In The News

Healthy eating decisions Ankeny residents are making

Posted February 19, 2014 By Ashley Rullestad - Food 101 

Prudent Produce
Angie Laverty decided to give juicing a try, and she wanted to use organic produce. When she started shopping, though, she was discouraged at how expensive it was compared to conventional produce. She started looking around, trying to find a place that would put together boxes of organic produce at a reasonable price, but she couldn’t find anything like that. So she started her own company, Ankeny-based Prudent Produce, which delivers organic produce throughout the metro.

Prudent Produce allows customers to purchase a weekly box of organic produce delivered right to their doorsteps. Each week customers can go online to see what will arrive in their boxes that week, and they are also able to swap out ingredients based on their own preferences. There are three box sizes, depending on how big your family is or how much you want to eat.

“We’re year round,” she says. “It’s not all local. It comes from distributors. During the growing season, we deal with local farms. But I like Bunny Luv carrots, and we offer them all year round whether they’re local or not. There are some things I want because it’s a better product. So we give them a better price than if they go to the store. We get the best from wherever we can get it.”

Laverty says she decided organic was the way to go because of the quality. She says fruits especially have a better taste. She also believes it’s more healthy.

“I want the produce without the toxins,” she says. “I think it’s common sense. I didn’t think about it until I started juicing. I do think people are starting to realize ‘Maybe I don’t want to be eating these things over the long haul.’ ”

For Julia Zaffos, shown with 4-year-old Josephine, eating
organic is an important way to minimize toxins and chemicals.

For those who want to eat healthier, Lavery says it’s important to start small so you don’t get overwhelmed. Start replacing things with organics as they run out. Try organic produce. Eat more whole foods.

“Then when you go have a Big Mac, you feel bad,” she says. “Then your eyes open up, and you start thinking about all the stuff you can replace. You have to be convinced that it’s the right thing that it’s an upfront cost, and you’re saving medical costs and expenses. It’s a lifestyle thing. You have to be really committed to it.”

Living organic
Ankeny mom Julia Zaffos says it was sunscreen that got her started on the road to eating organic. She was looking for a chemical-free sunscreen for her young son who is sensitive to many ingredients in traditional products. She ended up finding Ava Anderson non-toxic products, and she has her own business selling their products now.

“We are becoming more aware of all the chemicals in products and in foods,” she says. “We started paying a little more attention to what we were eating, and so it was a gradual progression. We started with the dirty dozen. Now we try to look out for GMOs and avoid them where we can.”

Zaffos is also a Prudent Produce customer, and the family eats meat her husband brings home from hunting. They’re currently trying to find a source for chicken and pork.

For those who say there isn’t much benefit to organic, Zaffos says they’re entitled to their opinion, but for her and her family, the risks aren’t worth it.

“My goal is to reduce the chemical burden on my and my family’s bodies,” she says. “Of course we can’t avoid every potential danger, but we can take steps to limit our exposure to as many harmful chemicals and pesticides as possible.”



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