One Fruit You Should Buy Organic

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Strawberries recently became #1 on the Dirty Dozen list. The Environmental Working Group puts out a list annually of the top fruits and vegetables contaminated with pesticides. For the third year in a row, strawberries topped the list. In fact, 1/3 of all strawberries (non-organic) tested positive for TEN or more pesticides! One sample had 22 pesticides.

I know organic foods are more expensive. Although I care very much about what I feed my family (especially as a breast cancer survivor), I can’t afford – nor do I want – to purchase all of my food organic. However, something like berries, with all the pits and divots, contains too much pesticide for my comfort.

If you’re wondering about #2, it’s spinach. It is advised that if you purchase non-organic spinach, you should soak it in water and baking soda for 15 minutes. Then you’re good to go!

 

 

 

The Root of the Matter

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Doodle of root vegetables*

I’m going to sound like a terrible mom, but I packed raw carrots in my daughters’ lunches a few weeks ago for the first time this school year. After the first day, one of the teens said, “I love carrots! I felt so good after I ate it.”

With all the pre-packaged foods available now, (Lunchables, anyone? – ick!)  it’s so easy to overlook the simplicity (and goodness) of washing, cutting and packing fresh fruits and vegetables for lunch.

It’s so easy!

It’s so good for you!

“Today, strong evidence exists that some of the vital nutrients found in many root vegetables — including vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and dietary fiber — can help fight cancer, diabetes, obesity, and inflammatory-based disorders like heart disease and arthritis.”

Dr. Axe

Aphrodisiac? Tummy Relief? Anti-Inflammatory?

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Is there a food item that can do all of these things?

My daughter has GI problems and when she has ginger tea, she swears it helps.

Ten facts about ginger*:

  1. Ginger is actually a rhizome, not a root. A rhizome is an underground stem.
  2. The ginger plant is an herb.
  3. Ginger is a part of the Zingiberaceae family, which also includes turmeric and cardamom.
  4. Ginger is native to southeastern Asia.
  5. You can grow ginger from rhizomes found at grocery stores.
  6. Mature ginger rhizomes, ones most commonly sold in grocery stores, are harvested after 10-12 months.
  7. Ginger is popularly grown in warmer regions and the tropics.
  8. Ginger can be cultivated all year round. However the best time to plant them is at the end winter and early spring.
  9. A ginger plant can grow up to 4 ft. tall.
  10. Ginger has MANY health benefits, some including ant-inflammatory properties, blood sugar regulation, and gastrointestinal relief.

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*from https://thatsitfruit.com/blog/10-interesting-facts-about-ginger/

 

Eat Your Words

While pregnant with her, the most astounding thing happened! I would put food in my mouth and chew. She’d kick like mad before I even swallowed. This occurred every time. I was incredulous – what a baby! 

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Providence Doucet

When she was two, she had chocolate cake. She kicked her feet high in delight. The frosting was all over her face and her eyes shone with joy.

At four, she had pizza. How she held it in her tiny, pudgy hands!

She’s had many meals since then. With girlish abandon, she eats what she wants when she wants: warm bread with butter, garlic mashed potatoes, steak, ice cream sundaes and healthy food, too.

She. Loves. Food. She likes high quality food. She can discern whether ingredients are fresh and she doesn’t like gristle on her steak.

She also loves dance class. She loves to learn challenging moves and practice them over and over and get good at it. She’s made such progress! Her body is lithe, supple and strong.

She’s my baby. She’s 15, but she’s my baby and I want her to be happy and healthy. I want her to love eating, dancing, laughing and playing violin all the rest of her days. I want her to enjoy life!

But our culture wants to destroy her. American society wants her mind to be cloudy with insecurity and a bit of self-hatred. Air-brushed models are in magazines,  surgically modified celebrities are on TV, the Internet and film.

Even family members make comments. Grandparents plant seeds of doubt when they caution against weight gain. They compare sisters to each other, silently massacring dreams and self-confidence. They undermine the strong sisterly bond that exists. Well, they try anyway. These girls have each other’s backs, thank goodness.

If she were my son, would you tell him to watch what he eats? Would you scare him and tell him he might get fat if he “puts that” in his mouth? Would you comment on his figure as he stands in front of the fridge?

Please…I implore you…stop it. Stop with the comments and the body shaming. Stop trying to exert control through fear.

Let her enjoy all that life has to offer.

 

 

 

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

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Endorphins are your body’s natural painkillers. These chemicals reduce pain and diminish the effects of stress. Good news, one of the things you can do to increase endorphin activity is to eat chocolate!

Dopamine is one of your body’s most important neurotransmitters. According to Livestrong.com, “Dopamine has the enormous job of regulating mood, behavior, sleep and cognition. It also is associated with motivation and reward.”

Caffeine can actually increase dopamine levels. This explains why I feel better after a cup of coffee! However, too much caffeine can disrupt the levels of serotonin (another chemical in your body) which will affect your mood.

Good things in moderation is the key.

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