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Dirty Dozen and Clean 15

Last week, many of us read how there’s possibly no benefit to organic. This week, there’s not only a “Dirty Dozen” but also a “Clean Fifteen”. Here’s what CNN reports:

The “Dirty Dozen”

1.    Celery
2.      Peaches
3.      Strawberries
4.      Apples
5.      Domestic blueberries
6.      Nectarines
7.      Sweet bell peppers
8.      Spinach, kale and collard greens
9.      Cherries
10.  Potatoes
11. Imported grapes
12.  Lettuce

The “Clean 15” (contain little to no pesticides)

1.      Onions
2.      Avocados
3.      Sweet corn
4.      Pineapples
5.      Mango
6.      Sweet peas
7.      Asparagus
8.      Kiwi fruit
9.      Cabbage
10.  Eggplant
11.  Cantaloupe
12.  Watermelon
13.  Grapefruit
14.  Sweet potatoes
15.  Sweet onions

Also included in this CNN article was the fact that 45% of the world’s crop is lost due to spoilage and damage, and this is why pesticides are utilized by farmers. Then someone commented on the article, “Why does organic cost more than inorganic produce if farmers save money on chemicals?” And while I don’t know that the answer is damage from pests, insects, etc…I’d imagine that’s a pretty good guess. Therefore, it would make sense that organic farmers have to plant nearly 2x as much as inorganic farmers to produce the same yield.

Silver lining? There’s more on the “Clean 15” list than there are on the “Dirty Dozen”! 😉

I give a lot of credit to farmers. My tiny 10′ x 6′ garden has been a lot to plant, weed, water, and sow. I can only imagine it being my full-time job and fearing the wrath of weather, storms, pests, and everything in between.

My spinach just this week went from thriving…to DEAD. It just shriveled up in the 98º Oklahoma heat and that was that. 🙁 My potatoes are seeming to do the same, HOWEVER, I believe that looks to be the case because they are actually ready to harvest! Potato leaves die off when the potatoes are ready to dig from the ground. Here’s hoping! I’m going to give them a few more days but they currently look like this:

But other than my spinach, things are doing well…ESPECIALLY kale, romaine, and TOMATOES!!! 😀

Bell Peppers!


Last night was a cook-free night as we met friends for Mexican food! I behaved so that I could come home and knock out a few miles on the treadmill in order to stay on track with my 101 Days of Summer Challenge to run 70 of the next 101 days. It was day 3 after all…I can’t be slacking already! I pounded out a quick 2 miles…even though it was later (okay, it was only 8:30pm…but I am a grandma about my evenings!)…and I had just eaten. I also did my push-ups for Heather’s challenge…but I did them in the privacy of my living room today! 😉 Glad everyone found that story to be as funny as me!

Question: What do you think of potatoes nutritionally speaking? Do you try to limit them at all? Potatoes get a bad rap these days and I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on spuds!

Spud love,

Share With Your Friends!


  1. Julie @ Pickley Pear
    June 3, 2010 / 7:22 am

    I am once again super jealous of your garden! That is so great. Too bad about your spinach, but at least the rest are doing great. Way to go on the workout challenge – I cannot work out after dinner. I need at least 3-4 hours after a meal before working out, which is why I typically go in the morning or right after work.

    Potatoes make my blood sugar go a little nuts. I stick with sweet potatoes about once a month. I get plenty of carbs from other sources. Mashed WHITE potatoes at Thanksgiving are a must though!

  2. Joanne
    June 3, 2010 / 6:34 am

    Thanks for sharing these lists! I try to eat organic when I can but I will definitely go for it when consuming the dirty dozen.

    I’m sorry to hear about your spinach! Let’s have a moment of silence for it, shall we.

    K we’re back! I’m not the biggest potato fan…unless they’re sweet potatoes. But I think that’s just cause I’d rather be eating pasta!

    Congrats on keeping up with your challenge!

  3. Jodie
    June 3, 2010 / 7:03 am

    I love potatoes and I eat them all the time. If it’s from the ground, in my eyes, it can’t be bad for you. How you prepare and eat it is the problem.

  4. Mo
    June 3, 2010 / 7:53 am

    The thing that annoys me about the dirty dozen and clean 15 is that all of the dirty dozen save for cherries and collard greens are among my top picks for produce and things I purchase most often. Whereas I regularly eat mango, sweet peas, onions and asparagus of the clean 15. 😐 If only my taste buds preferred eggplant over peaches. πŸ˜‰

    It’s a bummer about your spinach. πŸ™ If it makes you feel better, I’m pretty sure I’m in the process of killing both my pots of mint, which are usually the plants people have trouble controlling. My thumb is THAT black. πŸ˜›
    But I’m super jealous of your other plants, especially the tomatoes and kale!

    Keep up the exercise! I’m inspired by your commitment. πŸ™‚

    Potatoes… uhhh. Well, I love them but I don’t consider them too good for me. In moderation, of course they’re fine and I know they have some health benefits that are not coming to mind right now. My problem is that I can prepare them with little oil or salt, but I’ll eat half of the pan of roasted potatoes that I make. I like my potatoes roasted or fried in some way (not a fan of simply poking holes in them and baking) and when they’re cut up you hardly notice that you just ate three potatoes. :S

  5. Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life
    June 3, 2010 / 8:25 am

    I always try to opt for the sweet potatoes, but every once in a while, I have to have the white!

  6. Samantha @ Food Edu
    June 3, 2010 / 8:57 am

    Thanks for sharing the article Nicole–there are several reasons why organic is more expensive such as higher costs of labor, higher costs of inputs with lower rates of success as compared to conventional methods (for example using integrated pest management instead of spraying), less yield per acre, etc. It costs the farmer more so that is passed onto the consumer, but there is also a demand component in that people will pay more for organic because they think it is better for them (“better” can be a philosophical idea of how food should be farmed or many people think its nutritionally better als0).

    Your tomatoes look great! And as far as potatoes go–I like them, but rarely eat them.

  7. Kelly
    June 3, 2010 / 9:11 am

    My husband and I were just talking about this the other night! Thanks for posting the list! πŸ™‚

  8. homecookedem
    June 3, 2010 / 9:11 am

    Thanks so much for passing along those lists! That is very helpful.

    I LOVE potatoes. In fact tonight I might make some roasted potatoes with a little olive oil and rosemary on them. That is one of my favorite ways to eat them.

  9. Jessica @ How Sweet
    June 3, 2010 / 9:14 am

    Your garden looks great!

    I love all potatos. Just because regular white potatoes are ‘white’ doesn’t mean that they don’t have vitamins and nutrients! Sweet and white are both important!

  10. Brittany @ A Healthy Slice of Life
    June 3, 2010 / 9:30 am

    I heart potatoes. Especially sweet potatoes. And a baked potato with a steak… delicious! I don’t understand their bad reputation…

  11. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    June 3, 2010 / 9:51 am

    I’m surprised by some of the clean 15. I would have guessed pineapple, watermelon and other fruits or veggies with thick skin, but asparagus? Shocked. Thanks for the list.

  12. Heather
    June 3, 2010 / 10:04 am

    I usually print these lists and keep them in my wallet as a reference for the grocery store.

    Good to know – I wish I had a garden BUT I did just join an organic CSA which I am very excited about!

  13. Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather
    June 3, 2010 / 10:32 am

    I’m a spud lover πŸ™‚ mainly sweet potatoes just because the flavor is my favorite. Red and yukon gold potatoes get eaten a lot in our house… I’m not a fan of russets but Jacob likes baked potatoes so I’ll get him those and bake myself a tasty sweet potato.

  14. Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
    June 3, 2010 / 10:37 am

    Great list! I can’t grow anything, hats off to the farmers and their successes! Thanks!

  15. thebalancebroad
    June 3, 2010 / 10:50 am

    Your plants look great – I have a hard time keeping up with the few flowers and plants in my yard….I can’t imagine a whole garden! I agree about farmers….I just don’t know how they do it.

    I definitely keep the Dirty Dozen in mind when shopping (even though I don’t buy all organic produce – kaching!). I do buy organic spinach and apples, for example, but never onions or avocados.

    I’m sad spuds get a bad rap because I LOVE them. I do eat sweet more than regular now, which…I think are supposed to be β€œbetter” for you?

  16. Sushma Mallya
    June 3, 2010 / 11:02 am

    Lovely post nicole,thanks for sharing…and your garden looks very beautiful…

  17. lisaou11
    June 3, 2010 / 11:34 am

    Your garden looks great! Keep anything growing in this heat is definitely a job well done.

  18. 'Drea
    June 3, 2010 / 11:39 am

    I eat potatoes therefore I yam. πŸ˜‰ I don’t think anything is wrong with them as long as you’re not loading them with sour cream and butter. I saw a relative add sugar to a sweet potato; that’s so redundant.

    I have been addicted to baked sweet potatoes of late. I think that I’ve had one for the past five days with a little grape oil, cayenne pepper and cumin. Mmm, mmm.

    Your garden looks great, you know, except for the spinach thing…

  19. Swanky Dietitian
    June 3, 2010 / 11:41 am

    I like that they posted a “clean 15” showing us that there are other for fruits and vegetables if you can not buy organic.
    I didn’t realize how much of the crop is lost to spoilage or damage. 45% is very high.
    Your garden looks like its doing great!

  20. Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble
    June 3, 2010 / 12:03 pm

    I read that article too but have heard several similar things when it comes to organic fruits and vegetables over that past several years. Seems the thicker the skin or skin that is removed, the better it protects from pesticides.

    Your garden looks awesome! I love love LOVE potatoes! I would probably eat them everyday if I could. Well, I guess I could, but I don’t. Potatoes are definitely my comfort food and I haven’t found a way to serve them I don’t like!

    When I eat potatoes I like to pair them with a high protein source to avoid a spike in blood sugar. I love a baked potato loaded with Greek yogurt! It’s like a meal all in itself! Although potatoes often get a bad rap, they have played a very important part in the history of nutrition. Being a good source of starchy carbohydrates people have depended on potatoes for thousands of years as staples in their diets.

  21. fitandfortysomething
    June 3, 2010 / 12:15 pm

    this is a great list and i love your garden!

  22. Jenna
    June 3, 2010 / 12:27 pm

    Your tomatoes are looking wonderful! That reminds me that I need to repot mine. Whoops! πŸ™‚

  23. Katie @ Health for the Whole Self
    June 3, 2010 / 12:49 pm

    Interesting! I’ve seen the Dirty Dozen before, but never the Clean Fifteen.

    I love potatoes, particularly sweet potatoes. A baked sweet potato loaded up with black beans….yummy!

  24. Rachel Palmieri
    June 3, 2010 / 12:51 pm

    You ran 2 miles after eating Mexican food?! You are hard core! πŸ™‚

    I think potatoes of any kind are great, nutritionally, as long as you are eating the proper portion (football sized baked potatoes are not the way to go) and you aren’t smothering them in butter/sour cream/cheese/bacon bits (this is what I struggle with). We try to eat sweet potatoes at least once per week since they are probably better for you than regular potatoes (and don’t need as much dressing up).

  25. famishedtofantastic
    June 3, 2010 / 1:26 pm

    I was so glad to see sweet potatoes on the Clean 15 list. I knew potatoes were on the dirty dozen so I figured that included sweet potatoes. It is very difficult to find organic sweet potatoes and since those are one of the few things I can stomach these days I am glad to see I don’t need to try and find organic. Thank you once again for this valuable information Nicole.

  26. John
    June 3, 2010 / 1:53 pm

    That’s pretty good that you’ve only lost the spinach. Hopefully those pots are ready for harvest. Love new potatoes boiled and topped with butter…so gooood.

    I like potatoes but limit them as I’ve been told too for weight loss efforts. I use to like boiling a big pot(2-3lbs at least)of them with corn and then I’d eat that with lots of butter and salt and peper. Nothing better some nights but alas maybe not a great meal idea now:-)

  27. Mari
    June 3, 2010 / 2:12 pm

    That sucks about the spinach but everything else looks great! You did such a great job with your garden adventure =)

    BTW I am having lily withdrawals! can we get some lily love! how is she feeling?

  28. Food-Fitness-FreshAir
    June 3, 2010 / 3:50 pm

    I try to stick to organic for almost everything because it’s better for the environment either way. But when spring and summer roll in and local strawberries and blueberries start popping up, I’m out their picking those conventional ones because, well, they just taste so superior to any organic ones I could buy at the store! I don’t eat a lot of potatoes because I think there are healthier things that are just as tasty…except I love sweet potatoes! About to pop one in the oven actually.

  29. Alison
    June 3, 2010 / 3:57 pm

    I have tomato envy! I only have a couple of blossoms and now my tomatoes seem to be drowning due to the unending rain πŸ™ My spinach on the other hand, very happy πŸ˜› I’ll trade you.

    Onions and Sweet onions hmmm seems like double dipping and although corn might not be laced in pesticides most corn in the US is GMO corn, not a good trade in my opinion.

    I’m an organic girl 99% of the time, better for myself and the planet.

    I like potatoes we have them every couple of weeks (as a starch not a veggie unlike the school lunch program), they have tons of potassium, right?

  30. Andrea@WellnessNotes
    June 3, 2010 / 3:57 pm

    Sorry about your spinach, but your garden looks great!!! And yes, gardening is a lot of work. But it’s so worth it!

    I love sweet potatoes. We took a break from “regular” potatoes for a while, but I roasted some with other veggies the other night, and they were delicious! I love baked sweet potato fries, but the last few batches I made didn’t turn out so great… Can’t wait to see what you’ll make with your own potatoes! πŸ™‚

  31. biz319
    June 3, 2010 / 4:22 pm

    Okay, officially jealous of your garden – the deer and rabbits ate mine every year so Tony and I just gave up.

    My herbs are doing well though!

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, potatoes, any shape and size. I do try to keep the skins on for the fiber, so my go to is both red and white new potatoes – even made them last night! πŸ˜€

  32. therabbitrunner
    June 3, 2010 / 6:21 pm

    Personally, I chose to eat organic to avoid pesticides – not for nutrients, which I know sounds bad, but its true. I just don’t like the idea of ingesting harmful toxins, but it is good to know I don’t have to buy organic for everything πŸ™‚

    yay for your two mile run πŸ™‚ good luck with your goal!

  33. Faith
    June 3, 2010 / 6:21 pm

    Nicole you read my mind! The other day I was talking with a co-worker about the dirty dozen but I couldn’t remember them all — I am going to email the link to this post to her! Thank you!!!

  34. South Beach Steve
    June 3, 2010 / 10:02 pm

    I have seen the dirty dozen, but had not seen the clean 15. Thanks for sharing. The garden is looking good despite the spinach. πŸ™‚ My spinach has gone to seed and isn’t good now either.

  35. The Candid RD
    June 4, 2010 / 6:57 am

    Your garden is coming along quite nice!! So spinach needs a lot of tender care, I see? Of course in C-bus we don’t exactly get 98 degree weather, yikes!

    Why is it that I have never seen blueberries on a dirty list?? I have been buying NON-organic blueberries for years now, darn it. I’m pissed! I guess I’ll have to start shelling out more money for organic. At least when I have kids or when I’m pregnant I will do that….

    I love potatoes. We eat them at least once a week. I think they are PACKED with good nutrition, and you are right, they get a really bad rap!

  36. inmytummy
    June 4, 2010 / 7:11 am

    Your garden looks great!

    I like potatoes, but don’t eat them that often. Not for nutritional reasons, but I just don’t find myself buying them that much.

  37. Katie
    June 5, 2010 / 6:22 am

    Ya know, I’m just starting to get into ‘organic’ foods more and more, but I really feel as though some things are much more important to eat organic than others, that was why I was glad to see your list of the dirty dozen! Thank you!!!! πŸ™‚

    Also, I’m jealous you get to garden! πŸ™‚ I wish I had an area where I could, but for now, I’ll have to pay someone to do it for me!

    Ps… I love your blog and I wanted to let you know that I am adding you to my blog roll! I just wanted to tell you that I check your posts often, but am bad at commenting at times! I’m trying to get better at that! πŸ™‚ xoxo Katie

  38. kilax
    June 9, 2010 / 10:08 am

    I am so sad about your spinach! But happy that many other things are thriving. We do not eat a lot of potatoes, but are not afraid of them.

  39. Natori
    June 9, 2010 / 11:07 pm

    Yeah, it’s good, very useful, thanks πŸ™‚

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