Green Coconut Smoothie

Green Coconut Smoothie

Todays post is going to be short and sweet (literally).  If you read my previous post you know that I’ve been experimenting quite a bit with coconut lately, and I’m so excited to share this amazing coconut smoothie recipe that I finally feel like I’ve perfected. I’ve made many a’ coconut smoothie in my day – coconut milk, kale, and blueberries; coconut milk, peaches, and spinach; coconut milk, blueberries and spinach (you get the idea) – but none of them were anything to write home over. The great thing about this recipe is that it has coconut meat in it, which is the best part of the coconut for you. I guess it was about time to overcome my fear of cracking open an actual coconut, because it was the secret to this drinks delicious success!

Green Coconut Smoothie


• 1 Young Thai Coconut
• 1.5 cups coconut milk
• 1 tbsp organic raw honey
• 1 tbsp coconut oil
• 1 large handful spinach/kale/baby kale

Green Coconut Smoothie


Serving size: 2 full pint glasses

Crack open coconut with a sharp knife by “hammering” on all sides and twisting to pop open (be careful!). Drain water from coconut into blender. Scoop out coconut meat with a spoon and place into blender. Add honey, coconut oil, and greens. Blend well.

And that’s it! This smoothie is so good you’ll be craving it every morning (I know I do)!


Green Coconut Smoothie


Young Thai Coconut meat contains only 65 calories and is a good source of manganese, potassium, and magnesium. Coconut water contains electrolyte levels similar to those in our blood and was even used for blood transfusions during WWII – It was known as the “fluid of life” among soldiers and medical staff. In addition, it’s also packed with B vitamins as well as calcium, magnesium, and potassium.


Kelp Noodle Soup with Coconut

Kelp Noodle Soup with Coconut

I’ve developed a minor obsession with two new types of food; Kelp noodles and coconut. To be honest, I was never a big fan of coconut or kelp growing up, but lately I can’t seem to get enough of either of them! I think this dish is really what changed it all for me. The flavors go well together and the kelp noodles are so thin you barely notice the ocean-y aroma that kelp products sometimes emit. Not to mention, they are fat-free, gluten-free, and very low in calories and carbohydrates. This dish also fits under the “quick and easy” category as it only takes about 20 minutes from prepping the ingredients to taking the first warm and delicious bite! Another great quality that I love to find with food is the room for flexibility. Feel free to experiment with different vegetables and spices to adjust it to your liking!

Kelp Noodle and Coconut Soup


• 3 cups vegetable broth
• 1 12oz package kelp noodles
• 1 14oz can coconut milk
• 3 tbsp fish sauce
• Juice from ½ lemon
• Juice from ½ lime
• 1 large shallot, finely minced
• 2 tsp raw honey ( I recently decided to make the switch from agave to raw honey because of new information about agave that I discovered, particularly this article. This photo was taken before the switch. )
• 1 tbsp grated ginger
• 2 green onions, sliced
• ½ tsp ground coriander
• ½ tsp red pepper flakes
• 1 cup cooked or raw shrimp, cleaned and peeled (optional)
• 1 small bunch cilantro, stems removed

Kelp Noodle and Coconut Soup


• In a large bowl, combine vegetable broth, fish sauce, lemon juice, lime juice, ginger, shallot, honey, coriander, green onion, coconut milk, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a low simmer.
• Rinse and cut noodles into a few smaller sections (they tend to get tangled and are difficult to separate without cutting first). Add to mixture.
• Let simmer for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat.
• At the last minute, add cilantro and shrimp.
• Remove from heat, pour into bowls and top with an extra sprig or two of cilantro.
• Serve and enjoy!

Kelp Noodle Soup with Coconut


Coconut milk is rich in antioxidants, as well as C, E, and B vitamins. It is a great substitute for cow’s milk as it does not clog arteries and is easier to digest. It also contains magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron. Kelp is rich in sodium algenate, an element that is known to protect the body from radiation as well as remove it. It is also a good source of iodine which helps maintain healthy thyroid function. Chlorophyl is abundant in kelp and helps stimulate red blood cell production, increasing oxygen flow around the body.

Do you have any good recipes with kelp noodles or coconut? Please share in the comments section below!

Quick and Easy Super Bowl Snack Recipes

Super Bowl Sunday is not only a day of sports, it’s a day of food. And by food I mean the greasiest, fattiest, meatiest meals out there. Go to any Super Bowl party and you’ll find a bacon-wrapped this or a beer-battered that; Chips and dips and cheese galore! It’s a time when you test out all the ideas you gathered from eating food at the county fair and don’t have to lie about owning a portable deep fryer. According to an article by, Americans consumed approximately 11 million pounds of chips and 1.25 billion pounds of chicken wings last year on Super Bowl Sunday. Not to say that you can’t enjoy a bite or two of your friends famous cajun chipotle chili cheese dip, but unless you want to be catapulted into a giant food coma by 3rd quarter, you better incorporate some snacks that your body won’t hate you for eating the next day.

Don’t know what to make? It’s cool. I got you covered.


Minty Cucumber Veggie dip


• ½ English cucumber (seeds removed)
• ½ cup mint leaves
• 1 large container Greek yogurt (approximately 10oz)
• Lemon (optional)
• Salt and pepper to taste

Minty Cucumber Dip


Spoon yogurt into a large bowl. Finely chop mint leaves and cucumbers and combine with yogurt in bowl. Add salt, pepper, and lemon (optional) to taste. Serve with fresh cut veggies like carrots, celery, cucumbers, bell peppers, etc.


Cucumbers are sometimes referred to as a superfood because of their endless nutritional benefits. They help hydrate the body, nourish the skin and hair, are a good source of B vitamins, contain cancer-fighting properties, help aid in digestion and weight loss, relieve bad breath, and help relieve gout and arthritis pain. Greek yogurt is a good source of protein, calcium, and contains healthy bacteria such as acidophilus and lactobacillus.

Minty Cucumber Dip

SPICY CHICKPEA POPPERS – These are super quick and easy to make. And they are perfect for nibbling as well as satisfying a craving for something spicy.

Spicy Chickpea Poppers


• 2 15oz cans chickpeas, drained and patted dry
• 2 tablespoons grape seed oil
• 1 tsp cayanne pepper (This makes them moderately spicy. Adjust according to your spiciness needs)
• salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 375°. Toss chickpeas with grape seed oil, cayanne, salt and pepper. Place in large baking dish or cookie sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until they become slightly crisp and golden in color (be careful not to over bake). Add more salt and pepper if needed before serving.

Spicy Chickpea Poppers


Chickpeas are low in fat and high in fiber. They lower cholesterol, aid in weight loss, and help promote a healthy intestine. They also are a good source of protein – a benefit to keep in mind if you are a non-meat eater.

CHICKPEA DIP – I had some leftover chickpeas, so I decided to make another chickpea dish. The great thing about this dish is that it’s simple and you have the ability to be creative. Feel free to switch up the herbs or adjust the spices to your liking. You can eat this with fresh cut veggies, crackers, or any other healthy side. It may also go well as a dressing for a sandwich or wrap.

Chickpea Dip


• 1 cup cooked chickpeas
• 2 tablespoons olive oil (or grape seed, olive, walnut, etc)
• ¼ cup fresh cilantro
• Juice from half a lemon
• Juice from half a lime
• Salt and pepper to taste

Place chickpeas, oil, cilantro, lemon juice, lime juice, and a few dashes of salt and pepper into a food processor. Pulse on low until well combined. Spoon into a bowl and serve with crackers, fresh cut vegetables, etc.

Chickpea Dip


You already know the health benefits of chickpeas! And cilantro also promotes healthy cholesterol levels by lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) while increasing HDL (good cholesterol) with its many antioxidants, essential oils, and vitamins, including vitamins A and K.

BEET CHIPS – I saved the best for last. These are absolutely delicious. In the past, I had a bit of a chip addiction and these help fill the void without adding the guilt. This recipe I actually borrowed from but added my own touch by including a bit of salt and pepper.  You’ll need a mandoline to slice the beets for this recipe, as well as a vegetable peeler.

Beet Chips

WARNING: DO NOT wear a nice outfit while making this dish. The beets are difficult to slice and have the potential to go flying. And they definitely like to leave their mark. Washing your hands after handling these guys is going to make you feel like you just did something you only see in horror flicks.


• 2 medium red beets, washed and peeled
• 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tsp salt
• Small dash of pepper

*Depending on the size of your baking sheet, you may need to cook the beets in two batches. 

Beet Chips


Preheat oven to 350°. Thinly slice beets with a mandoline, then toss in a bowl with oil, salt, and pepper. Line beets on a baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until edges of the beets begin to dry and curl up. Remove beets and place on cooling rack. They will become crispy as they cool.


Beets are literally a nutritional powerhouse. They contain vitamins A, B, and C, magnesium, potassium, fiber, iron. and phosphorous, to name a few. They are an aphrodisiac and aid in new cell growth during pregnancy. They have cleansing properties, particularly in relation to the liver. They help prevent cancer. They lower blood pressure. They promote good mental health by containing the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin and melatonin. Feeling down, anxious, or tired? Eat a beat. It will help boost your mood as well as provide your body with many, many other nutritional benefits.

Beet Chips

Now it’s your turn. What are YOU bringing to this years Super Bowl party? Or- Did you try any of the recipes above? Let me know in the comment section below!

Juicing 101: Behind the Scenes

juice cleanse

There were several pro’s and con’s to my 3-day juice cleanse experiment. On the one hand, I realized that multi-day juice cleanses weren’t for everyone because I didn’t quite feel all the positive effects that I read about in the testimonials. On the other hand, I did learn a lot of delicious juice recipes and even began creating some recipes of my own! My juicing has definitely been up since the cleanse and I even find myself occasionally craving an 8oz glass of nutritional gooddness. While my last post documented my juicing experience, this post is dedicated to sharing some of the recipes I made (drank) over the cleanse. I started out the weekend following the recipes listed in the back of Zoe Sakoutis and Erica Huss’s book, “The 3-Day Cleanse,” but about halfway through the second day I began experimenting with my own recipes (mainly because I a) started running out of ingredients and b) have a difficult time following recipes exactly). For more juice and meal recipes, definitely check out Sakoutis and Huss’s book. It’s an easy read and has a ton of nutritional information that anyone can benefit from. But anyway, enough with the rambling and on to the recipes!

*If you feel a bit lost after reading that paragraph, take a look at my previous post: Accomplishing Some Things and Failing at Others: Juicing 101 –  here

I’ll start off with my favorite recipe, the tastes-like-you’re-drinking-ice-cream, CASHEW MILK. This was always the last drink of the day, to prevent you from waking up starving the next morning.


• ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour (in 1 cup water)
• 2 cups filtered water
• 1 ½ teaspoon extra virgin coconut oil
• ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 teaspoons agave nectar
• pinch of sea salt


Drain the nuts and combine all ingredients into a blender. Blend well, until completely smooth. Store in a refrigerator and shake well before use.

BLUEBERRY PEACH – This is another easy recipe you can make in your blender. It’s great as a breakfast smoothie or mid afternoon snack.

Blueberry Peach Juice


• 1 cup frozen blueberries
• 1 cup frozen peaches
• 1 ½ cups rice milk


Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

GREEN JUICE – This one you need a juicer for, but it’s still super easy. There may be a lot of greens, but the apples make it sweet.

Green Juice


• Large handful of spinach
• Large handful of kale
• 2 Apples (I used Golden Delicious)
• ½ large cucumber
• Small handful of parsley, stems removed
• 1 lemon


Wash all ingredients. Cut the peel from the lemon. Cut cucumber into pieces that will fit through a juicer. Core the apple and cut into pieces that will fit through a juicer. Run ingredients through the juicer. Scrape pulp from sides and run back through juicer if needed.


Spinach Blueberry Juice


• Small handful of spinach
• 10 oz blueberries
• 1 Granny Smith apple
• 1 lemon


Wash ingredients. Core apple and cut into pieces that will fit through a juicer. Cut peel from the lemon. Run all ingredients through the juicer. Scrape pulp from sides and run back through juicer if needed.

CRAZY JUICE – This is where things started to get crazy (obviously)

Crazy Juice


• Large handful of kale
• Small handful of parsley
• 1 cucumber
• 2 carrots
• 1 lemon


Wash all ingredients. Cut stems from parsley. Cut cucumber and carrots into pieces that will fit through the juicer. Cut peel from lemon. Run all ingredients through juicer. Scrape pulp from sides and run back through juicer if needed.

There you have it. Five delicious juice recipes to get you started on your juicing journey. Do you have any favorite recipes? Or have you completed a juice cleanse and experienced similar, or different, results? If so, please share!

Happy juicing!

Hearty Lima Bean and Barley Chowder

Bean and Barley Soup.

Several months back I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives and I immediately had to buy the cookbook.  For those of you who are not familiar with Forks Over Knives, it’s a documentary that shares success stories of individuals with major health issues (heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol) who have seen their illnesses literally reverse by becoming vegan and eating only whole or plant-based foods.  Personally, I’ve recently become more of a believer in the “eat right for your blood type” ideology (more about that concept in a future post), but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great documentary with some amazing stories shared by people who have integrated healthy eating into their lifestyle and seen incredibly positive results.  Also, studies show that Americans typically eat way more meat and dairy than we should be eating, so incorporating more whole foods and veggies into a diet is never a bad thing.  Another pro is that the recipes taste good. I’ve tried a handful of Forks Over Knives recipes and I must admit, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of them.  The only negative aspect of the book are the lack of food photos, so I figured I’d share a couple of my own.  I made this soup last week when we had a whole two days of rain and I felt like eating something warm and hearty.  Now we’re back to 90 degree heat and I’m back to eating salads.  California weather is always a surprise.

Bean and Barley Soup.

*Note: This recipe makes A LOT of soup. Unless you are making it for a dinner party, or plan on eating it for 3 days in a row (like I had to), I would recommend cutting the recipe in half. 


• 8 cups water or vegetable stock ( I used 4c water, 4c stock)
• 1 cup dry baby lima beans
• 1 cup chopped white or red onion (I used white)
• 1 cup chopped carrot
• 1 celery stock, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup pearl barley
• 1 tbsp crushed garlic
• 1 teaspoon thyme (or another herb. I used parsley)
• Salt and pepper to taste

BEFORE: Soak lima beans in water overnight then drain.


1.  Place water and lima beans in a large pot and bring to a boil.

2.  Add onion, carrot, celery, pearl barley, crushed garlic, and thyme.

3.  Bring back to a boil.

4. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for about 2 hours, or until the broth is creamy and
the barley and beans are tender.

6. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

OPTION: The next day I decided to sauté some mushrooms, garlic, and kale before adding the soup to reheat.  I topped it with a little Sriracha and the juice from a couple lemon wedges – It tasted even more delicious than the first time!


Barley may be used to help in the prevention and management of diabetes by slowing glucose absorption.  It is a great source of dietary fiber. Barley also contains phytochemicals which may reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases, as well as antioxidants, iron, magnesium, zinc, and other vital nutrients.

Lima beans are also a high-fiber food. They’re considered to be heart-healthy because they are low in fat and contain no cholesterol. Lima beans are a good source of protein and aid in digestion.


Makeover + Big News!

If you haven’t noticed, Because It’s Good For You just got a makeover! Big thanks to Hak Lonh of Champion & King for his amazing photography skills and help in adding a little life to this website. Also, thanks to the fruits and vegetables for being such amazing models! Who knew produce was so photogenic? I mean, just look at this artichoke!

artichoke becauseitsgoodforyou

Beautiful, right?! And check out these berries:

berries becauseitsgoodforyou

That just goes to show that the best looking things are natural, not artificial!

ALSO- Because It’s Good For You is now on Facebook! Anything I post on WordPress will automatically be linked to both sites, but I’ll also be adding extra health-related news and fun facts only on Facebook – so please follow both to stay informed! You can find the “Like” box in the upper right hand corner of this page, or you can find a link to it here.

Tumblr, Twitter, and (maybe) Instagram are soon to come as well! Stay tuned!

Autism Spectrum Disorder and Food; Is There a Relationship?

In the months following my undergraduate graduation I did what any normal recent grad would do: I looked for a job.  I was still unsure of whether I wanted to continue on toward a master’s level education, but more unsure of whether I could even find a decent job with only a B.A. in psychology (it’s not easy).  Through hours of searching through Craigslist and other various job search engines, I began to notice a trend:

“Behaviorist Needed for After-School Program for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder;” “ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) Specialist Needed for Non-Profit Company Working With Children with Autism;” “Tutor/Nanny/Daycare Personnel Needed to Work with Children on the Spectrum.” 

Line after line showed similar results.

And then I moved on to graduate school to attain a M.A. in Clinical Psychology and again, began looking for a job.  The results were practically undistinguishable from the ones I found nearly 3 years earlier; except there were more positions opening!  Even the graduate school I attended was in the midst of developing an entire floor of the building dedicated to their new ABA program, a fast growing field in the realm of psychology (Although ABA is not solely dedicated to individuals on the autism spectrum, it is a large focus of the major.  Their method lies in behavioral techniques and modification – altering behavior based on reward, positive reinforcement, and the like. Emotions are not at the forefront of treatment like it would be in a clinical psychological setting).  I had come in contact with children on the spectrum throughout the course of my traineeship as a middle school counselor and had several acquaintances with siblings or children on the spectrum, but I had never received advanced training in the area.  But obviously, this was a big deal.  I couldn’t help but wonder, ‘what causes this developmental disorder? Why is this becoming so prevalent now when it was barely recognized 50 years ago?’

My parents and grandparents didn’t know any elementary school classmates who had autism or asperger’s.  And today, they don’t have any friends or know of anyone their age who are on the spectrum.  So what’s going on?

In talking with peers, professors, and other individuals about the topic, I’ve heard just about every theory in the book:

“We are in the midst of an evolutionary process.  The human brain is evolving to disregard emotional and social cues and focussing solely on intellectual and logical processes;” “Autism Spectrum Disorder has always been around. We just never noticed it before because it didn’t have a name;” “There must be something in the water.” 

Sure, these are all possible reasons, but there’s something to be said about the last theory.  There may not be something in the water, per say, but there definitely is something in the food that we eat.  Especially with all the changes and “advancements” we’ve seen in farming and agriculture in the last century.  Cancer rates have also increased over the last century.  See a relationship?  Maybe.

An article published recently in The New York Times by Moises Velasquez-Manoff proposed an even bigger theory: that a third of cases of autism appear to be the result of an inflammatory response that occurs while the child is in the womb.  The immune system produces an inflammatory response when it feels like it is under attack by something foreign in an attempt to return to homeostasis.  In autistic individuals, the inflammatory response overpowers the anti-inflammatory response and is heightened at varying degrees, hence the reason autism is viewed as on a spectrum. The article goes on to discuss animal studies performed to support this idea, such as injecting “autistic antibodies” (that bind to fetal brain proteins) into the wombs of an experimental animal group and noticing marked autistic behaviors in their young such as repetition and social withdrawal. The question now is, what are our bodies trying to protect us against? Why are these inflammation responses occurring?

Duane Law, L.Ac. has done a bit of research on inflammation, allergies, and the stress response.  In one of the chapters of his book, Before Meds After Meds: Complimentary and Alternative Medicine for Anxiety & Depression, he discusses how food allergies occur.  Our digestive systems are not always able to properly break down some of the foods that we eat and, thinking we may have just swallowed a foreign substance, sends the body in to a protective mode and causes inflammation.  If it’s serious enough, our fight-or-flight response kicks in, stress hormones are released, and sugar is poured from cells into our blood stream to make sure we have enough energy to run or fight against the hypothetical danger.  An increase in blood sugar levels results in an increase in dopamine, the reward neurotransmitter (the same neurotransmitter that accounts for addictive behaviors) and causes us to feel cravings.  So basically, the foods that we so often crave, like refined sugar and sweets, are the things that we are allergic to because our body cannot naturally process them.  Let’s break this down a bit more. If we abide by the standard American diet, we are constantly eating foods we are allergic to without even realizing it.  Think about it – You can go weeks without eating fast food but the second you put your mouth around a Big Mac, you want another one.  Same with sweets – the more chocolate cake you eat, the more you crave it.  People who suddenly quit drinking Coke or Diet Coke get headaches, irritability, intense cravings, and moodiness – all because our body is stuck in this vicious cycle of addiction and inflammation.

This idea opens so many doors of possible answers to many every-day health problems.  If our stress response is being kicked and inflammation is occurring every time we eat something that is unnatural, what other kinds of effects do you think that has on our organs? Our moods? Or even on our brain?  Could it have something to do with the inflammation response that occurs in the brain of individuals with autism, as discussed in the article?  These are all questions that have yet to be researched and answered.  But I do know one thing – it should definitely make us think twice about the things we put into our bodies.

For more information on autism spectrum disorder, including resources, please check out: or

The Cutest Little Tapenade Stuffed Mushroom Recipe

I’m a big fan of bite -sized food.  Not only are you preventing a mess from forming around the corners of your mouth, but you’re also tasting every delicious flavor of a recipe- all in one bite!  It’s quick, clean, and satisfying.  And who doesn’t love a good miniature?! Like these baby bella mushrooms, for example:

baby bella mushrooms becauseitsgoodforyou

On that note, I’ll share with you a bite-sized recipe that I whipped up recently for a friends barbecue.  The host had already prepared an array of amazing food options, but I wanted to contribute by adding a snack that would appease omnivores and herbivores alike.  I immediately thought of mini stuffed mushrooms, and after some perusing around on the internet, I found this olive tapenade recipe that I thought would be a perfect filling!


• 3 cups baby bella mushrooms, stems removed and chopped in half
• 1-2 square sheets parchment paper
• 1 1/2 cups Kalamata olives, pitted
• 1 1/2 cups green olives, pitted
• 5 cloves of garlic
• 2 tbsp capers
• 1 red bell pepper, roasted and cut into 1″ sections
• 1/2 oz parsley
• 3 tsp lemon juice
• 1/2 oz basil
• 5 tbsp olive oil

olive tapenade becauseitsgoodforyou


1.  Place olives, pepper, capers, garlic, and about half of the mushrooms stems into a food processor.  Push the “pulse” button about 15 times at 1 second intervals.
*Although a  food processor is the easiest method, it’s not the only one.  You may choose to chop the ingredients up by hand, but it could take you a while.

2.  Add the basil, parsley, olive oil, and juice from the lemon.  Pulse again for about 15 times at 1 second intervals, or until everything looks well chopped. Remove from processor and set aside.


olive tapenade becauseitsgoodforyou

olive tapenade becauseitsgoodforyou

3.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

4.  Place the baby bella mushrooms, stems removed, on to a plate or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
* If you think you can spoon the tapenade on to the mushroom without making a big mess, a baking sheet may be the better option here, so you don’t have to transfer them to one later.  I learned this the hard way. 

5.  Spoon a small bit of tapenade in to the mushroom where the stem used to be.

olive stuffed mushrooms becauseitsgoodforyou

6.  If you haven’t done so already, place mushrooms on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in oven.  Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the mushrooms begin to “sweat” and are soft to the touch.

7.  You’ll probably need to do two rounds of baking unless you have an extra-large baking sheet. If not, wait a few minutes for the mushrooms to cool and enjoy your beautiful (and delicious) bite-sized creation!

olive tapenade stuffed mushrooms becauseitsgoodforyou

olive tapenade stuffed mushrooms becauseitsgoodforyou


Mushrooms are often used in weight loss programs because they are very low in calories, sodium, and fat, while adding fiber to your body with every bite.  Mushrooms are also a great source of potassium (1 large Portobello mushroom contains more potassium than a banana),  a mineral that has been known to lower blood pressure and reduce the chance of stroke.  Riboflavin, niacin, and selenium are also a part of  the health benefits of mushrooms and aid in the prevention of prostate cancer.1

Although olives have a high fat content (about 15-30 percent), they still offer several health benefits.  For example, olives are abundant in vitamin E as well as polyphenols and flavonoids.  They are also an anti-inflammatory and can prevent against certain cancers and heart disease.2  Olives originated in the Mediterranean, an area that still frequently consumes large amounts of olives and olive products/fats (such as olive oil).  Research shows that people in this region show fewer instances of diabetes, arthritis, asthma, and colon cancer compared to the United States, whose residents typically consume a diet high in animal fats.3


When Can You Break The ‘Organic’ Rule?

We have all heard that eating organic is the way to go if we want to prevent ourselves from ingesting potentially harmful chemicals hidden in our fruits and vegetables.  But how many times have you gone to the grocery store on a budget and noticed that organic avocados are almost a dollar more than non-organic avocados?  Being a recent college graduate, I know what it feels like to worry about those extra dollars adding up.  I sometimes have wondered if one word could really make that big of a difference.  Unless you consistently shop at Sprouts, Whole Foods, or have an amazing farmer’s market in your town, buying organic can be difficult, costly, and make shopping twice as long and frustrating.

Although purchasing (and eating) solely organically grown food is still the best option, there are some non-organic foods that you could slip into your mouth without feeling a tremendous amount of guilt or anxiety that you just ingested 80 different kinds of pesticides.  Psychology Today was kind enough to list them out in a recent issue and I felt like it was also worth mentioning here.  So, here you go:


1. Onions – 1 Pesticide
Dicloran is a fungicide and the only pesticide that onions carry – and was found present in only .03 percent of samples tested.  However,  dicloran is banned in most European countries, and probably for good reason.

2. Sweet Corn – 1 Pesticide
The neurotoxin dimethoate is the only toxin in sweet corn and was only found on 2.3 percent of samples tested.

3. Pineapples – 6 Pesticides
Triadimefon is the most common pesticide found in pineapples, but was still only present in 4.5 percent of samples. Carbaryl is a neurotoxin found in trace amounts in pineapples and is also banned in most European countries (I think they’re on to something).

4. Avocado – exact number unstated
Abamectin is the major pesticide in avocados and has been known to lead to tremors and loss of coordination in high doses.  However, all avocados are good sources of fiber, folate, and phytosterols (aka – good fat).

5. Asparagus – 9 Pesticides
The pesticides found were only present in about 3.3 percent of samples tested.  These included methomyl and chlorpyrifos, both neurotoxins.

6. Sweet Peas – 12 Chemicals
Dimethoate was found present in over 10 percent of samples tested.  The other chemicals were found in anywhere between 0.1 – 12.1 percent of samples.

7. Mangoes – 2 Major Pesticides + small traces of others
Imidacloprid and glyphosate are the 2 major pesticides in mangoes;  Although glyphosate is relatively non-toxic to humans.

8. Eggplant – 17+ Chemicals
17 looks like a lot of chemicals, but the amounts found in the samples were only small traces.  It’s main ‘star’ is the hormone disruptor endosulfan, which was found in 16 percent of samples.

9. Cantaloupe – 27 Pesticides
Endosulfan is also the most common pesticide found in cantaloupe.  The other pesticides were found in percentages ranging from 0.2-28.8 of samples.

10. Cabbage – 2 Major Pesticides + small traces of others
Chlorpyrifos is a pesticide and nerve disruptor found in cabbage.  Chlorothalonil is a potential carcinogen and can damage eyes and skin in high doses.

11. Kiwi – 2 Major Pesticides + small traces of others
Glyphosate and paraquat were found in 57 and 35 percent of samples. Glyphosate is harmless, although paraquat has been linked to Parkinson’s disease.

12. Watermelon – 28 Pesticides
28 different pesticides were found in 0.2-5.1 percent of watermelon samples. The most common are imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, both neurotoxins, and methamidophos, a far more toxic nerve disruptor.


1. Apples – 40 + Pesticides
Workers who apply pesticides to apples, particularly diphenylamine or DPA (which is linked to bladder tumors), are required to wear long sleeves and gloves to prevent exposure to these fungicides and carcinogens.

2. Celery – 64 Pesticides
Pesticides discovered were found on every celery tested, most of which are used to kill moths, beetles, and other bugs by stimulating their muscles to contract.

3. Strawberries – exact number unstated
One of every two non-organic strawberries grown contain the fungicide captan, a possible carcinogen.  Pyraclostrobin is also very present in strawberries and has been known to cause skin and eye irritations.

4. Peaches – 62 Pesticides
Most peaches tested contained pesticides that may cause damage to the liver, kidneys, nervous system functioning, and reproductive systems.

5. Spinach – 48 Pesticides
Permethrin and imidacloprid are found in almost every other leaf of spinach sampled, and can disrupt nerve signals.

6. Nectarines – 33 Pesticides
Formetanate is a neurotoxin that was found in half of the sample of nectarines tested.

7. Grapes – 34 Pesticides
Cyprodinil was found in 3/10 Chilean grapes and can cause eye, nose, and skin irritation.

8. Bell Peppers – 49 Pesticides
26 of the 49 different pesticides found in bell peppers are hormone disruptors, while 13 of them are neurotoxins. Imidacloprid is also present in more than 80 percent of samples tested.

9. Potatoes – 37 Pesticides
Imidacloprid is found again in high doses in potatoes, along with chloropropham which can irritate the skin and eyes in high doses.

10. Lettuce – 51 Pesticides
Imidacloprid strikes yet again in 73 percent of lettuce samples tested. Lettuce also has DCPA, a herbicide, and dimethomorph, a fungicide that can damage lungs if inhaled.

11. Blueberries – 52 Pesticides
Approximately 30 percent of blueberries contain the fungicide boscalid, which is toxic to the liver and thyroid, as well as pyraclostrobin, a skin irritant.

12. Kale – 55 Pesticides
Similar to lettuce, kale contains DCPA and imidacloprid, found in 30 and 50 percent of samples.

TAKE NOTE: This is not a list stating what NOT to eat. All of these produce items still have nutritional benefits and are very good for you! Just remember that when in doubt – choose organic. Then you will never have to worry about eating anything foreign or in addition to the tons of vitamins and minerals that are naturally present in these food items.

If you would like more information or  are looking for a way to eat organic without spending a ton of money, Psychology Today wrote another beautiful online article to help. You can find it here.