Sunday, May 16, 2010

A little housecleaning

I keep accumulating these links for interesting food-related tidbits I've read or heard on the interweb lately. Here they are:
Just this morning I listened to my first episode of Spilled Milk, a food podcast by Matthew Amster-Burton and Molly Wizenberg. This one is all about peas, from mushy to crisp, snow to snap. They're a funny pair - lots of witty banter - and there's some good information in there too. Worth a listen.

I also happened by the debate about the dirty dozen: twelve fresh produce items that, according to some, absorb too much pesticides and thus should be purchased organic whenever possible. They say you can reduce your pesticide intake by as much as 80 percent by avoiding conventionally farmed (using chemical pesticides and fertilizers) thin skinned fruits such as berries, pears and peaches, as well as water filled veggies like celery and spinach. Now, I'm no scientist and I'm both lazy and skeptical. I eat way too much celery to go tromping all over town to find organic variety that doesn't feel like I'm eating tree bark. I think I'll continue my old standby rule that if the produce looks, smells and tastes healthy, it probably is, and is still way better for me than living on chips and beer.

Still at Salon Magazine, check out food editor (and former contributing editor to Gourmet Magazine, RIP) Francis Lam's weekly column The Eyewitness Cook for great recipes and food debates.

Finally, this recent article in the New York Times goes a long way to clarify the difference between food allergy and food sensitivity, or intolerance. While 30 percent of the population believes they have food allergies, the true incidence is only about 8 percent for children and less than 5 percent for adults. This is a big discrepancy, and the article explains that everything from inaccurate testing to confusing an allergy for an intolerance is to blame. For the record, an allergy is an immune system response to food, producing anything from hives, itchy mouth, runny nose, sneezing and difficulty breathing, to full-blown anaphylaxis. If eating a certain food gives you a stomach ache, or gas, etc., it's an intolerance, not an allergy. I learned this only after avoiding foods I thought I was allergic to for years, until finally seeing an allergist and having her explain the truth.

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