Preparing food nowadays is so much more complicated than ever before. If you want to eat healthy, it is advisable to check labels closely to fully understand the components of what you will be ingesting. If you simply run into the grocery store and toss a few items in your cart without a care in the world, instead of perusing the product carefully, the old adage of “what you see is what you get” may just apply to you.
In recent years, the words “organic” and “natural” have become more prevalent in our vocabulary. You might have seen the ads or articles that promote eating healthy and that you should opt for better choices by choosing “organic” or “natural” foods. But what does this mean exactly?
If you are of a certain age, you remember eating white Wonder bread as a kid. Kids liked that soft squishy bread that Mom piled high with peanut butter and jelly. Back in the 60s, the catch phrase for white Wonder Bread was “Wonder helps build strong bodies 12 ways” because this bread was chock full of nutrients. Through the years, Wonder Bread has added to their product line, so, in addition to the classic white bread, you can now get the same texture of bread but in whole grain. Mom is doubly happy to serve it to the kids and it still has that same moist texture that kids loved.
There is a popular expression people often use about “comparing apples to oranges” sometimes it is used in a rather snarky manner, as if to indicate that there are apparent differences between two items – in other words, the distinction is a “no brainer”.
Even though that delicious orange orb with its dimpled appearance versus the apple which could take on any number of appearances (red, green or yellow, not to mention some 2,500 varieties of apples grown here in the United States), those two fruits have something more important in common – they are good and good for you.
Chances are, the mere mention of the word “chia” as in “chia seeds” will bring a giggle or two to those who fondly remember a gift called a “Chia Pet” first introduced in the early 1980s. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chia_Pet) The novelty of the Chia Pet or Chia Head was that you had a terracotta planter and you affixed moistened chia seeds onto it, and in a few weeks’ time, the chia seeds sprouted and made “hair”. Chia pets are still available and enjoyed a recent resurgence with chia seeds sprouting into full beards to resemble various characters from the “Duck Dynasty” show.
If you love fresh veggies, once growing season is in gear, there is no better place to go than the local vendors to load up on local produce. One of the first vegetables available in Spring is fresh asparagus. While this valuable veggie is available year-round, Spring is the peak season for taste. Crops are harvested beginning in late February through June, with April as the prime month.
When choosing asparagus, however, pick green asparagus as it is much more beneficial than white. It is the stalk of this veggie which packs a punch in terms of nutrients and goodness.
What if you were told that eating foods rich in Omega-3 or taking supplements of Omega-3 would guarantee that you would reap the following benefits:
- Improved cardiovascular health, including protecting the heart from mental stress;
- Protection from Alzheimer’s Disease;
- Protection from vision loss, including aiding in dry-eye syndrome;
- Reduced risk of developing prostate cancer;
- Improved memory in healthy young adults;
- Reduced mental health problems (especially curbing behavioral problems in youngsters);
- Reduced seizure episodes in epileptic patients;
- Protection from post-partum depression in new mothers;
- Reduced symptoms of allergies and asthma;
- Reduced risk of psychosis; and
- Increased fetal cognitive and motor development.
From the Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day weekend, sometimes it is all one big food fest, isn’t it? There are picnics and barbeques and family get-togethers galore. Most of these events involve potluck meals, with everyone toting along a different dish. Of course you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so you have to try everyone’s special dish, and before long, you feel overstuffed and want to undo your clothes.
Unfortunately, some fattening picnic fare, like creamy potato or macaroni salads, not only pack on the pounds, but can be detrimental to your health, should they sit out in warm weather for too long, because then you could risk getting food poisoning. So, to avoid getting contaminated by food spoilage in cold salads containing mayonnaise, thwart those problems and be kind to your waistline by substituting salads like three-bean, baked beans or coleslaw with a vinaigrette dressing instead.
If you are planning a day at the beach, do yourself and your loved ones a favor and follow the suggestions below on the best way to transport and keep your food at the recommended chilled temperature, plus safeguard against food poisoning once the food has been cooked and served.
Every time you turn around the headlines are screaming about another food recall. E-coli, listeria, e-coli and avian flu issues have us rethinking where we dine or what we put into our grocery carts and into our mouths. The Chipotle e-coli issues leave us less likely to be craving Mexican food at that establishment, even though they are cleared of contamination issues and back in business again. We may want to eat healthy by eating more produce, but then we worry about listeria-contaminated lettuce or consuming supposedly “pre-washed produce” like bagged coleslaw or lettuce, only to find a large manufacturer like Dole is sweeping them off the shelves in a massive recall. Even a treat like ice cream was contaminated with listeria causing Blue Bell, a manufacturer established way back in 1907, to halt production of this frozen treat while they determined the source of contamination. The avian flu has us scrambling to find organic eggs or just doing without eggs altogether.
College life is a dramatic change from the comfy convenience of living at home. Even if you were involved in athletics or had a part-time job, chances are you had three nourishing meals, a clean bed and your laundry done on a regular basis. You got your homework done before the weekend so you had free time. Unless you continue to live at home while attending college, you are in for a rude awakening.
The biggest adjustment might be living away from home for the first time, and, in general, dormitory life and sharing a room with strangers. Even if you shared a room with a sibling, it’s just not the same. Strangers coming and going all the time, and their friends as well, and so on. Sometimes you need to get away from it all and the library may become your sanctuary – that’s a good place to go to catch up on your studies and chill out a bit.
Nothing saps your energy and keeps you from feeling your best like a head cold, no matter what the time of year. Colds can come at any time, and flu season typically runs from October through May, peaking in February. You must be proactive to help your kids understand how to develop healthy habits.
As soon as your child is old enough to understand that “germs are not our friend”, you should encourage your child to do the following: