The 2014 Dirty Dozen Guide

Hello my loves. Happy May! This last weekend we went strawberry picking at Vollmer Farm in Bunn, NC (on the other side of Wake Forest). They have organic strawberries there- yippee! Needless to say, we have been eating a lot of strawberries the past few days. I tried out a new recipe for a strawberry tart, but it kind of became more like a cross between a strawberry cream pie and a strawberry cheesecake. What you call it isn’t really important, the important part is that it was yummy! See below for the recipe…

Speaking of organic strawberries, did you know that strawberries are among the dirtiest and most pesticide-laden produce on the market? That is the sad truth, so it is very important that you only eat organic or pesticide-free strawberries- fresh or frozen.

Pesticides and harmful chemicals have been on my mind a lot lately- mainly the ones that we encounter on a daily basis from the foods we eat and the household and personal care products we routinely use. A simple way to avoid harmful chemicals from the produce you buy is to use this handy guide put out by the Environmental Working Group (

Below is the 2014 edition:




The reason why these things have been on my mind is because I have been studying a lot about hormones lately. I will soon finish a certification program to teach and use The Gottfried Protocol which was created by Dr. Sara Gottfried, the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Hormone Cure. We discuss a lot about how exposure to harmful chemicals can actually disrupt the hormonal balance in our bodies. Crazy, right?

In fact, the more I study and research about food, lifestyle, detox, and nutrition, the more the issue of environmental toxins has been staring me down, forcing me to look at it. And once I started looking, I couldn’t ignore it. The truth is, we live in a toxic world. We are inundated by harmful chemicals everyday in our environment, both inside and outside our homes.

Some common sources of household chemicals we are exposed to daily include:

  • Skin care products
  • Hair care products
  • Make-up
  • Bug spray
  • Household cleaners
  • Yard chemicals like herbicides and pesticides

There are many more, but these are the ones that 99% of us encounter on a near daily basis.

While we cannot control a lot of the day-to-day exposure we get from the air we breath, we can control what we choose to eat, what we choose to put on our bodies, what cleaners we use, and if we use chemicals in our yards. By switching from conventional, pesticide-laden fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products to organic ones, and choosing non-toxic personal care and household cleaning products, you can make a huge difference in the amount of endocrine disruptors your body is being exposed to.

Creating mindfulness in these areas will do a tremendous amount to help you balance your hormones and ensure the long-term safety and health of you and your family.

Did you know?

  • The average adult has 485 chemicals in his/her blood.
  • The average woman is exposed to more than 250 chemicals, on average, before she leaves the house in the morning.

Some common ingredients frequently found in personal care and cleaning products are:

  • Fragrance (a trade-secret catch-all name that can include 100s of chemicals, many of which are phtalates.
  • Parabens
  • Triclosan
  • Oxybenzone and Octinoxate
  • PEG’s, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and ingredients ending in -eth

One of the reasons why these chemicals are problematic is that many act as endocrine disrupters in the body. What does that mean? Endocrine disrupters mimic estrogen in the body, which is why they have been linked to breast cancer, birth defects, obesity, and diabetes. The endocrine system regulates ALL biological processes in the body including development of the brain and nervous system, growth and function of the reproductive system, metabolism and blood sugar levels, ovaries, testes, pituitary, thyroid and the adrenal glands. (sourced from The World Health Organization and the UN recently released a joint report that called endocrine disruptors a “Global Threat.”

A wonderful resource for learning more is the Environmental Working Group’s website: and their app, Skin Deep.

Did you know that many products claiming to be “natural” and “organic” (even some that you find at Whole Foods) still have toxic chemicals in them? After years of searching for safe and completely non-toxic skin care, make-up, personal care, and household cleaning products, I recently discovered Ava Anderson Non Toxic. Their products are fantastic- really good quality, reasonably priced, and so clean and safe. I love them! I love them so much that I decided to work with them as a Non Toxic Consultant so that I could tell more people about the important message of toxic chemicals in our skin care, and share the awesome products as an alternative to all of the chemical-laden products out there.



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