Five Steps to a Healthier You: Go Organic!

By on November 7, 2013

To celebrate Natural Health Products (NHP) Week, the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) is launching a free, five-part guide aimed at helping Canadian families make informed decisions about natural health. The Canadian Family’s Guide to Navigating Natural Health, was developed with nutritionist and author Lianne Phillipson-Webb.  Canadians can download the guide at for  practical tips on how to make simple changes in their daily routines to improve their overall health and the health of their families.


The guide is designed to help Canadians sift through the massive amount of existing information on organics and natural health products and help them prioritize where it is most important, as they shift toward natural and healthier options. 


Part 4: Go Organic!


Get to know your clean 15 and dirty dozen

Eating nutritious, organic whole foods is a great way to reduce exposure to unwanted pesticides and other potentially harmful residues.  Being strategic in your food choices can significantly reduce your family’s exposure to pesticides.

By following this simple guide, “the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15,” developed by theEnvironmental Working Group, you can minimize your consumption of pesticides by as much as 80 per cent leading to better health for your whole family.

Let’s start with “the Dirty Dozen:” these foods showed the highest amount of pesticide residues, even after they were washed with high-power pressure water systems. Commonly consumed foods in this group include apples, potatoes, lettuce and grapes. When you’re buying these pieces of produce, opt for the organic selection.

“The Clean Fifteen” are good to grab and go wherever you are, from the grocery store or the famers market.  They contain significantly less pesticide residue compared to the dirty dozen.

The Dirty Dozen The Clean 15
  • celery
  • peaches
  • strawberries
  • apples
  • domestic blueberries
  • nectarines
  • sweet bell peppers
  • spinach, kale and collard greens
  • cherries
  • potatoes
  • imported grapes
  • lettuce
  • avocados
  • sweet corn
  • pineapples
  • mango
  • sweet peas
  • asparagus
  • kiwi fruit
  • cabbage
  • eggplant
  • cantaloupe
  • watermelon
  • grapefruit
  • sweet potatoes
  • sweet onions
  • onions

A general rule of thumb is that when consuming the exterior, or skin of the fruit, you are also consuming whatever was sprayed or deposited there as well.  Go organic for those.  If the skin is discarded, most of the surface pesticides go with it.

The full list contains 49 types of produce, rated on a scale of least to most pesticide residue, which you can find on the Environmental Working Group’s website at

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