so….what’s your poison?

your-poison

No, seriously.  Do you think you’ve been poisoned? 

Did you know that next to the common cold, food poisoning is our most prevalent infection, afflicting perhaps as many as 90 million North Americans? (thank you, Readers Digest!)  The actual number may be far higher since food poisoning signs mimic flu and diarrhea symptoms.  Even with government inspections, safer packaging, refrigeration and all the chemical preservatives, food poisoning is on the rise (mostly in children and the elderly).

Botulism is poisoning by a micro-organism similar to that causing tetanus.  Found in home canned goods, improperly packed and sterilized canned products and contaminated vegetables, fruits, fish and condiments.  Within 18-36 hours, double vision and difficulty with muscular coordination, including chewing, swallowing, breathing and speech, set in.

Salmonella is widespread coming from bacteria found in hormone injected beef and poultry.  Within 12-48 hours, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and fever, set in, lasting 1 to 4 days.

E-coli is a bacterial infection that attacks the kidneys and sickens as many as 20,000 Americans each year and kills several hundred.  Most symptoms include bloody diarrhea and vomiting.  In severe cases, seizure, paralysis and even death.  Symptoms appear within 24-48 hours.

Lysteria Monocytogenes is an organism found in the soil and intestinal tracts of humans, animals, insects and birds.  Infection usually follows eating contaminated dairy products and raw vegetables.  Adults may develop meningitis, with headache, stiff neck, nausea and vomiting.  Eye inflammation and swollen lymph nodes sometimes develop.  Symptoms usually appear in 8-24 hours.

Trichinella is found in raw or undercooked pork that has been fed contaminated meat.  Within 24-48 hours a person will experience fever and diarrhea with pain and respiratory problems.

Don’t have time for all that nonsense?  Use the two hour rule in your home to keep your family safe.  Refrigerate or freeze all perishables within two hours of purchase or preparation.  If the weather is hot, like it is here in sunny AZ, then you should reduce that time to one hour and use a cooler for perishables.  The highest risk foods are meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, dairy products and mayonnaise mixtures.  It’s easy to keep a cooler in your car for those long treks to and from the store to keep your groceries safe.  Don’t forget to ask for a bag of ice at the checkout and just place it on top of your items, if you don’t want to open it up.

Remember….heat and humidity greatly increase the risk of food spoilage, so never store food in warm places, like near the stove or refrigerator.  And I KNOW you keep your cleaning products WAY FAR AWAY from all your food too, don’t you!!!??

Wash your produce, keep your meats cold (and don’t defrost at room temperature, please….use the bottom shelf of the fridge) and keep your family safe this summer!

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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!!

Here’s the skinny on….skin

What is detoxification?

Detoxification  is a normal body process of eliminating or neutralizing toxins through the colon, kidneys, liver, lungs, lymph and skin.  Our bodies do it everyday, naturally!

There are different types of cleanses and they each come in all shapes and sizes to be tailored to your individual needs.

Today I thought we would talk about a skin cleanse.  Everything that is going on inside you shows up on your skin.  It’s our largest organ of elimination and detoxification.  Think about it….when your colon becomes overloaded or your liver can’t efficiently filter the toxins coming from the digestive tract, your skin will begin to sweat them out, through rashes or boils.

Eeew.

Our skin mirrors our emotions and our hormone balance, also.  Most of us are toxic to some degree.  Dr. Colbert says in his book, The Seven Pillars of Health, “It’s similiar to forgetting to take the trash cans to the curb on trash day, and the garbage piles up in your garage.  Your cans eventually overflow, and the stench worsens.  You feel sick just walking near them.  After a few weeks the smell of the garbage is so bad that you can even smell it inside the house.”

 Got Stress?  It’s going to show up on our bodies through our skin texture, spots and blemishes.  You will lack energy, start experiencing environmental and food allergies and develop excessive mucus production.  And don’t even get me started on how it can throw a woman’s hormone balance off!

However there IS good newsOur diet is the quickest way to change our looks! Remember living foods? Our food is a gift, a blessing from God!  He wants us to enjoy our food and gave us many choices!  The term, ‘vegetable’ refers to foods we obtain from the leaves, stems, flower clusters, roots, tubers, seeds or fruits of plants.  They are loades with complex carbohydrates,  amino acids and essential fatty acids.

Here is what Dr. Rex Russell says in his book, What the Bible says about Healthy Living:

Three Principles God wants us to use for healthier lives

  1. Eat only substances God created for food.  Avoid what is not designed for food.
  2. As much as possible, eat foods as they were created – before they are changed or converted into something humans think might be better.
  3. Avoid food addictions.  Don’t let any food or drink become your god.

It is also essential to begin healing the skin from within, starting with the least expensive treat:  WATER!  Be sure to drink plenty of this gift!  Water is the single most important nutrient four our bodies and is considered a ‘miracle cure’ for many health conditions.

Here is a great detox water refresher!

3 quarts of pure water

2 lemons, sliced

1/2 cucumber, sliced

10-12 mint leaves

Add ingredients to water and let infuse overnight.

So, we’re eating clean, living foods and drinking sufficient amounts of water…..what else?  Stick around…….tomorrow we are going to take a bath…….together.

phyto…what?

Did you know there are over two thousand known phytonutrientswhich are active substances that give fruits and vegetables their color, flavor, smell and natural disease resistance?  Our phytonutrient consumption is associated with reduced rates of many different cancers.  Think color!  Think the rainbow!!  Blueberries, oranges, lemons, herbs, carrots….there are so many different choices to consider.

According to Dr. Don Colbertphytonutrients in fruits and vegetables can be grouped according to color.  Each group has it’s own set of unique protective benefits.

  • Orange: carrots, mangoes, cantaloupes, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, yams, squash, and apricots all have carotenoids, which help prevent cancer and heart disease.
  • Red:  tomatoes, watermelon, guava, red grapefruit, all contain a powerful carotenoid called lycopene, linked to prevention of heart disease and prostate cancer.
  • Red/Purple:  blueberries, blackberries, hawthorn berries, raspberries, grapes, eggplants, red cabbage and red wine contain a powerful flavonoid called anthocyanidin, which contains approximately 50 times the antioxidant activity of vitamin C and 20 times more powerful than vitamin E.
  • Orange/Yellow:  oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, yellow grapefruit, papaya, pineaple and nectarines are rich in vitamin C and protect us against free-radical damage.
  • Yellow/Green:  Spinach, kale, collards, mustard greens, turnip greens, romaine lettuce, leeks and peas are typically rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which reduces the risk of macular degeneration.
  • Green:  broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, watercress, bok choy, kale, collard greens, and mustard greens are considered cruciferous vegetables with anti-cancer properties.

Remember, living foods exist in a raw or close-to-raw state and can make your eyes sparkle, your hair shine, and a glow to your skin!  Who doesn’t want that??

It’s time to take back our food choices and how we eat them so we can become vibrant, healthy people!  Now is the time!

changing the way we eat…

Seriously, we can be such idiots when we are hungry.

Do you realize that we have completely transformed what, when and how we eat, since our great-grandparent’s day?  We live our lives in such a hurry, eating in our cars, in front of our televisions sets or standing in the kitchen.  We throw frozen food in little plastic trays in the microwave and don’t even give it a second thought.  We have forgotten to stop and enjoy the aromas, feel the textures or even taste our food.  (I’m guilty too!)

Back in our great-grandparents day, or even our grandparents day (depending on your age), most had gardens and did their own growing and harvesting.   As Michael Pollan states, “If it came from the planet, eat it.  If it was made in a plant, don’t.”

Back in the 1850s, the women of rural American were still  primarily cooking with ingredients that were grown on their own farms or in their gardens.  Any foods  they couldn’t produce themselves were often purchased in bulk  from the local general store. Can  you imagine if our ancestors were to walk into our grocery stores today?  The center of the store, where the packaged, over processed foods live, is larger than the produce section!

Our ancestors ate whole and unprocessed vegetables, along with fruits, grains, beans and nuts.  They didn’t run to the freezer section to grab some frozen french fries or a lean cuisine.

Somewhere along the way we became disconnected from the real foods that have to be plucked, harvested or squeezed and have chosen the ‘easy‘ way.

The good news is that we CAN change and our health will benefit in the long run.

Buy live, organic foods.  If you are able to make a trip each day to the store your food will be that much fresher!  Take a few minutes to inspect your produce carefully.  Remember, organic produce may be less colorful or less perfectly shaped, but have you every bought a big, red tomato from the grocery store only to find out that it was weak and had no flavor?  YUK!  They might not look perfect, but at least you know there aren’t pesticides sprayed all over them.

Start paying attention to the times of the day that you eat your food.  Use all your senses.  Look at your food, smell your food and enjoy your food!  Make it special!  Turn off the television and play some relaxing music.  Start your meal off with a blessing.  Sit at the table, even if you are alone, and maybe it’s time to pull out the good china!  Try to place your fork back on the plate after each bite so you can focus on what you are eating.

You’re worth it!  The point is to be relaxed and chew slowly.

Now…be sure you have living foods on your plate!  You may be surprised to find that by making good choices now, you can dramatically improve the quality of your life!

organic farms till it like it is…… ;)

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more that 34 million tons of food waste were generated in 2010, second only to paper. (via timefreepress.com)

You recycle your bottles and newspapers, you upcycle thrift store finds into decor treasures, and you reuse all your plastic bags. But do you upcycle your food scraps?  We’re not talking compost (yet), we’re talking re-growing food from scraps you might have tossed right into the garbage!

Turns out, several odds and ends you might have tossed can be re-grown into more food!

Scallions

When your recipe only calls for the green part of the scallions, don’t toss the white end with the roots. Stick it in a glass jar with a little water and the greens will grow back. You can just snip off what you need as you go. This also works with leeks.

Lemongrass

This delicious, aromatic herb is really just a grass and will grow well in a pot in a sunny spot. Take the root ends (after you’ve used the rest in a recipe) and put in a jar of water in a sunny spot. After a week or so, you’ll start to see roots appearing. Once the roots look healthy, transplant your lemongrass to a pot and let it grow. You can start harvesting when the stalks get to be a foot or more tall.

Celery

The next time you’re chopping a bunch of celery, save the root end! Place it in a shallow bowl of water, and after a few days, you should start to see roots and new leaves appear. As soon as you see these, you can plant the celery — leaving the leaves just above the soil.  The plant will continue to grow, and soon you’ll have a whole new head of celery!

Ginger

Did you know that ginger makes a beautiful (and useful) houseplant? If you’ve got a piece of fresh ginger going spare in your fridge, you can plant it in potting soil. Ginger is a root, and before long, you’ll notice a lovely plant sprouting from it. Once the plant is big enough, you can actually pull it up, whack off a piece of the root, and replant it whenever you need fresh ginger–or just enjoy your culinary houseplant.

Pineapple

Here’s a way to grow pineapple at home from a pineapple!  Pick one with healthy, green  leaves on top.  Some brown tips are normal, but the center leaves should be all green.  You need a 12 inch wide by 12 inch tall pot filled with potting  soil mixed with compost.  You can start them in smaller pots, then transfer them to larger pots.  Pineapples don’t like wet soil, so be sure your potting soil has an additive like vermeculite  to promote drainage.  The pineapple can stay in this pot, but the plant can grow up to 4 feet tall and 6 feet wide, so you may need some help when moving it!

Want to learn more about composting?  Check out what the University of Oregon has to say about the subject, which is a LOT!

Organic Gardening online magazine is another great site that can give you even more hints!  Now….get out and get dirty!!