The home microwave oven turned 50 in 2017. Here are some tidbits you may not know about this cooking contraption—now found in more than 90 percent of American homes—gleaned from an article written by an associate professor of radiation medicine at Georgetown University and other sources:
We humans aren’t the only ones who relish lush, juicy summertime produce—mold, too, thrives happily on the sugar and moisture so readily available in ripe fruits and vegetables. It even can grow deep into these foods where you can’t see it…ick! According to Leigh Broadhurst, PhD, research geochemist in the USDA’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Services, even invisible mold in your food can make you sick. She told me that just sniffing mold in food can make you ill with symptoms that can range from slightly nauseous to a life-threatening toxic shock reaction. Here is her advice…
In fact, research shows that most Americans are getting so much sugar in their daily diets that they are increasing their heart attack risk by 20%. But with so many natural and artificial sweeteners to choose from—and new studies coming out all the time that raise questions about their safety—it’s tough to know which claims are valid and which are not.
Facts you need to choose the best sweeteners for you…*
How to Stop Nagging and Still Get Your Family to Eat Right
Remember what the road to hell is paved with? Yep, good intentions. So even though your intentions are good when you “encourage” family members and friends to eat more healthfully, if you overstep and start to seem like the self-appointed Food Police, there could be a very damaging backlash. For instance…
- The people you’re trying to help may assert their independence by obstinately doing the opposite of what you’re pushing for.
- Your criticism may wound a loved one’s self-esteem.
- Relationships can be damaged or destroyed if other people decide to tune you out or avoid you altogether to escape your proselytizing.
Food Police are all too common. “In my practice, I routinely counsel couples and families in which one person has unwittingly offended another in an effort to help that person eat better,” said Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, CDN, owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants in New York City and Long Island, New York, and author of Read It Before You Eat It.
Here’s what to do—and what not to do—to help those you cherish clean up their eating habits… Read the rest of this entry »
A bottle of Gatorade sounded like the perfect thirst quencher to 15-year-old Sarah Kavanagh on a hot, humid day in her Mississippi hometown. But this teenager, a committed label-reader, was surprised to learn from an Internet search that the popular sports drink contained brominated vegetable oil, an ingredient that comes with a long list of possible side effects, including changes in thyroid hormones and function and neurological disorders.
The additive, used in some citrus-flavored drinks to keep the fruit flavoring evenly distributed, does not sound ominous—how bad could it be with “vegetable” in the name? But Kavanagh, whose story was told in The New York Times, had done her research and started a petition to convince Gatorade-maker PepsiCo to change the drink’s formulation.
Other food additives (some even healthy-sounding) that are bad for us—along with some scary-sounding additives that are good for us.*
ADDITIVES TO AVOID Read the rest of this entry »
Ask for This Test!
What we’re not being told: A little-known report from the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has estimated that about 70% of Americans are deficient in omega-3s.
So how do you know whether you’re getting enough of them? Read the rest of this entry »
Which would you rather have for breakfast? A spinach and kale blended beverage? Or a “Love at First Sight” Breakfast Smoothie?
For lunch, how about an arugula salad? Or would you prefer tender baby arugula leaves tossed in a honey Dijon dressing?
Time for dinner. Would you like just Brussels sprouts as your side dish or Grandma’s sweet, slow-roasted Brussels sprouts?
Of course, the foods I’m offering you are the same each time.
But how a food is described—whether the description is written on a menu, said out loud or simply thought in your head—can play a large role in whether you want to eat it, according to new research.
In other words, if you want to eat the healthiest diet, foods don’t just have to lookappetizing to your eyes—they also have to sound appetizing to your brain!
And with a little creativity, you can use this naming trick to fool yourself into wanting to eat more healthful foods, such as veggies… Read the rest of this entry »
Mornings can be hectic! Here, tasty and nutritious breakfasts that you can make in advance and easily take with you when you’re on the run… Read the rest of this entry »
Calories saved: About 150, compared with a whole bagel and regular cream cheese.
ON-THE-GO TRAIL MIX
Recipe: Mix ¼ cup each of walnuts, small multigrain pretzels, broken whole-grain crackers and dried banana chips.
Benefits: Energizing protein plus omega-3s from the nuts, magnesium to regulate heartbeat from grains, and potassium for blood pressure control from the banana.
Calories saved: At least 100, compared with trail mix with raisins and chocolate chips. Read the rest of this entry »
The New Way to Think About Eggs
In the past, people were warned not to eat eggs every day due to concerns about cholesterol and heart health — but that has changed.
Grilling can be messy business, and grill cleaning often is neglected. That’s unfortunate, because conscientious grill care improves the taste of grilled foods — grills coated with baked-on grease and grime impart unpleasant flavors — and dirty grills tend to break down faster as parts clog and corrode. They even can be safety risks. Accumulated grease suddenly can ignite, burning anyone standing nearby.
Whether you’re just an occasional griller or a year-round devotee to a gas or charcoal grill, here’s how to keep your grill clean… Read the rest of this entry »
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are low in calories and highly nutritious (a one-half cup serving packs 5 g of fiber and 6 g of protein).
Craving a Burger? Or Chocolate?
It can strike when you least expect it — an overwhelming desire to satisfy a food craving. You may be desperate for a burger, cake, chocolate, pizza or some other specific food.
Even though food cravings seem harmless enough, they are often a red flag that a person’s diet needs attention. Strong food cravings generally don’t occur unless the body is crying out for particular nutrients — ones that can almost always be found in more healthful foods than what we may initially desire.
Five common cravings — and what each may mean… * Read the rest of this entry »
The Milk Debate Keeps Churning
At one time, milk was promoted as “the perfect food.” Breast milk, of course, might be called the perfect food for an infant, but otherwise no one food is perfect or sufficient in itself. Still, milk and dairy products are very nutritious and the chief source of calcium in the American diet. They offer many benefits as part of a heart-healthy diet and are an essential component of the DASH diet, designed to control blood pressure. After decades of research, we know a great deal more now about milk. But legitimate questions, plus a number of myths, have multiplied. Read the rest of this entry »
Yes, You Can Eat These Desserts!
Forget food deprivation. These delicious treats are good for you… and you won’t feel a crumb of remorse. Read the rest of this entry »
If you eat frozen dinners, follow the cooking directions carefully. Because frozen meals typically contain numerous ingredients from different sources, there is an increased chance that microorganisms can be introduced at some point in production. No federal law requires that they be tested for pathogens.
Adults can suddenly develop food allergies. Almost all true food allergies (those producing an immune-system reaction, such as allergies to peanuts, cow’s milk, and eggs) begin in the first or second year of life, but adults can sometimes develop allergies — and seafood is the most common culprit. If you’ve always eaten fish and/or shellfish and suddenly get ill after a seafood meal, it may be hard to tell whether it is an allergy or food poisoning. Symptoms of allergy to seafood include stomach cramps, vomiting, itching, swelling of the hands, and wheezing. The reaction may worsen after a second exposure. You’ll need to see a doctor to find out if you really are allergic, In addition, food tolerances (to lactose in milk, for example, or to gluten in wheat and other products) may begin in adulthood, but these are not allergies, strictly speaking. Again, you should ask for medical testing and, if necessary, dietary advice.
- Black cohost or red clover do not work better than a placebo in treating hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. (published in Menopause by University of Illinois at Chicago)
- Ginkgo bilobadoes not help prevent or delay severe memory loss or Alzheimer’s, according to a study published in November in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Conducted in five medical centers, the study looked at more than 1,500 people, 75 and older, for six years. The herb, taken twice a day in standardized doses, did not reduce the rate of dementia or slow the development of Alzheimer’s, whether subjects began the trial with normal or impaired memory. This study adds to the substantial body of evidence that ginkgo extract does not prevent mental decline. (Journal of the American Medical Association).
Lord Northbourne coined the term organic farming in his book Look to the Land (1940). He used it to describe a holistic, ecologically-balanced approach to farming—in contrast to what he called chemical farming.
USDA labeling rules (as of October, 2002) for foods containing more than one ingredient, like cereal:
- 100% Organic– means that every ingredient in the product was raised and harvested in an organic environment as approved and certified by the USDA.
- Organic– means that 70% to 95% percent of all the ingredients are certified organic.
- Made with Organic Ingredients – means a minimum of 70% of the ingredients are organic.
For a product to be labeled organic, a government certifier inspects the farm to make sure the farmer is following all the rules. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to the local supermarket or restaurant must also be certified. To qualify as organic farmers, they must use renewable resources and endeavor to conserve soil and water to enhance the environmental quality for future generations.
Organic milk and meat must come from livestock grazing on pasture for at least four months of the year, and 30% of their feed must come from grazing. Ranchers must have a plan to protect soil and water quality. (Rule takes effect June, 2010 and farmers have one year to comply).
Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones during their lives.
More people are turning to kosher foods even if it costs more – not because they are Jewish but because they think these foods are safer, healthier, and of better quality. There is little published research comparing the safety of kosher and nonkosher foods. It is not purer or more wholesome, not necessarily more nutritious or flavorful, and has just as much sugar and fat than nonkosher. The salting process may reduce attachment of bacteria to the carcass surface and so they are easier to rinse off. But, this is not a sterilization process and you still need to handle the meat carefully. The kosher symbol is no guarantee of safety. Read the rest of this entry »
Regular sodas add the most sugar to a typical American’s diet.
It isn’t hard to reach—and far exceed—the new limits set for added sugar by the American Heart Association— 25 grams a day for women, 37. 5 grams for men (see page 1). Even foods like yogurt and baked beans may be loaded with extra sugar, beyond the sugar naturally in them. Sugar content varies among brands; the amounts below are averages. Many people consume more than the serving sizes listed. For example, we list a cola as 8 ounces, but soda cans are 12 ounces and bottles are 16 ounces or larger.
Beverages (8 oz) Added sugar (g) Read the rest of this entry »
Goji is actually a generic term given to various berries in the Lycium family that grow in Asia, where they’ve been consumed for centuries to supposedly promote good eyesight, agility, and longevity, among other benefits. Wolfberry is another common name for these small, red, tangy berries. There is no evidence to support the claim that they prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Other claims—that they ward off everything from cancer and liver disease to impotence and obesity—are also unproven. According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, there is insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of goji berries for any medical condition. Moreover, goji may interact with blood thinners (such as warfarin) and other medications. And as with some other food imports from China, the FDA has issued import alerts on goji berries for having illegal pesticide residues.
There’s nothing magical about goji berries—or “Tibetan” goji berries, in particular. They are healthful, but not the “healthiest food source on the planet.” All berries, including blueberries, are nutritious and high in antioxidants. Go for goji if you like it and can afford it, not in hopes that it will prevent or cure any disease. There’s no evidence to support the use of goji capsules.
Nearly as inflated as the health claims is the price of goji juice ($20 to $35 for 32 ounces), which is often sold through multi-level marketing programs. The dried berries are about $1.50 an ounce; fresh berries are rarely available here.
(source: UC Berkeley)