As I may have mentioned, I’m in my third trimester of my second pregnancy. When I’m pregnant, I try to eat well, with the exception of my addiction to a certain store bought brand of cookies of which recently came out with a triple stuffed form. But aside from that, I follow what’s known as the Brewer Pregnancy diet, which is a high protein diet designed to give your baby all of the nutrients he needs, even without a prenatal. It’s recommended by many natural birthing classes, such as the Bradley Method (which I did with my oldest) and Hypnobirthing (which is what I’m trying this time around). Good nutrition in pregnancy can prevent a whole slew of health problems, and that’s my aim. I don’t have time to have issues; I have a toddler.
One of the components of the Brewer diet is five times a week you need to eat a yellow or orange fruit or vegetable in to get the amount of beta carotene needed. And this works out well for me and my son, because the two of us have a mutual love of cantaloupe. I would buy it in bulk and he and I would eat some pretty much every day.
Until recently, of course.
As was mentioned on the Prime Parents’ Club website on September 15, cantaloupe has been linked to four deaths and over sixty people who are ill across 22 states—one of them being my state of Virginia.
I learned about the Virginia case on Friday, which sent me into a tailspin of worry because (a) Listeria is extremely dangerous in pregnant women, leading to miscarriage, stillbirth, and potential life-threatening infection of your newborn, and (b) my 19 month old had been gobbling the stuff down like you would not believe. So I called the two local grocery stores where I had purchased the cantaloupe and listened with relief that none of the cantaloupe I had eaten was from Colorado.
Why? Well, all of the cantaloupe I had eaten was local, thank goodness!
As it turned out, the poor Virginian woman who was exposed to the contaminated cantaloupe was in Colorado when she got the Listeria. Neither grocery store (nor the Amish family at my local farmer’s market who has sold me cantaloupe) had gotten their melon from anywhere other than Virginia or Pennsylvania. After I cried tears of relief, I swore allegiance to my two grocery stores (whose prices are a little bit higher due to their commitments to provide locally grown produce), and I decided to take this time to remember why locally grown products are so much better for us and the environment.
The fact is, each pound of locally grown produce that you purchase prevents a quarter pound of CO2 emissions, when you factor in the cost of production and transport. Additionally, it carries health benefits for the consumer: Locally grown produce that only has to travel a few hundred miles to your grocery store or local farmer’s market is guaranteed to be fresher than something that comes from South America, and more often than not has less preservatives. Eating local also means that you’re usually eating seasonally, and safer, as smaller farms frequently use less pesticides than do larger factory farms.
To check out locally grown produce near you, try the Local Harvest website, which lists nearby produce stands, farmers’ markets, and other places to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables.
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