Monthly Archives: March 2015

Why You Shouldn’t Always Grocery Shop at the Same Place

Did you know that there are over fifty varieties of carrots? How many have you tried? Two, maybe three?

There are more than 7,500 varieties of apples worldwide, although only nine are popular in the United States. When it comes to tomatoes, we are talking over 10,000 varieties.

Every variety of a plant is a little different, and the chemical composition of the food that the plant yields is also a little different. One variety may have more of a particular nutrient, such as a vitamin or mineral, than the next variety.  Even the same variety of a plant will have a different composition based on what soil it was planted in. Some soil may be richer in organic content, while another one may have more concentration of minerals.

The greater the variety of foods you eat, the more different nutrients you are exposed to. This is a good thing.

Produce Department

Always shopping at the same grocery store limits our exposure to nutrients, while potentially exposing us to the same chemicals.


Avoiding Toxins

If you can avoid or minimize exposure to pesticides and herbicides by consuming only organically grown foods, that is great, but if you are not there yet, consider the following.

Different pesticides and herbicides are used in conventionally grown produce, according to the country, the weather, and the altitude of the place where a crop has been planted.

The human body was designed to deal with a certain amount of toxins. Parts of the body naturally release toxins from the body: urine, feces, hair, sweat.

The body can deal with small amounts of toxins, but if we feed it too much of any given toxin, the body may not be able to expel all of it, leading to accumulation. By eating a wide variety of foods, foods that are different from each other and grown in different places, you minimize the chances of being exposed to the same chemical over and over again.

Choosing Stores

If you always buy the same foods in the same store, you limit the number of nutrients that your family eats, while continuing to consume the same pesticides and herbicides contained in foods, and giving them a chance to accumulate in your tissues and organs.

No matter how much you love a store, it is a good idea to not always but all your foods from that one store.

In the city where we live we are lucky to have a local food coop, where we do a large percentage of our grocery shopping, but we also get organic foods at Costco, Earth Fare, Trader Joe’s. Now there is a Whole Foods in town, so we are going to check it out too.

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Three Facts About GMOs that No One Can Ignore

GMOs are not the same as hybridization (which only combines species that are genetically able to breed). For more information on the differences you can read this article.

Genetically modified organisms could never have occurred in nature. Here scientists are inserting genes, not just from different varieties of the same plant, but from completely different species, including the adding of genes from animals into plants.

Sun And Young Corn Stalks
Whether you think that tomatoes containing tuna fish genes is an abomination or a great idea, there are some facts about GMO (Genetically Modified) products that you cannot ignore:

  1. GMOs have not been around long enough for us to really know about their long term effects. While GMO opposers have not been able to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that these GMOs are harmful, GMO defenders cannot prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that GMOs are safe. What it comes down to, is whether you trust science so much that you will happily enter yourself and your family into a public health experiment, or if you would rather err on the side of caution, and eat foods that have not been genetically modified.
  2. Some GMOs have genes modified so that they produce their own pesticides. Their defenders say that by placing the pesticide inside of the crop, there is less need to spray pesticides on the plant, reducing overall environmental impact. This is fine, if you do not mind eating pesticides. For your reference, on this page you can find a list of the most common active ingredients in pesticides.  The list includes arsenic (a poison used to murder many notable historic figures), sulfury fluoride (a toxic gas), and malathion (a substance linked to liver cancer). I encourage you to click on each of the items on the list and find out what they are and what their effects in the body are.A better alternative is to opt for a pesticide-free diet and only consume organic produce.
  3. Some GMOs have had their genes modified to be resistant to herbicides. This way, farmers can spray herbicides a lot more liberally on their crops, confident that the only plants remaining will be the GMOs. It follows that by eating these products you will likely be exposed to even larger amounts of herbicides that from eating regular conventional versions of the crop, because with the latter, farmers would have to regulate the amount of herbicide used to avoid killing their crops. By choosing GMOs you may be exposing yourself and your family to increased amounts of herbicides.A better alternative is to opt for a herbicide-free diet and only consume organic produce.

We cannot forget the ethical and moral issues that come from the dependency that GMOs create on farmers, who are not allowed to save seeds for the next year, but are forced to buy them every year. We cannot ignore the lawsuits brought about by the makers of GMOs on farmers who never planted their seeds, but had bees cross pollinate their crops with the crops of their neighbors, who were using GMOs.

GMOs, peticides and herbicides are manufactured by the same companies. These companies claim to have science on their side, and when challenged, put down their detractors, saying that they oppose progress and science. Their message: if you believe in science then you should be applauding GMOs.

Do you agree?

We all make decisions for ourselves and our families based on our beliefs, education, and experience, and we all will deal with the consequences of those decisions. I trust the decisions you make for yourself and your family lead to a happy, healthy and long life.

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Why Washing Produce Does NOT Eliminate Pesticides

Lately I keep hearing people who are concerned about pesticides and herbicides in their foods say that they buy conventional produce, but wash it really well before eating or cooking.

They do this based on the belief that pesticides and herbicides mainly stay on the skin of fruits and vegetables, and that the thicker the skin, the clearer of toxic chemicals the fruit or vegetable will be.

Farm Store

While it is true that fruits and vegetables with thinner skins would allow more of the chemicals in when sprayed directly, in most cases these chemicals are found in the pulp of produce.

The Dirty Dozen list published by the Environmental Working Group is based on the concentration of chemical toxins found in the whole fruit or vegetable, not just on the skin. This list reports every year which are the 12 most polluted items of produce, and also the 15 less contaminated items of produce.

Once a pesticide or herbicide is sprayed on a plant, whatever is not immediately absorbed by the plant ends up in the soil, either at that time, or later on, when it rains or the plant is watered. Eventually, these toxins sink into the soil and are absorbed by the roots of the plant in question, which is why they can be found inside the pulp of the fruit or vegetable.

Washing conventionally grown fruits vegetables may help reduce the amount of pesticides and herbicides found on the skin, but cannot possibly eliminate the chemicals inside them.

Buying organic produce is the only way to stay away from pesticides and herbicides in your food.

I see buying organic foods as a way to respect and help protect farmers. I do not want to buy cheaper foods if this means endangering the health of our family and the health of the agricultural workers that have to handle these toxic chemicals. Organic foods are worth the investment.

Stay away from the items listed in the Dirty Dozen. If you cannot afford to buy these organic, do not consume them. If you cannot afford to buy all organic produce, then buy the conventional versions of the Clean 15.

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