Like many others, I'm concerned about the various risks that different foods and eating habits pose to my health, and I try to find a balance between being cautious and being reasonable. I prefer to buy organic, local produce when I can...but it isn't always the best option. Sometimes I can't find something I need in an organic variety...and sometimes it's a bit cost-prohibitive, and I've been trying really hard to get a better grip on my grocery budget, in addition to being careful about what I eat. I know financial concerns are a common worry for many of us lately, with rising costs in gas, food, and other expenses.
So, how do you balance the desire to eat healthy food with the desire to tighten your budget? One way that's been working for me lately is to stick to The Dirty Dozen: a list compiled by the Environmental Working Group of the twelve fruits and vegetables that consistently carry higher levels of pesticide residue than others. I have this list posted on my refrigerator and I consult it every time I make my shopping list. Does this mean these are the only items I buy organic? Not always...but these are the items I'm certain to buy organic every time. Is this the best solution for purchasing produce? Maybe not the best for everyone, but it's a compromise that's working for me right now. Every consumer needs to find a balance that makes sense for them, and it isn't the same for everyone - I'm simply offering one of many ideas that may help when you're making choices about where and how you purchase your food.
If you're interested in reading more about how this list was developed, about how other fruits and vegetables outside the Dirty Dozen rank in terms of pesticide residue, or you'd like to download a handy guide for your refrigerator, you can check out more information at EWG's Food News site. If you have other tips or ideas for reducing your grocery budget, I'd love to hear them - send me an email!