The Dirty Dozen (and I'm Not Talking About What's in the Diaper Pail)Casey Mullins
I think any parent these days is familiar with the ‘Dirty Dozen’ fruits and vegetables that should purchased organic as they are the greatest carriers of pesticides. Obviously eating any fresh fruit or vegetable is better than eating none at all, however, when it comes to babies their tiny bodies are far more susceptible to pesticides and their kidneys far less equipped to process them. I remember one of my first thoughts about my baby was that she came out absolutely perfect, not a single chemical or artificial product had touched her or been inside her, this was one of my greatest struggles when I was unable to breastfeed, knowing I had to use powder in place of what my body was supposed to produce naturally.
When it came time to feed Vivi solids I knew I wanted to keep the foods she ate as pure and natural as possible, which in many cases meant organic. Thankfully I was familiar with the dirty dozen and knew where and when to go organic and what conventional fruits and vegetables were acceptable when organic wasn’t available.
Many times it’s easy to differentiate between the dirty dozen and clean fifteen is by the rind. The thicker and tougher the rind (think melons, avocado, mangoes, pineapple) on the fruit or vegetable, the less likely it is to expose your baby to pesticides. While the official dirty dozen list includes some foods that should be held off until after baby’s first year, it helps to be familiar with all of them, especially if you follow baby led weaning.
Growing your own produce when possible is obviously the best assurance that what you are feeding you baby truly is free of harmful chemicals and pesticides, but when growing your own isn’t an option farmer’s markets, natural food stores and even some grocery stores have a fantastic selection of organic fruits and vegetables. Not only does eating locally and in season teach your baby a variety of tastes and textures throughout the year, it cuts down on your entire family’s carbon footprint, which is good for all of us.
When making your own isn’t an option (or it simply isn’t convenient to bring homemade along with you) look for baby foods that are USDA certified organic, especially when it comes to blends that use any of the dirty dozen fruits or vegetables.
Image Credit: EWG