First of all, I just want you guys to know that I REALLY…and I mean REALLY would like to get a post up at least once a day and try hard to do so. It makes it much more difficult when I am busy in the mornings and only have extra time after work when I get home to blog about such.
What makes it difficult, is that I do not have internet in my apartment. Only in the lounge at my apartment complex, which closes at 11pm. Some nights, I only get off of work at 11pm and I have a 30 min commute. This being said, it is a bit frustrating to not be able to put a blog post up when I have the most time to do so.
But rest assured, morning always comes back around and I will try to get another one up as soon as possible.
So you can imagine my frustration at 10:58pm last night when I thought I could get a post up without going a day inbetween…it just didn’t happen.
Enough of my jibber’ jabberin’ and now I’ll stop boring you:
I’m so sorry if you missed the sunset last night. It was absolutely gorgeous! Maybe after a lot of terrible weather the sky appears so much clearer than normal. Judge for yourself:
And yes, SNOW it did!
It is supposed to get up in the 50′s this upcoming weekend so I’m sure it won’t be around for good…at least this time around.
I popped by a small coffee shop this morning and I thought their sign said exactly what I was talking about in my post yesterday! haha.
The Dirty Dozen:
Ever wonder if you’re actually really getting your money worth by buying organic? What foods are still worth purchasing organic even when you’re on a tight budget and why? Which foods have the most pesticide residue on them?
Say Hello to the “Dirty Dozen”:
The benefits of eating organic food go straight to the farm, where no pesticides and chemical fertilizers are used to grow the organic produce shipped to grocers. That means workers and farm neighbors aren’t exposed to potentially harmful chemicals, it means less fossil fuel converted into fertilizers and it means healthier soil that should sustain crops for generations to come.
For individuals, organic food also has benefits. Eating organic means avoiding the pesticide residue left on foods, and it may even mean more nutritious varietals, though research into that subject has yielded mixed results. While there are few if any proven health impacts from consuming trace quantities of pesticides on foods, a growing number of people take the precaution of avoiding exposure just in case, particularly in the cases of pregnant women (growing babies are exposed to most of the chemicals that mom consume) and the parents of young children.
But organic food can cost more, meaning many families are loathe to shell out the extra cash for organic produce on every shopping trip. That’s what makes the Environmental Working Group’s annual list of the dirty dozen foods so useful. The group analyzes Department of Agriculture data about pesticide residue and ranks foods based on how much or little pesticide residue they have. The group estimates that individuals can reduce their exposure by 80% if they switch to organic when buying these 12 foods.
In general, tree fruits, berries, leafy greens dominate the list. Since the USDA tests produce after a typical household preparation, fruits and vegetables with thick skins that are removed before eating (melons, avocado, corn, etc.) tend to have the lowest amounts of pesticide residue.
Topping the 2011 dirty dozen list is a tree fruit that always makes the list: Apples. (Apples ranked No. 2 in 2009 and No. 4 in 2010.) more than 40 different pesticides have been detected on apples, because fungus and insect threats prompt farmers to spray various chemicals on their orchards. Not surprisingly, pesticide residue is also found in apple juice and apple sauce, making all apple products smart foods to buy organic.
Some recommend peeling apples to reduce exposure to pesticide residue, but be aware that you’re peeling away many of the fruit’s most beneficial nutrients when you do so!
Can’t find organic apples? Safer alternatives include watermelon, bananas and tangerines.
Another perennial food on the dirty dozen list is celery. It’s a good one to commit to memory, since it doesn’t fit the three main categories of foods with the highest pesticide residue (tree fruits, berries and leafy greens). USDA tests have found more than 60 different pesticides on celery.
Can’t find organic celery? Safer alternatives with a similar crunch include broccoli, radishes and onions.
Strawberries are always on the list of dirty dozen foods, in part because fungus prompts farmers to spray, and pesticide residue remains on berries sold at market. Nearly 60 different pesticides have been found on strawberries, though fewer are found on frozen strawberries.
Can’t find organic strawberries? Safer alternatives include kiwi and pineapples.
Another tree fruit that always makes the dirty dozen list: peaches. more than 60 pesticides have been found on peaches, and as many in single-serving packs, but far fewer in canned peaches.
Safer alternatives include watermelon, tangerines, oranges and grapefruit.
Leading the leafy green pesticide residue category is spinach, with nearly 50 different pesticides. (While frozen spinach has nearly as many, canned has had fewer detected pesticides.)
6. Nectarines (Imported)
Nectarines, at least imported ones, are among the most highly contaminated tree fruits. Domestic nectarines don’t test with as much pesticide residue, but overall 33 pesticides have been detected on nectarines.
Can’t find organic nectarines? Try pineapple, papaya or mango.
7. Grapes (Imported)
Another perennial entrant on the dirty dozen list, imported grapes can have more than 30 pesticides. Raisins, not surprisingly, also have high pesticide residue tests. Makes you wonder about wine, eh?
8. Sweet Bell Peppers
Another fruit that usually makes the dirty dozen list because it tends to have high pesticide residue is the sweet bell pepper, in all of its colorful varieties. Nearly 50 different pesticides have been detected on sweet bell peppers.
America’s favorite vegetable is the potato; unfortunately, more than 35 pesticides have been detected on potatoes in USDA testing. Sweet potatoes offer a delicious alternative with less chance of pesticide residue.
Blueberries usually make the dirty dozen list, since more than 50 pesticides have been detected as residue on them. Frozen blueberries have proved somewhat less contaminated. Unfortunately, obvious alternatives like cranberries and cherries, while they may not make the dirty dozen list this year, are often contaminated themselves. For breakfast cereal, if you can’t find blueberries, consider topping with bananas.
Joining spinach in the leafy greens category, lettuce makes the list of dirty dozen foods with the most pesticides. More than 50 pesticides have been identified on lettuce. If you can’t find organic lettuce, alternatives include asparagus.
12. Kale (Tie)
A superfood, traditionally kale is known as a hardier vegetable that rarely suffers from pests and disease, but it was found to have high amounts of pesticide residue when tested in each of the past two years.
Can’t find organic kale? Safer alternatives include cabbage, asparagus and broccoli. Dandelion greens also make a nutritious alternative.
12. Collard Greens (Tie)
Put on par with kale for the 2011 dirty dozen list, collard greens tests have revealed more than 45 pesticides. Alternatives include Brussels sprouts, dandelion greens and cabbage.
Buying organic completely out of your budget range? no worries.
List of fruits and vegetables so clean of pesticides that you don’t have to buy organic:
2. Sweet Corn
6. Sweet peas
9. Cantaloupe (domestic)
13. Sweet Potatoes
Well, that’s great! But what about other foods such as: Meats, Wine, Coffee, Chocolate, and Milk?
While it doesn’t make the list of dirty dozen foods, meat makes our list. While there are generally no pesticides found in beef muscle, fat is another story. Fewer than a dozen pesticides have been detected in beef fat, but among them are long-lived chemicals that accumulate in human fats just as they do in beef cattle. The same pattern holds for other meats, with pork fat and chicken thighs tallying the most pesticide residue, while lean meat comes up clean.
Pesticides and other man-made chemicals have been found in human breast milk, so it should come as no surprise that they have been found in dairy products, too. Twelve different pesticides have been identified in milk, and milk is of special concern because it is a staple of a child’s diets.
While the watchdog lists don’t include data on coffee, many of the coffee beans we buy are grown in countries with lax regulations for use of pesticides. Look for the USDA Organic label to ensure you’re not buying beans that have been grown or processed with the use of potentially harmful chemicals.
Go a step or two further, and look for the Fair Trade Certified and Rainforest Alliance (or Bird Friendly) labels to ensure that your purchase supports farmers who are paid fairly and treated well. And look for shade-grown (Rainforest Alliance- or Bird Friendly-certified) varieties for the trifecta; that way you know the coffee is being grown under the canopy of the rainforest, leaving those ancient trees intact, along with the wildlife – particularly songbirds – that call them home.
Similarly to coffee, there’s no watchdog reporting on pesticides found in wine, but grapes are among the crops that are typically heavily doused with pesticides to ward off fungus and bugs. Fortunately, there are more and more fine organic wines on the market. Many will be labeled “made with organic grapes,” rather than “organic wine” because wine makers add sulfites as a preservative to allow for long-distance shipping.
Like coffee beans, cocoa beans are grown across the developing world, sometimes in countries without strict laws governing use of pesticides, worker rights or other factors we’d consider basic in the U.S. Buying organic chocolate ensures your sweet treat isn’t harming the environment or workers elsewhere.
November challenge #1:
(you knew this was coming): Organic Fruits and Vegetables!
…and now you know why!
November challenge #2:
Do your push-ups! Are you sticking with the challenge?
…my guns are making progress , are yours?
Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich
Sesame Asian Chicken Salad
….which tastes much better NOT iced-in my opinion.