Do you remember your PLUs?

About a year ago I ran a post about PLUs.  These are the numbers listed on the little stickers of the produce we purchase.  Did you remember that PLUs (“Product {or Price} Look-Up” labels) actually mean something?… they aren’t just random numbers.

I have them in long-term memory but I was reminded about them during my recent grocery store trip when I realized (while standing in line, of course!) that I had forgotten to purchase tomatoes.  I asked my 10-year old to run back to the produce section and bring back three tomatoes.  I did, however, forget to be specific… ugh-oh.  Well, lo and behold, she returned with three lovely tomatoes and said “Don’t worry… they’re 9 Mom!”  Yes, she remembered!

So, it’s a good time for a reminder:  the important number is actually the first digit and they can tell you a whole lot about the produce you purchase.  It tells you exactly how it was grown.

Here are the digits you need to remember (with an update from my past post) :

  • 3 or 4 – indicates conventionally grown produce (grown with pesticides, herbicides & fertilizers)
  • 8 – originally I had indicated that this identifies genetically-modified (GMO) or genetically-engineered (GE) produce but more evidence is showing that this may not be so and there is no true designation for GMO.
  • 9 – indicates that the produce is ORGANIC

The next time you pick up a piece of produce: (1) look at the first digit of the PLU label, (2) remember these numbers, (3) know what you’re buying and then (4) rest assured that they’ll tell you more about the food you’re buying for (and serving to) your family.  And, even when you don’t expect it, your kids may catch on too!

MGG goes to the ER …!

emergncyNo kidding.  Mom Goes Green went to the ER.

Long story short… it started with an “Ugh-oh… what is happening to my vision?… Ugh-oh… wow, now speaking is becoming an issue” kinda-thing.  (No, I wasn’t drinking too many cocktails, it was actually some crazy migraine thing that created quite a frightening set of side effects … but ANYHOW…. I need to tell my amusing part of the story!!!…)

During the “50-question-how-did-you-get-here” portion of the evening I was asked the typical questions that delve into your lifestyle: Drinking? (socially) Smoking? (not any more) Drug abuse… prescription or recreational… ?!?!  Well, you would have thought they asked me if I was willing to eat my young(!) because my response was, well, a bit over the top!

It sounded a little bit like this?:

Drugs?  God NO! Are you kidding me?  I eat all organic food. I won’t even eat FOODS that do drugs! Disgusting.  Really.  I’m all organic, no steroids, no growth hormones and all that junk.  Do you have any idea how bad it is for you??? So drugs, for me?  Yea, no… not even in my FOOD, my man!” (His blank look was priceless.)drug tom

It’s kind of funny how my love for organics came bursting through, even in the most bizarre moment.  I guess I am, and will always be, Mom Goes Green… the funny thing is, that dialogue probably made me sounds like I WAS on drugs, didn’t it?

Oh well… I am Mom Goes Green… at home, in the market, on the go and I guess… in the ER too!

Do you get the “most” out of your fresh produce?

ProduceIt feels as if it’s been somewhere close to… oh, I don’t know… “forever”(?!) since I’ve been able to buy fresh, local produce.  I’ve paid ridiculous amounts of money for fruits and vegetables over the winter months because, in my opinion, it’s always worth it.

It will be a few months yet (for many of us) before it’s high time to enjoy our fabulous, local harvest.  But whether you’re shopping your local farmers market or buying the usual organics from your grocery store, you want to make sure you get the “most” out of everything you buy.

Sadly, the nutritional content of today’s conventionally-grown produce is believed to be dramatically decreased from 30 years ago. The vitamins, minerals and proteins are dwindling (due, in part, to the use of synthetic fertilizers that make them grow faster and inhibit the absorption of nutrients!) so this is another little testimonials for “going organic” too.

But whether your produce is conventionally-grown (afterall, the “Clean 15” is often considered) or you go 100% organic, there are a few helpful tips to get the “most” out of your produce:

  • “Fresher is better” – all produce begins to lose nutrients are soon as it’s harvested, so consume it as soon asfarmers produce possible after you buy it. The rule of thumb should be one week maximum (plus, you must consider where your produce “originated”), so plan for what you need and don’t overbuy, even if it will “keep”.
  • “Bigger isn’t better!” – choose smaller pieces of fruits and vegetables instead of the largest ones in the bunch.  Plants have limited amounts of nutrients to pass on, so if the produce is smaller the nutrients are more concentrated.
  • “Keep it together, people!” – while pre-washed, pre-cut, and pre-prepped fruits and veggies may sound appealing (and convenient!), skip them… this causes them to lose nutrients as well.  And don’t do a lot a prep, cleaning, chopping or cutting at home until you actually need to consumer them either… no need to set those nutrients loose!

My kids have always been great eaters when it comes to a variety of fruits and veggies but, whether for us or our kids, we all know every bit matters, so use these tips to make the “most” of every precious bite!

A resource for everyone who loves their organics

org consum assocTwo weeks ago I wrote an article about “Antibiotics in our Food Supply”.  I got some interesting emails as a result (after I addressed the fact that I had been accused of writing “fear based content”). Again, that’s never my intent, but anyhow… a reader also sent me a fact and a link.  This, too, is worthy of sharing.

“Today, 7 out of every 10 items on grocery stores shelves contain ingredients that have been genetically modified. In other words, scientists are using new technology to transfer the genes of one species to another, and these altered foods are in the market stream. And yet many scientists have concerns about the safety — to people, wildlife and the environment — of this process. That’s why consumers in Asia and Europe are demanding that their food be free of genetically modified ingredients.”

Take that however you’d like but I will say again and again that I hate my foods being “messed with”! (And now I will jump off my soapbox and just continue…) As for the link, it directed me to the Organic Consumers Association site.  I checked it out and it’s fantastic.organic food aisle

Whether you are want to join a campaign and take action, find green/organic products and services in your area, or just catch up on some green news, it’s a great resource… for everyone.

As the saying goes, “we are what we eat” and, although I am far from perfect, I prefer to remain “un-modified”! You?

Do you know what your PLU produce labels mean?

PLUOkay, another “confession”… until recently, I had no idea either!  I’m talking about the little stickers on the produce we purchase.  They’re actually called PLUs, (“Product {or Price} Look-Up” labels), and would you believe the numbers actually mean something?… they aren’t just random numbers.

(*Insert a look of surprise from me too!*)

The important number is actually the first digit and they can tell you a whole lot about the produce you purchase.  It tells you exactly how it was grown.

Here are the digits you need to remember:

  • 3 or 4 – indicates conventionally grown produce (grown with pesticides, herbicides & fertilizers)
  • 9 – indicates that the produce is ORGANIC

The next time you pick up a piece of produce: (1) look at the first digit of the PLU label, (2) remember these numbers, (3) know what you’re buying and then (4) rest assured that they’ll tell you everything you want to know about the food you’re buying for (and serving to) your family.

(*Yes, continue that look of surprise from me too!…*)