It's been a long time since I have written about the Dirty Dozen. Extensive Food and Drug Administration data about the levels of pesticides in foods collected between 2000 and 2004 was analyzed by the nonprofit organization Environmental Working Group. Consumer's Union featured information about this group's work early last year. They looked at 43 of the most commonly eaten fruits and vegetables to see which had the most pesticides in them and which had the least. Before testing, the food was washed or peeled as it most commonly would be served. For example, apples were washed and bananas were peeled. The results give shoppers a good idea when to seek out organically grown products and which conventionally grown products may have the least pesticide residue.
What we don't know for sure is exactly what health impacts pesticide residue might have. However, I heard an Amish farmer speak at a food system conference a few years ago. He had a very simple message. He said "Most of you flew to this conference in an airplane. I bet you wouldn't want anything but the best jet fuel used in the planes you used. Why would you put anything less than the best into your children?"
The most contaminated non-organically grown fruits and vegetables are peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, imported grapes, spinach, lettuce, and potatoes. The Consistently Clean non-organically grown are onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mangos, asparagus, sweet peas, kiwis, bananas, cabbage, broccoli, and papayas. Check out www.foodnews.org for details. When possible, buy organic, at least from the Dirty Dozen list.
For this week's recipe, head to your farmers' market to pick up the vegetable ingredients, organic if possible, and prepare a treat for yourself, friends, and family.
These turned out to be more like lettuce leaf tacos, but who's worrying about the details? I think you will like these. My family did.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
- ½ cup low or nonfat mayonnaise
- 1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- ¼ red onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup toasted almond slivers (toast almonds at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes before slicing)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Bring to a boil in a sauté pan enough water to cover the chicken breasts. Add the chicken breasts and simmer, covered, for 13 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken, let it cool, and shred it. Mix in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients and season to taste. Distribute appropriate portions for the size of the lettuce leaf and fold them over.
Nutrition Information (per serving)