Dirty Dozen

apple#1 Apples – Eaten daily by many children, 98 percent of conventional apples had pesticides.



celery sticks#2 Celery – Highly contaminated, celery tested positive for 57 different pesticides.



In its latest dietary guidelines the U.S. Department of Agriculture says, “Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.” At the same time Environmental Working Group publishes a list of 12 most pesticide-laden produce, topping the “Dirty Dozen” for 2012 are apples, celery and sweet bell peppers.

Is it safe?

Even though the amounts of pesticides are within established legal limits, the question remains – does it mean they are safe ? Analysts with the Environmental Working Group, who compiled the list, say they’re too high.

Sara Sciammacco, of the Environmental Working Group, said, citing recent studies linking childhood pesticide exposure to problems with brain development, lower IQ and increasing incidence of ADHD.

There are some other opinions on the subject : ” A person would need to eat so much of the produce on the Dirty Dozen list you can’t even imagine,” said Dr. Marion Nestle, author and professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University.

Still, for those trying to limit their exposure to pesticides, I suggest choosing organic produce whenever possible.

dirty dozen

Dirty Dozen Plus

This year the Dirty Dozen was expended with a Plus category to highlight two crops — green beans and leafy greens. Kale and collard greens did not meet traditional Dirty Dozen criteria but were commonly contaminated with highly toxic organophosphate insecticides. These insecticides are toxic to the nervous system and have been largely removed from agriculture over the past decade. But they are not banned and still show up on some food crops.

About Corn

Commodity crop corn used for animal feed and biofuels is almost all produced with genetically modified | GMO seeds. Unfortunately so is some sweet corn sold for human consumption. GMO sweet corn is not labeled in US stores, so if you have concerns about GMO – buy organic sweet corn



Eating Wisely

Seek Contrast

vegetablesDo you know that one of the keys to making healthy food more appealing is to include a variety of colors and textures in each dish? Next time when preparing a meal consider this old saying “We eat first with our eyes”. The bold use of color is very appetizing and easy to achieve in any season with vegetables.

When planning a meal think about balancing colors and textures as well as flavors. Top a bowl of rice and vegetables with crunchy toasted peanuts, shaved coconut, and a few torn fresh cilantro leaves. Add crisp, paper thin slices of raw fennel to a salad of roasted red and gold beets and curly spinach leaves. Accompany smooth tomato basil soup with a dollop of bright pesto and crunchy toasted croutons.

Food is a sensory pleasure – enjoy every bite.

Add a flavorful touch

A drizzle of flavored vinegar, a squeeze of lime or lemon juice – bright, acidic ingredients like these are one of the ways to bring more flavor to the dish.

To bring flavorful finishing touches to the dishes you cook, experiment with freshly squeezed citrus juice and see how just a teaspoon or two can highlight the flavor of soups, salads, vegetables and fresh fruit.

In addition to fresh lime juice, mild rice vinegar is a flavorful ingredient. Try this refreshing low calorie snack: peel cucumbers and slice them lengthwise, drizzle with mild rice vinegar.

Be in balance

Conventional wisdom says you should eat your biggest meal of the day at the midday, with a lighter meal in the evening. But warm weather and activity-filled days call for light, easily digested midday meals that leave you satisfied but not so full that you are groggy in the afternoon.

Whether your days are filled up with meetings, yoga classes, beach time or office work you can always balance your energy throughout the day by eating lightly before periods of activity and making every meal a combination of whole grains, and protein-rich plant food such as beans and legumes.

For the midday meal it’s better to focus on complex carbohydrates like wild rice, brown rice, quinoa or beans. This will give you high energy throughout the day.

Satisfy your sweet tooth naturally

Satisfy your sweet tooth retreat-style by having cubes of chilled ripe watermelon; or blend ripe mango pulp and freeze it for a smooth sorbet without added sugar. You could also try ripe strawberries, peaches or melon. The natural sweetness of fruit gives you rush of pleasure and energy with fewer  calories.