Everyone knows that good nutrition is important during pregnancy, for both the expectant mother and her growing baby. Good nutrition can mean many different things, though, depending upon who you talk to. One component of eating for good health is reducing the amount of toxic substances (like pesticides) that you ingest along with your food.
Eating organic foods is one way to help keep toxins out of your body, and it is a good health habit to continue with after your baby is born. Unfortunately, organic foods are expensive. The amount of difference between the price of an organic food and its conventionally grown counterpart varies widely, depending upon which food it is. At a time when many of us are faced with grocery budgets that are already stretched thin, buying only organic foods is not usually an option.
Luckily, we can do well for our bodies, our babies, and our budgets by choosing to buy the organic varieties of some things and the conventional varieties of others. It turns out that there are some foods where eating organic means that we take in far fewer chemicals and toxins than if we were to eat the conventionally produced variety. There are other foods where the conventionally produced varieties do not contain very many harmful pesticide residues, because fewer pesticides are used or because there is something about the way that we eat the food which removes any pesticide residues before we eat it.
The Environmental Working Group has taken the guesswork out of prioritizing your grocery list by creating the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists, which are posted on its website. Here are the top twelve foods that you should absolutely try to buy organic – apples, celery, sweet bell peppers, peaches, strawberries, imported nectarines, grapes, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, domestic blueberries, and potatoes. While you are in the produce section, stock up on the following safer choices for conventional items so that you can get plenty of fruits and veggies in your diet without breaking the bank – onions, sweet corn, pineapples, avocados, cabbage, sweet peas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, kiwi, domestic cantaloupe, grapefruit, watermelon, and mushrooms.
Meats, eggs, and dairy products are other items where choosing organic and/or local can go a long way towards keeping harmful substances out of your body. Since each person’s grocery budget is different, use this information to make informed decisions about which items you will buy organic, and which items you will buy conventional.
Photo by Karpati Gabor