“Everyone Knows Someone Who Needs This Information!” (TM)
Moving along as the year accelerates; Halloween blends into Diwali, Thanksgiving and all the end of the year holidays – Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s. This is when people are often ready to try new foods and recipes and want to look and feel their best. So, it’s a good impetus for change. Use it!
Last time, I shared the “Dirtiest Foods” according to Environmental Working Group, a famous ecology watch-dog. This week, I want to share the Best, Cleanest Foods for Americans. The EWG has that list ready, too. Obviously, it’s best to save your food dollars to buy Organic to avoid the dirty foods, and in many cases, it’s relatively “safe” to eat conventionally-grown foods in this cleanest group, as factory agriculture doesn’t use pesticides on these plants as much, or in some cases, even at all.
Just remember: “S/He who takes medicine and neglects diet wastes the skill of his doctors.” (Chinese Proverb)
And, while we’re at it, I want to tell you about another important watch-dog group which I hope you will support: the Cornucopia Institute.
Here’s the Cornucopia Institute’s chart showing which formerly “truly organic” brands have been acquired by Big Business – many times totally compromising the organics of the product. http://www.cornucopia.org/wp-content/themes/Cornucopia/downloads/OrganicT30J09.pdf
More links to help you make knowledgeable food choices and purchases at: http://www.cornucopia.org/who-owns-organic/
This is important, especially if you have already been buying organic brands for a long time. These business acquisitions are not mainstream knowledge, and, for example, when Kellogg’s bought Kashi, few of realized that Kellogg’s started using 100% GMO (genetically-modified organisms) in the grains used in Kashi! That’s NOT what I was buying Kashi for! Cornucopia Institute alerted me to that.
The EWG also publishes a list of the 15 fruits and vegetables that are fine to eat when conventionally-grown. This is because the edible portions are protected by sturdy husks, hulls, and rind. These are generally not grown with systemic pesticides (as strawberries are). Here are their current picks…
Here’s the EWG “The Clean 15” List, with my comments:
1. Onions – this vegetable family, which also includes leeks, spring onions (scallions), shallots, ramps and garlic are all very healthy, mostly due to their sulfur component. Sulfur is a vital mineral and is deeply involved in your biochemistry. These compounds are best found in fresh onions and fresh garlic, so try to keep some of your allium-family veggies in raw state in pickles, sandwiches, burgers, salsas, spreads, hummus, cold soups (like gazpacho) etc., Let fresh garlic cloves get minced and then sit for 5 minutes in the air to “activate” the important heart-healthy and anti-biotic components before combining it with other foods.
2. Corn – GMO corn is rampant in our society. This Genetically-Modified corn is to be avoided, period, regardless of how it was grown. As far as “regular” corn, it is still a poor food. It is also a very high-carb food, which is largely best avoided.
3. Pineapple – this fruit is rich in Bromelain, a compound which helps digestion and also helps with pain and inflammation issues. Fresh pineapple is completely different from canned. Please do not use cooked fruits! Not only is the goodness compromised in the cooking, but even alkaline fruits become acid pH when cooked. Health depends on alkalinity, so keep your fruits fresh.
4. Avocado – the heavy skin on avocado protects it from the usual environmental toxins, so buying “regular” ones is OK if that helps your budget. Be sure to include avocados as they have some of the healthiest fats on the planet. If you have a latex allergy, consult with your allergist as to whether avocados and bananas are appropriate as they contain a natural latex.
5. Asparagus – this veggie is a wonderful, natural diuretic, and is a very pH alkaline food. With its short growing season, most of us will be eating frozen asparagus (not canned — which has barely any food value and the can linings of all canned food are suspected as most are BPA). For fresh asparagus, just lightly-steam it or use in stir-fry. Include it as a side or make into a warm or cold salad combined, or not, with other veggies. It combines well with lemon. Do not be surprised if you void more in the bathroom and that you smell asparagus as you do. This is also a good fiber source.
6. Sweet peas – this is a dense carbohydrate food, so it must be used in moderation. As peas have fiber, you can deduct those carbs from the total carb count. Peas can be eaten raw or steamed and are great in legume salads to provide color and a touch of natural sweetness. They go well with cheese in salads. If you are using the pea pod, then buy organic peas. Peas in their pod make could “dippers” and scoops for healthy bean, cheese or egg spreads. Pea shoots are another option and as with all sprouts, they are endlessly useful, especially in salads and sandwiches. Find the pea sprouts in good health stores or good Asian markets.
7. Mangoes – this is a fabulous fruit, with good fiber profile which helps to deduct from its total carb load. It is very sweet, naturally, so can be used in small amounts to substitute for less healthy sweetners in recipes. It has excellent enzymes, Vitamin A and if used in small amounts, then enjoy!
8. Eggplant – this is a very alkaline vegetable and is evidently less in need of pesticides in facory agriculture. I do not follow the usual instructions to “salt” eggplant to get the bitterness out. These slightly bitter compounds help to keep it alkaline pH. They do not taste bad! If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you probably should avoid all nightshade vegetables, at least for a while. Eggplant, tomatoes, chilis, bell peppers, potatoes (white, red, yellow) and tomatillos are all nightshades. Eggplantis usually cooked, but it does not have to be fatty like most recipes tell you to do byfrying it. Try it as a dip like Baba Ghanouj, instead.
9. Cantaloupe – I don’t recommend cantaloupe at all. It’s skin is a mold source, even if microscopic. It is impossible to get off all the mold spores in that web of wrinkled skin! You cut the melon and bring the mold to the pieces you eat. Only eat smooth skinned melons. Wash them well, then skin them and eat ALONE with no other kinds of foods (even other fruits) for 20 minutes. They are SO alkaline that nothing else can be digested properly if eaten with them.
10. Kiwi – this little gem is an Omega-3 essential fatty acid source. It originally grows in the coldest part of China and it’s natural anti-freeze provides us Omega-3s, those wonderful sources of heart health also found in the fish from frigid waters, like salmon, cod, herring and more. It’s also a good Vitamin C source. Apart from tasting great, these always look pretty on a plate and are good for young children to eat, too.
11. Cabbage – cabbage is nutritious, but it is problematic if you have thyroid issues. Discuss this with your physician. For others, cabbage and its cousins have less interference because commercial growers cut-off so many of the most nutritious outer leaves. So, yes, commercial cabbage is relatively safe to eat, but I still buy organic cabbage, especially Savoy, to get those precious outer leaves. Even better: grow your own!
12. Watermelon – of all the melons, this is the most healing. It’s bright red color is indicative of even more nutrition than the deep yellows of other melons and even the seeds are nutritious (if broken free of their coat). Just make sure that the skins are washed well before you cut open the melon.But, I still buy organic watermelon (and you must if you are going to process the rind into pickles).
13. Sweet potatoes – these nutritional powerhouses are not potatoes, botanically. They are from a different family, so people with rheumatoid arthritis, who need to avoid the Nightshade vegetable family (includes regular potatoes), should be able to tolerate sweet potatoes. The key for diabetics to use sweet potatoes is to make sure that they are the sweetest thing in the meal, without adding any extra sweetner. It’s just not needed. And, sweet potatoes can help other things taste sweet, along with stevia, as a safer way to add sweetness, rather than depending on dates, applesauce and other ploys. Stevia and tiny amounts of real, organic maple syrup are the best sweetners for diabetics. Agave, corn syrup, rice syrup, artificial sweetners and honey are not. Organic molasses is possible, in tiny amounts, but I find its flavor is not compatible with much. Yes, I used to recommend agave, but now I know better.
14. Grapefruit – this is one of my favorite fruits, especially Ruby Reds, but many people should not be eating grapefruit because of the medications they take. Confirm if this is an issue for you; ask your pharmacist. Grapefruit is a wonderful alkaline pH fruit, with plenty of Vitamin C and plant anti-osidants. Just remember, people with diabetes should NOT be using fruit juices. Use the whole fruit and be sure to get some of the surrounding white membrane, as that is where other nutrients, like rutin (which helps vascular system) are found. The same membrane qualities are found in other citrus.
15. Mushrooms – this is a problematic food for me as Dr. Robert O. Young, PhD – microbiologist whose pH view of disease and health is valid, I believe, says to avoid fungus. Asians, especially, have many healing mushrooms, so those are the ones I limit myself to. These include: shitake, maitake, reishi and others that a naturopathic or Traditional Chinese Medicine physician will recommend.
I sincerely hope that this list has been helpful. I truly hope that you will support the Cornucopia Institute with its important work. They are presently fighting on behalf of all of us to insure that Big Agribusiness does not water-down the meaning and processes behind the term “organic”. They represented all of us at the USDA National Organics Standards Board meetings recently. Hopefully they were able to prevail.
Please make Organics an integral part of your Health. You can’t spend your money more wisely. Target the foods that need that protection the most, and help your children avoid the chemically-laden food list at all costs. Also, eat in season. This not only helps you spend your food dollar wisely, but helps your body get the foods it expects, instinctively, and that it needs.
Best to all — Em
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