The Dirty Dozen

I recently had a discussion with my Mum about organic & she was frustrated due to the perception that “organic = healthier” when there are plenty of organic products filled with sugar, or sugar substitutes crying the claim “sugar free”. This particularly annoys me when it is a product marketed to children & many parents feel they are making a healthier decision by purchasing this product.

I do believe we should be mindful of the so called “dirty dozen”, the fruits & vegetables which retain the most pesticides & chemicals, so ideally are purchased as organic:
1. Apples
2. Celery
3. Capsicum
4. Peaches & nectarines
5. Berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries
6. Grapes
7. Spinach
8. Lettuce
9. Cucumbers10. Potatoes

The clean 15 doesn’t mean you always buy conventional, but if you’re always going organic on the Dirty Dozen, you can save some money buying conventional on these:

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Avocado
  5. Cabbage
  6. sweet peas
  7. asparagus
  8. mangoes
  9. eggplant
  10. kiwi
  11. rockmelon
  12. sweet potato
  13. grapefruit
  14. watermelon
  15. mushrooms

How do you vegan?

Often I watch a lecture in my IIN study & afterwards, wish I could sit down everyone I know in front of it. Tonight was one of those moments, watching a passionate Mark Bittman sing about policies very close to my heart:

He commenced a form of veganism 6 years ago. Before you non-vegans start rolling your eyes, just read on a little further. Mark is entirely plant based (fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds) from when he wakes until 6pm, every day. From 6pm, he gives himself carte blanche – whether that is a steak, cocktail, wine or a cheeky dessert.

Here are some of his beliefs:
1. Make it hard to sell junk food to children
2. Make it illegal to sell ‘soda’ to children
3. Stop dispensing junk, including soda, in schools
4. Subsidise production & sales of real foods, including fruit, vegetables, nuts & seeds.
5. Lead by example – encourage your friend
6. De-incentivize companies whose products have been shown to make people ill.

All of us have an opportunity to make a change to the earth, in the form of food consumption. Yours could be:
1. supporting small to medium farmers by purchasing at farmers markets, instead of purchasing processed foods built on mono-crops like corn & soy which are ineffective & have negative benefits on the soil.
2. Decrease global warming by having one less meal containing meat every week (or cut down more if you choose)
3. Decrease the amount of processed junk you eat each week & replace that with a plant-heavy meal.
4. A form of veganism – perhaps it is plant-based foods only Monday to Friday; or daily til 6pm; or you could decide to have lunch only containing meat.
5. Work on the above points regularly. Encourage your friends to do the same. Do you think if all consumers stopped buying GMO products or poor quality meat, it would continue to be produced? Supply & demand my friends. Help me on this journey to making the world a better place for our children, their children & for many more generations to come.

What am I doing?
1. 7 months ago I ditched dairy & despite having a bit of cheese on holidays in Scotland over Christmas, I am back to being dairy-free.
2. I read labels on everything I buy & make conscious choices to buy organic where possible.
3. I shop at Farmers Markets every weekend, & have done so for nearly 5 years.
4. I haven’t eaten meat in nearly 18 years
5. I give my children meat, which is 90% of the time organic & grass-fed. I also explain to them where the meat comes from, as I feel education is part of the issue that needs to be discussed.

I’ve attached images of vegan meals & foods I enjoy to show you that veganism is far from boring or unsatisfying. If you would like tips on replacing meals with vegan options, come say hi over on Facebook at 6cleaningredients & I would love to help you out x



Follow your gut – in every sense

The last month has been a combination of events that will change my life forever for the best!

I don’t like to glorify busy but I guess you could say that’s what my life is like – a (weekday) single mum of 2 boys, I work 3 days a week, study through IIN, & play hockey twice a week.

Over the last 6 months I developed an increasingly worse rash on my face. Adult onset acne with no cause claimed the GP & pressed a script into my hand. That claim was seconded by a dermatologist, who also gave me a prescription for 3 months of tablets plus a cream so strong it would strip layers of my skin off. So I went to a Naturopath. My initial reaction was that there must be a cause. I’ve never had bad skin in my life (not gloating here), so why at 34 years of age, eating the healthiest I have in my life, am I lumped with this? 

The Naturopath & I narrowed potential causes down to: diet, stress, mould (due to a leaking roof which $5,000 later has now been fixed), allergy or deficiency. 

I commenced a 4 week elimination diet with no gluten (goodbye bread my old, loyal friend), no dairy (think of the cheese!) & no spices (not easy for someone who adds chilli to everything). 

I had to add in organic eggs every second day – whereas previously I ate eggs about every second year, not an exaggeration. I also had to add in sustainable seafood every second day. 

This was the first diet I have ever done & I have to say, to anyone who has done a diet, how the hell did you do it?! I turned over packets & nearly cried at mentions of minute traces of dairy, I jumped for joy when I found out my mayonnaise was gluten-free, dairy-free & free from cane sugar or corn syrup. My 5 year old within weeks started pointing to jars & saying “look Mum, you can have this, it says gluten-free”. At the same time I think my sons resented me a little when their requests to go out for pizza were declined, cos, you know, if I can’t have pizza, you’re not torturing me by making me sit & smell my favourite mushroom & goat’s cheese pizza, salivating like a savage dog, while sipping on a glass of water & asking if the salad dressing is gluten-free.

I’ve learnt a lot: both my sons like rice bread, which is cool when we want to lay off the gluten a bit. My older son likes seaweed (hello, iodine). I find organic eggs ok, they’re somehow not as “eggy” as non-organic. I’ve learnt free-range eggs are an absolute scam. I’ve been buying more organic fruit & veg than ever & despite the price I feel everyone is winning: I’m supporting local farmers, if all of us buy something organic every day, we are growing demand & subsequently bringing prices down. I can still find a way to get my “treat” fix – hello About Life raw vegan chocolate beetroot cake & raw vegan peppermint slice. 

I concurrently started studying through IIN & it was fortuitous that “crowding out” was an initial concept as it has helped me. I’ve added in more veggies, organic eggs, seafood & seaweed. I look through photos of my food & don’t feel it’s one of deprivation, in fact, it feels quite abundant. 

In my second appointment blood tests returned a few ticks but a few crosses – namely a vitamin D deficiency & zinc deficiency….so it’s supplements for me for both until I can get the levels up to a level that I can maintain through lifestyle & diet. My skin is looking a lot better – no raised dots & minimal redness, but it still has a bit to go. 

Follow your gut – both physically with what you put in your mouth, but also metaphorically – I wasn’t happy with a diagnosis of something with “no cause” so pursued alternate routes. 

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE note this is my experience only & I have the utmost respect & admiration for every Doctor & Nurse I know. I just felt on this occasion it may have been lifestyle related due to a few things happening in my life around the time the rash began appearing. If in doubt, see your Doctor. I am not qualified to give advice on anyone’s health. 


Green smoothie 

Here’s a tip, a can of coconut milk can look intimidating & in the past, I’ve avoiding opening one, thinking I won’t be able to finish the whole thing: freeze it into individual ice cubes (in my case, heart shaped).

Following my naturopath visit on Friday, I realised I did need to pump the nutritional value of my smoothies, but am not yet willing to put in a raw egg (although my brother swears by it).

1 x avocado

4 x coconut milk ice cubes

1 x banana

1 big handful of baby spinach

A sprinkle of Heilala vanilla powder

Top with organic strawberries & a sprinkle of chia seeds


Blend all ingredients placing baby spinach in blender first, then vanilla powder, then heavy ingredients on top.

If required, slowly add a bit of water to get your desired consistency. Mine was pretty thick