Yacón……what is it and what do I do with it?

yacon_harvest2008

Well here’s another beauty that has escaped me.  The yacón. (pronounced ya-kon) In the Inca language, yacón means ‘water root’.

Another name for the yacón is Peruvian ground apple.  A perennial tuber grown in the ground, with a taste similar to a cross between celery and a Granny Smith apple and a touch of pear.  This little treat is naturally low in calories and high in fiber….and can’t we all use a little more fiber?  (is it me or does this sound suspiciously like Jicama?)

“The tubers and leaves contain high levels of inulin, a form of sugar humans  cannot easily break down, making it low in calories. Inulin also aids digestion  and promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine, while  inhibiting toxic bacteria. Recent research also has found that yacon tubers and  leaves are a good source of antioxidants.”(source)

Yacon_plant_(Smallanthus_sonchifolius)(via)

Yacón also benefits the bacteria in the intestinal tract and colon that boost the immune system and aid digestion, something else we need….digestion! This potential as a dietary aid and as a ‘sweet spot’ for diabetics has led to yacón being grown more widely, and thankfully in America!

Here’s what the Guardian News has to say:

“Yacón has a crunchy texture, slightly reminiscent of water chestnuts, and a sweet flavour, so it’s rather good simply peeled, sliced and eaten as a snack. It’s great in salads too, though its tendency to brown means that you should add it at the last minute, once everything else is assembled and ready to be dressed, or sprinkle with a little lemon juice to prevent it discolouring as it’s peeled (and do peel it, the skin can be a little bitter).

Yacón also has a delightful tendency to absorb sauces and dressings, which make it a fantastic vehicle for other flavours. Try it grated with carrots in a mustardy vinaigrette with a handful of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, or in the traditional South American fruit salad, salpicón. Combine peeled, chopped yacón with chunks of pineapple, chopped papaya and mango and dress in freshly squeezed orange juice and a spritz of lemon.

You could also use yacón instead of apples in a Waldorf salad. Just peel and dice the yacón and toss it in lemon juice to stop it from going brown, then combine it in a bowl with chopped celery, some raisins and walnuts. Dress with mayonnaise thinned with a little sour cream and serve.”

You can purchase yacón in powder or slices HEREOr find it in syrup form HERE.

buy American….do it.

buy-american [photo]
 So….as I’m stumbling around the internet, I found this article about who sells what, who doesn’t, and what is nasty…..(you’ll figure out that last one)
Here’s the scoop….
Green Giant frozen vegetables are from China , and so are most of Europe ‘s BestArctic Gardens are Okay. So is Birdseye.
Never buy the grocery store garlic unless it is clearly marked from USA or Canada , the other stuff is grown in people poop (even worse than chicken poop). China is the largest producer of garlic in the world. U.S. is next.
Buy only local honey, much honey is shipped in in huge containers from China and re-packed here.
Cold-FX is grown and packed in China and is full of fecal bacteria. Doesn’t work anyway, big scam. If the country of origin is not clearly marked beware. If produce, ask an employee.
Watch out for packages which state “prepared for“, “packed by” or “imported by“. I don’t understand the lack of mandatory labeling, especially the produce.
The country of origin should be clearly shown on the item in the store. I go to the local farmers’ markets in season and keep a wary eye open the rest of the year.
Please read this very carefully, and read to the very bottom. It’s important for all of us.
How is it possible to ship food from China cheaper than having it produced in the U.S. or Canada ?
FOR EXAMPLE THE “OUR FAMILY” BRAND OF MANDARIN ORANGES SAYS RIGHT ON THE CAN ‘FROM CHINA ‘. SO, FOR A FEW MORE CENTS, BUY THE LIBERTY BRAND.
GOLD BRAND OR THE DOLE IS FROM CALIFORNIA . Beware, Costco sells canned peaches and pears in a plastic jar that come from China .
ALL “HIGH LINER” AND MOST OTHER FROZEN FISH PRODUCTS COME FROM CHINA OR INDONESIA . THE PACKAGE MAY SAY “PACIFIC SALMON” ON THE FRONT, BUT LOOK FOR THE SMALL PRINT. MOST OF THESE PRODUCTS COME FROM FISH FARMS IN THE ORIENT WHERE THERE ARE NO REGULATIONS ON WHAT IS FED TO THESE FISH.
 
Recently The Montreal Gazette had an article by the Canadian Government on how Chinese feed the fish: They suspend chicken wire crates over the fish ponds, and the fish feed on chicken s–t.   Eeeeewwwww….
 
If you search the internet about what the Chinese feed their fish, you’ll be alarmed; e.g., growth hormones, expired anti-biotic from humans. Never buy any type of fish or shellfish that comes from these countries: Vietnam , China , Philippines .
 
Check this out personally. I did. Stienfeld’s Pickles are made in India – just as bad!
 
Another example is in canned mushrooms. No-Name brand came from Indonesia . Also check those little fruit cups. They used to be made in Canada in the Niagara region until about 2 years ago. They are now packaged in China !
While the Chinese export inferior and even toxic products, dangerous toys, and goods to be sold in North American markets, the media wrings its hands! Yet, 70% of North Americans believe that the trading privileges afforded to the Chinese should be suspended! Well, duh! Why do you need the government to suspend trading privileges?
SIMPLY DO IT YOURSELF, CANADA AND THE U.S. !
Simply look on the bottom of every product you buy, and if it says ‘Made in China ‘ or ‘PRC’ (and that now includes Hong Kong ), simply choose another product, or none at all. You will be amazed at how dependent you are on Chinese products, and you will be equally amazed at what you can do without.
THINK ABOUT THIS:
If 200 million North Americans refuse to buy just $20 each of Chinese goods, that’s a billion dollar trade imbalance resolved in our favor…fast!!
The downside? Some Canadian/American businesses will feel a temporary pinch from having foreign stockpiles of inventory.
Just one month of trading losses will hit the Chinese for 8% of their North American exports. Then they will at least have to ask themselves if the benefits of their arrogance and lawlessness are worth it.
START NOW and don’t stop.
s207-buy-american

cancer? let’s start with prevention…

Main sites of metastases for some common cance...
Main sites of metastases for some common cancer types. Primary cancers are denoted by “…cancer” and their main metastasis sites are denoted by “…metastases”. List of included entries and references is found on main image page in Commons: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cancer.  It’s here.  It doesn’t surface overnight, but is a long process that can take years to raise it’s ugly head.

Prevention is all about making sure we are eating as healthy as possible and staying away from cancer landmines.

Here are a few landmines that have the potential to make cancer cells grow and multiply:

  • SMOKING:  According to the National Cancer Institute, there are over 7000 chemicals in cigarette smoke with 250 being harmful.  Do you smoke? STOP.
  • ALCOHOL:  Excessive alcohol intake (more than 2 servings/day for men and 1 serving/day for women) has been linked to an increased risk of cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, colon, rectum and liver.  Medical News Today says 15% of all breast cancer deaths may be linked to alcohol.  Drink AND smoke?  STOP.
  • RADIATION:  Not just limited to x-rays, microwaves and nuclear reactors, radiation is also the light that comes from the sun and the heat that comes off our bodies.  Leukemia, a type of cancer that is centered in bone marrow, is the most common radiation induced cancer.  Severe sunburns also increase the risk of developing cancer.  Still tanning? STOP.
  • HORMONES:  Some hormones help cancer to grow and spread, such as breast and prostate cancers.  The longer women are exposed to high levels of estrogen, the greater the risk of developing breast cancer.  Your physician can recommend a hormone receptor test to see if cancer cells are sensitive to hormones.

There are other factors that contribute to cancer such as processed and red meats, salty foods, or meats cooked at dangerously high temperatures.

REDUCE YOUR RISK OF CANCER

Mayo Clinic says try these 7 tips to reduce your risk of cancer!

  1. Don’t use tobacco

    Using any type of tobacco puts you on a collision course with cancer. Smoking has been linked to various types of cancer — including cancer of the lung, bladder, cervix and kidney. And chewing tobacco has been linked to cancer of the oral cavity and pancreas. Even if you don’t use tobacco, exposure to secondhand smoke might increase your risk of lung cancer.

  2. Eat a healthy diet

    Although making healthy selections at the grocery store and at mealtime can’t guarantee cancer prevention, it might help reduce your risk. Consider these guidelines:

    • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Base your diet on fruits, vegetables and other foods from plant sources — such as whole grains and beans.
    • Limit fat. Eat lighter and leaner by choosing fewer high-fat foods, particularly those from animal sources. High-fat diets tend to be higher in calories and might increase the risk of overweight or obesity — which can, in turn, increase cancer risk.
    • If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. The risk of various types of cancer — including cancer of the breast, colon, lung, kidney and liver — increases with the amount of alcohol you drink and the length of time you’ve been drinking regularly.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active

Maintaining a healthy weight might lower the risk of various types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, prostate, lung, colon and kidney.

Physical activity counts, too. In addition to helping you control your weight, physical activity on its own might lower the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer.

Adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits. But for substantial health benefits, strive to get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic physical activity. You can also do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. As a general goal, include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine — and if you can do more, even better.

4.  Protect yourself from the sun

Skin cancer is one of the most common kinds of cancer — and one of the most preventable. Try these tips:

  • Avoid midday sun. Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • Stay in the shade. When you’re outdoors, stay in the shade as much as possible. Sunglasses and a broad-rimmed hat help, too.
  • Cover exposed areas. Wear tightly woven, loosefitting clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible. Opt for bright or dark colors, which reflect more ultraviolet radiation than pastels or bleached cotton.
  • Don’t skimp on sunscreen. Use generous amounts of sunscreen when you’re outdoors, and reapply often.
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps. These are just as damaging as natural sunlight.

5.  Get immunized

Cancer prevention includes protection from certain viral infections. Talk to your doctor about immunization against:

  • Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B can increase the risk of developing liver cancer. The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for certain high-risk adults — such as adults who are sexually active but not in a mutually monogamous relationship, people with sexually transmitted infections, intravenous drug users, men who have sex with men, and health care or public safety workers who might be exposed to infected blood or body fluids.

Human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that can lead to cervical and other genital cancers as well as squamous cell cancers of the head and neck. The HPV vaccine is available to both men and women age 26 or younger who didn’t have the vaccine as adolescents.

6.  Avoid risky behaviorsAnother effective cancer prevention tactic is to avoid risky behaviors that can lead to infections that, in turn, might increase the risk of cancer. For example:

  • Practice safe sex. Limit your number of sexual partners, and use a condom when you have sex. The more sexual partners you have in your lifetime, the more likely you are to contract a sexually transmitted infection — such as HIV or HPV. People who have HIV or AIDS have a higher risk of cancer of the anus, liver and lung. HPV is most often associated with cervical cancer, but it might also increase the risk of cancer of the anus, penis, throat, vulva and vagina.
  • Don’t share needles. Sharing needles with an infected drug user can lead to HIV, as well as hepatitis B and hepatitis C — which can increase the risk of liver cancer. If you’re concerned about drug abuse or addiction, seek professional help.

7.   Get regular medical care

Regular self-exams and screenings for various types of cancers — such as cancer of the skin, colon, prostate, cervix and breast — can increase your chances of discovering cancer early, when treatment is most likely to be successful. Ask your doctor about the best cancer screening schedule for you.

Take cancer prevention into your own hands, starting today. The rewards will last a lifetime.

source:  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cancer-prevention/CA00024/NSECTIONGROUP=2

irradiated foods? we can see through it….

food[via]

Irradiation and your food……………yes or no? 

It would be great if we could wave a magic wand over our food and make it safe to eat, but supposedly the next best thing is food irradiationOnce your foods are x-rayed, the molds, bacteria and insects that cause spoilage are *POOF!* gone.

But there are many consumer and environmental groups that remain unconvinced that this is the way to go.  Carol Tucker-Foreman, director of the Consumer Federation of America’s Food Policy Institute says, “ irradiation has too many downsides to ever capture a large share of the market, and that the scientific community’s focus on irradiation is potentially taking valuable attention away from other improvements to the food system. “

The food industry has the option to use irradiation right now if they want to,” she said. “The fact is they’re not using it right now, and not just because they have to label it, but because it costs more and if you don’t do it with great precision, you get meat that doesn’t taste very good.” 

Here is what the Organic Consumers Organization says about irradiated foods:

  • Irradiation damages the quality of food.
  • Science has not proved that a long-term diet of irradiated foods is safe for human health.
  • Irradiation covers up problems that the meat and poultry industry should solve
  • Labeling is necessary to inform people so they can choose to avoid irradiated foods.
  • Electron-beam irradiation today means nuclear irradiation tomorrow.

“Irradiation should not be a substitution for good sanitation in the food industry.  But when it is used along with good sanitation and other preventive controls, irradiation can reduce consumer risk,”  says Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of food safety for the CSPI.

here’s WHAT DR. MERCOLA has to say:

Research in animals suggests the compounds may promote tumor growth and colon cancer, and studies show 2-alkylcyclobutanones are able to cross the intestinal barrier, enter into the bloodstream, and be stored in the fat tissue of an animal. The compounds have also been shown to be cytotoxic and genotoxic, which means they may damage cells and DNA, respectively. Studies on human cells also revealed potential cancer-causing effects, with researchers concluding “this compound may be regarded as a possible risk factor for processes in colon carcinogenesis related to initiation and progression.”  [source]

HERE IS WHAT THE FDA has to say:

Why Irradiate Food?

Irradiation can serve many purposes.

  • Prevention of Foodborne Illness – irradiation can be used to effectively eliminate organisms that cause foodborne illness, such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli (E. coli).
  • Preservation – irradiation can be used to destroy or inactivate organisms that cause spoilage and decomposition and extend the shelf life of foods.
  • Control of Insects – irradiation can be used to destroy insects in or on tropical fruits imported into the United States. Irradiation also decreases the need for other pest-control practices that may harm the fruit.
  • Delay of Sprouting and Ripening – irradiation can be used to inhibit sprouting (e.g., potatoes) and delay ripening of fruit to increase longevity.
  • Sterilization – irradiation can be used to sterilize foods, which can then be stored for years without refrigeration. Sterilized foods are useful in hospitals for patients with severely impaired immune systems, such as patients with AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy. Foods that are sterilized by irradiation are exposed to substantially higher levels of treatment than those approved for general use. [source]

TOTALLY CONFUSED NOW?    Do some research to see what is right for you and your family. Be sure to practice safe food handling in your own home. Consumers can effectively reduce the risk of contamination without processes such as irradiation. In fact, sporadic cases and smaller localized outbreaks in the home and surrounding community are far more common than large publicized outbreaks. Contact the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (1-800-535-4555) or the FDA (1-800-FDA-4010) for more information.

radura

dropping acid? acid vs alkaline foods…

ph-scale

Ahh…..ye old pH Scale…. so what is it? 

The pH scale (p standing for potenz or power, and h standing for hydrogen) measures the level of acid vs alkaline.  The scale starts at 1 (which is the most acidic) and ends at 14 (which is the most alkaline).  Obviously the 7 is in the middle of the road and is neutral.

  • Who cares?  Well, apparently your body does.  Everything you eat or drink will have a pH above or below 7.  This means that your body has to work harder to maintain a proper blood pH.

Did you know that EVERY DISEASE KNOWN TO MAN can only exist in an acidic environment Yikes!  So you can safely assume that an acid/alkaline balance can affect a plethora of health concerns!

Most Americans on the standard American diet, are most likely to going to be too acidic (too low in pH) with a level below 7.  So even if you want to achieve or maintain healthy weight loss you need to UP your pH!  Go Alkaline!

  • How?  First you can request a ph blood test so you can see if you are low on the scale.  Dr. Robert O. Young has authored several books and has a very helpful website, http://www.phmiracleliving.com/.  He says it takes about 3 to 4 months for the body to recycle all its blood cells, so you get a whole slew of new blood cells every 3-4 months.  So a mere 12 weeks out of your life, you can jump on his pH program so you will be at the peak of health!

Here are a few of his recommendations:

  1. Hydrate
  2. Eat right
  3. Exercise
  4. Take proper supplements
  5. Take care of your heart, mind and soul
  6. Set goals
  7. Clean yourself from the inside out

It’s all about good choices….make the right ones and start living NOW!

woman choosing between pizza and orange

seasonal eating…

Since produce is available to us year round, it can be difficult trying to understand what is actually in season and what is not.  Of course you should always look for ripe, fresh fruits and vegetables, however you might want to check with your local grocer to see what is the perfect food for each season.  But until then…..here is a simple guide to help get you started…

FALL FOODS

winter squash (acorn, butternut, buttercup, delicata, hubbard, kabocha)

apples

beets

belgian endive

brussels sprouts

cranberries

figs

grapes

mushrooms

parsnips

pears

pomegranates

pumpkin  

sweet potatoes

swiss chard

WINTER FOODS

chestnuts

grapefruit

kale

leeks

lemons

oranges/tangerines

radicchio

radishes

rutabaga

turnips

SPRING FOODS

apricots

artichokes

asparagus

avocados

carrots

cherries

chicory

chives

collards

dandelion greens

fennel

mangoes

mustard greens

new potatoes

peas

rhubarb

spinach

spring lettuces

strawberries

sugar, snap and snow peas

watercress

SUMMER FOODS

bell peppers

blackberries

blueberries

raspberries

broccoli

corn

cucumbers

eggplant

green beans

nectarines

okra

peaches

pineapples

plums

summer squash

tomatoes

watermelon

zucchini

HEY, WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?:

  • healthier
  • cost effective
  • enjoy a greater variety
  • better for the environment
  • very delicious!

According to Esther Blum, author of Eat, Drink and Be Gorgeous: A Nutritionist’s Guide to Living Well While Living It Up, fresh food is also the most nutritious. And that nutritional boost might pay off under the mistletoe: “When your diet is naturally richer in vitamins and minerals then you are going to increase your chances of beating a cold and keeping your immune system solid through the holiday party season,” says Blum.

Yummm!!!  That’s good enough for me!!