I was sick throughout the first week of 2012.
But I still had to go grocery shoppping, and I went harboring in my heart grand plans for a hearty, chicken soup. I rolled into the produce section, with a sore throat, stuffy nose, and that dragging “I feel sick” fatigue, seeking out onions, carrots, celery, and fresh parsley.
Grocery shopping is generally something of a chore, with list making and brand browsing and price comparing, but I usually don’t have too much of a problem and often have fun recipe-dreaming along the way. When I’ve got the sniffles, though, grocery shopping is like trying to see through fog, so on that first trip of the year, I was trying to make my rounds and get out quick.
Except, I could not figure out where in the heck they were hiding the carrots. When I finally found a bag, they were organic. At first, all I could think was $$$. Then I thought of the pesticides that often deprive produce of their best nutrients. Then I thought, cough, cough, achoo and decided to spend the cash in order to avoid those yucky fluorescent chemicals and hopefuly boost my immune system with some well-needed nutrition.
In fact, organic suddenly sounded so delicious that I wanted to buy everything on my list organic, but as I was picking up a carton of organic chicken stock, I laughed at myself and realized that my decision to make the organic investment had come a bit too late. If anything, I should have been enjoying a steaming bowl of organic chicken soup weeks ago, so that I would be strong enough to fight off the bug that later showed up and tried to take over my life.
After getting back on my feet earlier this week, I saw a link to this article, which made it seem obvious: yes, if I want to make an investment in my health, starting now on a clean, organic diet might just be a good idea. Obviously, taking health precautions, including eat well, is key to leading a healthier lifestyle. I know that, but it doesn’t yet show in my produce buying habits. That disparity points to what I have come to believe is an important question for health psychologists: in addition to health education, how do we promote positive health behaviors?
I attempted to go the “make it fun” route and pulled out my juicer yesterday in order to use up the last of my organic carrots. It’s been awhile since I last used this little appliance, since it lives on top of the fridge, in the very back corner where it can’t even be seen, but I was chatting with my sister who said she made a juice recently with cranberries in it! I was skeptical, but intrigued, so I climbed up on top of a kitchen chair and grabbed the juicer.
I also wanted to add an apple to the juice, but I remembered, thanks to the Environmental Working Groups’s Shopping Guide to Pesticides in Produce, that apples are one of the worst items out there when considering pesticide residue (#1 on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list), so I decided to peel my apple before sending it through the juicer, all while calculating how to arrange my budget so that I could focus on getting those most important organic items into my cart on the next journey to the grocery store. Afterall, an organic apple a day…
I had never tried juicing cranberries before, and at first, I thought they would make the juice much too soury and tart, but combined with sweet apples, tangy oranges, earthy carrots, and spicy ginger, only the beautiful cranberry color in all its tasty, nutritious glory shines through.
Fresh Cranberry Carrot Ginger Juice
1/2 cup fresh cranberries, rinsed well
2 large carrots, rinsed well
1 large apple, rinsed well (peeled, if not organic)
2 medium oranges, peeled
1-inch piece ginger, peeled
Press all fruit through a juicer set at low. Makes 1 large glass, or about 1-1/2 cups.