New Castle News

Healthy Living: Lori Brothers

February 2, 2012

Lori Brothers: Organic is good, but it’s not always necessary

NEW CASTLE — How often do you have a great conversation with your produce man?

I encourage it. I got quite an explanation about how organic veggies are handled. I also found out there are certain guidelines about where they can even be located to be sold as “organic.”

I was looking for organic kale over the weekend. I already had organic celery, organic baby lettuce, and organic arugala in my cart. I had the good fortune of finding the produce manager in his department.

You could imagine how boring a job might be if you spend more time with veggies than with people. So, he was happy to talk to me. All you produce people out there, get ready. Let the conversations with people begin!

He explained that in order for fruits and veggies to be officially “organic” they have to be handled and displayed separately from others that have been sprayed with pesticides. Therefore, a lot of stores actually have organics (such as the beets that he pointed out to me) but he has no room to separate them so they could not be sold as organic.

He told me in the next year, he expects the produce section will be expanding and would definitely have more room for organics. Something to look for.

You may be wondering what all the hype is about when it comes to buying organic fruits and vegetables. If you’ve seen some of the prices of organics it is likely that you choose your produce based on the common variety and skip organic.

Some research has shown that ingesting too many toxic chemicals from pesticide use can be harmful, and can even lead to disease. Some illnesses evolve over time, such as inflammatory issues or cancer, some are more immediate such as allergic reactions.

So because of what I learned from the produce man, I feel it is safe to purchase and enjoy all of your produce, but here are some interesting tips you may want to remember about the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean Fifteen.”

The Dirty Dozen are the most sprayed with pesticides and it is recommended that you limit them or make every effort to buy organic. These are apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines (imported), grapes (imported), sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries (domestic), lettuce, kale/collard greens.

The Clean Fifteen is the list that you do not need to buy organic. They have the lowest amounts of pesticides. These are Onions, sweet corn, pineapples, avocado, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, cantaloupe (domestic), kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, mushrooms.

I always buy what is available but get excited when I can purchase “cleaner” food when I can find it. I don’t obsess over my veggies because I just think it is important to get them into my diet. I wish you good health and excellent nourishment.

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Healthy Living: Lori Brothers
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