Ask the Diva: Should I Give Up Non-Organic Apples?
Q. I’m a new listener to your podcast, and I am really enjoying it. In your episode on organic produce, though, you said if you cannot find organic bell peppers or apples, you would skip eating them. I simply cannot justify the cost of buying organic at this time. Should I really skip eating my daily red bell pepper and apple? Are there special washes I can try so I can keep these favorite snacks in my diet without spending an arm and a leg?
A. As you heard in that episode, bell peppers and apples are among the foods that have the highest pesticide residues. And if you are eating them every day, you are highly exposed to these residues. But I sympathize with your dilemma: Organics can be expensive. If it makes you feel any better, the USDA considers the level of pesticides in these foods to be acceptable. That doesn’t actually make me feel better--and that’s why I choose to buy these particular foods organic or not at all. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide what you’re comfortable with.
You can reduce the pesticide residue somewhat by washing them well (straight vinegar works just as well as fancy vegetable washes) and by peeling the apple. Additionally, you could cut your exposure in half by eating these foods every other day instead of every day. On the alternate days, you could have oranges and snow-peas instead. Both are nutritious foods that are not high in pesticide residues.