Friday, October 29, 2010

The Dirty Dozen

In my town, the Farmer's Market runs through October so this weekend will be its last hurrah for the season. The fruit is long gone, hardly any tomatoes remain. Only cider—and a whole slew of squash and gourds. It sure is fall, which means we'll be relying on the produce section once again for all things fruit and veggie.


We can't, after all, just stop eating these things simply because the season demands it. What would we do without all that healthy goodness? Our fit lives would suffer, that's for sure. So we eat on, even though we're forced to pick produce that comes from afar. Who grew it? We might never know. And what pesticides did they use, if any? It's risky business, the produce section, even though the food industry would like us to believe otherwise.

But we still have a choice. Organic versus, well...the cheaper conventional version. Which is better? And does it really matter? If you're anything like me, you battle these thoughts every time your grocery list demands a few items from the produce section. What to do, indeed.

I've been reading Marion Nestle's book What to Eat off and on for quite some time now (I keep getting distracted by magazines and fiction, among other things) and in it she discusses the difference between organic and conventional produce. Her opinion:


She goes on to explain that organic fruits and veggies aren't necessarily healthier in terms of their available nutrients, just healthier in the sense that they aren't covered in pesticides. So if you can only afford the conventional versions, don't dismay. Continue to purchase them, and wash...wash...wash them vigorously before you even begin to think about eating them—because eating them is more important than NOT eating them simply because you can't afford to by the organic version. Right?

Remember that certain fruits and veggies are worse off than others in terms of pesticide contamination. Which ones? Well...see chart at right! It's a handy dandy cheat sheet that was put together by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit that "specializes in providing useful resources to consumers while simultaneously pushing for national policy change"—all in an effort to protect public health and the environment.

The EWG is so passionate about protecting us from pesticides that they've devoted an entire website to educating us about the pesticide issues at hand, which is where I found the shopping guide. So check out the site, and at the very least, take some time to review the "Top Reasons to Use EWG's Shopper's Guide to Reduce Your Pesticide Exposures." It's quite informative.

And remember, any fit life needs support from fruits and vegetables. They are chock full of vitamins and minerals that, like milk, does a body good.

Question: Is there a fruit and/or vegetable that is always in your shopping cart? Are you a die-hard fan of organics or do you toggle between the two? With what vegetables do you refuse to compromise?

REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my Element Bars giveaway! You just might win a box of 12 delicious build-your-own energy bars. (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, October 29, 2010.)

1 comment:

Bethany said...

I keep this dirty dozen list in my phone so I can refer to it each time I shop. I just returned from Seattle and at the aquarium I received a list of the fish we should eat, could eat, and shouldn't eat. I'll be adding that list to my phone as well.

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