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Not-So-Perfect Produce: Avoiding Food Chemicals

As if we didn't learn enough from our past experience with processed food, there's now a new ‘protective covering’ for fruits and vegetables, intended to keep food fresher for longer.


It’s called Apeel, and it’s made with monoglycerides and diglycerides - which the marketing says is safe. But you know what? I’m not so sure.


Apeel: Avoiding Food Chemicals


According to the website, this new product “keeps produce fresh for longer thanks to the help of a little extra 'peel'. Our plant-based protection slows water loss and oxidation, the primary causes of spoilage.”


This coating is now already applied to fruits and vegetables in Walmart, among other companies across the United States, Europe, and Canada. The coating can almost double the shelf life of a normal fruit or vegetable.


But here’s the kicker - you can’t wash it off! You will ingest it - and while it will save food waste and increase profits for MANY, isn’t it time we stop being the guinea pigs for huge corporations? What are the long term ramifications of what it will do to our bodies?


Just one concern thus far has been the sourcing of the food for the covering. The monoglycerides and diglycerides are sourced from other foods, and there is concern that THOSE foods are not necessarily organic.


That means the coating could come from food sources already containing chemicals.


And so? More chemicals in your food. That you can’t wash off. Because it seeps right into the produce. So how can you avoid chemicals in your food?


Top Ways to Avoid Chemicals in Your Food


While it's nearly impossible to completely eliminate all chemicals from your diet, there are manageable steps you can take to minimize exposure.


And here’s the thing - the more you can consume your food in its truly ‘natural’ form, the better it will be for your overall system.


Here are some tips to help you reduce the intake of or avoid chemicals in your food:


1. Choose organic: Opt for organic fruits, vegetables, and grains whenever possible. Organic farming practices minimize the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, reducing your exposure to chemical residues. Even better, buy from a local CSA, where you can be involved in the process. Know your farmer!


2. Read food labels: Pay attention to food labels and ingredient lists. Avoid foods that contain artificial additives, preservatives, and flavor enhancers such as high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and food dyes.


3. Eat whole foods: Focus on whole, unprocessed foods. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins are generally lower in chemicals compared to heavily processed foods.


4. Wash and peel produce: Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables under running water to remove any surface residues. Peeling certain fruits and vegetables can reduce chemical exposure, although valuable nutrients can be lost in the process. And the chemicals can seep into the fruit. Check out the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen by EWG to know which produce has the least traces of pesticides.


5. Be cautious with seafood: Choose wild-caught seafood over farmed options, as farmed seafood can contain antibiotics and other chemicals. Also, be aware of fish advisories for certain species that may contain high levels of mercury or other contaminants.


6. Use natural cleaning products: When cleaning your kitchen, use natural and non-toxic cleaning products to avoid chemical residues on surfaces where you prepare food. I use white vinegar to clean everything! If you can’t put it in your mouth, why use it in your kitchen or home?


7. Cook from scratch: Preparing meals at home allows you to have control over the ingredients. Use fresh, whole ingredients and avoid pre-packaged and processed foods as much as possible.


8. Be mindful of food packaging: Chemicals can leach from packaging into the food. Try to choose foods that are stored in glass, ceramic, or stainless steel containers, rather than plastic.


9. Avoid artificial sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose are commonly found in diet sodas and processed foods. Opt for natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or stevia if needed.


10. Stay informed: Stay updated on food safety and regulatory information. Be aware of any recalls, alerts, or recommendations related to food contamination or chemical exposure. Or better yet, work with me to learn more about how you can make simple shifts in your everyday life!


Remember, it's all about making informed choices and finding a balance that works for you.


While it's difficult to eliminate all chemicals from your diet, following these tips can help you minimize your exposure, avoid chemicals in your food altogether, and promote a healthier lifestyle.


This is a process, and you won’t see results overnight. But the idea is that when you do see results - and you will - they are long-lasting or permanent.


A functional medicine health coach like me is here to help you figure out where a problem is coming from and then also determine the best course of action.


Let’s dive deeper into any symptoms you’ve been having, and discuss your health goals in a Discovery Session. There’s no better time to go from normal to optimal. Together. It’s an empowering journey.


I look forward to working with you!

In good health,

Holli


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