Time for HEALTHY apple picking!


Introducing Yuliana Motyl, one of the new crop of Protect our Breasts executive board members. Yuli is a senior and a member of the UMass tennis team. Thanks to Yuli, we will stay on top of everyday toxins on fruits & vegetables that contribute to breast cancer. 


Yuli picWith the start of a new school year, many of us are busy making the transition from summer to fall. It’s a hectic time for most but as we shift from a season of leisure into a season of work, this becomes a time we set new goals for ourselves. To do well in school, to attend the gym regularly, or to maintain a healthier diet are just some of the common aspirations many of us set out to achieve at the start of a new beginning. But what does eating healthier mean exactly?  The USDA has told us that fruits and vegetables are an essential component of a healthy diet, with their Plate Program recommending that fruits and vegetables fill up half of our plate. That is a lot of greens to eat in one sitting! Now, although fruits and vegetables do contain a multitude of nutrients and vitamins that are essential for good health, there can be a hidden dark side to our healthful friends. What most of us unfortunately don’t know about are the hundreds of potentially dangerous synthetic pesticides that are sprayed on conventional vegetable and fruit crops. Many of these pesticides that our “healthy” fruits and vegetables have been covered in have been linked to the development of breast cancer as well as other serious health problems. Thankfully, the USDA certifies our produce as “ORGANIC” when synthetic pesticides are NOT used.

usdaPesticides are used to kill off any living organism that can interfere with a crop’s harvest. Hundreds of toxic pesticides are used seasonally to ensure that food production is at its maximum and that the crop being grown is pleasing to the eye of the customer. Farming practices have gotten extremely muddled because consumer behavior tells us that the appearance of what we put into our bodies seems more important rather than what it may or may not contain.

Because it is the fall, I would like to focus a little on apples, as they are so plentiful in the New England area during this time. (The front cover of the weekend’s local newspaper highlights the great year for apples.) We’ve all heard the expression “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” right? May not be as accurate as it once was when our grandparents were growing up. What most of us do not know about apples is that they are the most agriculturally sprayed fruits! To ensure production, farmers smother apples with a grand total of 42 pesticides, seven of which are known or probable carcinogens, 19 suspected hormone disruptors, 10 neurotoxins, and 6 developmental or reproductive toxins. The problem that we face as customers is that we cannot physically see the chemicals on our food when we make a choice between organic and conventional fruit. We need to look for the ORGANIC label instead. What most of us see is the price, which is much too often the deal breaker. What we, as the consumers, have to understand is that making the right choice today can lead the way for a much healthier future. When it comes to organic fruits and vegetables – it is important to focus on buying crops seasonally and locally, as it can reduce some of the costs associated with buying organic products. By making smart and informed choices you can eat well, feel better, and most importantly; better your chances of not developing breast cancer or other illnesses in the future.


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