Category: Food and Drink

Meatless Mondays

The Environmental Working Group (EWG.org) is promoting Meatless Mondays for our diets.  According to EWG’s Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change + Health, if everyone in the U.S. skipped eating meat and cheese just one day a week for a year, it would be like pulling 7.6 million cars off the road. At the same time, people — especially kids — would be less likely to develop health problems such as obesity and heart disease.  Plus it gets us to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Let’s teach our kids how to eat less meat, because more and more of them could face serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and even some types of cancer as they get older.

 

Pick Your Own Blueberries

A great place to pick your own blueberries is at Estes Farm, 114 Waterman Road, Buxton, Maine.  I went last Saturday to pick berries.  They have over 2000 high bush blueberry bushes.  They are reasonably priced per pound and it’s fun for the whole family!  Visit them at estesberryfarm.com for updated hours of openness.   Too bad they are not organically grown.  Maybe Estes Farm would consider looking into pesticides that are approved for use on organic blueberries?  There is a 2011 Production Guide for Organic Blueberries which can be found online at  www.nysipm.cornell.edu/organic_guide/blueberry.pdf

 

You can freeze the berries for later use.  The best way is to spread them out on a cookie sheet and freeze them, then transfer to a freezer bag.  That way they freeze individually and not in one large clump!

 

Windy Hill Farm

Are you looking for local beef that is grass fed, treated humanely and raised without hormones, antibiotics and other medications?  You can find meat that is safe to feed your family at Windy Hill Farm, 115 River Road, Windham, Maine.  Visit them online at www.windyhill-restoration.com.

They also have organic eggs and fresh chicken!

 

Organic Foods

To eat purely organic foods would be nice.  I don’t know many people who can afford that kind of grocery bill for their families.  It seems like a good idea to avoid the foods that are most contaminated with pesticides.  Pesticides have an unknown effect on our childrens’  development.

The latest information from the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list of foods most likely to have high pesticide residues. Since 1995, the organization has taken the government data and identified which type of produce has the most chemicals.

This year, celery takes the number one spot and both blueberries and spinach make an appearance (displacing lettuce and pears).

The best way to avoid pesticide residue on foods is to buy organic produce — USDA rules prohibit the use of pesticides on any crop with the certified organic label.  You can decode your produce with the little stickers on them called price look-up  (PLU) codes.  You can also use them to make sure you are getting what you paid for.  The organic PLU is a five digit number that starts with a 9 and means the item is organic.

Here’s a closer look at the 2010 Dirty Dozen:

1. Celery
Celery has no protective skin, which makes it almost impossible to wash off the chemicals (64 of them!) that are used on crops. Buy organic celery, or choose alternatives like broccoli, radishes, and onions.

2. Peaches
Multiple pesticides (as many as 62 of them) are regularly applied to these delicately skinned fruits in conventional orchards. Can’t find organic? Safer alternatives include watermelon, tangerines, oranges, and grapefruit.

3. Strawberries
If you buy strawberries, especially out of season, they’re most likely imported from countries that have less-stringent regulations for pesticide use. 59 pesticides have been detected in residue on strawberries. Can’t find organic? Safer alternatives include kiwi and pineapples.

4. Apples
Like peaches, apples are typically grown with poisons to kill a variety of pests, from fungi to insects. Tests have found 42 different pesticides as residue on apples. 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.

5. Blueberries
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.

6. Nectarines
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. (Tests have found 49 different pesticides on sweet bell peppers.) Can’t find organic? Safer alternatives include green peas, broccoli, and cabbage.

8. Spinach
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.

9. Kale
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.

10. Cherries
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. Government testing has found 42 different pesticides on cherries. Can’t find organic? Safer alternatives include raspberries and cranberries.

11. Potatoes
America’s popular spud reappears 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.

12. Grapes
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.

 

Have you seen the movie Food, Inc.?

Check out the website www.foodincmovie.com and if you have never seen the movie you are missing out.  It’s a documentary about where our food comes from in the United States.   If you are looking for one good thing to do for your family and the Earth this Earth Day, then I would suggest finding out where your food is coming from.

“In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults. ” (excerpt taken from www.foodincmovie.com)

Sign a petition to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act.  Let’s demand that federally funded child food programs offer our children the healthy food that they deserve!  www.foodincmovie.com/sign-the-petition.php