Non organic fruits and vegetables have pesticide residues which can contain toxic chemicals and heavy metal residues such as cadmium. The toxic chemicals that are found in pesticides have been linked to a number of health related disease such as hormonal imbalances, infertility, autism, neurodegenerative diseases and even some cancers. Organic food generally has more flavour, tastes fresher and doesn’t have that chemical or waxy after taste that you get with non-organic fruits and vegetables.
Top reasons to eat organic foods:
- They taste better
- They have higher nutritional value
- They are better for the environment
- They are GM free
As eating all organic can be a bit tricky not to mention expensive I have compiled a list for you of foods that contain the most chemical residues and are the ones to choose to eat organic.
Apples come out the worst so if you are not eating organic apples it may be wise to peel them to avoid eating the chemical residues left on the skin. Fruits and vegetables with thicker skins such as bananas and oranges tend to be safer options and okay to eat non organic.
Organic certification means that the product was grown or produced without the use of harmful chemicals or genetically modified organisms. Organic certification can be time consuming and very expensive and I am noticing some produce is now being marketed as chemical free. This means that it has not gone through the intensive protocols or expense of being certified organic however it indicates that the produce was grown without the use of toxic pesticides and herbicides. This is also a good option when choosing fruits and vegetables. The down side to choosing chemical free over organic however does mean that there has been no certification process. You are therefore relying on pure trust and integrity of the company that you are purchasing your goods from.
Fruits and vegetables best to eat organic:
This list has been influenced by the U.S Environmental Working Group (EWG) which publishes a yearly shopper’s guide (the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen) to the amount of pesticides on fruit and vegetables. I have modified the list to make it more appropriate for Australia.
Worst for pesticides (best to eat organic):
- Spinach (you can taste the chemical residue on non-organic spinach leaves)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Snap peas
- Chilli Peppers
Whilst the cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower are listed as safer options due to lower pesticide residues, I do recommending buying organic broccoli and cauliflower as the florets soak up the pesticide residues which are hard to remove by soaking.
Better for pesticides:
- Frozen peas
- Sweet potatoes
If you are eating non organic wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly with a vegetable wash. These washes can be purchased from health food stores or you can use vinegar. Do not wash fruits and vegetables with dishwashing liquid. You would be surprised how many people do this! Dish washing liquid is also full of synthetic chemicals that you do not want to be eating.
DIY vegetable wash
Fill up a large bowl with 1 part vinegar and 4 parts water. Add your vegetables or fruit and leave to soak in this mixture for up to an hour. Make sure that your produce is fully immersed. After 1 hour (you can leave apples for half an hour longer as they have more of a waxy coating) remove, rinse with water and dry with a clean tea towel. If you get into the habit of washing your produce as soon as you buy it you then have fruits and vegetables ready to eat whenever you like!
Check organic labels
Do be mindful when purchasing organic labelled food and drinks such as organic wine, yoghurt, coconut cream and plant milks as they can still have nasty additives such as carrageen gum and preservatives added. Many packet organic foods can also have high amounts of salt and sugar so just because the label says organic it doesn’t always mean it is the healthiest option. Reading the ingredient label carefully is the only way to find out exactly what is in the food that you are eating.
Whilst eating fresh organic produce is the best possible option, washing your produce thoroughly and peeling the skin where possible can really help to minimise your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals and toxins.
Article submitted by Fiona Tuck.
Have a look through the Pantries of What Can I Eat for other great Organic Products
The Whole Food Plant-Based diet is the ‘new kid on the block’, when it comes to eating. In the US, this wholesome way of eating has already found many followers, and it is renowned for the huge benefits it bestows on those who follow it. Proponents include leading medical doctors, scientists and cardiologists, who are prescribing this diet to their patients with staggeringly posit
People who change their diet from the ‘standard Western’ diet to one of fresh, whole produce and complex starches and who exclude all processed foods and animal produce, find that they often lose weight rapidly, gain back their youthful energy, sleep better and even reverse heart disease.
With the colder months approaching, most of us are bracing ourselves for a season of sniffles, lethargy, low mood and cravings for comfort foods. But it doesn’t have to be this way! I have seen amazing improvements in the health of people, who are adopting this way of eating, myself included.
Before I changed my diet from ‘Health-Conscious Vegetarian’ to Whole-Food Plant Based, I was on regular migraine medication, and had been battling my weight for decades. I was able to control what I weighed only by constantly watching what I ate – as an allied health practitioner and nutritional therapist, I thought I was doing all the right things.
After being introduced to the Whole Food Plant-Based diet through a book by the wonderful Dr Neal Barnard of the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, I not only got to my ‘happy weight’, and am staying there effortlessly, but I was also able to discontinue my migraine medication, and am feeling fabulous all-round!
So, if you are looking for a way to feel wonderful this winter, give the Whole Food Plant-Based way of eating a go. I can absolutely guarantee you that, if done properly, this way of giving your body premium nourishment, will see you less prone to infection, and put a bounce in your step, as you experience a surge of energy, and a happier mood. Now is the ideal time to ramp up your nutrition, ditch the processed rubbish, and love your Winter!
Article submitted by Hilke Legenhausen from Hilke’s Health
Check out our Nutrition and Wellbeing Category for some great products to supplement the Whole-Food Plant Based Diet
Inexpensive white vinegar can be used in the laundry to whiten, brighten, reduce odour and soften clothes without harsh chemicals. Make sure you use the white vinegar for cooking that is usually found in supermarkets near the sauces etc; this has no additives and is made from the process of fermentation of corn. The white vinegar you find in the cleaning aisle has other additives included and us usually more expensive.
White vinegar offers a cheap, natural and environmentally friendly cleaning option and can replace a number of chemical filled cleaners around the home; here we are focussing on the uses in the laundry:
- To soften clothes and prevent lint from sticking to them, add 1 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle
- To remove odours from clothes add 1 cup of vinegar to a load of laundry
- To remove pre-existing stains pre-treat with a mixture of 3 TBLSPNS vinegar, 2 TBLSPNS liquid detergent and 4 cups of warm water. Rub the mixture into the stain and the wash as normal
- To prevent colour fading, add 1 cup of vinegar to the was cycle
- To prevent a new clothing item from bleeding colour, soak in a few cups of undiluted vinegar for 10 minutes
- To prevent colours from bleeding in the wash, add 1 cup of vinegar to the load of laundry
- To whiten dingy clothes, add 1 cup of vinegar to 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and add your dingy clothes, let them sit overnight and then wash as normal
- To reshape/resize wool clothes soak shrunken clothing in a solution of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes reshape the clothing and let air dry
- To kill bacteria in the laundry, add 1 cup of vinegar to the wash cycle.
Food on camps is tricky, but not in the sense that it’s hard to do well, there’s just so many considerations when you’re catering for a diverse school group. Added to this, you often don’t know the kids very well. Before camp we do a lot of work preparing for any group and no two camps are the same. To begin with, we look at medical risks and dietary needs. What concerns are there? Do we have kids with allergies? Will some additives make them sick? Will bread and milk cause them to be ill? Can they eat meat? Is it the right sort of meat? Are there any other foods are of concern?
Having catered for so many groups on camps and residential programs, one of the key concerns was that everything has to be ‘normalised.’ Even though I might’ve been catering and cooking for a number of different dietary needs, because they’re kids, I never want anything to stand out or be remarkably different. The last thing I want to hear is a whiney toned, “Why do they get that?!” So if I was cooking burritos for example (which kids love), I’d cook a variation of the burrito for everyone to enjoy. Some have mince, some have chicken, some have tofu, some have beans. Some have tortillas, some have gluten free tortillas, some prefer just to have it on the plate!
Regardless of the mix of ingredients and the time that goes into this, the most important thing from my point of view is every student’s well-being and part of that is making sure they don’t feel ‘different’ a meal times. I’ve been to far to many venues that provide vastly different meals for the kids, making them feel left out and even isolated due to their dietary needs. I won’t have any of that on the camps I run and it’s not unreasonable to expect the same! To be honest, I love buying different foods when I go shopping. I think of all the cool combinations I can do for pizzas, curries and salads just to name a few! Whatever the menu is, I just love wandering around and searching for the best combo to make sure my one meal, can be eaten by all! This does take time, but once you’ve got an idea of a meal plan, each time you have a student with special dietary needs, it’s now only a matter of checking the plan and grabbing the right ingredient!
Article supplied by David Gregory of Xcursion
Did you know that products we use every day may contain toxic chemicals linked to women’s health problems, like breast cancer, reproductive harm like infertility and birth defects, asthma, and other serious illnesses? The good news is that Women’s Voices for the Earth has done the scientific research for you on effective ways to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals in everyday products—and to get rid of toxic chemicals all together!
1. Make Your Own Cleaning Products
– It’s easy, fun, and cheap to make non-toxic cleaners from safe and effective ingredients like vinegar and baking soda.
2. Avoid Synthetic Fragrance
– Look for cleaners, laundry detergents, and personal care products labeled “fragrance-free” Warning: “unscented” does not mean fragrance-free!
– Discontinue use of air fresheners. Go to womensvoices.org for tips to reduce odors around the home.
3. Give Your Personal Care Products a Makeover
– Read the label to avoid chemicals like parabens, sodium laureth sulfate, and oxybenzone. Check the Skin Deep database at cosmeticsdatabase.com to find safer products.
4. Go “BPA-Free”
– Ditch the canned foods and opt for fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables instead.
– Seek out products from the few companies now using BPA-free can liners like Westbrae Natural, Hunt’s, Healthy Choice and H.J. Heinz.
– Look for plastics labeled “BPA-free.”
5. Watch Out for Triclosan
– Avoid anti-bacterial hand soap with triclosan listed on the label.
– Reduce your use of disinfectant products.
6. Choose Plastics with the Recycle Symbols #4 & #5
– Look for plastic products with these symbols signifying PVC-free plastics.
– Use glass jars or bowls to store food.
– Never microwave plastic.
7. Keep Chemicals Out of the House
– Take of your shoes before entering your house to avoid tracking in oils and chemicals from the street outside.
– Use a door mat to catch dirt at the door.
– Dust with a micro-fiber cloth or wet cloth and vacuum your house regularly (with a HEPA-filter vaccuum if you can).
8. Turn Down the Heat on Non-Stick Cookware
– Keep the stove at or below medium heat when using Teflon or non-stick cookware.
– Opt for cast iron or stainless steel pans for cooking when possible.
Visit our Personal Care/Home Care pantry for great toxic free products
Gastrointestinal or “gut” problems are a dominant feature in many chronic states of ill health including cancer, dementia, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Over the past 2 decades, gut issues have become epidemic in our children and co-exist or drive a range of childhood conditions including Autism, Allergies, ADHD, food sensitivities and other learning and behavioural disorders. Although gut problems do not stand alone as the only issues that need to be addressed, treating the gut is imperative as part of any treatment program. Gastrointestinal symptoms are diverse and include: bloating, flatulence, constipation, diarrhoea, poor appetite, cravings, stomach pain, smelly stools, faecal impaction, heartburn and reflux; as well as nutrient deficiencies and yeast, bacterial and parasitic gut infections.
When treating the gut, it is best to take a holistic approach. It is a very common trap to focus solely on the different pathogenic organisms, to chase symptoms, without addressing some of the fundamental issues that have led to the development of problems. It is important to take into consideration that infections are usually the result of lowered immune resistance and nutritional deficiencies. Only in a body that is depleted or weakened can a germ, virus, parasite or yeast gain a foothold. The aim of treatment therefore should be to strengthen and restore vitality to assist the body’s natural healing processes. Alongside vitamin and mineral supplementation, you should work to improve digestion, absorption and the assimilation of nutrients. Alongside antimicrobial and probiotic treatment, you need to change the environment in the gut and boost the immune system.
HEALING THE GUT
When healing the gut, we need to incorporate the following principles:
- Nutritionally restore vitality – remove problem foods, I highly recommend the Hair Test 500 to pinpoint exactly what foods are Friend or Foe using a Hair Sample. Also eliminate processed foods, foods with preservatives, colours & flavours and foods high in sugar. More importantly, add in healing foods and nutrient dense foods. The diet should consist of organic whole food where possible with a major emphasis on fresh vegetables and fruits – rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, whole grains (gluten free), nuts and seeds and quality proteins. – A ‘Primitive’ or ‘Traditional’ diet that alkalises the body is recommended; lots of dark leafy greens, a range of meat, seeds and nuts and low fructose fruits. Vegetable juicing is good however don’t blend multiple vegetables; keep it to 2-3 with one fruit for sweeting. It is not good enough to leave in high sugar & highly processed foods (pastas, breads, cereals and sauces) even if they are gluten & casein free. The immune system, the brain, all the cells in the body must be nourished to restore the body’s vital force. Addition research has shown that various bacteria produce toxic metabolites with high sugar diets.
- Enhance the immune system – stimulate the body’s own innate ability to fight off infections. There are many very effective herbal remedies that assist immune function; I recommend a therapeutic range of products from Neways International
- Transfactor – for gut healing, to build your immunity, antibacterial and to boost your energy levels
- Probiotics – which benefit the immune system, stimulating antibody production and interferon synthesis. Boost your good bacteria levels as bad bacteria are a major contributor for people with food and chemical sensitivities
- Aloe Vera – to help put the fire out, soothe and nourish the stomach lining right through to your bowel. Aloe Vera is excellent in assisting with regular bowel function
- Feroxin – minerals are our bodies spark plug. Studies show we are very mineral deficient as a race. We need over 40 essential minerals each day for our body’s optimal function and we can only get these from our food. The shortfall is that some of the essential minerals are no longer present in our soils, so we need to supplement.
- Toxicity – research has also uncovered that continual exposure to thousands of chemicals found in our every day personal and home care products provide the body with an incredible challenge in the 21st century. A study in 1994 revealed that over 884 ingredients used in our personal care were know to be toxic and of these 314 cause biological mutation, 218 can cause reproductive complications, 778 can cause acute toxicity, 146 can cause tumors and 376 can cause skin and eye irritations. Click here to What Can I Eat and print the Bathroom card to help you to audit your bathroom and see what ingredients you were unaware of.
- Change the environment – make it difficult for the Unfriendly Faecal Organisms (UFO’s) to gain dominance or remain dominant. Some important principles involved in this step are outlined below.
CHANGING THE ENVIRONMENT
Clear out the garbage – Purge
Once we have got some gut repair happening we need to CLEAR OUT THE GARBAGE in a clogged up colon. If you try to kill UFO’s when there are impacted faeces, you will have limited success. Certain parasites, bacteria and yeasts will be protected somewhat from both the immune system and any antimicrobials you use if they are able to ‘hide’ under a layer of faecal matter. For successful treatment of gut infections, faecal matter must not accumulate in the bowel.
Regular bowel movements are important for the body to get rid of its garbage. The bowel should move AT LEAST ONCE per day – in the MORNING. The stool should be formed but not hard, lumpy or pebbly. It should be passed with no pain, strain, blood or mucus. It should not be sticky and should be a medium brown colour. There should be complete emptying. If faeces remain in the colon for too long (slow transit time), then the body reabsorbs much of the toxic matter that should have been eliminated contributing to autointoxication. Organisms thrive in this type of environment. Dietary changes, probiotics as well as other various herbal and homeopathic formulas can be used to assist in helping to restore regular bowel movements.
Alkalise – Green Qi
By alkalizing, we are aiming to ensure that the average pH of the body is alkaline not acid. Excessive acidity is a widespread problem in the Western world. Both modern lifestyle and diet promote acidification. In general, the current standard diet is primarily composed of acidic or acidifying elements (proteins, cereals, sugars). Alkaline foods such as vegetables are eaten in too smaller quantities; their alkaline content is insufficient to neutralise surplus acids. Furthermore, stress, nervous tension, noise and other pressures contribute to acidification through the physiological disturbances they create. In addition, heavy metal toxicity, certain infections and inflammation all contribute to acidity.
The acidification of the internal terrain is the source of many health problems. There are a number of effects that lead to illness. Firstly, the activity of enzymes is disrupted. Enzymes are the “worker drones” behind all the biochemical transformations that take place in the body and on which the proper functioning of the organs depend. Enzymes can perform their task correctly only in an environment with a clearly defined pH. Otherwise their activity can be disrupted or even cease completely.
Secondly, the body can become ill due to the harsh corrosive nature of acids present in excessive amounts within the tissues. Before they are neutralised by alkaline substances, acids irritate the organ with which they come in contact. Inflammation as well as lesions or hardening of the tissues can result. The fragile state of the tissues resulting from the invasive presence of acid makes them vulnerable to microbial or viral infection. This is aggravated by the fact that the immune system’s effectiveness can also be lessened by acidity. Additionally, various infections themselves such as Streptococcus-overgrowth can produce acidic by-products that can overwhelm the body’s ability to maintain balance and a vicious cycle is set up. This is a major factor in gut dysbiosis.
Many compromised individuals are acidic. When we are acidic we need to place a greater emphasis on alkaline foods (vegetables and fruits) . This can be easily achieved with a green Superfoods blend such as Green Qi which contains 25 vegetables in a unique blend.
Improve the Digestive Process
To improve digestion and absorption of nutrients, there must be adequate stomach acid. Many people have hypochlorhydria or low stomach acid. A study of autistic children found 62% had low stomach acid.
Adequate stomach acid is essential for protein digestion. Poor protein digestion leads to low levels of the raw materials our bodies need to make neurotransmitters, immune cells and so much more. Poor protein digestion is also associated with an increased susceptibility to food allergies and sensitivities.
Adequate stomach acid is essential for absorption of Folic Acid, B12 and minerals. When acid is inadequate, there are typically deficiencies in Zinc, Iron, Calcium & Magnesium.
Stomach acid is essential for proper functioning of the pancreas and liver/gallbladder. The acidity of the stomach contents triggers a signal for these two organs to do their work.
Stomach acid also provides the first line of defence against pathogenic organisms that may enter the body with our food. Most organisms cannot survive in the acid environment of the stomach.
Strategies to improve stomach acid:
- Reduce Stress – especially at mealtimes
- Provide essential nutrients: Zinc, Niacin, Magnesium, B6 Celtic Sea Salt & Potassium
- Bitter foods before meals e.g. olives, bitter lettuce & rocket
- Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice drink, in warm water before meals
- Neways Digestive Enzymes or Releaze for more severe reactions
- Herbal Bitters before meals:
- Enhance upper digestive function / improve assimilation of nutrients
- Stimulate appetite
- Increase flow of digestive juices
- Increase flow of bile
- Regulate secretion of insulin & glucagon by the pancreas & liver
- Stimulate repair of gut lining
- Improve the micro-environment of the gut
Digestive enzymes are important for improving the digestive process. They chemically breakdown food so that nutrients can be absorbed. These enzymes are produced in large amounts at different stages along the digestive tract, for example the digestion of carbohydrates requires enzymes from the mouth, the pancreas and the small intestine. Fat needs lipase from the pancreas and bile from the liver. Protein needs enzymes from the stomach, the pancreas and the small intestine.
People who have allergies and intolerances have insufficient enzymes. Signs of this are bloating, flatulence and pain particularly near the belly button. There may also be undigested food in the stool. Light tan or yellow ‘floaty’ stools indicate that fat digestion is poor. Supplemental digestive enzymes relieve symptoms and improve absorption of nutrients.
Balancing Gut Flora – Probiotics – Lacto Flora
Probiotics are essential both in supplemental form and in the form of fermented foods. The number of functions the gut flora fulfils is so vital for us that if the digestive tract got sterilised we probably would not survive.
One of the most important functions of the gut flora is appropriate digestion and absorption of nutrients from food. If you do not acquire normal balanced gut flora, then they you will not digest and absorb nutrients from foods well, leading to the development of multiple nutritional deficiencies. Certain species of gut flora actively synthesise various nutrients: vitamin K, folic acid, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, CoQ10, various amino-acids and proteins, all of which can become deficient in an unbalanced gut. Restoring the beneficial bacteria in the gut helps to treat these deficiencies.
Apart from taking a vital part in nourishing the body, beneficial bacteria keep the gut healthy. Certain species coat the entire surface of the gut protecting it from invaders and toxins by providing a natural barrier and producing a lot of anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal substances. At the same time they provide the gut lining with nourishment. It is estimated that 60 –70% of energy the gut lining derives, is from the activity of bacteria, which live on it. An unhealthy gut lining will substantially reduce the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food.
Additionally, gut flora are intricately involved in the functioning of the immune system. The beneficial bacteria in the gut ensure appropriate production of different immune cells. They also help balance the immune system. With dysbiosis the Th1 and Th2 arms of the immune system can get out of balance, contributing to Th2 overactivity. This causes the immune system to over-react to various foods and environmental stimuli leading to allergies.
The absence or greatly reduced numbers of beneficial bacteria in the gut flora leads to overgrowths of certain species of bacteria that produce toxins in these circumstances. These toxins can overwhelm the body’s natural ability to detoxify, which can contribute to the accumulation of heavy metals, pesticides & other environmental toxins as well as mimic certain food intolerances such as salicylate sensitivity. In effect the digestive system instead of being a source of nourishment becomes a major source of toxicity in the body. Alkalising & appropriate nutrition as discussed above are absolutely essential when working to restore a healthy balanced gut flora.
Another important issue to deal with when healing the gut is detoxification. This involves supporting the body’s natural detoxification systems. A discussion of this issue is too complex to address here. Treating bacterial & fungal overgrowths to reduce gut toxicity is an important part of this. In general more will need to be done…
“ It is a mistake, it’s half a therapy if you only treat the gut. The other half of the therapy is to detoxify.…..We have to get the toxins out to even allow the nutrients to get into the tissues. You can’t get the nutrients in there if they are full of poisons, you can’t get two things into one space.” Charlotte Gerson
Healing the gut is a complex process and there are many other important factors to consider. These are just a few of the fundamental issues that should be considered in any treatment program. Below is a table with some foods & wholefood supplements that can assist in gut healing. In summary you need to consider.
- Restore vitality
- remove problem foods
- Primitive diet
- Enhance the Immune System
- herbs, supplements, probiotics
- Change the Environment
- Clear the colon
- Improve digestion
- Restore beneficial bacterial balance (probiotics, fermented foods)
- Support detoxification
- Reduce exposure to Toxicity in your everyday products usage
- Specifics – Antimicrobials, antifungals, antiparasitics, nutritional supplements, anti-inflammatories, antioxidants.
- Wholefoods support overall vitality and in so doing aid in gastro intestinal healing
|Young Green Coconut
||Enzyme rich, Nutritive
||Anti-inflammatory, supports detoxification
Blueberry, Raspberry, Blackberry
|Nutritive, Alkalising, Support Detoxification, Promote healthy flora
||Nutritive, Enzyme rich, antioxidant
||Antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, Nutritive
|Chia Seeds (soaked)
Flax seeds (soaked)
|Nutrient Dense, Anti-inflammatory
||Nutrient Dense, Alkalising
For more information about the Hair Test 500 and products designed to help with gut health visit What Can I Eat.