12 foods that are worth the organic splurge

As compelling as it may be to only buy free-range beef and fair trade coffee, who can afford it? You want to do the right thing for your health and the planet, but your budget begs otherwise. In terms of long-term costs to your health, though, there are some fruits and veggies that are always worth the organic splurge. The dirty dozen below have the highest levels of pesticides when grown conventionally. The thin skins on many of them make it easy for pesticides to penetrate to the food and impossible for us to wash away the chemicals. Opt for USDA certified organics of these foods and you're ensuring your salad wasn't raised using man-made chemical pesticides, fossil fuel- or sewage-based fertilizers or genetically-modified seeds.

  1. apples
  2. sweet bell peppers
  3. carrots
  4. celery
  5. cherries
  6. grapes (imported)
  7. kale
  8. lettuce
  9. nectarines
  10. peaches
  11. pears
  12. strawberries
Let's say you're looking at this list feeling totally daunted because these are the only fruits and vegetables you buy. A good compromise is to hit up your local farmer's market where the prices are often lower than the grocery store, and the farmers raise their crops using organic methods but don't opt to go through the costly and lengthy organic certification process. Ask them how they raise their apples. No spray? Then ask for their best apple pie recipe.

And whether you buy organic or not, always remember to give your food a good wash before eating or cooking with it!

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