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Drinking My Own Kool-Aid

I’ve been feeding my kids organic stuff forever. Since before they were born, really. I’m a real stickler when it comes to meat, veggies, dairy, and fruit, too. I have been a little more lenient when it comes to my own food, though. I’ll eat the non-organic comice pear — my absolute favorite snack. I’ll also down a non-organic turkey sandwich. But I’ve been extolling the virtues of organic for so long, that I’m starting to get grossed out by my random acts of unorganicness. (Yes, I realize that’s not really a word. It totally should be.)

Take my dinner tonight. I ate a baby spinach salad dressed with chicken and artichoke hearts and sprinkled with a little balsamic vinaigrette dressing. The spinach was organic. (I should say that when it comes to the Dirty Dozen, the 12 vegetables and fruits that have the most pesticide residue — celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, potatoes, and grapes — I am vigilant with my own diet.) So was the dressing — don’t want to eat non-organic grapes and all. But the chicken and the artichokes were Trader Joe’s conventional stuff.

Granted, they are probably going to be better than what you might find at a regular supermarket, but by how much? Certainly the chicken wasn’t my air-chilled organic chicken breast (it’s so important, that air-chilled part) that I typically buy for the kids. And the artichokes were the non-organic kind sitting in brine and oil. Yummy, to be sure, but probably doused in pesticides since, as I have just learned, artichokes are perfect candidates for “aphids, botrytis rot, and fungus, so most commercial artichokes are sprayed heavily with pesticides and fungicides.” Even worse there’s a list of the top 50 pesticides used on artichokes in California. Really?!? Son of a…

Okay, so now I am sitting here feeling queasy. Sure, as my mother likes to tell me, you can’t live your life in fear. However, if you’re walking around at midnight in a shady section of town and a guy who looks dangerous is walking toward you on the street, wouldn’t you cross the street to avoid any potential problems? Or would you just keep walking and see what happens? Because you can’t live your life in fear. Me, I’d cross the street. Or in this case next time I’ll spend the $3.99, and buy the organic artichoke hearts packed in oil from Whole Foods. Also, next time I won’t be lazy and buy the prepackaged balsamic chicken. I’ll make my own. I guess since the whole monkey see, monkey do comes into effect I should have been doing that all along. Sigh.

The more I learn, the more I wish I didn’t know and the more I wonder how big agriculture can get away with this crap. FIFTY pesticides for a single crop of artichokes? For shame, Mr. and Mrs. Conventional American Farmer. For shame.

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