Strawberries are back and in full-swing of things at the Union Square Green Market. They’re super sweet, juicy, and delicious! You’ll never find these beauties at your supermarket. What also sets these beauties apart from the regular store-bought brands is there texture. The strawberry from the local farmers are much more tender and delicate, thus making them more juicy.
They’re in season now so stop by your local farmers market and get’em while you can. To find your local farmers market click here. Nutritional information on strawberry can also be found here.
Who knew the summertime is a big season for kidney stones?
Doctors say more people suffer from the condition when the weather is hot and dry and people become dehydrated. That can encourage minerals in the body to crystallize in the kidneys. When the so-called stones move to other parts of the urinary tract they can cause severe pain depending on their size.
About 9% of U.S. adults will develop kidney stones, a rate that has nearly doubled over the past 15 years, according to a 2012 study in the journal European Urology. The reason for the increase isn’t entirely clear, but it is believed to be connected to rising obesity rates. Men are more likely than women to get kidney stones, though a recent study found the gap has been narrowing.
For people who have suffered a kidney stone, the chance of having another is high. Doctors say there are steps to help prevent a recurrence, mainly through changes in diet, such as drinking lots of water and avoiding sugary sodas. Other prevention tips may depend on what type of kidney stone you had. For a common type of stone, doctors might recommend avoiding spinach and consuming moderate levels of dietary calcium, for example.
KIDNEY STONE FACTS
About 9% of U.S. adults will develop kidney stones, a rate that has nearly doubled over the past 15 years. In men, the rate is 11% and in women it is 7%. But the gap between the genders is narrowing.
Calcium oxalate stones make up the majority of cases. Other types of kidney stones include calcium phosphate, uric acid and struvite.
A family history of kidney stones increases your risk. One in four people with a stone reports having a relative with them.
Two recent studies show blood-sugar levels can affect the brain—-adding new evidence that diabetes might be a significant risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found in a study of mice that raising blood sugar to abnormally high levels corresponded with increased production in the brain of amyloid beta, a protein thought to be an important factor in Alzheimer’s disease. In a separate study of middle-aged people, conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, those with Type 1 diabetes had significantly more brain lesions, and slower cognitive function, than people without the disease.
Move over almonds! A recent study in the Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging found that subjects ages 20 to 59 who ate an average of five walnut halves daily performed significantly better on congnitive tests (memorizing a series of symbols and numbers) than those who didn’t eat them. The brain-boosting effects may come from the nut’s high levels of antioxidants and omega-3’s.
Another great plant-based option for healthy omegas is flaxseeds. Flaxseed is a source of healthy fat, antioxidants, and fiber; modern research has found evidence to suggest that flaxseed can also help lower the risk of diabetes, The best way to get your needed essential fatty acids is by eating a health-promoting diet derived exclusively from whole natural foods. These essential fatty acids are found abundantly in green leafy vegetables (kale, Swiss chard, spinach, etc.), flaxseeds, soybeans, and nuts and seeds.
Eating a health-promoting diet will provide adequate amounts of the essential fatty acids, without the problems associated with animal products, processed oils, and supplements, which are often promoted as sources for these essential nutrients. Walnuts, flax seeds and green vegetables including purslane are a rich source of the desirable Omega-3 fatty acids.
Weight control Weight gain is generally correlated with high daily calorie intake, and eating a small amount of nutrient-dense foods full of dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole-grain foods typically provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories, compared to other types of foods. Putting more of these kinds of plants on the plate makes it easier to manage appetite and maintain body weight.
High dietary fiber Only plant foods contain fiber. Dietary fiber is a complex form of carbohydrate. Several decades of studies have confirmed the health benefits of eating a fiber-rich diet. Specifically, diets rich in foods containing fiber — such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains — may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and improve regularity. A healthy elimination system allows bodies to get rid of toxins. Beans and legumes contain more dietary fiber than almost any other food, so they are an integral and versatile part of a balanced diet. The dietary fiber in legumes is both soluble — which is especially useful in helping control cholesterol levels to lower heart disease risk — and insoluble — which improves regularity. Beans are also filling, so they help promote weight management by satisfying hunger.
Chronic disease management Consuming a diet featuring more plants is good for your health —today and tomorrow. Complex carbohydrates are easy to digest, and the antioxidants in plants help strengthen your body’s immune system. Dramatic results have occurred with the adoption of a more plant-based diet. Many people with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and various autoimmune diseases have been able to alleviate their symptoms by eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and consuming fewer solid and added fats, added sugars, and refined grains.
In a recent study, scientists finds that plant-based diets, without counting calories, leads to greater weight loss. The only way to succeed in a plant-based diet is to cut certain foods out of your diet. Sounds easy right? Well, everything in moderation, I like to say. Giving up cold turkey may be harder for some people.
Jamie Oliver’s Food Foundation was founded in 2002 with a mission to “shape the health and wellbeing of current and future generations and contribute to a healthier world by providing better access to food education for everyone.” Every year around this time, Jamie hosts Food Revolution Day, which is a day of action where thousands of people all over the world make a stand for the right to make healthy food and essential cooking skills mandatory. This year’s Food Revolution Day falls on Friday, May 15th, and this time he’s making it all about the kids.
“By educating children about food in a practical, fun and engaging way, we can provide them with the knowledge and skills they so urgently need to lead healthier, happier lives. We need to make practical food education a compulsory part of every school curriculum across the world, and that’s why I’ve launched a petition calling on all G20 countries to action this. With enough support from millions of people around the world, I truly believe that we can create a movement that’s powerful enough to make governments take action.” Jamie Oliver
Exercise can help people feel thinner and more attractive even if their bodies don’t visibly change. Women who reported feeling social anxiety related to their body’s appearance were assigned a regime of either strength training or aerobics. After two months, both groups demonstrated proved body satisfaction, despite scant change in size or shape; eespecially, the erobic exercisers. Aerobics may be more associated in women’s minds with weight loss and “a thinner ideal, even when the scale doesn’t say so,” says lead study author Kathleen A. Nartin Ginis, a professor of health and exercise psychology at McMaster University in Ontario.
Another study conducted in 1984 showed women who participated in an aerobic-exercise training program showed greater reduction in dression than did those who participated in relaxation training or in a no-treatment control condition (Holmes et al). Seems like aerobics may be the answer for feeling great about yourself.
Regular exercise or physical activity helps many of the body’s systems function better, keeps heart disease, diabetes, and a host of other diseases at bay, and is a key ingredient for losing weight. According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, being physically active on a regular basis:
Improves your chances of living longer and living healthier
Helps protect you from developing heart disease and stroke or its precursors, high blood pressure and undesirable blood lipid patterns
Helps protect you from developing certain cancers, including colon and breast cancer, and possibly lung and endometrial (uterine lining) cancer
Helps prevent type 2 diabetes (what was once called adult-onset diabetes) and metabolic syndrome (a constellation of risk factors that increases the chances of developing heart disease and diabetes; read more about simple steps to prevent diabetes)
Helps prevent the insidious loss of bone known as osteoporosis
Reduces the risk of falling and improves cognitive function among older adults
Relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety and improves mood
Prevents weight gain, promotes weight loss (when combined with a lower-calorie diet), and helps keep weight off after weight loss
Salads are one of the most easiest and most satisfying ways to get your fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. In this particular salad, I have shredded green leaf lettuce, watercress, yellow bell pepper, one organge, one apple, and a three bean salad with fresh celantro and curly leaf parsley minced and garnished. For the dressing, I squeeze a half of lemon for a little more zing. The fresh bean salad adds protein and fiber to whole me longer through my busy day.
I had an amazing experience at this years TEDxManhattan “Changing The Way We Eat” conference. I was humbly inspired and motivated by each and every speaker. It was an epic event filled with like-minded people who are true ‘Food Warriors’ and ‘Food Heroes’. Conferences like TEDxManhattan create a platform for people to share their ideas and passions. Diane Hatz, is the main organizer and host of TEDxManhattan. She is also the Founder and Executive Director of Change Food. This year was her forth conference, and it was definitely well attended globally. She reported this year’s conference had 370 in-person attendees, 173 viewing parties with an estimated 8,500 people in 37 states and 14 countries, and 17,482 computers tuned into the event. What a wonderful accomplishment. Well, as an attendee I had a wonderful experience. Here are some of my highlights.
I got the opportunity to meet Tom Colicchio. He was extremely pleasant, friendly, and funny. I am a long time fan of Top Chef which Tom is an Executive Producer and a head judge on the Bravo reality TV show. We obviously have a lot in common so we spoke briefly about the conference and my connections within the ‘Food Movement’. I had a wonderful time chatting with him. He’s truly a ‘Food Hero’.
Michele Merkel is the co-director of the Food & Water Justice Program at Food & Water Watch, inspires me to never give up. As a former attorney for the Environmental Protection Agency, Michele knew in her core the unethical practices the EPA stoodby wasn’t fair. She quit her job with the EPA and now Michele represents small traditional organic family farmers, and uses her legal knowledge to sue the EPA. I thought, what a Bad Ass! Although our judicial system is a tough one, Michele believes everyone could help support the fight by voting for candidates who are committed to change, send letters to your representatives, rally, sign petitions and demand for a better sustainable food system. Michele also recommends researching these websites for more ways to help. Food Policy Action, Food & Water Watch, and Socialy Responsible Agricultural Project.
Stephen Ritz talked about the struggles his students face while living in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the South Bronx. He founded Green Bronx Machine which teaches student K-12 the importance of eating healthy through growing organic fruits and vegetables in the classroom. Get this, they grow more than 30,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables. We need a Stephen Ritz in every Public School. His hard work and dedication to his students at PS 55 is quite impressive and evident. He is feeding the community and teaching his students simultaneously, which is brilliant. Stephen inspires me to continue to educate my family and community.
Nikko Masumoto works on her family’s Certified Organic Farm (Masumoto Family Farm) where they grow peaches, nectarines, and grapes. Nikiko’s talk made me see the realization of how timing is extremely important when harvesting. She was captivating! Her poem, “My Fields of Dreams” fascinated me because we share the same dream — a sustainable future for everyone. In honor of National Poetry Month April 2015, I celebrate Nikko’s poem. In 2013 she published her first book The Perfect Peach (Ten Speed Press), co-authored with Marcy & David Mas Masumoto. Family farming preserves traditional food products while safeguarding the world’s agro-biodiversity. Nikiko is proudly learning the tools of the trade on her fathers farm. Danielle Nierenberg is the President of Food Tank and one of my idles. She has a long history in fighting to alleviate hunger and property, while protecting the environment. Danielle’s talk about the forgotten farmers, which are women because it’s women who make up 43% of the global agricultural work force. They are often denied education, refused by banking and financial institutions, and faced with discrimination. Danielle opened up my mind to see that there are other women struggling to earn, farm and feed their families all over the world. I’m inspired to learn more about Food Tank, and to help continue to spread the word about women in agricultural work force.
Ietef “DJ Cavem Moetavation” Vita is an O.G. (Organic Gardner), vegan chef, educator, midwife, emcee, producer, b-boy, DJ, founder of Going Green Living Bling, founder of Eco-HipHop and award-winning activist. His performance and message was awesome. He got everyone up and moving to the sounds and beats of, the “Kale Life”. Ietef raps, performs and educates young children and communities through his music. His performance along with his wife Alkemia Earth was epic. Check out how they use hip hop to educate others about healthy food TEDxManhattan talk and performance.
Conferences like TEDxManhattan create a platform for people to share their ideas and passions. This was my first time attending one of TEDxManhattan conferences, and I was impressed by the whole experience.
Every aspect of that day was centered around the theme, “Changing the Way We Eat”. From the speakers topics, the ambiance of the event, the healthy delicious foods they catered, fun interactive activities, the vendors, guest, prizes and even the wonderful gift bags I took home — the whole experience was amazing.
I’ve made some great connections and learned a tremendous amount of information about our food system. It was a life changing event for me, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity. I am already looking forward next year’s event. I am and forever will be a TEDxSter! To hear the TEDxManhattan 2015 talks click here.
Avocados are ever so popular amongst vegans and vegetarians. For some, it’s their main source of fat. However, once upon a time avocado use to have a “bad rap” as a vegetable that is too high in fat. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods website, research shows that avocado has about 85% of its calories derives from fat, the fat contained in avocado is unusual and provides research-based health benefits.
The threefold unusual nature of avocado fat:
First are the phytosterols that account for a major portion of avocado fats. These phytosterols include beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol and they are key supporters of our inflammatory system that help keep inflammation under control.
Second are avocado’s polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols (PFAs). PFAs are widely present in ocean plants but fairly unique among land plants—making the avocado tree (and its fruit) unusual in this regard. The avocado’s phytosterols, its PFAs also provide us with anti-inflammatory benefits.
Third is the unusually high amount of a fatty acid called oleic acid in avocado. Oleic acid, or omega-9 helps our digestive tract form transport molecules for fat that can increase our absorption of fat-soluble nutrients like carotenoids.
So don’t be fooled by avocado’s bad rap as a high-fat food. It’s definitely high in fat, but “Good Fat”. Which would you prefer, a big fat chunk of steak or an avocado? I will go with the plant-based option. The other may lead you to a stroke or heart disease. Avocados are unique because their health benefit outweighs any animal fat.