The Dirty Dozen

The following article was reposted from Karen Gordon’s blog Karen has been successfully leveraging the Human Operating System to vanquish Multiple Sclerosis from her life and become a source of inspiration and support to others with chronic illnesses. (Talk about being in your Purpose!)

Celery. Dirty. Peaches. Dirty. Strawberries? Dirty.

Apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach and cherries. Dirty. Potatoes. Dirty. Grapes (imported). Dirty. And just when you thought it was safe…Kale and Collard Greens! Dirty!

Dirty as in pesticide-riddled. Dirty as in poison. This is the Dirty Dozen(TM) according to Environmental Working Group’s website So if you plan to eat any of the above, only buy ORGANIC. Otherwise, you can probably save yourself the trip to the grocery store and just take a swig of some Drano.

Here’s what EWG says:

“The growing consensus among scientists is that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to human health, especially during fetal development and early childhood. Scientists now know enough about the long-term consequences of ingesting these powerful chemicals to advise that we minimize our consumption of pesticides.”

Gee thanks. And, like, duh? Why didn’t they catch on to the whole “chemicals shouldn’t be eaten” revelation 30 years ago, when I was a wee thing in New Jersey happily downing strawberries with sugar all those evenings after dinner? Well whatever. I ate them all the time and look at me, I’m fine! Oh wait…

But anyway. The good news is there’s also a Clean 15. The fifteen foods you don’t need to buy organic because they won’t kill you quite as quickly. I would tell you what those 15 are but I think the Environmental Working Group wants you to go to their website and sign up to get that list yourself, so I won’t give it away here. Ok maybe just a hint. The first one rhymes with shmonions.

Now as many of you know, after crossing paths with the esteemed Dr. Terry Wahls I have become a kale-aholic. And I have taken to espousing the many benefits of kale on this website as well. So let me just reiterate. Apparently, if you can’t buy your kale organic, you’re better off not buying it at all. I will double-check with Dr. Wahls on that and get back to you, but I am guessing that even though kale may make your mitochondria dance, your liver and other assorted toxin-removal systems in your body will not be in the mood to party.

By the way, this pesticide-guide is based on data from nearly 89,000 tests for pesticide residues in produce conducted between 2000 and 2008 and collected by the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. Head over to for more info and for your list of the Clean 15. They’ve also got a very cool iPhone app with their lists, so you can reference it at the market if you’ve only got so much cash and need to make a decision about what to buy organic and what not to.

Until next time, I leave you with this…”An apple a day keeps the doctor away…” (and other assorted painfully outdated and now blatantly untrue and outright dangerous rhymes meant to keep us healthy.)

Addendum: I just spoke with Dr. Wahls about the organic vs. non-organic kale issue and here’s what she had to say:

“So — the pesticide tests look for presence, not the severity of the toxic effect.  So the answer is not quite as straightforward.

My advice – find organic greens.  If you can’t purchase fresh greens that are organic — look for frozen or powder organic wheat grass/barley grass and other NON GLUTEN greens — note the greens themselves do not contain gluten – even from the grass family. But if it is processed in a plant that has not been maintained as gluten-free, it will then become contaminated.

About the Author: Karen Gordon is The Self Healing Coach. Diagnosed with MS in 2007, Karen began applying the strategies of the Human Operating System to heal herself of her chronic illness. She now provides support and inspiration to people with MS through her blog, trainings, and private consultations. But don’t be fooled -the information she gives is not just for people with chronic illnesses – it’s powerful for anyone who wants to be healthy. Swing by her blog and sign up now!



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