Clean Up Your Cart for Maximum Health: The 2012 Dirty Dozen

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Buy the Dirty Dozen organic and maximize your health for fertilityThe Environmental Working Group has released its 2012 “Dirty Dozen” list of the fruits and vegetables that are most highly recommended to be purchased organic. The produce on the “Dirty Dozen” list contains the most pesticide residue, even after being washed and peeled, according to the EWG reports that culminate testing data from the USDA and the FDA.

This year the list now includes fourteen kinds of produce. It puts green beans and leafy greens like kale and collards in a “Plus” category of produce that doesn’t meet the requirements to make the list but are given special consideration because of the presence of insecticides that are can affect the nervous system.

Also new this year are notes on prepared baby food. Researchers reviewed USDA data on baby food samples dated from 2010 and found a high rate of pesticides and contamination in prepared pears and green beans, although nearly none in prepared sweet potatoes.

No matter where you are in your family building journey, here are some tips to help you clean up your cart:

  • Always wash produce before eating or preparing it, even if it’s organic or local. If you’re TTC or pregnant this is especially important to protect yourself additionally against the risk of listeria contamination.
  • If you buy prepared baby food, buy organic. Word to the wise: Happy Baby Organic Mango in a pouch is pretty great for growns ups, too. It’s as natural as eating a mango with none of the mess of peeling one, plus the pouch makes it easy to add to summer mocktails and smoothies!
  • Learn more about the 2012 Farm Bill and talk to your legislators about it. Help minimize the potential impact of pesticides on fertility and health!

When I was in high school I worked on a blueberry farm in New Jersey. All summer long in between sorting and packing the blueberries I’d shove them into my mouth by the fistful, even when I knew the fields had been sprayed with pesticides. I used to “clean” my apples by sometimes wiping them on my jeans, and I simply never bothered washing my produce before eating it. As soon as my husband and I began trying to conceive, I suddenly realized how dependent my body was on me to provide it with lots of nutrients and not a lot of chemicals.

Suddenly we were driving from store to store so I could get the best deals on produce while still making sure I was buying the “Dirty Dozen” organic. I asked a million questions at farmer’s markets. I scrubbed all of my produce (note: scrubbing raspberries ends badly.) Considering my fertility forever altered the way I thought about feeding myself and my family.

Have you changed the way you buy and eat food since trying to conceive? 

Written by Jennifer Spencer, Digital Communications Manager, PerkStreet Financial

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