2018 – The Dirty Dozen

 

Each year the EWG (Environmental Working Group) conducts research on the cleanest produce to the ones that contain the most pesticide residue. Aptly named, “Clean Fifteen, Dirty Dozen”, EWG tests these produce using independent test groups to determine the toxicity on these main types of vegetables and fruits. Fruits and vegetables such as strawberries and mushroom were all strictly tested to ensure their validity and safety.

This year on the top of the “dirtiest” fruit list is strawberry and it’s no surprise considering that these delicious fruits are grown closest to the soil and are extremely delicate. The EWG found 22 different pesticide residue during their testing with one-third of all conventional strawberry samples containing 10 or more pesticides. Consider that these are a favorite fruit for children, think about the toxins that end up in their precious bodies. That’s why whenever possible, grow your own food and buy organic.

While some may argue that it’s not always feasible to buy organic food or grow your own, take a look at this list before you go shopping. Some fruits and vegetables contain so much toxic pesticides that it’s just not worth it to buy conventional. In the long run, eating organic ensures a healthier mind and body as well as helping the environment. If you buy a particular fruit or vegetable that are on the top Dirty Dozen list then consider switching to organic and buying conventional for the cleaner produce.

 

Below is a breakdown of the Dirty Dozen, Clean Fifteen but you can also access the complete list on EWG’s website: https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php

Dirty Dozen (in order of most contaminated):

STRAWBERRIES

SPINACH

NECTARINES

APPLES

GRAPES

PEACHES

CHERRIES

PEARS

TOMATOES

CELERY

POTATOES

SWEET BELL PEPPERS

Clean Fifteen:

AVOCADOS

SWEET CORN

PINEAPPLE

CABBAGE

ONIONS

SWEET PEAS

PAPAYA

ASPARAGUS

MANGO

EGGPLANT

HONEYDEW

KIWIS

CANTALOUPE

CAULIFLOWER

BROCCOLI

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

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Review of The Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen

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Ever wonder why certain foods must be purchased organically grown and others are not as strictly enforced? Well, that’s because organically grown food are not sprayed or treated with toxic pesticides and herbicides. The soil and irrigation do not contain pesticides or toxic chemicals thereby ensuring a much cleaner crop down the line. Non-organic food however, are grown with heavily used pesticides and herbicides to maintain their growth along with being genetically modified for a bigger crop.

Each year or so, The Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes their “Dirty Dozen Clean Fifteen” Shopper Guide listing twelve of the most heavily contaminated fruits and vegetables versus the “cleaner” fifteen most popular fruits and vegetables that are not heavily sprayed with chemicals. I’ve attached the graphic for you to see, but you can also go online to their website to download a copy to print out and keep (https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_dozen_list.php)

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Here is the infographic for 2016 which I’m sure in 2017 one or a few of these will change. These types of food are tested and measured for the residual amount of toxic pesticides so the most heavily treated ones are on the top.

The Dirty Dozen are ones you should always buy organic while the Clean Fifteen are ones that, while may not always be organic, the residual toxic chemicals are at lower risk.

 

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We might not always have the luxury of buying organic food all of the time. But there are certain foods we should really pay attention to how they’re grown. Now more than ever, we need to be diligent about what we buy, who we support, and how to keep our bodies and mind clean. Organically grown food are easier to find now and prices are more reasonable than years ago. When you plan your shopping and know what you’re buying then organic food will naturally become the first choice when you shop.

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

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10 WAYS KIDS CAN ROCK IT HEALTHY – EVERY DAY TIPS

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As adults we tend to forget that what matters to kids is really a big deal to them. That’s why it’s so important for parents to teach their children to do good things and to make better choices. Since I was a young child, my mom tried to instill in me important lessons of life and one of them was to do what I could to keep the environment healthy and clean. I don’t think I fully grasped what all of it meant back then but recycling and reusing what I could became more of a habit for me. Long ago when resources weren’t as vast and many people could only use what nature gave them, saving and reusing were part of daily life. Now, we may tend to take advantage of all the conveniences and necessities and we lose track of the good things our parents may have taught us when we were younger.

Ever since advocating for healthier alternatives to the products we buy and use, my friends often ask me about which products to buy for home and personal use. Some friends heed my suggestions and gradually include natural and organic products into their lives while others are still skeptic. But for those who are still skeptical I tell them to look at the current news and review past information and compare to what they heard before. The natural and organic industry has been surely but vastly sweeping the nation and our world and people are getting wiser about the products they purchase and use and the food they buy and eat. This however, goes triple for our kids. Children are easily accessible to all the toxins found in food and every day products they use and because of their growing bodies, these toxins hit them even harder than an average adult.

I’ve come up with 10 ways we can teach our kids the importance of living a healthier and less toxic life and that all starts with appreciating what Earth gives us. Nature is all around us and it’s up to us and our future generations to prolong the beauty of nature.

Every week I will introduce a new idea to teach your kids about the importance of protecting the environment and how it’s a constant cycle. If our kids understand the importance of taking care of the environment they will naturally learn to eat better and to make wiser choices in what they do.

Let’s start off this week with Back to School lunch and snacks. I admit I fall for the glamorous photos on Instagram and Pinterest where parents painstakingly cut out adorable shapes and sizes of sandwiches and fruit and turn their children’s lunches into virtual works of art. I honestly wish I had the time to do that and it’s not for lack of talent, I personally just don’t think my son would make a big deal about how jazzed up his lunchbox may look like. But lunchboxes are important just the same no matter how you decorate it or how creative you make it. Our children eat lunch at school every day and if you’re going to be packing their lunches, let’s make sure the food is both nutritious and enticing enough for them to finish all of it.

TIPS AND TRICKS:

– Let your kids pick out a few of their favorite snacks (healthy of course) so they feel some control of what goes into their lunchboxes. For a nutritious and sweet snack, try this No Bake Chocolate Coconut Protein Bar. *

– It’s okay if you don’t always include fruits or vegetables in their lunchbox. As long as you provide enough during breakfast and dinner, lunch doesn’t have to be a battle with your kids.

– If you do feel inclined to include vegetables and fruits, include easy to eat fruits such as grapes, clementines, and thinly sliced organic apples. Great vegetables would be sweet and juicy grape tomatoes, kale chips, and cubed cucumbers. These “finger” foods make it easier for kids to eat with their hands.

 – Make a picnic style lunch where you include healthy cold cuts, cheese, and crackers so your child can create his own meal.

 – When you take your children grocery shopping, show them the difference in ingredients label. Let them know what junk food is and what healthier versions are.

 – Always include water in your child’s lunch. Try to resist juice or soda! 

 – Always read food labels of what you buy. Especially for kids!

 – Buy organic whenever possible. It’s better for your health and for the environment.

Lunch and snacks don’t have to be constant battles with kids. As long as they know the difference between better-for-you food and food that are just bad for you then you’ll have a healthier eater and a less pickier complainer.

 

* Recipe taken with permission from New Hope Network/Delicious Living magazine.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

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Dave’s Killer Bread – Products Worth Reviewing

daves-killer-bread-logo

With a name like Dave’s Killer Bread, it kind of makes you wonder what exactly does this Dave put in his bread? Well, as a family owned and operated company, Dave’s Killer Bread was named after a family member who turned his life around from a rebellious past. Now, Dave and his family proudly bakes and serves their bread all over the country teaching people the importance of eating healthy and making healthy choices.

Dave’s Killer Bread (http://www.daveskillerbread.com) is a complete line of organic, all-natural and whole grain bread company that prides in making the best whole grain breads available. With over 15 different types of bread to choose from, all of Dave’s Killer Bread are made with only natural and organic ingredients without any preservatives or unnecessary additives you’d find in most conventional bread. While some of the bread is a bit tough due to the whole grains, once they were toasted up they were quite delicious and versatile. I’m not a big bread eater but I do like my bread to have full of flavor and not taste bland and boring as I had found with certain conventional breads. Plus, with all the healthy nutrients found in Dave’s Killer Bread, you are naturally doing your body good by feeding it good food.

DAVES KILLER BREAD

As a Moms Meet (www.greenmomsmeet.com) blogger and ambassador I was given the fun opportunity to try and review Dave’s Killer Bread. I have never tried this brand before but have seen them in natural grocery stores. Of course the name of the title intrigued me and it made me wonder if this bread was as delicious as they appear to be. When looking at the bread itself, you’ll find bits and chunks of whole grains such as organic rolled oats, organic millet, organic quinoa, organic flax seeds, organic  sesame seeds, and a whole lot more of wholesome and natural goodness. All the ingredients are organically grown and sweetened with honey or molasses where necessary.

daves-killer-bread

While I do enjoy eating bread now and then, I really like it when they are hearty and filling. The conventional breads are so bland and thin they’re really hard to make sandwiches with. Dave’s Killer Breads are thicker and full of whole grains so you get a mouthful of delicious nuts or seeds in every bite. My son wasn’t crazy about most of the breads, but he did enjoy the Seeded Honey Wheat. And of course my husband secretly loved all of the flavors that was sent to me as he’s more of a bread eater than I am. He tried it with peanut butter and toasted as well as a good old fashioned ham and cheese sandwich. But whatever reasons you have for enjoying bread, remember that really good and delicious bread are made with wholesome ingredients and whole grains. Dave’s Killer Bread could be a bit expensive than the other brands but they’re really worth it. With only natural and organic ingredients and made with the finest available, you really do get something truly healthy and delicious with Dave’s Killer Bread.

You can find Dave’s Killer Bread at most natural grocery stores and they retail around $5.00.

Disclaimer:

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetsSM blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

Moms Meet Whole Foods Healthy Kids Tour

WHOLE FOODS IMAGE

Some of the best things about living in California are access to fresh California grown food, an abundance of organic and natural grocery stores, and meeting people who are as passionate about healthy living as I am. As a Moms Meet Ambassador I am honored and pleased to be able to meet many brands and people who are of sound mind. One of the fun things we did a few weekends ago was visit Whole Foods Market for a Healthy Kids Tour. We already shop at Whole Foods on occasion but it was fascinating to learn about some new aspects of the company that I never knew before.

As my son and I entered the cool atmosphere of Whole Foods Market, our eyes couldn’t help but roam the entire building and smile with excitement. Shopping at Whole Foods Market is always an interesting experience. With their rows and rows of organic and natural products and their aesthetically pleasing cafes and fresh beverage bars, the popular store is indeed a feast for the eyes and the palette. Although some products may be more expensive than necessary, if you know what to look for and how to shop there, you would come out with an abundance of healthy products and a few dollars saved.

 

WHOLEFOODSTOUR

Our store coordinator, Candice was a delight to work with. With her cheery smile she led all of us around the store pointing out key features unique to the Whole Foods Market franchise. Certain things I already knew about such as the freshly baked bread sliced to order but if you like cheese, there is also an option to have the clerks cut them into different sizes for you. They also sell remnant cheese in bins that are smaller and less expensive. I was surprised at all the “secret” requests you could make at Whole Foods Market as they benefit the customers with this unique customer oriented services. Other services tailored to your shopping experience would be meat cut to the size and texture you want, an organic juice bar made to order, and pour-your-own honey. Honey can be quite expensive so I really appreciate this feature at Whole Foods.

The point of this Healthy Kids Tour sponsored by Moms Meet and Whole Foods Market is to enlighten parents and friends on the aspect of healthy living. Through healthier food choices, we can all achieve a healthier lifestyle. At Whole Foods Market, they offer an abundance of fresh produce, meat, bread, dairy, and bakery to satisfy the gourmet as well as virgin organics. Although Whole Foods is a bit farther from where we live, I do like to shop with my son there as we usually pick up a quick and healthy snack at their cafe or a freshly-pressed juice at their juice bar. There is also a kids snack zone at customer service where there is always a healthy snack for your kiddos to enjoy while shopping around the store with you.

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If you’re interested in learning more about living a healthier lifestyle, please visit the Moms Meet website: http://www.greenmomsmeet.com/ as well as Whole Foods Market: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/.

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

Buy this, not that – How to save money on buying organic – Green is Universal Eco Eats Challenge

VEGETABLES - Copy

I learned how to cook mostly from my mom who is an excellent cook. She won many cooking awards in the past and has taught me some of those winning recipes. But it was both my parents who taught me how to shop for certain grocery items for a certain recipe. I learned from them the different kinds of root vegetables and what seasons the harvest will most likely produce. I learned that not all apples taste the same nor do they yield the same results when cooked. And I learned among many other things, that buying the right produce at the peak of the season is the secret to a successful and delicious recipe.

Many years ago, before the USDA regulated the use of the term “organic” for any product, most of the food found in grocery stores were either from locally-grown farms or were mass manufactured products that were genetically-modified for faster production.  Local farmers who didn’t spray their crop with chemical pesticides were lucky enough to have their products sold at supermarkets without having to compete with the bigger companies. Only problem was, produce that came from locally-grown farms were extremely expensive and hard to find. And most of the time, you’d have to get them right when they’re being delivered or they were sold out or couldn’t stay fresh because there were no chemical preservations used.

But farmers markets have been around for a long time, and I remembered going to the local farmers markets with my mom and helping her pick out the freshest produce available. It was there that I also learned about what real and fresh produce were all about and I could instantly taste the difference between produce that were ripened in the store and produce ripened on the tree.

My parents also grow their own vegetables and fruits and they don’t use any kind of toxic chemicals on the produce or in the ground. It was quite convenient for us to go to the backyard and snip off some green beans or pluck some apples and pears for that night’s dinner. For me, homegrown fruits and vegetables seemed like the perfect answer to eating healthier. But as years went by, and people became more aware of the importance of eating better, organic and pesticide-free products started showing up more readily in supermarkets.

However, organic and locally-grown produce can still be moderately expensive, depending on where you shop. And where you buy your produce and dry goods is crucial in how much you’ll end up spending on organic food. If you want to start buying more organic food or just starting out, your best choices in organic produce are the natural food stores or farmers markets. However, if you don’t have any of those nearby, then here are some tips in buying organic at supermarkets.

 

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Supermarkets back in the day rarely carried organic and all-natural food and products and if they did, it was very limited and very expensive. Nowadays, whenever I visit my local supermarket, I can see most of them dedicating a certain section called “natural” and “organic” where only natural and organic products are sold. Cheers for them for thinking more abou their health conscious customers. So how do you choose where to shop for the best value and the best selection of organic and natural products? Well, you can start by looking at the ads produced by the store you regularly shop at. Most every market will have their own store circular either mailed to you, online, or available in their stores. If you want the best prices and selections in organic produce, then take a look at their ads. Decide which organic produce you need for that day or week and compare between the different markets. You’ll probably find them competitively priced nowadays but that’s good news for us since we want to save a ton of money when we’re buying all or mostly organic products. After you’ve made your list of what organic produce you want to buy, then list the other organic or all-natural products such as dry goods, snacks, drinks, etc. Once again, look at your stores circular and find out if the product you want is listed or on sale. If they aren’t listed, go online and you’ll most likely find a “secret” ad that is available only online. Very tricky of these markets, but they’re also hoping you’d buy their groceries online as well.

The next step in saving even more money on organic and natural products is using coupons. Where do you find coupons for organic and natural products, you say? Well, most likely you’ll find them from the companies direct websites. Many of them offer coupons for their products if you sign up for their newsletter or simply just visiting their website.  Otherwise, you can always give them a call or send them an email requesting some coupons. Organic and natural product companies love hearing from people who want to buy their products so most of them are more than willing to send you coupons. If you use their coupons, then you’ll most likely end up buying more, right?

There are also several stores(smaller natural grocery stores and mass supermarkets) that offer store coupons instead of manufacture coupons and most of them will allow you to “stack” coupons – which means even more money saved! These stores include Whole Foods Market, Sprouts Farmers Market, Henry’s Farmers Market, Mother’s Market, and even certain supermarkets that carry a wide selection of organic and natural products. The bottom line is that these markets, whether small or big, want to try to appeal to a wide array of customers and since organic and natural products are becoming more popular, they want to lure their customers into their stores with money-saving opportunities. With the economy the way it is right now, it’s a win-win situation for the farmers and manufacturers, the markets, and the consumers.

Buying organic and natural products and food takes some practice because you can always go to the most convenient store nearby, but you may not be getting  the best price. Of course, if you have to drive 20 miles just to get organic grapes for 10 cents cheaper, then it’s probably not worth the gas money unless you’re planning on buying other things. Get to know your local supermarkets as well as the natural food stores and soon enough you’ll know where to get the freshest produce at the best price.

The key is to know what you’re buying, why you’re buying it, and then have fun shopping for them! When you buy organic and natural products, your body will thank you and your planet will reap the benefits as well. By eating organic produce as much as possible, you’re ensuring that your body doesn’t contain toxic chemicals that can store  inside your system for a long time and those with fragile immune systems (for whatever reasons) or young children especially need to eat more organic foods. Organic products also help the environment in that the farms and manufacturers uses sustainable methods to help improve the conditions of  the environment and in long-term health, the less toxic chemicals in your body, the better.

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If you’re interested in joining a revolutionary journey to a healthier lifestyle, check out NBC’s Green is Universal One Small Act Eco Eats Challenge. There are many challenges and goals you can join and they are all fairly easy. Anything from how to buy organic produce from the EWG’s Dirty Dozen guide: https://onesmallact.practicallygreen.com/acts/400, to choosing a healthier on the go meal: https://onesmallact.practicallygreen.com/acts/624, and to composting kitchen waste: https://onesmallact.practicallygreen.com/acts/427. We all can achieve something for the better no matter how small the task. Only we can make our bodies and planet healthier. Only we can make that choice for us.

From September 2- October 17, NBC’s Green is Universal One Small Act is also hosting a sweepstakes when you join the “Eco Eats” challenge . To join, visit their free green-living tool, One Small Act. Everyone who signs-up and tackles at least one action by October 17th will be entered to win one of five 6-month subscriptions to NatureBox. No Purchase Necessary. Must be US resident and 18+. Read official rules here.

Disclaimer: In exchange for participating in the challenge and writing this post, I was given a gift package from Green is Universal. All opinions here are still my own.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm