Thursday, May 31, 2018

May, National Vinegar Month - Uses and Recipes


Vinegar has been around for more than 10,000 years. The Babylonians used it as a preservative and as a condiment and it was they who began flavoring it with herbs. Romans used it as a beverage. Hippocrates proclaimed its medicinal qualities and, indeed, it was probably one of our earliest remedies. The Bible references show how it was used for its soothing and healing properties. As recently as World War I, vinegar was being used to treat wounds. And today, it is being researched as a means to lower the glycemic index of foods and decrease the appetite.

Vinegar is defined as an acidic liquid produced from the fermentation of ethanol in a process that yields acetic acid (ethanoic acid). It also may come in a diluted form. The acetic acid concentration usually ranges from 4% to 8% by volume for table vinegar and up to 18% for pickling. 



Vinegar, as defined by the FDA
CPG Sec. 525.825 Vinegar, Definitions

No standards of identity for vinegar have been established under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, however FDA has established "Compliance Policy Guides" that the Agency follows regarding labeling of vinegars, such as cider, wine, malt, sugar, spirit and vinegar blends. In other countries, they have regional standards for vinegar produced or sold in that part of the world.

POLICY:
Historically, definitions have been developed for different types or combinations of vinegars. The United States FDA requires that any product called "vinegar" contain at least 4% acidity. This requirement ensures the minimum strength of vinegar sold at the retail level.

FDA considers the following to be satisfactory guidelines for the labeling of vinegars: Natural vinegars as they come from the generators normally contain in excess of 4 grams of acetic acid per 100 mL. When vinegar is diluted with water, the label must bear a statement such as diluted with water to _______ percent acid strength", with the blank filled with the actual percent of acetic acid - in no case should it be less than 4 percent. Each of the varieties of vinegar listed below should contain 4 grams of acetic acid per 100 mL.

VINEGARS:

VINEGAR, CIDER VINEGAR, APPLE VINEGAR. The product made by the alcoholic and subsequent acetous fermentations of the juice of apples.

WINE VINEGAR, GRAPE VINEGAR. The product made by the alcoholic and subsequent acetous fermentations of the juice of grapes.

MALT VINEGAR. The product made by the alcoholic and subsequent acetous fermentations, without distillation, of an infusion of barley malt or cereals whose starch has been converted by malt.

SUGAR VINEGAR. The product made by the alcoholic and subsequent acetous fermentations of sugar sirup, molasses, or refiner's sirup.

GLUCOSE VINEGAR. The product made by the alcoholic and subsequent acetous fermentations of a solution of glucose. It is dextrorotatory.

SPIRIT VINEGAR, DISTILLED VINEGAR, GRAIN VINEGAR. The product made by the acetous fermentation of dilute distilled alcohol.

VINEGAR, MADE FROM A MIXTURE OF SPIRIT VINEGAR AND CIDER VINEGAR. The product should be labeled as a blend of the products with the product names in order of predominance. This labeling is applicable to a similar product made by acetous fermentation of a mixture of alcohol and cider stock.

VINEGAR MADE FROM DRIED APPLES, APPLE CORES OR APPLE PEELS. Vinegar made from dried apples, apple cores or apple peels should be labeled as "vinegar made from ______," where the blank is filled in with the name of the apple product(s) used as the source of fermented material.

Cooking with Balsamic Vinegar

Some of the uses found on the Internet are listed below. Many have not been tested or researched, which makes recommendations difficult.

How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Work?

Food Preparation

 1. Soak fish in vinegar and water before cooking it. It will be sweeter, more tender and hold its shape better. When boiling or poaching fish, a tablespoon of vinegar added to the water will keep it from crumbling so easily.

 2. Use vinegar in pickling, vinaigrettes, marinades and as an ingredient in sauces such as mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise.  

 3. When boiling an egg and it's cracked, a little vinegar in the water will keep the white from running out. (Forget this one. If the egg is cracked, throw it out.)

 4. A teaspoon of white distilled or cider vinegar added to the water in which you boil potatoes will keep them nice and white. You can keep peeled potatoes from turning dark by covering them with water and adding 2 teaspoons of vinegar. 

 5. Freshen up slightly wilted vegetables by soaking them in cold water and vinegar. 

 6. Fruits and vegetables. Add 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar to 1 pint water and use to wash fresh fruits and vegetables, then rinse thoroughly. This is supposed to help kill bacteria on fruits and vegetables. 

 7. Flavor Enhancer. Add your favorite specialty vinegar to soup, gravy or sauce to add flavor.

 8. Use as a meat tenderizer for tough meat or game.

 9. Simmer a small pot of vinegar and water solution to get rid of unwanted cooking smells.

10. Rice will be fluffier and less sticky if you add a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar to the boiling water before adding the rice.

11. Remove fruit stains from your hands by cleaning them with vinegar.

12. Remove heavy stale smells from lunch boxes by dampening a piece of fresh bread with white distilled vinegar and leaving it in the lunch box overnight.


Cleaning

 1. White vinegar is often used as a household cleaning product. The acidity is said to dissolve mineral deposits from glass, coffee makers and other smooth surfaces. Dilution with water is recommended for safety and to avoid damaging the surfaces being cleaned.

 2. Vinegar can be used for polishing brass or bronze.

 3. Vinegar has been marketed as a green solution for some household cleaning problems, such as an eco-friendly urine cleaner for pets and as a weed killer.

Medical

 1. Experts advise against using vinegar preparations for treating wounds. 

 2. Acetic acid solutions were ineffective at inhibiting the growth of Escherichia coli, group D Enterococcus, or Bacteroides fragilis bacteria, and only slightly effective at inhibiting the growth of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria.

 3. Experts caution against using vinegar as a household disinfectant against human pathogens because chemical disinfectants are more effective. 

 4. Undiluted vinegar may be used effectively for cleaning dentures, unlike bleach solutions, vinegar residues left on dentures were not associated with mucosal damage.

 5. Vinegar is commonly recommended for treating nail fungus, head lice, and warts, however scientific support for these treatment strategies are lacking.

 6. Vinegar may reduce hunger by reducing the meal-time glycemic load. 

 7. The use of vinegar in controlling blood sugar as an adjunct therapy for individuals with diabetes or prediabetes has yet to be determined.


Additional uses and tips can be found at the Vinegar Institute.


Fat Free Vinaigrette Recipes are easy to prepare and can be used as a marinade, salad dressing, or sauce.   

Oriental Vinaigrette, Yield: 1 cup; Serving Size: Unlimited
1 clove garlic, cut in several pieces
1 cup rice vinegar (unseasoned)
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
1 slice fresh ginger, cut in several pieces
Combine all ingredients, stirring well to combine. Let stand for 45 minutes. Strain dressing. Discard ginger and garlic (or use in food preparation at a later time).


Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing, Yield: 1 cup; Serving Size: Unlimited
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons capers
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1½ teaspoons dried basil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Combine the ingredients. Adjust vinegar to taste. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.


Chili-Cilantro Vinaigrette Dressing, Yield: ¾ cup; Serving Size: Unlimited
1 small green chili, diced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup water
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic
pinch, artificial sweetener
freshly ground pepper to taste
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.


Citrus Herb Vinaigrette Dressing, Yield: 1½ cup; Serving Size: Unlimited
½ medium-sized red bell pepper,
2 medium tomatoes, diced
½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup fresh orange juice
½ cup loosely packed fresh parsley
¼ cup raspberry vinegar
1 Tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons fresh tarragon
2 teaspoons fresh oregano
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until pureed. Makes approximately 1½ cups


Indian Vinaigrette Dressing, Yield: ¼ cup; Serving Size: Unlimited
¼ cup orange juice
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon chopped cilantro
½ teaspoon prepared hot mustard
Put all ingredients in a small bowl, and stir. Let sit about 10 minutes.


Orange and Lemon Vinaigrette, Yield: 1 cup; Serving Size: Unlimited
½ cup wine vinegar
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
4 Tablespoons orange juice
grated rind of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon French mustard
pinch garlic
ground black pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a bowl, and mix thoroughly. Keep in the fridge and use within 2 days.


Orange Thai Vinaigrette Dressing, Yield: ½ cup; Serving Size: Unlimited
5 Tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
pinch of cayenne
Whisk together all ingredients with a fork.


Parsley-Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing, Yield: ¾ cup; Serving Size: Unlimited
¼ cup tomato juice (low sodium)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon oregano, fresh
1 Tablespoon onion, minced
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup parsley, chopped fresh
½ cup tomatoes, chopped, fresh
1 garlic clove, minced
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth.


Red Pepper Vinaigrette, Yield: ½ cup; Serving Size: Unlimited
¼ cup apple juice
¼ cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons white onion
1 cloves garlic, pressed
Pinches of rosemary and thyme
½ teaspoon dried whole oregano
½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
½ teaspoon paprika
½ of a roasted red bell pepper
Mix in a blender. Blend thoroughly and chill overnight.


Tomato Vinaigrette, Yield: ½ cup; Serving Size: Unlimited
½ cup tomato, chopped
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Mix in a blender. Blend thoroughly and chill overnight. Lasts about 2 days. Serve on salads.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

National Senior Health and Fitness Day - “With Movement... There's Improvement!”


Celebrate the 25th annual National Senior Health and Fitness Day. 100,000 older adults will participate in activities at more than 1,000 locations throughout the U.S. The goal is to help keep older Americans healthy and fit. National Senior Health and Fitness Day is the nation's largest annual health promotion event for older adults. 


Benefits of Getting Older

Global Aging

Shopping and nutrition tips
for senior citizens

from Elisa Zeid, MS, RD

Resource

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

National Asparagus Month - Selection, Preparation, Recipes


Asparagus is a perennial garden plant belonging to the Lily family. It is harvested in the spring when it is 6 to 8 inches tall. The most common variety of asparagus is green in color. There are two other edible varieties available. White asparagus is grown underground to inhibit its development of chlorophyll content, therefore creating its distinctive white coloring. It is generally found canned, although you may find it fresh in some select markets, and it is generally more expensive than the green variety since its production is more labor intensive. The other edible variety of asparagus is purple in color. It is smaller than the green or white variety (usually just 2 to 3 inches tall) and features a fruitier flavor. It also provides benefits from phytonutrients called anthocyanins that give it its purple color.

Nutrition Information
Low in calories, only 20 per 3.5 oz. serving
Contains no fat or cholesterol
Very low in sodium
A good source of potassium.(1)
A source of fiber (2 grams per 3.5 serving)
An excellent source of folic acid
A significant source of thiamin and vitamin B6


Selection
Asparagus stalks should be rounded, and neither fat nor twisted. Look for firm, thin stems with deep green or purplish closed tips. The cut ends should not be too woody, although a little woodiness at the base prevents the stalk from drying out. Once trimmed and cooked, asparagus loses about half its total weight. Use asparagus within a day or two after purchasing for best flavor and texture. Store in the refrigerator with the ends wrapped in a damp paper towel.

Preparation and Cooking
Thin asparagus does not require peeling. Asparagus with thick stems should be peeled because the stems are usually tough and stringy. Remove the tough outer skin of the bottom portion of the stem (not the tips) with a vegetable peeler. Wash asparagus under cold water to remove any sand or soil residues. It is best to cook asparagus whole. If you want to cut asparagus into small pieces, it is best to cut them after they are cooked. Asparagus can be served hot or cold.

Serving Ideas
•  Add cold asparagus to your favorite salad.
•  Toss cooked pasta with asparagus, olive oil and your favorite pasta spices. 
•  Chopped asparagus make a flavorful and colorful addition to omelets.
•  Sauté asparagus with garlic, mushrooms and tofu or chicken for a complete meal.

Recipes
Asparagus Recipes & Tips from The Produce Lady


How To Make Perfectly Roasted Asparagus



EatingWell, Asparagus 

Food Network, Asparagus recipes

Monday, May 28, 2018

May 28, National Brisket Day
Brisket on Rye Makeover


After
The original sandwich contained 6-1/2 ounces of brisket. By cutting back the brisket to 2 ounces lean saves 470 calories. Add vegetables to give the sandwich height, fiber and additional nutrients.
Ingredients
2 oz Brisket, lean
2 sl Rye Bread w/seeds
1 Onion, sliced
1/3 Red Pepper, grilled 
1 Romaine Leaves
6 Grape Tomatoes 
1/3 Cucumber, chopped
1 Tbsp Light Vinaigrette


Food Facts
Brisket is a beef cut taken from the breast or lower chest section, behind the foreshank. Brisket is an inexpensive boneless cut. In order to tenderize, the meat requires long, slow cooking to break down the collagen in the connective muscle tissues. 

Methods of Cooking
1. Basting
2. Smoking: Rubbing with a spice rub or marinating, then cooking slowly over indirect heat from charcoal or wood.

Tradition / Culture

Jewish: Braised as a pot roast; or cut for corned beef, which is further spiced and smoked to make pastrami.

Hong Kong: Cooked with spices over low heat until tender, and is commonly served with noodles in soup or curry.

Korean: Traditionally it is first boiled at low temperature with aromatic vegetables, then pressed with a heavy object overnight and served thinly sliced.

Britain: Cooked very slowly in a lidded casserole dish with gravy. The dish, known as a pot roast in the USA but more commonly as braised or stewed beef in the UK, is often accompanied by root vegetables.


Resource
Wikipedia. Brisket
ESHA, Food Processor

May 28, National Hamburger Day
Fast Foods, Varieties, Recipes and Safety




The Burger has many variations. The article looks at the nutrition information
of Fast Food Burgers, varieties, recipes and food safety.


The Fast Food Burger
Burger Love Handles is a song written by Don MacLeod about his personal battle with being overweight. The song focuses on the fast food burger as one of his difficulties in losing weight.


Many fast food items are high in Fat, Cholesterol, Saturated Fat and Sodium and are Risk Factors associated with Heart Disease. However, the informed customer can make healthier choices at fast food restaurants. Below is the nutrition information of some Fast Food Hamburgers. Calories range from 140 for a White Castle Slyder to 1061 calories for a Burger King Cheeseburger, Double Whopper.


Burger Variations
The variations of burgers are constantly changing and expanding to meet our personal preferences, cultural differences and/or nutritional needs.

A burger is not just a ground beef patty served on a bun with the numerous extras, such as tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, onions, jalapeno, cheese, ketchup, mayo, mustard, relish - the list is endless. Today, you can prepare or order a burger made from just about any food you can ground up and serve on a bun.

Some of the ground beef alternatives include:
Beans
Tofu
Seitan
Turkey
Chicken
Veal
Pork
Lamb
Bison
Deer
Seafood

In addition, to the variations listed above, there are numerous variations based on the percent of fat in ground beef and ground poultry.



Recipes using Alternatives to Ground Beef
Click the recipe title to obtain a copy of the recipe.

Black Bean Burgers. courtesy Sandra Lee from Sandra's Money Saving Meals. This recipe is 302 Calories and 5 g Fat
Boca Burger, Meatless California Burger by Boca Burger.
Calories 230 and 6 grams Fat.

Stuffed Turkey Burgers, Ellie Krieger, Show: Food Network Specials Episode. Calories 286 and 10 grams Fat.

Food Safety
Memorial Day is quickly approaching and many Americans will be using the Barbecue to prepare there favorite Burgers. It is extremely important to practice good food safety techniques.


Safe Summer Grilling Advice from the Department of Agriculture
Food safety officials and partners have some tips for a successful barbecue season.


The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline
can help answer your questions about the safe storage, handling
and preparation of meat, poultry, and egg products.


World Hunger Day


World Hunger Day is an initiative by The Hunger Project. Started in 2011, it aims to celebrate sustainable solutions to hunger and poverty.

This year, the day will highlight the importance of "fostering self-reliance, upholding principles of human dignity and recognizing that every human is inherently creative, resourceful, responsible and productive. Decades of systematic marginalization have kept people from making lasting changes in their communities.

A holistic development approach — one that includes peacebuilding, social harmony, human rights and good governance — is essential to ensuring the empowerment of people living in hunger and poverty.

More than 815 million people in the world do not have enough food.

Join #WorldHungerDay and make a difference in the poorest communities.


The Hunger Project believes ending hunger is possible when we empower people to become agents of change, lifting themselves - and their communities - out of hunger and poverty for the long term.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Memorial Day Traditions and Safety

Memorial Day Weekend Food Safety








Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.  Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials of soldiers who lost their lives protecting our freedoms.  On Memorial Day the flag is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. At 3 p.m. local time, a national moment of remembrance takes place.

Memorial Day often marks the start of the summer vacation season. Families gather together for a long weekend marked by barbecuing, fireworks and trips to the beach. This is an important time to remember food safety practices.


Safe Summer Grilling Advice 
from the Department of Agriculture


Food Safety Advice for
Beach and Boat Outings

Saturday, May 26, 2018

National Mental Health Month
The Relationship Between Nutrition and Depression



Understanding Nutrition, Depression and Mental Illnesses,   T. S. Sathyanarayana Rao, M. R. Asha,1 B. N. Ramesh,2 and K. S. Jagannatha Rao2 (To review the entire article, click the following link.)
Nutrition and food patterns play a key role in the onset, severity and duration of depression. These may include poor appetite, binge eating, overeating, anorexia, skipping meals, and a desire for sweet foods. Nutritional neuroscience is an emerging discipline shedding light on the fact that nutritional factors are intertwined with human cognition, behavior, and emotions. 

The dietary intake pattern of the different population throughout the world reflects they are often deficient in many nutrients, such as essential vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have indicated that daily supplements of vital nutrients are often effective in reducing patients' symptoms. Supplements containing amino acids have also been found to reduce symptoms, as they are converted to neurotransmitters which in turn alleviate depression and other mental health problems. When we take a close look at the diet of depressed people, an interesting observation is that their nutrition is far from adequate. They make poor food choices and selecting foods that might actually contribute to depression

The most common nutritional deficiencies seen in patients with mental disorders are of omega–3 fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that are precursors to neurotransmitters. Accumulating evidence from demographic studies indicates a link between high fish consumption and low incidence of mental disorders; this lower incidence rate being the direct result of omega–3 fatty acid intake. Majority of Asian diets are usually also lacking in fruits and vegetables, which further lead to mineral and vitamin deficiencies.

Carbohydrates have been found to affect mood and behavior. Eating a meal rich in carbohydrates activates the release of insulin in the body. Insulin helps let blood sugar into cells where it can be used for energy and the production of tryptophan to the brain. Consumption of diets low in carbohydrate tends to generate depression due to the lack of production of serotonin and tryptophan.

Protein intake affects the brain functioning and mental health. Many of the neurotransmitters in the brain are made from amino acids. If there is a lack of amino acids, this can associate with low mood and aggression in patients. The excessive buildup of the amino acids phenylalanine may lead to brain damage and mental retardation this disease is called phenylketonuria.



As more resource is collected the relationship between nutrition and depression are unquestionably linked. Mood improvement has been associated with improved vitamin B2 and B6 status. Thiamine is linked to cognitive performance particularly in the older population. Clinical trials have indicated Vitamin B12 may delay the onset of signs of dementia. 

A study observing patients with depression and a low blood folate levels have identified a strong predisposing factor of poor outcome with antidepressant therapy. It is not clear yet whether poor nutrition, as a symptom of depression, causes folate deficiency or primary folate deficiency produces depression and its symptoms.


Another relationship between diet and depression involves old age. Related factors include unintentional weight loss; often linked to increased morbidity and premature death; a reduction in taste and smell, poor dentition, the use of medications that may depress the appetite. 

Resource

World Federation for Mental Health PO Box 807 Occoquan, VA 22125, USA info@wfmh.com  

If you believe you suffer from depression or mental illness, seek help.
Mental Health America

Call the 24-hour, toll-free confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or go to www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Cherry Dessert Day - Celebrate Cherries and the Health Benefits

About seventy percent of the cherries produced in the United States come from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah. There are two main types of cherries: sweet and sour. Sour cherries are lower in calories and higher in vitamin C and beta-carotene than sweet cherries.




Selection
Select firm, red cherries with stems attached. Avoid soft, shriveled or blemished cherries. Good cherries should be large (one inch or more in diameter), glossy, plump, hard and dark-colored for their variety. Avoid fruit that is bruised or has cuts on the dark surface.

How to Store
Refrigerate cherries for up to 10 days.

Nutrition Benefits
Fat free; saturated fat free; sodium free; cholesterol free; good source of vitamin C; good source of potassium.


Health Benefits

Cancer
Sweet cherries have several cancer-preventive components including fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids and anthocyanins. The potential role of sweet cherries in cancer prevention lies mostly in the anthocyanin content, especially in cyanidin. Sweet cherries are a good source of cyanidins, which appear to act as an antioxidant and may reduce cancer risk.


Cardiovascular Disease
Sweet cherries have been shown to have significant levels of anthocyanins as well as other pigments in perhaps smaller concentrations that together provide synergistic effects thought to be protective to heart and related vascular tissue

Diabetes
Researchers are interested in the role of anthocyanins in reducing insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. The lower glycemic response shown in relation to cherry consumption may be the result of glucose-lowering effects of cherry phytochemicals in combination with the fiber content of cherries.


Potassium
Sweet cherries are considered a good source of dietary potassium, with approximately 260 mg potassium for every cup of fresh cherries consumed. Adequate potassium intake has shown to reduce the risk for hypertension and stroke.

Quercetin
Sweet cherries also contain a small amount of quercetin. Quercetin is an antioxidant which may play a beneficial role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension and cancer.

Melatonin
Cherries are one plant food source of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that plays a role in promoting healthy sleep patterns.

Ease muscle soreness
Researchers believe tart cherries’ antioxidants protect against exercise-induced free radicals, which can lead to painful inflammation.

Gout
Cherries may help reduce the swelling, inflammation and tenderness associated with gout. Research reveals eating about 2 cups fresh sweet Bing cherries daily lowered uric acid levels by 15%.


Recipes

1. EatingWell, Healthy Cherry Recipes
2. Health, 20 Cherry Recipes for Dessert, Dinner, and More
3. Better Homes and Gardens, Healthy Cherry Recipes
4. The Greatest Table: 5 Healthy Cherry Recipes from Around the Web

Resources
1. National Cherry Growers & Industries Foundation, Cherry Facts
2. Fruits & Veggies - More Matters, Cherries & Heart Health


Nutrition.gov News

Dietitian Blog List