The dirty dozen v/s The Clean Fifteen

Every time you put something in your body, you are either feeding disease or fighting it.

The Environmental Working Group has provided two lists of fruits and vegetables, one that has the most pesticides has been called “the dirty dozen” and the other that has the fewest is called “the clean 15”. The Environmental Working Group’s mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment.

This categorizing was meant for consumers to make informed choices about what produce is better off only organic and what exposes us to chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Here are the dirty dozen:

Apples Grapes Cucumbers
Peaches Celery Cherry tomatoes
Nectarines Spinach Snap peas
Strawberries Sweet peppers Potatoes

 

And here are the clean 15.

Avocados Onions Eggplant
Sweet corn Asparagus Grapefruit
Pineapples Mangoes Cantaloupe
Cabbage Papayas Cauliflower
Sweet peas Kiwi Sweet potatoes

 

 

So I’d highly recommend you set a working budget for organic fruits and vegetables from the dirty dozen, so you are on the right path to clean food! Happy eating!

When fruits are not fruits… How GMO and toxins are invading our lives

GMO and food additive toxins are invading into kitchens all over the world. While it’s a boon that most European countries have started banning the bad stuff, when will North Americans learn?

Are all Oranges equal?

We all love to eat Oranges that look like orange in shape and color. The soothing refreshing juice and the tangy orange rinds in our daily life and cooking are so irresistible.

Did you know that all Oranges are not the born or raised the same? Florida and Texas oranges are dyed with Citrus Red #2, an FDA-approved colorant solely for dyeing the skins of these oranges. This particular dye has been classified in Group 2B (“possibly carcinogenic to humans“), and so is recommended that it not be used as a food additive. Imagine squeezing the orange with the skin on or grating the rinds and ingesting the dye into our body. You can still buy safe buy oranges; look for California or Arizona oranges, where the dye has been prohibited

 Will an Apple a day keep you alive?

Some Apples are banned in Europe. Why? U.S. and some countries coat their apples with Diphenylamine or DPA , (classified as a pesticide), to prevent apples from browning. The European Commission has banned the use of DPA on apples and other fruit grown, as it was noted there is a presence of nitrosamines in fruits treated with DPA.  Nitrosamines are considered potent carcinogens.  No wonder apples are now considered one of the ‘Dirty Dozen’.

How to avoid GMO Banana’s?

Do not worry, No GMO bananas are in the market yet. But a GMO version has been developed and, a dozen female IOWA University students have volunteered to be part of testing it out, exposing themselves to potential dangers. Further research is ongoing to pump in vaccines in bananas, placing them in food stores and blindly vaccinating anyone with no choice and involuntarily.

How about a nice movie and pop-corn to go?

Sure, as long as it is pop corn. Pop corn happens to be the only type of corn that has no GMO version. Beware, 80% of Sweet corn and Field corn are GM varieties and they have not figured a way to label them and are sold in stores, farmers market and street stands.

We can’t live without potatoes, can we?

Fear not! GMO potatoes are not here yet. The GM potato developed by the Monsanto was rejected as it reacted with sugar and produced acrylamide – a possible carcinogen. Wow, at least the French Fries in McDonald’s are safe from a GMO point.. So are Frito-Lays chips. They both refused to buy any GMO potatoes. Stop bashing them, they are trying!

Should we buy food with added “Natural Flavours”? – Horrors of creative labeling

We have finally learned to read labels on the food that we buy. We do even check the ingredients in the fast food industries menu, which they provide us voluntarily, to make us believe that their food is safe to order and eat and they seem to really care about our health. In bold letters, they even say ‘No MSG added’ instead has Natural Flavours added.  Is that a good sign? I need to tell you the horrors of creative labeling!

Natural flavours contain Glutamates, which is another fancy name for MSG. Why, they renamed MSG as ‘Glutamates’ making any yucky tasting food delicious, rendering you craving more. It is a marketing ploy.

Anyone can see that it is presumed to be safe to eat only food with Natural Flavours, Low Sodium, or so we think. Is it safer to drink an apple juice with natural flavours than one with artificial flavour? Maybe not, artificial flavorings are simpler in composition and potentially safer because only safety-tested components are utilized. But we are not advocating any kind of added flavours here.

What are Natural Flavours? By definition, it means no Artificial Flavour or Color has been used, but the product is synthesized from a natural source. These flavours are the product “glutamate” aka MSG – Mono Sodium Glutamate. Why doesn’t the label say so, you may ask.  Of course they do, but with the new names that you would not recognize, or probably consider safe. And the FDA does not require to label them as such, unless the added ingredient is 99% pure MSG.

MSG or the related product triples the amount of insulin in your body in addition to the numerous side effects, not to mention, it’s one of the leading cause of obesity, fatty liver, liver toxicity, bad cholesterol, metabolic syndrome and  neurological and brain damage. These are in fact no better in quality, nor are they safer, than their cost-effective artificial counterparts.

Why do North Americans eat more calories than any other industrialized nation? It’s not because we have more money or are hungrier. It’s because our food supply is chemically produced and enhanced with these “natural flavors” along with extra fat, extra salt and extra sugar and it’s EVERYWHERE and we are being TARGETED.

To safeguard yourself, family and friends from the harmful effects of MSG, do not ingest any food that contains the following inventive words

  • Glutamate or Glutamic acid
  • Yeast extract
  • Hydrolyzed products
  • Caseneinated products
  • Soy or Whey Protein or protein fortified
  • Vitamin enriched

food label

For those who can’t be bothered with labels or ingredients, avoid the following:

  • Any and all chicken based food in fast food restaurants
  • Salad dressing, Sauces and dips, especially Ranch, fish or soya sauce. However, Oil & Vinegar Italian dressings may be considered safe
  • Processed foods in cans, instant soup mixes. Flavoured potato chips – (buy the original flavours, or organic ones)
  • UHT processed milk
  • Avoid Low Sodium or Table Salt– Use Himalayan crystal sea salts, these are completely pure salt and not processed
  • Certain brands of Coconut Water

Where do we go from here? Eat whole foods, learn to read labels, shop for No Flavouring, and avoid added ‘natural and/or artificial flavours’. A food labelled natural now sounds fishy, don’t you think?

Clean eating on a frugal budget

Clean eating doesn’t cost a fortune. When it comes to my family’s eating healthy, I make no compromise. Honestly, I started clean eating habits on a very small budget and made rules and guidelines along the way. I’d like to share some of my ways and methods hoping you would find them helpful too.

I started with a clear cut monthly budget. Having a strictly “cash for groceries” principle always ensures you don’t cross over your budget and over spend on your credit card. I divide my grocery budget into seven equal parts and put the cash into envelopes. I can’t spend money I don’t have, after all.

I never ever overload the fridge, freezer or pantry. This way nothing gets pushed to the back and lives incognito forever and nothing goes bad. Reducing wastage is a great way of living within the budget, just like a penny saved is a penny earned.


I came to the conclusion that grocery shopping every fourth day is a great way to plan ahead. It’s almost no challenge to know what’s on hand, especially when one glance at your fridge, freezer and pantry should give you an exact statement. Making meal plans for four days is way easier than for two weeks or a whole month.

I try not to cook for an army. Cooking well defined amounts for two adults and two kids ensures that there isn’t much left over. Using up shortly perishing produce, paying attention to leftovers, making sure everything goes into the fridge to be eaten at the next meal, all these guarantee penny-wise decisions.

I make packed lunches ahead of time and store them in the freezer in meal portion containers. All we have to do is thaw lunch the previous night and microwave it for one minute at the office. Soups, stews, stir fried meat and vegetables and casseroles are very freezer friendly clean eating foods and save time.

If you cannot afford organic produce all the time, pay close attention to the dirty dozen. The list is provided by The Environmental Group, whose mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. I tend to buy less of those or only those organic. Buy plenty of produce from the clean fifteen list.

Organic meat and dairy could be comparatively quite expensive. I cannot stress enough the dangers of eating non organic meat. Chronic use of low quality anti-biotics, increased use of synthetic growth hormones, feeding of unwholesome GMO corn, sewage sludge and irradiation make non-organic meats and diary a horror show. Reducing meat and dairy and enjoying them only on occasion, consuming a lot of fish and seafood, lentils and beans meets the protein requirement of my family.

How do you manage clean eating on a thrifty budget? Please provide your comments.