Posts tagged "organic produce"

Pesticides-Which Fruits-Veggies Have Least?


By Diane Gold

Pesticides: which fruits and veggies have the least?

Agricultural PesticidesThe Environmental Protection Agency ( regulates pesticides, but the amounts it allows in our fruits and vegetables is not so easy for the lay person to evaluate. Partly because we don’t have the time to look up the more than 1055 approved pesticides in use in the US and partly because the EPA is not offering the easiest chart for consumers.     Agricultural Pesticides

The first sentence on the EPA website says,

“Laboratory studies show that pesticides can cause health problems such as birth defects, nerve damage, cancer  and other effects that might occur over a long period of time. However, these effects depend on how toxic the pesticide is and how much of it is consumed. Some pesticides pose unique health risks to children.”

To the average consumer, you and me, this is far from helpful. The EPA mentions lots is serious ailments that “can” be caused by pesticides “that might occur over a long period of time” [… depending] “on how toxic the pesticide is and how much of it is consumed.”


Well, that’s noncommital.





We want simplified facts that will help us understand the pesticide discussion.


There’s a parallel between what’s happening in the pesticide discussion and what’s happening in GMO (genetically modified organism) discussion. We are looking at whether or not to label that GMOs are present, rather than discussing how they are harmful to us or the environment, why not to use them at all and how we are going to do definitive research on what damage they do to whom. Instead of labeling THAT there are GMOs present in a product, a more appropriate warning label similar to that previously used on cigarettes, might be introduced, saying,

“Genetically modified organisms may be hazardous to your health.”

The food industry would not like that, so they are happy to debate about whether or not to put the disclosure label on the product, defocusing the unsuspecting.
How many remember the days when cigarette labels said,

“Smoking may be hazardous to your health?”

And now?

“Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and may complicate pregnancy.”

With pesticides, we are boasting how legitimate the pesticide approval process is and listing which pesticides are present in which food. What would be more beneficial to our health and future generations would be to talk about methods of farming without toxins and educating people on the huge presence of pesticides and avoidance techniques.


We, as consumers, want useful information in qualitative numbers we can understand. We want to see how much of what food will hurt us. gives us some excellent information about the presence of pesticides on foods. It takes its info from the US Department of Agriculture, Pesticide Data Program, currently using 2005 data. For example, it lists that blueberries have a particular percentage of all blueberries in the US, on average, have pesticides A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z, AA, BB, CC, DD, EE, FF, GG, HH, II, JJ, KK, LL, MM, NN, OO, PP, QQ, RR, SS, TT, UU, VV, WW, XX and YY present. It would be great if we could easily find a table showing the EPA tolerances (amount of pesticides that are permitted to be present and still be safe for consumption) for each of those pesticides.


Before we get to the special charts that help us decide what to buy, let’s look at the fact that there are more than 1055 (EPA) pesticides approved in the US. We ingest them, we inhale them, and we can absorb them through our skin. Just think of all the places they are used: in our homes to prevent mold or mildew, on our pets to prevent fleas, on our lawns or golf courses, on our roadways for maintenance so we can see the signs and road, around entertainment areas so they are manicured. Some farmland pesticides make their way into our drinking water, and, of course they are on our foods. If our occupation is picking fruits or veggies, our exposure is massively multiplied, and side effects are more obvious.


Because of the abundance of cows used in agriculture and no sewage system for their waste, groundwater contamination has been found. Even if workers use manure as fertilizer or dig a hole for what they can’t use, some of the bad bacteria live on in some water supplies.


The Good NewsThe Environmental Working Group has created a consumer guides that lists which top fruits and veggies have the most and least pesticides so that we can choose how to spend our money and ingest fewer pesticides. This group is the environmental health and advocacy organization whose work resulted in the Food Quality Protection Act in 1996.

They have researched and created the consumer guides, DIRTY DOZEN PLUS and CLEAN 15. The first lists fruits and vegetables that have high pesticide content and, when possible, organic produce is recommended. The second list contains produce that, on average, has fewer residual pesticides and can be bought conventionally. It’s always best to buy organic produce, but these guides can help us make educated choices should we need to spend less than an all-organic purchase would cost.

Divider B22222





















CORN (almost all corn is grown from genetically modified seeds to resist pests, so pesticides are not necessary, but what are we really eating?)











Divder B22222


Pesticide Presence By State, 2002Pesticides are here, both on organic and conventional produce. Synthetic pesticides can burn the mouth, lungs, the respiratory system, cause nerve damage, cause skin to peel or change color, cause temporary blindness when exposure is high. Hopefully, we are never exposed to enough at once to cause anything like this. But it makes us think about how safe pesticides are in smaller quantities on our food.

Thanks to the two guides we have presented, Dirty Dozen Plus and Clean 15, we can begin to integrate this information into our buying power and our lives.


1) Be aware of the information presented in the lists starting now and every time you go to the store.

2) Be diligent about avoiding the purchase of those on the list.

3) If purchasing all organic produce is not possible financially, make adjustments based on the lists to maximize it. This is a good way to save on the correct foods.

4) Check the Environmental Working Group every year, since they have been publishing yearly guides.

5) Now that we have outlined the prevalence of pesticides, make other sacrifices so that you can give yourself the gift of great food.

Reach Out

6) Be healthy, and reach out if you need  me.





Please leave  a comment and LIKE.


Diane Gold, Founder of Warriors of Weight, Turning Habits Into Health, is a mentor in tai chi, kung fu and meditation, a music, fitness and stress expert, dedicated mom, studying plant-based nutrition and habit change.

Pesticides are always a concern. She says,

“Although organic farmers can use a variety of possibly unhealthy pesticides, I would rather eat those than the petrochemicals used in conventional produce. Plus, I would probably not be getting GMO seed-produce with organic food. At least, that’s what ‘they’ say.

“The list of ‘to buy’ nd ‘not to buy’ produce is pretty interesting. It makes sense that pesticides would remain in leafy green veggies and would not enter inside the skin of avocado or grapefruit.

“Certainly, I will get to know the list, especially since I always buy conventional products that are waxed, unless the distributor has personally told me beeswax is not used on waxed organics.

“I’ll be washing my cucumbers more diligently, and I will be on the lookout for an organic farmer who does not wax her cukes.

“I am grateful for the produce guides. They will help many people, including me.”

The Juice Cleanse


For people with a medical diagnosis or a prescription drug regimen, I’d like to begin with Elisa’s words in quotes below,

“Be sure to discuss the possibility of a Cleanse with your [health care professional]. Large and heavy doses of medication are especially hard on your organs without solid foods. As a result, juice cleansing may not be an appropriate option.”

Although not everyone will use the cleanse, this article gets us in the mood to consider the benefits of regular juicing for fun and health.


by Elisa Rodriguez


It’s essentially a liquid diet consisting of organic fresh fruits and vegetables (without the fiber), in most cases that take the place of solid foods for a day or certain number of days.


RestThe point is to allow the body a period of rest, free from breaking down heavy meals, which, in turn, enables the system to “clean house.” It’s a sort of reboot for all the systems of the body.

Since we spring clean our homes and regularly maintain our cars, we should also make it a priority to fine-tune our own uniquely crafted vessel. It’s the only one we’ve got!


My personal favorite is the Breville (any model), due to its large chute, quick speed and minimal prep required.


Any juicer will do a fine job. Do a little research to see which one is right. It’s an individual decision. There is also an alternate option below for those who don’t have a juicer.


Once you have a juicer, you want to select a 3-day period where you can focus on the Cleanse. This will mean:

•    Mentally preparing to consume fewer calories and to feel hungry.
•    Including one day pre and post juicing for fruits and veggies only.
•    Having the proper ingredients in your house for pre-, post- and during the cleanse.
•    Allowing time to prepare the juice despite your busy schedule, and, in fact, slowing down your schedule for the cleanse.
•    Allowing a period of minimal activity to deal with detox, which may or may not include headaches, fatigue and irritability.
•    Allowing time to rest and relax so your body can work most effectively.

Let’s break this down further.


BroccoliCucumber, celery, broccoli stems, and apples make a great simple starter. Believe it or not, the cucumber and broccoli stems have a mild sweetness, so they provide a nice neutral flavor.


The beauty of the cucumber/celery/broccoli/apple combo is that it provides a 3 to 1 ratio of non-starchy veggies to fruits and/or higher glycemic index veggies (like carrots), assuming that equal proportions are used.


1)    High glycemic fruits or vegetables are used more sparingly because they break down more quickly, raising the blood sugar level.
2)    The elevation in the blood sugar level produces insulin to transport the sugar to be used by cells as energy.
3)    When lots of insulin is produced from eating high glycemic foods (like high glycemic fruits or vegetables), this production tells the body it has lots of energy.
4)     Because the body thinks it has lots of energy, it stops burning fat and starts storing it.
5)    Another concern is that, the insulin removes too much blood sugar from the blood so the body feels tired and hungry.
6)    When the body feels tired and hungry, we crave sweets, overeat and start the cycle over again.

This ratio ensures that a less sweet beverage is absorbed into the blood stream to avoid a spike in blood sugar. The vegetables naturally reduce the sweetness of the beverage. The reduction in sweetness results in steadier serum values, less and lower spikes to reduce the occurrence of plummeting blood sugars, which follow an elevated glucose level resulting in a false sense of hunger and ultimately overconsumption of calories.

Therefore, to juice effectively, you want to maintain the 3:1 ratio at all times. This isn’t to say that carrots or fruit (higher glycemic index foods) are unhealthy. In fact, they are just the opposite, but the quantity and combination of such ingredients should be carefully considered when juicing for wellness.


Some non-starchy veggies are artichoke, arugula, asparagus, bean sprouts, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, daikon, kale, eggplant, greens leek, lettuce, okra, onions, peppers, radishes, zucchini.

Some starchy veggies are beets, carrots, corn, green peas, parsnips, plantains, pumpkin, sweet potato, taro, white potato, winter squash, yams.

High Glycemic Index veggies are potatoes, corn, carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips. Beans vary in glycemic index level.


Purchase as much organic produce as possible, since the pesticides are easily absorbed when the body comsumes juice.

CucumberCucumbers tend to be expensive, yet they contain some of the highest pesticides. I typically rinse them in vinegar to help strip the pesticide residue from their skins, which I peel for added insurance.

One item, which you might buy non-organic, would be citrus due to the thick protective peel or rind, unless you intend to juice the entire rind. Then, organic is recommended.

The other perk to organic is that, as you refine your taste buds by consuming a clean unprocessed diet, you will find that organic produce has added flavor.

Eventually you might combine and juice whatever collaboration of produce you conjure up from your fridge (provided it follows the 3:1 ratio); this is my norm. In fact, if you have an overflow of produce that is soon to spoil, juicing is a fantastic way to avoid lost nutrients to the trash.


If you’ve never purely juiced before, I suggest starting with a one-day cleanse and easing yourself into the juicy goodness. This requires one day of raw fruits and veggies pre-cleanse and one day of gently cooked/blended fruits and veggies post-cleanse.


AppleFor anyone and everyone attempting a juice cleanse, I suggest allowing one day of low starch fruits and veggies before and after the actual juicing. This allows your body to adjust to the lighter fare, while lessening the withdrawal effects from your usual routine.
Regardless of how many times one cleanses, this is a vital step to make the cleanse most effective.

Pre-fast, (the word “fast” refers to the juice fast and is synonymous with the juice cleanse) your stomach receptors are expanded and stretched and awaiting a larger quantity of food. By leaning in from large meals, to fruit and veggie solids, to fruit and veggie liquids (aka juice), it is much less of a shock to your system. This single step could make a BIG difference.

Similarly, post-fast, your stomach receptors have shrunken from a liquid diet. Your body has become content with less, and you don’t want to undo this hard-sought progress with a heavy meal. If you resume heavy meals too quickly, you may very well end up with a stomach ache, nausea or bathroom blues.

Post-cleansing, you should resume solids slowly by starting with ½ of a steamed organic zucchini, which is especially gentle on your GI tract. Cooked squash, pureed soups, and blended smoothies are all good options following a juice cleanse.

The day after the post-cleanse, you can gently ease into a high-nutrient diet style with solids such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts/seeds, beans and legumes.

1-Day Cleanse For Beginners


Raw fruits and veggies only. No animal products (meat, dairy, poultry, seafood), no nuts/seeds, no grains, no beans/legumes, no oil, no salt, no sugar, no flour, no alcohol, no coffee, no caffeine, no chocolate.


Green JuiceOrganic raw fruits and veggies juiced in the 3 to 1 ratio, meaning that each of the cucumber, celery, broccoli stems and apple must have equal amounts of liquid juice. The amount of juice for each food will vary based upon the age, quality and type of the food.


Gently cooked squash, pureed soups, blended smoothies and fruit whips.

Alternative if you don’t have a juicer or if medications preclude The Juice Cleanse

An alternative is a blended cleanse, where you blend fruits and veggies in a high-powered blender to create green smoothies, blended soups and fruit whips for a prolonged period of time. This can have a similar effect to juice cleansing without adding stress to your system in the presence of medications.


While cleansing seems like a hot trend these days, it has real sustainable power to promote longevity and to reduce aging when made a regular part of your wellness routine.
Juicing provides a form of calorie-restriction and low caloric intake over time that is associated with an increased lifespan.

As a result, juice cleanses can be an integral part of health promotion to enhance quality of life while reducing inflammation in the body.


Once you master The Juice Cleanse, I suggest making it a monthly occurrence to help recalibrate your taste buds, cravings, quantities and food habits. In other words, make juicing your lasting friend rather than a temporary trend.


Juicing on a regular basis really feels good. It feels as if I have taken a bath from the inside out.


Please leave your comments below. We value them very much.


Elisa Rodriguez is a registered dietician. She emphasizes a whole food, herbivore eating style in addition to promoting blending, juicing and fasting for health.
Elisa is a living example of the power of healthy food and has defied Lupus through her whole food, plant-based diet. She has her degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Delaware and is available to work with people on dietary health issues.


Diane Gold, Founder of Warriors of Weight, Moms For Healthy Daughters, is a mentor in tai chi, kung fu and meditation, a music, fitness and stress expert and a dedicated mom. She believes in empowering the body through healthy foods. She says,

“The body loves fresh juice. It is so important that we give some to our bodies. We will be thanked a thousand times over.”

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by Diane Gold on September 10, 2012.

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by Diane Gold on July 23, 2012.

Our main article was written by our panelist and registered dietician, Elisa Rodriguez. Her 10 tactics are so important because they can individually be implemented without much effort. The goodness we will feel from any 1 powers up our motivation to repeat the tactic the next day.

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Revelations Of A Weight Warrior, Trish Carr: A Testimony For Moms And Daughters-Part II

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This week, we have parts two and three of our three-part series with Trish Carr, Warrior Of Weight. Here is part two where Trish gives instructions on using stir fry for snacks.

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Revelations Of A Weight Warrior, Trish Carr: A Testimony For Moms And Daughters-Part I

by Diane Gold on June 25, 2012.

We have interviewed Tris Carr. This is the first of a three-part feature where she shares her insights about her ongoing journey with food, filled with strategies and tips we can all relate to.

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by Diane Gold on June 11, 2012.

Wheatgrass Juice has some amazing, healing properties. We go over 10 of them and offer 4 or 5 easy action steps to help everyone get started with making it a regular habit.

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The Juice Cleanse

by Diane Gold on May 28, 2012.

Elisa Rodriguez has written a wonderful article called The Juice Cleanse. She has prepared this discussion to instruct us how to go about it with the safest result.  have added some discussion where it says Publisher’s Note.

Although not everyone will use the cleanse, the article gets us in the mood to consider the benefits of regular juicing for fun and health. There is also a blender option later on in the article.

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The Food Advocate

by Diane Gold on May 19, 2012.

This is a new program for anyone to get the help needed to THRIVE with food.

Lunch Hour, The Movie: An In-Depth Look At The Lack Of Nutrition In School Food

by Diane Gold on April 16, 2012.

Our main article is a review of the worthwhile documentary, Lunch Hour, a spectacular look at our school food system with ways we can help change it.

Also in this issue…

The O Word And How Education Develops Sensitivity In Speaking About Weight Issues

by Diane Gold on February 20, 2012.

I’m really excited about this week’s main essay. It touches upon some of the most important issues for family members and friends of and those who struggle with extra body weight.

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Food Education: Who’s Doing It And Who’s Responsible For It?

by Diane Gold on February 13, 2012.

This week, our main article talks about food education and school nutrition. Our kids spend the bulk of their day in school. This means the food they eat will either come from home, school or a nearby store. Florence Bernard, our education expert, gives her insights on whether or not our education system prepares our kids with nutrition knowledge.

Also this issue…

The Avocado Story And Fat Can Be Good

by Diane Gold on January 16, 2012.

Our main article comes from Anahad O’Connor and Dave Lieberman from their book, The 10 Things You Need To Eat. It talks about why avocados are healthy for you and why their fat is good fat.

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New Year’s Resolutions That Work: Weight Loss, 2012

by Diane Gold on January 2, 2012.

This article recognizes why we make New Year’s resolutions and targets weight loss resolutions and why some work better than others. Giant resolutions tend to be much harder to keep since they require much more staying or maintenance power, which can be a newly learned behavior, over time.

Also in this issue…

How To Break A Food Trance

by Diane Gold on December 19, 2011.

Our featured essay is an interview with Sharon and Glenn Livingston, PhDs and experts on emotional eating. This transcription and the audio below highlights some of the most straight forward ways to combat what happens when you go into a food trance.

Also in this issue…