“Everyone Knows Someone Who Needs This Information!” (TM)
I am trying to catch-up, as lots of things have been happening in my life and I want you well-equipped with information and healthy foods as we transition seasons and head for Holiday Times.
As Food is Your Medicine, it’s important to get the Best! The Environmental Working Group lists the Best and Worst Farmed foods. Here they are for 2011, with my comments.
The new “Dirty Dozen”: Avoid these if conventionally-farmed, at all costs, and for the nutritious foods which you don’t want to miss, then use only the ORGANIC farmed versions.
1. Apples – these fruits are highly nutritious, but they should only be used as a whole, raw, organic fruit. Making them into juice concentrates too much of the large fructose content, and cooking changes the fruit completely (apart from the fact, then when cooked, most people remove the skins). It is only just beneath the skin that the most-healthy nutrient in apples hides. It’s the mineral chromium, which is needed for blood sugar control. If one was eating a totally-natural hunter-gatherer diet, then probably “one apple a day would keep the medicine-wo/man away”. Apple sauce is prolematical being cooked and in the huge portion (meaning equivalence of several apples) which people are likely to give themselves or their children (even worse). Make sure to wait for this year’s Fall Harvest of apples. Those stored in the supermarkets’ coolers are long-since useless.
2. Celery: It’s a sneaky addition to the Bad List. I have a huge celery plant in my back-yard and I see NO reason for it to be pesticided like conventional commercial agriculture does. Celery is the second-ranked dirty food. It’s critical to use organic celery (and only CRISP stalks), as celery helps our bodies relax from tensions and stresses (it’s called a nervine). If the celery goes limp, do NOT use it. Celery should be used raw in salads and the “strings” provide good fiber to slow down other carbs.
3. Strawberries Every kid loves strawberries, so it’s shameful that conventional ones are the 3rd. most dangerous fruit thanks to farming in America. Your country may be different, so check it out! This berry has lots of anti-oxidants and vitamins, so do buy it, just buy Organic! Figure that unless you buy Organic products, that strawberry ice-cream and strawberry jam will have filthy conventional berries in them. Stupid manufacturers.
4. Peaches: These fruits belong to the same botanical family as apples and plums. They are nutritious but also have a lot of fructose, so should be used sparingly. Fructose is not good for diabetics and everyone is affected by fructose turning-off your satiety signals and piling on belly-fat. Generally, vegetables are MUCH healthier than fruits and fruits should be used in extreme moderation.
5. Spinach: It’s not just the event a few years ago where birds or roaming animals pooping on spinach was not washed-off well enough, causing an E. coli outbreak. That can happen to any raw food. It is your responsibilty as the consumer to make sure that “Triple-washed” spinach (or any thing else) is washed again in your own kitchen. Some leafy greens are harder than others to “wash” commercially. You are the final inspector. Spinach is nutritious enough to bother with this, but as it also has a hefty-dose of oxalic acid, it is not a main-line green. Just add a few extra leaves to your salad made from other greens (like romaine, cilantro, parsley and kale — all of them Organic).
6. Nectarines: Nectarines are a hybrid – a cross between peaches and plums, They have the best-of-both. But, unfortunately, in America, they are pesticided and chemically-fertilized too much. So, buy Organic nectarines, only in season, and get the benefits of a lower fructose fruit (as plums are lower in fructose) with a hint of the higher Peach.
7. Grapes:Don’t get dragged-in to the out-of-season grapes! Most are being farmed in countries which do not have strong laws regarding pesticides! Apart from that, it’s always wiser to eat-in-season. Your body needs different foods in different seasons and expects them to have their nutrients, in the right proportion and form, to carry you through. This is especially true of winter foods, which are denser, with their own array of nutrients. Whereas warm-season foods have much higher water-content to help slake your thirst (and a nutrient profile rich in electrolytes to help compensate for mineral loss when sweating). Just make sure you eat in season. Research the proper season when foods will normally be harvested in your country and region. Organic grapes (especially red ones) are a highly-nutritious food which should be used once every few days, in season, in moderate quantities, as there’s lots of fructose in them, too.
8. Sweet bell peppers: Peppers (hot or sweet), potatoes, tomatoes, tomatillos and cape gooseberry are all part of the nightshade botanical family. Sweet potatoes are from a different family. Nightshades can cause inflammation and a biochemical cascade resulting in arthritis for some people. They are foods to get off of for up to 6 months and see if you are doing better. If you still want to re-introduce them, do it one by one, at least a week in between each and pay attention to your body’s signals. Make sure any of these foods is always Organic! Peppers have lots of Vitamin C and the red ones have Vitamin A, too. But, you must make sure that any of these foods are not secretly undermining your precious Health.
9. Potatoes: Same as for Peppers, above, along with the fact that potatoes must always be Organic, scrubbed, unpeeled, in small portions (like 1 small to medium potato) and eaten always with a healthy fat in the meal (avocado, organic coconut oil, organic hemp oil, organic olive oil, organic butter, organic ghee). On their own, potatoes have a very high glycemic index and trigger too much insulin; healthy fats slow them down. Conventional potatoes are also doused in fungicides after harvest, and I am not sure that even peeling them helps you avoid the chemical. And, the most important nutrition is just under the skin, so you would be just getting a big carb load without much nutrition to be peeling them.
10. Blueberries: They are a divine gift — easy to grow, delicious, and most importantly they are highly nutritious, but NOT if conventionally farmed! Only get Organic berries or grow your own, Organically. The plants require very little attention. Eat them raw. You want to get every iota of goodness and cooking always destroys nutrients. Use them in fruit salad, smoothies etc. They are a medium-range fructose fruit.
11. Lettuce: I suspect that this Warning applies to all commercially-grown conventional lettuce. However, when you buy Organic lettuce, you not only have a safer product, but you will have access to a much-wider choice of green leafies — lettuces and all sorts of other plants — like those in “Spring Mix” etc. Organic Romaine lettuce is MUCH more nutritionally-sound than any iceberg lettuce (which is a total waste of your hard-earned dollar, as iceberg has almost NO nutrients, at all). Enjoy trying oak-leaf lettuce, frisee, endives, orach, radicchio, and all the other wonderful “greens”. but only in Organic or non-sprayed form. Leafies are the best source of B vitamins, used to allay stress and also they contain wonderful alkaline minerals you need for bio-electricty and to quell inflammatory chemistry.
12. Kale/collard greens: Kale is SO effective in bringing up the nutrients in the soil that, when it is used in fields which have had toxic and too many pesticides thrown on them, kale is used to “detoxify” the fields (but then those companies still sell the very-toxic, conventional kale!). So, you can only use Organic Kale, for sure! Kale is a nutritonal powerhouse, and if I could only choose one vegetable, this would be it! Those on Coumadin / Warfarin therapy can use it, but it just has to be at a consistent serving and use, so it can be accounted for.
The EWG also publishes a list of the 15 fruits and vegetables that are fine to eat when they are conventionally-grown. I’ll share that with you next time.
Best to all — Em
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(c)2011 Em at http://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com
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