Saturday, March 12, 2011

You Are What You Eat!

How long have we heard this little ditty about what we put into our mouth? 
I recall reading it the first time (late teens) as I was chompin' down on a bag of regular flavor Doritos dipped in cream cheese. (Yes you read correctly...and YES this basically went straight to my butt. It would have been faster to just spread it there directly, but definitely NOT as much FUN than eating it!)

As I became a mom and survived my 30s, I realized that what I was eating—and even more importantly what I was feeding my growing family—really would affect us in ways we never imagined. So, as I’ve blogged about in the past, I’ve been moving us to more organic, locally grown, all-natural foods. I’ve been reading a lot of labels and researching what the h*%# those 15-letter words are and whether they really need to be in the food we’re consuming.

I came across an article on Mitch Lipka’s site Consumer Ally and thought, “this is too important NOT to share!” So here is a listing of the “Dirty Dozen” which according to the Environmental Working Group are the 12 worst unconventionally grown fruits and vegetables in our stores. This list is determined after extensive produce tests.

(NOTE: The public relations and marketing “spin doctors” (can you hear the irritation and disgust in my voice?) like to refer to foods grown with genetic modification and pesticides as “conventionally grown.” Whereas food grown naturally as Mother Nature intended needs to be labeled as “organic.” I've coined this logic as "political-logic" because only a politician and lobbyists can justify and see the logic in this one. And, I feel completely compelled to call these idiots out and label them as “spin doctors” as I am a PR/marketing person by profession…and have ZERO tolerance to those in my profession who like to spin the words to confuse consumers. It’s similar to my girlfriend the attorney who likes to call out others in her profession who should have stayed under their rocks and not taken the bar exam.)

Okay, I’ve stepped back down off my soapbox for the moment…so for those of you trying to prioritize your food dollars (and who isn’t?), here’s the list of foods you should try to buy organic if you want to reduce the amount of pesticides you consume each day. And just remember, if you cannot **yet** afford organic, hold on. As more consumers demand organic, the “big guys” will get onboard and start offering it, competition will heat up and prices will go down. 

Buy these foods organically (aka the “Dirty Dozen”) if at all possible to reduce the amounts of pesticides you consume, sadly, scrubbing them will not remove the pesticides.
1.    Celery
2.    Peaches
3.    Strawberries
4.    Apples
5.    Blueberries
6.    Nectarines
7.    Bell peppers
8.    Spinach
9.    Cherries
10. Kale/collard greens
11. Potatoes
12. Grapes (imported)

If your budget allows for more, add these to your organic-only list:
1.    Lettuce
2.    Blueberries (imported)
3.    Carrots
4.    Green beans (domestic)
5.    Pears
6.    Plums (imported)
7.    Summer squash
8.    Cucumbers (imported)

If you want a pocket guide to download onto your iPhone or to print out (for those of us who have yet to drink the Apple®-flavored koolaid), click here for a more extended guide.

So while nutritionists and the government still agree that each unconventionally grown fruits and veggies is still better than high-fructose corn syrup (another ingredients the “spin doctors” are rebranding as “corn sugar”…you can’t fool me I tell you!) or my fav high-school snack of Doritos and cream cheese, this is the type of information we as consumers need to arm ourselves with.

‘Cause remember…we ultimately hold the power…it’s that money in our hand every time we go shopping. No matter how small your income is, you have a vote and it’s up to you to determine how to vote.  If you don’t vote, it’ll be determined for you and then you’re NOT allowed to b%@#ch when the outcome is not what you wanted.

I’m just saying…

Note: I give credit to the Environmental Working Group and Consumer Ally for some of the content I’ve shared on my blog.