Health

Asparagus: In Season and Better Than Viagra

Before I go into all of the delicious, healthful and medicinal goodness of this amazing member of the lily family, which happens to be in the height of its growing season, I’m chomping at the bit to impart upon you some (wink wink) other perks to eating asparagus. Folks, consider it the vegetable with benefits.

Oysters and…asparagus?

So what's with the winking? Well, unbeknownst to me before writing this post, I now can tell you that asparagus is considered an aphrodisiac. You read it here first.

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A Sugar by Any Other Name Would Taste as Sweet

Sugar is enjoying a resurgence in popularity after years of being vilified for empty calories and its role in things like tooth decay, obesity and diabetes. As the negative effects of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) have become better known, sugar's profile has risen. Cane sugar, as opposed to cheaper beet sugar, has especially benefited from HFCS's bad press; it is actually being touted as a healthful ingredient. Yet cane and beet sugars are highly processed, refined and provide no nutritional value. Other, less refined, sweeteners have some benefits that sugar doesn't. Yet nearly all of them raise blood sugar, and have little nutritive value. So why bother?

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Can Food Heal Spring Allergies?

May in Minnesota is off to a chilly and often cloud-covered start, but I do vividly recollect a too-hot-to-touch steering wheel in April and a stretch of 40-plus degree days in March that turned feet of snow to vapor. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, this is the first year since 1878 that nary a smidgen of snow has fallen during March, a notable anomaly considering that historically, Minnesota receives its heaviest snow during this month.

Not only has this phenomenon significantly affected our farmers, but it has also had a near crippling effect on seasonal allergy sufferers. The symptoms are formidable: fatigue, itchy and burning eyes, sneezing, headache, runny nose, sore throat, brain fog, nasal congestion, depression, and digestive disruption. As snow melts and the spring rains come on, the ground becomes muddy. If the earth is holding on to more water, then so too shall we, causing congestion and allergies for many folks.

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Environmental Working Group and Dr. Andrew Weil Announce 2010 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides

The Enironmental Working Group (EWG) recently released its 2010 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides. (Note: This guide is NOT for shoppers who want to BUY pesticides, but rather for those who want to AVOID them in their food.)

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Good Food is Not (Only) a Class Issue

A few alarming statistics:

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Taking Antibiotics? There's a Good Chance Your Food Is

Last Monday, Brenda Langton hosted a special buffet at Spoonriver, her Minneapolis restaurant. This event, co-sponsored by the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, featured a delicious selection of naturally raised meats provided by local farmers Mike and Colleen Braucher of Sunshine Harvest Farm, and Doug and Connie Karstens of the Lamb Shop. While the food was a glorious celebration of spring, the purpose of the evening was dead serious: to discuss the problem of antibiotic resistance and the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA).

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Food Fear Factor: What Foods Are You Afraid Of?

No, this is not a discussion about eating worms or bugs or balut or any of the other less-than-savory things they ate on that show that I never watched. I’m talking about the food myths that have become mainstream “knowledge” and have catapulted the sale of some dubious health and diet books, many of which have thankfully faded into near oblivion. Think T-Factor Diet. Or Atkins for Life.

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Announcing the Winners of Our School Lunch Challenge

Friends, the time has come. We laughed. We cried. (Okay, mostly we cried.) We shared great stories and strong feelings. We ate lunch with our kids and lived to tell engaging stories about the terrific lunch ladies (and cook managers) in our schools; our country's restrictions, policies, and prices; and how much ranch dressing you can put on a piece of pizza.

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Are Non-Stick Pans Safe to Cook with?

Unless you’re in a professional kitchen where a non-stick pan doesn’t have a chance of survival then there’s a pretty good chance that you have at least one Teflon™ or non-stick pan in your cupboard.  Just as we revisited the plastics in our drawers and the cans in our pantries, it’s time to look at our cookware, too.

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Observations from a School Lunch with My Kids - and the Cook Manager

Today is the deadline for entries for the “Eat Lunch with Your Kids” contest. Thanks to all of you who have sent such terrific stories about your school lunch with your sons and daughters. If you haven't sent us your entry, please do so today -- or you’ll miss your chance to win a one-year supply of Organic Valley milk and much more!

Although I’m not allowed participate in the contest, I did commit to eating lunch at school with my twin eight-year-olds. And taking pictures and writing about it. So two weeks ago, I packed their lunches (as I usually do) and planned to meet them at 12:00 sharp in the school cafeteria -- only they would be eating Annie's organic, whole-wheat macaroni and cheese with peas; Gala apples; Minneola tangerines; local carrots; and organic lemonade, and I would be eating:

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