Are you trying to buy organic food, but often decide not to as you can’t always afford it?
And then you find your basket filled with admittedly often beautiful looking, but conventionally farmed fruit and veg, whilst thinking about all the pesticides you are carrying home? About the impact of the conventional growing methods on the soil, the water, the air, your body? And about the possibility to get a migraine because of the effect some of the pesticides can have on our body?
Carrying home guilt in your shopping bag
I used to walk home with a bad conscience and wondering how committed I was to my health and to the planet, if I choose the ‘normal’ stuff. Especially if then, on those really bad days, where the world just does not seem to be right, you also carry home a packet of sugar packed cookies or that cheap bar of chocolate on offer. And when you unpack those things at home you feel your heart sinks as you know those sweets will be gone quickly and you still won’t be happier, but feeling guilty on top of being in a crappy mood.
And often in those moments I would wonder if it would not have been better to spend the money on those organic blueberries that were calling out to me, instead of buying the conventional blueberries AND cheap chocolate. The money spent equal, the effect on body and mind dramatically different. Especially if you put the feeling of guilt into the equation…
Today I am certainly not perfect (and will never be) and even as a health coach I do get into similar situations at times. Buying organic and regional as often as I can, but not always.
I decided to deal differently with my decisions
- I decided that I don’t want to feel guilty about my food (or any) choices.
- I decided that I am worthy of fresh, organic food if it calls out to me.
- I decided that I do the best I can and that’s okay.
- And after I had learned about the different amount of pesticides applied to different vegetables and fruit types, I also decided that when in doubt I buy the Clean Fifteen and avoid the Dirty Dozen as much as possible.
This concept has since made it much easier for me to feel good about my food choices when I just was not prepared to spend a fortune on one small avocado or could at least not afford to do so on a regular basis. Even if I really would love to contribute to a cleaner planet with every purchase I make.
Let me introduce you to the Clean Fifteen & Dirty Dozen
Every year the Clean Fifteen list and the Dirty Dozen list (best if bought organic) are put together by the Environmental Working Group and those lists are based on independent pesticide content tests carried out in the US. The Clean Fifteen List shows you which fruits and vegetable are okay to buy conventional since they are usually less impacted by bugs or pests and therefore require not that many pesticides. The Dirty Dozen list shows you which fruits or veggies are highly treated and should be really always be bought from trustworthy organic sources. For most of the items the results are valid also in Europe, but there are some differences, like for examples apples, for which the use of a very toxic chemical called DPA has been banned in Europe. But as a general guideline the lists are very helpful.
You can download a PDF from the EWG’s website (http://www.ewg.org/foodnews) and cut it out to carry always with you in your purse or pocket so that shopping just gets that little easier.
I hope this is as helpful to you as it is to me!
I would love to hear from you if this knowledge transforms your shopping experience in any way.
And don’t forget: be kind and gentle to yourself!