Thursday, September 20, 2007

Organic Food Must-buys

With all of the changes in our lives over the past couple of years (being pregnant and now having a toddler) we have become much more aware of what we are eating. We attended a "Moving through Pregnancy" course during my first trimester, at which we heard from a nutritionist. When I mentioned to her that we were avoiding foods with high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated fats as much as possible, I think that she actually scoffed at me and said "Good luck!" It hasn't been easy, but with a lot of reading labels and buying organic foods (Safeway has been a lifesaver in that department over the past year), we have been able to eliminate a lot of the usual sources we had of those ingredients.

I was shocked at how many of the big brands use HFCS and hydrog-fats. It definitely seems that we have to spend more to be more healthy, but if that is what it takes, we're committed to making a difference in our lives as well as our kids. Along the same line, I have been trying to buy fresh organic produce as much as possible. Here is the list of the top twelve items to buy organic (taken from the CHEC website)
  1. Peaches - Summer’s blushing fruit contains high residues of iprodione, classified as a probable human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and methyl parathion, an endocrine disruptor and organophosphate (OP) insecticide. Methyl parathion has caused massive kills of bees and birds. According to Consumer Reports, single servings of peaches "consistently exceeded" EPA’s safe daily limit for a 44-pound child.
  2. Apples - Apples may contain methyl parathion. Both fresh apples and baby food applesauce can also contain chlorpyrifos, an OP which has caused large bird kills. CORE Values IPM apple growers are trying to phase out OPs.
  3. Pears - Pears, both fresh and in baby food, can also come with methyl parathion, as well as the OP azinphos-methyl, which is toxic to freshwater fish, amphibians and bees.
  4. Winter Squash - Dieldrin, a chlorinated, carcinogenic insecticide, exceeded the safe daily limit for a young child in two-thirds of positive samples. Another potent carcinogen, heptachlor, also showed up. DDT and its breakdown product, DDE, were detected in baby food squash.
  5. Green Beans - Green Beans can contain acephate, methamidophos and dimethoate (three neurotoxic OPs), and endosulfan, an endocrine-disrupting insecticide, which showed up in baby food, too. Acephate disorients migrating birds, throwing them off course.
  6. Grapes - U.S. grapes contain methyl parathion and methomyl, a carbamate insecticide listed as an endocrine disruptor; imports may contain dimethoate.
  7. Strawberries - The enhanced red color of strawberries comes from the fungicide captan, a probable human carcinogen that can irritate skin and eyes, and is highly toxic to fish. While the lethal soil fumigant methyl bromide doesn’t show up on the fruit, it has harmed California farm workers, and depletes the ozone layer.
  8. Raspberries - Watch out for more than thorns! These berries can contain captan, iprodione and carbaryl, a suspected endocrine disruptor that has also been found in plum baby food
  9. Spinach - Permethrin, a possible human carcinogen, and dimethoate dominate spinach’s toxicity ratings, but CU notes that residue levels have been declining as U.S. farmers reduce use of these insecticides. DDT has been found in spinach, which leads all foods in exceeding safety tolerances.
  10. Potatoes - Pesticide use on potatoes is growing, CU warns. They may contain dieldrin and methamidophos, and children eating potatoes risk getting a very high dose of aldicarb, CU says.
  11. Tomatoes - high in chlorpyrifos or other pesticide residues
  12. Cantaloupe - high in chlorpyrifos or other pesticide residues
The more I read, the more I think that I should try to buy everything organic if possible!

Other sites listing foods to buy:
Consumer Reports
Delicious Organics

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