Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch! SIX group classes a week!

    Nia: Tues and Thurs at 9 am, Fri at 10:15 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:15 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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Archive for the ‘Fruit’ Category

Eureka! I’ve Got It!

Posted by terrepruitt on March 15, 2017

‘Tis the season, if you live in California it is citrus season. Everywhere you go someone is giving away oranges and/or lemons. I recently brought a bag of lemons to my Nia class to give to my students. One of my students asked me what kind of lemons they were and I said they were Meyer Lemons. Then she said, “Oh, I thought they (Meyers) had thin skin and tasted less lemony and more citrusy.” We talked a bit more because she had had lemons from my tree before so she was saying that they were not like Meyer Lemons she knew. She said that Meyers tasted more citrusy, like an orange. And I said, that Meyer lemons were a cross between and orange and lemon so that makes sense. She said our lemons didn’t taste like that. So, then I told her I didn’t know what they were. I had always thought they were Meyer lemons, but if she said Meyer lemons were different from these then they were not Meyers. But I did not know. So . . . . I had to come home and look it up. I think our lemons are Eureka Lemons.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitMeyer lemons tend to be less acidic and sour, they are sweeter than a regular lemon. Meyer lemons are generally smaller than eureka lemons. They have thin skin and not a large mesocarp or pith.  And according to an article on SFGate, the trees are not even classified as true lemon trees. The Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and an orange. Either an orange or a tangerine. They originated in China. According to Wiki, in the mid-1940’s after the lemons were commonly grown in California it was discovered that most of the trees had a virus. Since this virus had been responsible for killing and leaving citrus trees all over the world unable to produce fruit, the trees in the United States were destroyed. A new generation of Meyer lemon trees were release in the 1950’s.

Our lemons have a very thick pith, sometimes about a fourth of an inch. Some of the lemons are really big. Some of them are so large that one of my friends asked me if they were pomellos. I didn’t know what a pomello was so I had to look that up. Not all of the lemons are as large as pomellos and they do not taste sweet nor like grapefruit. Our lemons DO taste pretty lemony, as in they are pretty sour.

 

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit

Both eureka lemons and Meyer lemons can be used in food and products interchangeable, but with the eureka lemon you will get a more sour taste than with the more sweet flavored Meyer lemon.  So you would use them accordingly, depending on what you wanted.

Which is your favorite lemon?

Posted in Food, Fruit | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Delicious Things In Small Packages

Posted by terrepruitt on September 22, 2015

So last Friday I received an organic produce box.  And I was actually a little surprised because I thought I had selected what I wanted in it, but that must have been the box before.  So I ended up with some things I don’t know that I would have kept in the box.  You might remember I first signed up to receive an organic box of produce as a way to get “stuck” with fruits and vegetables that I would pass by in the store or at a Farmer’s Market.  If I don’t know what it is, I am not likely to buy it and try to deal with it.  But when it is delivered to me then I am “forced” to learn about it . . . .well, at least learn a way to cook it and/or (just) eat it.  This past week we received Kiwi Berries.  I have never heard of Kiwi Berries before.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia TechniqueMy hubby had kindly left the produce box on the counter and I was able to snap a few pictures then put the produce away then go off to my Nia class on Friday.  I asked a couple of ladies if they had ever heard of them and they had not.  At that point I had not really had a chance to look at them or look them up.  It was receive and leave.  While we were talking I quickly looked it up because there were curious, too.  The pictures showed the Kiwi Berries sliced and they looked just like kiwis (the fruit, not the bird).

These berries actually look like kiwis, but much smaller and not hairy.  And when you cut them open they look exactly like kiwis.  They are great.  So much better . . . to me . . . . than kiwis.  With kiwis you have to peel them and sometimes that hairy stuff gets on the kiwi and . . . . I just don’t like it.  My husband says he doesn’t mind it.  Well, that could be that most of the time when I give him a kiwi I have already peeled it and sliced it.  I like to make it easy for him to eat while he is at work.  So I am the one dealing with hairy skin.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia TechniqueThe Kiwi berries taste like kiwis except to me, they were a little creamy.  I don’t think of kiwis as creamy, are they?  I don’t actually eat a lot of kiwis so perhaps they are and I missed it.  But the berries had a hint of creaminess to them.  They are totally cool because you can just wash them and then pop them in your mouth like grapes or any other small fruit.

Since they were such an easy to eat fruit, I didn’t even look to see any recipes or anything.  Once I saw the pictures of them looking like kiwis I figured you can just eat them as it and we did.

Wiki says:

“Actinidia arguta (hardy kiwi) is a perennial vine native to Japan, Korea, Northern China, and Russian Siberia. It produces a small fruit resembling the kiwifruit.

The fruit are referred to as Hardy kiwifruit, kiwi berry, arctic kiwi, baby kiwi, dessert kiwi, grape kiwi, northern kiwi, or cocktail kiwi and are edible, berry or grape-sized fruit similar to kiwifruit in taste and appearance . . . . Often sweeter than the kiwifruit, hardy kiwifruit can be eaten whole and need not be peeled.”

I am seeing sites that say the kiwi berries are a good source of vitamin C, fiber potassium, vitamin E, and magnesium.

They are like bite sized dessert.  If you like them, I am sure you can use them like you would use any berry or fruit; in a salad, as a topping for a pie, cake, or dish of ice cream or yogurt.  They can be pack in a lunch or eaten as a snack.  I am happy that I received something new to me in my produce box.  That is one reason why I started getting it.  But now that they allow us to pick what we want, I am not always being adventurous.  Sometimes I forget to check my order.  I am glad I forgot to check this week!

Have you ever heard of Kiwi Berries?  Have you ever had Kiwi Berries?  Do you like kiwis?

Posted in Food, Fruit | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

My List Of Foods Containing Quercetin

Posted by terrepruitt on August 30, 2014

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classesI was looking in a catalog of supplements . . . one of my Nia students gave it to me after class.  We didn’t even have a chance to discuss it because she handed it to me as she was leaving, so I didn’t even realize it was a catalog of supplements until I flipped through it and saw every other page was an advertisement for a supplement.  Anyway . . . it had an article in it about the flavonoid, quercetin.  It reminded me of the information stating that it has been proven to be an anti-inflammatory and an antihistamine.  Since I primarily mention eating onions, apples, and citrus fruit in my two posts, An Apple a Day and Allergy Relief, I thought I would look up some information regarding what other foods contain this interesting plant component.  I found two sites with the same list.  I went through the list and found the things that I eat or would eat.  Some of the foods listed I didn’t even know what they were, such as Bog wortleberries, dock leaves, and lovage leaves.  Some I wouldn’t eat because they are peppers, such as ancho peppers and hot green chili peppers.  But I would eat some of the items listed.  I DO eat some of the items listed.  I could increase my consumption of some of them.

Here is my list.

Food Chart

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classesThis is a food chart showing fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains rich in quercetin.
mg/100 g.
Apple, raw with skin        4.42
Apricot, raw                    2.55
Blueberries, raw             3.11
Broccoli, cooked            1.06
Broccoli, raw                  3.21
Butterhead lettuce         1.19
Cherries, raw                 1.25
Cherry tomatoes, raw     2.77
Green beans, raw           2.73
Kale, raw                        7.71
Plums, raw                     1.20
Red grapes                    3.54
Red onion, raw             19.93
Spinach, raw                  4.86
Tea, black brewed          2.07
Tea, decaf brewed         2.84
Tea, decaf green brewed    2.77
Tea, green brewed         2.69
White sweet onion, raw      5.19

I love apples.  I could easily eat more of those.  I don’t experience apricots that much, but I like them ok.  I think you know how I feel about blueberries, but I did discover I like them in a green smoothie.  I LOVE cherries!  Not so sure about eating green beans raw, but I just had kale in a green smoothie this past week.  I have received plums and grapes in my produce box.  But I don’t eat them often.  I eat onions pretty much every day in a green salad.  It is good to know that quercetin is in tea.

So what about you?  Do you know what a Bog wortleberry is?  It has a lot of quercetin in it but not as much as canned capers or dock leaves.  Since I don’t know what dock leaves are I don’t know if you would eat a 100 grams of them, but I can’t imagine someone eating 100 grams of capers.  So, I guess it is good that they have so much quercetin in them.  You can still get some from a smaller amount.

I am sure there are a lot of people who eat a lot more than is on my list.  The peppers alone.  I know many people who love peppers.  Anything on my list that you eat?  Anything you might think of increasing consumption of?  What about the full list? 

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What Am I Putting On My Toast?

Posted by terrepruitt on December 28, 2013

Oh my!  You might have read my post about me getting to teach a Nia class in Santa Cruz.  Santa Cruz, for those of you that might not be familiar, is a beach town in California.  It is not very far from me, but I still don’t get over there often.  The place where Nia is held over there is lovely.  My student and I usually make a day of it when we go over the hill.  The last time we went we stopped and had breakfast at a place serving daily toast.  That started my fascination with what I call “Fancy Toast” – click here for the post on Fancy Toast.  I have tried it with pears and I like it much better with persimmons, which is funny because that was a substitution on the part of the restaurant owner.  But the persimmons have to be REALLY, REALLY, REALLY ripe.  At the point where they are almost mushy and a little slippery to cut up.  Since I eat the Fancy Toast all the time — because I just happened to have had a few persimmons — I thought I would look into the nutritional value of persimmons.

The ones that I have been using are the flat-ish kind.  I hear they are the Asian persimmons.  According to a document from the California Department of Public Health a medium (168g) persimmon has 118 calories, only 3 of which are from fat.  With the following percentages of the government daily values:

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle YogaTotal Fat:  0g      0%
Saturated Fat: 0g     0%
Trans Fat:  0g
Cholesterol: 0mg   0%
Sodium:  2mg   0%
Total Carbohydrate: 31g   10%
Dietary Fiber: 6g   24%
Sugars:  21g
Protein: 1g

Vitamin A 55% / Vitamin C 21% / Calcium 1% / Iron 1%

Persimmons have a lot of sugar and relatively no protein.  But a nice amount of fiber and a good amount of Vitamin C, but even better amount of Vitamin A.

Remember, also, that colorful fruit has carotenoids which provide the orange color in the fruits.  And the carotenoids act as antioxidants in your body, meaning they attack harmful free radicals that damage tissues throughout your body.

Most of the recipes I saw called for persimmon puree which is a combination of cooking and blending.  So I like the idea of putting them on my toast, I cut up the raw fruit and pile it on top, making it “fancy” or putting them raw into a salad.  I actually have not tried them in a salad because I have used them all on my toast!

There are two varieties, the Hachiya and the Fuyu.  The Hachiya is the taller of the two, with the Fuyu being more flat.  The Hachiya is used more for baking whereas the Fuyu is the one that people eat raw.  The document I mentioned states “The Fuyu was developed by breeding out the tannic acid from the Hachiya, making it more appealing to taste and easier to eat whole and raw.”

Have you tried making and eating the Fancy Toast?  What else do people do with persimmons?  Do you have a persimmon recipe?

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Fresh Fig Nutrition, Greens, And Cheese

Posted by terrepruitt on September 18, 2012

Figs are considered a fruit. Most fruit has a lot of sugar.  As I had explained in my Fresh Figs So Unlike Fig Newtons posts, most of the recipes I found for figs were dessert recipes that actually had additional sugar in the recipe.  I didn’t want to make a dessert, so I ended up making a salad.  It was very good.  But as usual after having eaten something I don’t know much about I get curious as to what type of nutrition it has.  Sometimes I actually am curious BEFORE eating it and I take the time to look it up, but this time it was after the fact.

Figs are a good source of potassium and fiber.

According to Calorie Count Two large figs (2-1/2″ diameter) contain about 100 calories and roughly the following:

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, ZumbaTotal Fat – 0.4g

Cholesterol – 0mg

Sodium – 2mg

Total Carbohydrates – 24.6g

Dietary Fiber – 3g

Protein – 1g

According to an article in 1999 by Dr. Sheldon Margen and Dale A. Ogar:

Figs “have the highest fiber and mineral content of all common fruits, nuts or vegetables. They also have as much as 1,000 times more calcium than other common fruits and by weight they actually have more calcium than skim milk.

Figs are 80% higher in potassium than bananas, and are extremely easy to digest. They also have more iron than any other of the common fruits and are extremely high in magnesium. All of this for about 20 to 40 calories per fig.”

I had an idea I would make a salad when I bought the crumbled goat cheese.  I know, not exciting, but it was really good!

When I went to make the salad I realized I didn’t know what to do with the figs.  My husband said he peeled them and ate the inside.  So I tried doing that, but when I peeled off the purple he said that I needed to peel off the white part too and only eat the inside.  So I tried that and as I was doing it I decided that it was ridiculous and could not be right.  Maybe opening them and eating the flesh works, but it does not work when trying to add them to a salad.  Then I remembered all the pictures I saw having purple (to me it is purple) on them.  So I Googled them again and figured out that they just need to be cut up the way they were and we could just eat the whole thing.  Unfortunately I waited too long to use them and we ended up only able to eat about half.  The other half had gotten moldy.

I just made a simple salad:

chopped up figs
lettuce
crumbled goat cheese
fig balsamic vinegar
olive oil
salt
pepper (for my husband)

I wish I would have taken pictures.  It was nice.  Simple and yummy.  Just enough sweet, creamy, and savory.

I saw recipes that said to use feta but I thought the creaminess of the goat cheese would go better with the figs.

Did you know figs are often referred to as the “perfect” fruit?

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What Goodness I Received

Posted by terrepruitt on June 19, 2012

In my last post I shared that I finally went ahead and ordered delivery of organic produce.  I have always thought about doing it but had decided against it, allowing myself to stick to buying, preparing, and eating the same vegetables over and over.  I was excited to see via an internet search a farm (Capay) I am familiar with actually delivers.  The farm offers a variety of types of boxes, sizes, and frequency of delivery.  I decided to go with the small mix to be delivered every other week.  I was sooooo excited to get the first delivery.  Look at all the beautiful produce that came in our first box:

1 avocado, 2 pluots, 1/2 lb of cherries, 1/2 lb. of sweet peppers, 1 lb of baby bok choy, bunch of carrots, 1 lb of zucchini, 1 bunch of lettuce, and 1/4 lb of garlic

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, NiaMy poor hubby never even saw the cherries.   🙂  They were gone immediately after I took the picture.  The night we received the box I made a salad and I don’t know if it is just because I KNOW everything was organic, but it was the best salad I have had in a long time.  I used the garlic in that night’s dinner too and I really think it is stronger than the store garlic I have been buying.  I haven’t tried the peppers yet because I have some that I need to use up first.  But I have to say, so far I am loving this.  Well, I can see me wanting to have delivery every week.  I was wondering if they would deliver a fruit box one week and the mixed the next?

While only the pluots were new to me I am sure I will get stuff in the future that is new.  Pluots are later-generation hybrids between a plum parent and an apricot.  Since you know I LOVE (love, love, love) baby bok choy you know I was excited about having some delivered in my first box.  There is only one bunch left and that is only because the temperatures right now (weather-wise) make it too hot to turn on the stove and/or oven to actually cook.

I am happy that I decided to do this.  I am looking forward to my future boxes.  I hope they continue to be just as great as this first box.  I hope to receive some items that will allow me to learn about new-to-me fruits and vegetables.  I will learn WHAT it is and how to cook it and eat it.  You know that as I get new stuff I will be sharing with you!

The week before the box gets delivered the farm posts a list of what will be in the box.  On the site they also have links to recipes to help you with how to prepare it.  I will be able to use the recipes they have or find something else.

I will probably end up preparing things the same way I always do.  But that is ok at least we will be eating new veggies even if they are prepared that same ol’ way.  🙂

I had to look up pluot.  Did you know what it is?  Are you looking forward to this journey with me?  Wanna learn some new things?

Posted in Food, Fruit, Vegetables | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Farm Fresh To Me – Delivered Goodness

Posted by terrepruitt on June 16, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I decided to have home delivery of produce.  I had to wait until I was home to get it.  Remember that “stuff” I had posted about before?  The stuff had me traveling out of town that is why I had to move my Nia classes for two weeks.  I scheduled delivery for when I would be home AND I knew that I would have an empty/veggie-less fridge. I have often thought of having home deliver, but I just couldn’t justify it.  I finally decided to do it with the following as justification:

1)  I would have fresh organic produce.

In the grocery store I don’t always by the organic stuff because it is not what I want.  I think I might be 40%/60%.  With the organic fruit and veggies being delivered to me it will probably switch those numbers to 60%/40%.  This will be better for us.

2)  It would be delivered to my door.

I figured with gas prices as expensive as they are having something delivered to my door is very economical.  If they are bringing produce to me, it is keeping me out of the store at least one time a week.  Plus, when I am at the store I sometimes end up spending money on things we might not need to be eating.  I run in to get veggies then I think, “Hmmm?  What else do we ‘need’?”  And most often we don’t “need” anything but the produce I went into buy.

3)  I would get “stuck” with new things.

I am in the habit of buying the same vegetables over and over.  I do the same thing with fruit.  We have a farmers market fairly close to us, but they don’t have a lot of fruit.  The one that is really nice is a bit further and we don’t always get to it.  I have seen questions posted on FB about how to cook what was received in this week’s “box” so I thought that if I ordered produce I would end up with things new to me.   I was thinking that I would get a better variety of veggies if I just took what they were selling.  AND I would learn new stuff along the way.  What do I do with some of the things they send?  I am looking forward to finding out.

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, NiaI did a search on the internet and “Farm Fresh To You” came up.  It is always kind of a risk doing stuff like this because you just don’t know.  But I was really happy when I saw a picture on the website that said, “Capay” because they are a farm that sells at one of the farmers markets I go to.  AND they are one of the vendors I frequent because they are all organic.  I like their produce.  So I was happy that I was familiar with the main farm that delivers.

It is cool they way they do it too.  I was talking to a friend who said that she just decided to do something similar, but with the farm she is working with you have to pick up your box and you subscribe for the whole summer.  I think her subscription is more of what you might be familiar with called a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).  With the service I went through I just pay per box.  I can start and stop anytime.  There are different types and sizes too.  They have all veggies, all fruit, all “no-cook”, mostly veggies, etc.  It is pretty amazing – to me – what they offer.  They deliver in areas on certain days and the day they deliver in our area works out PERFECT for me.

I know a lot of people who subscribe to a CSA.  Do you?  Don’t you think having produce delivered to you is helpful?

Posted in Food, Fruit, Vegetables | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Colors And Odors Are Brought To You By Phytochemicals

Posted by terrepruitt on April 5, 2012

Phytochemical are the reasons that fruits and veggies have color and smell.  There are 1000 known phytochemicals, with an estimate of over 10,000 different ones potentially able to affect diseases.  These chemical compounds are thought to have a big affect on health but are not considered as essential nutrients.

Some phytochemicals are antioxidants or have antioxidant activity and they have shown that they may reduce the risk of cancer.  They have been proven to have anti-inflammatory effects.  And now many doctors and scientists are starting to acknowledge the link between chronic inflammation in the body and disease.  So — to me — anything that can safely help with inflammation in the body is a good food to eat. 

The Linus Pauling Institute at the Oregon State University has a list of phytochemicals.  Under each type listed there is a further breakdown of names of the specific phytochemical, here are just a few highlights

Carotenoids are found in red, yellow, or orange vegetables and fruits.  As with a lot of nutrients, fat helps with absorption.  So using a little bit of healthy oil can help with availability of the nutrient to the body.
 
Chlorophyll & Chlorophyllin are responsible for the green in veggies.

Curcumin is what gives turmeric its deep yellow color.  Turmeric is considered an anti-inflammatory.

Fiber is a group of different compounds.   Different kinds of dietary fiber include: Lignin, Cellulose, Beta-Glucans, Hemicelluloses, Pectins, Gums, Inulin, and Resistant starch. Research is showing that people with diets high in fiber have less risk of disease.  Fiber helps keeps the body’s digestive system moving things out.

Flavonoids in the case of the phytochemicals are thought to be better helpers in cell-signalling then in antioxidants.  While flavonoids have shown to help with curbing the free radicals, they really seem to shine when it comes to the cell signaling pathways.  They’ve shown themselves to be great at regulating the flow of information in the communication pathways of the cells.  There are different classes of flavanoids, they can be found in red wine, green, white, and black tea, berries, apples, chocolate, citrus fruits, yellow onions, soybeans, legumes, scallions, kale, and broccoli.

Garlic is thought to have antioxidant properties.  Garlic and its Organosulfur Compounds are thought to help fight cardiovascular disease and inflammation in the body.  (And some are now saying that it is inflammation that causes cardiovascular disease.)

Indole-3-Carbinol is found in coniferous vegetables.  These types of veggies are thought to help prevent certain types of cancer.  Some of the veggies that this phytochemical can be found in is cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.

Isothiocyanates is also found in coniferous veggies.  This one can be found in cabbage, broccoli, and kale.

Lignans (phytoestrogens) are found in plants while Lignan precursors are found in plant-based foods.  Eating a variety of seeds, whole grains, and legume along with broccoli, curly kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, green and red sweet peppers, apricots, strawberries, peaches, pears, and nectaries will net you both.  (according to Livestrong)

Phytosterols can be found in unrefined vegetable oils, whole grains, nuts, and legumes and inhibit the intestinal absorption of cholesterol.

Resveratrol was found to increase the lifespan of some living organisms.  It can be found in grapes, red wine, purple grape juice, peanuts, and some berries.

Soy Isoflavones (phytoestrogens) is one of those things that is good for you, but some evidence says that too much is not.  But they are not clear on that or how much “too much” is. 

As with much of our food supply harvesting and processing diminishes the nutrients available to us.  The amount of phytochemicals actually in our fruits and vegetables after commercial harvesting, processing, and cooking is significantly reduced.  Since the nutrients that we actually get from the food we eat seems less than was intended by nature it is a good thing that most fruits and veggies can be eaten in high quantities without adding much fat or many calories to the diet. 

Additional information from wiki states that phytochemicals have been used as drugs for millennia.  The willow tree leaves were used to reduce fevers and later used as aspirin.

There is much research to be done on phytochemicals.  But it is interesting to know that the color and odor causing compound in our fruit and veggies might also protect us or help us combat disease.  Seems like if we eat a large variety in addition to large quantities of fruits and vegetables daily will be get a good amount of phytochemicals.  One thing I like to think about and try to do is “eat the rainbow”.  Sounds silly, but it really is eating all the COLORS in the rainbow.

Do you eat a variety of fruits and veggies?  Do you eat the colors of the rainbow?

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The USDA Makes the Elderberry and Elderflower Sound Miraculous

Posted by terrepruitt on March 1, 2012

In a post about an article I read about boosting your immune system I mentioned elderberries.  I think it is funny how things get brought to your conscious.  Last year I went to a Yelp Event where one of the vendors serving was St Germain.  St. Germain is a French liqueur made from elderflowers.  I had never heard of it, but when first hearing of the event my friend had told me it was her favorite.  After tasting it in their signature cocktail I understood why.  That was my first conscious memory of hearing about elderberries.  Then I read the article and it mentioned elderberries.  So I decided to do a few searches on Elderberries and as is the case with most things Wiki has a wealth of information.  First off the Elderberry is kind of the category of 5 to 30 shrubs or trees.

It seems as if most countries and peoples use the elderflowers to make syrups.  The syrups can be added to pancakes or diluted with water and used as a drink.  Or what the french had done and made a liqueur.  Seems as if the berries are used in the tradition of many berries, in wines, james, jellies, marmaldes, and fruit pies.  Every site I have seen says that the flowers are often dipped in batter and fried.  Elderberries.com states that they believe it is best not to eat them raw. 

According to the United States Department of Agriculture:  “Only the blue or purple berries of elderberry are edible. Edible berries and flower are used for medicine, dyes for basketry, arrow shafts, flute, whistles, clapper sticks, and folk medicine. The active alkaloids in elderberry plants are hydrocyanic acid and sambucine. Both alkaloids will cause nausea so care should be observed with this plant. Elderberries are high in Vitamin C. The red berries of other species are toxic and should not be gathered.”

The USDA site also states that folk medicine considered the elderberry a very valuable healing plant.  And it sounds like it could do almost anything.  The flowers have flavonoids which some say are thought to help prevent cancer and improve immune function.  The tannins are a help with reduction of bleeding, diarrhea, and congestions.

The flowers can also be made into a tea to aid in breaking “dry fevers and stimulate perspiration, aid headache, indigestion, twitching eyes, dropsy, rheumatism, appendix inflammation, bladder or kidney infections, colds, influenza, consumption (bleeding in lungs), and is helpful to newborn babies (Hutchens 1991). Used as a wash, the flowers or leaves are good for wounds, sprains, and bruises, as well as for sores on domestic animals. The leaves, which are stronger, have a slightly laxative property. Applied externally, leaves, flowers, bark and twigs are excellent as a poultice, mixed equally with chamomile, for soreness, inflammations, joint stiffness, and to reduce the swelling of bee stings. The flowers and berries, employed as a diuretic, can aid arthritis and rheumatism. Steeped in water, the flowers are used externally to aid in complexion beauty, tone and soften the skin, and lighten freckles or spots. The berry juice made into salve aids burns and scalds. The juice taken internally will act as a purgative.’

Wow, huh?  Sounds like the entire plant can pretty much do anything.  But I haven’t seen the berries sold anywhere, have you?  I have to admit I have not LOOKED for them, but since they sound like they can take care of some many things I would think they would be more popular.

Since the actual genus name is Sambucus, it probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that the Italian liqueur Sambucca is comprised of oil from the elderflower.  Aside from the liqueur versions and the jam versions, it really sounds as if the flowers and the berries are very good for you.  They have a lot of vitamin C and a good amount of vitamin A.  And according to folk medicine they do a heck of a lot.  I am going to look for them in September.  That seems to be the season for Elderberries. 

After reading they can help boost your immune system AND all the other stuff listed here, do they interest you?  Do elderberries sound like something you would like to add to your diet?  Do you want to try some elderflowers?

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Cherries

Posted by terrepruitt on August 7, 2010

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE cherries.  How about you?  My husband came home recently (can you tell he does the grocery shopping?  Awesome, huh?) with a 3 pound container of cherries.  Oh my!  I love cherries.  I think they are beautiful.

I had a difficult time photographing them though because they kept disappearing.  Okay, I admit, they disappeared into my mouth.  YUM!

I was curious about cherries so I went looking around and I found out that tart cherries help relieve gout pain.  They have compounds that help with the inflammation, the vitamin C and potassium help with lowering the uric acid levels.

Each place I looked had slightly different numbers on a cup of cherries, so here is what I ended up with

  • Calories:  Between 75 and 100
  • Fat:  Between 0 and 1.5 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates: Between 18.73 and 23.2 grams
  • Fiber: Between 2 and 3 grams
  • Sugars: Between 15 and 18.6 grams
  • Protein: Between 1.24 and 1.5 grams

I would think it depends on the sweetness.  The sweeter they are the higher the calories, carbs, and sugar.  These numbers are based on raw cherries, not ones cooked into a pie or a cobbler.  While I LOVE cherries, I do not like them cooked or dried.  Do you?

Some places list cherries on the same list as blueberries and cranberries, you know, the “Superfruits”, but some do not.  I guess we will see as more research is done.

How do you feel about cherries?

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