Ugly, Not at All!

Check these carrots out. I plucked them up earlier this week from my garden. My children thought it looked hysterical.  Then my eldest son Justin asked, “what are you going to do with that?”  My response was simple, “eat it!” My youngest Lily said, “let’s juice it mommy!” So, we did just that.  I have a profound appreciation for these kinds of so-called “ugly” foods, and not because I grew these carrots, because it’s food not worth wasting. Huge problems exists in our food system today that we as consumers deal with on a daily basis. We have Big Agro over spraying pesticides and herbicides, Genetically Modifies Organisms (GMO) contaminating our foods, and so much more. One very important aspect that doesn’t get enough attention, is food waste.  In America alone, about 25% of produce is wasted before it even reaches the grocery store, and that’s just based off of looks.  The most notable new data showed that the United States waste $218 billion a year, or 1.3% of GDP, growing, processing, and transporting disposing food that is never eaten. Its food totaling 52 million tons sent to landfills annually. Those figures are disturbingly our reality. With high homelessness, starvation, and educational cut backs year after year, it’s disgraceful to know these staggering figures is due to food waste. 

We live in a world that is constantly judging looks, our socioeconomic status, religion and race. You probably didn’t realize it but, food also is highly judged.  Fruits and vegetables that are grown with disfigurations and scars are usually tossed to the side by retailers and consumers. They’re not considered edible by as many as 1:7 Americans. These foods end up as waste.  

Photo Credit: The Ugly Fruit And Veg Campaign

There’s nothing wrong with these foods and many consumers need to understand that.  Picking out the most perfect apple or the brightest orange doesn’t make them healthier for you. They are just as nutritious and edible as their unmarred brethrens.  Thanks to some amazing people over at the @UglyFruitAndVeg Campaign, change is slowly taking shape.   They started petitions that targeted huge retailers that got amazing responses from people and organization who want to stop food waste. The support from other anti-food waste campaigners like Foodtank and EndFoodWaste.org also contributes to the awareness with programs and petitions.   Today, relailers like Whole Foods Market and Walmart are selling “ugly” fruits and vegetables. Change is taking place slowly but consumers should support by buying these ugly fruits and vegetables.   The next time you come across an apple with a dent or a conjoined carrot, buy it.  Irwin Goldman, a professor of horticulture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said, these fruits and vegetables aren’t genetic mutants. “They’re totally edible and in some cases, quite beautiful.” Don’t discriminate against disfigured foods. Buy’em, eat’em, cook’em or even juice’em and enjoy🤗
Resources:  ReFED – Rethinking Food Waste. Ugly Fruit – The 20 Billion Pound Elephant in the Room

New Study: Don’t Take Calcium Supplements! 


Calcium supplements have been linked to heart attacks according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal last year. Researchers found a 24-27% increased risk of heart attacks for those who took 500 mg of elemental calcium a day. Americans consume an enormous amount of calcium already from cow’s milk and its products per person than most populations in the world.  There are many women who were told by their physicians to take calcium supplements for stronger bones.  We have the highest rates of heart disease and osteoporosis (bone disease) now.  Another study highlights the issues American women aged fifty and older face from consuming calcium from dairy and supplements. These women have one of the highest rates of hip fractures in the world. For example, in countries such as India, Japan, and Peru where average daily calcium intake is as low as 300 milligrams per day (less than a third of the U.S. recommendation for adults, ages 19 to 50), the incidence of bone fractures is quite low.  Shouldn’t it be the opposite?  “Drink milk for calcium and strong bones”, they say.  But why are we still suffering from bone lose, fractures, and now calcium supplements linked to heart attacks?  

The United States Department of Agricultural (USDA) actively promotes dairy products — it administers the National Milk Processor Board that gave us the ubiquitous “Got milk?” media campaign.   I don’t know not one person who doesn’t know that stupid slogan. Really!! Get this! Did you know that consuming animal products also decreases bone health and causes excess metabolic acid load in the body? (I’ll link the studies for these below.)  Animal products causes our bodies to be more acidic. A more acidic body leads to diseases/toxicity/inflammation.  Now according to The China Study, the body does not like this acidic environment, so in turn, our bodies fight it. In order for the body to neutralize the acid, the body secretes calcium from our bones, and then calcium loss weakens the bones, thus causing the greater risk for fractures. There’s no win-win situation here. The higher the consumption of animal products, including dairy and meat, may lead to an acid overload and weakened bones.  

I DO NOT recommend taking calcium supplements or eating dairy for calcium.  However, I do believe consuming a whole food plant-based diet is the best option.  A whole-food, plant-based diet is centered on whole, unrefined, or minimally refined plants. It’s a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes; and it excludes meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.  Foods like green leafy vegetables, including spring greens, cabbage, watercress, kale, broccoli and parsley are excellent sources of natural calcium.  Then there’s oranges, beans/legumes, nuts and seeds. These foods are also filled with vital vitamins and minerals our bodies depend on for healthy bones, teeth and strong muscles. The plant-based diet is healthier and better for our bodies to digest and absorb nutrients.  To learn more about adapting a whole food plant-based diet visit Nutrition Studies website.  


Resources:

Study: The effect of dietary sulfur-containing amino acids on calcium excretion.

Study: The dietary protein, Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), skeletal health axis.

Study: Estimation of net endogenous noncarbonic acid production in humans from diet potassium and protein contents.

Must Reads: Getting Clarity About Calcium, The 4 Keys to Strong Bones

Website to visit:  Vegan Society


5 Sweet Pomegranate Facts


Health Benefits of Pomegranates

Here’s a young pomegranate growing. In the Northern Hemisphere, the fruit is typically in season from September to February, and in the Southern Hemisphere from March to May. The pomegranate tree is actually a pretty small tree growing 6 to 10 m (20 to 33 ft) high, the pomegranate has multiple spiny branches, and is extremely long-lived, with some specimens in France surviving for 200 years. The fruit is considered a berry, a gigantic berry if you really think of it with tiny juice filled seeds on the inside.  The pomegranate fruit offers beneficial healing properties. These are some highlights:

  • Pomegranate has anti-inflammatory properties that may protect against cancer and other chronic diseases.
  • Pomegranate has anti-angiogenic properties, meaning that they may help to stop tumors from acquiring a blood supply, preventing those tumors from receiving the nutrients that would allow them to grow larger.
  • Pomegranate is one of the few foods (mushrooms are another) that contain natural aromatase inhibitors. This means that they inhibit the production of estrogen, which can reduce breast cancer risk. 
  • After treatment for prostate cancer, two studies have shown that pomegranate juice or supplements slowed the increase in PSA.
  • Protects Against Heart Disease. Consume the pomegranate juice to reduce oxidative stress.  The pomegranate reduces LDL oxidation (a contributor to atherosclerotic plaque development). 


References 

How to cut a pomegranate?

Fruit Facts: Pomegranate 

Aviram M, Dornfeld L: Pomegranate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity and reduces systolic blood pressure. Atherosclerosis 2001, 158:195-198.

Aviram M, Volkova N, Coleman R, et al: Pomegranate phenolics from the peels, arils, and flowers are antiatherogenic: studies in vivo in atherosclerotic apolipoprotein e-deficient (E 0) mice and in vitro in cultured macrophages and lipoproteins. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemis ry 2008, 56:1148-1157.

Wolf B: Pomegranates: Jewels In The Fruit Crown. 2006.

Panchal SK, Ward L, Brown L: Ellagic acid attenuates high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet-induced metabolic syndrome in rats. Eur J Nutr 2012.

Adams LS, Seeram NP, Aggarwal BB, et al: Pomegranate juice, total pomegranate ellagitannins, and punicalagin suppress inflammatory cell signaling in colon cancer cells. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemis ry 2006, 54:980-985.

Khan N, Afaq F, Kweon MH, et al: Oral consumption of pomegranate fruit extract inhibits growth and progression of primary lung tumors in mice. Cancer Res 2007, 67:3475-3482.

Toi M, Bando H, Ramachandran C, et al: Preliminary studies on the anti-angiogenic potential of pomegranate fractions in vitro and in vivo. Angiogenesis 2003, 6:121-128.

Growing Organic Carrots 

Organic Carrots
Look what I see? My carrots are popping up. I’m so excited!!  My best advice for growing carrots is just grow them. I have them planted in four different locations in my garden. In order to grow amazing carrots the soil has to be loose, free of rocks and heavy debris, organic fertilizer, and can drain water well. 


I’m also tying to grow carrots in planters. These I started two weeks ago, and they’ve already sprouted.  I purchased organic potting soil and combined it with organic compost. I’m obsessed with carrots as you can see. They’re delicious number one and two, they’re one of my main bases for juicing. You can’t have enough carrots around. 

The best “How to video” for growing carrots and any other type of vegetable plants can be found on GrowOrganic website. They offer the best organic advise, organic fertilizer products, and so much more.  

I can’t wait to juice and sauté these bad boys. 

A Healthy Sweet Snack

Here’s another awesome snack for people who are always looking for the next best on-the-go food.  Sugar snap peas are easy to tote around, very sweet, and healthy. They are a cross between the garden and snow pea, which have plump pods with a crisp snappy texture.  The pods of snap peas are edible. Peas are one of the few members of the legume family that are commonly sold and cooked as fresh vegetables. The other members of the legume family, including lentils, chickpeas, and beans of all colors are most often sold in dried form. They are all loaded with amazing nutrients, iron and protein. A favorite amongst vegans and vegetarians. 

I prefer to eat my sugar snap peas raw because of the sweetness. To me, when they’re cooked, it loses that delicious sweet aspect. Plus when they’re raw, the skin is very crunchy. If you didn’t see me eating them but heard me, you would think I was eating cheese doodles. That’s how loud they are.  Not only are they fun to eat, sugar snap peas are great for tossing them in my salads. They add a wonderful dimension to stir fried too. For amazing healthy information about the green peas and legumes family, visit whfoods site for up-to-date scientific studies, recommended dietary guidelines, and easy recipes. 

Try some today, and let me know if you like’em. 

Healthy Eating!!! 
 

Will Reducing Meat in your Diet Help the Climate?

“YES, beef especially.

Agriculture of all types produces greenhouse gases that warm the planet, but meat production is especially harmful – and beef is the most environmentally damaging form of meat. Some methods of cattle production demand a lot of land, contributing to destruction of forests; the trees are typically burned, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Other methods require huge amounts of water and fertilizer to grow food for the cows.

The cows themselves produce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that causes short-term warming. Meat consumption is rising worldwide as the population grows, and as economic development makes people richer and better able to afford meat.

This is worrisome: Studies have found that if the whole world were to start eating beef at the rate Americans eat it, produced by the methods typically used in the United States, that alone might erase any chance of staying below an internationally agreed-upon limit on global warming. Pork production creates somewhat lower emissions than beef production, and chicken is lower still. So reducing your meat consumption, or switching from beef and pork to chicken in your diet, are both moves in the right direction. Of course, as with any kind of behavioral change meant to benefit the climate, this will only make a difference if lots of other people do it, too, reducing the overall demand for meat products.”

This writing is an excerpt from Justin Gillis’s New York Times article titled, Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change, November 28, 2015.  I coheartedly believe a diet that’s rich in organic whole food plant-base (WFPB) or vegan is the healthiest way of eating and not only for our bodies but, for the planet too.

To learn more about global warming and greenhouse gases please visit the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) website; and also, please check out their Take Action site for awesome ways to advocate for clean sustainable living for the planet.  Thinking of adapting a WFPB diet, check out Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s site for the scientific researches behind this diet and why this way of eating prevents and cures diseases. It’s that powerful people! Spread the word and eat your greens😋

EWG: Healthy Thanksgiving Tips 

The Environmental Working Group has five amazing tips for you to keep in mind when preparing for a healthy Thanksgiving feast. 

  • Stuffing is always a holiday favorite, but did you know that store-bought stuffing mixes often have 30 or more ingredients, including preservatives from EWG’s Dirty Dozen list of food additives? More than half of the stuffing rated on Food Scores are likely to contain ingredients of high or moderate concern, so we recommend making your own or using EWG’s Food Scores to pick one of the top-scoring products.
  • Turkeys are often fed antibiotics and growth promoters in their feed to encourage development of lean muscle instead of fat. (No wonder they look the way they do!) Consider going organic and antibiotic-free this year and check out our guide to decoding turkey labels to help you choose a better bird this Thanksgiving.

However and whatever you choose to buy or eat, the most important thing to remember, is to be happy and Thankful. 
Resource: Environmental Working Group (EWG)

7 Warning Signs You Must Not Ignore

  
Have you ever heard of the term “thin-fat syndrome?” Well, Dr. Mark Hayman says, “it means you are under lean but over fat – not enough muscle and too much fat (especially belly fat).”  Diabetes does not discriminate.  It doesn’t matter if you are skinny or obese, you could be at risk.  Type 2 diabetes is growing rampant in the United States and you need to learn about the signs.  Type II is called “adult onset diabetes” or “non-insulin dependent diabetes” because it most often affects people over forty years old. 

See if you’re vulnerable and what to do next. 

  1. Waking up often during the night to pee
  2. Feeling unusually thirsty
  3. Unexplained weight loss or gain
  4. Frequent yeast infections
  5. Blurry vision
  6. Tingling in the hands and feet
  7. Cuts that don’t heal well or infections that are difficult to get rid of

If you notice even one of these symptoms of diabetes, it’s worth bringing it up with your doctor and asking for a blood test (usually the A1C) to check your blood sugar levels.  The best approach to avoid or reverse it is exercise and diet, which is key regardless of how much you weigh.  Rochelle Naylor, MD, an endocrinologist of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center recommends cardio and strength training, which can both improve insulin sensitivity. Aiming for 30 minutes a day at five times a week is the minimum requirement.  Curbing the processed foods and simple carbohydrates is important. Not to mention, adding more fiber-rich foods and vegetables into your diet will give you the right balance. I’m a huge advocate for a whole-food plant-based diet.  

Eat clean and get physical! 

More resources: Early symptoms of diabetes and typical medical treatment

Let’s Do Lunch

 

Plant-Based Sandwich – OrganicREADY
 
I just created this meatless sandwich from a few items I brought in to work. When most people think of sandwiches, they think of three core components: meat, cheese and bread. Well, here’s a wonderful alternative for a quick whole foods, plant-based (WFPB) sandwich.  I used a thin whole wheat pita bread which has 60 calories per serving, avocado, tomatoes and red bell peppers. 

Next time, I could switch it up and have hummus, lettuce, or even use a slice of cabbage, onions or cucumbers. The options are endless with plant-based sandwiches.  I’ve always been a fan of bringing a meal from home, and sandwiches are just about the perfect lunch food because they’re portable and have an endless variety of options.  According to a national survey, Americans are buying lunch instead of bringing it from home nearly three times per week. 
Enjoy😋

Dr. Campbell’s recommendations for Dietary Guidelines

 

Submitted to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on April 30, 2015.

In 1980, the first report by the Dietary Guidelines (DG) Advisory Committee was authored by two friends of mine, the late Harvard School of Public Health Professor Mark Hegsted PhD (representing the McGovern Committee and the USDA) and Allan Forbes MD, formerly FDA Chief of Nutrition. I have remained keenly interested in the 5-year reports ever since.

Unfortunately, I have gradually lost much of my early enthusiasm for this advisory committee. During the past 35 years, I have seen little if any progress toward a better understanding of diet, nutrition and health. This is regrettable because these reports serve as guidelines for health education, government school lunch, WIC (women, infants and children), and other important public programs. I do not see how this report is any more progressive or insightful than its predecessors. Previous reports have included new words and phrases which unfortunately did not lead to any real change.  Click here to continue reading original article.