what comes to mind?
A. Jason Derulo’s hit song that was released in 2014
B. Poison’s hit song from 1986
C. I should really make sure the spinach in my smoothie is organic!
If you’re like me, the answer is all of the above. Although I’ll take Jason Derulo over Bret Michaels any day. (Sorry Jen!)
The musical references are pretty obvious. Here’s why I think about spinach…
Every year the Environmental Working Group, which I mentioned in my last post, releases a list called the “Dirty Dozen.” This is a list of the produce that is most likely to be contaminated with pesticide residue. For 2015, the following items made the list: apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, snap peas and potatoes. The EWG referred to hot peppers, kale and collard greens as the “Dirty Dozen Plus.” They are some of the most contaminated vegetables around.
So what should we do with this information? Whenever reasonably possible, try to buy the organic versions of those items. Apples and other tree fruit always seem to make the list. That’s because those items are sprayed repeatedly during the growing season. Softer fruits and vegetables tend to make the list, like berries and leafy greens, because they absorb more pesticides than those with thick skins.
Don’t make yourself crazy. I love sweet bell peppers, and it can be hard to find organic ones, but I still eat them. Also, if you are buying from actual farmers, rather than the grocery store, they may be using very safe practices, but don’t have official organic certification. Some local orchards use Integrated Pest Management, a growing method that dramatically reduces the use of pesticides by using safer methods whenever possible.
Also, think about what you eat the most of. I really enjoy apples, so I buy organic. Same with leafy greens. The ones I use the most are spring mix, spinach, arugula and kale. Even though spring mix and arugula are not on the Dirty Dozen list, I buy organic.
So what did I put in my smoothie with the organic spinach? I added some frozen organic blueberries, a few drops of liquid stevia, some chia seeds, and splash of water to blend. I set my Vitamix to high and blended until smooth, then turned it down lower and added a scoop of collagen.
Spinach and blueberries are both loaded with vitamins and minerals. Intensely colored vegetables and fruits are usually pretty nutrient dense. The chia seeds add beneficial fats. Having some fat with your produce helps your body to actually absorb the nutrients. And the collagen adds amino acids that are not found in most of the protein sources that we consume. These amino acids are great for our skin, nails, hair and connective tissues. The smoothie may not be pretty, but it tastes great.
The EWG also comes up with a list each year called the “Clean Fifteen,” but I’ll have to save that for another post. I’m going to drink my smoothie and listen to Jason Derulo!