organic foodSome people (only a few) are better at avoiding food treated with chemicals. A diet avoiding this sort of commercial produce is called ‘organic’. It is easier nowadays to follow such an eating regime than formerly. Try it if you have reason to suspect you may be reacting to chemicals but don’t go overboard: many people are convinced that pesticides on food make the mill but fail to detect them when challenged double-blind.

Organic food suppliers belong to various bodies to help promote them selves and their ideas. Try to make contact with these organizations and find out about your local suppliers. The Henry Doubleday Research organization is a good place to start (see the Useful Addresses section). They have been pioneers in organic farming methods for decades. They can usually supply a list of vendors. The Soil Association even goes so far as to vet produce showing the label ‘organic’. Look for their sign of approval but be warned: this is not a legal requirement and anyone can call their wares ‘organic’ whether they have used chemicals or not.

Your local health food shop should also be able to help find locally-grown supplies.

To reduce your pesticide intake, avoid the 10 “dirtiest” foods from the Environmental Working Group’sShopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce:

Eating the twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables will expose a person to about fifteen pesticides a day, on average. Eating the twelve least contaminated will expose a person to fewer than two pesticides a day.

“Federal produce tests tell us that some fruits and vegetables are so likely to be contaminated with pesticides that you should always buy them organic,” said Richard Wiles, EWG’s senior vice president. “Others are so consistently clean that you can eat them with less concern. With the Shopper’s Guide in your pocket, it’s easy to tell which is which.”

The “Dirty Dozen” (starting with the worst)

  • peaches
  • apples
  • sweet bell peppers
  • celery
  • nectarines
  • strawberries
  • cherries
  • pears
  • grapes (imported)
  • spinach
  • lettuce
  • potatoes

The “Cleanest 12” (starting with the best)

  • onions
  • avocados
  • sweet corn (frozen)
  • pineapples
  • mangoes
  • asparagus
  • sweet peas (frozen)
  • kiwi fruit
  • bananas
  • cabbage
  • broccoli
  • papaya
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