Hormones, Pesticides and Non-Organic Food
These days, we’re hearing a lot about the dangers of hormones and pesticides in our food. We’re also presented with so many options at the grocery store (“Hormone Free! All Natural! Non-GMO!”) that it can be confusing to know where to invest in purchasing the more expensive foods, and where it’s okay to buy conventional fare.
I’m going to make it simple for you.
The Dirty Dozen
The dirty dozen is a list of fruits and vegetables that you should buy organic or consider not eating at all. These foods tend to absorb pesticides more easily through their skin, which means that even when you wash them, you’re not necessarily getting rid of all the chemicals. These foods include: Apples, Strawberries, Grapes, Celery, Peaches, Spinach, Sweet Bell Peppers, Nectarines (imported), Cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, Snap Peas (imported) and Potatoes.
If you can’t afford to purchase these fruits and vegetables organic, consider choosing foods on the Clean 15 list.
The Clean Fifteen
On the other side of this list is the Clean Fifteen. These are the foods that are the lowest in pesticides, and the safest conventionally grown crops. They include: Asparagus, Avocados, Cabbage, Cantaloupe, Eggplant, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Mangoes, Onions, Papayas, Pineapples, Sweet Corn, Sweet Peas and Sweet Potatoes. Make sure these are non GMO versions (especially Papays and Corn).
Let’s Talk Meat and Hormones
You are what you eat, and you are what you ate (try saying that 5 times!)
Hormones and pharmaceuticals in meat has become a huge issue. There have been many studies suggesting that the hormones in our meats may be responsible for young girls getting their periods sooner and young boys experiencing breast enlargements due to the higher hormone levels in the meat they consume.
Look for beef that is hormone free, is grass fed and finished and chicken that is free range (cage-free), organic (eats bugs and seeds instead of scraps) and salmon that is hormone and pharmaceutical-free and swims in rivers, not cages.
It’s About Small Choices
All these guidelines might be overwhelming if you’re used to purchasing conventionally grown foods. But remember, this is all about small changes. You don’t have to do it all at once.
Start with a food that you eat the most, so that the one change is more beneficial to your overall goal. For instance, if your family loves strawberries, start by choosing only organic strawberries and making only that one change. Add one food at a time, until eventually your habit is engrained and have eliminated all conventional foods on the Dirty Dozen list.
Take your time to integrate the changes that you can sustain over a long period of time. You will become confident that your food choices are the healthiest versions available so you can keep your family nourished and well fed without inviting unwanted side-effects of poor choices.