishes a list of the most and least contaminated crops. These lists are called The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen. Their website also provides an expanded list of the crops affected. For your convenience, screenshot (and print if it’s easier) the image below for a wallet-sized guide to keep handy when shopping:
Why does any of this matter? Well, numerous studies and articles (see just a handful here 1, 2, 3) have been published linking the constant exposure of pesticides in our everyday lives to numerous health issues to include asthma, reproduction difficulties and even cancer.
The conglomerate Monsanto manufactures many pesticides and if you browse their website, they cite one or two studies stating pesticides cause no harm to humans.
Let’s think about that for a second … even if we wash the pesticides off of our food prior to eating it … some of it will still seep into the produce depending on the porosity of the skin. Some of it even ends up in the soil. Monsanto has confirmed some pesticides end up IN the food we eat and not just ON it. Pesticides are in our water and our air. Yes, we need to protect our crops. No we do not have to resort to the least expensive alternative (e.g. poison) to do so.
Also, it is important to think about the aggregate affect of consuming pesticide-laden food. Think about how much of these foods you’ve eaten. Day after day. Month after month. Year after year. Everything that comes into your body doesn’t always leave.
Are you getting it now? If not, here’s a visual for you:
Workers spraying pesticides (and some eventually sickened by it) have to wear all of that gear to protect themselves from the chemicals you will eventually eat. Over and over and over again.
Ok, I think you’ve got it now. Bad, bad pesticides.
So what does this all have to do with Finance Friday?
Those just beginning their journey into better health and wellness run into an all too real stumbling block: money. Or lack thereof. I remember the first time going into Whole Foods and attempting to buy weekly groceries for a family of four with $60.00. It didn’t happen. Not even close. I was defeated, but determined and I set out to find ways to stretch my dollar. That’s where the Dirty Dozen List comes into play. It may not be economically feasible to buy everything organic just yet. However, you can use this list as a guide and start with organic apples and potatoes. And then incorporate strawberries on your next shopping trip. And then pears. And so on until you’re buying only the organic offering of produce on the dirty dozen list. For the time being, you may consider purchasing non-organic items off of the Clean Fifteen list. Eventually, you will make the switch to an all-organic diet.
Your body, and wallet, thanks you in advance!