The more I learn about contaminants in the environment, the more I shop at the local organic market---but it can be expensive.  At a recent lecture held at Northwestern on the Environment and Women's Reproductive Health, I learned that some fruits and vegetables are likely more contaminated than others.  So the key to healthier eating on a budget is to go organic with the 'dirty' foods and still buy conventionally farmed produce that is  least likely to be affected by contamination.

The produce likely to be the most contaminated are:   apples, peaches, pears, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, spinach, lettuce and potatoes.    Splurge a bit on these if you can and go with conventionally farmed products for other fruits and vegetables   Just be sure to  wash them  extra well.   Fruit like melons, oranges and bananas have thick skins that are peeled off, lessening the chance of any toxic effects, and you can save on these.

By the way, the summary of the lecture can be found by going to our home page HERE.

 

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Comments

I've recently started eating all organic and it is making me feel 100% better, with much more energy, and a boost to my weight loss... But it's hitting my purse hard! Farmer's markets are fine if you can trust the farmers to be honest about their farming methods. It's a real problem!

Organic food is very important to living a clean and healthy lifestyle. While many experts say that organic food is no better for you than conventional food, the point can be made that organic food is definitely not as bad for you as conventional foods. Consider the recent article that linked pesticides in food to lower IQ's in children that were exposed while in the womb.

It is a shame that we longer can trust big business for what we eat. Not that the small farmers are totally honest about what sell either. I love apples and grapes and never put too much thought about where I get them. I guess now, I am going to have to reprogram myself. Thank you for bringing this to our conscience.

Thanks for the list of foods we should buy organic. Farmers markets are also a good venue to buy organic food. There is just no telling what long term exposure to these chemicals will do to us after decades of unintended consumption.

I think the disparity in prices between organic and non-organic foods is outrageous. While the comment above quite rightly states that farmers markets are a good way of getting cheap(er) organic foods, how do we know that what we are buying in such places is actually organic?? EDITOR'S COMMENT: Your concern it true. Guess we can ask the farmer how he farms and hope he is honest!

I was surprised that potatoes were on the list since they grow under ground. They certainly need to be cleaned well before eating, but I wouldn't think pesticides and other chemicals would get to them.

Your idea is very good. Not everyone can afford organic food, and we understand why it's more expensive than conventionally farmed fruits and veggies - value and quality. Thankfully, my family loves bananas and oranges, but we always neglect to wash the bananas!

Some good advice here I only rinse my veg very quickly, thinking about cleaning off dirt and dust, I don't think about chemicals!! I shall be looking carefully for offers on the organic fruit and veg aisles!

No matter whether it is produced from organic farm or conventional farm product, we have to wash or rinse it thoroughly before we put it in our mouth. We only can afford not to wash it only if it was produced from our garden.

I've made myself eat organic food for a few months now and I love it. I love this article because I've just learn a couple ways to shop organic foods for cheap. Thanks so much for writing this article.

Container vegetable gardening is a super way to go organic. I always know what treatments have been on my veggies…..AND, there is almost nothing that is not growable in a container.

Eating organic is much safer compare to products that has chemicals.Even the price is high,we can save our health if we avail ourselves of that food.

We try to buy as much organic food as possible especially for our kids but the prices are ridiculously high. I have started growing my own veggies in the back garden; it’s not that difficult you just have to dedicate a little bit of your time to it.

At first when I moved to Bolivia from Germany I thought that I would be eating more organic products. Well, that has shown to be an illusion. Here as well a lot of pesticides are being used. The only way you really know if something is clean, is by personally knowing the person who produced them and trusting them they don't use pesticides. So what is the solution here? Well, what we do at our home, is we use a liquid, a few drops of it, and put it into the water with which we clean our fruits and vegetables. It is a disinfection fluid. I am sure if you go to your farmacy they can tell you what they have for that. In Spanish it is called: DG-6, Piridonio cloruro 10g/100ml

Even though organics are more expensive it's important to eat them as much as we can. Fruits and veggies have so many pesticides just eating from the clean fifteen or buying the dirty dozen organic reduces your exposure greatly.

I'll second that comment, Chili Pepper.Growing your own food is both less expensive and safer. Because you are the one providing the water and soil nutrients, you know EXACTLY what's in the food your family eats.I author a how to garden blog and invite everyone who is interested in playing in the dirt to drop by.The name of the blog is Gardens Inspired.

My family has been eating organic for 2 years, so to save money we finally started our own garden. In our garden we grow lots greens, melons, and veggies. We buy all our milk and meats from the local butcher. With the higher prices for organic is out weighted by the health benefits of my family.

So the key to healthier eating on a budget is to go organic with the ‘dirty’ foods and still buy conventionally farmed produce that is least likely to be affected by contamination

Grow your own in your own vegetable garden. That surely is the best option. You control everything in this way. You will know just how 'organic' the produce is. Just think, I planted it, I watched it grow, I tended it, I harvested it AND then I ate it - Fantastic

its definitlyhard to eat organic food since it is more pricey. too bad burger joints dont catch on to organic fast food!

Consider growing some of your own produce to cut the cost of buying completely organic produce. Some markets demand a premium price these days because organic has become such a buzz word. Not to say there are not some cool farmers out there selling their produce at a reasonable rate.

It's always good to know any kind of information about eating healthy. Never once I thought that some fruits are contaminated.

The price for organic is only slightly higher than regular and my family is worth the extra cost

Staying green cant be that really bad, its a self priority which can really help yourself.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I thought organics are cheap. But they are healthier to eat.

The cost of growing your own food is a lot less than you would imagine, especially if you can increase your growing season each year so you can get in a second crop. I don't know if we'll ever get to the point where we can say "organic food is XYZ times better than commercially grown" because there are so many other variables, like natural soil depletion, etc. But when you grow your own you absolutely, positively can control everything to make it the most healthy experience. Ben

Grow our own organic fruits and vegetables is not only good for the body's health, but it is great for mental health. Contact with nature is valuable, it has the power to purify the body and puts us in touch with our inner being and peace attached to it!

Paying attention to the "dirty dozen" can be helpful. As a society, we are pretty out of touch with our food and often fail to examine our food sources. I believe in supporting local farms. However, I often breeze past produce at the farmers market because the quality is terrible. I walk away with the impression that those farmers/growers have done absolutely nothing (natural deterrents or a holistic approach) to keep their produce free of worms and other pests. If I'm not growing my own food, and making informed decisions (regardless of whether or not I chose to use a specific chemical, or rigorously attack with "natural" killers and repellents) I try to purchase from farmers that I know. Staying in touch with our food source is vitally important. Supporting local businesses aides our local economy in survival. And, in the end, consuming more whole foods, in their natural state, is the only way we will thrive.

Organic products don't always have to be pricey. Beyond organic food, more people desire to have organic products used in their homes and clothing. As this demand goes up, prices have come down.

I've tried the organic foods but as you mentioned they are on the pricy side. But thanks for some great ideas to help me with my healthy eating habits.

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