Ch Ch Ch Chia!

Recently I’ve been making the rounds discussing healthy foods for the new year and featuring an item which I use in my everyday diet.  Loaded with Omega 3s, it’s a great alternative to flax seed when I’m short on time to pull out the grinder.

If you missed the ads in the late seventies, I’ve attached a picture of the Chia pet for your viewing pleasure.  (Actually it started out as a ram, but morphed into many other types of animals after breeding:)

What does this have to do with nutrition, you might ask?  An amazing amount as you will see… Click to continue reading »

Storing Fresh Produce

A lot can happen from the time produce is picked off the vine or pulled from the earth. Some fruits and veggies go to a packing house; others are cooled and transported an average of 1200 miles before reaching the consumer.

According to the folks at “Ideal Bite,” the average cost of food per American family jumped 36% between Jun. 2000 and May 2008, so every lil’ bit you can save helps.  Since I know you are all shopping at your local farmers’ markets, here are some hints on how to preserve the freshness and nutritional values of your perishable produce:

Store at room temperature

  • apples               lemons            pineapple
  • bananas            limes               pomegranates
  • grapefruit         mangoes          papayas
  • watermelon     persimmons    basil (in vase with water – cut stems every other day)
  • garlic                dry onions       potatoes (put in paper bag and keep in drawer – avoid light)
  • tomatoes          eggplant          peppers

Ripen on counter first, then to refrigerator

  • avocados         nectarines        pears
  • kiwi                 peaches            plums

Refrigerate

  • blueberries       cherries            strawberries (put in Tupperware with paper towel – do not wash first)
  • apricots            grapes              figs
  • raspberries       blackberries     artichokes
  • green beans      herbs               Brussels sprouts
  • carrots              cabbage           peas
  • radishes            corn                 spinach/lettuces (wash first, then store with holes in plastic bag)
  • cauliflower       celery              leeks
  • beets                 broccoli           mushrooms (put in paper bag in produce drawer)

General: store fruits and vegetables separate.  Some fruits let off the gas ethylene, which speeds ripening during the process.

Check out the Oliso Frisper Foodkeeper, a vacuum sealer for all types of food that uses reusable plastic bags.

I use  Evert-Fresh reusable bags which truly have a lasting affect on the produce .

In order to maximize the nutrients you receive, it is best to consume your fresh (organic) produce within two days of purchase but these tips can help extend their life span.  General rule of thumb is to wash all produce – even citrus – just before eating, with exceptions above.

Eat That, Digest This

Here I am newly indoctrinated into the blog world and I’m already taking short cuts.  It’s not for lack of subject matter – believe me!  But a respected food professional has so succinctly encapsulated what I espouse to that I decided  to go with imitation as flattery vs. reinventing the wheel.

A recent article in the SF Chronicle food section was written by Marion Nestle, nutrition professor, author and recent pet food private eye (tho not so private.)  Marion’s article focuses on eating a variety of whole foods in small doses for nutrients and optimal balance.  Please note the ingredients of that sentence. First let’s take variety: for example, not eating the same thing for breakfast every day so as to assimilate as many nutrients as possible.  One of my teachers used to say: “our bodies need everything, all of the time.”  In other words, with an assortment of foods we can obtain a medley of vitamins and minerals without reaching for a capsule to fill the void. But that doesn’t mean overdo it…

Which brings us to portion control.  Yes, size does matter.  In America we have ‘grown’ accustomed to everything BIG, which has continued to plague our waistlines and our health.  It all hearkens back to my mantra (with a nod to Michael Pollan) of eating (whole) food, not too much, from a sustainable source.

When these practices are applied – along with a healthy dose of exercise – we can realize balance in both our diet and our overall well being.  Our energy is restored, our weight is maintained, and our supplement or prescription drug costs are diminished.