The Dirty Dozen: 12 Foods You Should Always Buy Organic


It seems like everywhere you go these days organic is plastered onto everything. It’s like the new “reduced-fat” or “low carb” in the supermarket world. Do I really need to buy my kids organic lollipops, and will organic milk really make a difference? It sure as hell sounds good, but what will it do for me, more importantly my body?

Sometimes I just buy organic for the heck of it. After all, it can’t hurt. When I see the label 100% organic, free-range blah blah blah I just feel as if what I’m eating is safe. Other times I don’t give a crap. I like my chocolate chips, cheese and wine the way they are. Do I really need to go organic?

I’m sure many of you all have the same questions running through your head every day. After all, the world of the organics can be a bit overwhelming. It’s not like we had class lectures on the topic while growing up. This is all new to many.

Turns out, there is a group of twelve foods – the Dirty Dozen – that you should always, always buy organic as they are more susceptible to pesticides and other chemicals. Do we really want that gunk in our body? No thanks!  What if I rinse and wash my fruits ‘n’ veggies though? you ask. Tough luck. Rinsing may slightly reduce the chemicals, but it’s not enough to prevent contamination.

OK enough screwing around. Let’s get to the point. Alas, here are the “Dirty Dozen” that you want to always buy organic:

  • celery
  • peaches
  • strawberries
  • apples
  • blueberries
  • nectarines
  • bell peppers
  • spinach
  • cherries
  • kale/collard greens
  • potatoes
  • grapes (imported)

And the “Clean 15” – eat your heart out ’cause they’re lowest in pesticides:

  • onions
  • avocado
  • sweet corn
  • pineapple
  • mangoes
  • sweet peas
  • asparagus
  • kiwi
  • cabbage
  • eggplant
  • cantaloupe
  • watermelon
  • grapefruit
  • sweet potato
  • honeydew melon


Now the big question is, where do I buy organic? I know for a fact stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s tend to carry a larger organic line than most grocery stores. Also, your local health food store should have plenty options. Larger brand supermarkets like Stop & Shop are starting to carry organic food, but the options are slim. Then there’s your best bet – the local food stands and Farmer’s markets – where you’ll be sure your food is organic, fresh and tasty!

This afternoon The Boy and I are going to do a little exploring at Stop & Shop to see how many items we can find organic, particularly looking out for the “Dirty Dozen.” Then we’re planning on making a healthy dinner with our finds: salmon and organic veggies, perhaps? I will let you know what I discover!

Do you buy your food organic? What items do you always buy organic, and which are you more carefree about?

6 Responses to “The Dirty Dozen: 12 Foods You Should Always Buy Organic”

  1. Amanda Says:

    Awesome post! When I took the cooking class with Carla Hall I took the opportunity to ask a professional chef what ingredients she MUST buy organic. She said anything with thin skins really (like the Dirty Dozen) peppers, apples, etc. She also only buys organic flour and eggs. I personally cannot buy non-organic eggs and milk anymore. After reading too many books it just grosses me out.

  2. healthychicks Says:

    Thanks for sharing Amanda, that sounds like such a neat experience! I too buy organic milk – well I only drink soy milk and it’s from Trader Joe’s so it’s always organic. But I may start buying my eggs organic too, can’t hurt!

  3. Amanda Says:

    The fiancée is the milk drinker in the house, and he claims he can’t tell a difference but I think he’s a little crazy. I’m a coconut or almond milk girl myself. 🙂 I think eggs are one of the foods that you can tell a major difference between organic and not. The colors alone are so much brighter!

  4. Tweets that mention The Dirty Dozen: 12 Foods You Should Always Buy Organic | Healthy Chicks -- Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rachel Chemerynski, athletesplate. athletesplate said: RT @Healthy_Chicks: The Dirty Dozen: 12 Foods to Always Buy Organic […]

  5. Krista Says:

    Everyone should also watch Food Inc. It really gets you thinking about what you’re eating and where it comes from! Great article rach, got all my organics yesterday from Trader Joe’s and now I’m good to go for the week!

  6. Healthy Chicks » Blog Archive » Boston Organics: Our First Box Has Arrived! Says:

    […] time to buy organic 100% of the time, but it’s important to at least be aware of these “Dirty Dozen” fruits and veggies you should always buy […]

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 at 9:27 am and is filed under Health & Wellness, Healthy Eats. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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