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The Dirty Dozen

Healthy eating can include a lot of components, from picking the right foods to cooking them in the most nutritious way. Leaving one holiday and quickly moving toward another, staying healthy and maintaining good eating habits are concerns of many.  To understand how to eat better, you first need to know what you are eating.

Eating healthy can give you energy, help you think quicker and make better decisions.  It can aid in prevention of certain disease processes and just overall make you feel good!  Eating poorly robs you of your energy, your vitality, your good mood and your best cognition.  It can even eventually rob you of good health!

Most of us already know it is not wise to eat only fast foods, or fatty foods or foods filled with refined sugars.  We already know that whole grains, whole foods, and even organic foods are healthier options when compared with those just mentioned.  But what exactly does this “whole” or “organic” thing mean?  Let me help you with that.

Whole grains include any grain that has the fiber part of the grain still intact.  Examples are barley, steel cut oats, brown and wild rice, quinoa, bran, corn, and couscous.

Whole foods simply mean foods in their natural state.  These have high nutrient density, essential amino acids and fatty acids, fiber, phytochemicals and micronutrients needed for metabolism and restoration of bodily functions on a cellular level.

Organic foods refer to foods that are grown pesticide and hormone free.  Eating organic foods regularly help reduce the daily toxic load our bodies encounter.

Many shoppers do not realize that pesticide residues are common on conventionally grown produce – even after it is washed or peeled.   Conventionally grown foods are simply those that are not organically grown.

The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce lists the Dirty Dozen fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residues.  This is the Environmental Working Group’s list of the top twelve foods most heavily laden with pesticides.  This year the list includes, in descending order:













Sweet bell peppers

So, what is clean?  What is considered safest? I got you covered.  EWG’s “Clean Fifteen” lists the produce least likely to contain pesticide residues.  These include:


Sweet corn




Sweet peas











Key findings from the “Clean Fifteen” list of the Environmental Working Group shows that avocados and sweet corn were the cleanest.  Less than 1 percent of avocadoes tested showed any detectable pesticides.  Additionally, no single fruit sample from the “Clean Fifteen” tested positive for more than four pesticides.  Finally, some good news, right?

So, what should be taken from all of this? I’m glad you asked.

This list should in no way deter you from eating fruits and vegetables, but it should make you wary of what you eat. It may not be economically feasible to buy ALL things organic, but when you can, definitely get those items from the “Dirty Dozen” from the organic section of your supermarket.  When you cannot buy organic, be sure to thoroughly wash your fruits and vegetables in clean water before eating.  Do the best that you can, to eat healthy and be healthy.

I share this information to keep us all informed, so that we can take corrective actions when possible, along our healthy lifestyle journey.  Keep eating toward a healthier you and be well!

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