Do you consume whole grains because the latest nutrition headlines say they prevent cancer? Did you become a vegan or vegetarian to help your heart? Truthfully, the advice changes depending on the latest research and trends.
This all brings up a salient point: are there “good-for-you” food staples that make it onto the weekly grocery list of health experts regardless of headlines or hype about superfoods?
Ryan Hibbert gives you a quick look at what health experts are stashing in their shopping carts. Keep building them into your weekly shopping list, he says, and you’ll stay on the road to good health.
One food you want to eat each week is mushrooms because they have strong anticancer properties and are also a great meat substitute in spaghetti sauce and soups. Mushrooms have an aromatase inhibitor effect, which reduces breast cancer occurrence and recurrence.
Dried plums are high in boron, a mineral that is important for bone structure, and high in polyphenols, plant nutrients that may have anti-inflammatory effects.
Many scientists are also looking at how eating prunes might improve bone mineral density. Furthermore, they’re also nature’s best digestive aid. What could be better?
Mixed Nuts (Unsalted)
To combat the craving for chips, make sure you eat unsalted, mixed nuts on a daily basis. Just 1/4 to 1/2 cup provides a nice dose of heart-healthy fats, some protein, and a decent amount of fiber.
When it comes to nutrition, bananas are an affordable fruit option that taste great, are filling and offer potassium, fiber, vitamin C, B6, and manganese.
Sweet potatoes have significant amounts of healthful nutrients, including antioxidants and minerals, in a package that’s full of long-lasting energy.
Romaine’s mild flavor and crunchy texture allow you to dress it up with many varieties of foods – other vegetables, fruits, meats, cheese, nuts, and seeds, to create combinations of savory or sweet dishes, not to mention make a balanced meal.
Furthermore, seasonality allows for better pricing and better quality. You can eat fruit at meals and as snacks, so you should always have one or two bowls in the refrigerator. Consider having salad as an entree or as a part of the meal several times per week, as it is a fantastic way to obtain nutrients and fill up your stomach while keeping calories in check. You can also add carrots, celery, and onion to most meals, both raw and cooked. It’s all just a great way to add flavor, fiber, and antioxidants.
Our blog deals with every topic to do with food—– the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Today we’re touching on an ugly subject. That is, legal chemicals in food packaging. Specifically, we’ll be chatting about chemicals that are forbidden by EU law, but somehow still managed to pass the FDA product approval process in the US.
Want to know what chemicals are currently contaminating your favorite takeaway? Scroll down for the nitty-gritty.
What’s the FDA’s Approval Process?
In the US, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is the official organization for product approval. The FDA website is even classified as an official US government website. Nothing enters the US without first being scrutinized by the FDA— and passing the administration’s product approval process is key.
In light of the recent news that US food packaging contains 154 hazardous chemicals, the FDA’s process might not be as watertight as we first thought. Despite the administration’s high-profile presence, expert commentary on drugs and food and its advocation from the US government, plenty of recent news articles have surfaced that serve to question the FDA’s legitimacy.
The FDA claims that for a product to get a green stamp of approval, the administration must determine the product on trial as safe and effective. The FDA also bases its decision on whether “the benefits to users will outweigh its risks.”
Is all food packaging safe? If we went off the FDA’s word, the answer would most likely be yes. However, we urge you to ask yourself some questions after learning about the potential dangers of some of America’s legal chemicals and see if you still trust the FDA’s judgment.
The Benefits, Risks, and Safety of Food Packaging
Food containers are a simple yet relatively common product— and their popularity is measured by the constant criticism of food packaging’s impact on environmental waste. According to the NRDC — an American earth safeguarding charity—– food and beverage packaging is a prime source of the estimated 269,000 tonnes of plastic pollution. Plastic is the biggest contributor to landfill waste, and although this material is a convenient way to mass-produce items like food packaging, it’s packed full to the brim with potentially harmful chemicals.
As you’ll know, food packaging has a pretty simple benefit— the storage of food. But is this a necessary benefit? Most people would say no, and it’s a topic that’s widely debated — again because of the environmental impact of packaging. We can see where The Guardian is coming from when they write about the ridiculousness of supermarket packaging. After all, fresh fruit and vegetables having their own natural, protective packaging.
Yet, we can also see how plastic packaging can serve to preserve food and keep consumption hygienic. Even in environmentalism, this practice helps to minimize unnecessary food waste, suggesting when we think about food packaging, we should stop and think about the bigger picture. Plenty of authoritative sources argue this idea, urging others to think about the consequences of living completely package-less.
Now you know the very clouded benefit of food packaging, what about its risks? Well, amongst the 154 chemicals that have slipped by the FDA’s test are two dangerous substances: Tributyltin and Perchlorate. While the names are impressive and could pass as villainous, you’ll be convinced of their bad nature after we break down their associated risks.
Tributyltin — This pesky drug is linked to both breast cancer and poor fetal development. What’s worse, Tributyltin is difficult to spot in packaging as it’s often not listed as a source material. The compound was originally used for enhancing ship performance before it found its way into the packaging industry.
Perchlorate — It turns out that this chemical has been tested in the US numerous times because of the risks it poses to human health, including reduction of hormone production in the thyroid gland. Despite our skepticism about it during several studies, Perchlorate is still completely legal for product use. The chemical is used in food packaging to control static electricity, but that doesn’t stop it from contaminating food and water.
From these facts, the safety of American food packaging is unclear. And remember, we’ve only covered two of the 154 chemicals the EU forbids due to associated risks. While you might think enjoying a Chinese takeout on the sofa from a plastic container is only bad for your diet — it could be even worse for your overall health.
How Can You Control Your Chemical Consumption? If even the FDA is getting it wrong, then is there any hope for the rest of us? Maybe.
There are a few actions you can take to avoid consuming harmful chemicals, which might lead to severe health conditions in the long run. Listen up:
Avoid Plastic — It’s better to avoid plastic where you can. You should also get clued up on it, so you don’t get caught out. For example, polystyrene — often used for hot food containers — is a form of plastic (and a harmful one at that). Plastic doesn’t always mean transparent containers.
Choose Sustainable Alternatives — There are plenty of environmental alternatives, whether you’re storing food at home or eating out. An obvious way to avoid chemicals in packaging is to store loose foods and grains in glass at home, so your pantry isn’t a breeding ground for contamination. What about if you want to have a sneaky cheat meal on the weekend? Make sure you’re picking up pizza from a responsible provider. If you do your research beforehand, there are plenty of fast-food providers with eco-friendly food packaging. Instead of using plastic, these vendors might choose to use renewable resources like paper or even sugar cane to solve storage issues.
Watch Where You Shop — You need to cut your harmful packaging consumption at the source. It isn’t enough to buy a plastic-packed product and then remove the transparent sheath as the dirty work could already have been done. Chemicals contaminate food or drink when warm. This doesn’t just pose a problem when re-heating takeout food, as warm weather and long distribution journeys can mean the food is unsafe even before purchase. So, make an effort to shop in local farmers markets where food is fresh and sold without packaging in the first place.
Being a foodie is not a straightforward role to take on for oneself. It is not every day that one can go from being just a regular civilian to having the exalted role of a foodie. One can not simply be a foodie by frequenting places such as Starbucks, Wendy’s or Burger King, we dare not even mention the mainstream golden arches.
One takes up the honorable role of being a
foodie because one has a more intimate relationship with their food than
others. A foodie like Ryan Hibbert respects the food that they eat
and pay more attention to the fine details present within their food.
Taking on the role of being a foodie requires
individuals to be more interested and invested in their food, being a foodie is
not a one-time thing, it’s a lifestyle.
A Foodie has Principles
A foodie understands that food is a core part
of their lives and as such, they spend more time with the types of foods that
they choose. The foodie realizes that there are two components to their lives,
the first is that of their home food life and the second is that of their
outside food life.
Their home food life is not simply about
watching cooking shows, reading cookbooks, and learning about chefs within
their city, it is much more. Their home food life and their foodie role calls
for constant activity, one must immerse themselves within the life of food.
The second aspect of their lives would be that
of their outside food and dining habits. As noted above, the foodie would abhor
a mass-produced, processed, and delivered, and vile place such as an Arby’s.
They seek out hole-in-the-wall places that are privy to knowledgeable
individuals within the community, places that are only present to those that
conduct their homework and seek out something better and unique. They dine at
an assortment of places that range from the old gems that continue to stick
around to the latest and trendy restaurants within their vicinity.
The life of a foodie requires total immersion
in food and hospitality.
Immersion requires the individual on the path
to foodie nirvana to realize a few key aspects. They have to be true to
themselves, to their local food culture, to their utensils, and to their community
at large. Full immersion requires the individual to understand and act on the
fine nuances that are involved in the fundamental details of food. This means
that an individual would know at least the basics of the end-to-end process,
from the basics of food storage to food preparation to the proper cutting
techniques, fine cooking, and proper dining as well.
This means that the food will allocate a good
percentage of time per week planning their meals and spending quality time on
the type of recipes they will make and the restaurants they will visit. The
foodie does not compromise on food quality, utensil quality or service quality.
The foodie believes that if they are hosting
others that they must provide a glorious meal and makes certain that their
service quality and their food quality is equivalent to that of top restaurants
within the local city.
Being a foodie is not for all but it is
definitely worth it.
Contrary to what many may think, the keto diet has been around for a while now. People have been preaching the keto gospel since the 1920s, and it’s just now hitting the mainstream. The many health benefits of the keto diet have been studied for years, and more studies now show how much of an effect going keto can have on the body. If you were thinking of starting a keto diet or have already started, but want to make sure you get the results you want, here are a few important tips for success.
Get Ready to Eat Lots of Fat
It may be hard for many people to wrap their heads around the idea that eating lots of fats will make them less fat, but that’s the truth with the keto diet. For some reason, people often correlate ingesting fat with body fat, and it’s one of these misconceptions that prevent people from losing or managing their weight.
The importance here is to stick to healthy fats like those found in fatty fish. You also need to have a good mix of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat in your diet. Those you need to stay away from are fats that cause inflammation like those coming from grain oils. Yes, grain oils can actually be bad for you, so try to stay away from canola, corn and even grapeseed oil at all costs if you can.
Watch Your Electrolytes
If you want to counter the effects of the keto flu, you have to make sure that you stay hydrated at all times and watch your electrolyte levels as well. Electrolytes like potassium, magnesium and sodium are all important for you to maintain your energy and help you function on all cylinders while on the keto diet. The ketosis process strips the body of many of these electrolytes, which is why so many people report flu like symptoms while going from a carb-based diet to a keto diet.
Thankfully, there are tons of supplements out there that will allow you to add electrolytes into your diet without ramping up your carb intake. KetoLogic, for instance, offer a great sample pack with various flavors from their BHB line. Not only are these convenient and will allow you to replenish your essential electrolytes fast, but they also taste great, which isn’t always the case with those types of supplements.
Check Your Protein Intake
One misconception about the keto diet is that it’s a free for all for protein. But eating too much protein could actually cancel the effects of ketosis. Your body is unable to store excess protein, and when your protein intake is higher than what your body actually needs, your liver will process that excess protein and transform it into glucose. A lot of this sugar will be stored as fat.
So, if you’re going keto, you’ll have to make sure that you don’t go over your daily protein needs. Foods to watch include fish, eggs, poultry, red meat, legumes and nuts. For men, the daily requirement is about 90g. For women, the daily requirement is about 50g. This is about three palm sized portions of protein per day.
You also have to take your personal level of physical activity into consideration. If you’re particularly active and are engaged in some form of strength training, your daily protein needs will be higher. The only true way to know how much protein you should be taking in is to regularly check on your ketone levels, which brings us to our next point.
Monitor Your Ketone Levels
All bodies are different and everybody has different lifestyle habits. Some may be more resistant to insulin then others. Some manage their stress better, have better sleep, or are more active than others. You can’t just rely on your food consumption to tell if you’re doing this right. The only way that you can tell if you’re doing it correctly is by checking your ketone levels.
There are plenty of devices out there that allow you to check your ketone levels easily. They work like your average electronic blood glucose meter and you’ll be able to check your blood’s ketone concentration with just a prick on your finger. Nutritional ketosis is around 0.5mM to 3.5mM per every deciliter of blood, and people usually get there within a 2-week range.
You should check your ketone levels once a week, alternating between night time and the morning, to make sure that you are constantly in ketosis mode. After the 4 to 6-week adaptation period, you can increase your intake of protein and carbs slightly and check the next day if you’re still in the ketosis range. If you are, then it means that your body has the insulin sensitivity needed to handle that increase while still allowing you to get the benefits of ketosis. But it’ll be impossible for you to know unless you test regularly.
If you manage to follow these tips, you should be able to reap all the benefits of the keto diet. Make sure that you stay on your path and stick to your plan no matter what if you want to maintain your results.
tours have become quite popular in Costa Rica. This exceptionally beautiful
country has a lot to offer foodies. Costa Rica overflows with cacao farms,
exotic tropical fruits, and coffee plantations, while its coastlines are rife
country’s predilection for homemade food, organic, and homegrown ingredients
guarantees that your taste buds will certainly not be
disappointed. The food tours in Costa Rica will add an in-depth experience to
what’s already going to be an unforgettable trip.
Pacific coastal town offers more than wildlife and beaches. It also has an
organic spice plantation open to visitors. While there, you can stay at the
Arenas Del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort. The resort has an outdoor
coffee station and stellar culinary program. One notable pastime is a
tortilla-making class where after making the snack from queso fresco, corn
flour, and sour cream, you’ll get to wash it down with a glass of agua dulce.
Vanilla, a 27-acre organic spice plantation, offers tours around the farm.
Visitors will appreciate the art of peeling cinnamon bark and chopping
turmeric. After a hike through the trees all the way to a hilltop viewpoint,
guests are treated to chili-spiked brownies.
addition to its volcano views and hot springs, the Arenal region is also famous
for its fruit plantations, more so, the Finca Corsicana, which is the largest
fair trade and organic pineapple plantation in the world. Visitors touring the
fields can learn about the fruit growing process and taste the juicy produce.
lovers get to enjoy organic dishes at the Tabacon Resort and Spa. The hideout
sits in the shadow of Arenal volcano. The exclusive gala dinners are served in
a gazebo with culinary indulgences such as the mouth-watering St. Peter fish
fillet or tofu teriyaki. Guests can also enjoy
some reviving treats such as green tea exfoliations, coffee, coconut, ginger,
and chocolate wraps.
known for its fishing villages and white sandy beaches, Papagayo is excellent
for snorkeling, surfing, and diving. This coastal town is home to the Café
Britt-an ideal stop for gourmet lovers. Guests can enjoy the flavor variations
of coffee through tastings.
at Caracol restaurant is an attraction. The signature Chef’s Table Experience offers
patrons fine feasts under a pergola surrounded by an organic garden. Delicacies
include a side-by-side tasting of Costa Rican and American beef or local
Another delight is the Chocolate Beach Factory
that offers chocolate-making classes. Participants get to grind, cook, and
roast cacao beans till they become delicious confections.
capital city of Costa Rica is the country’s culinary center. A visit to the
market is a great way to familiarize yourself with the nation’s remarkable
bounty of vegetables and fruits. The Mercado Central, founded in 1880, bustles
with over 200 vendors selling fish, meat, and produce.
there, you can enjoy Casado in Soda Cristal. This savory dish comprises rice
and beans and is served with seafood, meat, or chicken with a salad, plantains,
and tortillas. If you fancy dining out in an elegant restaurant, try out the
Grano de Oro. It’s a popular eatery for gourmands.