Which strawberries do you buy? The ones that look the brightest red? Careful, most of these strawberries are conventionally grown. They have been treated with a fungicide like Captan. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), Captan is classified as a POSSIBLE human carcinogen. This means that exposure or ingestion of this substance could lead to the development of cancer. A study on a particular strain of mice accomplished just that. Remember, don’t be fooled by the vibrant red colour. Steer clear, and proceed to the organic food aisle.
Are you an avid fan of Popeye the Sailor Man? In the cartoon series, Popeye becomes super strong after eating a can of spinach. At the time this cartoon was created, people actually believed that spinach made you much stronger because the iron content of spinach was accidentally over-calculated. Do you know what else may have been miscalculated? The actual number of pesticide residues in conventionally grown spinach; there are at least 20 different kinds! Don’t be sad spinach lovers (and Popeye fans), just go for organically grown spinach so you don’t receive any of the harmful pesticides and can continue receiving the benefits of this great leafy vegetable. Just don’t get the ones you have to squeeze out from the can, okay? Fresh is best!
Commercially grown peaches are one of the top contenders for having numerous pesticide residues. We can single out one particular fungicide named Iprodione. Which, according to the EPA, is a fungicide classified as a POSSIBLE human carcinogen. Peaches are very sensitive in the sense that the fruit only has a thin layer of skin protecting it. When exposed to fungicides, the chemicals tend to soak through the skin into the fruit. This is the primary reason you should put peaches on your must-buy-as-organic food list.
4. Peanut butter.
Calling all you peanut butter lovers out there, please pay attention. Except for those who are allergic to peanuts, who doesn’t love peanut butter? The peanut is actually not a true nut my friends. It’s really a legume. Unlike nuts which are covered with a hard shell, peanuts are sealed inside a supple, porous shell. This characteristic makes peanuts susceptible to contaminants like pesticides and molds. Luckily, organically grown peanuts don’t have pesticide residues but they may contain aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is a toxin produced by a fungus which thrives in peanuts. Conventional peanut growers apply fungicides to to their crops to prevent the growth of fungi. Fortunately for us, all peanuts both organic and non-organic must undergo testing for Aflatoxin before entering our food chain.
On another note, its important to put your opened jar of peanut butter in your refrigerator to keep it fresh. The cold temperature makes an inhospitable environment to stop the fungi from growing and producing toxins. Oh, it’s also best to buy peanut butter in a glass jar as opposed to the ones in plastic jars. You never know what chemicals are present in the plastic jar itself.
What do celery and peanuts have in common? Other than the fact that they are great eaten together, they are both packed with pesticide and fungicide residues. Celery is one of the most heavily sprayed vegetables. Like spinach and other leafy greens, celery has a large surface area for pesticides to accumulate on and it has no protective skin. Don’t get me wrong, celery is healthy, as long as its organic.
How often do you eat apples? We all know the value of an apple a day, blah, blah, blah. Do you eat the peel? You should. Some experts regard it as the healthiest part because it contains the greatest concentration of antioxidants. These antioxidants ward off diseases like heart disease and cancer. Sadly, the peel also has a soft spot for pesticides. They accumulate there too. The next time you visit the organic food section, don’t forget the apples and try eating the peel this time. You may be pleasantly surprised because organic apples usually taste much better.
Conventionally raised cows are often given growth hormones to make the animals grow to maturity faster, while being grazed on pesticide-treated grass and, to top it off, antibiotics may be used to prevent illness in the cows. This means that you may be, unknowingly, receiving a cocktail of chemical residues with your favourite steak or bolognaise. On the contrary, organically raised cows are not subjected to this kind of treatment and organic meat is definitely the way to go wherever possible.
Milk production in cows can be increased by giving them rBGH. It’s short for recombinant bovine growth hormone. Bovine somatotropin is another name given to this powerful hormone. This hormone puts their milk making capacity on overdrive. Although the experts think that there’s not enough evidence yet to link rBGH to any particular adverse health effect in humans, it would be best to avoid getting your milk from conventionally raised cows and rather go organic. Who wants to wait for an adverse health effect, let’s say, you (a man, for example) producing lot’s of milk? I don’t think any man wants to have MANnary glands.
Don’t be fooled by these supposedly innocent bystanders (they sit on the couch, most of the time). In addition to scooping up huge amounts of pesticides while they’re growing, they’re also sprayed with pesticides AFTER they’re harvested. To make matters worse, they can even suck pesticides from the soil. Talk about scoring big time for pesticides. Boo!
10. Sweet bell peppers.
Even though this food may be found close to the end on our list, it doesn’t mean it contains less contaminants. Like most of the foods listed above that have only a thin skin as protection, sweet bell peppers are no strangers to harbouring pesticides. I’ll summarize the pesticides in numbers and let them do the talking.
Now, place those organic sweet bell peppers in your grocery cart.
Which came first? The chicken or the eggs? You’ve probably heard this one A MILLION TIMES. Fortunately, this time, you don’t need to answer this question because it doesn’t matter which came first. Both chicken and their eggs can pass the pesticides on to the whole army of dishes you make with them. Chickens raised to adopt the organic lifestyle, eat organic feeds. They’re also free of antibiotics, and not hooked on hormones.
12. Baby food.
This type of food is screaming organic right from the start. Your baby’s immune system isn’t quite ready yet, especially for the first six months when his/her immune system is still developing. Provide your baby the best possible start, and you can give yourself that elusive peace of mind. Go organic for baby!