Spring is a good time to hit reset on your daily food routine (if it needs it) or it can just be a time to begin to get back to eating fresh, local produce. With so much information out there about toxins, pesticides, and GMOs (genetically modified organisms), you might be tempted to eat all organic produce, but that can get pretty expensive and might not always be possible. Another great option is to eat local from your nearby farmer(s) or your own garden; and Spring is a great time to get signed up for a CSA (community supported agriculture) or get your garden planned and ready. Read on for resources to help guide you on your journey to eat clean(er).
The Environmental Working Group has some wonderful resources to "to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment." I use their Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen guidelines to help me decide when to buy organic. The Clean 15 lists the 15 fruits and vegetables with the lowest amount of pesticides and toxins, while the Dirty Dozen lists the 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest amount of pesticides and toxins. Those fruits and veggies found on the Dirty Dozen should be bought organic whenever possible.
My favorite places to shop for produce in the Upper Valley:
- I love the affordable selection that Hannaford offers with their produce; they have a moderate organic selection, and they do a great job of getting local produce at a great price; while they don't always have fresh organic berries they do have frozen organic berries
- The Co-op Food Stores and Upper Valley Food Co-op also have a wonderful selection of local and organic produce
- Lebanon and Norwich both have great Farmer's Market on Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings, respectively
Another great resource we have in the Upper Valley is Vital Communities, a local non-profit benefiting the Upper Valley community, with a branch focusing on eating local.
And while I haven't participated in one of these CSA's yet, it has been on our list for years to start so maybe this will be the year! We are pretty darn lucky to have so many local options so close by.
Along with eating more, local, and sometimes organic produce, choosing healthier lean proteins for us omnivores is important, too. The EWG has a consumer guide to seafood that can be helpful and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch has tons of information for seafood options that promote a healthy ocean. For poultry and red meat, I aim for antibiotic free and pasture raised (grass fed) as much as possible. The benefits of each of these are still somewhat debated, so you can decide for yourself what is best. Hannaford and the Co-op Food Stores are my go to stores for quality meat choices, and many of the CSA's also have meat options; Market Basket also has some good, quality meat options. The most important thing with all foods, especially meats, is to read the labels - this might mean the nutrition facts, but also notice where the food is coming from and, for meat options, how the animal was fed and raised.
I hope these resources help you to eat clean(er) and at least get you thinking a little bit more about the quality of the produce and proteins you are consuming. How's that for some food for thought?
If this interests you and you're in the area and around on May 20th, come to the River Valley Club for a FREE 45 minute talk with myself and Kelli DiFazio on clean eating from 9:30-10:15am in the Yoga Studio.
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