Category: – Start Here –

Should I buy Organic?

Buying organic produce means that it is grown without pesticides, insecticides and herbicides.  Below is a list of when you should buy organic produce (most contaminated) and a list of when it is not always necessary to buy organic (least contaminated). Of course when it comes to availability, if organic is not available, then it is better to buy conventional than nothing at all.  In this case you can wash conventional produce with some diluted apple cider vinegar and scrub the outer skin with this mixture. This will help to remove any pesticide on the outer layer of the produce, although keep in mind that pesticide is still absorbed through the skin and therefore can still be found inside.

When it comes to dairy, eggs and meat, it is best to buy organic. This means it has been raised with a restricted diet, Bovine Growth Hormone Free (rBGH), antibiotic free and vegetarian fed.

12 Most Contaminated Produce

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

12 Least Contaminated Produce

  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Corn (Frozen)
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  • Kiwi
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Papaya

Some information from NEI Guided Nutrition Program

Where We Shop

When we are in Cincinnati we shop at:

1. Trader Joe’s (

  • This store is excellent for organic produce, specialty items and prepackaged frozen meals
  • We usually by our organic produce at this store
  • The other great thing is that they sell a whole bunch of gluten free and vegan items.  Their website has a list of all the items stocked in the store that are gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian
  • We especially love the baby bok choy, the black beluga lentils, the refried black beans, the hummus, the balsamic vinegar, brown rice pasta

2. Whole Foods (

  • This store has a great selection of organic produce.  It is much broader than most grocery stores.
  • They also sell some foods in bulk such as grains, granola, and a variety of nuts
  • We especially love the spelt pie shells for quiche, the tempeh as a meat substitute, their snacks (cacao nibs) and many of their 365 organic brand items
  • The website for this store has some great recipes aswell

3. Kroger (

  • Kroger has a decent organic produce section with a variety of green leafy vegetables
  • It’s a great place to shop when you are crunched for time since they are so readily available
  • They have a great natural food section
  • We especially love the gluten free pizza crust that’s available in the frozen section,  we love that they sell frozen organic strawberries, some locations have a great olive and anitpasto bar, and we purchase our apple cider vinegar from here

4. Jungle Jim’s (

  • This a specialty store unique to cincinnati
  • It basically has EVERYTHING!!! It has foods imported from all over the world, such as Europe, India, China, Mexico, etc…
  • It seems like every fruit and vegetable available on the planet can be purchased here
  • We shop here when we are looking for any items which may not be available at the above stores
  • We especially love the organic miso paste and the endless variety of fruits and vegetables

5. Costco

  • Costco has some great snacks.  We love the cashew clusters.  They also sell organic diced tomatoes and organic tomato paste.  We also buy our jarred sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, organic peanut butter, organic free range eggs,  and stir fry blend from here.
  • We don’t really buy to much of our produce from here since the organic section is quite limited

Where we shop when we are in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area:

1. Loblaws (

  • Most loblaws stores have a natural foods section and an organic produce section
  • Their specific organic brand is PC Organics
  • We shop here for organic produce, healthy snacks such as trail mix and organic cereals

2. Michael Angelos (

  • This grocery store has a good organic produce section and also sells some specialty items
  • They have a great olive and antipasto bar

3. Whole Foods in Oakville and Yorkville (

  • Just heard that there is one coming soon to square one, Mississauga!
  • see above

4. Planet Organic Market (Lakeshore, Mississauga) (

  • This store is excellent for it’s broad range of organic produce
  • It also has an excellent supplement section and organic cosmetic and beauty product section

5. Bulk Barn (

  • Bulk barn has great pricing and it’s great for the environment since you reduce so much waste on packaging
  • They sell a wide variety of gluten free products, sugar alternatives (stevia), nuts, seeds, grains, rice, dried herbs, dried fruit and so much more!
  • You can also find a lot of the indian spices that we use in our cooking, such as ground tumeric, red chili powder, ground cumin, garam masala
  • Organic options are also available here

Steaming vegetable and fruits is a better way to cook them since less nutrients are lost with this method.  When vegetables and fruits are submerged in hot water, like they are when they are boiled much more nutrients are lost.  Therefore when making fresh baby food or when preparing vegetables as a side, steaming is preferred. Steaming times vary from vegetable to vegetable and fruit to fruit.  Baby food should be steamed until vegetable or fruit is tender.

The Essential Items to Healthy Cooking

1. Oil

  • Coconut oil or Grape seed oil for cooking purposes
  • Olive Oil to drizzle raw on top of salads (Do not use for cooking) – When olive oil is heated at high temperatures it damages the oil and creates something called free radicals which can lead to cancer and other diseases

2. Organic Vegetable Broth

3. Spices

  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Tumeric (available at most grocery stores – may be cheaper at Indian Grocery Stores)
  • Red Chili Powder
  • Ground Cumin Powder (available at any indian grocery store)
  • Ground Coriander Powder (available at any indian grocery store)
  • Organic Italian Seasoning
  • Garlic Powder
  • Taco Seasoning (without MSG)

4. Condiments

  • Balsamic Vinegar – Trader Joe’s brand is our favorite
  • Organic Mustard
  • Bragg’s Apple Cider vinegar
  • Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • Raw Honey (local)

5. Seeds and Nuts

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almond slivers and Whole Almonds
  • Cashews (whole or halved)
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Walnuts

6. Jarred, Canned Foods and Legumes

  • Black Beans
  • Chick Peas
  • Jarred Artichoke
  • Jarred Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • Jarred Green Olives and Black Olives
  • Brown Rice Pasta
  • Moong Beans
  • Red Lentils
  • Brown Lentils
  • Yellow Lentils


The following are the 10 things we feel you will want to have to get the most out of the blog.

Use what you have to make do.  Invest as you move forward.

1. Vitamix or Blentec Blender

  • Available at Costco from time to time
  • You can buy a used one if you want to save some money
  • Cost: ~ $400 worth every penny!

2. High quality wok

  • We use a hard anodized 12 inch wok from Le Creuset
  • It distributes heat more evenly allowing to cook at lower heat
  • Excellent non-stick surface that molecular bonded to the metal
  • 10X stronger than teflon
  • Avoid teflon coated pans due to potential cancer causing effects
  • Much lighter and more convenient than cast iron

3. Steamer Pot

  • Steaming is better than boiling
  • Allows food to be cooked at a lower temperature
  • prevents nutrient loss, compared to boiling
  • 3 quart steamer with a lid from any company is fine

4. High quality skillet

  • We use a 12 inch skillet from Le Creuset
  • It distributes heat more evenly allowing to cook at lower heat
  • Excellent non-stick surface that molecular bonded to the metal
  • 10X stronger than teflon
  • Avoid teflon coated pans due to potential cancer causing effects
  • Much lighter and more convenient than cast iron

5. Garlic Press

  • This will save a lot of time when prepping garlic
  • Will prevent your fingers from smelling like garlic all day!

6. Juicer

  • A good juicer is worth the money you spend
  • I don’t recommend blowing the bank, start off with one that is simple to use and clean
  • I like the Breville juicers since they are not too expensive and easy to clean

7. Salad Spinner

  • A salad spinner will help you remove the excess water from your leafy greens
  • We use one from Oxo

8. Lemon Press

  • This will help you juice a lemon or lime very easily

9. Measuring cups and spoons

10. Good set of knives

  • nothing super fancy, but you want knives that work well
  • we use knives from JA Henkels and Chicago cutlery (available at Corningware outlet stores)

Welcome to my new blog. My wife and I are going to be sharing our daily diet with you. This will help others understand how easy it can be to eat well, save money and be healthy!

We are going to be sharing full recipes and pictures of our home made dishes.

Each week you will get a grocery shopping list for your meals and you will also be given the specific names and brands of the exact ingredients we use in our house

We will help you stock your pantry and also recommend the same appliances we use at home.

This is going to be so much fun! I can’t wait to help each and every one of you

Dr Sachin Patel