The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

I know at first glance it looks like the title to an old western. But it's really an important list to know and keep handy. In fact I would print it out on a card and keep it in my purse for shopping trips. Here's why: First and foremost I know that not everyone can afford organic food. I'd like to say I buy all organics, but I don't. It's just not possible to feed a family our size with our food budget. I'm sure I'm not alone. But there are certain food items that are really considered the bad of the bad. This list is called "the Dirty Dozen". These are foods that are so heavily treated and abused that if you can't afford to buy them in organic, it's better to do without. It shouldn't be taken lightly either, the testing done on these foods gave a result of 47 chemicals present, on average, with some testing positive for as many as 67 chemicals! Reading the list may be hard, I know I'll be biting my lip as I read it again, because I choke on those prices. But you really have to bring yourself back to what is important. The health of your family is in your hands every day, every dinner, every shopping trip. (and that includes all shopping, not just food, but that's a post for another time) If you're making a conscious choice to do better, you have to start choosing, and this list is a good place to begin.

I will say though, that anything you can grow yourself would be by far better than any organic food you can buy, so long as you grow it without added chemicals and pesticides. Because they're fresh and grown in soil that isn't over farmed. You can more easily feed and nurture your growing space than any organic operation simply because of the size of your plot.

That said, there are also foods in a list called "the Clean Fifteen". Which are generally not treated, or treated heavily and considered to be safer for buying in conventional form. In testing they showed little to no traces of chemicals. Now while many will argue that "organics are always best", and they may well be correct, the clean fifteen can allow some breathing room for a cash strapped growing family that's trying to do their best without going broke. Use this list as a buffer for your grocery budget. If you eat foods mainly on the dirty dozen list and can't afford to buy them in organics, you can begin to use more of the foods on the clean list to balance out your grocery bill.

This is JUST a starting point. Take it a step at a time. Pick one thing on the dirty list and begin to buy it organic, or replace it with something on the clean list, and keep doing that until you can look at the dirty list and feel confident that you've mastered it. Then move on to other things. Don't be overwhelmed by the choices and the expense. And don't feel like you have to do it all now! Baby steps here! You didn't learn to use those foods overnight, and you'll take time to learn different ways too. We can all learn to be healthy, but it will take time. And don't forget to pray. Often times when I feel like I don't have other options, I pray and doors open. God cares about our health too, and He'll help guide you in your walk, both spiritually and in taking care of your family.

So without further delay, here are the lists:

The Dirty Dozen:
  • celery
  • peaches
  • strawberries
  • apples
  • domestic blueberries
  • nectarines
  • sweet bell peppers
  • spinach, kale and collard greens
  • cherries
  • potatoes
  • imported grapes
  • lettuce
The Clean Fifteen:
  • onions
  • avocados
  • sweet corn
  • pineapples
  • mango
  • sweet peas
  • asparagus
  • kiwi fruit
  • cabbage
  • eggplant
  • cantaloupe
  • watermelon
  • grapefruit
  • sweet potatoes
  • sweet onions
You can most likely see, as I did that there are many things we use that are not on either list. I'll go over some more info when I address the topic of "going organic" in my Tips to Save Money series. But my suggestion, until you have better info would be to buy those food from the best source you can afford. Hope this helps you take a step in the right direction!

31"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31


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