The Dirty Dozen, and the Clean Fifteen: What you Need to Know

Dirty dozen

The Environmental working group publishes an annual shopper’s guide of produce with a catchy name, the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15.  Each year the EWG analyzes data from the USDA to determine which fruits and vegetables in the US have the most and least pesticide contamination.  Fruits and vegetables with delicate exteriors run the risk of being destroyed by insects or infections before they make it to your market and farmers tend to use more protective chemicals on them.  That being said, information is power but perfection is unattainable.  And the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and fiber outweighs the risk of pesticide exposure so eating conventionally grown produce is far better than skipping fruits or veggies if you can’t find or afford all organic produce.  Additionally, you can buy frozen organic produce at a much more reasonable price and avoid the pesticides.

This year’s Dirty Dozen: strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery and potatoes. 

The Clean 15: avocados, sweet corn, pineapple, onions, papaya, sweet peas ( frozen), eggplants, asparagus, cauliflower, cantaloupes, broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage, honeydew melon and kiwis.   

Kitchen-Prescription Recipe:Quick Roasted Cauliflower with Sunflower Seeds

Quick Roasted Cauliflower with Sunflower Seeds

1 medium head of cauliflower

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves minced

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with olive oil.

Mix cauliflower florets with olive oil, salt, pepper, minced garlic and sunflower seeds and spread evenly on the baking sheet.

Roast until golden and tender – approximately 35 minutes. Can serve hot or cold with greens.

K-P Cooking Tips:

Extra virgin olive oil contains a compound called oleocanthal that prevents the production of pro-inflammatory enzymes in the body. It can help with joint pain much like ibuprofen. EVOO has fewer chemicals than regular olive oil due to higher production standards.

Sunflower seeds with their nutty flavor and high nutritional value contain flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory benefits. They also contain zinc and selenium both of which support the immune system and reduce inflammation.

Cauliflower is a superfood and a prebiotic, is high in fiber and has antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Roasting and steaming is the best way to cook cauliflower because boiling it causes it to lose the most antioxidants.

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