The Nutritarian

Healthy Eating Insight

Budgeting for Organic Produce

Written By: The Nutritarian - Oct• 31•12

To Be or Not to Be Organic? That is Still the Question

If you can’t justify or afford organics, be sure to reference the “dirty dozen” and “clean fifteen” to find what is safest, and where to save in the conventional vs. organic decision.  I alphabetized them to make it easier to remember. 

Below is a quick guide to where you can go for affordable, quality organic.

Where can I go for Affordable, Quality Organic at the Grocery?

Whole FoodsOrganic apples are often on sale, oranges are sometimes organic.

Trader Joe’s- They have bags of organic apples and pears that are under $3.00.  Buy things that you will be eating within a few days.  Items do not last long once brought home, from organic soy milk to arugula, it doesn’t stay fresh like Whole Foods.

Aldi- No organic options, but they do have some decent produce.

Stanley’s- They have a diverse selection of produce and some organic options with very low prices.

Free Healthy Foodie Apps

Written By: The Nutritarian - Oct• 02•12

Since it isn’t always simple to find good healthy food, here are some free apps to assist:

InBloom: Now you will know where to eat organic at any time.  Allows you to search nearby restaurants and markets for sustainable, healthy meals, based on location, eco considerations, special offerings like “grass-fed beef” or “shade-grown coffee,” and dietary preference, including gluten-free, raw, paleo, and more.

HarvestMark Food Traceability: To truly know where your food comes from, use this app to scan the HarvestMark bar code or QR code on fruit, vegetables, and poultry to receive a report on where your cucumber came from.  You could also read the sticker or label.

CSPI Chemical Cuisine: If you’ve ever encountered a questionable ingredient from a food label, rest assured, The Center for Science in the Public Interest has created this app to glean light on more than 130 food additives and safety ratings.
Read more:

Best Of Dark Chocolate; A Healthy Way to Indulge?

Written By: The Nutritarian - Sep• 28•12

Dark Chocolate Indulgences 

Who doesn’t want a healthy justification for dark chocolate consumption?  Knowing that dark chocolate fights free radicals, lowers heart disease risks, and promotes healthy cholesterol (HDL) makes it that much more enjoyable.  The hard part is eating 70% dark and above, and trying best to do so in moderation.  Read more: Chocolate for Heart Health?

Here are the recommended best brands:

Dagoba Dark Chocolate chili and superfruit flavors with 74% cacao percentages were ohh so tasty. (Whole Foods)

Endangered Species Organic 72% Dark Chocolate- Cranberry & almond and blueberry were tied for best flavor. (Whole Foods) Endangered species is a public charity foundation that donates 10% of net profits to promoting global change in species and habitat preservation, and humanitarian efforts.  Another great reason to feel good about indulging.

Kpali Organics-Organic goji, cacao, mulberry, pistachio  mix

Dairy Free Dark ChocolateBoom Choco Boom, unfortunately they don’t list the percentage of cocoa.  Best for lactose free dark though.  I am sure competitors will be following suit.

Sweet tooth trip?  Visit for creative chocolate tastings: The Chocolate Room, Brooklyn, NY and Bissingers in St. Louis, MI

Super Foods: Allowing You to Live Super Well!

Written By: The Nutritarian - Sep• 25•12

Super Food:

Classifying foods based on abundance of nutrients and antioxidants.   Use this chart as a guide to ensure you’re not always deriving nutrients from the same old sources.   Try adding super foods to you diet and find out how much better you feel.  I think you will discover how much more delicious they can make recipes as well.

The following categorizes different food groups and classifies them according to nutritional density.   These classifications are best supported by the research done to provide aggregate nutritional density indexes (ANDI scores.)

ANDI scores land on a scale from 1-1000 and are figured based on evaluating micronutrients such as: vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxident capacities, and more.   The food and scores are listed below by grocery store department as developed by Whole Foods and Eat Right America.  A similar reference and a deeper understanding of why to eat like this can also be found in Dr. Joel Furhman’s book Super Immunity.

Green Vegetables

  1. Mustard/ Turnip/Collard Green…1000
  2. Kale…1000
  3. Watercress…1000
  4. Bok Choy/Baby Bok Choy…824
  5. Spinach…739
  6. Broccoli Rabe…715
  7. Chinese/ Napa Cabbage…704
  8. Brussel Sprouts…672
  9. Swiss Chard…670
  10. Arugula…559

NonGreen Vegetables

  1. Radish…554
  2. Bean Sprouts…444
  3. Red Pepper…366
  4. Radicchio…359
  5. Turnip…337
  6. Carrot…336
  7. Cauliflower…295
  8. Artichoke…244
  9. tomato…190
  10. Butternut squash…156


  1. Strawberries…212
  2. Blackberries…178
  3. Plum…157
  4. Raspberries…145
  5. Blueberries…130
  6. Papaya…118
  7. Orange…109
  8. Cantaloupe…100
  9. Kiwi…97
  10. Watermelon…91


  1. Lentils…104
  2. Red Kidney Beans…100
  3. Great Northern Beans…94
  4. Adzuki Beans…84
  5. Black Beans…83
  6. Black-Eyed Peas…82
  7. Pinto Beans…61
  8. Edamames…58
  9. Split Peas…58
  10. Chickpeas (Garbanzo)…57

Nuts and Seeds

  1. Sunflower Seeds…78
  2. Sesame Seeds…65
  3. Flax Seeds…65
  4. Pumpkin Seeds…52
  5. pistachios…48
  6. Pecans…41
  7. Almonds…38
  8. Walnuts…34
  9. Hazlenuts…32
  10. Cashews…27

Whole Grains

  1. Oats, old-fashioned…53
  2. Barley, whole grain…43
  3. Wild Brown Rice…43
  4. Brown Rice…41
  5. Barley, pearled…32
  6. Wheat Berries…25
  7. Cornmeal, whole grain…22
  8. Quinoa…21
  9. Millet…19
  10. Bulgar…17


  1. Bison, top sirloin…39
  2. Bison, chuck roast…36
  3. Pork tenderloin…34
  4. Flank Steak…27
  5. Chicken breast…27
  6. Turkey, light meat…25
  7. Turkey, dark meat…24
  8. Pork Chops…24
  9. Ground beef, 85%-90% lean…20-23
  10. Beef, top round


  1. Tuna…46
  2. Flounder…41
  3. Sole…41
  4. Salmon…39
  5. Mahi Mahi…39
  6. Shrimp…38
  7. Swordfish…38
  8. Trout…36
  9. Snapper…35
  10. Haddock…35


  1. Feta…21
  2. Cottage Cheese, low fat…18
  3. Mozzarella, part skim…16
  4. Ricotta, part skim…16
  5. Swiss…15
  6. Parmesan…15
  7. Mozzarella, whole milk..14
  8. Gouda…13
  9. Provolone…13
  10. Gruyere…13

Refrigerated Dairy Case

  1. Tofu…37
  2. Nonfat Skim Milk…36
  3. Soy Milk…33
  4. plain Nonfat Yogurt…30
  5. Egg Substitute…30
  6. Egg White…29
  7. Low fat 1% milk…28
  8. Egg…27
  9. Hemp Milk…27
  10. Tempeh…26

World’s Largest Corn Maze Run – 5k Run/Walk

Written By: The Nutritarian - Sep• 13•12

World’s Largest Corn Maze Run – 5k Run/Walk, northern McHenry County
Date – Sunday, October 14, 2012
Start time – 8:00am
Location – Richardson’s Adventure Farm- Home of the World’s Largest Corn Maze

9407 Richardson Road, Spring Grove, Illinois 60081

“This is not just any corn maze. OHHH NO, this is the “World’s Largest Corn Maze.” Yeah… you’re welcome!” -Kevin

Fast Healthy Food, Chicago

Written By: The Nutritarian - Sep• 13•12

I am always looking for healthy places to explore, especially when they are cognizant of positive environmental practices.

While I haven’t tried Pret a Manger, the food sounds great and offers vegan options!

The same reasoning applies for Hannah’s.  These sandwiches look like they can be loaded with fresh and organic goodies.  Plus, they list the nutrition information and have gluten free options.

Best Places to Try Chicago

Written By: The Nutritarian - Sep• 10•12

The best places to try in Chicago Critique is based on these factors:

Great ambiance,  how talented, flexible, and creative the chef can get may be top priority.  However, great ambiance weighs heavily.  Who isn’t looking for knowledgeable servers in a comfortable, stylish setting?  I also expect loads of fresh organic ingredients (especially veggie and vegan dishes) were talking notable, high quality, spicy fresh, without pepper.  As a nutritarian, I appreciate exotic ingredients, higher prevalence of herbs for seasoning, and less reliance on fat-dense, buttery, or oily sauces.  BYOB or great wine/drink lists are also exciting.

Here is another great reference for healthy recommendations in Chicago Fast Lane to Health: Foodie and the Fork.  Places to try, from the same author, also offers some good suggestions.

Great VeganKaren’s on Green (excellent drinks including delicious gluten free beer, ambiance is sexy although sometimes the live jazz can be too loud for conversation. Vegan sushi and pizza are so good, even as acclaimed by a beer and pizza dude, they could do better on the veggies which were pretty typical, not warm enough, and very greasy. Also recommended, but not yet tried: Blind Faith-Evanston, Chicago Diner, Green Zebra, Urban Vegan

Best Italian: Picolo Sogno, Bella Note, Tuscany (Little Italy)

Best Drinks and Dinner Date:  Uncommon Ground, Rootstock, West Town Tavern, Socca, Atwood Café

Best Higher End: Firehouse, Carnivale (great for a group/celebration, very lively atmosphere, Crofton’s on Wells, sadly it closed (atmosphere was quiet and intimate; maybe people had trouble finding a dinner partner they enjoy talking to :/).

Best Indian: Kavita’s Kitchen, Cummin

Best Brunch: Toast (best whole wheat pancakes in the city), Meli (greatest variety of veggies), Waffles, Brunch

Best Sushi: Sunda, Japonais (trendy, sexy, loud, on the river), Tatsu, Wakamono, Taiyo (brown rice rolls), Butterfly (not ambiance, BYOB), Shiso (take your shoes off, intimate group tables)

Best Straight up Nutritarian: Whole Foods.

Best French: Chez Joel (Taylor Street, Little Italy, Chicago)

Chicago Places to Try

Written By: The Nutritarian - Aug• 25•12

Parrot Cage – Washburne Culinary Institute

Hearty - Lakeview / East Lakeview

Wishbone – West Loop, Southern, Vegan Options

Broadway Cellars - Edgewater, Contemporary America

Big Jones – Andersonville, Southern

Southport and Irving- Lakeview / East Lakeview, American

Spaghetti Salad: An Unconventional Healthy Breakfast

Written By: The Nutritarian - Aug• 18•12

Some times you don’t want spaghetti and meatballs, it doesn’t seem like the best way to start out the day, plus not many Italian restaurants are open at 8:30am for breakfast.

Today I gazed into the fridge ready to fuel up for the day.  I found an apple, ate it; still hungry.  Next course: cracked wheat. It was boiled with cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, almond milk and sea salt.  Still craving more of an unconventional breakfast.

Second course, (remember I’m an Italian athlete, we eat a lot), I had to get a creative since I am due a trip to the grocery.  I wanted to feel full so I boiled Lundberg’s gluten free organic brown rice pasta (add salt to the water).  I also knew I wanted it to be healthy, so while waiting for the boil, I chopped fresh spinach and other mixed greens along with fresh dried basil from the garden and the two cherry tomatoes I had left as a base in my bowl.  Once the noodles were aldente (to the tooth, not overcooked mush), I drained them and poured the steaming tendrils over my greens.  I had a huge bowl filled with all the right ingredients; plenty of textures and flavors for a satisfying spaghetti salad.  Recommended wine pairing: HESS Red

To Be, or Not to Be Organic: “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15″

Written By: The Nutritarian - Aug• 12•12

That is the question.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) used the results of nearly 43,000 tests for pesticides on produce collected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between 2000 and 2004, to produce a ranking of commonly eaten fruits & vegetables.[17]  Wikidpedia, 2012. 

The EWG lists the “Dirty Dozen” and a “Clean 15″ based on pesticide tests from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the FDA.  Remember that pesticides are designed to withstand rain, and often don’t wash off with plain water.  Using a diluted solution of vinegar can remove most residues, but some get into the plant and can’t be washed out.  Strawberries are an example of this.

This EatingWell article illustrates the best produce to buy organic, picks that are on the fence, and produce that is considered conventional and safe.

Preferably Organic
—Most Commonly Contaminated

Try to memorize the DIRTY DOZEN!

If Budget Allows, Buy Organic

Thirteen in Between

It’s Your Call
—Least Commonly Contaminated

Clean Fifteen!

  1. Apples
  2. Blueberries
  3. Celery
  4. Grapes
  5. Kale/Collard Greens
  6. Lettuce
  7. Nectarines
  8. Peaches
  9. Potatoes
  10. Spinach
  11. Strawberries
  12. Sweet Bell Peppers
  1. Bananas
  2. Cauliflower
  3. Cucumbers
  4. Cranberries
  5. Grapes – Domestic
  6. Green Beans
  7. Oranges
  8. Peppers
  9. Plums
  10. Raspberries
  11. Summer Squash
  12. Tangerines
  13. Winter Squash
  1. Asparagus
  2. Avocado
  3. Cabbage
  4. Cantaloupe
  5. Eggplant
  6. Grapefruit
  7. Kiwi
  8. Mangoes
  9. Mushrooms
  10. Onions
  11. Pineapples
  12. Sweet Corn
  13. Sweet Peas
  14. Sweet Potato
  15. Watermelon