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Clean Eating 101 - Part 2


Clean Eating 101 - Part 2


Last week I published the first part of Clean Eating 101, where I discussed why we want to strive to eat clean, as well as what it really means to eat clean. If you missed this blog post, you can read it here: Clean Eating 101.

Today is part 2 of Clean Eating 101 where I'm going to share with you some practical ways to actually start eating cleaner. It's one thing to know what it means to eat clean, and know why you want to do it, but the 'how' part is the really important one right? If we want to make actual changes in our life, having strategies on how to create the change is important.

When making changes with your diet, I have one big piece of advice: baby steps. Making small changes a little bit at a time is much more sustainable than trying to make a lot of big change all at once. Take a suggestion or two from this blog post and start working on them. Celebrate the small changes you've made, then add more positive change! Learning to eat clean isn't something that happens over night. Be patient with yourself and enjoy the process! You'll be surprised how big of a difference a small change can make. 

Wishing you Wellness!



11 practical Ways to Start Eating Cleaner:

1. My TOP suggestion for really making change: Once per week purchase 1 whole food that is new to you. There are a plethora of fruits veggies, grains, beans, nuts, seeds out there to try to experiment with. Maybe it is as simple as trying a new fruit or roasting a vegetable that is new to you, or maybe you are trying out a new dinner recipe, or have found a simple great way to prepare that new food online. Just get yourself trying 1 new whole food per week. Even if you only like 1/2 of them, at the end of a year, you will have 26 new whole foods in your diet! 

2. Reference the Clean Fifteen/Dirty Dozen list HERE to understand when its really important to buy organic and when it's not as important.  Be sure you are buying organic when it comes to the dirty dozen list, as these are the foods that are most heavily laden with chemicals. 

3. Give yourself permission to play in the kitchen and be creative! You might mess up sometimes, or not like something you create but that’s okay! The more you play, the more comfortable you get with cooking from scratch, the easier it will get, & the more you will eat whole healthy foods!

4. Find healthier substitutions. Take a look at your diet. What do you consume regularly that you know is not great for you? Seek out healthier substitutions to start adding in, so you are not feeling deprived. 

5. Read Labels! If you can’t pronounce or know the origin of the ingredient, then find another option.

6. Give your taste buds a second chance! (or a third, or fourth) Some foods that are really good for us are a matter of acquired taste. Sometimes it takes the right preparation. Our tastebuds change over time.  Keep trying things over & over. 

7. Remember that the more fresh foods we eat, the more our bodies will crave them. The more processed foods we eat, the more our bodies will crave them. Be patient as you transition to eating cleaner, you will learn to love it more & more the longer you stick to it. 

8. Try to do most of your shopping around the perimeter of the store. Shop local farmers markets. Join a CSA. Grow some of your own food if you are able. Learn to shop & acquire your food differently. 

9. Keep Healthy snacks like nuts & fruit always available & with you so that you are less tempted to grab something processed. 

10. Remember 80/20 rule. It's not what you do ALL of the time, it's what you do MOST of the time. If you can eat really clean 80% of the time, then feel okay with indulging a bit sometimes. Aiming for perfection in anything can lead us to feel disappointed in ourselves. Don't expect perfection of yourself in anything, including how you eat. Allow some flexibility. 

11. Don’t drink your calories. Pay attention to the ingredients & sugar content of your drinks. Drink mostly pure, clean water. 


Clean Eating 101


Clean Eating 101


Are you eating clean? Do you want to eat cleaner? Maybe you want to learn to eat cleaner, but you are not sure where to start?  This Clean Eating 101  blog post is just for you! I've got a lot to say on this matter, but I'm going to keep it simple and straight forward. In this post I am going to talk about why we want to eat clean in the first place. It sounds good, right? But what are the actual benefits of cleaning up our eating? Secondly, I'll cover the basics of clean eating so that you have a clear understanding of what it means & what kind changes you would like to make.

Next week, I'll publish part 2 of Clean Eating 101 where I'll talk about practical ways you can incorporate more clean eating into your diet. What are the action steps you can take to really create change? Be sure to check back next week!


There is hundreds of reasons, but here is just a quick dozen for you to ponder:

1. You are what you eat. Literally. The nourishment you put into your body is like the building blocks for your cells! These cells that make up your body is what perform all of the amazing functions that you want your body to be able to successfully manage! 

2. Giving your body the nutrition that it needs to function properly gives it the ability to heal itself, be free of disease, and feel good. 

3. It keeps you feeling more satisfied & nourished. If you are giving your body the proper nutrition of healthy whole foods, you are less likely to over eat and/or want to reach for junk foods. 

4. Helps to maintain your blood sugar. Maintaining your blood sugar affects how you feel from moment to moment! Are you familiar with the term "hangry"? I'm sure you can find it in the urban dictionary, but people use this term to describe their mood when they feel angry & hungry. "Hangry" is generally a result of your blood sugar dropping. 

5. Makes it much easier to loose and maintain a healthy weight. Eliminating processed foods and sugary drinks can go a long way here. 

6. Can cause clear skin! Remember, your skin issues have a lot more to do with what you put on the inside, than what you put on the outside. Your new skin cells are created from the inside, and having healthy looking skin starts with great nutrition & clean eating!

7. Can cause improved energy levels. We all want to have great energy right? Nourish your body with the right foods, and you will have plenty!

8. Can cause improved mood. Feeding your body good, clean nutrition helps you to feel better, gives your brain cells what they need, and can also help to balance hormones which greatly affects mood. 

9. Can cause reduction of headaches. For many people, the added chemicals and preservatives in processed foods can be the source of nuisances like headaches. Speaking from my own experience, I had debilitating migraines from the time I was 6 years old into my early 20's. The cleaner my eating got, the less I had them. At age 39, I honestly don't remember the last time I had a migraine. I also know someone that gets a migraine if she ingests anything with red food dye. If you struggle with headaches or migraines....eating cleaner could help!

10. Can help keep you regular. Our health starts in our gut, and healthy, daily, bowel movements are so important. It's how our body gets rid of waste! Not properly eliminating can cause a whole slew of health concerns. Eating lots of whole clean foods with good fiber content helps you to keep much more regular, which supports your health and level of comfort greatly. 

11. It positively affects the environment. We all want to do our part to keep the planet that supports us healthy right? Supporting clean, organic farming practices, and less processed foods and factory farmed animal products can go a long way in this.

12. The ripple effect! If you are eating good & feeling good, you are more likely to take care of yourself in other ways, and create a feeling of wellness will spill into other areas of your life! The ripple effect also spreads out to your family & community as you set an example of healthy eating for all of those around you!


Now, let's talk about what it really means to 'eat clean'? If you google 'clean eating' you will get endless results to read. I've created a simple list here for you of my 9 top ideas to keep in mind when you are trying to eat cleaner.



  • Think about eating as close to the source as possible.
  • Maximum nutrition when it is closest to the source - fresh & local is best.
  • Some processing is okay. An example would be oats, you can’t just eat the oat plant & digest it.
  • Try to eat a rainbow of colors! Eating a rainbow means that you are nourishing your body with a rainbow of different phytonutrients.
  • Whole foods fill you up and fuel you, unlike empty calories.
  • High fiber content keeps your digestive system in tip top shape, which is essential for optimal health & wellness.


  • Read labels, if you can’t pronounce or don’t know the source,  then skip it.    
  • Try to imagine how the ingredient grows as you read the label. If you can't, reconsider.
  • Ignore the health claims on packaged foods such as natural, low fat, heart healthy…. be suspicious of these. Remember that it is It’s marketing, and doesn't mean that product is healthy. It is up to you to read the label, and learn what you want to put in your body, and what is better to skip.


  • Avoid white processed foods, white sugar, white flour, white bread, pastries.
  • Refined sugars provide nothing but empty calories, not beneficial to our health and very addictive.
  • Eat fruit & sweet root vegetables to cut sweet cravings.
  • When you want a treat, use natural, more gentle sweeteners such as stevia, honey, & maple syrup.


  • Learn to cook from whole ingredients, rather than from a box or package. It really can be simple and quick with a little experience.
  • Cook once & eat twice (or more!). Always make enough of something to pack lunches the next day, eat for dinner the next night, or freeze some extra portions. Save yourself time while eating great!
  • Use herbs, spices, & simple condiments to season already really good tasting whole foods.


  • Pesticides have been linked to cancer & a plethora of disease and health issues. 
  • Pesticides are used to destroy the life of insects. What do you think they do to your body?
  • GMO's have not been tested for safety in humans over a long period of time. We are like lab rats eating the GMO food not really knowing what kind of real health repercussions we will be dealing with long term. Many studies are proving that they are harmful to us in a plethora of ways. Avoid the risks!
  • Yes, organic more expensive. Your health is worth it. Your quality of life is worth it.  Medical expenses cost more.
  • Reduce your exposure to chemicals.
  • The environmental benefits are huge to supporting organic!


  • Avoid factory farmed, growth hormones, & antibiotics. Factory farming has some terrible practices in the treatment of animals, and remember that if you are consuming the meat and daily products from factory farms, you are also eating what they were given...tons of antibiotics, and hormones, as well as poor quality, GMO feed. 
  • Organic is better, again limiting exposure to chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics.
  • Grass fed beef and dairy is best. A cows traditional diet is grass, not grain/feed. When fed natural diet of grass, the meat and dairy have totally different nutritional content, including healthier fats vs. unhealthy     fats.
  • Keep portions small. Americans have a tendency to eat much larger portions of meat and dairy than needed. Always shoot for the largest portion on your plate being vegetables, and keep your meat & dairy portions small.


  • Eating these 3 together from whole foods at every meal will create optimum blood sugar levels that are able to stay level for longer, keep you satisfied longer, and stave off cravings & brain fog.
  • Great protein sources are beans, nuts, seeds, grass fed & free range meats, fish.
  • Great sources of healthy fats are avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts & seeds.
  • Great sources of complex carbs are quinoa, brown rice, or sweet potatoes.


  • Keeping your blood sugar level = making good food choices. 
  • When you wait too long between meals, or eat processed foods that can spike your blood sugar and then send it crashing, we are more likely to reach for sugar, junk food, or caffeine to keep energy up. This can cause a cycle of feeling irritable and tired.
  • Eat whole foods every 3- 4 hours to maintain blood sugar level and mentality.


  • No matter the nutritional theory or diet plan out there, they all agree on one thing: A plant based diet is where it is at! 
  • Micheal Pollan, a popular author who has studied and written a lot on food said that everything he's learned about food and health can be summed up in seven words: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."  Words to live by, if you ask me.


So, we have talked about why you want to eat clean, and we've talked about what it means to eat clean.  Would you like some practical advice of how to make is happen? How to make the shift? Next week I'm going to share with you a list of practical suggestions in how to you can start to incorporate the practice of eating cleaner into your life. In the end it's about taking action and creating real change, right?

Be sure to check back next week for part 2 of Clean Eating 101!

Wishing you Wellness!



Why I Cleanse


Why I Cleanse

Spring is a great time to do a dietary cleanse.
I’m on day 3 of a 10 day cleanse, and I’m feeling compelled to write about one of my favorite benefits of doing a cleanse that isn’t usually talked about as much as weight loss and detoxification.
There’s been a lot of buzz about fasting & cleansing over the last number of years, and It seems that it's becoming more popular. I've done various types of cleanses from juicing only, to raw foods, to the master cleanse where I'm only taking in the delicious drink of  lemon, maple syrup, & cayenne for 10 days. It can have amazing physical effects in detoxifying & cleansing your body. It can help to clean out your digestive system, and be a good physical reset. It can be a great jumpstart in losing weight and can have a lot of great health benefits. Although it's maybe not for everyone, I really love to do regular cleanses.
When you hear about cleanses what is most talked about is detoxification and weight loss. Yes, those two things generally happen and they are big reasons why many people choose to cleanse, including myself. However, there is another major reason why I cleanse that I want to focus on today, and that is this:
It resets my relationship with food.
How? Let me tell you.
Here’s what I think is the biggest piece. It resets how I respond to my cravings. It gets me back in the habit of making me think about what I am eating, how much I am eating, and why I am eating it.
Doing a cleanse makes you hyper aware of what you are putting into your body and why. As healthy as I usually eat, I still struggle with mindless eating sometimes, emotional eating, or just wanting a distraction from what I’m doing. We can easily get into the habit of eating for a lot of other reasons than nourishment. It resets that for me. Doing a cleanse retrains my brain to question what I am putting in my body and why.
It retrains me to ask myself in the moment: Do I really want this? Do I need this? am I really hungry right now? Is this an appropriate portion size? How will I feel after I eat this?
After the cleanse I’m in the habit again of checking in with myself about my cravings and asking what my body really wants rather than just caving right away and putting food in my mouth.
Because I am kicking out all sugars during the cleanse, except some fruit sugars, it resets my relationship with sugar. I loose the sweet cravings. We know how addictive sugar can be. While my sugar consumption is fairly low compared to the average american, it is admittedly one of my biggest weaknesses. Sugar can be a slippery slope. The more we eat, the more we crave it. Kicking it out of my diet entirely for a period of time releases me from the cravings for it, and resets my relationship with sugar when I feel it becoming unbalanced.
Cleansing also resets what kind of foods I crave. If I am drinking a lot of green juice, my body tends to crave greens & fresh food more. I come out of my cleanse craving big salads over pizza. Just as you tend to crave more junk food the more you eat, you end up craving fresh healthy food the more you eat of that too.
I’ve done multiple different types of cleanses, and whether I am limiting my food intake, or doing juices and liquids only, it always provides me with this benefit of resetting my relationship with food, and it’s a really good thing for me. I do eat a very healthy diet, but I’m just as guilty as many in falling off the wagon with good habits every now & then, and cleansing for me is a great way to get back on track and continue to build a healthy relationship with food, among all of the other amazing cleansing benefits.
It's a great way to celebrate spring after a winter of eating heartier foods, and ease into the summer full of an abundance of fresh foods!
 Wishing You Wellness!
PS- By the way, I am trying a new cleanse this time with some nutritional products that caught my eye because of their amazing ingredients.  If I end up loving them, I’ll be sure to let you know. So far, on day 3 I'm feeling really really good and I’m very impressed! 


Relationship (with food) Status: It's Complicated


Relationship (with food) Status: It's Complicated

How would you describe your relationship with food? Complicated?
I don’t like to generalize, but I think most of us have an at least somewhat complicated relationship with food.
What do I mean by complicated? Let me explain.
Let’s start by asking what food is meant to be for us?
The answer is nourishment for our body. That is food’s role, to deliver the nutrition that our body needs for growth & health. I also believe that we should enjoy the food that is nourishing our body, but the bottom line is that is that nourishment is the key role for food. That part is simple right?
Here’s where the complicated part comes in. Many of us eat food for many other reasons, and to try to nourish many things other than our body. Think about it. The last time you had a rough day and ate a pint of ice cream, were you thinking about nourishing your body or where you trying to nourish your emotions?
Our relationship with food is multifaceted. I think most of us eat for reasons other than nourishing our bodies. Emotional eating, sugar addictions, and junk food addictions are all part of our complicated relationship with food, and a very big subject I could never cover in one blog post.
My intention in writing this today is to get you thinking about the subject, and to talk about one small facet of this complicated relationship. What I’d like to focus in on today is how habitual it is for most of us to ‘reward’ ourselves with food that’s not good for our body.
This is a backwards concept, and one that many of us learned as kids.
Do any of the following sound familiar?

"Finish your homework then you can have a cookie."

"Behave in the store, and you can get some candy."

"Be good in your appointment today, and we’ll go get fast food."

"If your team wins the tournament,  we’ll have a pizza party."

I could go on and on.
 How does this translate into adulthood?

"I worked an extra long day, so I’m going to treat myself to ordering pizza tonight, sitting on the couch and eating it all."

"I’ve had a rough, emotional day, and I totally deserve a brownie sunday."

"I’ve been so good with eating healthy this week,  so I’m going to go to the bakery for pastries after my morning walk."

"I’ve gotten so many errands done today and haven’t eaten yet, so I’m treating myself to fast food."

"Congrats, You’ve been with the company for a year. To celebrate, we brought donuts."

Maybe these examples don’t sound exactly like you, but you get the picture.
Many of us have been trained to reward ourselves with food that isn’t good for us, and generally doesn't make us feel good. Really, When's the last time you rewarded yourself with broccoli?  Besides many growing up with this influence, think about the food marketing that you take in. How many commercials for junk food send a message that sounds similar to this….."go ahead! You are worth it! You deserve it! You can find decadence & happiness in food!"
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a purist about this by any means. I’m fully guilty of indulging myself with wine & desserts, and I’m aware that for me,  totally denying myself of these things is usually not a good idea. I personally tend to do better with a little balance of ‘naughty’ in my diet every now & then. However, when I indulge, I try to just call it what it is: Indulging. I try not to consider these things rewards for good behavior on my part because it simply doesn't make sense to 'reward' my body with something not very good for it. My point in this writing is to bring awareness to this  complicated part of our relationship with food, so that we can work on it.
Do you ‘treat’ or ‘reward’ yourself with food that isn’t nourishing for your body?
When do you tend to do this? How often? How do you feel after?
Now that we’ve brought awareness to it, what can you do about it? How can you work towards a healthier relationship with food?
Here's what I would suggest:
First, pinpoint the times that you really tend to reward yourself with food. What comes up for you? Is it after you’ve been eating healthy, or after stressful days, or after workouts?
Now that you’ve got some of those times in mind, ask yourself what else you could reward yourself with that doesn't involve unhealthy food? Perhaps at the end of an extra long day you could treat yourself by stopping to get a massage on the way home, or taking the time for a walk around the lake. Perhaps after eating really healthy all week, you could treat yourself to a new summer dress, or stop by the bookstore and get yourself that new book you’ve been wanting. Maybe after sticking to your exercise routine all week you can treat yourself to a relaxing afternoon on the couch watching movies, a night out with your girlfriends, or a pedicure appointment. Sometimes a great reward is just allowing ourselves some quiet down time in our busy schedule doing something we love.
There are a lot of other things in life that we can ‘treat’ ourselves to or ‘reward’ ourselves with, it's just that we’ve been programmed through life experience and marketing that a good reward for ourselves is decadent food, that's not beneficial for our body. This is a really backwards way of thinking about rewards, isn't it?
The good news is, new habits around this are possible to form, and being aware of where to make changes is the first step.
If you are someone that rewards yourself with sweets or junk food,  how can you work to transform this habit? What are other things you can begin to reward yourself with?
I'm not suggesting that you never treat yourself to food that you love and feel indulgent. I'm suggesting that we start fixing our relationship with food by tackling this complicated facet of it. Let's start thinking of food as nourishment, rather than something we treat ourselves with for emotional reasons. And let's start rewarding ourselves with things that are actually a reward to our body, mind, or spirit.
Our relationship with food is very much complex, and for many it can be very much a struggle. Remember that sustainable change is created through baby steps. Trying to change everything overnight generally ends up in failure and disappointment. Focusing on making one small change at a time is how we create new habits that stick around and that serve our body & mind in a healthy way.
If you’d like to work on your relationship with food towards a less complicated, healthier status, I invite you to work with this one small change and see what a big difference it can make for you.
Wishing you wellness!


Are You Eating Your Greens?


Are You Eating Your Greens?


Green food. It’s definitely put up there on a pedestal as far as food goes. Getting dark leafy greens in your diet daily is so very good for you in so many ways! They are put on a pedestal for a reason. They play a crucial role in our health!

Are you eating enough greens? Are you eating some green food daily? If you are like most americans, your diet could be lacking in this area, so I’m here today to give you a pep talk about it!

Why eat dark leafy greens?

Dark leafy greens help to strengthen your immune system, they can improve circulation, lower your cholesterol, they clean your blood, they help your body detox through supporting improved liver, gall bladder, & kidney functions, they are known to promote healthy intestinal flora, and can even help prevent cancer.

They are rich in chlorophyll which alkalinizes the blood. A lot of disease and health issues are related to inflammation in the body, so this is a really important aspect of their benefits.

They are rich sources of Vitamins A, C, E, & K. They are an abundance source of phytochemicals, and provide you with great fiber as well. Fiber = a happy colon :)

Examples of dark leafy green vegetables to consider are kale, bok choy, collard greens, mustard greens, arugula, spinach, romaine, dandelion greens, broccoli, broccoli rabe, watercress, endive, cabbage, brussel sprouts, turnip greens, and swiss chard.


How to eat dark leafy greens?

I think that like most things in life we tend to get into habits or routines, and the food we eat is not exception. I encourage you to try new things & mix it up a bit! If you try 1 new green, or one new way of eating greens per week, in a few months, you’ll have 12 news ways to eat greens in your repertoire! Sure, you maybe won’t like some as much, but hang onto the ones that you love and keep experimenting.

If you are not used to eating a lot of greens, adding them into your diet daily can make significant changes for you. Because they are nutritional powerhouses, you get a lot of energy from eating them. You may notice more sustained energy if you have a hearty smoothy in the morning loaded with greens vs the morning muffin that will send your energy crashing soon after you eat it.

You may have improved digestion and elimination from the added fiber in your diet. Some people even experience weight loss simply from adding greens in daily.  If you are adding a serving or two of greens per day, you are most likely crowding something less nutritious out of your diet!

So here is my challenge to you: If you think you could stand to add more greens into your diet, pick one new dark leafy green to you, or one new way of preparing greens per week. Keep this up for a few months, and I guarantee you will end up in the habit of eating more, and you’ll have more ways that you enjoy them. Enjoying them is really the ticket in. Find the ways you like to eat them, and know that the more you eat, the better they will taste to you! Before you know it, you’ll be eating greens every day! Even craving them! 

How I eat my greens changes over time as I like to experiment a lot in the kitchen, but I’d like to share with you my current top 5 favorite ways to eat greens. I make sure that they are in my diet in some way daily! If you scroll to the bottom, you'll find my current favorites. 

I hope this inspires you to get your greens in! Remember that good habits take time to form. Baby steps towards eating healthier is far more sustainable than trying to change it all overnight. Be gentle with yourself, and celebrate the small changes that you make!

I’d love to hear from you about your favorite ways to get dark leafy greens in your diet. Please feel free to share in the comments!

Wishing you wellness,



 My top 5 favorite ways to eat my greens:

#1 - Greens & eggs! Sauté onions, garlic, & greens in olive oil on medium heat.  When they are ready, push them to one side of the pan then add beaten eggs to the pan, scramble with some pink salt & pepper. when the eggs are about done, I mix it all together. Delish! And not just good for breakfast. I’ll eat this for lunch or dinner too :)

*Any greens work, although I’m not fond of cabbage with eggs.

*I LOVE using my cast iron skillet for this. 

* If using broccoli or brussel sprouts start them with the onions & garlic. If you are using heartier green like kale add it in when the onions & garlic are cooked about 1/2 way. For softer greens like spinach, I cook the onion & garlic first and I give the spinach no more than a minute in the skillet before pushing aside and pouring the eggs. 

*To take this to the next level, I’ll top the scramble with avocado chunks, fresh basil, & crumbled goat cheese (my current fav) or salsa & avocado.


#2 Steamed Chard with toasted sesame oil, raw cashews, and pink salt.

Remove the stems & chop or tear chard into large pieces. Steam for about 3-4 minutes. Remove with tongs to a large bowl. Drizzle toasted sesame oil (to taste) a bit at a time and toss. Pinch in pink salt (to taste). When sesame oil and salt are to taste, plate up and top with chopped raw cashews. 

*This is SUCH a favorite of mine. I sometimes crave this and will eat a really large pile for dinner with a good piece of sprouted grain toast.

*Sesame oil is a source of good fats, similar to olive oil.

*Sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and toasted almond slivers also work great to top them!

*Gomasio is a great addition to this as well, and would replace the pink salt. 


#3 Smoothies. My smoothies are almost always different, but they almost always have greens of some kind in. There is a plethora of recipes out there. I always suggest experimenting with things you love. And always add some greens 😃 I also add extra greens into my smoothies via spirulina powder, and various other green powders. My basic smoothie often contains 1/2 banana, apple, berries, almond or hemp milk & greens. 


#4 Stirfrys, Curries, and Soups. Whenever you are making any variations of these dishes, be sure to add some greens in! ANY Stir fry, curry, or soup can only benefit from adding some dark leafy green, not just in nutrition & health benefits, but taste as well! Try not to get hung up on how you’ve always cooked something. Add kale to a simple thai curry, or a big handful of spinach into some soup the last minute it’s on the stove, right before it’s served so that it just gently wilts and tastes so fresh & delicious! 


#5 Salads! Of course, but I had to mention it. The possibilities are endless. If you feel bored with salad, I recommend looking up some new recipes! Make something totally out of your ordinary to mix it up a bit! The combinations and flavors are literally endless. 



2016 Clean Fifteen & Dirty Dozen


2016 Clean Fifteen & Dirty Dozen


Have you heard of the clean 15 and dirty dozen list? If not, I'd like to tell you about it! Every year the  Environmental Working Group tests tens of thousands of samples of the most popular fruits  & vegetables for pesticide residue and release their Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

This report gives us the power of knowing what kind of pesticide residue is likely to be on the conventionally grown produce we may be feeding ourselves & our families.

The really brilliant gift that the EWG gives us each year, is the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen list.

The dirty dozen list gives us the list of the top 12 most common (conventionally grown) produce items tested to have the heaviest pesticide load. This year strawberries top the list, with a single strawberry sample testing positive for 17 different pesticides! Keep in mind that these pesticides are still found after the produce has been washed, and in many cases even peeled, like in the case of apples which is #2 on the list.

The Clean Fifteen list gives us the top 15 conventionally grown produce items that are least likely to contain pesticide residue. Few pesticides were found on these samples, or low concentrations of pesticides on them.

Why are these lists such great info? As we all know, organically grown produce is more expensive, and depending on where you live, not always as available as conventionally grown produce. Eating a lot of fruits & vegetables are important for a healthy diet, but how healthy is it when we are also consuming crazy amounts of pesticides? The Clean fifteen and Dirty Dozen list gives us the knowledge as a consumer and eater of produce to know which foods are really important to buy organic and which foods won't burden our bodies with pesticides if we are purchasing the conventionally grown options.

So if you want to feed your body and your families bodies clean produce without the toxic load of pesticides, need to stick to a budget, or maybe you don't have a lot of organically grown produce available where you live, these lists are a great asset for you.

You want to be sure that you are avoiding bringing home anything on the Dirty dozen list that is grown conventionally. If you can't purchase organic produce on this list, I suggest skipping them entirely.  This is the list that it's really important to purchase organic. The clean fifteen list on the other hand, you can feel good about purchasing conventionally grown if you choose to. Some of the key findings from this year's EWG report that I think are really noteworthy: (from EWG website)

  • More than 98 percent of strawberry samples, peaches, nectarines, and apples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
  • The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce.
  • A single grape sample and a sweet bell pepper sample contained 15 pesticides.
  • Single samples of strawberries showed 17 different pesticides.
  • Avocados were the cleanest: only 1 percent of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.
  • Some 89 percent of pineapples, 81 percent of papayas, 78 percent of mangoes, 73 percent of kiwi and 62 percent of cantaloupes had no residues.
  • No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen™ tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.
  • Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen™ vegetables. Only 5.5 percent of Clean Fifteen samples had two or more pesticides.

Knowledge is power, and this list is really a great gift to us in deciding how to shop and feed ourselves & those we love. This is a great list to keep with you when shopping.

You can donate to the EWG HERE and they'll send you a handy reusable shopping bag with the Clean fifteen & Dirty dozen listed on it!

Here is the guide you can print & take with you to the store!



Amaranth For Breakfast


Amaranth For Breakfast

Home cooked meals with friends are priceless for me.  Besides it being good quality time, It’s often how I get turned on to new favorite foods! It’s so easy to get stuck in the rut of eating your same favorite foods all of the time, until they are no longer favorites and you are just bored with them. I don’t believe we should ever be bored with food. There’s too many amazing options! Spend time with your foodie friends in your kitchens, and their favorites can quickly become yours & vice-versa.
I credit my friend Nikki for turning me onto amaranth, which was a staple food for ancient aztecs. It’s currently one of my favorite breakfasts, and I want to share it with you!
Like quinoa, amaranth is often referred to as a grain, but technically is a seed. Also like Quinoa, it’s a great source of protein, including two essential amino acids, lysine and methionine, making it a complete protein.  Amaranth also provides your body with iron, magnesium, B-6, calcium, and fiber. It’s a great gluten free choice for people avoiding gluten in their diet, and is easily digestible to boot!
My latest favorite breakfast is cooked amaranth with peanut butter, banana, a touch of maple syrup, and a sprinkling of cinnamon.
 1 & 1/2 Cup water to 1/2 cup amaranth
Cooking time 20-25 minutes
For breakfast, I like the amaranth to be a porridge consistency, so I use 1&1/2 c water to 1/2 cup amaranth. Feel free to add a little more water if you want it even more porridge like. You would use a little less, if you are wanting to have a fluffy grain as a side dish.
Combine amaranth with water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for up to 20 minutes, until water is absorbed.
When the Amaranth is done, I stir in a spoonful of peanut butter, add some sliced banana, and a sprinkling of cinnamon of you like.  It is delicious! The combination of the amaranth & peanut butter is deliciously creamy. Since I think bananas are the perfect combo with peanut butter and they add some sweetness,  my mouth is really happy! If you have a sweet tooth, adding just a touch of maple syrup is delicious too.  This is a hearty breakfast packed with protein, and a  bowl of this will easily keep me satisfied until lunch!
I’m a huge fan of the peanut butter & banana combo, but feel free to experiment with almond butter or other nut butters, as well as adding any other fruit, dried fruit, nuts & seeds, or cinnamon.

Amaranth breakfast with peanut butter, banana, maple syrup, & cinnamon.

Nutrition Facts
Amaranth grain, cooked
Amount Per
1 cup (246 g)
Calories 252
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3.9 g 6%
Sodium 15 mg 0%
Potassium 332 mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 46 g 15%
Dietary fiber 5 g 20%
Protein 9 g 18%
Calcium 11% Iron 28%
Vitamin B-6 15% Magnesium 40%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.