Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Produce & Pesticides

Well, I haven't posted for a few days... it's been super hectic! Just finished an article for The Independent, a Newfoundland newspaper. They featured a story on my cookbooks when I was in St. John's and am now writing occasional cooking pieces for them. One for their issue this past Sunday (10th), and a second article for next week's paper (17th). So... if there are any Newfies lurking about, you can check out a couple of my cooking articles in The Independent... and I'll possibly do one around Christmas and for our Canadian Thanksgiving.

Ok. I just have to post another produce picture from my Farmers' Market trip on Sunday. I know, some of you may not be too interested in seeing all of my amazing, locally grown, organic produce. Sorry if it does not intrigue you, but I am showcasing it for two reasons. First, as usual, I'm giddy about these goodies! Check it out...

Corn, beets, zukes, yellow squash, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, honeydew melon, bell peppers, garlic, hot peppers, gala apples, asian pears, peaches, plums, spinach, red pears, cukes, and basil:

Second, I have a statistic about produce that will interest you. On Saturday, my husband visited our Naturopath/TCM doctor/Acupuncturist. Pause: If you didn't think I was kooky/crunchy before, you probably do now! :)

Anyhow, he read this statistic posted on the bulletin board:

"55% of the pesticides we consume come from meat and 23% comes from dairy." "Only 4-5% come from produce, and 1% from grains."

That's right, 78% from meat and dairy and a (whopping) 5% from produce! I'm uncertain how the remaining 17% is accounted for, and the breakdown. I am assuming it is for nuts, legumes, and possibly eggs if they weren't included in the 'meat' stat.

How many times have you heard that question - if you are worried about "all the pesticides on the produce"? Huh??? That has NEVER been a concern for me, because I learned years back that the pesticides on the grains, feed, and produce fed to animals (not to mention that *other* stuff that is horribly fed to factory farmed animals) gets concentrated in the muscles and also goes into their milk... ergo people that eat meat/dairy get the mother lode of pesticides!

I don't have the source of this statistic right now, but I will post it later if I can get it. Regardless, it's a great one to use next time someone throws the pesticide question your way!

As vegans, obviously we consume more produce than those eating the 'standard' diet that this statistic was likely based on. We can eat organic where possible, especially when in season and not too expensive. Like with all of this produce... seen here washed and assuming their position drying in my dish rack... :)


Megan the Vegan said...

bioaccumulation is a bummer!

Sweet Pea said...

I have read/heard that stat in many places and often use it. I know I should buy organic whenever possible but I don't get my panties in a knot (so to speak) if it can't be found since I know that the amount is minimal compared to other sources (sources that I don't typically or won't eat). This summer I wondered if it was best to buy locally grown produce (not organic) or organic produce that I know traveled from the US. I often chose the locally grown because it was fresher and was less expensive.
Way to go on the newspaper articles.

Harmonia said...

Hi! I left a message for you on your previous post. Oops! Anyhow...thanks for these stats. Eventho I knew that meat and dairy had a lot I thought that produce had more than that...that is good news that they are less than I thought. Well I have been thinking about it all day...I think my Pantry Challenge is coming to an end...might have to go hard core and the store VERY SOON! Maybe over the weekend and I can take a trip to Nature's Market (anout 50 minutes away)

Hope all is well.

Melissa West said...

That is so interesting. Makes me feel less worried about not eating organic produce. I don't eat organic produce for two reasons 1) it is so freakin expensive and 2) it always looks half rotten at our grocery store.

Actually, I do eat organic produce all summer long - straight from my garden! LOL!

That fresh produce looks fantastic - I am always envious when you blog about your local organic farmers market

Anonymous said...

I look forward to seeing your new article!

must go see if i can get the independent online. i don't think i can get a paper copy out here.


*a* said...

Thanks for that interesting info, Dreena. Makes me feel a little better about not being able to find organic as often as I'd like (and do keep posting pics of all your great produce finds! They make me envious, but the pics look so nice and colorful and yummy that I don't mind!).
BTW, I ended up not making the mushroom phyllo thingy. Instead I made your apple phyllo strudel (since apples are becoming so plentiful) and it was amazing! Will definitely make this again!
Ice cream sandwiches were a big hit this weekend (made your choc chip cookies!).

EatPeacePlease said...

Dreena, pesticides are everywhere. We even wear them (well, ok, I try to buy organic cotton, even underwear). I would say my kitchen is in the high 90-percentile range of all-organic. I think besides the animals being injected with hormones, antibiotics and other crap, (the ones being raised for food), these animals are being fed on so much pesticde-laden grain (and other stuff that's worse) that we grow here mainly for them to eat, not us humans.

I just saw the film The Future of Food and it is all about pesticides and crappy corporations like Monsanto and politics. There are many good stats there (outdated by 2 years). I'd like to know the source of that poster because there are certainly plenty of details to that stat.

I like this post and it is colorful, tasty, and you are so lucky to have such good stuff growing locally.

EatPeacePlease said...

That poster must have just been comparing on a 100% scale for all foods, including animal products.

Among all vegan foods, the majority is pesticide-full. So is the veg food that is fed to animals that are turned into food. I think if it was a "vegan-food statistic", the percentage would be so much higher.

raising_kahne said...

I for one love to see other people gatherings from Farmer's markets! I envy them so much! It all looks so pretty and colorful, and not to mention yummy!

That was an interesting talk about pesticides. I had actually never heard the percentages before.

Carrie™ said...

Now that's the money shot! Everything looks so freakin' good and bright and fresh and tasty! I don't think you're kooky in the least. I'm making an appt. with the Naturopath next week, so there. Interesting information. Very interesting. I'm going to keep that in my head for future reference. Why do people critize our diets?

Anonymous said...

I had never heard those statistics before. It sure makes me feel a little better for those times when I do have to buy non-organic produce & grains. I'm with Leslie about the movie the Future of Food. VERY INTERESTING - MUST SEE.

I love your idea about washing the produce all at once and then drying it in the dish drainer. I've been doing this ever since you originally posted about it. I also get most of my produce ready. For example, if I bought carrots or celery, I cut off the tops at the same time I wash them. Its another great time saver because I then put all of the cut off portions into a baggie in the freezer to be used at a later time to make broth. Usually I would have put the cut off portions into the baggie as I used them, a carrot here, an onion there.

Great idea girl!

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Dreena I still use your dish drain trick! We now have a dishwaher (oy) and my boyfriend went to put away the dish drain and I insisted, at least for the sake of our veggies, that we keep it out. [He loooooves the dishwasher].

Anonymous said...

I would say due to the fact that omnivores typically consume meat and/or dairy with every meal and seldom eat fruits and vegetables, that number might be skewed for those of us that eat 10 or more servings per day. Cherie

Dreena said...

Hi guys! Thanks for all your comments. I first want to mention that I have no doubt that this stat was based on the typical diet of meat, dairy, eggs, with a few veg/fruit thrown into the mix! I will try to find the source for you to get more details.

Some of you are wondering about what the rate would be on a vegan diet. Obviously, the percentage of pesticides we eat would be greater for the mere fact that veg/fruit comprises a large part of our diet.

I eat as much organic as I can, but like many of you, there are certain things that I cannot find organic or are too expensive - such as fennel, ginger, and fresh pineapple. I avoid the "dirty dozen" (see this post: http://vivelevegan.blogspot.com/2006/04/why-i-love-organic.html), and so if organic grapes aren't in season, for example, I buy something else.

I encourage people to eat organic where possible, it is good for our health and our environment. But, even if some of the foods we eat aren't organic, we are still better off than if eating an omni diet, since all the toxins have concentrated in high levels in the animal flesh and milk. Also, there is obviously less animal suffering eating vegan!!

I hope this clarifies any confusion about the statistic (and again, I will try to get the source and more info). I also hope that it encourages many of you to eat organic where you can, but also not to beat yourself up about it if it's not available or of poor quality from shipment, or just too darn $$.

I didn't become vegan one day and start eating all organic as well. As I mention in my books, and as I've said on my blog, my transition to veganism was gradual and a learning experience along the way. It still is. Eating organic as much as possible has taken the same road. I didn't start eating everything organic one day. 'Baby steps', I like to call it. Now I eat a lot of organic, because I taste the difference in the food, and don't want a myriad of pesticides in my body or that of my family. I also value the work of the farmers that grow organic, and what they are doing for our food and environment. The more we support it, the more affordable it becomes. However, I too, must buy some 'conventional' things when needed, and I don't give myself grief about it. Or, as sweet pea put it "I don't get my panties in a knot". I love that, sweet pea!! Though I will have to say "knickers", because I'm a huge Coronation Street fan. But that's a topic for another day...

Thanks guys for your interest and support and I hope any of you out there making small changes towards veganism continue to do so and know that as you learn more, you can do more, so one step at a time.

Emmy said...

The produce looks fantastic! That's terrfic it's all locally grown and organic. I'm envious :) I always enjoy seeing what other people buy at the farm market or get in their CSA shares. That's a very interesting statistic about pesticides. Also, I made your Spicy Thai Stew and Orange Almond Scones this week. Both were delicious.

Jamie said...

I just read about this in "Skinny Bitch" by Rory Freedman. It was pretty new info to me, so I'm glad people are talking about it!

Dreena said...

Now to get back to some of you on your comments...

Harmonia, I got your other comment - no problem! You seem to have a pretty well-stocked pantry from all of the cooking you do - but then, there's always *something* we run out of, right?

Melissa, it is so cool that you are growing some of your own produce. I have herbs growing and that's about it! I need to learn about gardening!! :)

Thanks Dayle, you *may* be able to get it in your area. Apparently the paper is province-wide now... but, yeah, you can probably check it out soon on the internet.

Yaaaay, Aimee, I'm thrilled you tried out the apple phyllo strudel and liked it! Perfect time to make it now in the coming months too with apple season upon us. Gotcha with the ice-cream sandwiches, too hey?! :)

Leslie, thanks for the mention of the movie - I rarely get to watch movies, but I'll keep it in mind for dvd!

Great, Carrie... we can be 'kooks' together!! ha! I guess it's easier to criticize than to change...?

Vivacious & Get Sconed, I am stoked that you are also using the drying rack tip and finding it cutting down on prep time and such. Very cool, thanks! :)

Hi Emmy, I checked out your blog and the pics of those recipes look great too (your stew pic was much better than the one done for my cookbook)! I haven't made the Spicy Thai Stew in a while now - but I DO love it... sometimes I throw in some beans or marinated tofu - good either way to me.

Hi Jamie, I've read/heard about that title, but haven't read it myself. Was it good/informative overall?

maybepigscanfly said...

Some people may have drooled over your last post, but it was this post that left me drooling. I'm jealous of the amazing variety of organic and locally grown produce that you have. I just wish I could afford more organics on this student budget of mine. I'm liking those asian pears the most- I've only had bartlett pears.

As for that statistic- the meat and dairy didn't suprise me, however I thought that produce would have more pesticides. Too bad more people aren't aware of this- it might make them consider to kick the meat. Thanks for the great info.

Harmonia said...

Hi! I posted 3 recipes today! Let me know what you think. Looking forward to your next post!

Oh! I also am sprouting Mung Beans! I took pics but haven't posted them yet...I think they have a few more days to sprout! :)

Nikki said...

The pesticide thing became apparent to me when I went off to school in Vermont. I was a serious milk drinker then and thought that the milk there would be great since it was so...plentiful, local, abundant... The milk was wretched! All I could taste were chemicals, it was like someone added nail polish remover to it or something! It didn't matter which brand it was, it all tasted bad.

If that's not a psa for shunning dairy, I don't know what is!

Maryjamie said...


I'm not sure why my comment posted as just "Jamie," but anyway, I wanted to answer your question about Skinny Bitch. I was "screening" it for my mom b/c she wanted to read it as a "diet" book. It was published as a diet book with cleverly hidden veganizing messages inside of it. I heard Rory speak at the recent Taking Action for Animals conference in DC, and she said it may not be for long-time vegans (they may not find much new info)... but I think it's a great book for omnivores, vegetarians, and new vegans.