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Careful with those Fruits and Vegetables

Posted 5/4/2014

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  This is something of a stretch for a topic on a breast-cancer related blog, but I write often about diet, and it is Sunday, and I actually think this is a very useful document. Many women after a breast cancer diagnosis wonder about the wisdom of changing/improving their diets. A central part of a better diet is always more fruits and vegetables, and often the question of organic vs. non-organic produce comes up. It seems pretty clear that organic anything may taste better and likely is better for us than its' more treated cousins, but cost comes into the equation, too. Is it really worth paying twice as much for those strawberries?

  As a short detour, let me put in a plug for local and farmers' markets. It seems, when possible, to be the very best choice to buy produce that has been grown nearby and feel a real connection to the farmer. Often the person who grew it is standing right there and, if you want, you can ask about pesticides etc. As a further detour, if you, like me, are generally food-obsessed and like the locovore perspective, you would like Barbara Kingsolver's book: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. It describes the year that she and her family spent eating only food that had been grown within X miles of their home. As you would suspect, the pickings got slim by mid-winter; they were each allowed a single exception, and her husband, as I remember, chose coffee.

  Back to the topic: this is a recently released guide from the Environmental Working Group that clearly guides consumers in making healthy food choices. Your learn about the Dirty Dozen, those fruits and vegetables most likely to  have been heavily treated (apples are the worst), and others where you could choose to buy the less expensive offerings with less worry.

  Here is the description and a link:

EWG's 2014 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™
Two-thirds of produce samples in recent government tests had pesticide residues. Don't want to eat bug- and weed-killers? EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce helps you shop smart. We highlight the cleanest and dirtiest conventionally-raised fruits and vegetables. If a conventionally grown food you want tests high for pesticides, go for the organic version instead. And remember - the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh risks of pesticide exposure. Dirty Dozen™ Plus highlights hot peppers and leafy greens - kale and collard greens - often tainted with unusually hazardous pesticides.


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