The FULL story of pesticides and produce.

The other day I wrote a post about pesticides and using sea salt and water to wash fruits and vegetables before we consume them to remove those dangerous pesticides.

pesticidesWell, a close, personal friend, Will, was bold enough to call a foul.  He is very passionate about the topic and went so far as to call the post “lame”… (ouch!).

I’ll first say that the post was written in response to a few readers’ prior comments that they didn’t feel the added expense of organics was in their budget and had limited access to affordable and available organics because of where they lived geographically.  While I wasn’t attempting to mislead anyone or act irresponsibly, and this sea salt and water wash can remove the pesticides from the surface of produce, this is (admittedly) only part of the story.

The reality is that you absolutely cannot prevent consuming pesticides unless you are willing to invest in organics… period.

The fact of the matter is also that pesticides aren’t sprayed on the produce just prior to harvesting; they are applied constantly, being spraying and absorbed all throughout the growing process.  No amount of soaking and scrubbing can eliminate that.  This “solution” isn’t the solution!organic sl

And while we continue to buy conventionally-grown produce, we are actually (financially) supporting this farming practice, therefore lessening the demand for organics, slowing widespread distribution AND keeping their cost high.  All the while these pesticides are harmful to us as consumers, extremely dangerous to farm workers and contaminate our ground and surface water, as well as wildlife and the environment… a cycle that goes on and on unless practices change… dramatically. Pesticides (and herbicides) are simply bad news all around.

So, I’ve said all along that this “greening my life” would be a journey, mistakes included.  But now you know the FULL story… supporting organic farming is the only true option for an abundance of reasons.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program… hopefully with any further lame posts excluded! 🙂

Remove pesticides from produce… the cheap, easy way!

fruits_and_vegetablesI’ve talked a lot about the pesticides and chemicals sprayed on conventionally-grown, non-organic produce.   It always seemed crazy to me that our most healthy foods often come with a load of non-healthy “additives”.   And it’s especially alarming where our children are concerned.

You can stick with the “Clean 15” list and buy non-organic, but if you’re on a budget and run across that “Dirty Dozen”, what do you do?  Well, some solutions can be especially expensive to make.  And Fit can also get quite costly.

At a Health and Nutrition session I recently attended (where I learned about all of the grossness of fast food!) I also learned about a quick, easy and cheap way to clean our produce and remove those harmful pesticides… a recipe I had never heard before.

All you need is fine-grain sea salt and water!sea slt

  • First, wash the fruit or vegetable with water.
  • Prepare the solution in a large bowl by mixing one teaspoon of sea salt to each cup of water and stir it to dissolve the salt.
  • Soak your produce for all of TWO minutes.  (For sturdier produce, you can give it an extra scrub with a vegetable brush if it makes you feel better!)
  • Rinse the produce under fresh water, pat to dry or dry on a clean towel and voila!… clean produce!

It’s best to do this right before you plan to use or eat the fruits or vegetables, to help maintain freshness and because it’s quick and easy, it won’t add a bunch of extra time.

There you have it.  Now walk away and be sure to add sea salt to your grocery list!  Healthy produce, HAPPY MOM!!!

(The issue doesn’t end here… please read the FULL story.)

Black, orange and GREEN your Halloween!

green pumpkinThis post is long overdue since the ghosts and goblins of Halloween are beginning to gather for a spook-tacular night!  This is often a season where we can simultaneously go fabulously green AND bust the radar on breaking the rules!

If you still have plans in the works here are a few things to remember when you want to lean toward the greener end of the dial!

  • Decorations – nature provides the greatest resources!  Pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks, leaves, Indian corn… all gifts of nature can be used for fabulous decorations and composted afterward.  Because we have a ravine behind our house, all of them go down the hill to be recycled by Mother Nature (and devoured by the animals that haven’t already abused them for a special “treat”!)
  • Costumes – your own closets and drawers can be an amazing costume store.  Get creative and go to town!  Consignment stores and thrift shops are also great resources and a far better choice over purchasing new.  And reconsider face paint unless it’s homemade and non-toxic – the FDA does not regulate them, so you or your children could face some nasty chemical exposure and a reaction that’s even worse!jack-o-lantern
  • Treats & candy – buy organic candy or simply be aware of those that are over-packaged to avoid a lot of excess trash.  Or forgo the candy all together and instead give pencils made of recycled materials, paper pads or stickers.  All are better than coated papers that wrap tons of candies.  And avoid a bunch of plastic trinkets that will eventually meet the trash.
  • Treat bags & “loot collectors”! – instead of buying cellophane bags, buy themed or Halloween-colored paper bags.  Instead of buying a big plastic pumpkin for trick-or-treating, buy a reusable bag.  You can find them anywhere and everywhere!
  • Parties – there are lots of ways to be greener but start by using fabric table cloths instead of disposable plastic.  Reusable dinnerware is best, or even uncoated plates and cups that could be composted… but at the very least, avoid a bunch of disposable plastic.
  • Crafts & games – try making crafts using recycled materials.  Cans and jars can be turned into great Halloween candy holders!  And try a game of “Rotten Pumpkin” (instead of “Hot Potato”) with a small pumpkin or “Pin the Nose on the Jack-o-Lantern” (use a homemade paper jack-o-lantern and paper noses – all materials can be recycled afterward!)
  • Make good use of the excess – if your children collect an overabundance of candy (that you don’t want them to have), consider taking it to a homeless shelter instead of throwing the majority of it away.

This list is frightfully late but there is always time to keep it “EEK-O”-friendly! (Okay, I can be “boo’ed”   for that one!  Wait… I just did it again, didn’t I?… never mind… just keep it green for Halloween, and ENJOY!)

De-chlorinate tap water in one simple (free) step.

wtr pitcherI’ve always been, and will always be, an advocate of drinking tap water over bottled water.

Some readers agree, others have said “never without a filter first”, but one of the most common comments is the concern over the chlorination of tap water.   A good filter can remove the chlorine but did you know you can remove the chlorine in one simple step, even without a filter?

This is all it takes…

Fill a pitcher with water, leave it (uncovered) overnight on your countertop and by morning, your water will be chlorine-free… the chlorine will actually evaporate out of the water overnight!

Drink it throughout the day, store it in your refrigerator, cook with it….what you do with it after that is all up to you.

That’s it for today… short, sweet and (chlorine-)free!

Is there a danger lurking in our recycled toilet paper?

No one likes to retract a recommendation or end up eating their words, but I knew this would be part of my “green journey”… and it seems another retraction has to be made.  (Ugh!)

Last time it was Sigg bottles when it was discovered that their epoxy liner actually contained BPA prior to August 2008.  This time the culprit is recycled toilet paper.  (I know my husband is going to LOVE this one, because he revolted over my switch to a not-so-cushy recycled brand!)

tp recycledI happened to stumble upon Jennifer’s post at Eco Child’s Play (who happened to stumble upon an original post at Z Recommends!) about the ugly fact that recycled toilet paper appears to contain BPA.  While BPA is not added to the toilet paper it is often present due to the recycling of thermal printing paper (a common component OF the recycled toilet paper).

It seems this is the reason BPA is often turning up in wastewater and tap water.  While I’m always an advocate of keeping our water sources safe, I can’t help but wonder what happens when we continually “use” this recycled toilet paper on our… well, “nether regions”.  There has to be a degree of absorption into our bodies that, quite frankly, makes me a little uncomfortable.

So now, I’m back to the drawing board.  What options are there?  Aside from installing a bidet (… by the way, I have a fabulous bidet story if you ever meet me!) or other ideas I’ve read (that include using fabric swatches that you place in a sealed container and then wash {note:  not likely to ever happen in THIS household!}) I simply don’t know.

As much as I love to save trees, I think we’re going back to traditional toilet paper until I can find another viable option.  In this house BPA is a major no-no.

(By the way, that visible shaking you just saw through your monitor was my husband jumping for joy!)