Healthy Bites for a Healthy Life
Organic produce has become more mainstream, affordable, and (most importantly), available in recent years thanks to a sweet combination of increasing consumer awareness and demand. For good reason. Pesticides have been linked to neurological damage, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, endocrine and reproductive disorders, and cancer. Scary stuff.
In a perfect world, everything would be grown organically, but alas it is not. Sigh. Fortunately, there are ways that we can protect ourselves from harmful pesticides without breaking the bank. Here are my top picks:
- Use the Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s Dirty Dozen Plus and Clean 15 Shopper’s Guide as your produce-purchasing bible. These are available here. According to the EWG, you can lower your pesticide intake substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated produce.
- Grow your own produce. I know, easier said than done. Trust me. I’m in year two of my organic veggie gardening adventures and if it weren’t for my sweet hubby keeping the crops watered, we’d have nothing. I mean nothing. However, when you do have the time to devote to it, it’s one of the most rewarding hobbies. There’s nothing like eating the fresh produce that YOU grew. And even better, it gets kids interested in eating the fresh veggies that they helped to grow, water, and pick.
- Buy Fresh, Buy Local. Not all local farms are organic (the certification is freaking expensive), but many are pesticide-free, which keeps their costs down, which are passed onto you, the consumer. For those that do spray, many times they are not spraying near the amount that commercial farms spray, which is always a good thing if you can’t buy completely pesticide-free. Get to know your local farmer and ask about his or her spraying practices.
- Wash, wash, wash. Make an inexpensive D-I-Y solution to remove the wax and pesticide residues on non-organic produce and then give them a good scrub (for the less delicate items). Here’s how:
Using a 1:1 ratio, mix distilled white vinegar and water and soak your items for a few minutes or pour into a spray bottle and spray. I do a combination of both. For the larger items that can use a good soak (i.e., apples, asparagus, lemons, potatoes), I’ll place in a large bowl and let soak. For more delicate things, like herbs, or if I’m short on time, I’ll use my spray bottle that I keep handy under the sink.
That’s it. So easy, a caveman can do it.
Of course, organic is the best option if you can afford it and it’s available. However, if it’s a choice between eating conventional fresh whole fruits and veggies vs. highly processed organic “food” and snacks (organic cookies, etc.), go with option 1, use this new-found knowledge to remove the pesticides that you can, and be confident that your actions will yield amazing health for you and your family.
What are some of the reasons that you do or do not buy organic produce? Cost, availability, other? I’d LOVE to hear! Please leave a comment.