The new 2014 shopping list of safe and unsafe fruits and veggies
Christine Chen and Emerald Catron | My Body
Here’s one list you should keep with you for the rest of the year. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) just released its highly respected, annual list of the best fruits and vegetables you can buy, and the ones you should avoid.
If you want to protect yourself and your family against pesticide residues, reportedly linked to a range of health problems and developmental problems in kids, listen to the EWG’s big message: buy organic to be safer. However, if you must buy conventional produce, they urge you to avoid the items on their Dirty Dozen™ while feeling confident about their Clean Fifteen™.
New to 2014’s Dirty Dozen™, a list of the worst pesticide offenders, are imported snap peas, replacing hot peppers from 2013. Everything else stayed list, with apples still considered the “dirtiest.”
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Imported nectarines
- Cherry tomatoes
- Imported snap peas
And, a special heads up from the EWG, if you’re a kale fan, definitely buy organic, since trace levels of pesticides toxic to the nervous system were found during kale testing.
On the flipside, feel free to go for avocados, which ranked as the cleanest on the 2014 Clean Fifteen™. Cauliflower joins the clean list this year, while mushrooms, considered safe in 2013, fell off the safe list.
- Sweet corn
- Frozen sweet peas
- Sweet potatoes
If organic produce is not affordable or accessible to you, try substitutions or get creative in the kitchen.
Potato Options: Use baked sweet potatoes for fries and other potato dishes and puree cauliflower as a sub for mashed potatoes. If you must have pure potato, health experts say peeling, washing and cooking potatoes does a good job of getting rid of most of the pesticide residue.
Alternatives to Apples: Cook with pears instead of apples for pies, sauces and other dishes. However, pears missed the Dirty Dozen by eight spots, so even when substituting, consider buying organic.
Strawberry Substitutes: Choose raspberries, which are also great for antioxidants and lower on the EWG’s danger list. Also, try incorporating kiwis and pineapples, both on the Clean Fifteen™, for a comparable tart and sweet combination. Adventurous? Go for guavas.
Home Grown Cherry Tomatoes: Here’s a DIY idea: if you have a little outdoor yard space or small patio, grow your own cherry toms in the summer. It only takes a five-gallon bucket, some potting soil and sunlight.
To get your own official, portable list, sign up for an EWG bag tag here. For the rest of 2014, you’ll be sure to fill your shopping basket with everything that’s safe and healthy.