Saturday, January 16, 2016

The best produce to buy Organic!

Dr. Andrew Weil M.D.
I have been following U.S. trained physician, author, holistic health and integrative medicine specialist and all around health "guru" Dr. Andrew Weill for some time.

Dr. Andrew Weil has an ongoing partnership with the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies that protect global and individual health. Together they are spreading the word on one of EWG’s most valuable pieces of research - a Shoppers' Guide to Pesticides in Produce. The list is based on the results of pesticide tests performed on produce and collected by federal agencies over 9 years.

Nearly all of the data used took into account how people typically wash and prepare produce - for example, apples were washed and bananas peeled before testing.

The Clean 15 - Foods You Don't Have to Buy Organic
Of the fruit and vegetable categories tested, the following "Clean 15" foods had the lowest pesticide load, and consequently are the safest conventionally grown crops to consume from the standpoint of pesticide contamination:

                Sweet corn
                Sweet peas (frozen)
                Cantaloupe (domestic)
                Sweet potatoes

Why should you care about pesticides? The EWG points out that there is a growing consensus in the scientific community that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can have adverse effects on health, especially during vulnerable periods such as fetal development and childhood.

Dr. Weil maintains that pesticides are toxins and that they cannot be good for you. But the big question is how bad are they? They can be toxic to the nervous system, disrupt endocrine functions, and may increase risks of Cancer and other chronic diseases. So we should all be trying to take action to minimize our exposure to pesticides. According to Dr. Weil data supports that people who eat organic foods, find that measurable pesticide levels in their (body) tissues drop. 

Dirty Dozen Plus - Foods You Should Always Buy Organic
At the opposite end of the contamination spectrum we have the "Dirty Dozen Plus". These foods had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy organic - or to grow organically yourself:

                Sweet bell peppers
                Nectarines (although Dr. Weil specifies imported)
                Cherry tomatoes
                Snap peas (imported)

Plus these which may contain organophosphate insecticides, which EWG characterizes as "highly toxic" and of special concern:
                Hot peppers
                Kale and Collard Greens
                Blueberries (Dr. Weil adds domestic blueberries to round out his list)

So how realistic is it that all people will or can afford to eat organic? There is a way to start moving in the right direction without breaking the bank.

According to Dr. Weil, if you simply shift to eating foods on the clean 15 list, (these are foods you can buy conventional versions of), you will have a measureable drop in tissue accumulations of pesticides.

Keep in mind that maintaining your family's health is not the only reason to choose organic food. Even though we can peel some foods such as mangoes, avocadoes and bananas, making them safe for consumption, pesticide and herbicide use contaminates groundwater, ruins soil structures and promotes erosion. They can also cause damage to local ecosystems and may be a contributor to what is called  "colony collapse disorder," the sudden and mysterious die-off of pollinating honeybees that threatens the American food supply.

To help promote the health of the planet as well as your own health, it's best to buy organic whenever possible, including when you are purchasing all produce.

Here is a very useful tool when trying to sort out which foods are best to integrate into your diet, and which to omit. The EWG's food Scores Calculator is a huge database of thousands of food items and ingredients.  You can find the EWG Food Scores Calculator at where you can even download an app for your mobile device. 

A little about what I do for a living!

My Realtor photo! 
I read people's blogs and occasionally wonder why they blog, what they do for their real jobs, etc.. Well, just in case you were wondering. I am a Realtor in Houston, Texas. I've also always had an ongoing interest in the culinary arts and had the luck to learn from one of the most respected chef's in the world, Jacques Pepin. I took technique classes from Chef Pepin and have built on that knowledge to become a formidable home cook. In my career I have done a lot writing which explains how this blog was born. I enjoy writing about food and restaurants and look forward to watching the blog evolve.  

My background includes, media/communications and marketing. I decided to reinvent myself a couple of years ago, and actually carried through with the lunacy in June of 2015. I still work as a strategic marketing consultant but I have really enjoyed real estate and I'm staying busier than I ever expected.  I have completed several sales, leases and enjoy working with both buyers and sellers. 

An Oasis in the heart of Tanglewood I recently had on the market was quickly snapped up.  
My philosophy is to help others, the same way I would like to be helped when it comes to one of the biggest decisions my clients will ever make in their lives. Where will they live?  I always appreciate a no pressure approach when it comes to life and take that approach with my clients. I listen to their needs, preferences, and criteria and respond with targeted choices that meet their requirements. It's working out pretty well so far.  I had a call from a recent customer a few weeks ago that put things in perspective for me. He called just as he was pulling into the driveway of his new home and said, 
"I love my house. I just wanted to tell you that I still can't actually believe it's ours. Thank you for finding our dream home". 

That phone call confirmed that I am doing the right thing at this point in my life. I am lucky to have had my start with Andrea Snoddy & Associates, a boutique agency. Andrea is a stellar realtor with over 26 years of experience and she is always there for her customers and her agents. I look forward to what the future will bring in my new career.  But most of all I can't wait to meet my next customers. Please let me know if I can help you buy or sell a home in the Houston area. You can reach me at 832.483.6604, email: or visit my page at Houston Area Realtors (HAR) to explore available consumer search tools and to send me specifics about your property search.