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!

MORE unregulated terms you should know about!

pest freeSo, I’m at it again… looking at labels and learning… a lot!

I’ve talked about the non-toxic labeling, fragrance-free vs. unscented, PLU produce labels and certified-organic vs. organic ingredients.

Now I have two more that you do need to know about:  “Pesticide-Free” and “Chlorine-Free”.

Maybe you’ll be surprised and maybe you won’t, but the reality is… NEITHER of these labels or terms mean a thing either.  They are undefined and, once again, completely unregulated.chlor free2

Like some of the other terms I mentioned, any manufacturer can place these words on their label to give you peace of mind about what you’re purchasing.  And ONCE AGAIN they can do it, just because the terms aren’t regulated.  That doesn’t mean that ALL products that use these terms aren’t legitimate, but the problems is it’s sometimes difficult to really know.

I can add a good note though… it just so happens that the term “Dolphin Safe” IS strictly defined, so when you see this terdolph safem, you can rest assured about your purchase!  As a life-long dolphin lover, I’m happy that this actually means something positive.

We have quite a list going, don’t we??? Maybe it’s time to break out a notepad, just to keep it straight since, sadly, we can’t always believe what the labels are attempting to tell us.

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!…*)

Keep the sweet smell of Valentine’s Day chemical free!

flowr valValentine’s Day… the holiday of LOVE! There might be someone you would love to shower with romance and affection, but while you put together the lovey-est of treats, you want to be sure to make the best choices.

I’ve written about all of the ways to keep it eco-friendly – from chocolates and candles, to wining and dining (and you can read that entire post here).

But Valentine’s Day is a hugely popular holiday for flowers.  The problem?  About 70% of flowers sold in the U.S. are imported and grown using highly toxic chemicals, including pesticides, fertilizers and fungicides. It doesn’t sound so pleasant to take a big “whiff” now, does it?!  This is a danger to us as consumers, workers cultivating the flower crops and florists working with them daily.  It also pollutes the land and groundwater and creates an unhealthy environmental effect.

This Valentine’ Day consider organic flowers! These farms instead use environmental and sustainable practices (without toxins) to insure that everyone in the chain, including the environment, isn’t put at risk.  And it also simply supports local, domestic farming. Diamond Organics, California Organic Flowers and Organic Bouquet will help put you in the right direction to locate a florist that offers organic flowers or buy online if you want “green” blooms.veriflora

You can also look for the VeriFlora label or ask your florist if they are VeriFlora certified and you will know you are buying an organic and sustainable product.

Be assured you’re NOT bringing those toxins into your home or sending them to someone you actually love (or at least like a LOT!).

The scent of organic flowers is pure (non-toxic) sweetness!

Does organic food taste better?

Last night while having a family dinner on our back patio (in the middle of a discussion of our pending “kids’-back-to-school dread”) my husband and I had the following conversation:

(Husband:) “This dinner is fantastic!”dinner
(MGG:) “Yea, it’s good!”
(Husband:) “No, really.  It’s fantastic!  Is it all organic?”
(MGG:) “Well, of course, honey.”
(Husband:) “No, seriously.  Never buy anything that isn’t organic again!”
(MGG:) “I try not to.  It is good.”
(Husband:)Honestly, organic food is amazing!”
(MGG:) “I agree!”  (*smile*)

Have you ever found yourself in one of these conversations or at least thought about the same thing yourself?  Well, I have thought about it and, obviously, we’ve discussed it as well, and I couldn’t agree with my husband more.  I DO think it tastes fantastic!

orgnic signI’ve never seen research that would either prove or disprove our belief, but I can’t help believing it is true.  Not so much with organic grains or more processed foods, but especially with fresh fruits, veggies, meats and dairy.

Somehow I can’t help but believe that when pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, steroids and growth hormones are left OFF of and OUT of our foods, they are much more “as nature intended”… unaltered, unmodified and, simply, more natural.

Maybe they aren’t more nutritious, but when they taste better and don’t have harmful additives, aren’t they just… well… better?

In the words of my husband… “Really… seriously… honestly?”… what do YOU think?