Organic or not?
Guide to buying organic produce on the Paleo diet

Even if you are on a budget, you can follow the Paleo diet principles and make the best out of every buck. And even if you are not on a tight budget, but just want to spend your money wisely, use this guide to help you make the most profitable choices when grocery shopping.

The dirty dozen and clean fifteen list developed by the Environmental Working Group (or see table below) is a good place to start to help you decide which vegetables have the most and least pesticides residues to decide whether or not it is worth paying more to get organic.

Joining a CSA (community-supported agriculture), going to your local farmer market and buying seasonal produce can also help you stretch your dollar so you can nourish your body with the best and healthiest Paleo food.

The Paleo Guide to Buying Organic (or not organic!) Produce

Dirty 12

most contaminated

{avoid or buy organic}

Clean 15

least pesticide residues

{buy regular
if you can’t afford organic}

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines (imported)
  7. Grapes (imported)
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries (domestic)
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/collard greens
  1. Onions
  2. Corn (not a vegetable, but a grain!)
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Mangoes
  8. Eggplant
  9. Cantaloupe (domestic)
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweet potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushroom
  16. Winter squash
* adapted from Environmental Working Group. EWG’s 2011 Shopping Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Food News section of the Environmental Working Group website. 2011.

For example, using the table above, you can see that onions and avocado are on the clean fifteen list, which means that they are less contaminated and therefore safer to buy non-organic. However, bell peppers and spinach are amongst the most contaminated vegetables and are best bought organic or avoided altogether.

Read more about vegetables and fruits on the Paleo diet.
See what else you can eat on the Paleo diet!

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The Paleo Diet Budget Shopping Guide