Archive for Food

The Clean 15

There are so many reasons to buy organic…as I mentioned in my last post.

But here is a list of things that you don’t have to spend more and buy organic for.

The fruits and vegetables on this list were the least likely to have pesticides detected on the parts you eat, after typical washing, whether or not they’re certified organic. (Remember, though, that the farmworkers and the farm soil, will thank you for any organic purchases you can make.)
1. ONIONS– duh this is kinda a no brainer…you peel the exterior “skin” off. Buying Tip: Look for onions that are firm, have a distinctive “oniony” smell that’s not overpowering, and show no visible signs of damage or soft spots. Store in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator.


3. SWEET CORN– Sweet corn may take a lot of fertilizer to grow, but you’re unlikely to end up with any pesticides on the kernels.

….are you getting the trend here…fruits and veggies that have exterior skin which acts as a barrier to protect the fruit from pesticide residue, which you remove before consuming –> usually means you dont need to spend the extra buck to buy organic.



6. ASPARAGUS– face fewer threats from pests such as insects or disease, so fewer pesticides need to be used.



9. CABBAGE– Cabbage doesn’t hold on to so many pesticides because a ton of spraying isn’t required to grow it. What it does hold onto is beta carotene: It’s a superfood!

10. EGGPLANT– Maybe it’s the thick skin, but eggplants are among the least likely to be contaminated by pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group



13. BROCCOLI– Conventional broccoli doesn’t retain so many pesticides because the crop faces fewer pest threats, which means less spraying

14. TOMATOS– WHAT?!?!?! –> Tomatoes were on the 2008 Dirty Dozen list of foods with the most pesticide residue, but the latest update finds them cleaner than most. Why? The Environmental Working Group isn’t sure.

15. SWEET POTATOS– Not only are sweet potatoes unlikely to be contaminated with pesticides, they’re also a superfood, packed with Vitamin A and beta carotene.

Now next time your stopping by your local farmers market or grocery store bring along these two lists (the dirty dozen and the clean 15)…after some practice you’ll pick up on what foods you should buy organics and those that you dont necessarily have to.

Thanks for staying informed!

Go Green!

– Erica


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The Dirty Dozen

I always get so confused on which are the best foods to buy organic and ones you don’t necessary need to go organic for. Well I finally found a easy understandable guide.

“Not all of us can afford to go 100% organic every time we shop. The solution? Focus on those foods that come with the heaviest burden of pesticides, additives and hormones. According to the Environmental Working Group(EWG), consumers can reduce their pesticide exposure by 80% by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating only the cleanest. If consumers get their USDA-recommended 5 daily servings of fruits and veggies from the 15 most contaminated, they could consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat the 15 least contaminated conventionally grown produce ingest less than 2 pesticides daily.”- The Daily Green

Here’s the list of the 12 (+ a few newbies) foods you should buy organic; for a healthier more sustainable lifestyle:

1. MEAT– meat production is the king of foods when it comes to environmental impact aside from its pesticide residue.  Animals raised with conventional modern methods often means using hormones to speed up growth, antibiotics to resist disease on crowded feed lots, and both pesticides and chemical fertilizers to grow the grain fed to the animals. (AND you ingest all of this! Gross) THE SOLUTIONCertified Organic Meat–  To meet USDA standards, this meat can come only from animals fed organic feed and given no hormones or antibiotics. Searching out cuts from grass-fed animals ensures that you’re eating meat from an animal that was fed a more natural diet, and looking for a local source of meats lets you question the farmer directly about the animal’s diet and the farmer’s method of raising it. It cuts down on the environmental cost of transportation, too.

2. MILK– Pesticides and other man-made chemicals have been found in human breast milk, so it should come as no surprise that they have been found in dairy products, too. While any residues detected have been rare, and of low concentration, milk is of special concern because it is a staple of a child’s diets. Organic dairies cannot feed their cows with grains grown with pesticides, nor can they use antibiotics or growth hormones like rGBH or rbST. The overall impact of the herd is lessened when you choose organic milk. (AND it lasts longer!)

3. COFFEE– Many of the beans you buy are grown in countries that don’t regulate use of chemicals and pesticides. Look for the USDA Organic label to ensure you’re not buying beans that have been grown or processed with the use of potentially harmful chemicals. Go a step or two further, and look for the Fair Trade Certifiedlabel to ensure that your purchase supports farmers who are paid fairly and treated well. And look for shade-grown varieties for the trifecta: Then you know the coffee is being grown under the canopy of the rainforest, leaving those ancient trees intact, along with the wildlife — particularly songbirds — that call them home. (Look you can kill 3 birds with stone!)

4. PEACHES– Multiple pesticides are regularly applied to these delicately skinned fruits in conventional orchards. Usually fruits that have skin which you eat are the most harmful since the pesticide is applied directly to the fruit and you ingest the peel.

5. APPLES- Like peaches, apples are typically grown with the use of poisons to kill a variety of pests, from fungi to insects. 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.

6. SWEET BELL PEPPERS– Peppers have thin skins that don’t offer much of a barrier to pesticides. They’re often heavily sprayed with insecticides.

7. CELERY- Celery has no protective skin, which makes it almost impossible to wash off the chemicals that are used on conventional crops

8. NECTARINES– There were 26 different types of pesticides found on tested nectarines. WOW

9. STRAWBERRIES– If you buy strawberries out of season, they’re most likely imported from countries that use less-stringent regulations for pesticide use

10. CHERRIES- Even locally grown cherries are not safe. In fact, cherries grown in the U.S. were found to have three times more pesticide residue then imported cherries.

11. 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.

12. LEAFY GREENS– Leafy greens are frequently contaminated with what are considered the most potent pesticides used on food.


13. GRAPES– Imported grapes run a much greater risk of contamination than those grown domestically. 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.

14. CARROTS– Imported grapes run a much greater risk of contamination than those grown domestically. 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.

15. PEARS– As insects become more resilient to the pesticides used on pears, more and more chemicals are used. The safest bet is to go organic.

** ALTERNATIVE TO ORGANIC SHOPPING FOR VEGGIES/FRUIT/MEAT…BUY LOCALLY. If you can’t afford “organic” go to the local farmers market. This way you can ask the grower/farmer directly if they use any chemicals. Most likely they cannot afford it or simply don’t believe in unnatural food production. This way its cheaper and you are stimulating yoru local economy. So dont get down if you cannot afford organic their are always SIMPLY EASY ALTERNATIVES TO A MORE SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE


Thanks for staying informed!

Go Green!

– Erica

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Food & Water Watch

As some of you guys know, I’m applying for an internship this summer in Washington D.C.

I had an internview this morning for an Environmental Advocacy Group, ” Food & Water Watch”.

This non-profit organization strives to take action on food, water and fish safety and quality throughout the U.S.

There website is full of neat and insightful information about food and water, so check them out at


Stay Informed! Go Green!

– Erica

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Organic- It isn’t just trendy. Its safer for your health and the environment!

Lets talk about Food! mmm

The list of dangers to consider is seemingly endless:

  • Mercury and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) in fish
  • Arsenic and Antibiotics in chicken
  • Hormones in meat
  • Genetically Modified ingredients
  • Mad Cow Disease
  • Trans Fats….etc

Organic isn’t just healthier for the consumer, but does amazing wonders to the environment. Even as critics claim that organic has been “industrialized” and co-opted by big businesses, there is no question that a lot of good has come out of the organic movement. The conversion of land into organic has been great for the environment. It has enabled consumers to have more access to fruits  and vegetables grown without pesticides and to meat from animals raised on healthier feed.

Buying organic can be pricey. But recently WAL-MART (who would of thought) added a substantial amount of well priced organic foods to its shelves!!

** When you buy organic you are voting for a better kind of agriculture, one that supports a planet with richer soil and a cleaner water supply. Along with eating food that is increasingly thought to be better for your health**

Best way to know its organic–> go local! get your produce and meat at a local farmer’s market. You can’t go wrong with that (and its cheaper)

Decoding –> USDA Certified Organic Label:

  • Fruits and vegetables labeled organic are grown without synthetic chemicals, sewer sludge, genetically modified organisms, or irradiation.
  • There are also strict regulations regarding the composting of manure and when it can be applied.
  • Chickens are fed 100 % organic vegetarian feed, and eggs come from hens that eat organic. There are no animal by-products, antibiotics, or arsenic in feed. Chickens also get access to the outdoors, and farms are inspected to make sure these rules are followed.
  • Fish– only labeled “organic” because there is no official USDA standard for organic seafood. The USDA has discussed possible standards for fish and seafood but there were no proposals– go for “WILD CAUGHT”, at least you know they aren’t mangled in nets and harmfully treated.
  • Meat and Dairy- synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, hormones, genetic engineering, irradiation, and sewer sludge are prohibited. Animals must eat 100% organic feed.

All other labels are limited in how eco friendly they are.

Foods to Look out For:

*Overly large luscious fruit, like huge strawberries- Well how do you think they got that big? Genetic Alterations! Ew

*Albacore Tuna – only good in moderation-No more than 6 ounces per week and less for smaller children. Eeek i love tuna!!! When eating canned tuna, buy CHUNK LIGHT not albacore tuna, which has about 3X the mercury as light tuna. Now a little tid-bit on Mercury:

  •  [[Mercury, which is one of the most common fish pollutants is released into the air from coal-fired plants and ends up in rivers, lakes and oceans. Its then transformed by bacteria into methyl-mercury, a highly toxic compound that can harm the developing nervous systems of fetuses, infants and young children. There is also evidence that too much consumption of fish containing mercury can cause cardiovascular disease. ]]


Thank you for blogging and staying informed!

 Go Green!..well and ORGANIC

Erica Stephanie Leznik

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