Monday, February 9, 2009

NutraSweet-laced strawberries?

For some unknown reason, when I wanted to replace our 15-year-old dead Dustbuster, I decided to go to Wal-Mart. Honestly, I despise Wal-Mart; I just was so sick of Target that I had to shop somewhere different. So I was browsing around to see what organic offerings they had in their grocery area. I saw carrots, cranberries and milk. But not a whole lot else. However, I picked up a carton of strawberries that said they were a product of the E.U. (etats-unis, the French for U.S.), Florida I think it said. They smelled good and looked great, so I thought I would just wash them really well and try not to think about pesticides.

When I got home, I cleaned a few for Gregory and popped one in my mouth. OH MY, OH MY. These were sweet and delicious, better than any I've had in a LONG time. Alex concurred. A little later in the day, my head started hurting. Not a full-blown migraine, but it was in the same place, same type of pain just not as intense. Most of you know I have suffered from migraines in the past and have gone to great lengths to learn my triggers (and avoid them). So I could not figure out what I'd eaten or inhaled that set it off.

Ironically, the next day (my head still pounding), I decided to do some research to see if my assumption that greenhouse or hydroponic crops came with less of a toxin burden than conventional produce. I figured they would not have to spray them as much. Wouldn't you think there would be fewer pests to combat? Anyway, I came across this article and could not believe my eyes.

U.S. News & World Report's "Fresh Greens" Blogger Maura Judkis listed 10 "risky foods" other than high-fructose corn syrup. And what do you suppose was on this list? Number 3 was "Non-Organic Strawberries" with the explanation:
"Some growers of strawberries irrigate their plants with Nutri-Sweet-laced [sic]
water. The sugar substitute is a probable carcinogen."
It's a definite migraine trigger for me, has been for over a decade. Which is why I don't consume it. Except when it's fed to plants and not labeled on the food product. Maybe you don't have anything against NutraSweet. Even so, you have to agree that it's criminal that growers can put a chemical ingredient into a food product and be able to pawn it off on unsuspecting consumers without labeling it. UGH!

By the way, in case you are wondering, I found no evidence to support my theory about greenhouse and hydroponic produce being healthier. In fact, I found some articles that suggested the hydroponic growers use a chemical cocktail to FEED the crops. Ick. I'm going back to buying as much organic as we can find/afford, including expanding our garden this spring!

UPDATE: March 13, 2009
It happened again! Alex and I were at the Melting Pot for our anniversary and I looked at the strawberries and said, "Uh oh, do I dare?" I ate them anyway, and don't you know, I had a migraine the next day! I emailed the Melting Pot and asked if there was MSG in any of their products, since this is another trigger for me, and got a prompt response from the franchisee which three products do contain MSG (none that I'd consumed though). SO...I'm left with the distinct notion that our conventionally grown strawberries are not to be trusted. Very sad.

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