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Monday, December 17, 2012

Organic? Sustainable fish? Cosmetic ingredients?

In the spirit of making a list and checking it twice, we've put together a bunch of must-have lists to take shopping with you.
Making an educated decision about what you should be buying for your family has never been more important or confusing than it is now. We've tried to go to reliable sources and gather information that will help you feel more confident about the purchases you are making for your family. Vegetables and fruit, meat, poultry, dairy and seafood. Is there a way to look great without applying harmful ingredients? Can you get your house clean without putting your family's health at risk? How can you shop "Canadian"? We've put together a bunch of lists that you can add to your "list" apps and if, heaven forbid, you're not app savvy, we got a wallet card you can print out! 
Organic: There's the dirty dozen of vegetables there are too many sources to name.If you can only afford or want to buy some organic veggies and fruits these are the ones to buy.

The dirty dozen
  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Imported Grapes
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes
Fooducate a really cool website out of the U.S. shared the Clean 15! Keep in mind that Fooducate is an American website and the food standards there are quite different from ours in Canada. Also bear in mind that many food advocates would not include corn in a list of clean vegetables because of the GMO aka chemical links. So for our purposes it's the clean 14! These are veggies that if you are picking a choosing what to buy organic, these ones don't need to be organic, conventionally farmed is fine, just remember to buy local if at all possible.

The clean fourteen
  • Onions
  • Pineapples
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet Peas
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Eggplant
  • Kiwi
  • Cantelope (USA)
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Grapefruit
  • Watermelon
  • Mushrooms
What about seafood? I've chosen "David Suzuki's Top 10 Sustainable Seafood Picks" as my guide. There's a great pdf that you can download for your fridge. The David Suzuki Foundation website is an amazing resource. I encourage you to check it out. I've also just downloaded the SeaChoice app for my iPhone. I haven't used it yet, but it looks promising.

10 sustainable seafoods
  • Farmed Oysters: Oysters farmed worldwide in suspended culture systems
  • Sablefish: Canadian Pacific or Alaska using trap & bottom longline
  • Swordfish Harpoon: Canadian and US by harppon or with a handline (not a longline)
  • Pacific Cod: Alaska by bottom longline, jig or trap
  • Sardines: Canada & the US Pacific by purse seine
  • Farmed Clams: farmed worldwide or wild, handraked ones from the US
  • Albacore Tuna: caught in Canada and the US Pacific by troll/pole as opposed to longline
  • Dungeness Crab: trap-caught in Canada, California, Oregon & Washington
  • Closed Containment Farmed Salmon: farmed salmon raised in the US using closed containment systems
  • Spot Prawns: Canadian Pacific by trap
For what kind of meat you should be eating I took most of my information from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's website. To start it's really important to make sure that you are buying Canadian meat. If you can only afford to buy one meat product that is organic, buy organic beef! Chicken, pork and turkey are safe to eat when they are traditionally farmed. Same with dairy. Here's a link to a blog I wrote a little while ago giving you a bit more detail on that.

If you want to make sure you are shopping "Canadian" you should be looking for "Product of Canada" first "Made in Canada"second and "Designed in Canada" third. These are guidelines for food labels and advertising put forth by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to help Canadians have a clear understanding of where the products they are buying are manufactured and produced. The Competition Bureau of Canada is responsible for enforcing the guidelines set out for the labeling and advertising of "non food" products.

Buy "Product of Canada" first, then "Made in Canada" second

I know that I'm also concerned about what cosmetic ingredients I need to stay away from. As my daughters get older and are being introduced to "beauty" products I'm want to make sure that we are making educated choices that won't compromise their health in the long run. I found this amazing site, Gill Deacon wrote a book called There's Lead in Your Lipstick and she also has a wallet card that you can download from her website so that you have the list of ingredients that you want to avoid and a list of companies that she has deemed as "safe". It's amazing to me that it is common knowledge that there are all these ingredients that we shouldn't be using and yet it's really hard to buy products that don't contain them.

Here's Gill's current list of toxins to avoid.

Benzoic acid
coal tar
cocamide DeA
Diazolidinyl urea
FD & c
FD & c (colour + number)
mercuric oxide
mineral oil
Peg (1,4) lauryl ether
Placental extract
Polyethylene glycol (Peg)
Polypropylene glycol (PPg)
Propyl ester
Silcone-derived emollients
Sodium laurel sulfate (SlS)
Sodium laureth sulfate

Cleaning products is another category you need to make sure is green. Here's the list of dangerous ingredients to look out for. This is one of many lists available, it is from I wanted to introduce you to a bunch of different sites, but I gotta say the David Suzuki site has the best lists I could find. Some other great sites to check out are and

Household cleaning ingredients to avoid
*Poison, corrosive and Irritant are words to look for.
*2-Butozyethanol also known as 2-BE, butyl cellosolve
*Coal tar dyes
*MEA (monoethanalomine), DEA (diethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine)
*Nonylphenol ethaxylates (NPEs)
*Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (Quats)
*Silica powder
*Sodium dichloroisocyanurate dihydrate
*Sodium hydroxide (lye or caustic soda
*Trisodium nitrilotriacetate

Send us an email at and we'll send you the word doc to create your very own wallet card to slip in your wallet. If you print it, then flip it and print it again you've got 2 double sided cards, one for you and one for your best friend!  If you've got an iPhone/Smart phone with a "note" app you can copy and paste these lists for easy reference.
If you know of any other great sites leave it in our comments box and we'll update the blog.
Happy Shopping!

1 comment:

  1. Very nice information and thank you for sharing this to us. It is indeed very helpful too. Thanks again.