Monday, May 3, 2010

98: food to grow


I've got some information about organic foods below, but first, a couple updates on the pregnancy.

26 weeks today! My belly is 40 inches around at my belly button. I think I should have started measuring sooner, because 40 inches knocked my socks off, but it's really only about 12 inches of growth from the beginning. Next week ends the 2nd trimester for us, and after that we'll be heading into the final (3 month) stretch.

Her eyes have opened up again this week and she can see light, so I've started shining a flashlight on my belly (I'm such a mean mom!). I'll have to record a video sometime of the kicks she gives when I do that. You can see my whole belly move. She's definitely a kicker!

Anyways, onto the post...

I mentioned a few weeks ago that one of the things we're wondering about as first-time parents is whether it is important to look to organic, pesticide free foods for her nourishment as she grows.

Many studies have been done in either direction, but there has been very little confirmed about whether organics do the body good from what I can gather. Here are some of the pros and cons we've found to buying organic foods.

Pros:
- Less exposure to chemicals
- Higher nutrient levels (potentially)
- Environmentally friendly farming

Cons
- Exposure to e-coli
- More expensive
- Difficulty with regulation - what is the definition of 'organic'

So what's the verdict?

We'd like to include as many organic foods as we can in our diet, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables. The Environmental Working Group publishes a 'Shoppers Guide to Pesticides' and in it lists the foods with the highest (and lowest) levels of pesticides.

As an example, here are the 12 worst and 15 best fruits and vegetables in the grocery stores.

Highest levels (buy organic if you can)
Celery
Peaches
Strawberries
Apples
Blueberries
Nectarines
Bell Peppers
Spinach
Kale
Cherries
Potatoes
Grapes (Imported)

Lowest pesticide levels (less important to buy organic)
Onions
Avocado
Sweet Corn
Pineapple
Mangos
Sweet Peas
Asparagus
Kiwi
Cabbage
Eggplant
Cantaloupe
Watermelon
Grapefruit
Sweet Potato
Honeydew Melon

Typically, items that have a husk or peel that you remove before eating it are lower in pesticides, and those with soft exposed flesh are highest. Just keeping that in mind makes it easier to make good choices in the grocery store.

Does that mean I always buy the foods in the first list organic? No. Sometimes the price is just way to high, particularly when the item is out of season. And other times the food is just too unappealing (a lot of blemishes or exceedingly small in size) for the price. Like I said before though, we are going to try and purchase what we can in organic, and not worry about the rest. We seem to have turned out OK! :)

Let me know what you think about the organic food debate, or better yet, all about your lovely gardens. Living in a condo sucks sometimes!

Pregnancy update:

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