Perennial Vegetables: Plant Once, Harvest for Many Seasons. ©

Cuccuzi, Edible gourd, aka yard long bean Spring is on its way and my thoughts have turned toward my garden.  This post is not meant to be all-encompassing regarding perennial vegetables as so much…

Source: Perennial Vegetables: Plant Once, Harvest for Many Seasons. ©

Antioxidants – Multivitamins May Be Killing You

Disclaimer: I must note that we all see contradicting reports and studies on health issues. It seems that health scientist can not agree on many of our health problems or even what constitutes a healthy diet or life style.

We dose up on antioxidants as if they are the elixir of life. At best, they are probably ineffective. At worse, they may just send you to an early grave.

Our quest for better health may be killing us. Research is indicating that adding antioxidants and multivitamins to our daily diets may in fact be harmful to our bodies.

BBC report – why vitamin supplements could kill you Is a little long, but, still worth reading.

Antioxidants have a dark side. With increasing evidence that free radicals themselves are essential for our health, even their good side isn’t always helpful.

From start to finish, a healthy immune response depends on free radicals being there for us, within us. As geneticists Joao Pedro Magalhaes and George Church wrote in 2006: “In the same way that fire is dangerous and nonetheless humans learned how to use it, it now appears that cells evolved mechanisms to control and use free radicals.”

A study published in 2007 from the US National Cancer Institute, for instance, found that men that took multivitamins were twice as likely to die from prostate cancer compared to those who didn’t. And in 2011, a similar study on 35,533 healthy men found that vitamin E and selenium supplementation increased prostate cancer by 17%.

The best option is to get antioxidants from food because it contains a mixture of antioxidants that work together.
Diets rich in fruits and vegetables have been shown generally to be good for you. Not invariably, but generally that’s agreed to be the case. Although often attributed to antioxidants, the benefits of such a diet might hail from a healthy balance of pro-oxidants and other compounds whose roles aren’t yet fully understood.

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Want To Breathe Better? You Must Eat Better!

Foods That May Help You Breathe Better
Kids wheezing? Give them a glass of apple juice. A British study found that children who drank apple juice once a day cut their likelihood of developing a wheezing problem in half compared to kids who drank it less often.
Another study found that women who ate apples regularly during their pregnancy were less likely to have children who suffer from asthma or wheezing. Apples are packed with phenolic acids and flavonoids that are known for reducing inflammation in the air passageways, a common feature of both asthma and wheezing. ‘Asthma has increased in prevalence,’ says Alan Mensch, MD, senior vice president of medical affairs at Plainview and Syosset hospitals in Long Island, New York. ‘Some people speculate it’s because our diets have gone from a healthy diet to a less healthy diet over the past couple of decades.’ Try some apple cider vinegar for additional health boosts.

Olive oil The mono and polyunsaturated fats found in olive oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil are great for more than just your skin, hair, and heart; they also play a role in lung health. In fact, olive oil may help fight the health risks associated with air pollution like increased blood pressure and impaired blood vessels factors that can reduce your oxygen supply, make your heart pump faster and make breathing more difficult. An Environmental Protection Agency study administered fish oil, olive oil, and no oil to three groups of adults; after one month, participants breathed in filtered air and polluted air for several hours. The olive oil trumped all by boosting the blood vessel’s response to pollutant stress and increased levels of tPA, a blood protein that dissolves clots, which can give you shortness of breath.

Coffee a cup of Joe does more than give your brain a jolt—it could also alleviate asthma symptoms. Caffeine may act as a bronchodilator, which opens up those tight airways in asthmatics and reduces respiratory muscle fatigue. A review of several small studies concluded that caffeine could improve your lung functions for up to four hours.

Green tea A hot mug of green tea is loaded with antioxidants that calm the body, decrease inflammation, and promote better healing. But the star of the bunch is quercetin, an antioxidant that acts as a natural antihistamine. This means it slows the release of histamine and other inflammatory chemicals in the body that can cause allergy symptoms. The hot water is also great for soothing your throat and protects your lungs from irritation by flushing out mucous membranes.

Pumpkin, sunflower, and flaxseed provide your body with a bountiful helping of magnesium, a critical mineral for people with asthma. Magnesium helps the muscles in your airways relax and reduces inflammation, so you can breathe nice and easy.

Garlic This potent aromatic also has anti-inflammatory properties and reduces damage caused by free radicals. One study discovered that people who consumed three cloves of raw garlic twice a week were 44 percent less likely to develop lung cancer. Even smokers reduced their risk by 30 percent.

Beans can do it all. What’s good for your heart is often good for your lungs, and beans are the perfect example. Patients with lung disease spent less time on a ventilator after receiving an antioxidant-rich cocktail made of zinc, selenium, and manganese all found in beans, according to a study. Another study showed that zinc increased the levels of an antioxidant called superoxide dismutase, one of the body’s most powerful protectors from free radicals, harmful molecules that can cause inflammation and make it harder to breathe.

Nuts give your body a dose of vitamin E, which helps reduce inflammation, boosts your immune system, and creates red blood cells, which deliver more oxygen to your body. A stable supply of oxygen prevents the blood vessels in your lungs from constricting and helps you breathe better.

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Fermented Food. Your Body Will Love You

Not all fermented foods are pickled, and not all pickled foods are fermented. If you like the sour stuff, make sure you’re buying a product that also gives you the benefit of bacteria. How can you tell? Pickled items are usually “pickled” in vinegar, whereas fermented pickles would be made with just water and spices, which turn acidic during the preservation process.
Look specifically for the words, “fermented,” “cultured,” or “probiotics.”

Sourdough Bread Did you know sourdough gets its sour taste from fermentation?

Greek Yogurt Even for those who are lactose intolerant, eating fermented dairy-based foods like this Greek yogurt can be beneficial.

Apple Cider Vinegar Vinegar in general is a product of fermentation, but it’s only the unpasteurized stuff that brings you the benefits of good bacteria. These drinks made with apple cider vinegar will deliver all the goodness without having to actually take a shot of the bitter stuff.

Cheese can be good for you if you know which kind to buy. Raw cheese is your best bet for healthy bacteria because it hasn’t been pasteurized.

‘Skyr’ Yogurt This newcomer is less tangy than Greek yogurt but just as thick. Made with different bacteria cultures but with the same benefits, you might want to add eating some to your morning routine.

Kimchi This wouldn’t be a fermentation roundup without kimchi, a food that has been around in Korea since the 7th century.

Raw Kraut Not just for bratwursts, these different flavored sauerkrauts are the perfect addition to any salad, side, or sausage.

Soy Tempeh Made with fermented soy beans and brown rice, tempeh is a great meat alternative and a great source of good bacteria.

Miso Soup Did you know miso paste is made from fermented soybeans? The next time you’re out for sushi, don’t skip the soup.

Cultured Sour Relish This is what happens when a pickle and sweet relish have a baby. It’s crunchy, tangy, perfect on top of a hamburger, and has all the bacteria your belly needs to stay happy.

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Better Health Through Better Eating

40 Reasons to Eat More Beans
Beans are tasty as well as good for your overall health.
Reduced Colon Cancer Risk
Lower Heart Disease Risk
Reduced Diabetes Risk
Excellent Meat Alternative
Reduced Water Retention
Low Calories
Low Sugar
Weight Loss
Increased Antioxidant Levels
Reduced Lymphoma Risk
Reduced Parkinson’s Risk
Reduced Alzheimer’s Risk
Improved HDL Cholesterol
Increased Omega-3 Intake
Reduced Anemia Symptoms
Reduced Obesity Risk
Lower Blood Pressure
Reduced Breast Cancer Risk
Gluten-Free

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Gardening In January

decrotive-cabbage It’s January, holiday season is over, everyone has gone home. What do I do now?

One of the best gardening months of the entire year is January. This is an ideal month to plant fruit, flowering and shade trees, dormant spray, prune and eliminate weeds. This is also a great time to sharpen and repair mowers, trimmers, shredders, chain saws and other garden implements.

WINTER PLANT PROTECTION – If you still have your cut Christmas tree
around, don’t throw it away. You can cut off the branches and use them
to cover tender or early flowering plants. Cut boughs from evergreens, like
the cut Christmas tree, are natural coverings for plants during cold weather.
Then when you are all through with the evergreen boughs they can be recycled
through the compost pile or shredded and used for mulching.

PLANTING TREES AND SHRUBS – If you are thinking of adding any fruit,
flowering or shade trees to the garden, this would be a good time to select and plant them. Most garden outlets get their new selection of these trees during the winter, so you get the pick of the crop. Plus, because the trees are dormant, they transplant with a minimum amount of set-back. Incidentally, if you are selecting fruit trees be sure to ask the Certified Nursery person or Master Gardener on duty, which of the varieties are recommended for your
area, so you get varieties that will produce the very best, quality fruit.

January is also a great month to select and plant Roses. Likewise, evergreens
and deciduous shrubs can easily be planted anytime the temperatures are above
freezing.

DORMANT SPRAYING – Early winter is a good time to make an application
of Dormant spray to help control over wintering insect and disease problems. A combination Lime Sulfur and Oil spray or Copper spray are the ones most often used for winter dormant spraying. Do not spray when the temperatures are below freezing or when it is raining or at a time when the wind is blowing. Of course, apply the spray according to label directions.

PRUNING – Do you have any pruning to do? January is a great month
to prune most deciduous trees and shrubs. Fruit, flowering and shade trees
can be pruned at this time. Do not prune spring flowering plants, like quince,
forsythia or Spirea, etc. as you would be removing their spring flowers.
If needed, these plants can be pruned when the plants have finished flowering.

WEEDS – Have you checked the garden recently? You’ll be amazed
at how many weeds have already flowered and are now going to seed. Get rid
of those weeds before the seeds have scattered over the garden. Many weeds
are capable of producing thousands of seeds, and left unchecked, you’ll be
fighting those weeds for years to come.

EQUIPMENT REPAIR – Does your mower need sharpening; the oil need
changing, what about the filters, is the engine running properly? If you
need to have any parts of your power garden implements repaired, this is
the time to do it. I can tell you from personal experience if you
wait until mid-February or later it will probably be two or three weeks,
to get this same type of work done.

SLUG CONTROL – Have you seen any slugs lately? This is
a good time to eliminate them too, Every slug left to roam the garden will
reproduce two hundred off spring this spring, summer and fall. In addition,
the offspring will also reproduce young. So you can make a major reduction
in the slug population in your garden by eliminating them now.

BULBS – Did you forget to plant your bulbs? Although it’s getting
late, if you haven’t planted your Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths or Crocus,
take time and get them into the soil right away.

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Sea Food?

13 biggest nutrition discoveries of 2016.
The food you sea see is the food you eat, according to recent research from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. The 2016 study found that women who kept packaged foods and sugary drinks on their kitchen counters weighed up to 26 pounds more than those who didn’t. What’s more, women who had a bowl of fruit out were shown to weigh almost 13 pounds fewer than those who didn’t. Expert tip: Keep health food within reach and stash splurges far out of sight. Fruit on the counter, chips and soda safely out of sight in a closed cabinet.

An analysis of 29 studies about nut-eaters and their health outcomes found that the benefits of eating the good fat-packed snack are abundant. That is, people who ate a handful of nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts—you name it) every day had a 30% lower likelihood of having heart disease than their peers whose diets were nut-free. And that’s not all. Those who regularly noshed on nuts had a 15% lower risk of cancer, as well as a 22% lower risk of premature death. Does that mean we can feel less bad about spooning PB straight from the jar now?

I think I will wait a while before adopting a bug diet.
Forget green juice; bugs may be the new “it” food. Why? When researchers in the UK and China teamed up to study the nutritional content of insects, they found that creepy crawlers actually offered more nutrients than steak. In particular, grasshopper, cricket, mealworm, and buffalo worm samples were all shown to have a higher concentration of calcium, copper, zinc, and magnesium than a sample of sirloin. Plus, all of the insects had higher iron solubility than steak, meaning the body was better able to absorb and use the critical mineral when it consumed it from bugs rather than beef. Burger, meet bug-sandwich.
Grin … Grasshoppers and meal worms will never replace Turkey and ham for Christmas days big family meal.

Image

7 Days Till Christmas

2015 xmas card

Car Licking Moose Alert

Grin … You can’t make this kind of thing up. Hot off the press from our Canadian friends.

Officials in western Canada are warning motorists not to interact with moose if they find the animals licking salt off their cars.

An alert issued by the province of Alberta’s government says that moose are approaching vehicles in car parks near two trails in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, and warns people not to try to push the animals away while on foot.

It advises that the recommended “moose viewing distance” is 30m (100ft), and any car licking creatures should be deterred by either sounding a horn or using a remote door alarm. CBC news points out, adult moose can weigh more than 1,000lb (453kg), so shoving one is unlikely to be effective. The animals can become aggressive and charge people or vehicles if they feel threatened.

Merry Christmas Canada

Food Myth Busting

Myth – Eggs are bad for your heart
Yes eggs do contain a substantial amount of cholesterol in their yolk, around 211mg per large egg to be exact but before you ditch the breakfast staple listen closely. Studies at the Royal School of Medicine in the UK found that dietary cholesterol has nothing to do with blood cholesterol or any heart disease. In fact, it is the increase in the level of saturated fat that leads to heart disease and eggs contain very low levels of saturated fat.

Myth – You can’t eat unopened mussels
Stop throwing away your unopened cooked mussels! Contrary to popular belief they won’t make you sick. The abductor muscles in live mussels keep the two halves of the shell together. When the shellfish are cooked, the heat denatures the proteins of the abductor muscles, so they come unstuck from their shells. But even if the abductor muscles refuse to disintegrate in the heat, the meat has been cooked at a high enough temperature that it is safe enough to eat.

Myth – You should always stir microwaved foods
Microwaves actually cook food from the outside in, so the center of food and liquids only become hot when heat energy is passed through from the outside, so stirring won’t make your food cook any faster.

Myth – Eating late at night is bad for you
Despite what many people believe, eating late at night does not cause you to put on weight. According to West Virginia University’s Center of Health, it’s about what you eat and not when you eat that will cause you pile on the pounds. Eating a chocolate bar in the afternoon is still going to contain the same calories at 3am.

Myth – Boiling lobsters scream when cooked in hot water 🙂
Perhaps this one will let your conscious rest easy. As lobsters don’t have vocal chords the sound you’re hearing when you pop them in the pot is actually steam escaping from their shell.

Myth – Red wine is the only alcohol good for your health
Good news (for me) It turns out that all alcohol and not just red wine can have health benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, beer, wine and distilled spirits can reduce your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes and having a stroke. The key? moderation of course. The Mayo Clinic advises limiting consumption up to two units per day for men and women aged under 65, and one unit per day for those over 65.

Myth – Fresh vegetables are better than frozen ones
While most people boast that fresh veggies are the way to go because they have more nutrients than their frozen counterparts, they’re actually wrong. According to research, veggies start losing their nutrients as soon as they’re picked from the farm. So by the time they reach your grocery store, they’re already depleted. Those that are picked and immediately frozen lock in more nutrients.

Myth – Cooking in a microwave lessens foods’ nutrients
Any heated cooking process will diminish nutrients in food. But because a microwave often uses less heat and shorter cooking times than a stove or oven, microwaved foods can actually retain more of the good stuff than other methods.

Myth – Carbs are evil
It seems like every diet has one common enemy carbohydrates. But it turns out poor old carbs have been getting a bad rap for no reason. While carbs like pasta and potatoes can result in weight gain, when eaten in moderation they provide fuel for the body. The whole wheat variety is a good source of fiber (white pasta still has some) and pasta is an excellent source of selenium which has antioxidant qualities and manganese, which regulates blood sugar.

Myth – Dairy is bad for you
Another waist expanding food that’s been much maligned, cheese is calorific and contains a high amount of saturated fat and often salt. Eat it sparingly for those reasons, but don’t give it up, eating it a few times a week will give your calcium, protein, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D levels a hearty boost.

Myth – Seeds are the hottest part of a chili
Recipes often instruct you to remove the seeds from a chili or a spicy pepper if you want less heat, which implies that the seeds are the source of the fire. But surprise, surprise, that’s a myth. Capsaicin, which is the chemical compound that contains fiery heat, is actually concentrated in the inner white pith or rib of the chili pepper.

Myth – If its past the expiry date you should throw it out
Before you toss anything make sure you check the label. Is it past the use by, best by or sell by date? Use-by tells us the date by which you should eat the food, but eating something two or three days after it isn’t going to hurt. Sell-by is just a date for the grocery store to know how long an item should remain on a shelf. Best-by, meanwhile, is a quality assurance date and is a suggesting for when you should eat an item at its peak.

Myth – You should only flip your meat once
We’ve all been there, staring at a steak or a burger patty on the BBQ wondering if now is the right moment for the big flip. It turns out you needn’t stress so much. To get evenly cooked meat, experts say constantly flipping, even every 30 seconds is the way to go. Better yet, it can cook your patty 30% faster.

Myth – You should always wash mushrooms
No! Step away from the sink. Because they’re porous they’ll be near impossible to fry and can become slimy after a soaking. Instead, try “dry-cleaning” them by gently brushing away any dirt or debris with a crumbled paper towel.

Happy safe holidays