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The Girl's Guide to Eating Green

News flash: Going organic shouldn't require a trust fund or a Ph.D. in botany. We quizzed the experts and scoured the produce aisles to devise a healthy, eco-friendly action plan suitable for everyone.

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YOUR GREEN GROCERY LIST:

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).

The Hard-Core Greenie You wear canvas kicks, charge your MacBook from inside your solar backpack, and keep a dog-eared copy of Alice Waters's The Art of Simple Food on your nightstand. You're passionate about reducing the environmental impact of your diet, and you're itching to get some dirt under your fingernails.

WHERE TO SHOP:

Augment your pantry by joining a CSA (community-supported agriculture)—a food co-op whose members buy "shares" in a local farm (generally starting at about $50 a month) and in return receive a box of its produce each week. The food doesn't get much fresher or more local. The downside: You get whatever they deliver, even if you can't pronounce it (it's kohl-rah-bee). Consider growing your own food. With even less than 200 square feet of outdoor space, you can harvest greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans. Plant herbs in a pot on your fire escape—rosemary and parsley do pretty well year-round. Or take advantage of one of the 18,000 community gardens peppered across the country. To find one near you, visit the American Community Gardening Association website (communitygarden.org).

YOUR GREEN GROCERY LIST:

Raw ingredients. Make your own yogurt, granola, and bread from scratch. (Start buying organic cookbooks and experiment with the recipes.)

Beans. Buh-bye, all-beef patties. You're now a die-hard vegetarian who scores her protein from black beans, chickpeas, and lentils.

DIY composting kit. It's not as icky as it sounds, we promise. There are countless websites devoted to the safe and clean composting of your produce refuse.

 

Originally published on September 25, 2009

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