Do you wash your produce? Here are some things you may want to consider:
If ever you hear discussion of a vegetarian or vegan diet, once people are done fretting about where you could possibly be getting your protein, they will invariably bring up the complete lack of B12 in your diet. And, it’s true, there is little to no B12 in the vegan diet, and B12 is critically important. But how do you square that with the fact that there are various cultures that eat an un-supplemented, plant-based diet without suffering B12 deficiency. The answer lies in washing (and cooking) our produce. In doing so, we lose the bacteria that live in the soil. Those bacteria take our relatively B12-poor foods and use it to create B12 as they journey through our mouths and into our guts. However, what about all the bad bacteria in or on our food? Shouldn’t we wash them off? Yes. Yes, we should. It would just be nice if we didn’t have to like in the good old days.
2. Bad Bacteria
Remember when you were a kid how you had to eat tainted dairy or undercooked meat to get food poisoning? Now it seems like we can’t go a week without hearing about sprouts or spinach or cantaloupe crawling with listeria, salmonella or E-Coli. It’s pretty terrifying. That’s not to say that animal products aren’t still lousy with deadly pathogens, but why the vegan diet no longer a safe haven? The short answer is that the modern food supply is unnatural and poorly regulated, and thanks to modern marvels such as prophylactic antibodies, CAFOs and corn-feeding of cattle, the manure (which then goes onto our produce), is teeming with all sorts of pathogenic microbes. Those bacteria end up on the surface of your produce, and then in you. Washing your produce can certainly help, but when you consider that it only takes one E-Coli cell to establish and infection, it seems like a somewhat futile endeavour.
Another reason people rinse their produce is to remove residues of pesticides. Here’s the rub. Water doesn’t budge those chemicals. If it did, they would wash off every time it rained, or anytime the crops were watered. They are specifically designed to be waterproof. If you have purchased conventionally-grown* produce, and want to put even a dent in the chemical concoction it’s coated in, you need to use something like washing-up liquid. Yes, I know it seems completely counterintuitive to use toxic petroleum derivatives to wash other toxic chemicals off something you plan to eat, but the modern food supply is counterintuitive!
Before you commit to a Breatharian diet, which I’m said to say is actually a real thing, there are some practical approaches you can take to having a safe and nutritious produce supply. First, you can grow your own produce. If you are going to use manure, make sure it has been treated properly. Fresh manure can harbour E-Coli, but once is has been composted and turned, it is usually safe.
To avoid pesticides in your diet, try to buy as much organic produce as you can. To ensure your own safety, make sure as much of it is locally sourced as possible. To cut down on cost, you can refer to the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen list.
Or if you eat a wider variety of produce, you can http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list.php.*Here, when we say “conventionally-grown,” we of course mean, “drenched in unnatural, toxic compounds.”