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What to Look for When Buying Produce

The paleo diet encourages you to eat organic, non-GMO fruits and vegetables whenever possible, since these are not grown using pesticides and so will not contain any trace chemicals. If you can’t buy all organic produce, try buying organic for the items known as the “Dirty Dozen” (below). This list is published annually by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The food with the highest pesticide residue is at the top.

On the other hand, the EWG also publishes the “Clean 15” (also below), which lists the items with the least amount of pesticide. These are considered safer to buy conventionally grown. This list starts with the food with the lowest pesticide residue.

DIRTY DOZEN
Apples
Peaches
Nectarines
Strawberries
Grapes
Celery
Spinach
Sweet Bell Peppers
Cucumbers
Cherry Tomatoes
Snap Peas (imported)
Potatoes

CLEAN 15
Avocados
Sweet Corn (not paleo)
Pineapples
Cabbage
Sweet Peas (frozen) (not paleo)
Onions
Asparagus
Mangos
Papayas
Kiwi
Eggplant
Grapefruit
Cantaloupe
Cauliflower
Sweet Potatoes

As the saying goes, Fresh is BEST.  However, regularly buying fresh organic foods can certainly become costly. If fresh organic produce isn’t always in your budget, you can opt for frozen organic fruits and veggies. Organic frozen fruits and vegetables might not taste as good, but they are typically less expensive, contain the same amount of nutrients and will still be pesticide free.

Regardless of whether you are able to regularly buy organic or if you have to buy conventionally grown, it’s important to always wash your fresh produce properly. This will help remove any remaining dirt or grime it might have picked up on its journey to the store. Plus, washing your conventionally grown produce might not completely rid it of pesticides, but it can certainly reduce your exposure to chemicals!

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