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Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen

We are exposed to toxins everywhere in our environment, especially in our food. Crops are sprayed with pesticides to control weeds and insect infestation that can destroy them causing a huge loss in revenue to the farmer. Unfortunately, these pesticides are loaded with toxins that, when ingested, can cause a whole host of illnesses that can lead to disease, as well as premature aging and damage to the body’s repair process.

Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts out two lists, The Dirty Dozen is a list of the twelve fruits and vegetables that have the highest amounts of pesticides used during their growth and should be purchased in their organic form. The Clean Fifteen is a list of fruits and vegetables that have the least amount of pesticides and can be purchased in their conventional form.

Before testing, the EWG will “process” these foods as the consumer would, by washing and drying and then testing. When looking at these two lists, you’ll notice that the Dirty Dozen list contains mostly leafy greens and fruits and vegetables that are not peeled. The Clean Fifteen on the other hand, you’ll notice the top eight to have a protective skin that is peeled.

If it were up to me, I would add citrus fruit to both of these lists and here’s why.

When you’re peeling the fruit and discarding the peel, they are fine to purchase in their conventional form. The peel of citrus fruit is usually thick enough that pesticides don’t get through to the fruit and when discarding the peel, you discard the pesticides. On the other hand, if you are using citrus zest, you should only purchase the organic form because when zesting you will also include all the pesticides sprayed on the fruit.

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