Monthly Archives: April 2010

Top Ten Spring Foods

Healthy food in the RefrigeratorWhat you put on your plate and in your mouth can support or diminish you and your life. Here are 10 health-packed foods that can improve your body and your life from the inside out. Happy spring eating!

1. Dandelion:  Dandelions have been used for centuries to treat liver problems. The greens are rich in vitamins A, C and K, as well as beta-carotene and antioxidants. Taking a dandelion supplement can help improve production of bile in the liver and the real dandelion greens are even better.

2. Ginger:  Ginger root, a diuretic, helps the kidneys flush toxins from the body.

3. Blueberries:  Blueberries are the ultimate brain food. The tiny fruit packs a big punch with the highest concentration of antioxidants per serving among fruits. They also help boost neuron signals in the brain.

4. Salmon:  Omega-3 fatty acids, the unsaturated fats found in salmon and other fatty fish, help reduce the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends that people eat fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week, ideally wild caught rather than farmed.

5. Avocado:  Avocados are high in vitamins C, B6, E, K, as well as potassium and copper, all of which work wonders for the skin. The fruit helps restore hair’s luster as well.

6. Spinach:  Spinach is high in the carotenoid lutein, a natural antioxidant that can help protect the eyes from cataracts, macular degeneration and other diseases.Succulent Veggies and Fruit

7. Broccoli:  Broccoli helps condition hair. The vegetable is high in vitamins A and C, which the body needs to produce sebum, an oily substance secreted by hair follicles to keep it healthyand shiny.

8. Flax Seeds:  Flax seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein, which help build muscles.

9. Jalapeños:  Jalapeños contain capsaicin, an active component of chili peppers that has potent antibacterial properties. Capsaicin stimulates secretions that clear mucus from your nose, which relieves nasal congestion and helps fight and prevent sinusitis, or chronic sinus infections.

10. Celery:  Celery is one of the best foods for teeth. The amount of chewing required to break down the crunchy vegetable increases the production of saliva, which helps destroy bacteria that cause plaque.

11. Sunshine:  Sunshine is not a food, but it is the best source of vitamin D, which is produced in the body in response to sunlight. Without vitamin D, our bodies cannot properly absorb calcium, and our bones become weak and brittle. Vitamin D supplements are recommended when you aren’t getting enough real sun.

Plastic Bags: Use Less at the Grocery Store


MARKET TO MOUTH PLASTIC BAGS Amy 015It was almost a year ago that I wrote a post titled Re-Use Your Plastic Bags. Around that time, as a way to gather data for a book proposal based on this blog, I was sharing my expertise as a grocery shopping-cum-cooking consultant. One of glaring things I noticed shopping with people is the consistent and unnecessary over-use of plastic bags at the grocery store. Above is a pic of one of my client friends looking very sheepish because I had gently admonished her; every time she picked up an item of fresh produce, she grabbed a plastic bag.Whether it was ears of corn, a pound of apples, oranges or heads of lettuce, Amy, like so many people I’d shopped with, put her fruits and vegetables into plastic bags before depositing them into her shopping cart. Now, you’re probably thinking, “What’s wrong with that?! I do it; I put all my fruit and veggies in plastic bags.”

In response, I’m going to ask that you ponder why?!  I’m guessing your answer might be something along lines of “because they’re there!”  Right above the vegetables, or over by the fruit, it’s easy and it’s convenient to grab a plastic bag from one of the dispensers for your lettuce, potatoes, lemons etc.  In fact, one of my clients said that the reason she used plastic bags is because she thought it would be more convenient for the check out person! Yet, I’ve never found loose, un-bagged produce to be an issue at the check out. In other words, I’ve never had a check-out person say, “Excuse ma’am, we need you to put all your fruits and vegetables in individual plastic bags; it makes our job easier.” Of course, the reality is it’s not my responsibility to make the check out person’s job easier or more difficult (and I don’t believe grocery stores require that of me).

But waste, in particular plastic bag waste, is my responsibility. In fact, it’s everyone’s responsibility, including the check-out person at the grocery store, to reduce the number of plastic bags going into landfills. The title of the post I linked to above is Re-Use Your Plastic Bags, and if you read that post you’ll note that I’m not suggesting you do away with bagging your groceries in the small plastic produce bags or the large plastic carry bags.

Rather, I’m advocating using recycled plastic, and fewer plastic bags altogether, and then keeping your plastic bags and reusing them again and again, in fact, until they fall apart. As we move closer to Earth Day 2010 “use less plastic” will be the re-occurring message in this blog. If like me, you’re a visual person, and if you’re serious about wanting to change your relationship to plastic bags, and thus your relationship to the environment, watch “Plastic Bag,” an 18-minute indie film narrated by German film director, Werner Herzog. Reminiscent of the French film “Red Balloon,” it’s a poignant story on the vortex in the Pacific Ocean where plastic bags swirl about for eternity.