Clean 15 / Dirty Dozen

When I give my health talks across the country I am asked which foods should be purchased organic and which ones are okay to consume without being labeled organic.  The following list contains the dirty dozen and the clean 15.  According to the PDP, 99.5% of samples tested had residues “well below” the EPA’s established tolerances, and 22% had no detectable pesticide residue.  I always recommend washing your fruits and veggies with an organic spray cleaner from the health food store or use a vinegar and water combination.  I also recommend trying to find fruits and veggies which are in season and look for local farmers or farmers markets to purchase from to help your local economy.  

The group identified the following items on its “Dirty Dozen” list of produce with the most pesticide residue:   

  • Strawberries 
  • Spinach 
  • Nectarines 
  • Apples 
  • Grapes 
  • Peaches 
  • Cherries 
  • Pears 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Celery 
  • Potatoes 
  • Sweet Bell Peppers 

Here are the items the EWG identified for its “Clean 15,” which report the least likelihood to contain pesticide residue. 

  • Avocados 
  • Sweet Corn 
  • Pineapples 
  • Cabbages 
  • Onions 
  • Sweet Peas 
  • Papayas 
  • Asparagus 
  • Mangoes 
  • Eggplants 
  • Honeydews 
  • Kiwis 
  • Cantaloupes 
  • Cauliflower 
  • Broccoli 


With recent news of the EpiPen increasing to approximately $600.00 per year, allergies are in the headlines. According to research allergies affect as many as 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children. Allergic disease, including asthma, is the fifth leading chronic disease in the U.S. in people of all ages. Allergies not only disrupt our lives, but ultimately keep our immune system in a state of constant hyperactivity.

Allergies and Stress

I personally feel allergies and stress or deeply connected. I remember the day I visited my veterinary friend’s practice and fell deeply in love with the clinic kitty “Smokey”. He was a beautiful silver grey cat and if he had been human, he definitely would have been a handsome underwear model!  He looked at me and I was his. This day he adopted me and I took him home.


By the time I got him into my house, my eyes were swollen and I could hardly see…sadly I had to bring him back to the office.  Several weeks later, I am visiting my friend and there he is again…this time he would not take his eyes off of me and I could not resist trying to take him home once again. To my surprise, I had absolutely no reaction to him the second time. Now over the past 7 years I occasionally have a flare up but it soon dissipates.  So what happened?

“Allergies” are the immune system overreacting to benign substances. Individuals who suffer from allergies do so as a result of a genetic susceptibility combined with nutritional and environmental influences. Our bodies are exposed to so many internal and external chemicals each year. They come in the form of air pollution, pesticides, toxic household cleaners, and industrial contaminants. It is not surprising that at times our immune system is overwhelmed and confused by this toxic load. Epidemiological studies have shown that all types of allergic diseases are more common in polluted than in unpolluted areas. So the fact I was allergic to Smokey at one time and not at another confirms that my body was in a state of stress and could not handle one more stressor at that point.

What does one do?

From a naturopathic viewpoint, decreasing exposure to the cause is the first step to treating allergies and asthma. The next step is identifying any and all food sensitivities. Most people have some food sensitivities, and when we decrease the immune reactivity in one area of the body, it helps decrease in other areas as well. This basically says that any decrease in the overall allergenic load will decrease full body symptom expression. Since we can control what we put in our mouths, this is the first place to start after removing evident toxic chemicals from our foods. A great book to read regarding chemicals in our food is the Dorito Effect By Mark Schatzker. This book has a very cool cover of floating Doritos which will grab your attention.

Our goal through nutrition is to decrease histamine, decrease inflammation, and increase anti-allergic substances in our diet. Foods high in histamine which should be avoided are cheese, some wines, and certain kinds of fish such as tuna and mackerel.

Foods that should be included in your diet are anti-oxidant rich foods and essential fatty acids. Anti-oxidants are high in green, red and yellow vegetables, sunflower seeds, wheat germ oil, and Brazil nuts. Essential fatty acids are present in flaxseed oil, borage oil, evening primrose oil, grass fed animals, and cold water fish. Onion and garlic are particularly antiallergenic because they inhibit inflammatory enzymes. Of course even healthy foods can sometimes cause a food intolerance. Therefore it is good to give your body a break from these foods for a certain time to allow a “rest” period from specific foods which show up on an allergy test.


The Olive Leaf provides several avenues for eliminating inflammatory foods and chemicals…

  • Food sensitivity testing such as Alcat or Alletess will specifically tell you what foods and chemicals should be eradicated from your diet for a period of time and reintroduced in a rotational diet.
  • The blood type/genotype program is not a food sensitivity panel.  Howevert it does show foods that cause inflammation in the body in relation to certain lectins within each food group.
  • Shaped Reclaimed Program consists of only anti-inflammatory food choices and a dietary guideline to follow to decrease inflammation in the body.
  • Detoxification programs that eliminate foods and strengthen the liver which in turn help isolate food intolerances.

If you are interested in any of these programs, please schedule a consultation and we will be happy to discuss the best option for you or your loved one.

Food Allergy, Food Sensitivity, and Food Intolerance: What’s the Difference?

Food allergies are typically diagnosed when a person is younger, but today more physicians are realizing that just because a person isn’t “allergic” doesn’t mean they aren’t sensitive to particular foods they eat. There is a lot of conflicting information regarding food allergies, food sensitivity, and food intolerance. So, we are here to set the record straight. If you think the food you eat is causing an adverse reaction, visit The Olive Leaf clinic today. We can test you for any food allergies and sensitivities and help you find what foods are causing your issues.

What is a Food Allergy?

Food allergies manifest early on and usually appear suddenly. When a person eats a particular food, such as strawberries, they have a reaction immediately. All it takes is a small amount of food to trigger a food allergy— for some people just touching that food can result in a rash or difficulty breathing. People with food allergies will have reactions to foods every time they eat them and if the allergy is severe enough, it can be life threatening.

What is a Food Sensitivity?

Food sensitivities occurs when you have an unpleasant reaction to particular types of food. You won’t break out in hives or have difficulty breathing. Instead, you may suffer from acid reflux, nausea, or even have cramps. A food sensitivity is not a response from your immune system like food allergies are, and the reaction doesn’t always occur every time you eat the food either.

What is a Food Intolerance?

Food intolerances mean your body lacks a specific enzyme to help breakdown the foods you eat. For example, if you are intolerant to dairy or celiac (gluten), you have an autoimmune disorder that does not allow your body to digest the foods you’re intolerant too. The reactions from a food intolerance can vary. Some patients suffer from malnutrition, severe stomach problems or even joint pain. If you’re intolerant to a particular food, you should avoid it. While it might not be life threatening, continuing to eat a food you’re intolerant to could lead to other life-threatening conditions.

Why Are They Confused?

A food intolerance and food sensitivity are the most confused terms. They share similar symptoms — nausea, acid reflux, constipation, diarrhea, etc. People with food sensitivities can still eat particular foods, but may have adverse reactions. People with a food intolerance, however, should avoid those foods at all costs.

Which Do I Have?

The best way to tell what you have is by getting a food sensitivity or food intolerance test. The team The Olive Leaf can run a sensitivity and intolerance test to identify what foods are triggering your symptoms. By omitting these foods from your diet, you may start to feel better and you’ll notice a significant improvement in your condition within a few weeks.