Saturday, August 16, 2008

Stretching Your Food Budget

Without Compromising Every Nutritional Conviction.

The Environmental Working Group put together a list of the twelve 'best' and 'worst' conventionally grown fruits and vegetables based on their pesticide/herbicide residues. Keep in mind that they're still conventional, with the soil damage and water contamination so typical of such enterprises, and still lower in certain nutrients, but you won't be ingesting notable toxins from the following fruits and veggies:

  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Eggplant
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbage
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Avocado
  • Frozen Corn
  • Frozen Peas

I don't know about you, but this will free up a portion of my budget when necessary. I'll probably stick with the organic cabbage for making sauerkraut, but sometimes organic is 3 times the price of the conventional. And for regular cooking I'll ease up on that habit.

I'll probably spend the difference on making sure the following are organic:

  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Pears
  • Cherries
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Celery
  • Bell Peppers
  • Potatoes

This is somewhat bad news around here. Many of these products are just not available in organic, or are prohibitively expensive. I do use Biokleen Produce Wash on most fruits/lettuce, which claims to remove much of the contamination on foods. I'm hoping/planning to grow my own lettuce indoors once the outdoor gardening slows down. I didn't plant any greens in the garden this year, and for indoors I need to find an appropriate container...

On another note, beware genetically modified produce. While most soybean and corn produced in America is GM these days (check your boxed food for soybean oil or corn syrup!), the GM fresh foods are becoming more common. How do you know? Check the PLU code. Bananas are almost always (at least here) #4011, regardless of brand. That indicates a conventionally grown product. Organic share the same number, but have a 9 to start. Organic bananas are #94011. A GM banana would start with an 8. #84011. Concerned about GM, or don't see the big deal? While most are purporting to increase proteins or vitamins (pineapple, this year for instance), researches at Cornell University are reportedly developing a banana that carries the Hepatitis B vaccine.



Mercola has more.

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