Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31, National Trail Mix Day
The Food Label Detective:
Emerald Trail Mix


*FDA 21 CFR 101.9 Nutrition labeling of food. (http://bit.ly/nVsDlD). FDA regulation allows manufacturers to round number of servings to the nearest 0.5 serving, as long as they use the term “about”. Serving size is based on RACC = Reference Amount Customarily Consumed per Eating Occasion.


One Serving Size: 1oz (28g)
130 calories per Servings
Package Size: Net Wt. 2.25 oz (63.8g)
About 2 Servings per package

Findings
Actual Serving per Package = 2.3
299 Calories per Package

Read the Label; an Educated Consumer has the knowledge
to make the Best Choices.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

August 29, More Herbs, Less Salt Day and
National Lemon Juice Day

Instead of salt, use spices, herbs, lemon juice, and/or vinegar to
enhance the taste of your food. The health benefits are life-long.



Wikipedia has provided an extensive list of culinary herbs and spices. The list does not contain salt (which is a mineral) or plants used primarily as herbal teas or medicinal herbs. Explore the different flavors and cultures.

Tips for Selecting and Storing
Herbs and Spices


Spice it Up with
Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD


Cutting Back on Salt in Your Diet
from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics


Where does sodium come from?
Sodium comes from natural sources or are added to foods. Most foods in their natural state contain some sodium. However, the majority of sodium Americans consume comes from sodium added to processed foods by manufacturers. While some of this sodium is added to foods for safety reasons, the amount of salt added to processed foods is above what is required for safety and function of the food supply.

Reading Labels
When you buy prepared and packaged foods, read the labels. You can tell the sodium content by looking at the Nutrition Facts panel of a food. Listed are the amount for sodium, in milligrams (mg), and the “% Daily Value.” Also read the ingredient list to watch for the words "soda" (referring to sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda), "sodium" and the symbol "Na" to see if the product contains sodium.

Salt and/or Sodium Descriptors

Salt Free:  Meets requirements for "sodium free."
Sodium Free: Fewer than 5 milligrams sodium per serving.
Very Low Sodium:  35 milligrams or less sodium per serving.
Low Sodium: 140 milligrams or less per serving 
Reduced Sodium:  At least 25 percent less sodium per serving.
Unsalted:  Has no salt added during processing. To use this term, the product it resembles must normally be processed with salt and the label must note that the food is not a sodium-free food if it does not meet the requirements for "sodium free".

The FDA and USDA state an individual food that has the claim "healthy" must not exceed 480 mg sodium per reference amount. "Meal type" products must not exceed 600 mg sodium per labeled serving size.

Sodium and Hypertension.
In order for a food to make an Allowable Health Claim it must contain a defined amount of nutrients. In relationship to sodium and Hypertension the amount is 140 milligrams or less sodium per serving.

American Heart Association (AHA)
The American Heart Association recommends you choose and prepare foods with little or no salt to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Aim to eat less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day (less that 3/4 teaspoon of salt).
The AHA is working with federal agencies to identify ways to reduce the amount of sodium in the food supply. The association is encouraging food manufacturers and restaurants to reduce the amount of sodium in foods by 50 percent over a 10-year period. AHA will help Americans lower the amount of sodium they consume by the following strategies:
 1. Reduce the amount of sodium in the food supply,
 2. Make more healthy foods available (e.g., more fruits and vegetables); and
 3. Provide consumers with education and decision-making tools to make better choices.

 
Tips for reducing sodium in the diet
 1.  Choose fresh, frozen or canned food items without added salts.
 2.  Select unsalted nuts or seeds, dried beans, peas and lentils.
 3.  Limit salty snacks like chips and pretzels.
 4.  Avoid adding salt and canned vegetables to homemade dishes.
 5.  Select unsalted, lower sodium, fat-free broths, bouillons or soups.
 6.  Select fat-free or low-fat milk, low-sodium, low-fat cheeses and low-fat yogurt.
 7.  Use spices and herbs to enhance the taste of your food. 
 8.  Add fresh lemon juice instead of salt to fish and vegetables.
 9.  When dining out, ask for your dish to be prepared without salt.
10. Don’t use the salt shaker.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Home Food Safety
When the Power Goes Out



Be Prepared

Stock up on non-perishable foods that don't require refrigeration, and choose single-serve sizes if available to avoid the need for refrigeration of unused portions. Consider these easy, healthy, shelf-stable foods: 






Summary

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and ConAgra Foods’ Home Food Safety program is dedicated to raising consumer awareness about the seriousness of foodborne illness and providing solutions for easily and safely handling food in their own kitchens. More information can be found at Home Food Safety

Thursday, August 27, 2015

August 27, Banana Lovers Day



Selection
Choose bananas that are firm and free of bruises. Bananas are best to eat when the skin color is solid yellow and speckled with brown. Bananas with green tips or with practically no yellow color have not developed their full flavor. Bananas are overripe when they have a strong odor.

Storage
To ripen bananas leave at room temperature for a couple of days. Once ripe store in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. The peel may turn brown in the refrigerator, but the fruit will not change.

Recipes
If you love bananas, Eating Well has a collection of Banana Recipes you are sure to enjoy.

Chiquita Banana The Original Commercial 
Produced by Disney Studios in the 40's, this commercial appeared only in movie theaters, and for over 50 years kept us humming its catchy tune.


DOLE Banana Growing and Planting
Dole explains the growing and planting of bananas.


Banana Farm
The banana farm at EARTH University uses socially and environmentally responsible practices at every stage of the process. The farm plants trees along river banks to promote biodiversity and reduce harmful erosion. In addition, they do not use herbicides. The farm's eco-friendly practices produce some of the most flavorful bananas in the world.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August 26, National Dog Day
Health Benefits


Health Benefits of a Dog



Studies have found that:
• Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
• People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets.
• Playing with a pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
• Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than those without pets.
• Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without.
• Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.

Caring for a pet can help with those healthy lifestyle changes by:
• Increasing exercise. Exercise doesn’t have to involve boring repetition at a gym. Taking a dog for a walk, riding a horse, or simply chasing a kitten around are fun ways to fit healthy daily exercise into your schedule.
• Providing companionship. Isolation and loneliness can make disorders such as depression even worse. Caring for a living animal can help make you feel needed and wanted, and take the focus away from your problems. Most pet owners talk to their pets, some even use them to work through their troubles.
• Helping meet new people. Pets can be a great social lubricant for their owners. Dog owners frequently stop and talk to each other on walks or in a dog park. Pet owners also meet new people in pet stores, clubs, and training classes.
• Reducing anxiety. The companionship of a dog can offer comfort, help ease anxiety, and build self-confidence for people anxious about going out into the world.
• Adding structure and routine to your day. Many pets, especially dogs, require a regular feeding and exercise schedule. No matter your mood—depressed, anxious, or stressed—you’ll always have to get out of bed to feed, exercise, and care for your pet.
• Providing sensory stress relief. Touch and movement are two healthy ways to quickly manage stress. This could involve petting a cat or taking a dog for a walk.

Pets and older adults
The key to aging well is to effectively handle life’s major changes, such as retirement, the loss of loved ones, and the physical changes of aging. Pets can play an important role in healthy aging by:
• Helping you find meaning and joy in life. As you age, you’ll lose things that previously occupied your time and gave your life purpose. You may retire from your career or your children may move far away. Caring for a pet can bring pleasure and help boost your morale and optimism. Taking care of an animal can also provide a sense of self-worth.
• Staying connected. Maintaining a social network isn’t always easy as you grow older. Retirement, illness, death, and moves can take away close friends and family members. And making new friends can get harder. Dogs especially are a great way for seniors to spark up conversations and meet new people.
• Boosting vitality. You can overcome many of the physical challenges associated with aging by taking good care of yourself. Pets encourage playfulness, laughter, and exercise, which can help boost your immune system and increase your energy.

Resources and References
American Humane Association
5 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health
The Therapeutic Benefits of Pets

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Do You Know What's On Your Kitchen Sponge?


One of the most dangerous sources of virulent bacteria, including E. coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus and others, is the kitchen sponge and 'dish cloths' in American homes.

Ways To Clean Your Kitchen Sponge or Dish Cloth

ARS food safety experts who specialize in research on foodborne pathogens, looked at several simple, convenient and often-recommended ways of cleaning reusable kitchen sponges. Microwaving and dishwashing each killed nearly 100 percent of the bacteria, with dishwashing being only slightly (0.0001 percent) less effective. And, microwaving and dishwashing each killed nearly all yeasts and molds; less than 1 percent (only 0.00001 percent) survived.

1. Wet the sponge well and microwave it on high for about 2 minutes. Be careful a dry sponge can catch on fire.

2. Wash it in the hot cycle of your washing machine and leave them there through a drying cycle.

3. Clean the sponge and sanitize it in a diluted bleach solution (1 tablespoon of bleach added to 1 gallon of water) before using a second time.

4. Replace worn sponges rather than reusing.

5. Avoid using your kitchen sponge to wipe up raw eggs, meat juice and other food items typically high in harmful bacteria. If you do use your sponge for such purposes, wash and disinfect it immediately afterward.

6. Clean your sponge after each use.


Resources.Is your kitchen sponge making you sick? Stop the spread of dangerous bacteria with these tips. Sanitize Your Sponge
Home Food Safety. How Safe is Your Kitchen?

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