Sunday, October 03, 2010

Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce

The powerhouse information website, Environmental Working Group(EWG), lists the Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce, on its website. Here is their eye-opening explanation for why all of us should carry this guide (which is downloadable on the website-just click on the link above):

"An EWG simulation of thousands of consumers eating high and low pesticide diets shows that people can lower their pesticide exposure by 90 percent by avoiding the top twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated instead. Eating the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables will expose a person to nearly 20 pesticides per day, on average. Eating the 12 least contaminated will expose a person to a fraction over 2 pesticides per day. Less dramatic comparisons will produce less dramatic reductions, but without doubt using the Guide provides people with a way to make choices that lower pesticide exposure in the diet."

In a nutshell, here is the list:

12 Most Contaminated. Buy These Organic
• Celery
• Peaches
• Strawberries
• Apples
• Blueberries
• Nectarines
• Bell Peppers
• Spinach
• Cherries
• Kale/Collard Greens
• Potatoes
• Grapes (imported)

12 Least Contaminated
• Onions
• Avocados
• Corn (sweet)
• Pineapples
• Mangos
• Peas (sweet)
• Asparagus
• Kiwi
• Cabbage
• Eggplant
• Cantaloupe
• Watermleon

Because this website does such a spectacular job of detailing specific information on pesticides and produce, as well as answering basic questions, I defer to the link above. I highly recommend you browse the site and download the shopping list.

I also found this list from a back issue of "Taste for Life":

Top 10 Toxic Foods:
1. Butter
2. Salmon
3. Spinach
4. Strawberries
5. Cream Cheese
6. Raisins
7. Apples
8. Pickling Cucumbers
9. Summer Squash
10.Green Peppers

A Goddess in the Kitchen

The cooler months bring out the domestic goddess in me and, at least once a week, my house is filled with a cinnamon-laced aroma of baked goodies.

Considering I am a terrible baker, I gravitate towards VERY easy recipes. I found this recipe from Dr It's a moist, wholesome version of the original with no refined sweeteners. The taste is sweet, but there is no sugar to overpower, so you actually get to taste the bananas and grains. Its awesome warm from the oven by itself or with cream cheese, or toasted with butter.

Here's his version complete with interesting commentary on the humble banana:

Banana Bread
Native to the Caribbean and Central America, bananas are one of America’s favorite fruits. They are rich in potassium - one banana contains 450 mg of potassium, one-fifth of the adult daily requirement - and offer a fair share of magnesium (33 mg), too. In addition, bananas help to strengthen the stomach lining and are good for soothing indigestion. Most banana bread recipes are saturated with butter and sugar. This one uses a small amount of canola oil instead - which is much better for your heart - and honey, which of course means lots of flavor. Don’t use regular whole-wheat flour. It is too heavy for this recipe. Look for whole-wheat pastry flour instead.

Occasionally, to my kids' delight, I throw in a 1/4-1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips.

3 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons expeller-pressed canola oil, plus a little more for oiling the loaf pan
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a loaf pan.

2. Mash the bananas and mix with the honey, canola oil and vanilla extract.

3. Stir together the whole-wheat pastry flour, baking soda and salt. Add the nuts.

4. Blend the two mixtures and spoon into a lightly oiled loaf pan. Bake for 40 minutes, or until center is set.

Serves 12

Nutrients Per Serving
Calories: 199.8
Protein: 3.0 grams
Fat: 8.4grams
Saturated Fat: 0.7grams
Monounsat Fat: 4.8 grams
Polyunsat Fat: 2.4grams
Carbohydrate: 31.6 grams
Fiber: 3.2 grams
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Vitamin A: 35.9 IU
Vitamin E: 1.0 mg/IU

Good Goddess Deed for the Day

This year Environmental Working Group (EWG) is leading one of the most important environmental campaigns in history – the drive to pass the Safe Chemicals Act in Congress. This legislation will revolutionize how we protect children and other vulnerable people from toxic chemicals – a long overdue change.  The passing of this legislation is also a priority to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).  NRDC is one of the most effective environmental groups with over 1.3 million members.

There are a couple ways you can get involved.  You can contact your Congressional representatives to let them know how you feel about this issue.  Click here to access NRDC's web page to email your Congressmen.  The web page also provides detailed information on the bill.  You could also sign a petition on EWG's website demanding Congress take action.  Make your voice heard!

Can't Forget Spirituality

While we tend to focus on maintaining ourselves on a more physical level, hence, the inception of The Good Health Goddess, an equally important component is our spirituality. Some of you may define this as religion, but I like to think of it as our inherent relationship with ourselves, each other, and the world. And as I have been awakened to my feminine self, and continue on this journey, I am always coming across interesting articles or books that are of interest and/or importance to ALL women, regardless of spirituality (or lack of).

So this month I am combining a book review with spirituality. A Woman's Book of Life; The Biology, Psychology, and Spirituality of the Feminine Life Cycle by Joan Borysenko, Ph.D. is a must read for every woman. It is one of the few books written that relates how biology, psychology, and spirituality affect women at every life cycle. After the introduction, Borysenko divides the book into 12 chapters based on a woman's life cycle, 12 7-year periods, three in each quadrant of life- childhood and adolescence, young adulthood and, midlife and the elder years.

She specifically focuses on a feminine way of growth, as she herself points out, "...development of men, however, is a rich and detailed field that needs little recapitulation here since it is the subject of volumes of work extending over many centuries". The corresponding book of women's lives is nowhere near as studied, although with the advent of this book in 1996, we have seen this field of study expand greatly.

Now, I do not agree with everything she says (namely on her position of women that stay home with children verses being working moms). What stays with me most about this book is the scientific explanation of why women are the way we are. It is quite illuminating and life changing to understand that it is our biology that drives our psychology and spirituality.

Every woman should read this, and as quoted by Christine Northrup, M.D., and author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom (also a must read!): " is so compelling, uplifting, and scientifically provacative that I could not put it down. It will change the way we think about ourselves as women and is destined to become a classic."

Feedback Please!

Well, that concludes the first (and hopefully not the last!) issue of the Good Health Goddess. I hope you were able to peruse some of the entries, and maybe even found something that interested you enough to try or do more research on your own.

Each month I hope to bring you the most up-to-date information on a woman's health and spirituality, while also providing some personal goddess goodies. Please give me some feedback as to what you would like to see, as well as any information you may like to pass along to your fellow goddess. You may post in the comment section of each entry, or email me at the link on the right side of my blog.

'Til next month- live large, laugh often, and love all!

The Good Health Goddess