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‘Casado’, ‘Gallo Pinto’, ‘Sopa Negra’…what do these three dishes have in common?
Yep, you guessed it! Beans.

Whether black, red, or white; thick, thin or fresh; dried, refried, or ground; with rice or with peppers; there are many ways for beans to be prepared and there’s no doubt that they form the basic part of the Costa Rican diet. However, have you ever asked yourself how industrial producers always keep beans so shinny and insect free? The answer is Aluminum Phosphate, an agrochemical that is used as a pesticide for the storage of grains (especially to control the presence of weevils and woodworms). Aluminum phosphate, or the “aluminum pill” came to be used over two decades ago and is considered highly toxic, and for this reason, it’s free sale is illegal and it should be used with extreme caution when applied by producing companies.

But you should be asking yourself…is eating industrial beans perhaps bad for my health? To date, no answer exists.

Some scientists say that the quantity applied to beans is minimal and that adverse secondary effects don’t exist. But other groups of scientists argue that with aluminum being present in so many products consumed daily, such as antiperspirants, deodorants, toothpastes, cooking pots, and grains such as rice, it is difficult for our bodies to eliminate this chemical which is storing itself in our central nervous system and kidneys.

The debate exists and new opinions continue to be found, but beyond these possible negative effects on health, what we know with certainty is that the application of this agrochemical is dangerous and our land does not need more chemicals. For these reasons, this section recommends that you opt to buy organically produced beans. According to what we are told by the Cerro Verde producers (near Nicoya) their technique to conserve beans is drying them in the sun very well during 3 days and packing them during the night, when they are quite cold.

If you live in Nosara, visit the organic Market on Saturdays in the Gardino Tropical parking lot. If you live in Nicoya, consult the local producers that sell their products in front of the Justice Court. Your body and your planet will thank you for it.


More Nature News

Costa Rica Mermaid Promotes Marine Sanctuaries in Nosara

In the midst of a 3-month, one thousand kilometer swim along the entire Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, marine conversationalist and swimming enthusiast Renate Herberger will be basing her current expedition in Nosara from February 7th-14th, 2010. During this week she will volunteer what precious little time she has out of the water (she’ll be swimming approximately 8 hours and 20 km a day, in to two 4-hour sections, eating lunch on her support boat) giving workshops with the objective of “foster[ing] the view that the sea is not to be feared, polluted and exploited, but defended, protected and celebrated”. More >

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