The Dangerous Dozen – Foods to Avoid When They’re Not Organic

istock_000004583633xsmall.jpgWhat’s a picture of a skull and crossbones doing on a Wellness blog?

Well, I hope you know me well enough by now to know I’m not big on scare tactics, and tend instead to focus on the things we CAN do to increase our wellness quotients…but today, I’d like to opt for providing a useful warning. It comes from a situation I faced this morning.

Today, I asked my new assistant to be sure to choose the organic produce when she did our grocery shopping. She had only been on the job an hour, wasn’t used to our shopping M.O. and had a question for me as I handed her the list of things I wanted her to get. “What if they don’t have organics for every item on the list?” she asked. “Should I get the conventionally grown instead, or skip the item all together?”

It just so happened I had two lists tucked into a cookbook that I’d put there a while back — lists of pesticide-ladened foods and those less likely to be as dangerous if not organic. They were given to me by a nutrition colleague, Gerry Tribble. I’ve pretty much committed them to memory, but it dawned on me that my assistant wasn’t the only one who could benefit from seeing the lists. I handed her the paper copies and made this one for you:

Researchers from a variety of backgrounds agree that these are the 12 most pesticide laden foods:

The Dangerous Dozen
Apples, Celery, Grapes (imported),
Peaches, Potatoes, Spinach,
Bell Peppers, Cherries, Nectarines,
Pears, Red Raspberries, Strawberries.

Avoid these foods when you cannot get them as Certified Organic*. I also avoid non-organic root veggies such as carrots and onions because the commercial pesticides leach into the soil and stick around for a long time.

Commercial pesticides are linked to disrupting nervous, mental and hormone functions. Chemical Pesticides can also increase the risk for developing leukemia, brain and soft tissue cancers.

Here’s a list of foods that are OK not to buy organic as few chemicals are
used during the growing process:

Few Chemicals Used During Growing Process
Asparagus, Bananas, Broccoli,
Citrus, Kiwi, Melons,
Papaya, Peas (sweet), Avocados,
Blueberries, Cauliflower, Grapes (Calif),
Mangos, Pineapples

by Gerri Tribble, N.D.

*As long as I’ve wandered on over to the “Certified Organic” territory, I thought I’d pass along a small tip. has a useful article to help you make sense of organic labeling. Hope it, along with my lists, to make your grocery selection a bit easier this week.

Now off to eat some Organic pears and walnuts. How about you…what’s your healthy snack of choice today?