Are There Really Toxins in My Food?

Yes, tons of them!  In fact, according to samples tested by the USDA, over seventy percent of conventional grown produce contain at least one pesticide residue.  When you consume the fruit or vegetables, you also are consuming pesticides.  Now, many will ask, “Does it really matter?”. The answer is YES.  The main function of pesticides are to kill weeds, what do you think they are doing in your body?

I am asked routinely the following questions: “How do I start changing my diet?”, “How can I be more conscious of the Environment?” and “How can I eliminate exposure to toxins that in our food supply?”. One easy, sure fire method is eating organic.

Why Organic?

Organic foods are grown with natural fertilizers, like manure and compost.  Weeds are controlled by crop rotation, weeding by hand, mulching and tilling.  Pests are controlled by natural methods, like traps and naturally derived pesticides.  Livestock are given all organic, hormone free and Non-GMO feed. Disease is prevented by natural means.  Livestock have access to the outdoors.  Organic vegetables and fruit contain fewer pesticides. Organic food contains no antibiotics, growth hormones and not fed animal byproducts.   Most organic produce is local. This requires less travel time and allows for a fresher, higher quality product.  Studies have shown that organic food contains more nutrients, which means it is healthier.

Organic food costs more.  I don’t think I can afford it.

I hear this quite often, but in reality it is actually saving you money eating organic.  Eating organic is part of a healthy lifestyle.  With this comes less drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes.  Also, reduced consumption of junk foods and prepared foods, all of which cost more.  You will also be eating out less, which saves a ton of money.  In addition, the healthier you are, the less medication you will need to take,  which will lead to less doctors appointments, all of which save an incredible amount of money.  By eating organic, you are investing in yourself and your health!

So what are the “Dirty Dozen”?

The dirty dozen are the top twelve conventionally grown fruit and vegetables that should never be eaten unless organic.   They contain the most amounts of presticides as tested by the USDA.  The Environmental Working Group analyzes these tests and produces a yearly summary of which foods to avoid.  Out of the of 48 common types of produce tested, the results indicated that that there were over 178 different pesticide residues and the samples that were tested.  However, some types of produce were worse than others.  The top twelve are names “Dirty Dozen” .  They are strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, pears, cherries, grapes, celery, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, and potatoes. These should be organic whenever possible.

Is there anything that I Can eat?

Fortunately there are!  The top fifteen plants that contain the least amount of pesticides are known as the “Clean Fifteen”.  They are Non-GMO sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, sweet pears, Non-GMO papayas, asparagus, mangos, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower and grapefruit.  These are the best choices to eat if you do not have the means or access to organic produce.

So, you are saying that I should never eat the dirty dozen?

No! What I am saying is that you need to be mindful and avoid them whenever possible.  Fruit and vegetables are still the healthier option when compared to processed, sugary and junk foods.  You can purchase the clean fifteen conventionally, but stick to organic produce when buying the dirty dozen.  This list comes out yearly so it may change!


Sources consulted



Dr. Scott Schreiber has been practicing in Newark, Delaware for over thirteen years.  He is a chiropractic physician that is double board certified in clinical nutrition and rehabilitation.  He is a certified nutrition specialist and a licensed dietitian/nutritionist.