Top Of The Toxins! Why You Should Rethink “An Apple For The Teacher”


POISON DANGER SKULL CROSSBONESWhen you head to the super market to do your weekly shopping, be sure to know the facts! The Environmental Working Group also known as EWG has the latest list of fresh fruits and veggies that are now topping the Dirty Dozen list.  If you don’t know what the Dirty Dozen list is, I’ll explain.  The Dirty Dozen is a list of fresh fruits and veggies that when tested showed the highest levels of harmful pesticides.  EWG has been working to provide consumers with the most up to date information so you, the consumer can take steps to ensure your families health.  Below is a list of fruits and veggies that have topped this list.

Dirty Dozen

  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Imported Nectarines
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Hot Peppers
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Cucumber

You may be asking yourself what you can do to make sure your family doesn’t bite down on pesticide infused foods; the first step you can take is trying out only organically grown fruits and veggies. Sure the price is a bit higher but certainly worth it when you consider some of the health risks of pesticides.  Some of these side effects may include disruption of hormones, brain/nervous system toxicity, cancer and eye, lung and skin irritation.  Some studies have shown that even if you scrub clean or peel these fruits and veggies pesticides still come up. The reason for this is because most farms, even one’s that no longer spray pesticides will have residual amounts left in the soil, most likely these farms will not be able to completely rid their crops of pesticides.

The EWG suggests that thorough washing can get rid of some pesticides on the surface (see  below) and remove peel where possible which will at least reduce exposure. The best way to avoid this is by switching to organic, at least for items on this list! The way I remember these Dirty Dozen is to tape it on the fridge and when I’m making my shopping list I just jot down organic next to it for quick reference, I also have the EWG app which is super helpful.

A cheap and easy way you can drastically reduce your exposure to pesticides and bacteria found on produce is with a thorough vinegar and water wash.  Experts found that a white vinegar and water wash kills 98% of bacteria and removes pesticides.

You can concoct your own vinegar/water mixture at home to save money.  You’ll probably spend less than 20 cents  to make a homemade vinegar and water rinse, compared to around $4 for a premade produce wash.

Fill a bowl with water and add 1/8 to 1/2 cup of vinegar, depending on the size of your bowl.

  • Place your fruits and veggies in the bowl.
  • Soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Rinse with water.

Do you typically shop for Organic foods?

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About sunnysleevez

I'm a freckly red head, originally from London now living in LA with 2 pale children. Frankly with our coloring we have no business being such an outdoorsy family and living in southern California. I grew up in a time when factor 8 sun milk was considered the best protection available to combat the hot rays of a holiday in southern Spain, that lead to 3rd degree burns and the rest of the vacation spent in the shade of our apartment. As a family we love to be outside, going to the beach, camping, swimming & hiking. We can't completely avoid the sun (nor should we) but taking sensible measures to avoid unnecessary UV damage is a priority. How do we do that? By staying in the shade in the middle of the day, wearing sun protective clothing (that's why I created Sunny Sleevez), a broad brimmed hat, UV rated sunglasses, using chemical-free broad spectrum sun screen on exposed areas & eating a healthy diet with as few chemicals as possible & lots of antioxidants.
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19 Responses to Top Of The Toxins! Why You Should Rethink “An Apple For The Teacher”

  1. If you can’t afford organic or don’t think the variety is good enough then soaking everything is a great way of reducing the risks. Growing your own is even better but not all of us have that luxury as an option.

  2. I knew apples were high in toxins and I try to buy organic when I can. But earlier this week, I bought something called a grapple. An apple mixed with grapes. Turns out, there’s no grape at all, only grape flavoring. Geeze. I bit into nothing but chemicals!

  3. kat170 says:

    The water/vinegar soak is a great tip. I’ve tarted using vinegar to clean almost everything in my house (since my toddlers are constantly putting their hands in their mouths…). Never would have thought to use it to clean my produce.

  4. I always buy organic even if it means buying simpler foods. Well worth it!

  5. yardfox says:

    Strange to suddenly come across your blog, just after placing strawberries and grapes in front of my kids. Hm. Not sure about the vinegar wash- does it really not flavour the fruit?

  6. Hi! Great info about the EWG app, I’ll have to download it 🙂 Thanks for following my blog, I really appreciate it! I hope you find many recipes to keep you happy and healthy. Cheers!

  7. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog so far. I agree with you that so much of our food has been contaminated and vinegar is a wonderful household cleaner for so many things. I’ve been using it for years. I wanted to thank you for following my blog. I hope you find something there that resonates. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day.

  8. Lissa Rabon says:

    switching to organic actually costs less for me. I haven’t been to the doctor in years. No doctor bills more than makes up for a few dollard more in the produce dept.

  9. Agreed. For a number of reasons (health, biodiversity, community resilience, energy descent, etc) it is important that we all learn to grow as much food as we can, and do so without the use of industrial carcinogens. Organic was the way the whole world fed itself until the dawn of the agricultural chemical industry in the last century; chemical weapons for use on humans were redesigned for use on insects and plants. That’s not something that should be entering our bodies, our soil, our water, or our atmosphere.

  10. Fortunately at my local farmers market, 10 out of the “dirty dozen” can be sourced spray-free with the exception of apples and grapes, both of which I avoid. Is there scientific proof that the vinegar/water really does reduce the toxicity levels? Great blog by the way 😉

    • sunnysleevez says:

      My understanding is that vinegar dissolves the wax coating that is pretty ubiquitous on fruit and veg now, so that you can wash off the surface pesticides, this at least reduces the amount consumed.

  11. christie2013 says:

    Hey. I love this blog. Skin protection is super-important to me (white girl, Irish/English heritage, grew up in Southern Cal). But I also appreciate your focus on eating organic foods. Started ordering from a farmers’ co-op last year, and now I get organic foods delivered every week. Not only do I feel better, I also receive new veggies that I might never have otherwise tried.

    I’m looking forward to reading more.

    And yes, vinegar is a wonder. I use it to clean pretty much everything. Feels safer to use around my animals 🙂

  12. Argus says:

    As far as I know down here in NZ we still have real food available … I guess we get what we pay for, no?

  13. macingosh says:

    Very helpful. Thanks a lot. You collected an incredible lot of information on this blog and I will certainly read my way through. Best regards from Munich, macingosh photography

  14. Thank you for a great post. So hard to trust what is being placed before us on our supermarket shelves. Appreciate vinegar/water ratio and that you are now following poetrycottage.

  15. I always heard about the dirty dozen but never knew a lot about it. Thanks for shining light on that topic. Great post, Sunny!

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