“I want to make fitness simple and attainable for busy women”

-Allison Lambert

The Fit Tutor

Fruits and Veggies: How to Lower Your Chemical Exposure


Welcome back to this exciting series! I’m pumped you are taking this time to learn how to detoxify your body. This is a gift to yourself as well as your loved ones! How did January’s detox tip go for you? Are you drinking your lemon water? I do it every day! Don’t skip out on this simple way to be healthier! :)

As for February, there’s a little more information than last month, and a few more habits to start. You may need to make small changes every week, and hopefully by the end of the month you will feel like this is officially a new way of life for you! This month, we will focus on detoxing our bodies from pesticides by eating chemical-free produce! :)

If you aren’t sure why pesticides are bad, and don’t want to take my word for it, you can read these articles:
Unacceptable Levels of Pesticide- Mercola.com
Study Warns of Pesticide Levels in Food- Mercola.com
Link Between Alzheimer’s and Insecticide- Rodale News
Pesticides: If This Doesn’t Convince You, Nothing Will- Sustainabletable.org

First of all, try to buy fresh produce when you can. If not, don’t feel guilty- most of us live fast-paced lives and spending time chopping veggies isn’t always a priority! If you can’t buy fresh, the next best thing will be organic frozen produce.  Here are some tips for fresh fruits and veggies:

What to Buy Organic: The Dirty Dozen

There are a few produce items you ALWAYS want to buy organic, based on how much pesticide they hold after harvest. Here’s the list of the so-called “Dirty Dozen“:

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Cherry Tomatoes
  4. Cucumbers
  5. Grapes
  6. Hot Peppers
  7. Imported Nectarines
  8. Peaches
  9. Potatoes (white)
  10. Spinach (+ Kale + Collards)
  11. Strawberries
  12. Sweet Bell Peppers
  13. I’m adding: zucchini & corn because non-organic are most likely genetically modified. We’ll get into GMO’s later on, but I try to avoid them if possible.

There’s also a “Clean Fifteen” list, as well as food apps you can download if you don’t think you can remember this list! I used to use apps like this when I was just learning, too- they are helpful! :)

How to Wash Non-Organic Produce

I want this blog to simplify things and not overwhelm you with info, so I’ll tell you what I do: I buy the dirty dozen (+ the two I added) ORGANIC any time I can. I factor that into my  budget and rarely make exceptions. Anything else (or if the store happens to be out of an organic dirty dozen item) I buy non-organic, wash them with vinegar, and go on my merry way!

I wash any non-organic fruit or veggie in vinegar (either white or apple cider) when I get home from the grocery store. If i’m worried about any going bad, I’ll store them and then wash on the day I need them. Vinegar has shown to get rid of up to 98% of chemicals on produce when using a 3:1 ratio of water to vinegar! I usually scrub mine just a little for peace of mind, too, but you don’t need to. :)

There are 2 easy ways you can do this: veggies

  • Fill up your sink with a 3:1 ratio of water to vinegar. Soak the produce for about 10 minutes (I’ve read anywhere from 2 min to 20 min- it just usually takes me 10 min to unload my groceries!), rinse and then store. If they aren’t all covered you will need to turn them so each side has a little soak time! Also, you can soak strawberries but just dip anything that’s fuzzy like a peach.
  • OR You can put the 3:1 ratio into a spray bottle. You can spray-scrub-rinse the produce as you use it!

Pretty simple! Just make sure you don’t cut the produce before you soak!  Note: this doesn’t make them last longer for the most part, so do this based on normal storage of produce!

Organic on a Budget

If you are worried about the cost of going organic, you can rinse all of your produce this way, but I would only do that if necessary. You can adapt this into your schedule/budget/eating habits as needed! If money is a big issue, try slowly adding organic produce into your list, or buy organic produce instead of processed, unhealthy foods! ;)

….And if you’re saying to yourself, “this is nice and all but I don’t actually eat fruits or vegetables” then START EATING FRUITS AND VEGETABLES! 

Articles on Organic on a budget:

One Habit per Month

Earlier I mentioned if you cannot do fresh produce then you should do frozen organic produce. I would avoid canned, and you can read more about that HERE! For this month, focus on buying organic veggies whenever possible, whether they are fresh, frozen, or canned. :)

To keep you from getting overwhelmed, just do one small change a month! You can do it! Let me know if you have any questions! Feel free to leave a comment on any tips or questions you may have!

This post is part of a year-long series to reducing your chemical exposure. See our third step to detoxing HERE.

One last thing, one of the BEST things you can do for your health is to EXERCISE! If you don’t know where to start or have a busy schedule, check out The Fit Tutor for strength training workouts, cardio, several workout programs (including a postpartum one!), and a Nutrition Course, that will teach you how to eat healthy and lose weight without dieting :)


I also recommend buying local produce. Not enough time to go to the Farmer’s Market? Check to see if a local CSA delivers! (North Carolina Residents: Check out The Produce Box– my favorite way to eat local!)

(Also, I don’t have any awesome brands that I’m specifically loyal to, BUT…I buy a lot of my local grocery store’s organic frozen produce because it’s cheaper! Here’s a list with the top 5 frozen fruit and vegetables.)

Free Ebook: 8 Common Mistakes When Trying To Lose Weight

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