Thursday, 8 September 2016

Preparing Fresh Produce: Removing Pesticides and Wax

Unless you have proof that the fruits or vegetables you are consuming have been organically grown, they will likely have some level of pesticides on them. Ital food generally is supposed to be free of inorganic fertilizers and sprays that keep pests away, but in today’s food market it is very very hard to find true Ital produce. Even foods that are labelled organic may still have spray or fertilizers that are inorganic, but considered to be much less dangerous or more biodegradable than other chemicals.

Some foods are more toxic than others, look at the official Dirty Dozen list which will help you decide what imported foods are best to consume or stay away from. I personally try to stay away from those imported foods that are on this list, but once in a while due to monotony, I may consume them, but following the cleansing steps I mention below. I have learned that many seeds today cannot mature and produce their fruits unless they have been treated by these chemicals. Our agricultural system across the entire world is dependent on the use of chemicals to produce food. So it is truly hard to find produce that satisfies a totally Ital diet unless you are able to farm and grow your own chemical free foods or obtain produce from someone who uses Ital practices.

It is important to take steps to acquire organic foods and to also remove chemical residues as much as possible when you can’t - especially because you will be eating these fruits and vegetables raw! These toxins in the body can over time, make us ill, less immune to diseases and weaken our overall genetics. Birth defects and cancer, and damage to the nervous system can result from pesticide ingestion.

In living an Ital Lifestyle, you are faced with either not consuming foods because they are sprayed, or trying your best to remove the chemicals from the skins of the foods. I choose the second option because I like variety, it’s the spice of life! Realistically everything that is sold in the supermarket or market has some kind of pesticide or inorganic fertilizer attached to its growth process.

Here are some popular tips that vegans around the world use to detoxify their conventionally grown fruits and vegetables as much as possible. I’ve gathered these tips from a variety of sources on line, and you can feel free to google it and see what else you find.

The most effective way to clean your foods of pesticides, which are often water-soluble, is to give all produce a Fruit or Veggie Bath/Wash as soon as you bring them home from the market and before you look to store them away. You can do this in different ways primarily using water, as pesticides are said to be water soluble:

1.) Running Water and a Brush:

I use a small cosmetic nail brush which is soft, to scrub my vegetables or fruits, especially those that visibly have mud or other stains on them. Running water brings force to tough skins of potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, apples, christophene, pumpkin, oranges and other touch produce which helps dissolve the chemicals. Give a gentle yet firm rub based on the skin of the fruit.
Certain foods won't have sprays on them but sometimes the trees themselves are trated for fungicides  like oranges, mangoes, limes or avocado. you need to scrub citrus skins really good because of that.

2.) Veggie Soak:

The Veggie soak is also another effective method to clean the skins of produce, especially for tomatoes, sweet peppers, green leafy vegetables, pears, peaches, grapes and other more delicate foods. Soaking is for no less than 15-20 minutes. You can also use the brush or your hand to rub firmly when rinsing them off after the bath.

There are four ways to make a veggie bath:

a) Foodgrade Hydrogen Peroxide and Water

This is the most recommended method by raw vegan Ras Khepra Anu in Washington, as white vinegar is pretty acidic and not good for the body. The peroxide can be ordered online.

b) White Vinegar and Water

This method is the easiest to use because white vinegar is affordable in large quantities, you will definitely need to buy a big bottle because you will use it weekly.

Basically you want a 10% vinegar and 90% water solution. I tend to use 1/8 to 1/4 cup vinegar to a big bowl of water.

c) Salt and Water

You can also add half a tablespoon of salt to a big bowl of water and soak. 

For any of these three baths do the following: Allow veggies or fruit to soak roughly 15-20 minutes. Then after give them a good rub under running water and put them to drain. For the greens I alternate the leaves and stems in soaking. The water should be brown when you’re finished soaking.

d) Lemon/Lime, Baking Soda and Water in their article “Three Natural Ways to Remove Pesticides from Produce,” recommends a spray using 1 tbs lemon juice, 2 tbs baking soda and 1 cup of water. Spray the produce and let it sit for 10 minutes then rinse. I’d try letting them soak in the same solution as well.

3.) Peel the Skin

For my apples, cucumbers, pears I always remove the skin. Cucumbers I do it more because I find a lot of the time the skin is bitter. Otherwise leave the skin on because of its rich nutrient content. I peel apples and peers because the skin has too much wax, and I don’t always buy these imported fruits. If you buy imported plums or peaches, also peel the skins.

Remember to pat your produce dry with a clean kitchen towel before storage!

The best thing about washing your produce is that it's ready to use when it's time for meal prep!

Remember Ital is Vital, meaning whole, cleans foods are necessary for the vitality and health of your body, so take care in selecting the best produce and do your best to acquire organically grown fruits and vegetables. Always read your labels and ask your vendor questions when you purchase any product. Make it known in the market that you seek organic foods and you may find those who are willing to offer you such products. I have one vendor at my market who grows his cucumbers, pimentos, tomatoes and pumpkin without pesticides.
Live and Prosper,

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