Dirty Dozen and Clean 15

I have mentioned previously that I am undertaking a course at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York which seems to cover so much ground on topics which traditional Nutrition courses neglect. Since I’ve started there, I’ve been more and more aware of the dangers of pesticides on our food, pollutants and toxins in the air production and so have been trying very hard to eat mostly organic seasonal produce where possible. However,  as you know living in the modern world, sometimes this is just not possible and you may be forced to purchase foods which are not ‘perfect’, which can make one feel quite anxious.

indexOne great tool I have come across is the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” – which is basically, if you can’t afford or obtain organic ALL the time, there are certain foods you should only buy organic to reduce risk of chemical contamination, and also provides a list of other ‘safe’ foods that have less chemicals. Food that is grown without chemicals is the healthiest diet you can feed your body, and doing so can nourish your soul.

Dirty Dozen = foods you should NOT eat unless organic
Cherry Tomatoes
Hot Peppers
Imported nectarines
Sweet Ball Peppers
Kale/ Collard Greens
Summer Squash

Clean Fifteen – foods which have the least amount of pesticides used to create and sustain them.
Sweet corn
Sweet peas (frozen)
Sweet potatoes

Be aware of these Fruits and Veggies Treated with the MOST pesticides:
-HOT PEPPERS                    -LEAFY GREENS            – PEACHES              – CELERY          – CUCUMBERS          – APPLES                          -RASPBERRIES                    -GRAPES (IMP & LOCAL)    – STRAWBERRIES            – POTATOES            – PLUMS


Polenta Chips!

I’ve had these out at a restaurant before and they were so delicious and crunchy with a soft polenta middle, we decided to give them a try over the weekend. I love cooking tasty and healthy food for my family and friends but sometimes it’s nice to create nutritious foods which are a little bit of a treat, as well as easy to prepare for a larger group.

photoThis was super easy (and very inexpensive) and so I thought I would share with you here:


  • Olive oil, to grease pan
  • 2L (8 cups) organic vegetable stock (best if you can make your own and just pull out of the freezer the day before)
  • 1 x 500g pkt instant polenta
  • Approx 1 cup finely grated hard goats or sheeps cheese
  • Coconut oil (or EVOO if you prefer) to shallow-fry
  • Couple stalks of finely chopped fresh rosemary from the garden
  • Sea salt flakes & freshly ground black pepper


Step 1: Brush baking pan with olive oil to lightly grease
Step 2: Bring the stock to the boil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Use a whisk to stir the stock and gradually add the polenta in a thin steady stream, whisking constantly until all the polenta is incorporated. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes or until mixture thickens and polenta is soft. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.
Step 3: Pour the polenta evenly over the bases of the prepared pans and use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface. Cover with non-stick baking paper and set aside to cool. Place in the fridge for 4 hours (or freezer for 2 hours) to set.
Step 4: Turn polenta onto a clean work surface. Use a sharp knife to cut off the curved edges. Cut lengthways into 2cm strips. Cut each strip into 8cm-long pieces.
Step 5: Add some oil to a large saucepan and heat over high heat (when oil is ready a cube of bread will turn golden brown in 15 seconds). Add the chips gradually and shallow fry for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer chips to a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat, in 5 more batches, with the remaining polenta chips, reheating oil between batches.

I put mine in the oven while I waited for the others to cook. Then, sprinkled over the rosemary and sea salt and some more cheese. Delicious, easy for kids to make and a treat for the adults too! Enjoy 😉