You just returned from the Farmer’s Market, arms overflowing with fresh, seasonal produce that need to go in the frig fast. Do you randomly stash them in the produce drawer? That is, do you put them wherever they fit… only to find that a few days later your greens are wimpy, berries are moldy, and your cucumbers are shriveling? If this sounds familiar, here’s how to store your bounty to maintain their optimal freshness.
Those drawers in your refrigerator, a.k.a. humidity drawers or produce crispers, actually have a purpose. Notice the humidity controls ranging from low to high on each drawer. Do you know what they mean?
These settings aren’t anything fancy. They simply open or close a window in the drawer. For the low humidity setting, the window is completely open; for the high humidity setting, it is completely closed. And here’s why…
The Gassy Offender
Ethylene gas is produced naturally and released by many fruits and veggies. It causes:
- Cells to degrade
- Fruit to ripen (become softer and sweeter)
- Leaves to go limp
- Seeds or buds to sprout
Knowing which items are ethylene-gas producers and which are sensitive to the gas, you’ll never toss your apples in with your lettuce again. It’s all about the gas!
What Goes in the Low-Humidity Drawer (“Low Rot”)
1. Produce that IS NOT sensitive to moisture loss.
2. Produce that emits ethylene gas. When the window is open, the gases escape, and fruits and vegetables won’t spoil prematurely.
Here are some common fruits and vegetables to keep in the low-humidity drawer (window open): Continue reading
Concerned about aging and looking older than you really are? Then don’t eat white sugar. Why? Because processed sugar binds to and eventually weakens the collagen in your skin. Save your money if you’re buying expensive skin creams, but eating processed sugar — the number-one ingredient to avoid if you want firm, resilient and radiant skin.
The skin is the largest organ of the body and one of the most revealing places where aging occurs. Over time, your skin may lose its original ‘snug fit’ and begin to wrinkle and sag due in part to your collagen cells breaking down. Collagen is the main structural protein in connective tissue that provides strength to the skin. It’s abundant in blood vessels, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and bone as well.
The sugar-collagen reaction can lead to premature wrinkles and sagging. Sweet Tooth = Wrinkles. All those sugary donuts, Danishes and cookies may be hard to resist despite knowing they could end up settling on your hips and waistline, but perhaps thinking about them showing up as wrinkles on your face and neck or as ‘crepey’, loose skin may help strengthen your will to resist them.
Remember… sugar speeds up the aging process. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits every day to get the essential components for healthy skin – AND a strong heart! Eat 8-10 total servings daily of fruits and vegetables. That is, 5 or more vegetable servings + 3 fruit servings. Get Real Food! Coming soon… why your heart needs collagen too!
VIDEOS: Watch Karen’s videos on what to eat for healthy skin. Get science-based info on skin nutrition in less than 3 minutes.
Top Anti-Aging Foods: Part 1 | Best Diet for Your Skin (02:53)
The skin needs essential vitamins to function and look its best.
Discover which ones you need and where to get them. Karen Owoc, The
Health Reporter, provides an overview of the foods to eat to get the key
vitamins necessary for healthy, youthful and glowing skin.
Top Anti-Aging Foods: Part 2 | Best Diet for Your Skin (02:36)
Healthy skin needs essential minerals and fats to do its job and to look its best. Find out which ones you need and where to get them. Karen Owoc, The Health Reporter, identifies the essential fatty acids and minerals that keep your skin smooth and radiant.
Posted in Anti-Aging, Antioxidants, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Get Real Food!™, Longevity, Nutrients, Skin Care
Tagged anti-aging foods, antioxidants, beauty foods, collagen, elastin, Skin Care, sugar, wrinkles, youthful skin
If you’re looking for a healthy edible platform for your NuttZo™ Seven Nut & Seed Butter or savory wild salmon salad, try Mary’s Gone Crackers® Super Seed Cracker! I like them dunked in fresh guacamole, but you can try them with your favorite salsa or dipped in some melted dark chocolate. Mmmm! But don’t get me wrong, they’re great naked right out of the box too!
I consider most crackers as bits of baked flour, butter or hydrogenated fat, and salt — pretty empty of any noteworthy nutrients. But these crispy Super Seed Crackers were a nice surprise. They’re made with real whole ingredients and are organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and vegan.
Ingredients: Whole grain brown rice, whole grain quinoa, seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, poppy, brown flax, and brown sesame), filtered water, sea salt, sea weed, black pepper, herbs. No added sugar or oil.
One serving (13 crackers) contains:
- 160 calories
- 200 mg sodium (a little over the 1:1 ratio of calories to sodium, but pretty close)
- 3 grams of dietary fiber
- 1 gram of saturated fat
NOTE: On our last Superfood Friday (featuring broccoli) in cardiac rehab, these crackers got the thumbs up when sampled with the ‘broccamole‘ that I made. So, the next time you roll out your favorite dip, give these crackers a try. Let me know what you think! 😀
Fit Tip: This just in… One of my cardiac patients told me that he bought a box of Super Seed Crackers at Costco after reading this post. He paid $7.99 for a 20-oz. box. I bought my 5.5 oz box at Sprouts for $4.99. Thanks for the tip, Dirk!
Chia seeds? If you’re having sudden flashbacks of your old Chia Pet® from the 1980’s and you’re impulsively singing “Ch-ch-ch-chia!” right now, you’re probably not alone. Believe it or not, we’re talking about the same ‘chia’ but… instead of watching the seeds sprout into “animal fur”, we’re eating them!
Chia seeds, like flax seeds, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (2.3 grams ALA per two tablespoons). These omega-3’s increase the production of anti-inflammatory substances that help prevent “cell adhesion molecules” from causing plaque buildup in your arteries.
These little seeds also pack in a good amount of B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. They’re small (little ovals) and typically black in color. To receive the benefits of the fatty acids, they need to be hydrated before eating them. These seeds can soak up to 12 times their weight in liquid and when soaked, they form a gelatinous texture which make them an excellent binding agent in baking.
These nutritious seeds now come finely ground to a powder which make them easy to blend in your yogurt, cereal, smoothies, salads, and soups. And like ground flaxseeds, they’re great in baked goods too. Spectrum® Ground Chia Seeds have been cold milled. Since Omega-3 fats are sensitive to heat, the cold milling process is a plus. On that note, be sure to store your seeds in the freezer or refrigerator to extend their shelf life because these seeds are also sensitive to oxygen (air) and light. Oxidation will affect the nutritional value of the healthy fats as well as cause them to go rancid.
*I especially like the Spectrum brand for chia and flaxseeds. They are packed in a light protective pouch and sealed airtight which is probably why they contain more omega-3’s than other brands. NEVER buy your seeds from self-serve bins or barrels in the grocery store!
Fit Tip: You can substitute ground chia seeds (or ground flaxseeds) for eggs in recipes if you’re a vegan — or like me, sometimes you’re just out of eggs! Simply mix 3 tablespoons of water with one tablespoon of ground chia seeds (3:1 ratio) for every large egg. After stirring together, let the mixture sit for five minutes, then add it to your recipe.
Posted in Anti-Aging, Antioxidants, Fit Finds, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Heart Health | Cardiac Rehab, Heart Healthy, Nutrients
Tagged chia seeds, egg substitute, flaxseeds, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-3's
You see it on your bottle of vitamin D… 2,000 IU. You see IU on food labels too. What’s an IU anyway? And why IU instead of mg like vitamin C and calcium supplements?
What’s the Difference?
Gram (gm), milligrams (mg), and micrograms (mcg) are units of weight. To visually represent the relationship between the three units, think of a microgram as a miniscule grain of rice, a milligram as a small bite of rice, and a gram as the whole bowl of rice.
- 1 gm = 1,000 mg
- 1,000 mg = 1,000,000 mcg (µg is the short unit symbol for microgram)
International Unit (IU) is a unit of measurement but NOT a measure of weight. It’s the quantity of a specific biologically active substance that produces a particular biological effect. IU is most commonly used for medications, vaccines and some vitamins. However, converting an IU to a unit of weight isn’t a simple equation. That’s because an International Unit is based on the potency or concentration of the substance which varies from substance to substance.
Vitamin D: Converting Biological Activity to Weight
Vitamin D exists in a couple of different forms — cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and ergocalciferol (vitamin D2). There are common vitamin mass equivalents for vitamin A, C, D, and E with each vitamin having a different biological equivalent. See Vitamin Conversion Chart. To get the equivalents of other substances, you would need to ask a pharmacist.
One IU of vitamin D* is the biological equivalent of 0.025 mcg cholecalciferol or ergocalciferol.
How Many IU of Vitamin D Do You Need?
Posted in ♥ DAILY DOSE, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Longevity, Nutrients, Nutrition, Supplements
Tagged International Units, IU, mcg, mg, vitamin D, vitamin D toxicity
Myalgia or muscle pain is a common complaint made by patients on cholesterol-lowering “statin” drugs. Oftentimes the muscle pain, cramps, weakness, and tenderness become intolerable and patients must discontinue statin drug therapy.
Consequences of Low Vitamin D
A study of over 5,500 patients averaging 56 years old found a correlation between vitamin D deficiency, statin* use, and the development of statin-induced myalgia (SIM). Vitamin D blood levels of 30-40 ng/mL are considered ideal. When patients had low vitamin D levels (≤15 ng/mL) at the time they started on the statin drug, SIM was accurately predicted.
*60% of the patients used Atorvastatin, a.k.a. Lipitor®
29% of the patients used Simvastatin, a.k.a. Zocor®
In another study presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions, the following results were presented:
- 81.3% had SIM when vitamin D levels <30 ng/mL
- 17.6% had SIM when vitamin D levels >30 ng/mL
- 62.1% had SIM when vitamin D levels <20 ng/mL
- Four-fold higher rate of statin-induced myalgias occurred when vitamin D levels <20 ng/mL
They found low vitamin D is common in patients with hyperlipidemia
(abnormal lipid levels) — i.e., high cholesterol, high LDLs, low HDLs, high triglycerides.
Treatment for Statin Intolerance
Consult with your physician about your intolerance to your prescribed statin medication. Statin-induced myalgias are often treated by: Continue reading
Posted in ♥ DAILY DOSE, Cardiovascular Health, Heart Health | Cardiac Rehab, Longevity, Nutrients, Nutrition, Supplements
Tagged cardiac health, cardiac rehabilitation, cardiovascular disease, cholesterol-lowering drugs, coronary heart disease, muscle pain, myalgia, statins, vitamin D, vitamin D deficiency
I love this infographic created by the Cleveland Clinic! Colorful guide on how to build a salad with lots of healthy layers…
Posted in Anti-cancer, Antioxidants, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Heart Health | Cardiac Rehab, Heart Healthy, Longevity, Nutrients, Pescetarian
Tagged anti-inflammatory diet, antioxidants, Cleveland Clinic, greens, HealthStyle TV, healthy living, healthy salads, heart healthy food
Aunt Patty’s® Date Sugar is a tasty way to sweeten your food naturally. It’s made entirely from certified organic dates that have been dehydrated and finely ground. There’s nothing else in it but pure dried fruit –no artificial colors, flavors, additives, or preservatives.
Dates are high in fiber (both soluble and insoluble) and antioxidants, and are an excellent source of potassium. But don’t expect to get a significant dose of these nutrients in a one-teaspoon serving or by dusting it lightly over your food.
The 11-oz. shaker bottle makes the date sugar much easier to sprinkle on an individual bowl of oatmeal or yogurt. But to sweeten your baked goodies, you can buy it by the pound. Be sure to refrigerate after opening.
Date sugar has a texture similar to brown sugar and has a rich, caramel-like flavor. You can use it in: Continue reading
Posted in Fit Finds, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Longevity, Nutrients, Organic
Tagged Aunt Patty's date sugar, dates, dried fruit, health, HealthStyle TV, natural sugar, organic dates
Save money! The most expensive food you can buy is the food that spoils and gets thrown away. This list tells you where to store, how to store and how long the following will keep:
- Meat, Fish and Eggs
- Bread and Dairy
For the complete list: https://www.pinterest.com/karenowoc/50-fit-tips-to-eat-fresh/
Posted in ♥ DAILY DOSE, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Nutrients, Nutrition, Save Money
Tagged best ways to store fruits and vegetables, fresh produce, fruits, groceries, healthy living, how to store produce, Karen Owoc, Save Money