As a family of 5 we get that it is hard to buy everything organic. Probably the #1 question we get asked by people wanting to begin the journey of healthy eating is, “Do I have to buy everything organic?”
The answer is you can if you want to and it will do nothing but help you. But if budget is an issue, follow these guidelines from the Environmental Working Group. They have put together a “dirty dozen” list of the foods you need to buy organic. By following these guidelines and always choosing organic varieties of the following produce, you can reduce your pesticide exposure by 80%.
These foods are considered “dirty” because of the high pesticide load in the skins or in the fruit itself. Many of these foods come from Genetically Modified seeds that have been injected with Round Up to get them to grow faster. So forget trying to wash away these pesticides! These fruits had no chance from the beginning!
The foods with the highest pesticide content are:
- Bell Peppers
- Imported Grapes
We have learned through the help of an amazing doctor, Dr. Matthew McAlees, as well as through tools like Food Inc. and Food Matters, that there are certain foods that you should always buy organic, in addition to the above list. The two main items are meat and dairy products. More on this later! This is a big commitment for most families, but one worth making. Your health truly depends on it.
One thing we have found helpful is to reduce the amount of meat we eat all together and up our bean and lentil intake. Dried beans are extremely inexpensive and can be cooked in bulk! We soak a whole bag overnight and then I put it on high in the morning while I get the kids ready for the day. In an hour or so, I have a whole pot of beans. I use them throughout the week in multiple meals—chili, bean dips, soup, beans and rice, bean burgers, lentil stroganoff, lentil patties, and more!