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There aren’t fruit and vegetable stands on every corner in the hood. There aren’t health food stores or farmers' markets in walking or bike riding distance. No herb gardens or peach trees, either. But there is culture craving to be nurtured, trees waiting to be grown and bodies that need to be nourished. What you put into your body is what you will get out. So you now begin to recognize that the rate of obesity and diabetes is higher among low-income communities. You begin to look at your grandmother, or uncle, who have a hard time walking and seeing because they have been victimized by diabetes. You watch your younger brother’s waistline expand as he munches on another bag of chips, and your cousin sitting on the porch to catch her breath because her asthma is too much for her to play double-dutch rope.
You go to the grocery stores and buy processed and pesticide-infected foods. You eat them because it’s more convenient and possibly cheaper-- as if putting a price or convenience factor on the food you consume is really worth the damaging outcome. Then you hear that, aside from the absence of many healthy food options in certain communities, the perceived health conscious food options are packed with potentially harmful chemicals and pesticides. This realization comes and goes and what do you do? No, I’m asking you, what do we do?
You begin to eat more locally grown herbs and spices and organic meats. You grow gardens in your back yards or walk the distance to a farmer's market, but for some of us this isn’t that easy. Although organic foods are the best option, these foods are often difficult to find in certain grocery stores. According to the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit research group that works to protect people from toxic chemicals, when a local health food store is nonexistent in your community and growing your own food isn’t an option, you can limit the amount of harmful chemicals you consume by eating the 15 least-contaminated, conventionally grown produce:
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas
- Cantaloupe (domestic)
- Sweet Potato
- Honeydew Melon
It is a very common assumption that washing, rinsing and peeling certain produce eliminates pesticides. These practices only reduce the amount of chemical residue found on non-organic produce. To minimize the consumption of potentially harmful chemicals, you should either buy organic foods or avoid buying the 12 most-contaminated produce, according to studies done by the Environmental Working Group:
- Bell Peppers
You protect the things you value in life. You keep them close to your heart. You keep them clean, fix them up and spend your hard-earned money to acquire more of them. Your cars, clothes, jewelry and everything else that you would like to symbolize how the world should perceive you. The things you choose to show appreciation, represents what is important in your life. Your body is your born gift, and just as anything else you value, you have to make the choice to preserve your body and cherish your most prized possession. Your primary goal is to nurture your body with the proper ingredients for a healthy, long life.