First off.....An interesting story on NPR discusses some known facts and specifically quotes some research that found that salad eaten with fat-free salad dressing resulted in lower nutritional absorption than that same salad eaten with olive oil. I feel this vindicates the notion that fake chemically foods are gross and bad for you.
On a related note.....I do wish there were more data on exactly which kinds of vegetables are most nutritious. SO much conflicting information. My general attitude is to eat a variety of different colored fruits and vegetables each day. I try and buy local and organic but sometimes the prohibitive prices coupled with the convenience of the supermarket win me over to more traditional American purchasing habits.
Here are things I've heard, but would like to understand better:
- In Pollan - vegetables have vastly different levels of nutrients depending on the part of the country and soil they're grown in. A scientific study was meant to be done decades ago but farmers protested and it was nixed.
- Frozen veggies are better than fresh as they're frozen immediately so nutrients don't deteriorate while traveling. Is this true? Is it more true for some fruits/veggies than others?
- If nutrients do deteriorate while traveling, at what rate, what is the date of picking of the veggies I'm buying, and how much do they deteriorate each day, is it a linear deterioration? What if they sit in my fridge for a few days? What percentage of their nutrients are being lost over what time period?
- After coming up with all these questions I just decided to eat a mix of fresh and frozen, depending on what I like and figure that I'm doing pretty well if I'm not eating Lean Cuisine, no matter where my veggies are from.
- I know organic produce has higher nutrient levels, but at what rate? 5% more, 80% more?
As for my carbon footprint - I get that veggies shipped from far away are bad for the planet. But at some level so is everything I do that has any sort of energy cost. I try to be conscientious in general. I'm not a fan of large SUVs, massive houses, and our super-sized American lifestyle in general. But sometimes I want to give my kids strawberries in the winter. Selfish I understand, but at a certain point the argument of leaving a smaller footprint would advocate my living in a tent and eating canned green beans all winter. Currently I'm not sure exactly what the right balance is.....