As times rapidly accelerate, we have become a generation of fast results with minimal exertion. Social medias have exploded; making communication mouse-clicks away. With this robust technology, we have created a generation of impatience, which has trickled into nearly every aspect of our lives. Instead of dicing up our veggies we have machines that spit them out perfectly minced.
We have dishwashers that take care of the mess after the storm, and microwaves to “zap” our food into warm, leftover delight. In the same lazy fashion, many of us aren’t taking the appropriate amount of time in preparing our meals. The result is bacteria-ridden food, glazed with germs and harmful pesticides; which are generally used to banish pests from crops and to extend product shelf life.
These toxic chemicals can be detrimental to your family’s health and have been linked to:
- Nervous system toxicity
- Hormone system disruption
- IQ deficits in children
With this knowledge at hand, I suggest shopping locally. Not only will you help your community’s economy, but you’ll be consuming foods that are locally sourced and fresh. Many of these farms will promise organic produce, which will be pesticide free. Regardless of where you purchase your food, it is imperative to properly cleanse all of your fruits and veggies.
It has been proven that even rinsing your produce in water alone is beneficial in removing dirt, germs, bacteria and chemicals. When compared side-by-side with a store-bought “vegetable cleaner,” the results were very similar. With this said, it seems like a complete waste of money in investing in one of these “miracle” washes.
There are some things in the produce aisle that have higher levels of pesticide residues than others. Some of the most harmful levels can be found on:
- Green beans
Instead, make your own eco friendly cleaning products with a natural wash.
You will need:
- A large spray bottle and large container
- White vinegar
- Lemon Juice
- Distilled water
Cleansing Your Produce
- In a large spray-bottle, combine 1/6 white vinegar, 1/6 lemon juice and 2/3 distilled water. Shake violently and store in the refrigerator.
- After you have purchased the produce, thoroughly wash your hands. The “happy-birthday” song in hot water with antibacterial soap works well. Make sure to extend the soap all the way up the wrists, and in the crevices of fingernails and hand-jewelry. After you have washed your hands, dry them on a clean towel.
- Go ahead and pull out the fruits and veggies. Place them in the large container and mist them thoroughly. Let them sit for approximately 30 seconds and rinse in cold water. Pat dry. If you are cleansing a leafy vegetable like lettuce, you will want to use the large container as a “bath” with the same ratios of vinegar/lemon juice/water.
You will want it to sit for 30 seconds to one minute before removing for the final cold rinse. Take note of any bruises or dark markings, as these areas tend to harbor more bacteria. If you spot a blemish, cut it off. If your cleansing a fruit or veggie with a texture, like a peach, use a small brush and lightly brush under a bath for the same duration. Don’t forget to pat dry, because the inconsistency of the texture can also harvest airborne bacteria. In addition, any area near the stem or which opens into the actual fruit or veggie should be discarded. These tend to be the most bacteria-prone areas.
Anytime that my family takes a trip to our local grocery, we go crazy filling our baskets with fresh fruits and veggies for salads, stews and quiches. What we fail to consider are the many hands that touch their surfaces, the nasty mists of pesticides and the natural bacteria that grow in the temperate conditions of the store. Cleansing your food of these harmful invaders doesn’t have to be extremely time consuming or expensive. With a pre-mixed bottle, and a flick of your wrist, you can sanitize your produce and give your family a safer and healthier meal.
Alexa Mehan, self-confessed day-time-TV junkie, works in the comfort of her apartment with her partner and dog Pekoe. She loves creepy artwork and surrealist paintings. Active traveler and hiker, Alexa loves the freedom of the outdoors. When she isn’t writing about the importance of going green, she is checking updates on sites like www.ecohomeinspired.com for ideas. Alexa finds herself creating various works of art when she isn’t freelancing.