Wednesday, April 8, 2015

#WCW What's Cookin' Wednesday; Eating clean from the farmers' market!

This week's #WCW What's Cookin' Wednesday features our OWN Wellness coach Delia Rice and some great tips for eating fresh... and healthy... as our farmers' market season gets in full swing! 

Inspired by the fact that my favorite local Farmers Market has opened for the season…I wanted to share with you something that’s important to me: The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15. Yes, the first one IS a great movie, but for now, I am talking about fruits and vegetables! You can copy this list and carry it in your purse or wallet so you can have it handy when you are at the market.

Dirty Dozen                                                                        Clean 15                                                                                              
                Apples                                                                                  Asparagus
                Bell Peppers                                                                       Avocados
                Celery                                                                                   Cabbage
                Collard greens, Kale, Spinach                                      Cantaloupe
                Cucumbers                                                                         Cauliflower
                Grapes                                                                                 Eggplant
                Hot peppers                                                                       Frozen Peas
                Nectarines, Peaches                                                       Grapefruit
                Potatoes                                                                              Kiwi
                Summer squash, Zucchini                                             Mangoes
                Strawberries                                                                      Onion
                Tomatoes                                                                            Papayas
                                                                                                                Sweet Corn
                                                                                                                Sweet Potatoes

Now, without making my dad call me a “tree hugger” like when I was in 8th grade and wanted to join the World Wildlife Fund or when I forced him to watch the documentary called An Inconvenient Truth…I just want to make folks aware of Pesticides. They are used in almost all of our farming practices today. Residues remain on our fruits and vegetables EVEN after you wash them. Certain fruits and veggies have been tested to show higher levels remain, thus they have been grouped into the Dirty Dozen list. The list is compiled from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, below is some eye-opening information from their website.
“Pesticides are toxic by design. They are created expressly to kill living organisms -- insects, plants and fungi that are considered “pests.” Many pesticides pose health dangers to people. These risks have been confirmed by independent research scientists and physicians across the world.
As acknowledged by U.S. and international government agencies, different pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems, including:
o   brain and nervous system toxicity
o   cancer
o   hormone disruption
o   skin, eye and lung irritation

“Yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national biomonitoring program has detected pesticides in blood and urine samples from 96 percent of more than 5,000 Americans age 6 and older (CDC 2009b).
The agency reported finding 21 chemical biomarkers corresponding to 28 pesticides that can contaminate fresh fruits and vegetables, according to an EWG analysis of CDC and EPA data. More than 60 percent of Americans tested positive for seven or more of these pesticides and pesticide metabolites.”

It is highly recommended that you buy the items from the Dirty Dozen in Organic form only. “Organic” is a designation used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Program to certify food that was produced without synthetic chemicals or fertilizers, genetic engineering, radiation or sewage sludge.” Obviously every person and every family has to decide how and what they spend their hard earned money on…and yes, sometimes organic produce is a bit more expensive, but I encourage you to do some more research and make your own informed decisions. Try to reduce your exposure to pesticides as much as possible.  Spring and summer is the best time to support your local farmers too! Here is a link to a website that helps you find local farmers markets. is a delicious warmer weather recipe—quick and easy to whip up and great by itself or as a side to any main dish!

2-3 ripe tomatoes of your choice, cut into ¼ inch thick slices
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey(local is better!)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried tarragon(one of my favorite, under-used spices!)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut your tomatoes and place on a serving platter.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, honey, mustard and tarragon. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then spoon the vinaigrette over the tomatoes just before serving. You can garnish with fresh basil leaves if you want! DELICIOUS!

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