Health

Ravishing Radishes Make Sweet and Spicy Snacks

Cherry Belle, French Breakfast, White Icicle, Plum Purple – these are just a few varieties of summer radishes that are garnering attention in the produce aisle and at farmers’ markets and gracing CSA (community supported agriculture) boxes. The jewel-toned beauties we’ve been receiving from our CSA are fat and gorgeous, almost too pretty to eat. We ogle, then quickly get them into a salad, or slice for a quick and cooling snack as these sweet and spicy nuggets keep in the refrigerator only for a short time.

This root crop can mature in as little as three weeks, which, for those with gardens, is about as close to instant gratification as growing your own vegetables can get. If left in the ground too long, they can get woody, pithy and mighty spicy, so it’s okay to get greedy with your radish reaping.

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July is a Berry Good Time for Nature's Candy

Have you ever had the pleasure of picking berries right from a garden or gathering wild berries in the woods? Berries, with all of their natural, juicy sweetness and beautiful gem-toned colors, are truly gifts from nature. They’re gorgeous and bursting with sweet, earthy flavor. So make haste, as now is the time of year to head out with your basket and sun hat to gather the season’s treasures.

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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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