Monthly Archives: January 2010

Vitamins for Women: Down for the Count: the 5 Second Rule

I dropped a piece of steak on the kitchen floor the other night. Didn’t mean to, it just sort of slipped right off the plate.

Being a pragmatist who has lived on a Dakota farm, raised commercial Polypay sheep and Arabian horses, camped in the wilderness, cooked on a wood stove, tanned my own buckskin, as well as having visited the interior of Mexico and eaten dog with indigenous peoples, I picked it up, rinsed it off, and proceeded to grill it (medium please, no pink for me).

Polypay Ewes

My 24-year-old daughter was aghast.  She paled, backed away, shook her head, and made sure her steak was on the opposite side of the grill.  “Gross, Mom, how can you?” was her response.  Notice that she did not offer me her steak…

I think we live in a world that is obsessed with diseases and germs and the avoidance of casual physical contact.   Can’t touch or hug students in school any more, never talk to strangers, please don’t kiss the baby….everywhere you look are anti-bacterial soaps and wipes that kill bacteria indiscriminately, the good along with the bad and the ugly.  Not that cleanliness isn’t good…and please do wash your hands with soap, but…

God forbid that our kids get dirty.  Can you remember the last time you saw a muddy child?  We don’t put our hands in the soil; we pay to have our petunias planted and our lawns mown.  We spurn and avoid the microbes and bacteria we need to survive…..that should live in harmonic co-existence.

Anyway, I digress, so let’s get back to the dropped steak…..

I looked online for references to spilled food, and found a great article written in 2007 about the 5 Second Rule.  A couple of students from the University of Connecticut experimented with dropped foods, and came up with a flow chart to help you decide if you should or shouldn’t eat dropped foodstuffs.  Interestingly enough they expanded the 5 Second Rule, and determined it could be more properly called the 30 Second Rule.

You can study the image of their flow chart for yourself and feel free to use if you ever find yourself faced with the choice, “Do I eat this or not?”

Flow Chart 5 Second Rule: I

Now, according to the National Center for Disease Control, food borne illnesses are not serious for most of the 76 million Americans who contract them every year. Although 300,000 of those 76M  are hospitalized and of those, 5,000 do die, the CDC points out that most of the deaths are the very young, people with compromised immune systems, and the elderly.

Foodstuffs dropped on dry floors are the best bets for safe eating if they are first  rinsed/washed and then thoroughly cooked.

Don’t mess around with food dropped on moist or sticky floors, or areas of public traffic.

Oh, and by the way, my steak was delicious, and no…I have not suffered any illness from it.

Be safe, take your women vitamins,  and be blessed, Kersten



Women Vitamins: Consider the Pesticides:12 Fruits and Veggies Good to Go!

While researching on the topic of the 12 fruits and vegetables that rank highest with residue, I conversely came across the 12 foods with least pesticide residue.
  • onions
  • avocado
  • sweet corn
  • pineapple
  • mango
  • asparagus
  • sweet peas
  • kiwi
  • cabbage
  • eggplant
  • papaya
  • watermelon
Now if you are like me, you believe that buying and eating organic fruits and vegetables could be your answer to lessening the contamination in your food.  And to a point you may be correct.  Ask the guy at the farmers’ market, talk to the produce manager…but know this:  Organic Farming does NOT equal pure, pesticide and insecticide free produce....
James E. McWilliams wrote a book called: Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly.  In Just Food , McWilliams focuses on 5 points:
  1. global food production is more fuel-efficient and more economically necessary (for developing countries that need export markets) than is local food production/consumption (“locovorism”)
  2. organic farming is no more healthy for people and for the land than is “wisely practiced” conventional agriculture
  3. genetically modified crops, in the right hands, should not be feared and are in fact necessary to feed the tens of  billions of people who will live on this planet by 2050
  4. we must drastically reduce our production and consumption of meat animals and non-farmed fish
  5. we must get rid of “perverse” subsidies that undercut fair trade
Coming from Dakota, I can understand his message.  Commercial farming, at least on small, family owned farms, is usually efficient, economical, and affordable.  Farmers do not want to over fertilize nor do they want to over pesticide.
Many are turning to sustainable practices, and most already are prime examples of living and working in an  environmentally friendly manner.
Like their grandfathers, they till alfalfa fields under, every 3 or 4 years to return nitrogen to the soil.

Image via Wikipedia

They conserve areas and harvest for local wildlife, they are practicing “no-till” planting which cuts down on equipment usage and therefore cuts down on fuel consumption, it also revitalizes the soil with decaying/composting the last harvest’s stubble.  They utilize manure for fertilizing soil, and rotate crops.
Genetically engineered seeds are resistant to many bugs and fungi, therefore eliminating the use of some pesticides and fertilizers.
I disagree with his 4th point, although some of the larger commercial farms practice steroidal and antibiotic regimes that are overly aggressive and can lead to a trickle down effect in the food chain.
The 5th item is not only important to our food but also to our economy.  Our government subsidizes agriculture, both domestic and foreign.  The domestic subsidies are a form of control.  The government rigidly watches what and where and how much a farmer plants.  Many farmers are paid to NOT farm….ironic when there is still global hunger and famine.
More ironic are the unfair subsidies given to foreign farmers (sic: Australian wool and lamb) that actually lowers the American market prices and forces many farmers to abandon family farms.
I raised commercial ewes in Dakota, and one year we got $0.05/pound of raw fleece which did not even pay the shearing costs.  At the same time,  the US government was paying over $0.30/pound for Australian wool.
Needless to say, we didn’t sell our wool that year, nor the next.  We stored it in the barn and waited 3 years for the market to marginally rise.
But that’s a whole ‘nother story as my kids would say.
Keep an open and informed mind about your foods.  Take your vitamins for women and be blessed, Kersten
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Women Vitamins: 10 Antioxidants from Whole Foods

Humans live on the energy produced by the oxidation process where oxygen triggers the burning of glucose and fat.
Stress, ultraviolet rays, cigarette smoke, and vigorous workouts tend to cause oxygen to change into free radicals that can  join with other compounds and attack cells causing damage to our bodies.
Having a larger percentage of free radicals can:
  • Lead to infections
  • Speed up the aging process by oxidizing cell walls, deteriorating functions of organs, and causing aging effects such as wrinkling
  • Damage genes leading to cancer
  • Oxidize cholesterol, changing it into “bad” cholesterol causing high blood pressure and arterial sclerosis
  • Narrow blood vessels which may cause heart attacks and strokes and deteriorates functions of tissues due to      blood flow blockage
  • Stimulated by ultraviolet rays, create melanin, causing skin blotches and freckles

Vitamins A, E, and C  and  zinc and selenium are excellent sources of antioxidants.  Multivitamins with minerals can and do help protect you from free radical damage.  However, it is also imperative to utilize sound eating practices and there are several wonderful sources of antioxidants found in whole foods (foods that are close to natural in form and not processed in a plant).

So, if you are looking for reliable sources of antioxidants these ten foods are your best bet:

Berries are a wonderful source of antioxidants

Berries especially blackberries, blueberries and raspberries are high in proanthocyanidins. These antioxidants help prevent both heart disease and various cancers. Strawberries, blackberries and raspberries all contain ellagic acid, a compound that seems to neutralise carcinogens.

Broccoli contains a compound called indole-3-carbinol (I3C) a strong antioxidant with the ability to break down oestrogen. Reduced levels of oestrogen have been found to lower the likelihood of developing breast cancer, cervical cancer and cancer of the ovary. Another important antioxidant present in broccoli is beta carotene that helps protect against heart disease and various cancers.

Carrots when cooked, contain a potent antioxidant, beta carotene, that offers some protection against a variety of types of cancers, particularly lung,breast, bladder, stomach and esophageal cancers.  Beta carotene also reduces heart disease.

Garlic has certain anti-fungal properties, lowers cholesterol levels and reduces blood pressure. Studies also suggest that the intake of garlic helps prevent the onset of cancer.

Soy contains genistein and isoflavone, it reduces low density lipoprotien (LDL cholesterol) which in turn, reduces the chances of developing heart disease and reduces susceptibility to colon, breast and prostate cancers.

Spinach contains lutein which is the main pigment in  the section of the eye  most sensitive to light, the macula.  As we age this pigment may decrease and we cannot manufacture this pigment. However lutein, is  found in spinach and studies indicate that people who regularly eat spinach have lessened macular damage and cataracts.

Tea contains catechins (present in green tea) and theaflavins (found in black tea) are antioxidants that are both beneficial in neutralizing free radicals. Studies have shown that drinking either green or black tea significantly reduces the risk of cancer, strokes, and heart disease. Green tea is the most powerful antioxidant beverage known today.

Tomatoes and pink grapefruit contain lycopene, one of the rarer carotenoids, that has twice the antioxidant effects of beta carotene. Studies show that lycopene reduces the likelihood of developing colon, lung, and breast cancers.  Adult males who include tomatoes or tomato based products such as tomato sauce in their diets, have a lesser incidence of prostate cancer. Cooked tomatoes are most beneficial and  eating tomatoes with some olive oil is the best  because lycopene is fat soluble and can therefore enter the system more readily if accompanied by some form of oil or fat.

Whole Grains are a good source of Vitamin E, a very powerful antioxidant found to help protect against various cancers, particularly cancer of the prostate. Vitamin E strengthens the immune system and slows down the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Whole grains are also high in phytic acid (IP-6), a strong antioxidant shown to help protect against breast, liver, and colon cancers.

Red Grapes and red wine contain quercetin and resveratrol.  Resveratrol helps protect against cancers, and reduces the likelihood of having a stroke, developing inflammatory diseases, or osteoporosis.

Eat wisely, exercise, and be blessed, Kersten