People get confused about organic food, and no wonder! One day, you’ll read that anything less than the USDA organic seal on your food and you’re practically poisoning yourself. The next day, you’ll hear that organic food isn’t worth the extra green because it isn’t any more nutritious than the conventional stuff.

Personally, I’m a big supporter of organic food. Yes, I know, it costs more. It may or may not be more nutritious. And sometimes, the organic produce at the store doesn’t look as good as the conventional.

But do you know why? The conventional stuff is doused in chemicals so it doesn’t get bruised or bugged. Those pesticides and herbicides and waxy coatings that trap the chemicals and prevent bruises are killing the birds and the bees and us. I’d rather eat the natural version, thanks.

I’d also rather vote with my food dollars to support the good honest work of organic farmers. While there is always controversy and differing options – and while some organic farmers may be less ethical than others and try to bend the rules – overall the message they send is a positive one for the planet, all the way up and down the food chain. Organic farmers don’t use chemicals, so they don’t contribute to the poisoning of the planet. Organic farmers are required by law to treat animals humanely (even if the occasional one doesn’t), and they aim to protect the soil, water and animal life for years to come. In my next life, I want to be an organic farmer!

I’m no Pollyanna, even if I do tend to be a bright-eyed optimist. No system is perfect, but the occasional bad-seed organic farm doesn’t mean you trash the concept. Buying and eating organic means you put fewer pesticides and other noxious chemicals into that beautiful body of yours, and into the pure and perfect bodies of your children. Is there any better reason to spend an extra two bucks on that bag of apples, even if they don’t look perfect enough for a magazine cover?

I also understand that, like with politics and breastfeeding, you don’t want to be telling women what to eat but some foods are just dirtier than others, and I don’t mean they are covered with nice fresh natural soil. I mean they are doused in chemicals. As of the today, the Organic Consumer’s Association states that these are the current “dirty dozen” foods most likely to be contaminated with pesticides, herbicides, and other nasties.

If you want to eat clean, you can get rid of most of the chemicals in your diet if you always buy organic versions of these twelve foods:

  1. Peaches
  2. Apples
  3. Sweet bell peppers
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarines
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Pears
  9. Imported grapes (grown in U.S. are much better)
  10. Spinach
  11. Lettuce
  12. Potatoes

There’s another easy way to find out the level of toxins in your “conventional” produce. The Pesticide Action Network’s online database, called “What’s on my Food?” compares organic to conventional food and explains exactly what you’re eating and drinking. Go to www.WhatsOnMyFood.org and simply click on the food of your choice to find out which pesticides have been used on it. The site is very informative; it explains pesticide toxicity, health impacts of pesticides on the body, and which foods are most likely to include chemicals. Another good site is www.foodnews.org.

Image Source: SXC