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Tag: Vitamin C

On my last trip to Indonesia, I ate papaya every day for two weeks straight. This tropical fruit is typically served after dinner as it is not only sweet but also aids in digestion. The papaya is peeled and de-seeded, chopped into bite-sized chunks, and displayed with lime wedges and dainty forks. I can tell you that not once did I tire of this luscious and delectable treat.

Today, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) sent out a press release announcing that the Government of Japan will now allow commercial import of genetically modified papaya to Japan. The approved variety is called Rainbow papaya and it is grown in the state of Hawaii. Below, the USDA explains how and why Rainbow papaya was created:
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I stumbled across Caren Alpert’s website after Michael Pollan tweeted about her amazing photography, terra cibus. To be honest, I never really thought about what food looks like really, REALLY close up. Curious? Here is how Alpert explains her work:

What’s in our food?

What’s the difference between a bird’s-eye view of a remote vegetable crop and a microscopic swath from a pineapple leaf? How distinct is a pile of table salt from miles and miles of icebergs?

As a food lover and a photographer I answer these questions visually. Using scientific laboratory photo equipment, I journey over the surfaces of both organic and processed foods: my own favorites and America’s over-indulgences. The closer the lens got, the more I saw food and consumers of food (all of us!) as part of a larger eco-system than mere sustenance.

- Caren Alpert’s Artist Statement

Alpert took everyday foods, such as table salt, Oreos, and cauliflower, magnified them anywhere from 15 to 850 times and then photographed them. The result? Breathtaking art.

My personal favorite is the shrimp table. What’s yours?

Image: windy via Flickr

On a recent trip, a friend brought out these individual servings of Mott’s Original Applesauce for all the kids. My daughter loves applesauce and eagerly waited for me to open it. We always purchase applesauce with no sugar added and I forgot that many brands contain added sweeteners. When I glanced at the label, I noticed that this particular brand had high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) listed as the second ingredient. This is a perfect example of an unnecessary additive.

I don’t know about you, but I find apples plenty sweet on their own. Instead of enjoying the natural sweetness of nature’s bounty, kids get used to artificially sweetened food and start to “need” their food to be ultra-sweetened. Luckily, my friend had also purchased Mott’s Granny Smith Applesauce for the moms and, surprise, it contained NO added sugar or HFCS. There are many brands of applesauce that only contain apples and vitamin C (prevents the applesauce from browning). They taste great and kids will be spared the added sugars and empty calories. You can also make your own applesauce; check out these recipes from Devine Health and The Salad Girl.

Exercise:

Look in your fridge and pantry and start reading labels. Search for foods containing added sweeteners (especially HFCS and chemical sweeteners). Next time you go shopping, try switching out your normal brand with a version that does not contain added sweeteners. There are thousands of foods with added sweeteners, but here are some common ones to start with: applesauce, fruit juice, jam/jelly, salad dressing, breakfast cereal, peanut butter, dried fruit, yogurt, syrup (only buy real maple syrup), canned fruit, and pasta sauce. While you’re looking to make the switch, consider a certified organic variety too! You’ll get the added benefit of no pesticides or genetically modified ingredients.

Note: Beware of “sugar-free” products. This means that the product does not contain cane or beet sugar, but instead, likely contains a chemical sweetener such as aspartame, acesulfame potassium or saccharin. Be Food Smart does NOT recommend consuming any of these artificial sweeteners.

Image: slave2thetea via Flickr

Remember the old Popeye cartoons? Popeye always ate his spinach when he needed super strength. The benefits of spinach are no cartoon story. This leafy star is often referred to as a “superfood” and has more demonstrated health benefits than almost any other food. It is amazingly high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants making it a food you should be consuming regularly.

Spinach contains lutein, beta-carotene, glutathione, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, polyphenols, betaine, calcium and vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, & K to name a few.  Aside from all the individual nutrients, it is the combination and the way the nutrients work together that makes spinach so powerful. In studies, high spinach consumption has been shown to lower almost every type of cancer. Spinach is highly beneficial for eye health and prevention of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.  This heart-friendly vegetable is packed with carotenoids which help protect the artery walls.

Markets generally carry spinach year-round making it a perfect daily staple. There are three different varieties of spinach: Savoy (curly leaves), Semi-Savoy (slightly curly leaves), and Flat or Smooth Leaf (smooth leaves). One can purchase spinach fresh,
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