In a perfect world, you’d only be eating organic produce. Heck, in a perfect world, there’d be no such thing as “non-organic” produce, period. I’ve always found the term “non-organic” a little hard to wrap my head around anyway, seeing as produce is, by definition, organic in nature.
Literary conundrums aside, there’s a bigger dilemma at play here: you can’t always buy organic. It could be the crippling price of organic fruit or vegetables which has you passing them by at high speed, headed for the considerably cheaper chemical-enriched produce aisles. It could also be that your local supermarket simply doesn’t have the incentive or resources to source a good range of organic produce.
Whatever the reason, there’s a good chance that you’ll be munching on a non-organic apple one afternoon, or steaming up some non-organic broccoli for the family dinner one evening. And while you’d be commended for at least eating whole foods in the first place, you’re still ingesting a heady concoction of toxins. These toxins are largely due to pesticides sprayed onto the surface of those fruits and vegetables to protect them from insect and animal attack, and keep them looking blemish-free.
While the reasoning behind such an action is perhaps understandable, the result is not: the chemicals in these pesticides remain in the skin and flesh of the produce, and when ingested they pass into our digestive system and pollute our bodies. The result is a higher risk of developing a wide range of diseases and health conditions, from hormonal imbalance, to neurological disorders and even cancer.
As we recommended in our article on buying the healthiest fruit and vegetables, the logical first step is to turn to the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists. These are an excellent starting point for paleo, primal and simply health-conscious shoppers, as they give an indication of which produce is ok to buy non-organic, and which fruit and veggies you should be prepared to fork out the big bucks for and buy organic. I also just stumbled across this consumer reports guideline, which lists 48 conventional fruits and vegetables available in the US and guides you through which varieties to go for, and which countries have the lowest-risk produce.
But despite all these efforts, you’re probably still going to end up with some non-organic bits and bobs. This is when a good DIY pesticide wash comes in handy. And it doesn’t have to be a super fancy-schmancy thing you buy from some online health food stores for a million bucks. All it takes is some water, vinegar, and a little bit of patience. Doesn’t seem so bad, considering your health is at stake, right?
So, without further ado…
DIY Recipe: Fruit and Vegetable Pesticide Wash
You’d think that after dunking your fresh produce in vinegar for 20 minutes, it’d taste pretty strong. But surprisingly, there’s very little hint of vinegar on the food afterwards, and often what vinegary aftertaste does make it through actually complements the native taste of the produce quite nicely.
While you aren’t going to rid your fruit and vegetables of every molecule of pesticide with this vinegar wash, you’ll banish most of it. And in my opinion, less chemicals, no matter how much less, is definitely a good thing.