This Dirty Truth About Fruit That Will Surprise You

This Dirty Truth About Fruit That Will Surprise You

This Dirty Truth About Fruit Will Surprise You!

April, 2019

Almost everyone knows eating fruit is a healthy practice. 

But if you shop willy nilly, clueless about hidden layers on your prized produce, healthy can unknowingly turn into risky (especially if plant food is your go-to).

In this post, you’ll get up-close with the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 report. See what’s on your fruit, potential negative impacts, the cleanest and dirtiest fruit & veggies to date, and how to minimize the effects of consuming dangerous pesticide and chemical substances.

There I was, a newly minted bride standing in the kitchen with a CUTCO knife in one hand, and a large, washed, shiny apple in the other. 

Intrigued by the razor-sharp blade, I began to scrape the surface of the apple.

A pile of gunky, dirt-like, sticky stuff sloughed off onto my counter.

Wax? 

Yes. And it included one of the ingredients from my wedding day nail manicure: shellac. 

I’m guessing you’ve eaten your share of shellac, too.

On the macintosh apple in your elementary school lunch…

On the sliced pears you devoured at a breakfast party (whose host sadly didn’t care to wash them)…

On the oily-like skin from the barley rinsed salad bar cucumbers…

What’s fruit wax and what’s it good for?

Fruit wax is a blend of synthetic and sometimes natural material used to cover fruit and vegetables. If you’ve purchased

produce from a grocery store, chances are, you’ve fallen into its shiny arms. It sounds satisfactory when you look at what it does:

  • seals in moisture
  • protects it from browning
  • prolongs shelf life
  • gives it a shiny coat

Seems to be doing fruit a harmless favor. But for you? Maybe not. Let’s take a look at what it contains. 

#1 Fruit wax contains questionable ingredients

Conventional fruit wax contains not-so-yummy elements, and serves as a trapping agent for others:

Petroleum: This liquid mixture is used to produce fuels including gasoline, kerosene, and diesel oil. Synthetically made waxes sometimes use petroleum as an emulsifier. Petroleum is not for consumption and is cited as a possible link to cancer.  

Shellac Resin. This coating is derived from the secretion of the female lac bug. It’s dissolved in ethanol to make liquid shellac. It’s the same coating found in some nail polishes (like the one I wore for my wedding), food glazes, aluminum foil coating, printing inks, paints, wood finishes, and can cause allergic reactions.

Ethanol (Alcohol). Used for consistency. While regarded as generally safe for consumption in this form by the FDA, even limited quantities can still cause detrimental effects on the nervous system.

Milk Casein. A protein linked to milk allergy. Sometimes used as a film former.

While some fruit (like apples) naturally form their own wax, it’s way different from the chemically laced fruit wax found on grocery store produce. Unlike the conventional fruit wax, natural fruit wax can deter certain types of cancer cells and aid the synthesis of anti-tumor agent compounds. But if your apple looks like the quintessential fairy tale shinny Red Delicious, you’re more than likely not eating the natural stuff.

Applying fruit wax to oranges in the production process.

#2 Fruit wax traps harmful pesticides

In addition to consuming petroleum, shellac resin, ethanol, and milk casein, biting into tasty fruit may bring another challenge: avoiding pesticides sprayed onto the fruit.

The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), the makers of the famous Dirty Dozen list, wrote their guide based on the results of more than 40,900 samples of produce tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration. It’s important to note that before any testing, all produce was washed just as one might do at home, and peeled. 

Here are some of the major takeaways, sourced from the 2019 report:

  • More than 90 percent of samples of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines and kale tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides.
  • Kale and spinach samples had, on average, 10 to 80 percent more pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.
  • Avocados and sweet corn were the cleanest. Less than 1 percent of samples showed any detectable pesticides.
  • More than 70 percent of fruit and vegetable samples on the Clean Fifteen list had no pesticide residues.
  • Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen vegetables. Only 6 percent of Clean Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had two or more pesticides.
  • As in the past, this year EWG has expanded the Dirty Dozen list to highlight hot peppers, which do not meet their traditional ranking criteria but were found to be contaminated with insecticides toxic to the human nervous system.
  • A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.

So what were the rankings?

The Dirty Dozen lists the most filthy of the bunch, ranking strawberries, spinach, kale (newcomer to this list), nectarines and apples as the 5 dirtiest. For the full 12, check out the infographic below.

The Clean 15 on the other hand, lists the least contaminated of the bunch. It ranks avocado, sweet corn, pineapple, frozen sweet peas and onions as the 5 safest. For the full 15, check out the infographic below. 

Harmful effects of pesticide and chemical exposure

Pesticides and chemicals are hazardous, linking to carcinogenic, reproductive, developmental, hormonal, and neurological problems.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, cited research linking pesticide exposure in early life to “pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems.”

The conversation doesn’t stop there. A CNN report also cited research linking pesticide exposure to childhood cancer and neurological consequences, such as lower IQ and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Research by the University of Washington says that “studies have found that chronic, lower dose exposure is associated with respiratory problems, memory disorders, skin conditions, depression, miscarriage, birth defects, cancer and neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease”.

I became a bit uneasy after learning about what was on and in my food. I eat fruits and veggies daily. Thankfully, there are ways to still enjoy the benefits of nature’s yummy treats safely.

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Three Game-Changers I Wish I Knew

BEFORE GOING PLANT-BASED

Want to transition to a plant-based diet without all the fuss?

I'll give you a FREE 3-part email series packed with 15+ years of my life-tested strategies to JUMPSTART your plant-based game for the win!

In the future, you'll also receive tips, recipes and resources to thrive on a plant-based diet. Your information is secure and will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

How to limit your exposure to harmful pesticides, and eat safer fruit and vegetables

 

#1 Wash thoroughly before eating

Always thoroughly wash your fruit before eating conventional or organic. If your fruit is not organic, you may even want to peel. Store-bought or homemade veggie wash? It’s up to you. You can easily make your own from distilled white vinegar. Two ways to make it, are:

METHOD 1:

1. Fill your freshly cleaned sink with water and add a cup of distilled vinegar

2. Add your fruit and veggies to soak for up to an hour

3. Gently scrub and rinse

4. Dry well before returning to fridge to prevent decay

 

METHOD 2:

1. Fill a spray bottle with 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar

2. Spray onto your fruit and veggies

3. Let sit for 15 minutes to an hour

 You may also use lemon and grapefruit seed extract as cleaners.

 

#2 Go Organic 

Not everyone finds it easy to do a 100% switch to organic. As much as you can however, eat organic fruits and vegetables! The University of Washington states that studies show eating an organic diet can reduce children’s exposure to pesticides.

Remember: the Dirty Dozen foods contain the highest amounts of pesticide residue, so choose organic from these.

The truth is, sometimes even organic fruit and vegetables are waxed. Even so, you still bypass a host of pesticides and chemicals.

Is there a difference between conventional wax and organic? Yes. Conventional wax uses synthetic ingredients. Organic uses natural ingredients. Since shellac is derived from a beetle, it’s not considered synthetic. You may find it on your organic fruit and veggies–so remember to wash!

Want to ensure you select organic produce? Check the price-look-up (or PLU) code on the produce sticker to identify the product type:

Organic produce: 5 digits long and begins with the number 9

Conventional produce: 4 digits long and starts with the number 4

Genetically modified produce (GMO):  5 digits long and starts with the number 8

 

#3 Grow your own or eat locally grown 

Homegrown food tastes better and is rewarding. If you’re new to gardening, foods like greens and tubers are easy-to-grow options. If you can’t garden, consider buying locally grown produce which limits pesticide and preservative exposure. Many locally grown food options are organic. 

Recap +

Fruits are an excellent source of essential nutrients that heal the body. Yet, even “healthy” items can be tainted, ushering in uninvited contaminants that can hurt you. Knowledge is power. Know what’s in and on your food. And, proactively protect yourself from contaminants by carefully washing and/or peeling your produce using the tips shared above.

Your food is either medicine or poison. Choose wisely.

This article covered both the dirtiest 12 and the cleanest 15, but there are many ranked in between. Check out the full list to learn more.

And of course, find the updated 2020 report next March, right here at Choosing My Health.

Psst.

In case you’re thinking, “there’s too much to know, I can’t stay on top of it. Why bother?”

I’ll tell you why.

You’re worth it! You have a purpose, and your health should empower you to live it out–not stand in your way.

Your tenacity has led you this far. And God will provide needed tools like this one, to guide your way. 

Stick with it.

The journey is not in vain, and you’re closer to your goal.

We’re in this together.

What tips have you used to help you safely consume fruits and vegetables?

Feeling Social?
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Feeling Social?
Let's Connect!

       

Hey friend, I'm Mel!

I'm a certified health coach, plant-based food instructor, and certified personal trainer. My passion is helping people like you transition to a plant-based diet, with easy step-by-step strategies that work. I'm committed to empowering you to heal through a plant-based lifestyle so you can freely live out your God-given purpose, and thrive. Let's start today!

 

 

Join The Conversation!

       

© 2019-2020 Choosing My Health, LLC
All rights reserved.

My Fav 5: Easy Vegan Cheese Recipes To Totally Satisfy

My Fav 5: Easy Vegan Cheese Recipes To Totally Satisfy

My Fav 5: Easy Vegan Cheese Recipes To Totally Satisfy

March 2019

A plant-based life isn’t cheeseless. But I definitely thought it was. For the first few months of my transition, I tried my hand at multiple store-bought plant-based cheese options, but they were all… semi hit or miss, meh. My conclusion? Bite the bullet. You’ll live a cheeseless life, but you’ll live.

Then I came across the idea that I could make this stuff.

Umm…revolutionary!

Endless guilt-free easy recipes. No more expensive plastic packages. Fresh tasting, gooey AND sliceable satisfaction. So if you’re ready to give the vegan cheese making world a try, here are some awesomely easy recipes to make your tastebuds happy! 

EASY VEGAN MOZZARELLA "CHEESE"

Nothing like that melty and gooey cheesiness on some pizza. I love this recipe because it’s made with just 7 ingredients, and browns beautifully! And yes, it’s yummy 😉

Photo Credit: Minimalist Baker

RAW ALMOND PARMESAN

I love topping this all over my noodles and meatballs! It’s the perfect sub for anything that calls for parmesan cheese! This totally enhances any dish, and best of all, it’s super fast and easy to make.

Photo Credit: One Green Planet

SLICEABLE CASHEW CHEESE

Cheese and crackers here we go! There’s really nothing like making cheese and slicing it like the real deal…you gotta try this. Get creative—the variations are endless! Remember to use agar agar powder, that’s what does the setting 😉

Photo Credit: Loving It Vegan

VEGAN ALFREDO SAUCE

Alright guys! Get out those spiralized veggies and pour this sauce on thick. Or use it for a plant-based alfredo lasagna with tons of yum veggies. #win

Photo Credit: Downshiftology

VEGAN HERB CHEESE

This super simple, appetizer crowd-pleaser is sure to get you excited! Super satisfying and the herbs take this to another level!

Photo Credit: Exceedingly Vegan

BONUS–MOXERELLA CHEESE

I planned to share just five–hence the title of this post 🙂 But! I just had to throw in this bonus because it’s an easy mozerella cheese recipe that doesn’t require plant-based yogurt. So if you still want a pizza cheese that browns and stretches, and you don’t have plant-based yogurt on hand, give this one a try!

BONUS–PLANT-BASED NACHO CHEESE

I just can’t stop myself! Here’s another bonus…my Plant-Based Nacho Cheese. You can thank me later! 

Photo Credit: One Green Planet

Making plant-based cheese is a healthier option than dairy cheese, and gets the creative juices flowing. And it doesn’t have to be less tasty–not for a minute. So try one of these! Make it your own by maybe adding in some extra herbs 😉

Have fun! Comment below to tell us about your plant-based cheese making adventure.

Thank God a plant-based life is cheese-filled too!  

Did you make one of these recipes? Tag @cmhsocial on Instagram and hashtag it #cmhsocial

Three Game-Changers I Wish I Knew

BEFORE GOING PLANT-BASED

Want to transition to a plant-based diet without all the fuss?

I'll give you a FREE 3-part email series packed with 15+ years of my life-tested strategies to JUMPSTART your plant-based game for the win!

In the future, you'll also receive tips, recipes and resources to thrive on a plant-based diet. Your information is secure and will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Feeling Social?
Let's Connect!

Feeling Social?
Let's Connect!

       

Hey friend, I'm Mel!

I'm a certified health coach, plant-based food instructor, and certified personal trainer. My passion is helping people like you transition to a plant-based diet, with easy step-by-step strategies that work. I'm committed to empowering you to heal through a plant-based lifestyle so you can freely live out your God-given purpose, and thrive. Let's start today!

 

 

Join The Conversation!

       

© 2019-2020 Choosing My Health, LLC
All rights reserved.

Beginner-friendly Guide To A Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet

Beginner-friendly Guide To A Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet

Beginner-friendly Guide To A Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet

Last updated, March 2019

Heard about this whole-food, plant-based life and wonder if it’s for you? Ready to take the leap of faith and start now?

This post will outline the plant-based lifestyle basics. You’ll gain a clear understanding of what it is, what you can eat and what you should avoid, along with the unmatched benefits it offers. Consider this whole-food, plant-based 101. 

It’s a well-known fact Americans are among some of the sickest people in the world. Especially in areas like asthma, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. For many, life is compounded by more than one of these conditions. 

Sicker by the bite may sum up the state of your health.

So you’re here–desperate for a new lifestyle that will re-energize and heal.

Good news! You found it! And it’s easier than you think.

I sincerely hope these principles establish a firm foundation as you transition to a plant-based diet!

What Is Whole-Food, Plant-Based?

A whole-food, plant-based diet is based on eating unprocessed or minimally processed plant foods. This diet is centered on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, tubers, nuts and seeds. It avoids animal products like meat, fish, dairy, and eggs. It also excludes highly refined foods, that include artificial foods with additives, like excitotoxins, food dyes, trans fats and sugars.

The goal is simple: Eat foods sourced from plants, as close to their natural state as possible.

Some argue for the inclusion of animal products in limited quantities. I don’t promote this for two main reasons.

One: While it’s true that meat and dairy consumption provide needed nutrients like protein and calcium, animal products also bring a litany of damaging health effects. Copious studies document links to cancer, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), heart disease, constipation, a shorter life span and more.

Two: Plant options are more than plentiful, and provide the needed nutrients without the side effects.

The difference between the quality of food we eat today and what we ate years ago, is staggering. The food your parents or grandparents considered “okay”, are now so harmful and highly processed, avoidance is simply the wisest option. Learning to identify the good from the bad is a necessary skill, and you’ll develop it on this journey.

We should all be eating fruits and vegetables as if our lives depend on it–because they do.”

Michael Greger, M.D.

Identifying Processed Foods 

Processed foods generally refer to intentionally altered food. This includes physical changes, chemical additives, and artificial substances not originally present.

Whole foods, on the other hand, refers to unrefined or lightly processed foods.

But not all processing is bad. In fact, sometimes it’s necessary. Cooking dried beans is an example of processing. Eating stone-like raw beans is not an option!

Ever had excess berries to freeze to keep from spoiling? That’s processing too.

Processing is often described in terms of a scale: lightly or minimally processed foods to highly/ultra processed foods.

When we talk about avoiding processed food, the goal is to stay off the spectrum or to skew toward the light end of it. The high end of this scale is the most dangerous, as heavily processed foods are often suspects for illness.

Unfortunately, we’ve sacrificed preserving our bodies so we can preserve the food we put into it.

Twisted. 

Now, I understand that some processing is necessary for foods that travel thousands of miles. Food is perishable. But since our bodies are also perishable, and can’t weed out chemical preservatives, additives and pesticides, I follow two rules of thumb: 

1. Read labels: Don’t rely on the marketed message at the front of the package. The truth is in the ingredients list. If it includes a harmful item to your health, leave that item on the shelf. 

Quick tip: The higher the ingredient on the list, the more concentrated it is in the product. So if sugar is the second ingredient on the package, you’re eating mostly sugar.

2. Prepare your food at home, as much as you can: This way, you can assure what you eat is as wholesome and safe as possible. The food item is just as important as what’s added to it during preparation.

What To Eat and What To Avoid

Your goal is healthy, not plant-based per se, but you recognize this lifestyle as a proven way to get there.

So what can you eat? 

Here’s a quick (and funny) anecdote.

My husband took a small desk plant into work, and won the scrutiny of a clever co-worker.

He looks at the plant, and jokingly says: ”So you brought your lunch to work today?” 

Umm…no!

(Gotta give it to him though, cause that was pretty witty, lol)

But isn’t this a common misperception? That all plant-based munchers eat is grass? 

Though only a joke, for many, a plant-based diet is often misunderstood. How do you make sense of eliminating meat in a world where meat is the norm?!

No worries though! I can confidently say that after 15+ years of this lifestyle, a plant-based diet is absolutely doable, a delight, and is simple to follow.  

So before we get into the actual food groups, some important, yet basic principles to guide your food selections are:

Principle #1: Stay as close to nature as possible.  
Stick with whole, unprocessed foods and ingredients. Foods that are highly processed, provide little nutrient value. So aim for food as close to its original form as possible. For example, if you enjoy canned peaches in heavy syrup, opt to eat the actual naturally juicy peach. If you’re in the mood for orange flavored soda, make some freshly squeezed orange juice, orange infused water, or enjoy the orange as is.

Principle #2: Fresh is best. 
Locally grown, organic produce is best. Foods filled with preservatives are likely void of lots of the vitamins and minerals, and in turn, cause undesired health problems. If you can’t access fresh, frozen is still a good option. 

Principle #3: If sourced from an animal, it’s not going in.
I’ve covered this before, but “animal-sourced” refers to meat, dairy (milk & cheese), eggs and ingredients sourced from animals. (Note, some plant-based munchers occasionally eat honey sourced from bees, in limited amounts. This may be the only exception).

Principle #4: If it contains added fats, sugars and ingredients that you can’t pronounce, stay away. 
Amongst chemical food additive consequences are brain-exciting food addictions and carcinogen induced diseases. Not worth it.

 

Now, let’s explore the various groups of foods, and food examples you’ll enjoy on this diet:

Fruits

berries, oranges, peaches, mango, banana

Whole Grains

millet, barley, brown rice, oats, quinoa

Vegetables

spinach, swiss chard, kale, broccoli, okra

Legumes

black beans, lentils, chickpeas, navy beans

Tubers/ Root Foods

beets, yams, sweet potatoes, yuca, ginger

Seed & Nuts

walnuts, almonds, chia, flax, sunflower

Choose well and eat well. Everything plant-based is not necessarily healthy. Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health puts it best. “A plant-based diet could include consuming large amounts of sugar, refined starch, hydrogenated oils, and soda, which would be about the worst diet possible.”

Don’t be swayed by marketing messages. Read the product label including nutritional facts, and the ingredients list. Step up your knowledge and know what you’re consuming. And if you need a helping hand, I’m right here to guide you 🙂

Article continues below

C

Three Game-Changers I Wish I Knew

BEFORE GOING PLANT-BASED

Want to transition to a plant-based diet without all the fuss?

I'll give you a FREE 3-part email series packed with 15+ years of my life-tested strategies to JUMPSTART your plant-based game for the win!

In the future, you'll also receive tips, recipes and resources to thrive on a plant-based diet. Your information is secure and will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Benefits of a Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Diet

Embracing a whole food, plant-based lifestyle is life-giving! The research is compelling. Try it for yourself!

Live Longer

Studies show that consuming a whole-food, plant-based diet leads to greater longevity, and a higher quality of life. 

Healthy Heart

It’s simple. Increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables and lower your chances of cardiovascular disease.

Diabetes Prevention

Type 2 diabetes is preventable, and research shows that a plant-based diet can reverse and prevent it.

Increase Energy

Replacing meat and dairy with nutrient-dense plant-based food will supercharge your body’s energy to get through the day.

Fiber! Fiber! Fiber!

Constipation is called the mother of all diseases. And guess what helps keep you regular? Fiber! A whole-food, plant-based diet keeps your gut health in check by promoting a sound digestive system. 

Effortless Weight Loss

Get fuller on fewer calories, thanks to nutritiously-filling quality food. Plus, you’ll spare yourself from eating chemically addicting ingredients.

Dollar Stretching

Contrary to popular belief, eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. Lentils and beans are some of the most inexpensive, nutritious, and abundant foods you can purchase.

Animal Compassion

Few people enjoy seeing the poor treatment of animals at slaughterhouses, but many prefer to ignore that our dietary choices support these practices. This diet shows our animal friends kindness.

One of the best motivators for people transitioning to plant-based eating comes from how great they feel and how much more they can do in their lives once they’re feeling healthier. Dr. Craig McDougall

If you’re interested in this lifestyle, but aren’t sure how to begin, check out the video below for some transition tips.

A well-balanced plant-based diet is attainable!        

As always, talk with your physician about your lifestyle change. While some doctors are aware of the benefits of a plant-based diet, don’t rely on your doctor to know everything.  Do your research. 

I’m so excited you’re beginning this journey and I’m cheering you on!

I’d love to hear from you, so let me know what else you’ll like to learn in the comments.

Thanks for starting here! We’re gonna do this, together!

#winning

Feeling Social?
Let's Connect!

Feeling Social?
Let's Connect!

       

Hey friend, I'm Mel!

I'm a certified health coach, plant-based food instructor, and certified personal trainer. My passion is helping people like you transition to a plant-based diet, with easy step-by-step strategies that work. I'm committed to empowering you to heal through a plant-based lifestyle so you can freely live out your God-given purpose, and thrive. Let's start today!

 

 

Join The Conversation!

       

© 2019-2020 Choosing My Health, LLC
All rights reserved.

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