Tag Archives: organic

Buy Organic, Especially these “Dirty Dozen” Fruits and Vegetables

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Have you heard of the Dirty Dozen? I’m not talking about the 1967 movie starring Charles Bronson; this Dirty Dozen is a list of agriculture’s dirtiest pieces of produce. The following list of fruits and veggies ranks highest in pesticide residue. These chemicals are organophosphate insecticides, which are toxic to the nervous system. Make sure when you buy the following, you buy organic:

1. Apples

2. Celery

3. Sweet bell peppers

4. Peaches

5. Strawberries

6. Imported nectarines

7. Grapes

8. Spinach

9. Lettuce

10. Cucumbers

11. Domestic blueberries

12. Potatoes

And if you want to go a couple more down the list for good measure, eat these organic too:

+ Green beans

+ Kale/collard greens

Learn more from the Environmental Working Group.

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Bummed by raw milk shortage in Dallas? Check out real milk alternatives.

Real Milk from Texas Daily Harvest, Urban Acres, Dallas

August 2012 Update: Texas Daily Harvest has closed its creamery, much to my dismay. Lavon Farms still runs out of raw milk periodically, so get on their email list if you want availability updates. My current recommendation for low-temp pasturized milk is Mill-King, available at Patina Green and Urban Acres. See comments below the article for details.

 

I am a huge fan of real milk, preferably raw milk from grass-fed cows. The most convenient DFW source of raw milk, the Lucky Layla Farm Store at Lavon Farms in Plano, Texas, has been so popular that demand is sometimes greater than the supply.

If yours is one of the families disappointed when you’re unable to buy raw milk, I have an alternative for you: real milk from East Texas organic dairy, Texas Daily Harvest. It’s available locally at Urban Acres in Oak Cliff, at Whole Foods in Dallas and Plano, and through group and private delivery. They also have some good outlets around Austin, so Austinites check their website for locations. What makes Texas Daily Harvest milk “real milk?” It’s low-heat pasteurized and not homogenized, so it has the cream on top (shake it to mix before you pour).  Low-pasteurized means it’s heated to the minimum temperature required by law, so it still contains some good natural bacteria that you need for a healthy gut, as well as enzymes to help you digest the milk. If you happen to be out near Sulphur Springs, stop by Texas Daily Harvest and buy some raw milk from farmers, Ramy and Kent Jisha. I’ve toured their farm, and I am so impressed by these smart, conscientious farmers. I’m also thankful for them. Their passion and hard work keep good, real food on my table. Whether I buy their milk from Whole Foods or have it delivered (with free-range eggs and meat) to my house, I make sure I am well-stocked with my favorite real food. My husband and I drink a couple of gallons per week. If you can’t buy real milk, don’t bother drinking milk at all. Really. Ultra-Pasteurized milk from cows in confinement dairies, even if it’s organic, is not real food. For more info, check out my first post about real milk, and this one too. Be well! P.S. For my friends who prefer goat milk, or want to locate a raw cow milk dairy close to you, check out the Weston A. Price Foundation’s Real Milk site.

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Organic Restaurant Nora in DC is Not All That: Food Needs Fat

When traveling, as at home, I make an effort to eat fresh, local real food. Last week in Washington, DC I visited tony Restaurant Nora near Dupont Circle for what I expected to be a spectacular meal. Having read that in 1999, Restaurant Nora became America’s first certified organic restaurant, and that chef Nora was a pioneer in the sustainable food movement, I had high hopes. The $75 (plus tax and tip, not including wine) tasting menu left me flat; the food wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t all that great. Here’s what I had:

  1. First Course: Apple and Butternut Squash Soup
  2. Second Course: Goat Cheese Tart
  3. Third Course: Grass-fed Beef Filet with Carrots and Mashed Potatoes
  4. Dessert: Banana Bread Pudding with Coconut Ice Cream

The best thing I had was the filet which was absolutely tender and flavorful; there is nothing like a good steak from a cow allowed to forage, breathe fresh air and … well, be a cow. As for the rest of the food, I think Nora may not have gotten the message that traditional fats are actually good for you (e.g., butter and lard). I think that’s the missing piece in her menus.

Other observations: the wait staff that served my table were aloof and slow; the restaurant is decorated with museum-quality antique Mennonite and Amish crib quilts that are spectacular and perfectly lit.

The bottom line is that I wish I had read the following Zagat review about Restaurant Nora before my trip: “Never trust a skinny chef: the food here is as dull as it is overpriced. If you care more about seeing the organic label than you do about food quality, then …”

P.S. The perfect place to stay in that neighborhood is Embassy Circle Guest House.

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