Juicing provides us with so many wonderful nutrients from fruits and vegetables. Ironically though, because of the heavy use of pesticides in our conventional food supply, we need to remove peels and skins that harbor the most exciting, concentrated micro-nutrients.
One solution to this wasted opportunity is to buy organic produce for your juicing. Organic fruits and vegetables still need to be carefully washed, of course, but unless their skins are too thick for your juicer, you can throw them in as you juice.
Organic produce can cost as much as twice the cost of its conventional counterparts! But until organic food is more prevalent in our stores, spurred on by consumers’ demands, the prices will remain high.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a watchdog group in Washington focusing on the food and pesticide industry. They publish the infamous “Dirty Dozen,” a list of the most contaminated fruits and vegetables.
Sadly, with the exception of potatoes, all of the items on the list are very popular for juicing.
Here’s the Dirty Dozen™ … but wait, there’s more! They now have an expanded list, the Dirty Dozen™ Plus …
See how many of these you have in your refrigerator, waiting to be fed to young children or to be juiced.
- Cherry tomatoes
- Hot peppers
- Nectarines – imported (from where??)
- Sweet bell peppers
- Kale/collard greens+
- Summer squash/zucchini +
Notice the + symbol? No, those are not quite runners-up – they are vegetables and leafy greens that did not meet traditional Dirty Dozen™ criteria but they “were commonly contaminated with pesticides exceptionally toxic to the nervous system.”
There is some good news. The Environmental Working Group concurrently released a list of their “Clean Fifteen™”
- Sweet corn (not field corn, which is genetically modified/GMO)
- Papayas (most Hawaiian papaya is GMO)
- Sweet peas – frozen*
- Sweet potatoes
*On their website, they had a photo of sweet peas in the shell
It is reassuring to know that someone is looking out for us in this realm. And it is also good to know that there is a variety of good, tasty and colorful choices on the good list.
(If you have not tried sweet potatoes in your juicer, you are in for an amazing taste sensation. Just be aware that the texture may feel a bit chalky in your mouth. Try cutting it with orange or grapefruit juice for a very refreshing treat!)
The bottom line for consumers, according to the EWG, is that “the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure.” (Reference: Executive Summary, 2013) They continue by stating that eating conventionally-grown produce is better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all. Just be careful to follow peeling advice for non-organic members of the list, before juicing them.