Pesticides are one of the biggest ways that toxins are getting into our body – we’re inviting them right in by eating food that has these chemicals sprayed onto them.
Those chemicals that are designed to kill, are invisibly lurking on all those fruit and veggies that you’re going out of your way to eat to be healthier.
Maybe you try to avoid pesticides as much as possible – peeling potatoes and carrots, giving your veggies a good wash, maybe even buying some of the veggies on the dirty dozen list organic instead.
But does buying organic bananas and avocados really matter? I mean, you’re not going to eat the skin, right?
What about washing the veggies with those specially designed veggie soaps or apple cider vinegar? It’ll get most of the pesticides off, right?
Turns out, it’s a bit more complicated that that.
PESTICIDES AREN’T DESIGNED TO BE WASHED OFF
Let’s start with the obvious. Pesticides are designed to stick to the plants and not come off with water, otherwise they’d just wash off every time it rained.
Chemical companies have designed the pesticides to be as persistent as possible, so the effects last longer.
Not all pesticides just remain on the outside of the plant. In fact, most don’t.
Pesticides are sprayed from the beginning of a plants growth, so they are absorbed into the plant as it’s growing. This means the pesticides end up INSIDE the cells of the plant themselves, so they kill insects when they eat them.
Yes, you heard that right. They’ve designed pesticides that make the whole plant toxic to pests.
Systemic pesticides are actually absorbed by the plant, and are in the tissues of the plant so that when insects feed on them they die.
The neonicotinoid family of pesticides, which have been implicated in the death of bees and colony collapse disorder, are a group of systemic insecticides. These pesticides are widely used on most fruits and veggies, and are the most widely used type of insecticides in the world.
A report by the European Food Safety Commission (EFSA) found that neonicotinoid pesticides obstruct the normal development and function of the human nervous system, and damage brain structures and functions associated with learning and memory. (1)
Washing or peeling pesticides off produce is a MYTH. You can reduce the amount of pesticide residue, but you can’t remove the pesticides.
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the weed-killer Round Up, actually becomes systemic throughout the plant – it can’t be washed off, it’s inside the plant.
Glyphosate is becoming increasingly notorious because study after study is showing the devastating health impacts of it. It’s so widely used now, and so pervasive in the environment, that there’s not much that it hasn’t touched. It’s widely used in farming.
It’s not just the pesticides.
Many fruits and veggies are also waxed after harvesting to improve shelf-life and appearance. Waxing actually seals in the pesticide residues.
You can’t wash off genetically modified food.
Obviously, the food itself is affected, and we definitely want to avoid GMO’s. The most common GMO crops that you want to avoid are corn, soy, canola and sugar beets.
You also can’t wash off nutrient deficiencies of the plant.
Artificially fertilised soil, which is the standard practice of conventionally grown food, is given 3 “essential” nutrients – nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
But plants, like humans, require at least 52 different minerals to be healthy and grow properly.
Nutritionally empty or imbalanced food leaves the plant weak and defenceless – and that’s why they have to spray the plants senseless these days.
It creates nutritional imbalances in us – this is why we have so many mineral and nutrient deficiencies, and they are getting harder and harder to correct.
THE GOOD NEWS
The good news is that switching to an organic diet will get rid of about 90% of circulating toxins in about 7 days! (2)
Switch to organic food as much as possible, and even better – buy local food from the farmers markets. You get less organic pesticides, lower yields and higher quality soil, which all mean more nutrient dense fruit and veggies.
SHOULD I BOTHER WASHING VEGGIES?
You still want to wash fruits and veggies – organic or not.
Fruit is picked and packaged and touched by many people in the process to getting to your mouth – who knows how many hands and where those hands have been! This is where we can pick up parasites and infections.
Use apple cider vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide to wash fruit and veggies.
I usually do a 5 – 10 minute soak in water with a little apple cider vinegar or hydrogen peroxide and then a quick scrub under clean water. You don’t want to do this for berries though – just a quick dunk and rinse.