When is a tomato not all a tomato could be?

When is a stalk of celery not what we take for granted?

Answer: When those vegetables are over-produced in depleted soil, heavily sprayed with pesticides, and shipped such long distances that their taste and nutrient-value are greatly diminished.

So what’s a health-minded person to do?

Many answers to that question exist and one of them is to ask a lot of questions about the food you eat. Another is to become a “locavore,” a person who shops solely for foods grown and raised locally with a minimum of chemicals and under humane conditions.

Our country is undergoing a health crisis that we are even exporting to countries that revere “all things American.” Just a few decades ago we would never have guessed or anticipated that with ever-increasing rates of diabetes, obesity and lack of activity that our younger generation may not out-live their parents or perhaps even their grandparents.

If we do nothing to learn how to turn this trend around at least for ourselves and our families we will likely become a contributing statistic.

But there is help on the horizon and one form of that help comes to us through our local farmers’ markets — offering foods that come to us within a day or two of harvest, are not over-produced, and hopefully, not heavily laden with pesticides.

Too expensive you might say? The difference in cost between conventionally-grown vegetables, shipped long distances, and heavily sprayed and those grown locally and perhaps certified “organic” seems apparent at the front end.

But the truth is that you can choose to pay “up front” or you will pay later in the form of painful and debilitating illnesses now known to be the result of lifestyle choices with their inherent considerable cost in doctor’s bills and modern-day cost of medication.

It’s a shame it’s come to this but that innocent-looking conventionally-grown celery is so heavily sprayed with pesticides that it even makes a list called “The Dirty Dozen.” That suggests that if you can’t afford to buy “organic” celery it might be best to forgo eating celery altogether.

Here’s a link to 2019’s Dirty Dozen (those fruits and vegetables so heavily sprayed with pesticides that if you can’t afford to buy them “organic” it may be best to avoid them) and the Clean Fifteen (those fruits and vegetables so lightly sprayed with pesticides [if at all] that health-wise, you can afford to buy them conventionally-grown). › 2019-dirty-dozen-clean-15

With around 1,300 chemicals allowed in our food as opposed to only around 13 allowed in Europe and with evidence all around that as a nation we are becoming less and less healthy, it behooves us to personally learn all we can about the food we eat and how to make better choices. In the long run this can save us even more than a lot of money.

Toward that end, among many “healthy practices” I recommend a small book available to read free as a PDF online called FOOD RULES by Michael Pollan — it will point you toward healthier eating while pointing you away from the center aisles of the supermarket with all those “edible food-like substances” that are chemically-laden with very little nutrient-value.

I also highly recommend that you visit and support your local farmers’ markets that run throughout the Fall in many areas of Northern Colorado — here are a few links for just some of what’s happening in your area:

To your health!


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Blaine Howerton

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