Aunt Ethel was right

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I have just finished a book a nutritionist friend lent me called In defence of food. It’s a great book with some insightful advice on why foods in our diet have more health claims than ever before, but we are sicker than ever. 

The more new foods science breaks down into marketable components – for example: low cholesterol or hi fibre – the further we get from the big picture of real whole food. It’s crazy but our ancestors in caves had a much better idea of what to eat than we do. I was looking at some more info on Michael Pollen the author and liked his answer to the following, often asked, question.

Our family is on a budget and can’t afford to eat all organic. Where should we direct our money to get the most benefit? Organic produce, meats, dairy?

“Some organic products offer the consumer more value than others, so if you’re on a budget, it’s important to buy organic strategically. Here are a few quick rules of thumb:

If you have young kids, it’s worth paying the organic premium on whatever they eat or drink the most of organically. So if they drink lots of apple juice – which they shouldn’t, by the way – or milk, then spring for it there.

On produce, some items, when grown conventionally, have more pesticide residue than others, so when buying these, it pays to buy organic.

According to the Environmental Working Group, the “dirty dozen” most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables are: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, imported nectarines, imported grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce and kale/collars.

The “clean 15” are onions, sweet corn, pineapples, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, cantaloupe, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit and mushrooms.

So if you’ve only got a little money to devote to organic, buy the organic apples and skip the organic onions. But do keep in mind that it’s important to eat fruits and vegetables regardless of how they’re grown.

In meat, organic is very expensive, and doesn’t necessary ensure that the animals didn’t live on feedlot. I look for grass fed for beef instead, milk and butter, too.”

It’s little things like this that help when we start to try and make sense of the massive information overload when it comes to food products. Keep it simple with your family’s food choices, remember what your great aunt Ethel told you about which foods to eat, and you’re on the right track.

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