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August 19, 2009

The Girl's Guide to Eating Green

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The Up-and-Coming Greenie

You're a Daily Green denizen hungry for some serious dietary changes—both for your own well-being and the Earth's. Proof of your commitment: Your freezer is packed with Boca burgers, and you always recycle (well, at least paper and plastic). Although going übergreen will consume more of your time and money, you're willing to go the extra mile—or maybe another block or two.


Make at least one trip per week to your local farmers' market. They have more than doubled in number over the past 15 years, to more than 4600 nationwide. (Visit localharvest.org to find one near you.) In addition to fresh meat and dairy, these markets sell produce that was likely picked within the last 48 hours. Just don't assume all of the offerings are organic. It's expensive to get certified by the USDA, so small farms can't always afford to. When they do, you'll probably notice that investment reflected in their prices. If you don't see an organic seal, ask the farmer whether she uses pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or antibiotics. In other words, "Shake the hand that feeds you," advises Pollan.


Organic produce, starting with whatever you eat most often. Keep in mind the Environmental Working Group's "dirty dozen"—fruits and veggies found to have the most pesticide residue, even after washing: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce, imported grapes, carrots, and pears. It's fine to buy nonorganic, thick-skinned fruits like avocados, bananas, and pineapples.

Locally grown food. The fewer miles a piece of produce has traveled, the riper (and tastier and more nutritious) it will be.

Omega-3-rich fish. Cut your meat consumption in half and replace those proteins with fish like wild salmon and trout. Avoid farm-raised salmon (full of banned PCBs) and canned albacore tuna (loaded with mercury).


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