When to buy organic and when to skip it.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I know I've had this question before myself, so when my sister handed out a sheet on it at my last birth class, I thought I'd share it cause maybe you've had the same question???  YOU ARE WELCOME.

So, organic is expensive and it's overwhelming... there's a lot of fruit and vegetables to buy and does it ALL need to be organic or some of it or none of it or blah blah blah blah.  So, according to the Weston A. Price Foundation (a good source for all things health), there is a "dirty dozen" meaning those with the highest pesticide amounts.  Your own intake of pesticides could be cut by almost 90% by avoiding the dirty dozen.  So, use your dollars where it counts--not on the "clean fifteen" that have little pesticides anyway, but on the "dirty dozen."  Unless you're rich and can afford to buy it all organic.  Lucky you.  

Dirty Dozen
+ peaches
+ apples
+ bell peppers
+ celery
+ nectarines
+ strawberries
+ cherries
+ kale
+ lettuce
+ grapes (imported)
+ carrots
+ pears

Clean Fifteen
+ onions
+ avocado
+ sweet corn
+ pineapple
+ mango
+ asparagus
+ sweet peas
+ kiwi
+ cabbage
+ eggplant
+ papaya
+ watermelon
+ broccoli
+ tomatoes
+ sweet potatoes

The general rule of thumb it seems, in going down the list anyway, is the thinner the skin (grapes, cherries, etc.), the more important it is to buy organic.  But, then you've got tomatoes on the "clean fifteen" list, so disregard everything I just said.

And for meat, I say always go organic or as close to it as you can.  You don't want to mess with that hormone, etc. crap.  If it's too expensive, I say eat less meat but eat the best meat you can.  Shazam!


  1. Thanks so much for posting this! I've wondered the same thing myself but have never actually looked it up. My general rule of thumb for making little L's baby food has been that if he's going to eat the skin then definitely buy organic. If not, then buy what's available.

  2. Thanks for this list girly! THIS is SO HELPFUL :)

  3. Great tips, Bridge! Girl, you are my go-to person for any questions about organic food, healthy living, and all things natural. Just thought you should know ;)


  4. @alisha, i'm honored!

    @jamie, i love that you're making your babe's food! i plan to as well!

  5. i have this same little list that i keep in my grocery bag. so basically what i'm saying is i am totally with you on this one.

  6. Thanks for posting this, it's definitely useful! I'm going to put this list in my wallet & my husband's for grocery trips.

    Another thing I am very picky about is anything dairy (esp if the kids drink / eat it), in terms of hormones and whatnot. I think early onset puberty is tied to the amount of hormones our kids ingest.

  7. Girl. You so smart. Thanks for saving my butt from pesticides :)

  8. Good word! It's great to know when to break the bank and when to avoid it. That's why I like to try and grow my own stuff...it's stress relieving and it saves tons of money!

  9. I'm so glad you posted this! I'm going to have to print the list out and keep it with my recipe book. The husband is going on a diet, and we're trying to as organic as possible.

  10. @ballerina girl - TRUE that. i agree. i go organic with milk as well (and eggs) and would like to go raw but i'm skipping that while pregnant! but, yes, i should say, "anything from an animal.. organic!"

  11. good advice, lady! we missed you yesterday. date soon? hope miss l is feeling better. xo

  12. this is a nice and EASY list! so many times there are more complicated lists and i get overwhelmed...much nicer, thank you :)

  13. I'm big on buying organic, especially on things that might be genetically midified, which in the clean 15 tomatoes and corn certainly are often gmo these days and the only way to avoid gmo's in the usa is to buy organic.

    Also different countries like Mexico and China have different standards for organic, so it's best to check where your organic produce (fresh and frozen) is coming from.

  14. Thank you for this! I am always so curious about these things.

  15. thank you! for this list.

    and yay raw milk (post-preggerness)

  16. When it comes to buying meat it can be economic and good for you to buy from your local ranchers. My father in law breeds, feeds and sells cows and I like knowing exactly where that cow has grazed.

  17. mmmm, now i'm hungry for some delicious fruits!

  18. And I am about to say that causes even more confusion. Recently read that Potato and Corn should definitely be organic, because the non-organic get injected with a pesticide WHILE IT"S A SEED, before even becoming a vegetable because the pests have become immunne to the sprays that used to ward them off in the first place. That's right, pesticides are now introduced in produce (biggest is potato and corn) before it get's its chance of becoming a ripe vegetable. This all started (at least with potato) when the demand for perfect, large sized potatoes became in demand (aka, french fries at McDonnalds). As you know, 98% of packaged/bottled/canned food have either a corn or potato product in it. Ok, I'm done now. Makes me really miss my parent's bee/vegetable/berry/orchard/small vineyard farm.

  19. My parents in law have their own little organic garden with a lot of vegetables and herbs! So true we have to avoid all those pesticides and hormones as much as possible! Thank you for sharing this list, it will be very helpful next time I buy something!

    have a great weekend.


  20. on my fridge. you and your family should write books!! is it easy to buy organic in the states? here in BC there have been cases of grocery stores claiming to be organic and local farmers but its all been a lie! i feel like all that money i spent on organic i should go get a refund for. why are there such jerks in the world?

  21. @daniella, i don't like the sound of that at all! but it doesn't shock me... i've heard a lot about monsanto and seeds and round up ready crops, etc... it sounds like something that would be true!

    @lovelillian, you should be reimbursed! don't they have to meet guidelines to call themselves organic?! argh!!

  22. Thank you! So helpful. I'm glad to see a lot of my favorite foods are on the "good" list, so I'm doing pretty good...? But this is great to keep in mind!

  23. hahaha you make me laugh, I was thinking the same thing about buying the "thin-skinned" things organic, and then the tomato came to my mind, and right after that I read your comments about that. Funny!

  24. great post, i always try to eat organic but i get unsure sometimes, nice tips!

  25. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE love love love

    loooooooooooooooooooooooooooovethis post

    not only have I been follpwing you thru your pregnancy (which is AMAZING btw) btu I read you every day.

    but because I LOVE organic (and try to buy everything i can that way) i love this post about the MOST IMPORTANT STUFF to buy organic, you are awesome :)

  26. Thanks for sharing! I was just having a discussion the other day about what organic foods to eat. This list answered my questions.

  27. This is awesome! I'm going to have to remember to take this with me when I go grocery shopping next time, I can never remember what to buy organic, and what not!

  28. I just read about this specific list in Whole Living - there's an app for it :)

  29. This is so good my friend...thank you sooo much for this. I love it and will use it!

    happy new week to you!

  30. This is really great. Thanks for sharing. I also buy organic milk and chicken just because I am afraid of hormones. Do you have any literature on those? It's always hard making the choices on what to buy organic and what to skip.

  31. I hadn't heard the term "clean 15," before, I like it. I need to start buying more organic produce, I'm usually good about strawberries and apples, but this seems like a good rule of thumb to follow. thx*

  32. Thank you for this! Seriously. I go through phases where I'm all "my body is a temple and I need to fuel it properly" and then a couple weeks later when I've over-exerted my grocery budget i'll be all "ah I've been eating this stuff for years and I don't have a third eye yet"

    This list (which I've quickly added as a note on my blackberry) will definitely be a healthier balance than my previous all or nothing organic mentality.

  33. Hi Bridget!
    This article seriously rocks...I feel so "in the know" now! Buying organic is something I try to do when I can (thank goodness for Trader Joes!), but I always get so frustrated when I walk out of the grocery store with 1 bag that was over $50 and want to call it quits. I was so inspired, I designed a printable reference to carry around in your wallet. Here is the link if you want to check it out. :)
    http://www.triplemaxtons.com/2011/06/free-printable-organic-grocery-cheat.html Enjoy!

  34. We try to buy organic with everything that we possibly can. It can be expensidve, but we try to vote with our dollar as much as possible.

  35. I always buy organic corn and organic sweet corn as corn is the #1 genetically modified crop and by buying organic you don't need to worry if your corn is GMO


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