The first question all of us need to ask ourselves is, are we eating enough fresh produce daily? Fresh fruits and vegetables are the healthiest foods on Earth and the best for our human bodies, ideally suited to meet our anatomy and physiology needs. So we can never go wrong with them, right? Not quite.

Before roughly the middle of the 20th century, it would have been the case that we could have freely eaten all the fruits and vegetables we want without a second thought. Since then, we no longer have this luxury. As chemical fertilizers and synthetic pesticides, as well as monoculture and industrial farming became the norm, the quality and safety of fresh produce decreased, to the point that it has some people very concerned about consuming it.

Sadly over time this problem only became worse and now impacts pretty much all food, not just produce, from both plant and animal sources. Pesticides are applied to anything and everything including grains, beans, nuts, seeds and mushrooms. Often people erroneously think that animal foods are free from pesticides but they actually contain pesticides even more in many cases given that the animals eat the food that was grown with pesticides and these chemicals accumulate inside and impact their bodies just as they do to us. This is one of the main reasons why eating higher up on the food chain is always the riskier way to go.

Luckily, thanks to the efforts of many people all over the world and awareness raising campaigns, the organic revolution began. This brought back some sense and sanity to how we grow our food, as it is nothing short of crazy to subject our food to some of the worst chemical substances that then end up in our bodies. Not only that, but subject our environment — air, water and soils to toxic substances that also enter food chains and negatively impact every living being in their path.

Unfortunately some people are not on board with the benefits of organic food. Either they don’t believe that organic is a better way to go or they simply do not understand the risks and negative impacts involved, not just for us, but other animals, entire ecosystems, the environment and our whole Earth. Without the need to seek out research studies, common sense alone should prevail that it is not a good idea to douse our food and environment with synthetic chemical substances.

As conscious consumers try to source out organic food however, there are several challenges to overcome. First, not everything is available yet in organic form or in all areas. Access to organic food is especially difficult in places that are either remote, northern, low-income or small communities, which do not have nearby farms or the ability to grow their own food. Secondly, when organic food is available it normally costs a little to a lot extra. There are exceptions of course, where at times it can be the same or even cheaper than conventional food, but in general it costs more.

Tips to Eat Organic on Any Budget

To help us make better choices where all this is concerned, each year the Environmental Working Group comes out with the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Each year, they test numerous fruits and vegetables for their pesticide load and residues, and compile it in a wonderful report that is free for all consumers. While it will not cover all plant foods, at least we are getting an excellent resource for the most sensitive and most important foods, namely fruits and vegetables.

For the 2010 edition of the guide Dr. Andrew Weil shared his own message and endorsement for the importance of organics and the EWG’s guide to pesticides. Dr. Weil is a US-based, world renowned, medical doctor who specializes in integrative medicine and takes a balanced approach to health that factors in mind, body and spirit.

In the short video below, Dr.Weil explains the wonderful benefits of using the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides and explains how to make the best of eating the most organic and the least pesticide laden produce, no matter what budget we may be on.

Get Your Own Pesticides in Produce Guide for Smart Eating

Visit the official EWG food news page to get your free Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce* and learn more about the negative effects of pesticides and benefits of organic foods, as well as read about the testing methods and have access the full annual report.

(Please know that I have no affiliations whatsoever to the EWG or any organic food companies and am sharing this information strictly for educational purposes because I have a strong interest and dedication to protecting human and environmental health.)