Organic produce for juicing is not always easy to find, plus it usually costs considerably more than conventionally grown fruits and vegetables.
Where I live I have to drive 10+ miles for the nearest store that offers good selection of organic foods. I admit in the past I have been reluctant to go out of my way to buy organic produce for juicing, and I’ve been just shopping at the nearest food market.
However, since I started to really get into the topics of pesticides, herbicides, GMOs, animal cruelty, environmental destruction, and other atrocities of the industrialized food production system that we have in the US, I have finally gotten over my laziness and started to put my money where my mouth is.
So, I have a question for you.
Do you use organic or conventional produce for your juices?
While, in my opinion, consuming conventional fruits and vegetables is better than not consuming any plant foods at all, when you really research what you are digesting when eating conventionally grown foods and the effects these chemicals have on your health, your appetite for fresh produce may quickly diminish.
Now, I’m not quite sure whether juicing will further concentrate the toxic ingredients, or whether they will be removed with the pulp (perhaps if you are reading this and you know the answer, you can enlighten me by leaving a comment below).
However, I’m sure that whatever amounts of toxic pesticides, herbicides, and other substances are left in your juice, it’s NOT what you have in mind when preparing your juice, especially when you are juicing for health.
After all, the fruits and greens that we all use in our juicer recipes are fabulous foods, full of vital nutrients that are supposed help keep our bodies strong and immune to disease, right?
Well, sort of.
Many studies demonstrate that most conventionally grown foods contain pesticide and other chemical residues. Many of these foods can literally carry “a cocktail of synthetic poisons.” A growing body of research is showing that repeated exposures, to cocktails of small amounts of synthetic chemicals, have a range of adverse health effects.
The average conventionally grown apple has 20 to 30 artificial chemicals on its skin, even after rinsing. If you’re eating non-organic celery today, you may be ingesting 67 pesticides with it, according to a report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
Many scientists believe these exposures, of minute quantities of agricultural chemicals, are very significant, especially for children. Many of these substances are endocrine disruptors, which can cause a host of health problems, including birth defects, all kinds of cancers, diabetes, obesity, autism, and other.
Children are at greater risk because they play close to the ground, regularly have their hands in their mouths, eyes or noses, and have unique diets. They absorb more pesticides from their environment than adults and are less able to detoxify and excrete pesticides.
The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit focused on public health, scoured nearly 100,000 produce pesticide reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to determine what fruits and vegetables we eat have the highest, and lowest, amounts of chemical residue.
Most alarming are the fruits and vegetables dubbed the “Dirty Dozen,” which contain 47 to 67 pesticides per serving. These foods are believed to be most susceptible because they have soft skin that tends to absorb more pesticides.
The Dirty Dozen – Buy Organic if possible
So here is the list of the so-called Dirty Dozen, the foods that are most contaminated, so we need to limit their consumption or only buy organic:
This list contains most fruits and vegetables that I frequently use in my juices, green smoothies and salads!
The Clean 15
Conventional Produce Lowest in Pesticides
Not all non-organic fruits and vegetables have a high pesticide level. Some produce has a strong outer layer that provides a defense against pesticide contamination. The group found a number of non-organic fruits and vegetables dubbed the “Clean 15″ that contained little to no pesticides.
To limit your exposure, it makes sense to peel fruits, if possible, and not to eat skins, unless you are able to purchase those vegetables in organic form. Remove and discard the outermost leaves of lettuce and cabbage, and other surfaces that cannot be peeled can be washed with soap and water, or a commercial vegetable wash.
Some of my favorite foods and ingredients for my smoothies are on the dirty-dozen list. And even the “OK to eat produce” isn’t completely safe.
For example, a study out of Harvard shows that even tiny, allowable amounts of a common pesticide class can have dramatic effects on brain chemistry. Organophosphate insecticides (OP’s) are among the most widely used pesticides in the U.S. & have long been known to be particularly toxic for children. This is the first study to examine their effects across a representative population with average levels of exposure. Finding :: Kids with above-average pesticide exposures are 2x as likely to have ADHD. Read the full report.
Here is where you can check the pesticide residue on popular produce – go to http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/
I don’t know about you, but I find it appalling that eating these (and other) foods that we buy because they are healthy (and delicious) can make us sick!
Personally, I don’t want to worry about the dangerous toxins when I buy my fruits, vegetables and greens for juicing, blending or cooking.
In my opinion, organic is not a luxury; it’s how food is supposed to be!
Buying organic and pesticide-free whenever possible makes sense and is an important start. But being a responsible consumer will not make enough of a difference to make our food system sustainable and safe for ourselves and future generations.
We need to demand from our politicians and policy makers complete ban of the use of these chemicals, as well as providing more subsidies to organic farming, instead of industrial agriculture.
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And read more about the benefits of juicing on this juicing site.