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The Dirty Dozen

Okay, so yesterday’s post was kind of a bummer, right? Sorry about that. Not only do I not want to be a downer, but I really don’t want to come off as a snob—evangelist, most definitely. I know it’s not always possible to buy everything organic, and I get that it’s expensive. Sometimes it’s pretty hard to swallow $5.99 for a pint of paltry-looking organic berries when the plump, beautiful conventional ones right next to them are on sale for two bucks. So, how about some positively useful information?

In case anybody is not familiar with it, here is the list of produce, created by the Environmental Working Group (yep, there’s an app for that; check it out on their site), that requires the most pesticides to grow: celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, tomatoes, imported grapes. I was shocked when I learned celery tops the list, and that lettuce isn’t even on it. If you stuck to organic only when buying these 12 things, just think of all the chemicals you would not be putting into your kids’ mouths.

Good to know, huh?

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This post has 9 comments

  • Barb says:

    Love how you’ve given us a boost with this really useful information and resource! THAT’S exactly why we need you Bev.

    • Geraldine says:

      Love the info Bevin! Here’s my new thing. I drive the extra distance to Sunflower market. A couple of weeks ago, a large container of organic strawberries was .99 cents. The week after, a small container of organic blackberries was .88 cents! Of course they might not have what you want at that price every day, but if you look around that store, it is well worth the drive (and you don’t have to tolerate the parking nightmare of Whole Paycheck!).

  • susan says:


    Check out this article from Rodale today.

    Of course, they are not apologetic about organic.

    I do stick to Dirty Dozen, but also feel almost as motivated to buy organic versions of things like bananas because I don’t want to support the way US corps/multinationals have gone down south and created toxic moncultures/banana republics. And the berries are good incentive to eat seasonally, I guess–or eat frozen! It’s not easy–thanks for the blog!

    • Thanks Susan for posting that link. Very interesting, and I totally agree we should buy organic and local as much as possible, not just for health reasons but also to support that type of farming vs. “industrial.” It’s tough sometimes, especially in Colorado, where things can get pretty lean in the winter!

  • Jody Alexander says:

    Great Blog! You are very talented Bevin and I always wondered what you did in all your free time. I really enjoyed your comments about organic foods vs. dirty dozen. Keep up the great work!

  • Nice posts Bevin. A topic near and dear to my heart. It’s hard when you work and young kids to cook from scratch and do organic all the time. I now have Door to Door Organics bring me fresh often local organic product for a very reasonable price and I put the box out that they deliver it in for them to reuse, which makes me feel better about the packaging. They bring items I may not select myself, like kale and broccoli rabe, which makes us try new things and learn how to cook veggies that are not as familiar to us. We’ve almost always had a great outcome with our experiments! I think it would be good to do a couple of blogs or maybe even a series of blog posts on easy no fuss healthy weekday meals. Your stir fry looked yummy, but some nights, we need something even simpler/faster. Like taking some fresh tomatoes and basil if you have it, chicken broth and any other herbs or fresh veggies on hand, or legumes for a healthy soup. That’s very fast and even my kids will usually eat that.

    Another possible blog post would be a lesson on how to read ingredients because we can’t totally avoid packaged/processed foods. We may not consider ice cream a processed food, yet it is. I finally realized why Cold Stone Creamery ice cream tasted weird and made me feel yucky afterward. I read the label. Way too many things I couldn’t decipher plus things I knew were bad for me in that ice cream. When I buy Haagen Daaz, it usually only has a few ingredients and I know what they are!

    Another idea or series of ideas is around nutrition for kids. Kids (like adults) get way too many carbs/sugar. How to push the protein and veggies in ways that they would enjoy, even somehow in their lunchbox.

    Keep it up!

  • Chriss Bond says:

    Wow, Bevin. I am so impressed and I’m feeling guilty about the gogurts in my fridge and the vanilla coffee mate that I can not have my morning coffee without. I love the blog, you are such a great writer.

  • […] one red bell pepper (organic for sure; it’s one of the “Dirty Dozen”) into thin pieces and drizzle with olive […]

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