Good food for little tummies

By Liann Bobechko »Liann Bobechko

June 22nd, 2011

Photo courtesy bucklava.

Photo by bucklava

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Berries, tomatoes, corn, crisp lettuce. Nothing tastes like summer the way fresh produce does. And it’s good for you too.

Pesticides, not so much. I try to buy organic food as much as I can (especially for things like milk, which my daughter drinks in vast quantities). We can’t always find an organic produce option, and end up substituting for another fruit or veggie, or just going with the regular non-organic variety, and trying not to worry about it.

My days of worrying are over. The good folks at the US-based Environmental Working Group (known for their comprehensive guides that help consumers make healthy, educated choices) have put together the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides which features two lists: the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean Fifteen,” suggesting foods to try to get organic, and those that aren’t bad enough to sweat about. I like that their attitude is decidedly balanced: They’re no Chicken Littles. Here’s an excerpt from the report summary:

Eat your fruits and vegetables! The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Use EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides to reduce your exposures as much as possible, but eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all. The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticide in Produce will help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic. You can lower your pesticide intake substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated produce.

I appreciate that they’re offering me solid, researched advice without the guilt trip. Check out the cheat sheet or the full list, get eating, and stop fretting!

In case you’re wondering what other guides the EWG has created, here are links to a couple of their other reports I’ve found useful—their Sunscreen Safety Guide, Cellphone Radiation Report, and Cosmetics Safety Database.

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Liann Bobechko