The Best Fruit/Vegetable Wash Options Available

Posted on May 12, 2018 By

The Best Fruit/Vegetable Wash Options Available

So you have decided that washing your fruits and vegetables is beneficial for your health – so what next?  It’s time to decide which method is the best fruit/vegetable wash option for you and your family.  This article is going to give you some helpful information on the different ways you can wash your fresh produce so you can make an informed decision for what’s best for you and your loved ones.  If you are new to this site and are not familiar with the reasons why you should wash your fruits and vegetables before eating, then you might like to check out The Best Way To Clean Fruits And Vegetables Naturally.  This article explains why you should wash your fruits and vegetables before you eat them even if they are organic.  Without further ado – lets get started!

There are three main methods for cleaning your fresh produce:

  1. Fruit/vegetable wash – ready made
  2.  Homemade fruit/vegetable wash
  3. Fruit/vegetable wash machines

Each option has its advantages.  Lets explore each of these methods more in depth.

Fruit/vegetable wash – ready made        2015-09-12 18.29.19

There are a wide variety of ready made fruit and vegetable washes available on the market.  These are a great option if you prefer not to make up your own fruit/vegetable wash and want something ready to go straight away.  When choosing a fruit and vegetable wash make sure that the ingredients used in the product are natural, non-toxic and food safe.  You don’t want a product that contaminates your fresh produce do you?

Ready made vegetable washes are designed to break down the waxes, chemical residues and other contaminants found on commercially grown and organic produce.  You will find a lot of conflicting information out there regarding their effectiveness, so the decision then comes down to the consumer to decide what they prefer.

Personally, I have used a fruit and vegetable cleaner and can highly recommend it.  I have compared the difference of using a fruit and vegetable wash to using plain water.  There is much support out there for plain water being effective as a cleaner, but from my personal experience, I find water alone does not remove waxes and I find a distinct touch and taste difference in the fresh produce once I have washed in a fruit and vegetable wash. Washing fruits and vegetables properly with a fruit and vegetable wash gives me that extra peace of mind that my fresh produce is as clean as possible.   I have found that combining ready made washes and vinegar has extended the life of my fresh fruits and vegetables. We will talk more about the benefits of vinegar shortly.

For a review on specific ready made fruit and vegetable washes available on the market please click here! (COMING SOON)

Homemade Fruit/Vegetable Wash   20150912_182831

There is a lot of information and recipes available on how to make homemade fruit/vegetable wash.  One of the key advantages of this method is, it is a less expensive option compared to your ready made vegetable washes.  Ingredients such as vinegar, apple cider vinegar, bi-carbonate soda and citrus juices feature in this method of cleaning.  All these ingredients are so versatile and have so many different uses around the home, that most people have them in their household for one reason or another, making this method accessible for the majority of people.

There are many different recipes available on how to make homemade fruit/vegetable wash, again it comes down to ind20150912_182849 (1)ividual preference and I encourage you to experiment with the recipes if you choose this method of cleaning your fresh produce to see what works the best for you and your family.

As mentioned above, I combine the use of vinegar with ready made vegetable wash when cleaning my fresh produce.  I will rinse the produce in the vinegar and water solution after washing and before the final rinse in water.  Why, I hear you ask?  Vinegar is known to be effective in removing mold and bacteria.  I find that by rinsing after washing helps to prolong the life of my fresh produce when storing.  Again, I encourage you to experiment and see what works best for you.

For some more information on how each of these ingredients works to clean your fruits/vegetables and some recipe options please visit The Best Way To Clean Fruits And Vegetables Naturally.

Fruit/Vegetable Wash Machines

The third method for cleaning your fresh produce is fruit/vegetable washing machines.  These machines use ozone or O3 technology to remove pesticides, bacteria and molds from your fruits and vegetables.  It is a chemical free washing system and has also been shown to increase the storage life and preserve freshness of these food items as well.

The amazing thing about this ozone (O3) technology is that in addition to fruits and vegetables, it is effective to use and decontaminate other foods such as meat, chicken, fish, seafood and rice.  There are no residues left after cleaning and the ozone (O3) water reverts back to normal tap water after fifteen minutes.

There are different machines available on the market that have additional uses available, for example they provide options to sanitize cutting boards, bench tops, freshen and deodorize your home just to mention a few.

This method is an investment, but the effectiveness and multi-functionality makes it really worthwhile.  For more information on available fruit/vegetable wash machines, please click here for product reviews. (COMING SOON)

The Best Fruit/Vegetable Wash Options Available

In Conclusion

At the end of the day we know the importance of washing our fruits and vegetable before we eat them.  We have looked at the three main ways to wash your fresh produce.  Ready made wash, home made wash and a fruit and vegetable washing machine.  Using one of these methods opposed to using plain water will ensure that you are washing fruits and vegetables properly.  The choice now comes back to you as to which suits you and your family the best.

I hope this information has been helpful.  If you have thoughts or questions please leave them in the comments box below.

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Organic vs Non-Organic Food – What is the Difference?

Posted on May 12, 2018 By

 

This question is an important one to ask to make sure you are getting the correct information about organic vs non-organic food.  Until recently, I thought I understood the difference, but as it turns out I didn’t.  This article is going to outline the differences and make sure you know what you’re getting when you choose to buy organic foods.

Is organic produce free of pesticides?

Organic food does not mean no pesticides!  This was what threw me when I saw a video recently explaining that in the US, many pesticides had been approved for use on organically grown produce. I was outraged, and consequently I decided to do some of my own research.  As it turns out most people associate organically grown foods as being pesticide free.  Well that is not the case at all.

Organic growing methods are designed to produce food without the use of any synthetic chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics or genetically modified material.

Where as conventional farming methods are a complete opposite, where they use synthetic chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics and genetically modified material.

 

So why are organic farmers allowed to use chemicals?

Organic food is produced by using an entire system approach to grow the food.

There are certain chemicals that are permitted in organic farming.  There are strict regulations in place that require pesticide use to be minimal. The Pesticides used in organic farming are primarily naturally derived. There are a small number of synthetic pesticides that are approved for use on organic produce opposed to around 900 approved for use in conventual farming methods.

Organic vs Non-Organic Food – What is the Difference?

Unlike conventional farming methods, pesticides use on organic farms are not used to support badly managed growing systems that need intensive pest control measures.  These approved pesticides are used as little as possible, as even though they are approved for use with organic produce they can become unsafe if used carelessly.

Therefore, it can be said that organic farming is designed to produce better quality food without the use of toxic chemicals.

When using pesticides in organic farming, unlike conventional farming, it is not about wiping out the entire insect population, including the beneficial insects.  It’s about reducing the numbers of pests and have a minimal effect on the beneficial insects.  They undertake pest management from a bio-diverse approach, by also planting crops that will attract beneficial insects that support in the attracting and populating of pest predators, parasitoids and crop pollinators.  This may be familiar to you with the concept of companion planting.

Organic vs Non-Organic Food – What is the Difference?

What safe guards are in place?

In the US, all pesticides must be reviewed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The EPA will determine the substances toxicity and will then set a tolerance level or a maximum amount that can remain in or on a food.

For a synthetic pesticide to be used in organic farming, it will be reviewed by:

  • National Organic Standards Board – to determine whether it can be added to the National List.
  • Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) or the Washington State Department of Agriculture – to make sure it complies with the national organic standards.

Guidelines for pesticide use on organic foods in Australia:

  • They need to be safe for the environment and from an ecological standpoint.
  • Animal and human welfare must be considered.
  • Has a half-life of 5 days and must break down easily in sunlight or soil.
  • Do not leave any residue on the food.
  • Are not synthetically derived, so no synthetic chemicals or xenobiotics.
  • Not thought or suspected to have any mutagenic or carcinogenic properties.
  • In Australia all pesticides are recorded in a log book for auditing purposes.

Organic vs Non-Organic Food – What is the Difference?

Are organic foods GMO free?

In the US and Canada, if the food/produce is labelled 100% organic, you can be sure it is GMO free as their Governments do not allow companies to label their products 100% organic unless they are free from genetic modification. With the certified organic/USDA organic and made with organic labelling can open up to the possibility that some GMO ingredients may sneak their way into the product.

Organic vs Non-Organic Food – What is the Difference?Organic vs Non-Organic Food – What is the Difference?

 

 

 

 

 

In Australia, organic farming methods prohibit the use of genetic modification, but with several regulatory bodies it is hard to monitor.  Misleading consumers and breaking trading laws is a serious offence, so if a product is found to contain GMOs when they are labelled otherwise the company will face hefty penalties.

Organic vs Non-Organic Food – What is the Difference?

Be aware in Australia to ensure you are eating 100% organic you need to look for the Certified Organic label, as the term “organic” is not regulated and can be used by anyone.

There will soon be an overhaul of the organic food industry in Australia.  Standards Australia is pushing to have one label and a unified national standard.

In conclusion:

There is still a distinct difference between organic and conventionally grown produce.  The organic movement has a different approach to farming and growing food.  They may utilise a number of naturally derived and synthetic pesticides, but they do it with a different purpose than the conventional farming industry. There are far more pesticides and toxins used in conventional farming methods and the guidelines are rigorous and stringent for those organic farmers when it comes to the use of pesticides.

We also discovered that being labelled organic doesn’t guarantee that your food is 100% organic.  You need to refer to the regulatory and labelling laws in your place of residence to ensure you are getting what you are looking and paying for in your produce and products.

I hope you found this article informative, I know I certainly learnt a lot during my research.  I’m glad I have been able to share this with you.

Thoughts or questions, I would love to hear from you below in the comments box.

References:

https://gmo-awareness.com/2011/05/05/is-organic-always-gmo-free/

http://www.foodwise.com.au/organic-labelling/

http://kiallafoods.com.au/products/organic-pesticides/

https://www.ecowatch.com/pesticides-organic-farming-2292594453.html

http://austorganic.com/consumers/certified-organic-frequently-asked-questions/

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Healthy Food Eating Plan – An Interview With A Vegetarian

Posted on December 29, 2015 By

There are many different ways you can create a healthy food eating plan. Over the coming weeks, I will be putting together some articles that explore different ways people create their personal eating plans.  If you have ever searched for anything in relation to healthy diets, eating, lifestyle or the like, you will know that there are so many different ways people can create a healthy food eating plan. When I first started looking into whole foods, it was mind boggling over just how many different diets and food “lifestyles” there are, such as raw food diet, vegetarian and paleo just to mention a few.  The aim of these articles is to give you a personal perspective to assist you in making an informed decision when looking into the design of your healthy food eating plan. For more information about vegetarian-ism please visit Vegetarian Diet Beginners Facts.

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Vegetarian Food Lifestyle

This week we are exploring the vegetarian food lifestyle.  This article has been put together after interviewing my sister Jaclyn who is vegetarian.  For the sake of accuracy, Jaclyn is referred to as an Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian because her diet includes eggs and dairy.  The information in this article has been set out in a question and answer format.   If there are any questions that are not covered in this article that you would like to ask, please leave them in the comments box below and I will get Jaclyn to answer them for you.

 

Q:  Why did you become a vegetarian?pizza-346985_1280

A:  Meat just didn’t agree with me.  I wasn’t well after consuming any type of meat product. Eating it use to give me stomach cramps and I felt that I wasn’t digesting well when eating meat. Once I took meat out of my diet and made different food choices I felt better and found I lost some weight.    Since eliminating meat from my diet, choosing organic foods and making my food from scratch, I have found that I can no longer tolerate processed foods or anything with preservatives.

 

Q:  How long have you been a vegetarian?

A:  Since 2012.

 

Q:  Have you ever considered becoming a vegan?

A:  No, I couldn’t live without eggs, yoghurt and cheese in my diet.  Eggs in particular are the base for most of the dishes I include at each meal.  Without these I would be hungry all the time.

 

Q:  What is your biggest challenge with being a vegetarian?

A:  Meal preparation is one of my biggest challenges.  I find I need to be organised with what I’m eating for the week, otherwise I end up hungry or making poor food choices.  When I say poor food choices, I mean a throw together meal which may not contain all the nutrients you need to keep yourself healthy.

The next biggest challenge is balancing the main meal at night, so I don’t wake up hungry in the middle of the night.

 

Q:  What are some of your strategies that you use to keep yourself organised with your meal preparation?

A:  Meal planning for the week is really important.  I set aside some time to plan my weekly meals.   I have to know what I’m going to prepare for the week, so I have a variety of choices at meal time that contain the nutrients I need for my busy lifestyle.

 

Q:  What do you do to make sure that you don’t wake up hungry during the middle of the night?

A:  It’s about training your body with a new way eating routine.  I eat smaller meals more frequently.  I might have either a large glass of water, a smoothie or my lemon ginger tea before I go to bed.

 

Q:  What advice would you give to someone who is considering becoming a vegetarian?

A:  You need to have self-discipline to make sure you eat well to maintain a balanced diet.  You need to be well organised and allow enough time with your meals to prepare them properly so they are nutritious.  Also don’t think that becoming a vegetarian is too difficult.  Work closely with a natural health professional.  I had some health concerns and working with my GP and Naturopath helped me make sure I was getting all the nutrients I needed from my diet and helped me keep a check on my health.

 

Q:  Are there any resources that you can recommend for someone wanting to embark on a vegetarian lifestyle?

A:  I recommend working closely with natural health professionals.  Swapping ideas with friends and like-minded people in the community.  I love cook books and cooking, these are another great resource I use.

 

Q:  How do you know your body is getting everything it needs?

A:  I get regular blood tests, I monitor my energy levels and as mentioned previously I work closely with my GP and Naturopath.

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This article is for information purposes only.  It is designed to give you the perspective and experience of a vegetarian.  It is important for you to remember that everyone’s body and nutritional needs are different.  It is important that you seek the advice of a qualified health Professional when you start your journey as a vegetarian to ensure that you are meeting your bodies specific needs. The information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.  If you have a health concern please seek advice from a qualified health professional.

I would like to thank Jaclyn for sharing her experience with us here at Christene’s Healthy Food.  If you are vegetarian or know the experience of a vegetarian, I would love to hear your experiences.  As mentioned above, if there are any questions we have not covered here in this article, please leave those questions in the comments section below and I ask Jaclyn for an answer.  Thank you for visiting  www.christeneshealthyfood.com  I hope you have found the information useful.  I look forward to seeing you again soon.

 

 

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Vegetarian Diet Beginners Facts

Posted on December 29, 2015 By

The vegetarian diet can leave beginners completely overwhelmed with the broad range of different “ideologies” that exist under the umbrella of the vegetarian diet.  Beginners often need some direction to get their heads around these.  This article will give some vegetarian diet facts to help you understand the basics.

There are several different classifications under the vegetarian diet.  These are determined by the absence or inclusion of certain foods within the individual’s diet.  Vegetarian ideologies include vegan, ovo vegetarian, lacto vegetarian, ovo-lacto vegetarian, pollotarian, pescatarian and one I haven’t heard of before…but think I like it!…..Flexitarian.

  vegan-1091012_1280Vegan

Vegan-ism is the most restrictive of the vegetarian lifestyles.  Vegans only consume a plant based diet, so no red, white meat, fish or game.  They do not consume any animal products or by-products, for example they don’t each honey, beeswax, gelatin, eggs or dairy.  They also tend to not use things like silk, leather or wool.

Ovo Vegetarian

Ovo vegetarian  consume a plant based diet, eggs and egg products.  They do not consume red meat, white meat, fish, game or dairy products.

Lacto Vegetaasia-698527_1280rian

Lacto vegetarian consume a plant based diet and dairy products.  They do not consume red meat, white meat, fish, game or eggs and egg products.

Lacto Ovo-vegetarian

Lacto ovo-vegetarian is the most common type of vegetarian.  They consume a plant based diet, dairy and egg products.  They do not eat red or white meat, fish or game.

lemon-1063959_1280

Pollotarian

Pollotarians’ are considered a form of “semi-vegetarian-ism”.  They consume a plant based diet, dairy products, eggs and include poultry and game.  They do not eat red or white meat that comes from land mammals.  There are some resources that indicate that in addition to poultry and game, pollotarians’ also consume fish and seafood.  Some people start a pollotarian diet as a transition before becoming vegetarian.

Pescatarian

Pescatarian also spelt Pescetarian, like pollotarian is considered a form of “semi-vegetarian-ism”.  On this diet meat is restricted to the consumption to fish and seafood only. Pescatarians do not consume red meat, white meat, poultry or game.  This diet is also used as a stepping stone to vegetarianism.

 Flexitarian                                                                                      

 Flexitarian is a “semi-vegetarian” diet.  It is mainly a vegetarian diet where the occasional meat item is consumed.

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Why People Choose To Be Vegetarian

It is a very personal choice when looking to start a vegetarian diet.  Beginners often ask why people choose the vegetarian lifestyle and the simple reason is for many different reasons.  Some of the reasons why include but are not limited to concerns for personal health, economic, political, world hunger concerns and compassion for animals.

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Is Vegetarian-ism A Healthier Diet Option?

Research has shown that there are many health benefits to consuming a plant-based diet.  Such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.  Many say that vegetarian diets are lower in fat, however like any diet it depends on food choices and variety.

Vegetarians can become deficient in iron, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and occasionally riboflavin.  It is important for vegetarians to eat a wide and varied diet to ensure that they are getting all the required nutrients and enough calories to meet their energy needs from their food.

Conclusion

There a number of different ideologies that come under the vegetarian banner.  They encompass a wide range of beliefs and reasons for choosing that particular lifestyle.  It is generally considered a healthier way of eating, but there are certain considerations as there is with any type of diet to ensure that it maximizes nutrition and enhances health and well-being.  I hope this article has assisted you in understanding some of the basics in relation to the vegetarian diet.

If you have any information or experiences that you would like to share or discuss, please leave a comment below in the comment section.  Thank you for visiting www.christeneshealthy food.com, I look forward to seeing you here a again soon.

 

References:

http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianvegan101/tp/TypesofVeg.htm

http://www.vegetarian-nation.com/resources/common-questions/types-levels-vegetarian/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/2944-facts-pollotarian-diet/

http://www.brown.edu/Student_Services/Health_Services/Health_Education/nutrition_&_eating_concerns/being_a_vegetarian.php

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Recipe #1 – Making Fruit Fun

Posted on December 27, 2015 By

 

 

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I recently attended my best friends Star Wars themed Birthday Party.  All the food was amazing, as it was also inspired by Star Wars.  What amazed me the most was how big a hit the fruit was with the kids despite all the other party food available.

There were six different types of fruit displayed in a rectangle Tupperware container.  Green grapes, red grapes, watermelon sliced into small pieces, strawberries in halves, fresh pineapple pieces and mandarin pieces.

Skewer sticks with the ends wrapped in aluminium foil – to resemble lite sabers, were placed in a cup for each guest to fill it with fruit of their choice. At the front of the Tupperware container, a skewer for each type of fruit was displayed.  It was bright and interesting.

Over the coming hours the children at the party had such interest and fun with the fruit lite sabers.  They would stand around and make up their own lite sabers and were having competitions to see who could come up with the most interesting combinations.  They were also coming up with different patterns and combinations with the fruit on the sticks.  I was amazed at how popular the fruit was with the kids despite other less nutritious party food being available.

Such a great idea just had to be shared with my readers.  Thank you Angela for such a great idea to make fruit more interesting and a party hit for adults and kids alike.

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The Best Way To Clean Fruit And Vegetables Naturally

Posted on December 27, 2015 By

Cleaning your fresh fruit and vegetables is highly recommended even when you buy organic.  This article will outline some of the reasons why and the best way to clean your fruit and vegetables naturally.

 

Why Wash Your Fruits & Vegetables?

There are four main reasons why you should wash your fruits and vegetables even if they are organic.

1.  To remove any organic matter (such as animal manures), bacteria or mold that the produce has come into contact with during the growing process.

2.  To remove any chemical pesticide, fertilizers or herbicide residues that have been used during the commercial growing process.

3.  To increase the longevity of the produce once harvested.

4.  To remove any contaminants that have been acquired by being handled multiple times from picking, packing, transporting and purchasing process.

 

The best ways to wash your fruit and vegetables naturally.

This video will give you some ideas on what you can wash your fruits and vegetables with.

Vegetable Wash

When choosing a vegetable wash, it is important that the ingredients are edible, organic and non-toxic.  It is pointless to use a vegetable wash full of harmful chemicals – you may as well take your chances with un-washed produce.

The vegetable wash I use works by attracting the harmful elements such as bacteria, pesticides and molds away from the produce and sticks to the water particles.  For hard skinned fruits and vegetables, such as potatoes, apples, carrots and sweet potatoes I use a brush as well to assist.

The vegetable wash will contain dilution and best use information on the container.

Vinegar/Apple Cider Vinegar

Is inexpensive and readily available.  These two ingredients are excellent at removing mold spores from your produce.  Can use these two items as a spritz or as a soak to clean your fruits and vegetables.

A spritz is ideal if your only cleaning one or two items, if you have a large amount then the soak method is recommended.

To use as a spritz dilute tablespoon of apple cider vinegar/vinegar with one table spoon of filtered/distilled water.  Shake to mix in spritz bottle, spray your item and them rub with hand, brush or textured cloth, rinse and your ready to go.

For soaking method, dilute 1 part apple cider vinegar/vinegar to 3 parts filtered/distilled water in a bowl or clean sink.  Place your produce in this solution and rub with your hand, brush or textured cloth.

You will find that recipes will vary from person to person, you can use this as a guide.  Some recommend soaking your produce, while others don’t.  I use this as a guide – for produce such as celery/strawberries that drinks and takes up a lot of water, I do not soak because it can actually draw up the contaminants in the washing water.  As a general rule of thumb, I don’t allow anything to soak for anymore than 5 minutes.  I place the batch of items such as my apples in the water and start washing immediately, then rinse and drain straight away.

Bi-Carb Soda

Is really good for removing the waxy coating you find on your fruits and vegetables.  You can add a couple of tablespoons to your vinegar solution, or use it dry on your produce as a scrub and then rinse.  This method I have seen it used on items such as cucumbers and apples – so your hard skinned produce.

Lemon/Orange Juice

Before researching for this article, I had never even thought about using lemon or orange juice to clean fresh produce.  Lemon and orange juice is antimicrobial, so is perfect for removing germs and bacterial from your fresh produce.  It can be added to other ingredients such as bi-carb soda and vinegar wash to give it extra zoom!

Create a spritz by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon/orange juice to 2 tablespoons of bi-carb soda and 1 cup of distilled/filtered water and mix thoroughly.  Place in a spritz bottle and spray your items and rub with either your hand, brush or textured cloth.  Rinse and drain.

Brush/Textured Cloth

For items that have a hard skin or grooves in their skin, using a brush or textured cloth can assist with cleaning more thoroughly than just rubbing with your hand.  Items that are more delicate and prone to bruising it is best to rub with your hand and be more gentle when washing.

Some produce is even to delicate for rubbing with your hands and you’ll find that the best way to wash these will be placing them in your wash solution and swirling them around briefly before rinsing and then draining.

In Conclusion

As you start to wash your fruits and vegetables regularly, you will find you will develop your own preferred methods.  There is a lot of different information on this subject, use the information as a guide an experiment to find what works best for you and your family.  I encourage my readers to share their experiences so we can all learn from each others knowledge.

Thank you for reading, I hope you found this information useful and I hope to see you again at www.christeneshealthyfood.com

 

References:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/245996-how-to-clean-fruits-vegetables-with-lemon-juice/

http://www.blog.freepeople.com/2014/08/clean-fruits-vegetables-naturally/

 

Raw FoodsUncategorizedWhole Foods     , , , , , , , , , ,


Which Foods To Eat Organic

Posted on August 30, 2015 By

In an ideal world all our foods would be free from chemicals such as pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and herbicides. In an ideal world we would not have to have a conversation about which foods to eat organic.  Unfortunately as the world’s population grows, so does the need to feed them, hence we welcome commercial growing practices that include those chemicals for maximum yield.  For many people, myself included, the preference would be not to have chemicals such as the carcinogenic industrial chemical – formaldehyde, that some Chinese growers are thought to spray on their produce to keep it looking fresh.  It is interesting to note that when CHOICE Australia did some broad sample testing of imported produce here in Australia, they tested for 164 different pesticides.  Yes you heard correctly 164 different pesticides!  Here in Australia,  AQIS is responsible for the monitoring and testing of imported food to ensure that it complies with the Australian Food Standards Code.  Even with this in place it has been reported by AUSVEG the Australian vegetable grower’s peak body, that they have concerns that the testing does not capture all potential pesticides that fresh produce is exposed to overseas.  Wow!  Well I don’t know about you, but this is a tad scary.

Even though there are strict standards in Australia regarding safe pesticide levels on fresh produce, it is feared that there is still a way to go to come into line with other countries as far as acceptable levels of chemicals used and types of chemicals that are acceptable.  Australia only bans chemical in this respect only when there is conclusive evidence that they are harmful.

We know that with organic produce comes a higher price tag when purchasing.  If you are on a budget, buying everything organic may be out of your reach, but never fear the Environmental Working Group (EWC), based in the United States. has created a shopper’s guide that helps consumers know which foods to eat organic due to pesticide exposure called – The Dirty Dozen, and those that are safer to eat if non-organic known as – The Clean 15.  This list is updated each year by the Environmental Working Group (EWC).

  Dirty Dozen

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1.  Apples

2.  Peaches

3.  Nectarines

4.  Strawberries

5.  Grapes

6.  Celery

7.  Spinach

8.  Sweet Bell Peppers (Capsicums)

9.  Cucumbers

10.  Cherry Tomatoes

11.  Snap Peas (Imported)

12.  Potatoes

Additional items

13.  Hot Peppers

14.  Kale/Collard Greens

 

    Clean

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1.  Advocados

2.  Sweet Corn

3.  Pineapples

4.  Cabbage

5.  Sweet Peas Frozen

6.  Onions

7.  Asparagus

8.  Mangoes

9.  Papayas (Paw Paw)

10.  Kiwi Fruit

11.  Eggplant

12.  Grapefruit

13.  Cantaloupe (Rockmelon)

14.  Cauliflower

15.  Sweet Potatoes

As these two lists are US based, as the EWG is a group that currently doesn’t have any offices outside the United States it’s worth noting that there will be differences country to country.  If you reside in Australia please read on for the Australian equivalent of The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.

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General Rule of Thumb when deciding to buy organic or non-organic produce.

Vanessa Layton has put together these tips and I think they are a really good general guide when it comes to what foods to eat organic.

  •  Tree fruits, berries and leafy greens, including herbs,  have the highest residues. Fruits and
  • Vegetables that have thick skins tend to have much lower levels of detectable pesticide residues.

The three main groups of things that you should really buy and eat organic, they are:

  1. Produce with soft flesh, such as stonefruit, grapes and berries.
  2. Produce with edible skin like carrots, apples, pears, capsicums and celery.
  3. Green leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach and leafy herbs like parsley.

As a general rule, any produce with a thick skin or has to be peeled before eating is a safe alternative.  Examples include bananas or avocados, watermelons and oranges.


Australian Dirty Dozen

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1.  Strawberries

2.  Peaches, Plums, Cherries

3.  Carrots

4.  Apples

5.  Spinach

6.  Nectarines

8.  Lettuce

9.  Carrots

10.  Pears

11.  Tomatoes

12.  Grapes

 

Australian Clean Fifteen

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1.  Kiwi fruits

2.  Pineapples

3.  Watermelon

4.  Rockmelon

5.  Avocado

6.  Citrus fruit – oranges, grapefruit, tangerines

7.  Bananas

8.  Mangoes

9.  Broccoli

10.  Radishes

11.  Onions

12.  Corn

13.  Eggplants

14.  Mushrooms

15.  Sweet Potatoes

16.  Cabbage

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Potatoes made the EWG’s Dirty Dozen List, information I have read in relation to this here in Australia is mixed.  For me personally, I try to buy organic or spray free potatoes.  A good friend who is in the Natural Health Care Industry once told me, that potatoes that are not organic soak up the pesticide that seep into the ground and since I cannot find any information to confirm or deny this theory, I am heeding this advice.

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General Tips to assist with what foods to eat organic:

  • Wash all fruit and vegetables really well whether they are organic and non organic.  I like to use a vegetable wash solution and a brush or vegetable cloth.
  • Peel the skins off, especially on potatoes, carrots, stonefruit, apples, pears and cucumbers.  For me this depends on whether they are organic, spray free or non-organic.  I will wash and peel non-organic fruits and vegetables, however I tend not peel if the produce is organic or spray free.
  • Grow what you can on your own – lettuce, spinach and herbs are really easy to grow in pots or in your back yard.  It also gives you a sense of pride and achievement when you can go and harvest bits and pieces for your meals.

 

Thank you for reading I hope you have found this information helpful.  If you would like to share any thoughts please leave a message in the comments below.

 

References:

http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/

https://www.choice.com.au/food-and-drink/food-warnings-and-safety/pesticides/articles/pesticides-in-imported-vegetables

http://blog.hellocharlie.com.au/2012/02/organic-dirty-dozen-australia/

http://search.csiro.au/

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10 Tips to Starting a Whole Foods Diet

Posted on August 18, 2015 By

  1. Start a bit at a time

    There is a lot of information out there about starting a whole foods diet, don’t let it overwhelm you. It’s better to start a bit at a time, than get overwhelmed and not start at all.  Once you start, you can take the next step you’re ready.

  2. Buy the best quality whole foods you can affordpiggy-bank-1239661-640x640 (1)

    If you’re on a budget buy the best quality food you can afford. It is better to do this and maintain the lifestyle change than to have to stop because you can’t afford to purchase the “top notch” produce consistently.  To find out more about the foods you should buy organic and the ones that are not as important to buy organic visit my article Which Foods To Eat Organic.

  3. Purchase some organic vegetable wash

    It is recommended that you wash your fresh fruits and vegetables even if they are organic or spray free before you eat or cook them. I recommend getting a good quality vegetable and fruit wash to rid your produce of bacteria, pesticides, chemical residues and anything else they may have picked up before their journey to your house.  Is especially important if you’re not buying organic produce washing with water alone doesn’t remove bacteria, pesticides and chemical residues.

  4. Store your items correctly

    This will make sure you get maximum life span and nutrition from your whole food. Click here for a great article on storing your whole food.

  5. Buy from local Farmer’s Marketsfresh-651772_1280

    Not only will you be supporting your local farmers, but you will have access to fresh, seasonal and locally grown food. Buying local also cuts outs the travel time that most produce experiences if it is purchased from a supermarket chain.  According to Lisa Leake of 100 days of real food, organic or conventional produce often travels on average 2414km (1500 miles) from farm to plate.  That is a lot of travelling; no wonder supermarket fresh produce doesn’t last long after you get it home.  If you buy from the grower direct, you cut out the middle man and you will find that the produce is fresher, has a longer shelf life, tastes better and more nutritious.

  6. Start your own vegetable or herb garden  

    Hopefully you’re not cringing at this tip. Starting your own vegetable or herb garden doesn’t have to be an enormous task.  It can be as easy as growing some herbs like parsley, rosemary, basil or anything you find you use frequently in your cooking.  I tend to grow things like parsley, rosemary, lettuce, baby spinach and cherry tomatoes.  These are things I use frequently and are easy to grow in large or small spaces and even thrive in pots.  Once you start you will start to find it fun to care and then harvest what you have grown.  I love it when I prepare a meal; I go into my garden and pick items to be used in that meal.  It is a great feeling.  I will cover some great resources to use when starting out in separate article.

  7. Find a good source for whole food recipes

    Finding a good source of recipes when starting a whole foods diet will definitely make starting out so much easier. It will help guide you to make the changes to your lifestyle you want when you want.  It will also open up a whole new world of recipes to keep it new and exciting without being bland and boring.  Recipes will help you in the meal planning process and making your shopping list, so you can budget and minimise food spoilage.

  8. Get organised

    Making the change to a whole food diet will mean that you will have to be organised. You will need to make sure you have your meals planned and easy to reach snacks available.  Without this you will find that you fall back into the old habits which means eating the processed alternatives.  One of the important things you need to make sure of, is that you have the right storage items ready for when you bring home you’re whole food ingredients.  You’re dry ingredients will need some air-tight storage containers and you fresh produce will require either fresh produce specific containers or vegetable/fruit storage bags.  Again work with what is in your budget.  I use a bit of both for my refrigerated produce.  I find that carrots and zucchinis store well in the containers and things like celery and other leafy greens store better in plastic bags.  You can even draw on what you have found when you store your fruit and vegies.

  9. Plan your menu

    Planning your menu will help you with staying organised and ensure you have enough of the ingredients you need to make sure you don’t “fall off the wagon”, so to speak. It is far too easy to reach for an unhealthy alternative if you have not planned what you will be eating for the week.

  10. Make a shopping list ID-10055279 (1)

    This is the next step after planning your menu. Planning your menu has now made this job easier, because your shopping list will reflect your menu.  I have friends that religiously plan their menu each week and they find it makes it very easy to budget, they have less fresh food spoilage and it takes the angst out of knowing what to have to eat as all the meals are pre-planned. Photo by Stuart Miles from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

  11. BONUS TIP: Congratulations, Enjoy The Journey!!

    You are taking a step towards better health and happiness; it will be a challenge and a learning curve.  My advice is to enjoy your journey.  Take it at your own pace and if you “fall off the wagon” dust yourself off and jump right back on and don’t be too hard on yourself if it happens.  Thank you for reading, I hope you found the information useful.  I would love to hear your comments or experiences in the comments space below.  Hope to see you back soon.

 

Sources:  www.rawfullyorganic.com, www.realsimple.com, http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/,

UncategorizedWhole Foods


What Is Whole Food?

Posted on August 15, 2015 By

Whole food refers to food that is as close to its natural form as possible.  These foods have gone through little to no processing or refining as well as contain minimal additives and preservatives.

There are a number of processes that foods can go through and still be considered under the whole food banner.  These include fermentation/cultured, dehydration, sprouting and cooking.  For example the drying or dehydration of fruits, fermented/cultured foods such as yoghurt and sauerkraut, sprouting of grains, seeds, nuts and legumes.

There is some information that suggests that pasteurisation is an acceptable process for dairy products to go through without damaging the nutrients.  Pasteurisation can be defined as the process of heating a liquid to below the boiling point for a short period of time to destroy kill pathogenic bacteria.  Milk is pasteurized at 72°C (161°F) for 15 seconds.  For me personally, I believe that this process would destroy a portion of the nutritional value of the product.  I am going to allow you to make up your own mind on this one.  It may be in many cases necessary.  If you decide to go down the raw milk path, I urge you to do your research.  Go to the source and ensure that they are adhering to strict processes ensuring that their product is safe for human consumption.

Can You Tell Me What Would Be Considered A Whole Food?

fresh-651772_1280Whole foods include a variety of foods such as, fruit and vegetables; wholegrains such as millet, brown rice, oats, rye, whole wheat, buckwheat, quinoa and cornmeal; beans and legumes such as lentils, chickpeas and kidney beans; nuts and seeds. Wholefoods that are of animal origin include eggs, dairy products such as yoghurt, cheese and milk; small whole fish, seafood (including crustaceans), poultry, pork and red meat such as beef, lamb, and veal.

They can include foods that are organic, pesticide free or locally grown.  Though these are the ideal ways to source your whole food produce, it does include items that are grown using pesticides and synthetic fertilisers. We will discuss in another post about ways you can reduce your exposure to these things if you do not have access to organic and pesticide free produce.

So what’s all the fuss about whole food? 

Whole foods are better for your health than processed and highly refined foods.  The concept behind this is that when you are consuming whole foods you are eating the food as close to how nature intended, therefore making the nutrition from these foods more readily available to your body.  The processing and refining of whole foods disrupts the natural balance of the food and often removes or destroys important components of the food needed by the body.  For example whole wheat is refined into white flour.  During this process, many of the nutritional components are removed.  Unprocessed whole wheat is a very good source of dietary fibre and manganese, and a good source of magnesium.

Processed foods are laden with preservatives and additives to make the food taste better and last longer.  They are also typically loaded with salt and sugars and because processing changes the composition of the food, it affects how it is digested an assimilated into the body, thus causing issues with the body systems.  For a great article that goes more into food processing and the effects on the body click here.

The Benefits of Including Whole Food In Your Diet.

  • Increases your nutritional intake.
  • Nutrients in whole food is more readily available for your body to use.
  • They are full of fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients such as antioxidants.
  • There are many studies that have found a diet high in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains are linked to a reduced risk of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. (http://www.webmd.com/diet/the-benefits-of-healthy-whole-foods).
  • You will start to experience personal health benefitssuch as having more energy, losing weight, improving regularity, or just feeling healthier overall.
  • You’ll find that because you are consuming less high density calorie foods, you won’t need to count calories.
  • I feel it is also common sense to know what is going into your food and ultimately into your body.

In Conclusion

I hope this article has been helpful.  I would love to hear your thoughts.  There is so much information to cover on the whole food area.  I am excited and looking forward to sharing more information soon on christeneshealthyfood.com

 

Sources:  http://www.whfoods.com/; http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/;     http://www.webmd.com/; http://articles.mercola.com;

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What Is The Raw Food Diet?

Posted on August 13, 2015 By

What Is A Raw Food Diet?

What is the raw foods diet? A raw food diet can be defined as a diet that contains only uncooked or unprocessed foods.  It would be prudent to mention here that most people live a raw foods diet; it’s a lifestyle for them.  Under the raw food diet banner, there are a number of different ideologies or philosophies.

When using the term unprocessed in relation to raw food, processes like pasteurisation, homogenisation and the use of chemical fertilisers, synthetic pesticides, industrial solvents or chemical food additives and preservatives are not used in conjunction with the food for this diet.  In saying that, food is organically produced and used in its most natural state, however under the raw food umbrella there are methods of processing foods for better digestion and assimilation in the body.   Some of these processing methods include the use of dehydration, fermenting and/or heating food below 40–49 °C (104–120 °F).

As mentioned there are many different ideologies within the raw food movement. So many, that it will absolutely blow your mind and put you off researching any further.  For this reason I am going to gently introduce you to the main three raw food categories so you don’t become too overwhelmed.

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3 Main Raw Food Ideologies:

The main three areas of the raw food movement we are going to focus on are raw veganism, raw vegetarianism and raw animal food diets.

  • Raw Veganism

This diet combines the concepts of the raw food diet and veganism.  It excludes all animal products, such as honey, dairy, eggs and meat.  Raw veganism also excludes foods that are heated above      40–49 °C (104–120 °F).  A typical vegan diet includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouted grains and legumes. There are a number of subgroups in veganism, but in an effort to not overload you with information I will not include them here.

  • Raw Vegetarianism

Raw vegetarians combine the concepts of the raw food diet and vegetarianism.  They exclude meat, poultry, fish, seafood and gelatine.  They do however include dairy and eggs.  Your average raw vegetarian will include fruits, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, grains, dairy, eggs, legumes, seeds and honey in their diet.  There are several types of vegetarians, but as I mentioned above I don’t want to overload you with too much information just yet.

  • Raw Animal Food Diets

In this particular diet any food can be eaten raw, with the exception of raw grains, legumes and soy products.  This diet’s menu includes uncooked and unprocessed raw meats including organs/muscles, raw eggs, dairy and aged, raw animal foods like fermented meat, fish, shellfish, kefir, as well as vegetables, fruits, nuts, sprouts and raw honey.

What Is A Raw Food Diet?

Each of these ideologies have their own set of beliefs which includes but is not limited to nutrition, social, economic and in some cases political.  They have their own guidelines for following the lifestyle.  I would suggest that you look for the one that resonates best with you and your family when choosing the direction in which you want to take.  You also have the option to choose the extent you wish to follow the regime.  You may only want to adapt certain aspects into your lifestyle.  Just remember you are in control.  Seek the knowledge and then apply as you see fit.

What Is A Raw Food Diet?

For me personally, I was introduced to the raw food diet concept after purchasing one of Dr Ann Wigmore’s books, The Hippocrates Diet and Health Program.  I was intrigued and the information that was contained within made perfect sense to me.   Dr Ann Wigmore advocates healthful living through living foods and exercise.  The journey ahead is exciting and I look forward to supporting you on yours.  I would love to hear your questions, thoughts or experiences so please leave them in the comments section below.

 

References:  Wikipedia.org

 

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