Musings · Recipes

Too much Valentine’s sugar, suga?

Eat a veggie.

If you started your day yesterday with a chocolate at 7am (who me?), you are probably welcoming the thought of good, unadulterated, all-natural, colorful, healthy food today. Like Elaine on Seinfeld: “I want a BIG salad”. But to go Organic or Not Organic, that’s the question at hand and one that sends people scrambling and questioning ad nauseum. Should I eat only organic? Do I have to spend insane amounts of money at Whole Foods or other “natural” food stores to keep my family healthy? What to do…what to do…fortunately AND unfortnately, there’s lots of talk about “going organic” with one’s shopping habits but there’s never really been a hard and fast starting point with this conversation. As there are no highly publicized base lines, unless you really educate yourself, which most folks don’t have the time or desire to do, you are left flapping in the wind. Or the produce aisle, as it may be.  It also puts people between a rock and hard place because, as we all know, going organic and supporting your local farmer usually also means paying a bit more for those foods. You want to do good and do good by your family but you also have to watch that money isn’t totally flying out of your wallet. I get it. I’m there, too. So, I don’t know about you but if I’m trying to change a way that I do something, I go baby-steps. I am not an all-or-nothing kind of gal, never have been, and I know it doesn’t work for me. Drastic equals gray hairs, stress and usually disappointment. Instead: moderation…little steps…and over time, the effect is cumulative and ultimately more successful. You don’t have to buy everything organic (that’s right, you don’t!), but for certain items, you are better off going organic as some crops are either doused in more pesticides or just soak it up more (ew). For others, just save your money and buy the regularly farmed types. But which is which and why is this info not splashed all over grocery stores to help us?

So…to help you all out a bit…a watchdog group called the Environmental Working Group has compiled a list of the best and the worst. Check this out before you next go shopping.

Go Organic with (in order of the most pesticide ridden):

-Apples
-Celery
-Strawberries
-Peaches
-Spinach
-Nectarines
-(imported) Grapes
-Red Sweet Peppers
-Potatoes
-Blueberries
-Lettuce
-Kale
-Milk

And here are 15 that you can go NON-Organic with and feel ok about buying (generally, but not always, if it’s got a thick peel, you can go non-organic. Good way to remember it.):
-Onions
-Corn
-Pineapples
-Avocados
-Asparagus
-Sweet Peas
-Mangoes
-Eggplant
-Cantaloupe (domestic)
-Kiwi
-Cabbage
-Watermelon
-Sweet Potatoes
-Grapefruit
-Mushrooms

This is a start. You’re probably looking at the Worst Offenders list like I am and thinking that those are all regular items that you buy and how on earth are you going to go organic with all of them without breaking the bank? Start with a few. Overall, it’s better to just be eating the fruit and vegetables and getting the nutrients and vitamins that they offer, rather than skipping them all together. Then, wash the sweet heck out of them. Rotate which you go organic with on a weekly basis. Or go organic with most and cut corners in other areas of the store (don’t buy the name brand cereal, buy the store brand… or skip red meat for a week or two). See what works for you and your cart. The main point is just to try to integrate better quality foods into your life and start with the baby steps. All doable, without a doubt.

Time for a recipe now that is easy and uses a superfood-green-veggie. Know which one it is? You might be scared of it. You might have avoided it in the past because you don’t know what to do with it. It’s worth trying, though, in this doctored-up fashion. My fabulous cousins “E” and “A” are responsible for this gem…my husband AND kids now eat this veggie this way and I seriously can’t get it down my gullet fast enough.  A miracle, I tell you, a miracle!

Kale Salad (remember the above lists and GO Organic with this one)

Rip off all the leaves from the big ol’ stems of some organic kale. Yes, raw, un-cooked kale. Bet you didn’t think you could eat it raw and have it taste good. Wash them VERY well. You can, at this point, dry them and put them in a big ziploc bag and they will store very well in the fridge for a few days. No wilting going on that way. Next, take the washed leaves and tear them into smaller bites. We don’t need to look like dinosaurs eating this salad. Dress with very good extra-virgin olive oil, salt and garlic powder (or save a step and use garlic salt. Whole Foods has a good one) to taste. You can even add a little squirt of lemon juice (real, please, no bottled. Ew.) if you like. Toss, toss, toss and grate good quality parmegiano-reggiano (you know it’s real if there is stamped writing on the rind. No writing, don’t bother buying it) over the whole salad. Toss it again super-well so that everything is coated in this goodness and chow down. Mangia! I tell you…it’s perfectly addictive. I probably eat this salad twice a week.

A BIG salad. Like Elaine.

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One thought on “Too much Valentine’s sugar, suga?

  1. Hats off to the addicting kale salad!! 🙂 Excellent AND good for us! Thank you for the info on organic veggies – I’ve never seen that list before and it is very helpful!! love reading the blog! xoxo

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