The Dirty Dozen

With summer rapidly approaching, comes the time when people look forward to eating fresh fruits and vegetables; before placing any in your shopping cart, think twice.


Based on testing done by the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Shopper’s Guide ranks 48 different fruits and vegetables by the total amount of pesticides found on them. Based on this, each year EWG releases a list of the conventionally grown fruits and vegetables with the highest amount of pesticide residue—The Dirty Dozen. The 2015 list includes:

  1. Apples
  2. Peaches
  3. Nectarines
  4. Strawberries
  5. Grapes
  6. Celery
  7. Spinach
  8. Sweet Bell Peppers
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry Tomatoes
  11. Snap Peas (imported)
  12. Potatoes

One of the key points of this year’s report reveals “single samples of cherry tomatoes, nectarines, peaches, imported snap peas, and strawberries showed 13 different pesticides apiece.”

Connecting with the above statistic, “the EWG Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce calculates that USDA tests found a total of 165 different pesticides on thousands of fruit and vegetable samples in 2013.”

The corporations that make these products tell us the pesticide residue levels are at safe levels for human consumption. Remember they’re taking about one substance. Think about pesticide 1 + pesticide 2 + pesticide 3 . . . + pesticide 13—how can you possibly have a “safe level?” Are you willing to take a risk? Are you willing to be a human guinea pig?

Look for organic produce since these fruits and vegetables contain the least amount of pesticides. Even if it’s not a 100% guarantee, eating them is the safer option.

Some additional information: The EWG is “a non-profit non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.” Take some time to check out their website; it’s worth the visit.

Have You Ever Noticed . . . ?

In my posts, I talk about making small changes to start achieving results.

Today I have a fairly simple request. I’d like you to try something. For the next week write down all the foods you eat and all the beverages you drink. I am not asking you to count calories, weigh food, or record the amounts of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates you consumed.

Then, one to two hours after eating record how you feel. Ask yourself questions like:

  • “Am I still hungry?”
  • “Do I have certain cravings?”
  • “How’s my energy level?”
  • “What’s my mood?”
  • “Is my thinking focused and clear or just the opposite?”

I ask people to do this exercise because I discovered, in my business, many individuals have lost touch with their bodies and the clues it provides them. We often tend to eat mindlessly and never make the connection between the foods we consume and how we feel.

Then, take time to review what you recorded during the past week. Some points to think about as you do so:

  • “Do certain foods always create the same reactions, moods, and feelings within you?”
  • “Do you feel full and satisfied or do you feel physically full, but still hungry?”
  • “Which foods produced cravings and what type of cravings?”
  • “Which foods improve your energy, and which ones drain it?”

Take note. Do you notice any patterns emerging?

Next, for one week eat/drink only the foods and beverages that gave you positive reactions, and again, record how you feel one or two hours after eating. Be aware of and really observe the changes in your body.

Did you detect a difference in your feelings between the first and second week?

The foods that worked for you and those that didn’t are unique to you. Chances are if a family member or friend did the same exercise they would have different results; we are unique in our individual nutrition needs.

I hope this exercise assists you in making new and healthy decisions around your food and drink choices.