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Michelle Warner

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Monday Morsel ~ Healthy Lists

Posted on September 8th, 2010

Forgive me for resending this but I realized that many of the links did not work on the previous entry. I think I have it figured out now but please let me know if you have any problems.


sometimes random.
sometimes deep.
just a little something
to begin your week.


Understanding the large amounts of health advice out there can sometimes feel equivalent to climbing Mt. Everest. That’s why I like simple lists that spell out the information in a straightforward manner. I thought I would share a few of my favorite health lists hanging around my house.

**List One: Clean and Dirty Produce

This list has been circulating for a while but I wanted to share it in case you haven’t seen it. When I visited the Environmental Working Group’s website to learn more, I found helpful food and health information. They explain why it’s important to use discretion when choosing produce as well as how these choices influence your health. I encourage you to visit EWG’s website to learn more. You can also download their Shoppers Guide to Pesticides list (typed below). It has a permanent place on my fridge.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides:

Dirty Dozen* [Buy these organic]:

  1. Celery
  2. Peaches
  3. Strawberries
  4. Apples
  5. Blueberries
  6. Nectarines
  7. Bell Peppers
  8. Spinach
  9. Kale
  10. Cherries
  11. Potatoes
  12. Grapes (imported)

*These fruits and vegetables contained the highest amounts of pesticides when tested.

Clean 15: [Lowest in pesticides]:

  1. Onions
  2. Avocado
  3. Sweet Corn
  4. Pineapple
  5. Mango
  6. Sweet Peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Kiwi
  9. Cabbage
    10.  Eggplant
    11.  Cantaloupe
    12.  Watermelon
    13.  Grapefruit
    14.  Sweet Potato
    15.  Honeydew Melon

One of the other reasons I like this list is that it gives me the permission to not buy everything organic. As listed in the “Clean 15” above, there are some fruits and vegetables that acquire minimal pesticides, so spending the extra money for the organic version may not be needed. However, if the produce is listed under the “Dirty Dozen,” it is more important to consider purchasing organic.

Full disclosure: Sometimes I haven’t purchased the produce listed under the “Dirty Dozen” organic and instead have cleaned them with my produce wash. In my mind scrubbing my fruits and veggies with this wash was achieving the same goal as choosing organic produce. So, I was curious to see what EWG would say about using vegetable and fruit washes to remove the pesticides from fruits and vegetables. I was surprised to find that scrubbing the pesticides off the fruit and vegetables is not equivalent to buying organic produce. I did not find much research suggesting the produce washes made an effective difference in removing pesticides. I found some articles that negated the use of the produce washes while some argued that using the washes removed many pesticides resistant to water. I do plan to continue using my produce wash, but in most instances I will purchase organic fruits and vegetables if they are listed on the “Dirty Dozen.”

Another suggestion I may try is making my own homemade produce wash. I found many recipes and the most important common ingredient is vinegar. Check out this recipe and this recipe.

**List Two: Antioxidant-Rich Foods

For the past year, I also have been much more tuned into eating antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables because antioxidants are said to protect your body from cell damage. This list below is hanging inside my kitchen cabinet for easy remembering.

United States Department of Agriculture’s List of 20 Best Foods High in Antioxidants (according to their serving sizes)

  • Red Beans (dried)
  • Wild Blueberry
  • Red Kidney Beans (dried)
  • Pinto Beans
  • Blueberry
  • Cranberry
  • Artichoke
  • Blackberry
  • Prune
  • Raspberry
  • Strawberry
  • Red Delicious Apple
  • Granny Smith Apple
  • Pecan
  • Sweet Cherry
  • Black Plum
  • Russet Potato (cooked)
  • Black Beans (dried)
  • Plum
  • Gala Apple

Click here for a more detailed chart of the one above. One piece of information to note according to WebMD’s website: “USDA chemist Ronald L. Prior says the total antioxidant capacity of the foods does not necessarily reflect their health benefit. Benefits depend on how the food’s antioxidants are absorbed and utilized in the body. Still, this chart should help consumers trying to add more antioxidants to their daily diet.”

Accordingly, this list below depicting high-antioxidant food groups compliments the list above.

Best Sources of High-Antioxidant Foods:

  1. Fruit (berries, pomegranate, grapes, orange, plum, pineapple, kiwi fruit, grapefruit)
  2. Vegetables (kale, chili pepper, red cabbage, peppers, parsley, artichoke, Brussels sprouts, spinach, lemon, ginger, red beets)
  3. Dry Fruits (apricots, prunes, dates)
  4. Legumes/Beans
  5. Nuts and seeds (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds)
  6. Cereals/Grains (barley, millet, oats, corn)
  7. Spices (cloves, cinnamon, oregano)

*I’ve also read coffee and dark chocolate contain high antioxidants even though they are not on this list.

**List Three: AntiCancer Diet

One of my dear friends sent me the book, Anticancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD, after I was diagnosed with cancer. I found the information in this book helpful and intriguing. Dr. Servan-Schreiber lists and explains why the recommended foods minimize the growth of cancer (pgs 120-128). For more information, see  the article he wrote at

AntiCancer Recommended Foods:

  • Green Tea
  • Turmeric and Curry
  • Ginger
  • Cruciform Vegetables (cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower)
  • Garlic, Onions, Leeks, Shallots, Chives
  • Carotenoid-Rich Vegetables and Fruit (carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, beets)
  • Tomatoes and Tomato Sauce
  • Soy      *(Note: I have heard mixed reviews about soy’s benefits.)
  • Mushrooms
  • Herbs and Spices (rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, mint)
  • Seaweed
  • Omega-3’s (flax seed, certain fish)
  • Selenium-Rich Foods
  • Vitamin D
  • Probiotics
  • Berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries)
  • Citrus Fruit (oranges, lemons, grapefruit)
  • Pomegranate Juice
  • Red Wine/Grapes
  • Dark Chocolate

If you have a list that you’ve found particularly helpful, I’d love for you to share it too!

For more information:

4 Comments on “Monday Morsel ~ Healthy Lists”

  • Niki Blake says:

    Glad you sent it again….I didn’t get it and was missing my “Monday Morsel”! Hope all is well! :)

  • Kathy Bergh says:

    Great info! Thanks for sharing. If possible I’d like to be on your email list.

  • michellewarner says:

    I’d love to have you on the email list. All you have to do is go to the top of my website and click subscribe. They will send you a confirmation email and you just need to click on it. Let me know if you don’t start receiving the posts to your email.

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