Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Dirt on Fruits and Vegetables

Link to Grocery Store Musical
(The Sound of Music is Improv's best.)

I know I'm not the only one who is at times disgusted with fruits and vegetables. I know you're out there, feeling the same: that sometimes the stuff in the store just isn't that great.

Don't get me wrong; we're pro-fruits and veggies. How could you not be with all their cancer-fighting, age-fighting, disease-fighting, fatigue-fighting, eyesight enhancing, digestive running benefits? When we check out at the grocery store our cart is 1/3+ full of produce, and my kids live on loads of berries, apples, etc. Read my oh-so-informative post about leafy greens and oranges.

But, first of all, fruits and veggies rot. That's a good thing! The most nutritious foods feed not only us, but microorganisms as well, and are also susceptible to oxidation. It therefore rots faster. Contrarily, Spurlock in Supersize Me took McDs french fries, left them on the counter as an experiment, and on day 90 they were identical to when they were bought on day 1.

Producers try to get around rotten fruit by genetically modifying and breeding so it doesn't rot, and by picking produce when it is green instead of ripening on the vine. Many health benefits may be lost.

What I really want to talk about, though, is taste. Fruit and veggies are sold for their looks. I think taste probably correlates with nutrition, and all this selling for looks and breeding to avoid rot does not make better tasting or nutritious food necessarily.

Its oranges, strawberries, and tomatoes I'm most wary of. Tomatoes can be tasteless, strawberries may look fine but taste rotten, and oranges can have insides hard as apples and/or be tasteless. Consumers apparently shop for size, too, and thus fruits are bred to be bigger, resulting in huge tasteless oranges and strawberries. Anyone who has homegrown their carrots knows they are SO tasty homegrown, nothing like what you get in the store. Home gardening can greatly improve our nutrition.

It is a modern miracle that we can get fruit from the southern hemisphere (Chile) and there's no seasons in our supermarket, aside from a few price changes. We get virtually any fruit or veggie we want year round! So, when the garden runs out, there's the store.

Dental Health: Don't eat rocks

I may as well add more dirt about carrots and say that they can be tasteless if not bitter. Additionally, I've bought lots of baby carrots with a white milky substance in the bag. Home for bacteria? Start of rot?

So, this is a random story, but a few months ago my mom was saying that regular carrots taste lots better than baby carrots, and they're cheaper too. We'd been eating baby carrots for a while and I decided I'd try it. She seemed convinced.

Other people may object, but I see nothing wrong with eating a well-washed unpeeled carrot. A few weeks into our new carrot trial: Crunch! What was that? I kept getting these big crunchies of sand-size rocks in my mouth. I couldn't see them, not even in the peeling, but I could hear them when I chewed. After dinner, I felt like the top of my back tooth had something on it. I rubbed my tongue on it, and the bump was still there. I took a toothpick to it, and pushed, and it came out. I had a hole in my filling!

So, I got this hole in my back molar, and my filling just kept breaking and breaking (especially with more carrots) and it was real scary. I'd never had anything like this. Apparently once a filling is broken, the underneath breaks very easily. My dentist fixed it three days later, for $195, and so it turned out those were expensive "cheap" carrots!

So, now I make sure to peel all my carrots, and not just thinly, but deeply, as I got crunchies even from peeled carrots. They say our ancestors ate lots of rocks and their skeletons show it. What can you expect, when your food comes from dirt? True, I don't think my carrot producer's field should have rocks in it, but...

Fresh spinach is another thing that grossed out my office mate when I had lunch. You can get it bagged, which is expensive, and its already washed and stemmed, or you can buy it in bunches, which is cheaper, but with what she says are "clods of dirt on it." True. It is sometimes very hard to get it completely clean of dirt, and you can taste crunchies in spinach.

So, just eat chicken nuggets and processed food, and for sure no one will eat rocks that aren't ground to powder. Or, stick to a strictly meat diet. (J/K!) Where do we think our food comes from? Outer space? No, dirt!

Lastly, in college I loved raisin bran, and I'd eat it often. Its recommended not to eat raisins often, probably just in one big binge, and then brush thoroughly right afterward because the sugar sticks to your teeth. My gum line receded quite a bit, and I think it was from all those raisins.

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