The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

I know there are certain fruits and vegetables which are higher in pesticides than others. Could you please enlighten me as to which ones are the safest?

There are two groups of produce, nicknamed the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen – the first are the highest in pesticide residues, while the latter are the fruit and veg that you can get away with buying non-organic. Pesticide levels are re-assessed by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) every year, and the two groups are updated accordingly. With the cost of organic foods typically being much higher than that of conventional produce, it helps to know which ones you can save your pennies with.

Handle with care: Best to buy organic where possible apples, celery, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, grapes, strawberries, spinach, potatoes, nectarines, peaches, chili peppers, capsicum.

Little concern: Generally have the lowest recorded pesticide levels avocadoes, asparagus, onions, mushrooms, kiwifruit, grapefruit, melons, paw paw (Papaya), eggplant, peas, pineapple, mangoes, sweetcorn, cabbage, sweet potato (kumara).

Even if you carefully wash your produce, there are still likely to be residues of pesticides present. You can buy natural washing solutions for your fruit and vegetables, or you could make your own using apple cider vinegar (ACV). Simply add one part of ACV to three parts water in a spray bottle and spray liberally over the produce then leave for 5-10 minutes. Rinse well using pure water. Studies have shown that 98% of bacteria are eliminated using this method.

Is there a natural treatment to help firm breast tissue?

I am 32 years old and have not had any children, but I feel that my breasts have sagged considerably. I have even considered having surgery, but have read nightmare stories about breast implants.

One of the best things that you can do to help improve the quality and tone of any tissue in your body is to eat a healthy, balanced diet, high in fresh produce. You should also be drinking enough pure water on a daily basis to keep well hydrated and flush out the toxins.

Diet is only part of the puzzle – posture and exercise are absolutely key when it comes to breast position and firmness. Many women find that their neck is strained forwards, and their abdomen protrudes, which leads to a slumping forwards of the shoulders and a sagging in the breasts. If your posture is not attended to, adding the weight of implants tends to make matters worse.

Imagine a line running straight through from the centre of your head, through the neck and spine to the floor (from side on, this imaginary line runs through the ear, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle). Osteopaths, Pilates or yoga instructors, chiropractors, and physiotherapists (to name but a few) are all people who can help you to address your posture if you are struggling to find the right position.

It is equally important to maintain good posture whilst exercising, since postural alignment is transferred from the gym activities to your everyday movements. The connective tissue that holds the breasts in place is attached to the collarbones, which means that slumped or rounded shoulders contribute towards breast sag.

Core strength is important, but abdominal crunches are best done using a Swiss ball to keep your spine mobile. A foam roller is another fantastic tool for spine mobility. Dead lifts and Dead rows are both great exercises to strengthen the back muscles, which help us to maintain a nice upright posture. Working (or relaxing) with a laptop on your lap creates a rounded posture with the neck strained forwards – so work with your computer at a desk or table, and make sure that you take regular breaks. I use the tool called Awareness, ( ), which sounds a Tibetan singing bowl as a reminder when you have been using the computer continuously for an hour.

Topically, there are some essential oils which are reputed to help tone and develop the breasts. To 50ml of base oil (sweet almond works well), add 9 drops of geranium, and 16 drops of ylang ylang essential oils. Massage this into the breast tissue each night.


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