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There are many kinds of beans that provide a very rich source of protein as well as an abundance of vitamins, minerals and that all important fiber. Protein is used by your body to build healthy cells which make up everything. When your cells are compromised, so is your bloodstream, your bones, skin, muscles, tendons and cartilage. Cells also make up the hormones and enzymes in your body. In order to stay healthy you must have a well-balanced diet that includes foods that are high in top quality protein, and that have low amounts of saturated fats. You will be able to achieve health benefits if you choose to make your meals and snacks from an assortment of beans and lean meats, which can include turkey, chicken, seafood, even pork and beef.

Lean meats are the cuts that are lower in fat

Beef and Pork

Lean meats can be found in many different varieties of meat, including pork and beef. So you do not have to give up your favorite meals when following a low-fat diet. What you do need to do is be picky, you need to choose the cuts that are lower in fat. Both beef and pork are rich in iron and they do have good quality protein, but you’ve got to know which cuts have less fat.

For steak, which is beef, the leanest cuts would be:

  • Top sirloin
  • Top Loin
  • Arm roasts
  • Top round
  • Eye of round
  • Bottom round

For a recipe that calls for ground beef such as hamburgers you would look for extra -lean ground beef. It should say on the label what percentage of fat is in the ground beef. You should be able to find 90%, 93% and 95% lean written on the label.

There are the cuts of pork that are leaner than others and if you want to stay true to your low-fat diet choose among these:

  • Tenderloin
  • Center loin
  • Pork loin
  • Ham

Don’t forget to cut away any slivers of fat that you see once you’ve taken it out of the package.

Chicken and Turkey

Chicken and turkey tend to have less fat content than beef and pork. The leanest cuts would be chicken breasts and boneless is the way to go as it’s got less fat than if the bone is in. For turkey the leanest cuts would be the turkey cutlets. There’s always a layer of fat beneath the skin of both chicken and turkey and that is why you need to remove the skin before cooking, whether or not your recipe calls for this. If you fry or sauté chicken in oil you are adding fat to your diet so instead cook poultry by roasting, broiling, grilling or even boiling. Any excess fat can be drained off after cooking. If you avoid recipes that call for breading the meat you’ll be way ahead of the game. The same goes for fatty sauces and gravies. Left over chicken or turkey sandwiches make for a great kids’ snack and if you serve with fruit and nuts you’re teaching your children that healthy eating can be delicious.

Fish and Shellfish

Seafood is rich in many important nutrients including Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. There are many different kinds of fish that can make delicious meals including shellfish like shrimp, lobster, crab, clams and mussels. Everyone should have at least 8 ounces of seafood included in their diet every week as this is known to help reduce the likelihood of developing heart disease. When seafood is cooked correctly it can be very beneficial but if not, it can be harmful. Stay away from recipes that call for breading or frying or any that call for a sauce made of butter or drawn butter. These only add triglycerides to a really good source of lean protein. When you’re cooking use a fresh lemon squeezed over your seafood or cocktail sauce it’s delicious so no added fat is needed at all. When making snacks from left-over seafood dishes avoid using mayonnaise. You’ll find that all you need to flavor and moisten the fish is a freshly squeezed lemon and maybe a slice of tomato.

Beans are a better source of nutrition

The reason I say this is because beans provide a wider range of nutritional benefits than do animal sources that mainly provide just protein. Beans contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals that are critical to good health. These include the B vitamins and folic acid, selenium, and zinc. There are many kinds of beans to choose from which are easily available and can be included in many different recipes:

  • Kidney beans
  • Navy beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Black beans
  • Soy beans
  • Chickpeas

You can easily add them to your diet if you’re not already doing so by using them to salads, soups, stews, and stir-fry vegetable recipes. Beans come dry, usually in clear packaging and if you read the directions you will see that you need to rinse them before cooking with them so soak them in water and boil beans before you use them in your recipe. Otherwise you can buy them already prepared in cans and of course this is more convenient. Don’t add any fat when cooking them and when you go to a restaurant make sure the dish isn’t prepared with fat, like in the case of refried beans. Avoid ordering those and perhaps ask for fruit instead.

 

0 Comments | Posted in Fruits & Vegetable Gardening Recipes By Florence B. Harrell

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Choosing to eat healthy means steering clear of some foods for better alternatives such as organic. Meats, vegetables and fruits grown with little to no processing, often referred to as organic, contain relatively low amounts of additives.

Some of the foods we consume are processed with additives and are neither clean nor sustainable. These foods are harmful to our health and/or the environment. There are foods that experts feel very strongly should be avoided, so let's take a look at these foods. Although these foods are not "banned", they are better left alone and replaced with alternatives.

Canned Tomatoes:

Tin cans are lined with a resin that contains bisphenol-A which is a synthetic estrogen. This estrogen is linked to various health issues including heart disease, Diabetes, Obesity and reproductive problems. The bisphenol-A exceeds acceptable levels and can cause suppressed sperm production or damage to eggs of animals.

Fredrick Vom Saal (Endocrinologist) stated, if you get 50 mcg of BPA per liter in a tomato can, that level is going to impact people, especially the young.

He went on to say that he will not go near canned tomatoes!

If you prefer tomatoes that are in containers vs fresh from produce, choose those that are in glass bottles. These bottles do not use resin linings.

BPA Causes Damage In OffSpring

Microwave Popcorn:

According to studies from UCLA, the bag lining contains perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and attributed to infertility in humans. Tests done on animals have shown these chemicals cause testicular, liver and pancreatic cancers. Adding to that, the microwaving process causes the chemicals to vaporize and end up in the popcorn.

Olga Naidenko, Toxicologist, believes these chemical remain in your body and also continue to accumulate every time you consume microwaved popcorn.

Researchers are concerned that the levels in humans could reach the amounts that are causing cancer in animals. Some manufacturers, including DuPont, will be phasing out PFOA by 2015. Unfortunately, there will be millions of bags sold between now and then.

It is strongly suggested that you return to the good old days when popcorn was prepared in a skillet. You can opt for real butter or other alternatives such as soup mix, vegetable flakes or other herbs.

You can make your popcorn organic by using coconut oil instead.

Stop Eating Microwave Popcorn?

Corn-Fed Beef:

Cattle, by nature, eat grass and have forever. Unfortunately, farmers want their cattle to fatten up and are therefore feeding them corn and soybeans. This equates to a higher price tag on cattle and lower prices at the grocery store. That also means, less nutritional value for the rest of us. Studies conducted by Clemson University and the USDA found that grass-fed beef is higher in vitamin E, beta-carotene, calcium, potassium, omega-3s and more. Grass-fed beef is lower in inflammatory omega-6s and saturated fats that are linked to heart disease.

Joel Salatin is co-owner of Polyface Farms and Author of many books on sustainable farming. He said that cows are herbivores but that doesn't mean they should be fed corn and chicken manure.

You can find grass-fed beef at specialty stores and farmers' markets. You may also find grass-fed beef, nationally, at Whole Food. As grass-fed beef demand a premium, most are labeled very clearly.

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Farmed Salmon:

You will not find salmon's natural environment in crammed pens being fed soy, poultry litter and hydrolyzed chicken feathers! Farmed salmon are much higher in contaminants such as pesticides, carcinogens, PCBs and brominated flame retardants. Do you really want your family or yourself eating this?

According to Dr. Carpenter, the highest contaminated fish come from Northern Europe and found on American menus. He went on to say that it's pretty bad when you eat only one of these dinners every 5 months without running the risk of cancer.Dr. David Carpenter is the director of the Institute for Health and Environment at the University at Albany

Preliminary tests have revealed this salmon can be linked to DDT, diabetes and obesity. Some do believe the level of omega-3s counter the risks. Concerns are in the high levels of antibiotics and pesticides that are treating these fish. When you consume these farmed salmon, you are taking in the same drugs and chemicals that are treating the fish.

You might want to choose wild caught Alaskan salmon instead. Packages that read "Fresh Atlantic" are actually farmed and therefore a false statement. There are absolutely no commercial fisheries left for wild Atlantic salmon. How Healthy Is The Fish You Are Eating?

How Healthy Is The Fish You Are Eating?

Nonorganic Potatoes:

Potatoes are a root vegetable that absorb nutrients as well as harmful pesticides, fungicides and herbicides from the soil. Potatoes are also treated with fungicides during the growing process, and then sprayed with herbicides in order to kill off the vines before harvesting.

Richard Moyer, farm director of the Rodale Institute, stated that if you buy a potato from the store and try to make it sprout, it will not happen.

He has spoken with many potato growers who told him, quite frankly, they will never eat potatoes they sell. They have separate plots without chemicals for themselves.

Richard Moyer is the farm director of the Rodale Institute, owned by Rodale Inc. the publisher of Prevention. He is also chair of the National Organic Standards Board.

Washing potatoes will not remove the chemicals that have absorbed into the flesh. Buying organic potatoes will only cost approx. $1 a lb. more and is worth it for your health.

Milk Production with Artificial Hormones:

Farmers treat the dairy cattle "recombinant bovine growth hormone" (also called rBGH or rBST) in order to boost milk production. This also increases the risk for utter infection and pus in the milk. This also causes high levels of hormone "insulin" like growth in the milk. This high level of insulin can lead to prostate, colon and breast cancers.

Richard North is project director of Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and former CEO - Oregon division of the American Cancer Society.

Mr North said that when the government approved rBGH, that IGF-1, from milk, would break down in the human digestion. He went on to state that even though there is not a 100% proof that there is an increase of cancer in humans, it is banned in almost all industrialized countries.

Look for labels for rBGH Free, rBST free milk products or purchase raw milk instead.

Do you Still Drink Milk?

GMO Unfermented Soy:

Genetically engineered food causes a great deal of concern because of the manipulation of DNA and genetic coding including one species to another.

Always check labels to make sure soy is Non-GMO or organic. Never consume unfermented soy and if possible, ask the company where exactly Non-GMO soy was obtained.

Buy Only Femented Soy - Foods Fit for Human Consumption

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Apples:

Out of all fruits that are harvest in the fall, Apples would win hands down in being treated with pesticides. Apples are descended from a singular tree in order to retain their individual flavors. As apples do not have a resistance to pest, they are continually sprayed. Although the industry maintains that the low residues are harmless, that might not be necessarily true.

Mark Kastel is a former exec. for agribusiness, co-director of Cornucopia Institute that supports organic foods. He believes it is only common sense to avoid the most treated produce, i.e. apples. He also stated that most farm workers have a higher risk of many cancers.

Studies from all sources are concerned with the startling increase of higher body levels of pesticides being linked to Parkinson's disease.

With the onslaught of Thanksgiving, preparing everything from potato dishes to apple pies, it might be to your best interest to start off with organic ingredients. Use common sense, read labels and have a healthy and safe Thanksgiving.

2 Comments | Posted in News By Florence B. Harrell

Manufacturers continue to use various additives that studies have shown to cause anything from heart disease to diabetes. Although there are several alternatives that would make their foods safer, the price tag is more than they are willing to pay.

Jeopardizing the well being of their consumers for their profit margin seems to be the sad state of the manufacturing world. That said, there are certain additives that should be checked off your list now and forever. You are about to discover some of the horrific chemicals that you and your family are consuming on a daily basis.

For centuries food additives have been added to boost the flavor and appearance of foods. Additives also increase their shelf life, but what about their contributing value in foods?

Why Additives:

To help the processing of foods, packaging and storage, food additives are in almost all the products we consume. You have to ask yourself, what exactly are these food additives and what do we really know about them. Why do foods have to have an increased shelf life that is leaning toward the ridiculous? Are any of these additives offering any nutritional value or offer even a small amount of health benefits?

Approximately 90% of U.S households purchase processed foods, loaded with artificial additives. That said, how many of these additives hold serious health issues that, as consumers, we are totally unaware of?

Believe it or not, there are actually additives that are worse for your health than others. Here are some of the worst food additives that you should avoid at all costs.

Artificial Sweeteners:

Equal (Aspartame) is just one of many sweeteners on the market today called artificial sweeteners. Aspartame is a neurotoxin and carcinogen that accounts for more adverse reactions than all other food additives put together. It has been known to affect your short term memory and erode your intelligence. These sweeteners could possibly lead to a variety of diseases including lymphoma, diabetes, brain tumors, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease. Other serious disorders include: depression and anxiety, Alzheimer's, dizziness, nausea, migraines and seizures. This is just a small list of the affects artificial sweeteners can have on you.

Aspartame is found in most of your artificial sweeteners and should be avoided.

Another, relatively new sweetener, called Acesulfame-K can be found in many baking goods, gelatins and gum. There has not been enough research done on this product yet, but is linked to kidney tumors.

You might well want to steer clear of artificial sweeteners and consider the natural components of sugar instead.

High Fructose Corn Syrup:

HFCS is the number one source of added calories in the U.S. It is a very refined artificial sweetener and is found in almost all processed foods. At lightning speed, HFCS will add more pounds on you than any other ingredient. It can increase your cholesterol and has contributed to an increasing percentage in diabetes and damage to tissues. Flavored yogurts, salad dressings, breads, candies and cereals are just a few foods containing HFCS. You might want to look at those labels a little closer.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Many Chinese restaurants used to add MSG to their dishes. Most of these restaurants have since pulled the additive due to its negative affects. MSG is an amino acid used to flavor soups, salad dressings, chips and frozen entrees. Excitotoxin is another name for MSG, contributing to depression, fatigue, obesity, headaches and disorientation. Neurological pathways to the brain and the removal of your ability to feel full are effects of MSG. Ergo, you eat beyond your fullness and gain weight.

Some of the foods containing MSG are: chips, cookies, many other snacks, seasonings, some Campbell Soups, frozen dinners, lunch meats and some restaurants.

Trans Fat:

Trans Fat is another additive used to increase the shelf life of foods and is considered one of the most dangerous. Deep fried fast foods, some processed foods containing margarine or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils when processed, form trans fats due to their contents.

Studies have shown that trans fats increase bad cholesterol levels while decreasing good cholesterol levels. This increases the risk of heart diseases, strokes and heart attacks. Trans fats also contribute to diabetes, inflammations and other serious health issues.

Trans fats are found in chips, crackers, fast foods, margarine and many baked goods.

Food Dyes:

Artificial colorings found in sodas, fruit juices and salad dressings may contribute to behavioral problems in children. This in turn can lead to a serious reduction in their IQs. Other food colorings have also been linked to cancer.

Blue #1 and #2 (E133)

This food coloring is banned in many countries including France, Norway and Finland. These colorings are found in candy, cereal, soft drinks, pet foods and sports drinks.

Red #3 (Red #40) (E124)

This dye has been banned since 1990 after years of debate regarding their incorporation into foods and cosmetics. Unfortunately, it is still on the market until the products, still out there, run out. Red dye has shown to cause thyroid cancer and chromosomal damage in animals and could be an interference in brain nerve transmission.

This dye is found in fruit cocktails, cherry pie mix, ice cream, candy, maraschino cherries and bakery products.

Yellow #6 (E110) and Yellow Tartrazine (E102)

These dyes have increased the number of kidney and adrenal gland tumors in animals. They are both banned in Sweden and Norway.

You can find this dye in American cheese, lemonade,candies and carbonated beverages.

Please Note: Macaroni and cheese was on this list. As of Nov 6, 2013 Kraft announced they are removing the yellow additive from this product! Give a big hand to Kraft!!

Sodium Sulfite (E221)

According to the FDA, one in 100 people are highly sensitive to foods containing sulfites. As most of these people suffer from asthma, it is believed their is a strong link between asthma and sulfites. These people usually suffer breathing problems, rashes and headaches. In extreme cases sulfite may cause death by closing down the airway and therefore leading to cardiac arrest.

Sodium Sulfite is found in wine and dried fruit

Sodium Nitrate/Nitrite:

Many foods, including many processed meats, bacon, hot dogs, luncheon meats, ham, corned beef and smoked fish use sodium nitrate as a preservative and for coloring and flavor. Sodium nitrate is highly carcinogenic once it enters the digestive system. It then forms many nitrosamine compounds that enter the bloodstream and may damage many internal organs including the liver and pancreas. It is considered extremely toxic and should have been banned a long time ago. The USDA tried to ban it in the 1970s but was vetoed by food manufacturers complaining there were no alternatives for preserving packaged meat products.

The biggest reason sodium is still used is because it makes old meat look fresh as it's a color fixer. Sodium nitrate is found in hotdogs, cured meats, corned beef, bacon, luncheon meats, ham and other processed meats.

BHA and BHT (E320)

Known as butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydrozyttoluene are preservatives that keep foods from changing color, changing the flavoring of foods or becoming rancid. It can alter the brain, behaviors and possibly cause cancer. These additives are oxidants which can form cancer causing compounds in your body.

BHA and BHT are found in gum, frozen sausages, cereal, potato chips, enriched rice, lard, shortening, candies and jello.

Sulfur Dioxide (E220)

This additive is considered toxic and both the United States and the Federal Drugs Administration have prohibited its use on raw fruit and vegetables. It has an adverse reaction on bronchial issues, especially those prone to asthma, low blood pressure, tingling or flushing sensations or anaphylactic shock. It should be avoided if you suffer from emphysema, bronchitis, asthma or cardiovascular disease, says the International Labour Organization.

Sulfur Dioxide is found in beer, dried fruits, cordials, wine, soft drinks, juices, vinegar and various potato products.

Potassium Bromate:

Potassium Bromate is used to increase the volume in white flours, rolls and breads. It is known to cause cancer in animals, even with the small amounts found in bread can cause problems in humans.

In Summary:

Even though the United States and the FDA are not coming down on food manufacturers and their bad habits of using additives, you can stop buying their products. In this day and age, there are healthy alternatives to these dangerous additives but manufacturers don't want to spend the money to implement better practices.

Read labels carefully and weigh the percentage of additives added to your purchases. For the sake of your health and the health of your family, it's up to you to just say no, I can live without your products. Sometimes the best way to know what is in your food is to grow it yourself, growing vegatibles and fruits hydroponically way is easier than you think.

1 Comments | Posted in News By Florence B. Harrell

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