Dead man eating. That’s how the public health advocacy organization known as the Environmental Working Group would probably describe me.
Is it because I eat meat and eggs? I haven’t touched either in 25 years. Perhaps I eat a lot of processed food. Only if yogurt, cottage cheese, Bocca Burgers, Lifesavers and cookies count.
So what am I consuming that’s going to kill me now? Apples.
The EWG named apples as the “dirtiest fruit and vegetable” with 92 percent of them containing traces of pesticides and fungicides even after washing. The EWG sternly warns that pesticides are known to be toxic to the nervous system, cause cancer, as well as interfere with hormones although they are quick to add they don’t know what the long term effect of consuming traces as small as they’ve found. They also add it can increase the chances of a kid developing attention deficit hyperactive disorder. It’s not good enough you take away the candy and sweets, but you’ve got to hide the apples and just serve your kids piles of tasteless tofu.
As for me, I’m doomed. In a given year I consume close to 800 apples, based on a minimum of two a day. If anything, my daily diet has been repetitive for the past four years with an excessively high amount of fresh fruits and vegetables. And people thought I was eating healthy.
I guess the old saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ has to be changed to ‘two apples a day helps with the undertaker’s pay.’
The EWG tells us if we must eat apples then organic is preferable.
Let’s talk about that for a minute.
Virtually everything I eat is fresh and has to be refrigerated except for almonds. I don’t buy organic but my weekly food bill for eating at home for one person is close to $120 a week. How can a family of four afford to eat healthy given that organics are even more costly?
That is one of the fallacies of the federal government’s push to get kids — especially from poorer families — to eat better. Processed food — because it has a shelf life and lacks spoilage issues — is significantly cheaper.
But here’s what really gets me: The EWG contends organic food is safer than food not grown organically.
It is interesting that they say that just days after 35 people were killed in Europe and another 3,250 became extremely sick from an E. coli breakout. The day before the EWG issued their stern warning it was confirmed the E. coli originated from bean sprouts raised on an organic farm in Germany.
Compare that to last summer’s salmonella scare in this country from non-organic egg factories in Iowa that are part of the dreaded “industrial agriculture” that produces most of our food.
How many people died? None, although there were 1,939 illnesses attributed to the contaminated eggs.
Go ahead. Eat organic. I dare you.
The truth is food illness is everywhere and organic is far from a panacea especially if you stop and think what “organic fertilizer” really is. That’s not to knock organics but to simply point out they’re not perfect either.
Life is about risks.
When I lost 120 pounds years ago without the help of a doctor, my family physician told me I should stop drinking diet cola from aluminum cans as it could trigger an early onset of Alzheimer’s. This came from a guy who ate red meat like it was going out of style and was able to down Jack Daniels with the best of them.
I repeatedly read warnings from “experts” about how bad high-impact aerobics are for you as they involve a lot of jumping that can injure you. I’ve been doing them for 25 years now without an injury. Outside of bicycle crashes that put me on backboards, stumbles while jogging, I’ve yet to injure myself exercising like a maniac.
I even had a personal trainer — who I dropped like a 190-pound dumbbell — tell me one time that I did too much aerobics and studies show I needed more skeletal strength than free weights were providing me to be healthy. I asked him to take my resting pulse rate then to take his. Mine was at 48. His was at 65. Unconvinced, he told me that studies showed I’d be healthier if I did his workout.
The bottom line is we are much healthier today because we can afford food year round thanks to “the industrial agriculture complex.”
The real questions come in personal decisions and understanding your body is — to borrow a philosophy from the Mormons — a temple so treat it accordingly.
And, yes, things in life can kill you. That’s the risk we take for living.
If eating two apples a day tainted slightly with pesticide or fungicide instead of eating tofu is going to kill me, so be it.