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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Swiss Chard : Four health benefits

Known by ancient Greeks for its medicinal properties, Swiss chard is one of the most highly nutritious vegetables. Chard is available year round and has a slightly tougher texture and earthier flavor than spinach. The leaves of it are full of vitamins,but the root is not.

Benefits of Swiss chard
  • Rich in fiber a cup of Swiss chard contains about 14.7 percent of the daily requirement. Regular fiber intake can help reduce high cholesterol levels and helps maintain normal blood sugar levels (after a day of stuffing your mouth full of strawberry cupcakes.)
  • Who says broccoli is the only vegetable that provides huge amounts of vitamin K! Organically grown Swiss chard is an awesome source of vitamin K because of an humongous 700 percent of recommended intake of vitamin K. In case you didn't know, vitamin K is needed in your diet to promote bone health and limit neuron damage in the brain.
  •  Tired of eating oranges to get your vitamin C?  Try cooking up a plate of Swiss chard! Chard contains about 33 percent of recommended levels per 100 grams and, if you didn't know vitamin C is needed to eliminate free radicals from the body.
Swiss chard is an excellent source of iron which is needed for red blood cell formation and anemia prevention.

Words of caution

  • Swiss chard contains a high amount of oxalates and when too concentrated in the body can crystallize and create health problems.
  • If possible only buy local organic Swiss chard from  a farmers market or an organic grocery store.
  • Only select leaves that are rich in color and have no holes .
  • Swiss chard is highly perishable so use it as soon as possible.

Fun Random Facts about Swiss Chard 

  •   It is a popular vegetable in the Mediterranean.
  •   Swiss chard is part of a family of vegetables know as goosefoot because their green leaves resembles a goose foot!
  •  Swiss chard is also called Roman Kale.


Further reading
Food Reference 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Nutrition For Dogs: 4 "People" Foods that Dogs Can Eat

I will confess, I love my eight month old puppy and treat him like my child. One of the main things I am constantly wondering about is his diet. I try to stick with feeding my puppy a grain free diet that is well balanced  but, it is impossible to give him all the vitamins he needs just by filling his dog bowl with kibble. That is why incorporating these four human superfoods into your dogs diet is an excellent way to give them the extra vitamins they need.

Kale-We all know of the amazing benefits kale  provides for humans but, it also can lower cholesterol in dogs and research suggest it helps prevent canine cancers. Make some kale chips or feed a few leaves to your dog raw as a special treat. I make kale chips for my little furry friend and he loves them.

Blueberries -My puppy will almost take off a finger to get blueberries and it is a good thing because dogs fed blueberries have a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke damage. Blueberries also provide canines with fiber,vitamin K, and manganese.

Carrots are full of antioxidants and just like with humans, carrots can improve your dogs vision, increase heart health and lower blood sugar. 

 Sweet potatoes are a wonderful source of  fiber and contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, beta carotene, and manganese. Sweet potatoes are great sliced and dehydrated as a chewy treat for your dog. There is such a variety of dog treats on the market that we often overlook the simple, healthy, and reasonably priced treats available at your local grocery store.

Remember moderation is the key and always check with your vet before introducing your pet to something new in their diet especially if your dog is taking medications or has a very sensitive digestion system.

here is Abraham my little fur baby! Isn't he cute!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Difference Between Natural and Organic Food

Imagine your walking down the chips and snack aisle at the local grocery store searching for your favorite brand of chips and  you see this brand new snack labelled "100 percent all natural". Suddenly the gears in your brain start churning double time , "How can this yummy snack that is normally bad for you instantly become all natural" and , "All natural must mean it's good for you" are probably some of the thoughts that are running through your head, while you contemplate buying this new all natural version of your favorite treat.But, before you go reaching for that box with the pretty "ALL NATURAL" label on it here are some guidelines to remember the next time you are out doing grocery shopping.

 Natural Food Label

  • Ingredients are produced by nature
  • Meats can be treated with artificial hormones.
  • Dairy should be free from flavorings,colors or additives.
  • FDA has not created a set of guidelines for determining what qualifies a food product as "natural." According to the FDA, it is hard to define a food product that is natural because it has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth.
  • Natural does not mean that the food product is organic.
So what does that mean?
Due to the FDA's  lackadaisical approach to setting guidelines for what can be labeled natural..
  • Wendy's can use the natural label for their french fries since it is made with potatoes and sea salt.
  • High fructose corn syrup  is also considered natural since it is a part of the corn.
  • Aspartame  could qualify as natural since it is extracted from rotting plant bacteria that has been underground zillions of years .              

 Organic Food Standards

  • Avoids the use of pesticides, fake fertilizers, and genetic engineering.
  • Livestock is feed organic food , are not given growth hormones or antibiotics and have access to outdoors.
  • Have the USDA organic seal if it is truly organic.
  • Products that are 95% organic can receive the USDA organic seal
  • Made with organic ingredients means it is made with at least 70 percent organic ingredients.   
  The best thing to do to ensure authenticity of organic food when your shopping is to be sure to look for the USDA organic food label on the package.

We would like to hear your experiences ...Have you ever been mislead by the "all natural" label on food products?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Why California Proposition 37 matters

This fall many Californians will have their chance to tell companies such as, Dupont and Monsanto how they really feel about GMO foods when they get the chance to vote on the GMO labeling law named prop. 37. This bill has already stirred the heartstrings and wallets of companies on both sides of the bill.

Companies opposing the bill argue that GMO food has been deemed safe by federal food safety regulators and that unnecessary labeling of their food would result in increase cost for new food labels and will tarnish their food brands because of the negative view consumers have about GMO food.

Supporters of the bill believe that labeling foods that contain genetically modified organisms is a way to educate the consumers about what is being put into the food they are buying.

If passed prop. 37 would make California the first state in America to require companies to label foods that are made with GMO's.

What does prop.37 mean to the rest of the United States?

-A yes vote to prop.37 could give a blueprint for other states to use to get a food labeling bill passed in their state.

-Corporations that sell their food brands nationally may opt. to use one label that states whether their food contains genetically modified organisms instead of spending extra money creating a different label specifically for the state of California.

-After they start losing profit from GMO labeled food, large corporations will be forced to change their crop spending to Non-GMO.

With polls continuously showing that 90 percent or more of Americans want GMO foods labeled all eyes should be on the results of the vote come this November , and what it means for the ongoing battle for the right to know whats in the food we eat.

  Want to know more about California's Proposition 37: California Right to Know Campaign? Head over here.

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