Organic Produce: Is it really worth my whole paycheck?

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In recent years, more and more research has been conducting exposing the negative side effects of the common pesticides and fertilizers that are used on conventional produce in the US. It can definitely be frustrating when trying to make the healthy choice and eat your vegetables, only to find out that many of the conventional vegetables sold in the US are covered in harmful and toxic chemicals. What is the alternative- buying organic vegetables that seem to break the bank every time you check out. Today, we are going to look at what this means for our long term health and some of the best ways to avoid these harmful chemicals without breaking the bank. 

In a recent study conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), it was shown that there are 5 main chemical culprits that we find on most conventionally grown produce: . These chemicals have been linked to cancer, nerve toxicity, cell degredation and other harmful side effects. It is obviously important that we try to avoid these chemicals as much as possible. So how do we do this without feeling completely overwhelmed or running out of money? 

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has worked very hard to keep tabs on the dirtiest (sprayed with the most chemicals) and cleanest (sprayed with less/no chemicals) and created and yearly update their "The dirty dozen" and "Clean 15" lists.  These lists give us a quick and easy guideline that we can reference anytime we are at the grocery store. When trying to cut costs, we can buy the vegetables listed in the dirty dozen list in their organic versions. Anything listed in the clean 15 list, we can grab off of the conventional grown shelves. See below for the latest versions of these lists from EWG. 

Another great way to cut produce costs is by cutting out the middle man and going straight to the farmer. Surprisingly enough, their are a lot of local farmers that have become more and more accessible to the general public in the recent years. Even in most urban areas, you would be surprised how many farmers are right at your finger tips. Not only is this a great way to support local business, but small farmers often have "cleaner" fertilizing processes in general. 

Mary Phelps