Monday, March 23, 2009

Shopper's Guide To Pesticides

Lowering your consumption of pesticides is a must and even if you've never thought about it before, please start now. Pesticides are harmful to your health and can cause long term damage to vital organs. I know what you're thinking. You want to lower your consumption of pesticides, but you don't know which fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of pesticides. Lucky for you the people at the Environmental Working Group developed this downloadable guide for you to take on your weekly shopping trips.

This handy little guide contains information on the 'dirty dozen' and the 'clean fifteen' - fruits and vegetables that contain high and low amounts of pesticides. In addition to the handy shopping guide, there is a full list of 47 fruits and vegetables on the website. Armed with the knowledge of which foods are laden with pesticides, you can make better decisions about your food purchases. Who knew that peaches were the fruit that contains the highest levels of pesticides? Onions, on the other hand, are lowest in pesticides. When faced with purchasing a food that you know is on the 'dirty dozen' list, the best option is to choose organic. More and more stores carry organic produce, so you don't have to shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joes to get food that is good for you.

Another way to avoid pesticides is to grow your own food. Growing your own food enables you to control what goes into the soil and lets you determine the best course of action when dealing with pests. Having a produce garden is a great way to connect food with nature, which will make you appreciate your food (and the environment) even more. It is also great exercise because it is a lot of work - work that pays off in multiples come harvest time.

Some people believe that pesticides are a necessary part of food production. Mom doesn't and neither do I. There must be a better way to control pests that invade food crops than by dousing them with harmful chemicals. The chemicals kill the pests, but they also seep into the soil and ultimately the food they were trying to save. The EPA regulates the types of pesticides that are used in the U.S., but a lot of fruits and vegetables in the stores are imported from other countries. Do these countries have a group similar to the EPA? Do your homework, know where your food comes from, and sleep better knowing that you are doing all you can to ensure the food you put in your body is safe from pesticides.

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