The truth of the matter is that conventionally grown produce contains pesticides. And we know pesticides are toxic. Their very function is to kill pests. Unfortunately, these same pesticides are having a detrimental effect on the health of us humans consuming these fruits and veggies. Different pesticides have been linked to a wide array of health problems from hormone disruption to cancer - scary stuff.
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Is there really a difference between conventional and organic produce? This is a question I'm frequently asked. And my answer...YES, YES and more YES! Eating organically produced fruits and vegetables lowers your exposure to pesticides.
For my Canadian peeps...
"Organic refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed; organic food is produced using environmentally and animal friendly farming methods. Canada’s organic standards are among the most recognized in the world, and place strict limits and prohibitions on the use of toxic and persistent pesticides; synthetic fertilizers; the routine use of drugs, antibiotics or synthetic hormones; animal cloning; genetic engineering (“GMOs”); sewage sludge (“biosolids”); and irradiation." Think Canada Organic
And for my American readers...
“Organic” is a designation used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Program to certify food that was produced without synthetic chemicals or fertilizers, genetic engineering, radiation or sewage sludge." Environmental Working Group
In a perfect world, everyone would have access to and be able to afford organic produce. Unfortunately, the reality is different.
Trust me, I get it. When you're shopping on a budget, buying entirely organic can break the bank.
That's why I really love this list by the Environmental Working Group. They break down the dirty dozen (most heavily sprayed produce) and the clean fifteen (least sprayed). So if you are shopping on a budget, then at the very least, you can do your best to buy organic those items on the dirty dozen list.
OK, so you're not in a position to buy absolutely everything organic BUT like me you worry about your exposure to toxic pesticides. I mean, come on! We're already working so hard to balance our hormones, clean up our diets and lifestyle. All in an effort to live our best life and prevent disease. So, what else can we do?
Here's how I can help! If you have 5 minutes to spare (and everyone does! If you have time for FB and IG, you have a few minutes!) then simply prepare this EASY, 3 ingredient only, DIY produce wash. It will help remove some of the dirt, residue and chemicals from the skin of your produce.
What you need...
1 glass bottle (I like to save my sparkling water bottles)
1 conventional spray head
water (clean, filtered)
20 drops of any citrus essential oil *(I prefer lemon)
*It's important to buy good quality essential oils. You can shop my go-to brand here. But you can also find essential oils from most natural health stores.
To prepare the wash...
- Fill 1/2 your glass bottle with vinegar and the other 1/2 with water. Leave about an inch from the top for your essential oils.
- Add 20 drops of any citrus essential oil.
How to clean your produce...
- I like to spray all of my fruit and veggies first with the spray wash above and then soak them in a clean sink filled with water for about 10 minutes. Gently scrub, rinse and pat dry before refrigerating.
- For berries my process is different. Berries tend to hold onto the vinegar in the spray wash. So instead, I take 2 cups of clean, filtered water and 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice and spray them onto the berries. I then soak the berries in a bowl with fresh water for about 15 minutes. Rinse them and allow them to dry completely before refrigerating.
Reducing our overall toxic load is so important and every bit helps. So, even if you aren't able to buy all organic, you're able to download the EWG's Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen list and keep a copy with you so that when you're grocery shopping, you can easily access it. And I know, AND YOU KNOW that you have 5 minutes to go make this simple produce wash to help you further lessen the toxins you're exposed to.
Remember, striving to live your best life is not an all or nothing approach. The smallest shifts can have the biggest impact (over time) on our health and well-being.
Let's talk! What are your non-negotiables in terms of produce you prefer to buy organic when you're grocery shopping?
For me, it's apples, bananas, berries, leafy greens and tomatoes.
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