Chemicals, GMOs, and Pesticides, Oh My! (A Smart, Healthy Grocery Guide)

If you’ve been reading this blog since its creation earlier this month, then you know I’m trying to expand my horizons in the kitchen. Thus far, I’ve tried my hand at a couple new recipes, I’ve ventured into a few ingredients I’ve not ever used before, and I’ve been looking for new flavor profiles to satisfy my palate. February will be interesting for us, guys. I hope you’ll stick around.

Through this journey, I’ve really tried to do a bit of research to ensure that I’m making healthier decisions for my body, and what I’m finding is that food is complicated. The U.S. food industry is tasked with providing nourishment for over 325 million people, and just like a high school student…the corporate minds that make decisions look for shortcuts to provide as much food as possible for as little cost as possible to maximize profits. It is, in fact, a business. The present solution has been to genetically modify foods, to chemically alter them in some way, or to spray them with pesticides and supplements that allow for one chicken breast to weigh 3/4 lb. on its own or for a potato to be as big as your head.

The result, at least for me, is that grocery shopping can be daunting. Do I spring for more expensive organic meat and produce to ensure that I’m putting the healthiest foods in my person, or do I go ahead and buy the cheaper alternatives to dip into my monthly budget as little as possible? On a teacher’s salary and managing a household completely alone, I just don’t have the means to buy everything organic and natural. I’ll never be the Whole Foods diva that lives in my deepest fantasies, and I’ve got to be okay with that. This is where the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 will, I think, be game changers for me.

I’ve learned of late, whether through my frequent Food Network binges or by reading a food blog (I genuinely can’t remember which), that each year the Environmental Working Group performs an annual study to determine which fruits and vegetables are most impacted by chemical additives (the “Dirty Dozen,” as it were) and which are the least affected (the “Clean Fifteen”), effectively helping us determine when to spring for organics and when we can save a penny or two. I was shocked to read on MindBodyGreen that nearly 70% of the tested foods were impacted by chemicals and even more shocked to see which foods were on which list…particularly because I’ve so often bought organics in some of the more “exotic” items on the Clean Fifteen because I thought that’s what I was “supposed” to be doing. These lists will definitely impact my grocery decisions in the foreseeable future.

The most up-to-date set of lists I was able to find is from last year, but until this year’s lists are revealed, this is what I’ll be using. Without further ado…

Let me know your clean eating and grocery shopping tips in the comments and don’t forget to click the “Contact” tab to find all my socials. Until next time…

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