7 Storage Tips to Keep Fruits and Veggies Fresh Longer

storage tipsByline: Alicia Lawrence

Summer is here and with it tons of delicious, fresh, sweet fruits and veggies. From the first strawberries in the spring to the last sweet corn and cauliflower in the fall, we love our fresh foods. They taste better when they are fresh and are more nutritious, so going to the local farmers market and stocking up sounds like a great idea, right?

The great prices and sumptuous flavors of fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers market make it tempting to fill your shopping cart. But what happens when you get it home? How much do you end up throwing away because it goes bad before you can eat it? Try some of these seven weird and brilliant storage tips to keep your produce fresh for as long as it takes you to eat it!

1. Abandon The Crisper

Believe it or not, some things will store better on the counter than in the vegetable drawer! Learning which foods should stay cold and which don’t need refrigeration to stay fresh is a big step towards maximizing your enjoyment of fresh fruits and veggies this summer. Melons like cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew should remain on the counter for maximum sweetness. Chilling before eating is okay, but they should be stored on the counter, as should many other fruits like cucumbers, lemons and pomegranates.

2. Green Bag Bananas

You know those little green bags that the vendor at the farmers market packs your bananas in? When you get the fruit home, store the bananas in that type of bag at room temperature to keep them from going brown before you have a chance to eat them. These bags slow down the ripening process so that your slightly green bananas may take a week to get ripe rather than just a few days.

3. The Sweeter Peach

There is nothing sweeter than a peach that is at the perfect stage of ripeness. But how do you store peaches so that they will get ripe without rotting? Keep them on the countertop at room temperature if you buy them a little green.

After that, if you don’t eat them right away, store them on a shelf in your refrigerator where they won’t get bruised. After all, no one likes mushy fruit. If you find yourself with too many peaches to eat right away and they are going soft in your refrigerator, slice them up and store them in quart bags in your freezer. Take some out and put them on your cereal, bake them into pies or use them however you would use other frozen fruit.

4. Berries

Berries are one of the hardest fruits to keep fresh since they have such a short shelf life. Blueberries should be eaten within 14 days after harvesting if they are to be eaten fresh. The best way to store berries for fresh eating is to wash them gently, remove all crushed, soft or moldy berries from the container and store the good ones in a plastic, glass or ceramic dish. Make sure to place a paper towel in the bottom to draw away excess moisture and keep berries from getting moldy. This goes for most berries, though raspberries should not be washed until ready for use to prevent mold growth.

5. Banish Brown Cauliflower

This flower vegetable is packed full of nutrients, but it does tend to develop unappetizing brown spots when it is stored too long. To prevent that, keep the cauliflower dry and store it in a perforated, plastic bag with the stem up in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator.

6. Paper Towel Dehumidifier

Ever notice how spinach develops a slimy texture when stored too long? Try gently storing it in a plastic bag with a folded paper towel to absorb extra moisture.

7. Onions vs. Potatoes

Storing onions is a skill that has been pictured in every western movie made in the early television days. Strings of braided onions hung from the rafters in any ranch house. Now, most people just toss them in the vegetable drawer. When stored this way, onions tend to hold onto their moisture, creating an unappetizing texture.

Storing onions in a cool, dry place like a paper bag in the pantry or a basket in the cupboard is a better solution because their skins dry out and they keep longer. Just keep them away from potatoes, which can soak up the moisture given off by the onions. No one likes the stench of rotting potatoes.

This summer, feel free to stock up on fresh produce at the market. Now you know how to store some of the most common fruits and vegetables so that they will last longer and save you from throwing away what you can’t eat.

Ali Lawrencethumbnail_Ali is a freelance content creator and blogs about DIY and home advice over at Homey Improvements. Find her on Twitter @DIYfolks.

What To Eat After Giving Birth

Byline: Julia Jones

Pregnancy is a time of wonder, hope and anticipation. But after that little bundle of joy arrives many mothers find themselves struggling. Postnatal depression and divorce rates are high, and breastfeeding rates are low.  Over 80% of new mothers say they feel exhausted and overwhelmed.

But before I scare you away I want you to know it doesn’t have to be like this. After giving birth women have very special physical and emotional needs, recognised by hundreds of different cultures for thousands of years. Anthropologists Stern and Kruckman found that cultures with low incidence of postpartum mood disorders share a range of protective social structures that provide support and care for new mothers.

Similarly, anthropologist Dr. Dana Raphael studied how humans have managed to keep their babies alive for so long when breastfeeding seems so hard. She found the same pattern occurring in nearly 200 cultures around the world. Ancient communities appreciate a new mother’s needs, not the least of which is your need to be nurtured and loved and cared for in the same way that you nurture and love and care for your baby.

Why hospital food is the worst thing you can eat after birth. And what to eat instead.

One of the key universal features of postpartum care around the world is warm, nourishing comfort foods. Soups, stews and puddings feature on international postpartum menus and are always cooked for the mother, not by her. Different cultures have variations in detail. I cook Ayurvedic food for my clients, based on ancient Indian medicine.

Ayurveda is an elemental science, meaning it is based on the five elements – earth, fire, water, air and space. If you picture a pregnant woman you can see her abundance of earth and water! Childbirth is the biggest and fastest change in a woman’s life. In just a few hours her body loses vast amounts of earth (for example the baby and placenta), water (in amniotic fluid and tears) and fire (through her blood and sweat). Ayurveda emphasises balancing the elements in your body, meaning you need to replace the earth, water and fire that is lost in childbirth.

Even if you normally enjoy eating raw foods, Ayurveda teaches us that different foods are appropriate for different stages of life. Raw foods are suitable for people with strong digestion and lots of earth and fire. New mothers on the other hand are already high in air and space. The qualities needed after birth are sweetness, warmth, oiliness, simplicity and moisture. Soups, stews and puddings, good fats and good sugars will give you the energy you need, but to digest them you will need to add spices and keep meals simple and regular.

An Ayurvedic postpartum diet is like weaning a baby. When you eat after giving birth, start with soft, warm, soupy foods that are simple to digest, gradually introduce more texture and variety, and eventually, as your appetite and energy return you can go back to your regular diet. Sit down to eat fresh, homemade food regularly. If you only do one thing – eat cooked food.

You can see how standard issue hospital food does not fit the postpartum bill as it is often old, cold, dry and heavy to digest.

This is a recipe I suggest instead, as it aids digestion, has instantly accessible energy and builds blood. Rice pudding is a wonderful food for friends and family to bring you in hospital in a thermos, so add this recipe to your birth plan.

Nepali Rice Pudding Recipe

rice pudding

Cooking time 35 minutes
Serves 3—4

Ingredients

  • 5 cups pure water
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • ¼ cup jaggery
  • ¼ cup ghee
  • 2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 2/3 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • pinch nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup milk

Directions

Bring water and rice to a boil in large pot. Simmer, stirring occasionally until it begins to thicken. This should take about 20 minutes.

Add the sugar and spices and ghee. You may need to add an extra cup of water at this stage if your pudding is too thick.

Continue to cook slowly; stirring as needed. When gelatinous consistency add milk. Cook for a few more minutes to thicken.

Serve hot, with sugar and ghee to taste. Serve as desired throughout the day.

This recipe is from my book Nourishing Newborn Mother – Ayurvedic recipes to heal your mind, body and soul after childbirth. You can check it out at www.newbornmothers.com.au.

mailchimp size profile picJulia works with pregnant women who want to find peace and joy in motherhood and is the founder of Newborn Mothers. She is an Ayurvedic postnatal doula, recipe book author and creator of a weekly free pregnancy podcast. Click here to listen to her free podcasts.

Tips for Raising Real Food Eaters

Tips for Raising Real Food Eaters - Rebs GarciaByline: Rebs Garcia

We want our kids to be healthy and eat real food but modern family life does not always make that easy. Life is busy and healthy foods are not always the foods your kids want to eat. As a mom of four kids ages 3-19, I understand it can be a challenge to raise kids who enjoy eating real food. Over the last few years we have transitioned to a mostly Real Food diet and learned some key lessons along the way. Today I am sharing my tips for raising real food eaters.

Empower and Involve your Kids

Kids love to have the power to make their own decisions, even when it comes to food. As a parent you can help make healthy choices easy by filling your fridge and pantry with real food. Have bins of quickly accessible healthy snacks in your pantry and fridge so that kids can help themselves throughout the day. Place a basket of whole fruit on the counter and keep cut up fruits and veggies at eye level in the fridge to encourage the whole family to eat more produce.

I have found that if kids help pick it, grow it or make it they are more likely to eat it. Since real food often requires a little more prep work involving your kids can be a win-win. Even small children can help with tasks like washing, pouring ingredients, stirring or pushing the buttons on the blender or food processor. My toddlers have loved to press the blender button to make our Green Smoothies. As a parent it can require a little extra patience (or clean up) to have your kids help but when you see how excited they are to eat their creation it is worth it!

Discover how Food Grows

Teaching your kids about where food comes from can help them get more excited and interested in trying real food. Planting a garden is a great way to help kids connect with real food. If you have a black thumb and live in the desert like me, you can do something simple like small pots of herbs in your kitchen. Shopping at farmers markets, visiting a community garden, joining a CSA or going to a pick it yourself farms are all options to help discover how food is created. Social media can be a great way to discover and follow family farms and introduce your family virtually to how animals are raised or plants grow. My kids love to look at posts from a small family farm in Texas that I discovered on Instagram.

Be a Positive Role Model

Ever noticed that your child will eat just about anything if it is on YOUR plate, instead of theirs? Kids watch what you eat and will follow your lead. Have a positive attitude about healthy eating and be willing to try new foods. Focus on the benefits of fueling and nourishing our bodies with healthy real food. Make choosing real foods a positive experience by focusing on increasing healthy food choices instead of talking about what they cannot or should not eat. Show them balance and moderation. Don’t let food become a power struggle or a source of guilt in your family, always put relationships first.

Make it Fun and Be Flexible

You also don’t need to spend hours creating food art to make it fun for kids. Simple tricks like using cookie cutters to cut fruit or serving salad on a stick instead in a bowl can make real food more fun for kids. My kids love making our own fruit or yogurt popsicle during the summer and you can find all sorts of fun molds. Talk about eating the rainbow and how foods can help them grow and have fun.

Along with fun it’s important to be flexible. Every child is different and it can take 8-10 times before a child is willing to try a new food so don’t get discouraged the first time your child says no to broccoli. Instead keep serving him the “green trees” and you might be surprised when he finally does like it. I have one son who loves smoothies, as long as they aren’t green. Our smoothies always have lots of greens, I just make sure to add enough berries to get the right color. Another son would much rather have fresh juice instead of a smoothie. Another child will not touch cooked peas but loves them frozen. I cook and serve one family meal, but try to have variety in our weekly meal plan to ensure different kids get options they like regularly while also being offered new foods options.

What are your tips and tricks for helping your kids choose real food? I’d love to hear.

Rebecca GarciaRebs Garcia is a Healthy Living Mentor and Weight Loss Coach. She helps you get off the diet roller-coaster and use simple Healthy Habits to create lasting lifestyle change. Rebs’ passion for helping others comes from her personal experience of losing 100 lbs and finally overcoming her lifelong battle with obesity. Rebs is a wife and mama of four kids living in sun-drenched Las Vegas.

Click here to get your free guide, “Eat More, Not Less: Simple Healthy Habits for Weight Loss” or connect with her on the Mission Healthy Life with Rebs Facebook page.

 

Sugar Comes in Many Disguises

incoming sugar overloadByline: Lana Shay

Brownies, cupcakes, tiramisu, and caramel macchiato, oh my! We are all too familiar with these sweet, sweet treats that tantalize the taste buds. What comes to mind when you hear the word sugar? Do you have visions of your favorite dessert as your mouth waters? Or are you the one who declines when the dessert menu is offered after a meal? It’s undeniable that when we consume sugar, we feel that rush of bliss when our craving is satisfied.

Only a few years ago, my husband Joe and I would go on frequent late night missions for Newman-O’s (the Oreo alternative) and soy milk. What is it about milk and cookies that is so enticing?! On an average weekday we’d be working diligently from home, and having a productive and inspired day. Dinner was generally simple and consisted of brightly colored veggies and plant-based protein. We’d end our meal feeling satisfied, yet we’d finish the dishes and the craving would erupt! One of us would volunteer to make a quick trip to the local grocery store to get the sugar fix. I recall literally feeling an uncontrollable pull to the grocery store. It was as if the day would not, could not, go on without the cookies. Our minds were fixated on the sweet tooth mission.

Have you ever experienced the uncontrollable urge to get your sugar fix?

Why couldn’t we deny our after dinner cookie craving? Like anything, it wasn’t impossible to escape the sugar craving. However, research suggests that refined sugar is highly addictive, and some studies reveal that it is more addictive than cocaine. It acts on the reward signals in the brain, which leads to addiction in the same way narcotics do. Considering this, it’s no wonder that we would find ourselves racing to the store for the cookies after dinner.

In a 2012 article published in the journal Nature, it was stated that sugar is a toxic substance and should be regulated like tobacco and alcohol! This may seem extreme, yet the truth is that the chemical-intensive process to create sugar results in a product with no benefit for the human body. It provides only empty calories and no nutritional value. Over-consumption of refined sugar is not only addictive, it has been linked to many physical issues and can be detrimental to overall health. Weight gain is one inevitable result of excess sugar consumption. What is excess? Well, I believe it’s important to note how you feel, both physically and mentally after a dose of sugar, whether heavy or miniscule.

If the cookie craving that Joe and I experienced is familiar to you, you’re probably wondering what to do now, right? First, don’t worry one bit about that cookie you ate the other day. You’re certainly not doomed, and there are solutions.

Different Types of Sugar

Before considering alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth, it’s important to identify the sugar in your food. Sweet comes in many forms-maybe you’ll recognize a few:

  • Agave Nectar
  • Barley Malt Syrup
  • Beet Sugar
  • Brown Rice Syrup
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cane Crystals (or, even better, “cane juice crystals”)
  • Cane Sugar
  • Coconut Sugar, or Coconut Palm Sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup, or corn syrup solids
  • Dehydrated Cane Juice
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Evaporated Cane Juice
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Glucose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltose
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Palm Sugar
  • Raw sugar
  • Rice Syrup
  • Saccharose
  • Sorghum or sorghum syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Syrup
  • Treacle
  • Turbinado Sugar
  • Xylose…

These labels do not change the way your body processes the sugar. It’s all the same. Many unsuspecting packaged products include one of the disguises listed above. Our bodies truly do not need a heavy dose of sugar on a daily, or even weekly basis. Sugar from real food can satisfy that sweet craving while avoiding potentially harmful effects of the refined version.

You Don’t Need To Give Up Dessert

real food like this makes it easy to avoid sugar...nothing hiding in this meal!Just recently, I’ve found a new love for baking. It’s thrilling to share delicious sweet treats with friends and have them exclaim, there’s seriously NO sugar in this?! Dates are my first go-to. They are truly nature’s candy! There are many recipes that call for dates as the only sweetener. Stevia is another sweetener that is astonishing as it’s actually an herb! It certainly has a different flavor than your conventional sugar, but it can do the trick in a cookie recipe. Then there’s molasses or raw honey. Of course, indulging in these alternatives can resemble the effects of the refined version, but they are much better options by far! Even if you’re not into baking, it gets even simpler.

Nature provides us with the most satisfying form of sweetness. It’s the kind that also does a body good…fruit! Raisins, pineapples and bananas are all incredibly sweet and also provide nourishment for the body. All fruit contains sugar and is the best alternative to white sugar beyond a shadow of a doubt.

If you haven’t been the one to decline the dessert menu, you may be slightly more inclined with this information. The good news is, you can always ask for a bowl of fresh, juicy, satisfying fruit!
real food like this makes it easy to avoid sugar…nothing hiding in this meal!

A Challenge For You

Here’s your challenge: go for three days without any refined sugar! If you stick to real, unprocessed foods, it will be a breeze. The first day, have some fruit if you feel the urge to satisfy a craving. The second day, skip the fruit and the third day, do the same. If it’s easy for you after the third day, continue and take notice as to whether your cravings are decreasing. Make sure to leave a comment below to commit to this challenge, and make a public declaration. Extra points if you’re brave, and share a sweet tooth story (like my late night Newman-O’s run). Set yourself up for success and share this article with a friend, and jump on the three day challenge together!

LanLanaShaya Shay is the Sensual Foodist.  She believes in enjoying the food that ignites all of our senses.  Sensual food (aka Real food) is the secret ingredient to a juicy love life and having the energy to live each day to it’s fullest!  Lana is passionate about meeting french bulldogs, discovering new sugar-free desserts, traveling to exotic destinations,  and teaching couples how to eat orgasmic and feel incredible.

 

Diet Smiet: Listen to Your Body + Smoothie Recipe

Diet Smiet Listen To Your Body(1)Byline: Rachael Alexander

Have you tried a gazillion and one diets only to find that you never stick with anything? I certainly have, and I’ve even made myself feel guilty about the whole ordeal. I’ve been a strict vegetarian, a strict vegan, and even a strict raw vegan, and each time  I’ve “fallen off the wagon”.

Now I personally don’t believe that there is a wagon that you can fall off of, and that life is more like a flowing river. And like the river that has many twists and turns so to will your diet or what you choose to put into your body. I’ve learned to let go of the strictness of it all, and ditch the religion of any one diet (which is a continual journey) and learn to do one thing: listen to my body. Another thing I’ve also found is that it doesn’t matter which diet you choose, every diet should include fruits and veggies.

In the process I’ve educated myself  and as a health coach know a lot about different diets and ways of eating. But even before I became a health coach the one thing that stayed consistent and has kept me at optimum health is listening to my body.

Here are some things I learned to help you do the same.

Diets Low in Processed Foods, Dairy, and Gluten

What makes me feel awesome no matter the diet, is consuming lots of fruits and vegetables. I’ve learned that whether I call myself a vegan, vegetarian, raw foodist etc., what makes me feel freaking amazing are whole fruits and vegetables. I’ve also learned by listening to my body that consuming a lot of processed foods that are high in dairy, gluten, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and all the other no-no’s as it concerns a raw vegan diet makes me feel less than awesome.

I’m not strict, and of course living in American society, I do sometimes consume processed foods if I’m in a sticky situation or feel like “cheating”, but for the most part it’s whole fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts & seeds, and other non-animal protein like tofu or tempeh. I don’t want to tell you what diet you should choose, but I’d like to give you some brief information on a few diets that are low in processed foods and high in whole foods.

The following diets are taken from Integrative Nutrition by Joshua Rosenthal from Chapter 4 on Dietary Theory (a great book and read).

Vegan

A vegan diet is one that is consisting of fruits, vegetables, lots of leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. This diet also abstains and restricts all animal products and by-products including dairy, eggs, and honey. Veganism rejects the commodity status of sentient animals, followers often extend this principle into all areas of their lives and oppose the use of animals or animal products in any way.

5 Element Theory

A 5 element theory diet is one that originates from the ancient Chinese belief system that says that we are surrounded by five energy fields: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Keeping these elements in balance promotes harmony in our surroundings, and in ourselves. This theory promotes eating foods from the five phases including grains, tubers, beans, vegetables, and fruits. It restricts meat, sugar, overly processed chemical foods, deep-fried foods, liquor, beer, and wine.

Raw Food

A raw food diet is one that consists of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, nuts, sees, sprouted grains, and seaweed. It encourages that 75 percent of the diet must be raw and also that raw foods are foods that when cooked are cooked under heat no higher that 116 degree Fahrenheit. It restricts meats and dairy products.

Paleo Diet

The paleo diet derives from the philosophy that our bodies are designed to thrive on foods that were available to our early paleolithic ancestors from 10,000 years ago. It encourages foods that are grass-fed, pasture-raised meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts. It restricts grains (flour), beans, dairy products, potatoes, refined sugar, salt, and processed oils.

Ayurveda

This diet is an ancient healing system from India that emphasizes eating in accordance with your individual body type and the seasons. The system promotes health and disease prevention through balancing the mind-body types (also known as doshas). This diet encourages that a basic meal should have something warm, something with protein, a salad and/or vegetables with good oil, spices and flavorings, a small sweet for dessert, walk, and rest. Each meal aims to cover all six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, astringent, and bitter. It restricts foods that are heavily processed, have excess sugar and caffeine, and that have large amounts of animal protein.

Macrobiotics

Macrobiotic means “great life”, and is based on the philosophy that it is best to eat only natural foods, and balancing the yin and yang in the body is important. It encourages whole grains, fresh vegetables, beans, soups, sea vegetables, and fish. It restricts dairy, meat, eggs, refined sugar products, chocolate, tropical fruits, coffee, hot spices, and nightshade vegetables.

There are so many more diets that exist out their and if you are interested you should definitely do some research, but I want to stress the importance of not adopting a diet over what your body is telling you. Your body knows best, and no dietary theory can replace its intelligence.

Listen To Your Body

Did you know that you have an internal healing and intelligence system within you? Your body knows exactly what makes it thrive and gives you the best energy, better moods, and allows you to live with vitality and abundance, all you have to do is listen to it. I discovered this when I started experimenting with different foods from all the diets I was trying. I would try a food and then pay attention to how it would make me feel after I consumed it. I concluded that if I didn’t feel awesome, more clear, more alert, or whatever ‘feel-good’ feeling I was going for then I didn’t need to consume it. It was really that simple.

Here are some clues to help you understand how to listen to your body. Experiment with some of the diets or foods mentioned above. Try different breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners. Keep a food diary for however long you plan on doing the experiment, I’d say at least 3-4 weeks. That way you can have a week dedicated to each of the experiments. Every time you consume a food item write down or take a mental note of how you feel after eating that food, then wait 2-3 hours and write down how you feel again. Do this for every meal.

Start to notice whether a food gives you gas, makes you feel bloated, gives you a boost that lasts, gives you a boost then a crash, makes you feel sleepy, makes you feel grouchy, or makes you feel moody. Now after the experiment is done circle all the foods that made you feel awesome, energetic, alive, and clear and aim to eat more of those foods. Simple.

Here’s a great smoothie recipe you can try for one of your experiments.

Glorious Green Smoothie Recipe

Serves 1-2 Depending on Your Appetite :)Glorious Green Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1-2 pears
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup of compassionate milk (I’m using almond milk)
  • 1 cup of kale
  • 1 cup of pineapple

Directions

Add the kale and compassionate milk into your blender and blend until smooth. Then add the remaining fruits to the blender + some ice if you want it cold and blend until smooth. Then take a moment of gratitude and give thanks for this awesome delicious smoothie and enjoy!

 

Social Media Pic2Rachael Alexander is an Artist, Author, Health Coach, & Mosaic Soul. She is the creator of ENDIGO RAE, Home for Mosaic Souls: Individuals that are using their multifaceted nature to make their lives their art and masterpiece. ENDIGO RAE is a multi-platform lifestyle brand, online blog, and entertainment company that represents Rich Artistic Expression. It chronicles Rachael’s creations on how to be bold, be fearless, and be her most authentic self while helping others at the same time. On the journey to becoming our authentic selves, she focuses on life, health, creativity, and spirituality. Follow Rachael on Facebook, Instagram, and her Blog.