Pesticides Pose Brain Damage Risk to Unborn

Unborn babies exposed to the commonly used insecticide, chlorpryfos, are likely to develop brain damage after birth.  According to the article, Pesticide Exposure in Utero Linked to Brain Concerns,  a study that analyzed children born before the U.S. tightened the use of chlorpryfos produced findings that babies in the womb exposed to the pesticide have brain abnormalities 5-10 years after exposure.

Virginia Raud, lead author of the report, advises pregnant women to eat organic. One more reason to add organic foods to the shopping list! For more information on organic foods and to learn which fruits and vegetables are the most important to consider buying organic, check out my blog post:

Organic Foods Q&A: What does it mean and why do I care?


Cinco de Mayo Vegan Style: 5 Delicious Recipes for your fiesta


Enjoy your margarita with a delicious vegan feast!

Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner. How will you spice up the fiesta? If you’ve been looking for delicious recipes to complement your margaritas and Coronas, your search is over. The following 5 recipes are simple and delicious vegan takes on favorite Mexican meals that vegans and non-vegans will enjoy. 

1. guacamole

2. Gluten Free Mexican Bean Layer Dip 

3. Oyster Mushroom Tacos with Sweet Mango Salsa

4. Tempeh Enchiladas

5. Black Bean and Butternut Squash Burritos

Organic Foods Q&A: What does it Mean and Why Should I Care?

What does “Organic Food” mean?

Simply stated, “Organic” foods have been certified by The USDA National Organic Program as being produced without synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, genetic engineering, radiation or sewage sludge

Why does it matter if I eat synthetic pesticides?

Synthetic pesticides are toxic and created to repel and kill living organisms (insects, fungi and other “pests”)
. Many pesticides are dangerous to our health have been linked to a variety of health issues relating to the brain and nervous system, cancer, hormone imbalances, and skin, eye, and respiratory problems.

If pesticides are designed to kill, why would we want to ingest them? I’ll have my salad without a side of cancer thank-you-very-much.

The more organic foods we eat, the fewer harmful pesticides and other chemicals will be making themselves at home in our vital organs and the less likely we are to develop any of the collection of diseases or harmful side-effects related to pesticide consumption.

Where can I buy organic?

Great news! Almost all major grocery stores carry organic. My favorite’s are Trader Joe’s (especially for the budget conscious shopper) and Whole Foods. Another great resource is your local farmer’s market. 

Isn’t organic usually more expensive? What if I can’t afford to buy organic?

Depending on where you shop and what you buy, organic foods may be slightly higher in price than conventionally produced foods. Because organically produced foods must meet stricter regulations the process tends to be more labor intensive.

Looking to save money? Check out the EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce containing “The Dirty Dozen” and “The Clean 15.”  The Dirty Dozen are the 12 fruits and vegetables that  have the highest amount of pesticides and the Clean 15 have demonstrated to contain the lowest amount.  The lists below will help you determine when to splurge and when to skimp when it comes to organic.

EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Dirty Dozen- Buy organic!

 1. Apples

 2. Celery

 3. Strawberries

 4. Peaches

 5. Spinach

 6. Nectarines – imported

 7. Grapes – imported

 8. Sweet bell peppers

 9. Potatoes

 10. Blueberries – domestic

 11. Lettuce

 12. Kale/collard greens

Clean 15 – Lowest in Pesticide

 1. Onions

 2. Sweet Corn

 3. Pineapples

 4. Avocado

 5. Asparagus

 6. Sweet peas

 7. Mangoes

 8. Eggplant

 9. Cantaloupe – domestic

 10. Kiwi

 11. Cabbage

 12. Watermelon

 13. Sweet potatoes

 14. Grapefruit

 15. Mushrooms


Saturday Snack in a Second

Looking for a healthy snack that only takes seconds to prepare? A common misconception about eating healthy is that it’s a) expensive and b) time-consuming. While that can be true, it doesn’t HAVE to be.

Introducing Saturday Snack in a Second. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite snacks that you can whip up in no time and will not put a dent in your wallet.

Today’s snack is the Avocado Tomato Crisp.
Dietary information: vegan, gluten-free, nut-free

The ingredients:
– ¼ avocado
– 3 thin slices of a small/ medium-sized tomato
– 4-5 slices of sweet yellow onion
– 1 whole grain brown rice cake (try a flavored rice-cake for a twist! I used tamari sprinkled with seaweed)
– Pepper to taste

The preparation:
1) Scoop out the avocado and mash onto your rice cake
2) Place tomatoes on top of avocado
3) Layer onions on top of tomatoes
4) Sprinkle with pepper to taste

3 Simple Keys to Heart Health: It’s Not Just What You Eat, it’s How You Live

As the United States mourns the death of Dick Clark, entertainment legend, we are also reminded of a scary statistic: Heart disease is the leading killer in the United States. While health magazines and websites confirm they have the top foods to should eat for heart health, they fail to acknowledge there is no secret food to save you from heart disease, it’s about how you live your life as a whole.

Here’s the top 3 simple things to remember to live for your heart:

1) There is no one miracle food!
Eating for heart health is not about only eating oatmeal every morning. You won’t spare yourself a heart attack by eating olive oil every day or drinking a glass of red wine every night. If you are looking for the secret food to prevent heart disease, you won’t find one. The key is to eat a healthy diet holistically. Load up EVERY DAY on whole grains, lean foods, monounsaturated fats (sparingly), and plenty of fruits and veggies. And while you’re at it, ditch the processed junk. Eating the good stuff won’t do much good if you haven’t nixed the bad stuff (foods made with bleached flour, high fats, transfats, sodium, high cholesterol and high sugar).

2) Exercise… Move while you still can!
Eating healthy is just part of the battle. Excercising your body is the key to excercising your heart. Run, walk, swim, Zumba and Yoga your way to get your heart pumping, blood flowing, and endorphins soaring!

3) Do what you love!
Don’t forget to BE HAPPY! Stress not only affects the us mentally, it affects us physically and can contribute to high blood pressure. Find what calms and relaxes you. Surround yourself with those you love, forget about those who upset you. Embrace and explore fun hobbies, let go of bad habits. Life is too short to simply go through the motions; don’t make it shorter by living a stressful life.


K-E Diet for rapid weight loss: Lose 20 pounds in 10 Days

Recently highlighted on Good Morning America, the K-E Diet has been a go-to diet for people who want to lose a significant amount of weight in a short period of time.

What is the K-E Diet? Under consultation of a doctor, patients are hooked up to a feeding tube for 10 days and “fed” 800 calories of a liquid comprised completely of protein and fat. According to the program brochure posted to the K-E diet Facebook page, the program has newly made it’s way to the U.S. but has been used safely over 100,000 times in Europe.

While you wouldn’t be able to pay me to hook myself up to a feeding tube and giving up healthy foods, many participants are eager to cough up the $1,500 cost of the program in order to achieve their weight goal, which is most commonly to prepare for a big event, like a wedding.

This controversial diet has sparked debates, especially on the K-E Diet Facebook page. Some are excited about the opportunity, while others are horrified and offended for their loved ones forced to be hooked up to feeding tubes for medical reason.

While the program is executed under doctor supervision, it does not take a health expert to understand that this is not a healthy approach to long-term weight management.

Aside from contributing to side effects such as kidney stones, gallstones and dehydration, quick-fix diets or “detoxes” which promise rapid weight-loss in just a few days fail to educate people on how to create and sustain healthy eating habits. Once the program ends, people tend to slide back to the habits that led them to pack on the extra pounds they wanted to get rid of in the first place.

Michelle Obama’s Meal Plan Saves the Passengers of the Titanic


In her article Healthy, Nutritious Food Would Have Saved The Titanic, written for The Onion on April 13, Michelle Obama claims that had the passengers aboard the Titanic been supplied with fresh fruits and veggies, 7 out of every 10 of them would not have plummeted from the shipwreck to freeze themselves to death.


Every morsel we put into our bodies affects us both mentally and physically. Simply put, more nutrients = more energy. On the contrary, French fries and a chocolate milkshake may make us feel good on a superficial level upon initial consumption, however, shortly after contribute to sluggishness and lack of energy.  Don’t even get me started on the -.  While I do enjoy a glass of Pinot Grigio (or two), the head-spinning, impaired judgment and thrown-off equilibrium as a result of one too many drinks is no match for a catastrophe.

As we pay homage today, one hundred years later to those who died and survived the tragic wreck of the Titanic, it’s a great opportunity to be thankful for our health and wellness and to remind us of the importance of the little things we can do to preserve our vitality.

Not only should we eat cleanly to nourish our brains and bodies, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle makes us stronger, smarter, faster and amps up our immunity to survive and thrive in the smallest and largest of catastrophes.

Okay, snack time. Who wants some veggies and hummus?


Check out Michelle Obama’s article here:,27923/

Simple. Sweet. & Semi-Vegan

sweetly semi-vegan is a blog for anyone who loves and/or is interested in clean eating and living. Vegans refrain from eating or using any animal products in their daily life. That means no cow’s milk with their cereal in the morning, no leather couch to kick back on after work, and definitely no roasted chicken for dinner. While extensive research on the vegan diet and a vegan lifestyle has yielded a multitude of benefits, some may be daunted by what sounds like a very restrictive lifestyle. Interested in the benefits of a vegan lifestyle but maybe not to committing entirely? Follow sweetly semi-vegan! In this blog, you will find the tools and resources to easily incorporate vegan behaviors and clean living attributes in your “not-so-vegan” lifestyle.