The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

Have you ever wanted to buy all organic foods, but just didn’t have the budget to? When it comes to picking and choosing, how do you know which options are better or worse?

This is where the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen come in. I refer to these two lists often while planning my grocery lists. I also use it when deciding what sales of produce are worth it or not.

Basically, the dirty dozen is a list of the “dirtiest” conventional (non-organic) produce of the current year. The ones who’s test results come back with the highest amount of pesticides. Meanwhile, the clean fifteen is the exact opposite: a list of produce who’s test results show the least amount of pesticides.

These lists are produced yearly by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). You can read the 2019 lists here. The EWG is an organization dedicated to getting information about food into the hands of the consumer, and getting toxins out of our food and environment. They often bring their fight to the political realm, and even give American citizens tangible ways to take action.

I love this list because it helps me to decide where to spend my money. If an item is on the dirty dozen, especially if it’s high up the list, I limit my purchases of that item when it’s conventional. Instead, I choose to buy organic. A great example is fresh strawberries. Strawberries are consistently at the top of the list each year. I very rarely buy conventional strawberries, and pretty much only buy organic strawberries. Even though this means having limited strawberries, since organic strawberries are SO. EXPENSIVE. while they are not in season. But when strawberry season hits and organic strawberry prices plummet, you can be sure I’m stocking up!

Side note, did you know that frozen produce has less pesticides? This is because they are frozen shortly after picking, therefore requiring less pesticides to preserve them. This is another great budget friendly tip when you can’t afford to buy all organic!

White potatoes are generally on the dirty dozen as well, but they are lower down the list. Since they are super affordable, I just can’t afford to pass them up in favor of organic potatoes. In cases like this, peel them. That will remove most of the pesticides, and save you the money.

The clean fifteen is my favorite. These are items I will buy conventionally, and not worry too much about it. They have the least amount of pesticides on them, but if you’re still worried about it, peel the ones that you’re able to and clean the ones that you aren’t. I’m so glad sweet potatoes consistently make this list because I live off of them!

This is just one way to save money while trying to eat healthy. As a Whole30 coach, I do want to point out that organic and non-gmo produce are NOT required in order to do a Whole30. In fact, it has nothing to do with it. You can eat completely conventional produce your entire round and still be Whole30 or Paleo. However, if you’re concerned like I am but also don’t have the means to afford to buy completely organic, keep these lists handy!

Drop any budget friendly tips below in the comments!

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