2013 Guide to Pesticides on Produce

2013 Guide to Pesticides in Produce

The EWG released their updated guide to pesticides in produce. The Clean 15 are the top 15 fruits and vegetables the EWG states are the least likely to test positive for pesticide residues.  The Dirty Dozen Plus are the most contaminated conventional fruits and vegetables – those to be avoided.

Why Should I Care?

  • The majority of pesticide exposure comes from the food you eat. At least 67% of the conventional produce samples tested had at least one pesticide.
  • Just because a pesticide has been banned from use doesn’t mean its not on the produce we can pick up in the store. The EWG reports that produce tested several years ago had pesticides on them that had been banned in the 1970s!
  • 67% of food samples have detectable pesticide residues after washing or peeling.
  • Green beans canned for baby food tested positive for five pesticides and pears canned for baby food tested positive for 11 pesticides.
  • The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that:

Among the findings associated with increased pesticide levels are poorer mental development and increased scores on measures assessing pervasive developmental disorder, inattention, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. There may also be an association between parental pesticide use and adverse birth outcomes including physical birth defects, low birth weight, and fetal death, although the data are less robust than for cancer and neurodevelopmental effects.

How should I use this Guide?

Don’t stop eating fruits and vegetables, use the guide to reduce your exposure to pesticides:

  • Choose organic produce when you can afford it.

Studies led by Chensheng (Alex) Lu of Emory University found that elementary school-age children’s body burdens of organophosphate pesticides, including chlorpyrifos and malathion, peaked during the summer, when they ate the most fresh produce. But just five days after switching to an all-organic diet, their bodies were essentially pesticide-free.

  • If you can’t afford organic produce, choose conventional for the Clean 15 and organic for the Dirty Dozen Plus.
  • Always wash your fruit before eating. These tests were done after washing and peeling so if you don’t do that, you are potentially ingesting even more pesticide residue.

tip iconWant to have the list handy while shopping? Download the FREE Dirty Dozen app for iPhone.


Are Your Dairy Products Hormone Free? (30+ Dairy Brands That Are)

hormone free dairy blue

Remember when rBST-free milk was all the rage?  Now, it’s probably harder to find milk with hormones, than not (just a guess). But what about cheese? Or sour cream, cottage cheese and ice cream, for that matter? If we don’t make it from scratch (and some of us don’t, at least not yet), are we assuming that all dairy is hormone free?

What got me into this mess was a sale on cheese. I scooped it up, stuck it in the fridge and promptly realized I hadn’t checked the label on a brand I don’t normally purchase. It didn’t say “made from cows not treated with rBST” anywhere. A few minutes of research later and I knew that cheese in the fridge had hormones in it. <gasp> So I made my husband eat it.

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Fluffy Pancakes (gluten-free)

fluffy pancakes (gluten-free) on mommygoesgreen.com

I’ve been eating gluten-free for over a year and it took me about that long to find a pancake recipe that I love. This one is so much like ‘normal’ that my kids haven’t ventured to ask if they are gluten-free (they have had quite a few gluten-free flops, unfortunately!)

By leaving the pancake batter to sit for a few minutes before baking, the pancakes come out really light and fluffy. You’ll probably find the last couple pancakes to really fluffy. Enjoy!



Simple Ways to Raise Better Eaters

simple ways to raise better eaters on mommygoesgreen.com

I do not profess to have this parenting thing down, I’m learning new things about raising little humans every day.  We’ve tried a lot of unsuccessful things and stumbled upon a few things that have really worked along the way.

One of those lucky stumbles was how our kids eat. They are happy to eat a good variety of foods, regularly. No, they don’t lick kale off their plate but for kids, I like to think they are better eaters than most. Here’s what has worked for us:

We aren’t a restaurant.

Whatever is being served for a meal is the meal. No substitutions. Occasionally I make things that the kids just don’t like such as chili so I will make an alternative.  My daughter has never liked potatoes so we don’t require her to eat them. If I make something a little too spicy, I add cream cheese, sour cream or coconut cream to cool it off.  But if the meal isn’t eaten, there isn’t a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to follow.

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7 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat More Veggies

1.  Start early.  Several years ago, I was reading an article about healthy snacks for kids where they mentioned hummus. Comments from parents ranged from “great idea” to “what kid eat hummus?” My first thought was “my kid eats hummus”. I fully attribute this to our early introduction of hummus, along with other foods that kids haven’t traditionally eaten like quinoa, lentils, couscous, and beans. We were just feeding our daughter (and now our son) what our family eats. We didn’t make separate meals for them. And for us, it worked. Both of our kids eat a lot of different healthy foods.

2.  Be the example.  If you aren’t eating veggies, your kids probably won’t either. Put them on the menu for every lunch and dinner. This point was recently proven to me when my daughter was playing house and said “I need a Coke. That’s what mommies drink.” Ugh. If you’ve been reading MGG for long, you know I have a love-hate addiction to Coke. Obviously it’s a bit on the “I love you so much, how do I survive without you?” side right now.

3.  Sneak them in.  When I was making pureed food for our infant, I thought it would be so easy to sneak those pureed fruits and veggies into our meals for added doses of healthiness.  I’m not the genius who came up with this idea, there are plenty of cookbooks that have great suggestions on how to do this like Deceptively Delicious and The Sneaky Chef.

4.  Prepare ahead.  One of my personal goals for 2010 was to eat more veggies myself.  I figured if they were easily available throughout the day, I would snack on them.  So between buying pre-cut veggies and spending time cutting veggies into bite-sized chunks, I put them in glass storage so I would see them every time I opened the refrigerator.  I did begin to eat more of them until I came up with #5 below.

5.  Leave them out.  Because our fruit is stored on the counter, it gets eaten quickly. I figured the same would happen with veggies so I started putting them in pretty glass dishes around the kitchen and living room. This is my current method of extra veggie consumption and it totally works. Both the kids and I are snacking on carrots and tomatoes many times a day.

6.  Grow your ownWith your own backyard garden, kids are bound to be curious.  My daughter (and friends) love to comb the garden to see what they can pick fresh off the vine.  Your garden can be as simple as a tomato plant in a container – that is how I started several years ago.  Each summer, I try to plant something new so we can practice our gardening skills and expand our taste buds.

7.  Get creative.  When I was a child, I would often come home from school to a message on the counter spelling out ‘I Love You’ in chocolate chips.  Of course, we swallowed them as fast as we could.  Although she used chocolate, the theory could apply to veggies, too.  Here are some great ideas resembling Sesame Street characters with veggies like corn, radish, peas, spinach, tomatoes and carrots.

How do YOU sneak more veggies into your family’s diet?