Spring Eating 101: Get the Freshest Produce

Before hitting the grocery store or produce stands this season, check out what fruits and veggies you should be getting:

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  • Apricots – slightly soft, not bruised
  • Artichoke – compact head, bright green color
  • Asparagus – closed and compact tips, bright green stalks
  • Avocado – should be a little “give” when squeezed
  • Carrots – crisp, healthy tops
  • Collard Greens – dark green, vibrant color
  • Mango – more orange/red than green
  • New Potatoes – last only a few days
  • Pineapple – sniff the bottom for sweet aroma, check for firmness
  • Rhubarb – check for bright, crisp stalks
  • Spinach – avoid dried out or yellow stems
  • Strawberries – pick fragrant, slightly soft ones
  • Sugar Snap/Snow Peas – bright green, should feel like they have a snap (not limp)

 

Foods that are Making you Sick

Every year, more than 9 million people come down with a food borne illness and according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) it is more than likely the foods that you are eating every day that are making you sick and not something out of the ordinary.

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While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working hard to enforce higher safety standards on farms, they have linked many of these illnesses to three major areas.

Here are some examples of foods that may in fact be making you sick.

Green leafy vegetables – various strains of E.Coli have been found on green leafy vegetables and according to the CDC study resulted in the highest percentage of illness.

Poultry – diseases in poultry killed the highest number of people in the CDC study, with listeria being the cause.

Dairy – 14 percent of all food borne illnesses were the result of contaminated dairy products, including ice cream and cheese.

Odd Home Remedies… Fact or Fiction

Whether you heard it from your great aunt Millie or from your grandma’s neighbor, at some point in your life you have been told a home remedy or two that simply did not make any sense.  While there are plenty of home remedies that are more folk lore than fact, there are others that do indeed work. Here are some home remedies that were put to the test to determine – fact or fiction?

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Honey helps heal wounds… FACT.

Because of its antibacterial properties, honey is most effective as a wound healing agent.  According to studies, honey has an inhibitory effect to more than 60 different species of bacteria.  To heal a wound with honey, apply liberally and cover with a nonadherent dressing; change dressing once or twice a day.

A penny over a bee sting relieves pain and swelling… FICTION.

Unfortunately there is no medical evidence to show that putting a penny over your bee sting will relieve the pain and swelling.  Instead you should use aloe vera gel and apply it liberally or until it is absorbed, about 4 times a day.

Licorice helps heal sore throats… FACT.

Don’t run out and get a bag of candy though when you have your next sore throat because even though licorice helps heal sore throats, it is the active ingredient in the licorice root that actually has the healing power.  You can find licorice tea bags in most drug stores that will help to heal sore throats if you drink them twice a day upon feeling your first symptoms. Two notes though, don’t drink your tea after 6 p.m. as it may cause sleeplessness and do not take it if you have high blood pressure.

White flour on a small burn helps it to heal… FICTION.

White flour may not help a small burn to heal, but luckily the small burn category has a number of home remedies that do in fact work.  One suggestion is to use diluted apple cider vinegar (diluted with equal parts water) to apply to the burn.  You can also try honey, tea bags, oatmeal or milk.  If you go the tea bag route, apply wet, cool tea bags to the burn or you can soak a cloth in milk and apply it to your burn for 15 minutes, repeating every few hours for pain relief.

 

Benefits of Acai Berries

The acai berry represents a new trend in weight loss efforts, but its pound-dropping effectiveness may be questionable.

Although some claim that drinking the berry juice can stimulate weight loss, few studies can actually justify this theory according to www.webmd.com.

Although the acai berry may not actually help you lose weight, it is beneficial to you.  Like other berries in the same family, the acai berry has many antioxidants and is a good part of any diet.

Any fruit with high antioxidant content can help prevent heart disease and cancer.

Those with allergies to pollen, however, should be cautious.  Some allergy sufferers have been sensitive to this berry and should avoid it.

In conclusion, should you incorporate the acai berry into your diet?  Of course!  It has a place there, just like all fruits.

Should you base your weight loss regimen solely on this fruit?  Probably not.

It’s the Spring Cleaning Workout!

Sure, you would be hard-pressed to find a woman or a man who says that they actually enjoy the thoughts of spring cleaning…

But, if you just take into consideration how many calories are burned while you are doing your spring cleaning, then you may be a little more excited when spring rolls around this year.

The actual amount of calories burned will depend on your weight, gender and age, but there calculators that you can find online (FitDay or NutriStrategy) that will help you to calculate your actual calories burned.

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So dust off your mops, break out the cleaner and begin to sweat off the weight!

Gardening: 226 calories

Window washing: 226 calories

Scrubbing floors (on hands and knees): 291 calories

Laundry, ironing: 84 calories

Sewing repairs: 36 calories

Dusting: 97 calories

Scrubbing toilets, tub: 246 calories

Vacuuming: 317 calories

Cleaning gutters: 258 calories

Moving furniture, household items: 387 calories

Painting, papering, plastering: 317 calories

Sweeping: 194 calories

Mopping: 153 calories

Mowing the lawn: 148 calories

Washing dishes: 77 calories

Spotlight on: Dates

  • The history of date eating can be traced back to almost 6000 B.C.
  • There are various forms and kinds of dates, and the ways to eat dates are endless.
  • The fruit is packed with vitamins and minerals essential for daily intake, and is linked to preventing abdominal cancer, constipation, heart problems and even sexual problems.
  • The date also is ideal for daily intake because it helps digest food and prevent overeating.

 

Recipe: Date and Banana Cookies 

  • 3 oz. dried dates
  • 3 oz. walnuts, finely chopped
  • 3 medium bananas, mashed
  • 6 oz. oats
  • ¼ pint liver or sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix everything together really well and put tablespoons of the mixture onto an oiled baking sheet.

Flatten them down a bit and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden.

 

 

Recipe:  Date and Egg Breakfast 

  • 3 Tbsp corn oil
  • 1 medium (1/2 cup) onion, chopped
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Heat oil in skillet and stir-fry onions until golden. Add dates, pepper and stir-fry over low heat for 3 minutes.

 

Make four depressions in date/onion mixture and add one whole egg to each depression. Sprinkle with salt and fry for 3 minutes to cook eggs.

Serve warm.

Seasons 101: Gearing Up for Spring

As the ice and snow start to melt, everyone starts to think about getting back in shape for the spring and summer seasons.  Instead of hitting the exercise hard, many experts suggest easing back into your springtime routine.

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Start slow.  Take the time you need to jump start your spring diet and exercise plan.  By easing into your regimen you will be more successful in keeping with your diet and exercise plan.

Plan a New Menu.  You need to really look at your diet and the amount of calories you are consuming on a daily basis.  Choose foods that are low in calories but are filling to help you fight off the hunger throughout the day.

Get outdoors.  Now that the weather is breaking, mix up your exercise routine and enjoy the weather outdoors.  Walk, hike, bike, run … enjoy yourself and the beautiful season.

Reduce the Signs of Aging With What You Eat

Aging is a difficult thing… and it can be tough on your body.  Even when you make the appropriate food choices and exercise, it still may feel like you aren’t doing enough to reverse the physical signs of aging.

Because there is no “Fountain of Youth” we offer you these foods that contain vitamins and nutrients that contain anti-aging properties. Add some of these foods to your daily diet and see what difference they make for you…

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Flaxseed – full of DNA-boosting omega 3s, zinc and selenium

Spinach – contains antioxidants Vitamin A and C

Grapes – antioxidant polyphenols, resveratrol, aids in cell repair

Red snapper – high in omega 3 fats that reduce oxidative damage to cells

Yams – excellent source of antioxidants Vitamin A and C that can reduce oxidative stress on cells

Almonds – high in antioxidant Vitamin E and a great source of zinc and iron

Oysters – contains the antioxidant selenium as well as DNA-boosters Vitamin D and zinc

Canola Oil – contains Omega 3 fats as well as antioxidant Vitamin E

Collard Greens – great source of Vitamin A, folate and fiber, which are all linked to longer DNA strands

Dark Chocolate – contains the antioxidant resveratrol that is thought to fight aging cells

Chia seeds – whole grain high in Omega 3 fats, minerals and calcium

Bell peppers – antioxidant beta carotene and Vitamin C help in DNA repair

Heal Your Sore Throat… Fast!

There are so many reasons why you may have a sore throat – it could be the onset of a cold, or it could be something more serious like strep throat – but regardless you just want the burning, itching and painful feeling to go away.

While many people turn to the doctor to help get some relief from a nagging sore throat, some of the best remedies can be found at home or over-the-counter.

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Here are some remedies and quick fixes for your next sore throat:

  • Anti-inflammatory medicines – Believe it or not you probably already have some of these in your medicine cabinets for a host of other reasons.  Over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Aleve and Advil are combination pain killers and reduce some of the swelling associated with a sore throat.
  • Saltwater gargle – You may have seen your parents or grandparents doing this a time or two, as this old home remedy has been around for quite some time.  Doctors recommend dissolving a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water and gargling with it several times a day to reduce swelling and loosen mucus.
  • Sprays and lozenges – Sucking on a lozenge or using a throat spray may help alleviate sore throat symptoms because these products help to stimulate saliva production.  For an added benefit choose brands that have menthol or eucalyptus for the cooling and numbing effect.
  • Cough syrup – Just like lozenges and sprays, cough medicine help to coat the throat and provide temporary pain relief.  Even if you aren’t experiencing a cough, it’s still ok to try using cough medicine to help ease the soreness.
  • Lots of fluids – As with any sickness, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids when you have a sore throat, too.  You should be drinking enough water that your urine is light yellow or clear.  If it is not, then you are not taking in enough fluids.  Water is always your best options, but you can also hydrate with watered-down fruit drinks, or something salty if you prefer like chicken broth.

Cuckoo for Coconut Water

You have seen people drinking it on the subway, in the elevator, at the gym and maybe even in those posh cafés and grills, but what’s the big deal about coconut water?

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Well, that’s easy, coconut water is incredibly healthy and one of the best drinks to hydrate the body.  And besides aiding in digestion and helping to remove harmful toxins from your body, coconuts have anti-viral, anti-microbial, AND anti-fungal properties that can help cure disease!

Coconut water is low in carbohydrates, low in sugars and is 99 % fat free.  Many nutritionists are calling coconut water the “sports energy drink” of today’s day and age because it is naturally good for you and full of the vitamins we need to ward off fatigue.

How about these little known facts about coconut water…

  • Coconut water is much healthier than orange juice because it has much fewer calories.
  • Coconut water is more nutritious than whole milk because it has less fat and no cholesterol.
  • Coconut water is better than processed baby milk because it contains lauric acid, which is present in mother’s milk.
  • Coconut water is a universal donor and is identical to human blood plasma.
  • Coconut water is naturally sterile.
  • Coconut water is a naturally isotonic beverage; the same level that we have in our blood.
  • Coconut water has saved lives in Third World Countries through Coconut IV.