Since I've converted to eating Promal, I've been trying my best to buy organic vegetables, free range chicken and eggs and grass fed beef as s possible, but the prices are often 50%-70% more. I was wondering to myself how often I REALLY NEED to buy organic; is it worth the extra cash every time? So I did a little digging and this is what I found - Hope you like it!
(Please keep in mind most of these tests were from 2010, but it's a good place to start)
Not all of us can afford to go 100% organic every time we shop. The solution? Focus on those foods that come with the heaviest burden of pesticides, additives and hormones. According to the Environmental Working Group, consumers can reduce their pesticide exposure by 80% by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating only the cleanest. If Canadian Adults get their recommended 2011 Canada Food Guide 7+ daily servings of fruits and veggies from the 15 most contaminated, they could consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat the 15 least contaminated conventionally grown produce ingest less than 2 pesticides daily.
EWG has been publishing guides to the "dirty dozen" of most pesticide contaminated foods since 1995, based on statistical analysis of testing conducted by the USDA and the FDA. The dirty dozen list only reflects measurable pesticide residues on the parts of the foods normally consumed (i.e. after being washed and peeled). The following 12 foods are the worst offenders, along with substitutes if you cannot buy organic.
It's also important to remember that this dirty dozen list provides no information about antibiotics or hormones, or about the impact of producing food on the surrounding environment.
Celery has no protective skin, which makes it almost impossible to wash off the chemicals that are used on conventional crops.
Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include broccoli, radishes and onions.
A perennial entrant on the Dirty Dozen list, 64 pesticides detected in residue on this veggie make celery rank No. 1 in the 2010 analysis, up from No. 4 in 2009.
Multiple pesticides are regularly applied to these delicately skinned fruits in conventional orchards.
Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include watermelon, tangerines, oranges and grapefruit.
Peaches, No. 1 on the Dirty Dozen list in 2009, rank No. 2 in 2010; 62 pesticides have been detected in residue on peaches.
If you buy strawberries out of season, they're most likely imported from countries that use less-stringent regulations for pesticide use.
Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include kiwi and pineapples.
Up from No. 6 in 2009, strawberries rank No. 3 on the 2010 Dirty Dozen list. Why? 59 pesticides have been detected in residue on strawberries.
Like peaches, apples are typically grown with the use of poisons to kill a variety of pests, from fungi to insects. Scrubbing and peeling doesn't eliminate chemical residue completely, so it's best to buy organic when it comes to apples. Peeling a fruit or vegetable also strips away many of their beneficial nutrients.
Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include watermelon, bananas and tangerines
Down from No. 2 in 2009, apples still rank among the dirtiest fruits and vegetables, with 42 different pesticides having been detected as residue.
New on the Dirty Dozen list in 2010, blueberries are treated with as many as 52 pesticides, making them one of the dirtiest berries on the market.
With 33 different types of pesticides found on nectarines, they rank up there with apples and peaches among the dirtiest tree fruit.
Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include, watermelon, papaya and mango.
7. Bell Peppers
Peppers have thin skins that don't offer much of a barrier to pesticides. They're often heavily sprayed with insecticides.
Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include green peas, broccoli and cabbage.
Tests have found 49 different pesticides on sweet bell peppers.
New on the list for 2010, spinach can be laced with as many as 48 different pesticides, making it one of the most contaminated green leafy vegetable.
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 this year.
Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include cabbage, asparagus and broccoli.
Even locally grown cherries are not necessarily safe. In fact, in one survey in recent years, cherries grown in the U.S. were found to have three times more pesticide residue then imported cherries.
Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include raspberries and cranberries.
Government testing has found 42 different pesticides on cherries.
America's popular spud re-appears on the 2010 dirty dozen list, after a year hiatus. America's favorite vegetable can be laced with as many as 37 different pesticides.
Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include eggplant, cabbage and earthy mushrooms.
Imported grapes run a much greater risk of contamination than those grown domestically only imported grapes make the 2010 Dirty Dozen list). Vineyards can be sprayed with different pesticides during different growth periods of the grape, and no amount of washing or peeling will eliminate contamination because of the grape's thin skin. Remember, wine is made from grapes, which testing shows can harbor as many as 34 different pesticides.
Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include kiwi and raspberries.
For the last 16 days I've been following the Paleo Diet. The gist of it is to eat like we did 10,000 years ago (before the agricultural revolution). This means eating only things readily and easily found in nature. No sugar, no grain, no dairy, no roots (potatoes) and *gasp* no beer. There's more to it than that but if you want to know more than there's a lot of info out there.
The key to this is having LOTS of good, healthy food around at all time. If you're hungry you can't just run into a Tim Hortons and grab a quick fix. The only real "convenience" food to be found readily is bananas and other fruit and veggies.
After a few days of eating the same stuff I started getting kind of bored and wanted to make some new dishes. I'm not really much of a cook and I don't have a ton of kitchen gear, or kitchen know-how for that matter. Luckily there's the Google though, and after a couple of minutes I found two sites that really made a difference -
http://dessertstalker.com/ (for desserts and sweets) and http://chowstalker.com/ (for regular meals and savory treats)
Go take a look the first one and tell me that doesn't look awesome!
The image to the right is a picture I took after cooking for 20 minutes or so on Monday. I made Banana Bread Muffins and Spaghetti Squash Pasta. They each took about 10 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes or so in the over/pan and was enough for 4 meals and 8 snacks. All of it grain and sugar free, dairy free starch free, no preservatives, no hormones, free range, grass fed beef yada yada yada.
On top of being super healthy, is was pretty easy to make (though some tweaks will be made for future batches) and even though almost everything is organic, it was fairly inexpensive. Cheaper than eating out at a restaurant, that's for sure!
I figure 8 muffins cost about $5- and the 4 portions on spaghetti squash and sauce maybe about $10. That's a meal and a dessert for about $4.
As for the diet itself - well, I'll write a post in the next few days outlining some of the benefits I've noticed.
Dan Slobodin -