The coming summer months in the US bring a lot of Desi visitors – both at home and business.
There is a definite concern to stay healthy through their stay and make the most of their travel. So all this month, I’ll stick with this theme and share some essential tips to eat healthy while in the US. This could be of interest to you right away if you or your dear ones are planning to visit here soon. So feel free to forward the mail to whoever needs it.
This part is all about shopping for vegetables and fruits while in the US.
The most prominent question I get is whether to buy organic or the regular non-organic produce and the ‘why’ behind it.
If parents visit their children here in the US, first responsibility they take upon themselves is the kitchen department cooking, grocery shopping the whole nine yards! The place where I live shows a lot of business visitors as well – round the year, but spiked around this time when they tend to combine a family holiday with work. All these situations involve some produce-shopping instances. And if you have a standard mantra that’s like “buy what _looks_ good AND reasonably priced,” it’s likely going to be disappointing to you often. My relatives often grumble about veggies being tasteless here.
Well, until they went shopping with me!!
I shop for organic everything, as much as I can. This is because natural farming works towards preserving long-term soil fertility, preserving genetic diversity, and reducing all forms of pollution. Which is in complete alignment with my values, so I don’t think twice about my organic produce preference. Besides, the taste is just bursting with flavor when it’s grown with care.
But I like to remind my people that a mere organic tag does not make ALL food choices healthy! For example, potato chips made from organic potatoes and fried in organic sunflower oil!!
So, here we go – Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen are your two critical lists.
Dirty Dozen is a set of twelve produce items that are best bought organic. These were found to be the most pesticide-laden of all when they are non-organic.
Clean Fifteen are the ones that are least likely to be contaminated by pesticides.
This list is put together by EWG, which stands for Environmental Public Group. They are a non-profit organization with a mission to “empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment.”
I feel compelled to educate you, my dear Desi reader, about these things that you may not know, as a visitor. I want you to have a whale of a time here!
Dirty Dozen – Strawberries, Spinach, Nectarines, Apples, Peaches, Pears, Cherries, Grapes, Celery, Tomatoes, Sweet Bell Peppers (Capsicum), Potatoes.
Clean Fifteen – Sweet Corn, Avocados, Pineapples, Cabbage, Onion, Sweet Peas, Papaya, Asparagus, Mangoes, Eggplant(Brinjal), Honeydew melon (a variety of Kharbuj with a smooth light-green or light-yellow outer skin), Kiwi, Cantaloupe (a type of Kharbuj with a wrinkled dull yellow skin), Cauliflower and Grapefruit.
A big part of visiting a new place is getting to shop and eat for local produce and specialties. Here is a link for you to locate a Farmers Market near you and check out the offerings. What you’ll find at these markets is way superior to a big box store, given that everything here is very fresh. http://www.localfarmmarkets.org
In my next part in this series, I will address a hot-pain question “last time I came to the US and gained all the weight in the world!how do I eat smart this time?”. So be on the lookout for that as it’s all about smart shopping.
Ask away any food questions you may have about your US visit in the comments section.