There are certain foods that you should try to buy organic as much as possible. These foods are those fruits and vegetables whose conventionally grown “alternatives” have been found to contain high levels of pesticide residues. Every year the Environmental Working Group (http://www.ewg.org/foodnews) releases an updated report that identified foods in the conventional, non-organic food supply that contained the highest number of pesticide residues. The worst offenders, were nicknamed the “Dirty Dozen Plus.”   Conversely, the fruits and vegetables with the least amount of residue, are known as the “Clean 15.”

The Dirty Dozen– (# 1 is the worst, # 12 is bad, but the least of this list)

The Clean 15 – (#1 is the cleanest, #15 is clean, but less so)

  1. Apples
  2. Peaches
  3. Nectarines
  4. Strawberries
  5. Grapes
  6. Celery
  7. Spinach
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry tomatoes
  11. Snap peas (imported)
  12. Potatoes
  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Sweet Peas (frozen)
  6. Onions
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Papayas
  10. Kiwi
  11. Eggplant
  12. Grapefruit
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Sweet Potatoes


Experts have long known that a diet that works for one person doesn’t necessarily help another person shed a pound. Now a new study finds that even if we all ate the same meal, we’d burn it differently and have different blood sugar levels afterward.

Researchers say the findings will help pave the way for personalized nutrition. One day, soon, we may have diets based on how we respond to foods so that we can keep our blood sugar at healthier levels. High levels are linked with a number of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and strokes. DNA and genetic testing will become a big factor in customizing diet and exercise plans


Now that the weather is getting nice, you may be tempted to forgo your resistance training and head outdoors for some aerobic exercise in the fresh air.  But beware:  if you give up your resistance training, you will be giving up more than you bargained for.  Why resistance train?

Resistance training is critical for true fitness.  Without it, your muscles will atrophy.  If you aren’t building muscle, you are likely losing it.

And if you are 20 or older, you are definitely losing muscle, unless you are working hard to build it.  Beginning at age 20, we begin naturally losing muscle mass every decade.

The old cliché holds true for muscle mass:  if you don’t use it, you lose it.

Have you ever broken your arm or leg and had to wear a cast for a few weeks?  Remember  what greeted you when the cast was removed?  Your arm or leg was a lot smaller and felt weak.  That is because just a few weeks of disuse caused the muscles to begin atrophying.

Here are some of the benefits of resistance training: 

  • Stops muscle loss and helps begin the rebuilding process.
  • Makes daily activites easier, from carrying groceries to rearraging your furniture.
  • Gives you a sculpted look.
  • Increases bone density, giving you a strong, stable skeleton.
  • Improves balance and coordination.
  • Prevents decay of the pads between your bones, so that you do not hurt when you move.
  • Causes the tendons to grow deeper into your bones, reducing the chance of tearing.
  • Builds muscles which will burn more calories, even while you are resting.
  • Reduces blood pressure by making your heart stronger.
  • Increases your metabolism.
  • Decreases blood sugar, which helps prevent insulin resistance (the precursor to diabetes).
  • Improves your aerobic capacity: the stronger your muscles, the better your endurance.
  • Gives you a general feeling of wellness and strength. If you are strong, you feel strong.
  • Makes you a better athlete: there is no substitue for strength!
  • Prevents the weak, frail “skinny-fat” look.
  • Raises your energy level. The more muscle you have, the less effort you have to exert and the more energy you have available.
  • Secures future protection against falls and fractures. If you age with dense bones, strong muscles and good balance, your risk of injury plummets.
  • Creates 22% more afterburn than aerobic exercise does. (Afterburn refers to the fat and calories that your body burns in the hours after you have finished your workout.)

NEXT MONTH, PART TWO OF THIS ARTICLE WILL EXPLAIN:  Why aerobic exercise is not enough AND the “skinny fat” syndrome.

Fitness Words of Wisdom:  Strength doesn’t come from what you can do.  It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.