Delves into Four Food Myths

 

A tall glass of milk
Photo: Krzysztof Puszczyński

Today, healthy eating has taken foodie culture by storm. Magazines dedicated to the gluten free and Paleo diets are displayed prominently in our supermarket checkout line. Plant based diets are on the rise and more restaurants — from quick eats to fine dining — are including fresher, healthier options. Even McDonald’s has tested adding meals to its menu that contain egg whites, kale and Greek yogurt. With the proliferation of healthy food, it’s also important to decipher what is fact and fiction. We’ve decided to get to the bottom of a few mood myths that many of us believe to be true about the foods we eat. Here’s what we found.

Food Myths Explained

  1. Milk makes you grow taller. Don’t you remember the eye-catching and popular got milk? ads? According to a Modern Farmer article, the science isn’t clear whether dairy milk really does help kids’ growth. This doesn’t mean to skip out on the nutritious beverage — it contains significant amounts of calcium, VitaminsB1, and magnesium, which are essential for a well-balanced diet.
  2. Orange carrots lay on a wood table
    Photo: Jonathan Pielmayer

    Eating carrots helps your eyesight. In short, the answer is sort of. The bright root veggie contains beta-carotene, the pigment that gives carrots their orange color. The body then uses it to make Vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy vision. But in Scientific American, Emily Chew, deputy clinical director at the National Eye Institute, suggests eating leafy green vegetables. Why? They contain lutein and zeaxanthin which protect against UV damage and help thwart age-related macular degeneration (which beta-carotene cannot.) Our Living Watercress, in fact, contains lutein and zeaxanthin!

  3. All Fat is bad for you. Knowing the difference between “good” and “bad” fat is important. Foods like nuts, salmon, olive oil and avocados contain unsaturated fat, which can actually decrease your risk of heart disease. Red meat, fried foods and palm oil, on the other hand, contain saturated and trans fats, and should be limited in a healthy diet to avoid high cholesterol, among other health issues.
  1. Carbs are the enemy. “Science makes the answer pretty clear: no. While bread, pasta and sugar are hard-to-resist sources of calories without much in the way of nutrition, other carbohydrate-heavy foods — whole grains, legumes and fruit — are nutrient-rich,” writes The Washington Post.  

For a variety of healthy and tasty recipes, check out our blog archives.

 

 

 

Power Up Your Fruits and Veggies for National Nutrition Month

 

Apple Romaine Lettuce Cups are arranged a bright yellow and orange plate that sits atop a wooden tableThis month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is raising awareness about national nutrition. 2017’s slogan “Put Your Best Fork Forward” acts as a reminder that each bite counts. This got us thinking about snacking and how it fits into a well-balanced diet. In a Cleveland Clinic Wellness article, Janel Ovrut, MS, RD. says, “If you go more than five hours between meals, a nutritious snack can tie you over so you don’t overeat when you sit down to lunch or dinner.”

In that case, it’s good to be prepared. Rebecca Subbiah, registered dietitian and founder of Chow and Chatter based in Winston-Salem, NC, suggests keeping healthy snacks on hand at home and on-the-go to avoid succumbing to junk food when hunger calls. Her recommendations are packing a piece of fruit, nuts and yogurt when out and about, and keeping a well-stocked fruit bowl and healthy snacks in the pantry at home. If nutritious, flavorful options are readily available then making the healthy choice will be a no brainer. We can’t wait to try Rebecca’s recipe for Apple Chips and popcorn with Parmesan and Za’atar spice. Both snacks are low in calories and high in fiber — great for a well-balanced diet.

Speaking of fiber…What your grandma may fondly refer to as “roughage” is the indigestible part of plant foods that aid digestion. It can also help you stay fuller longer. Subbiah recommends filling half of your plate with fiber-rich vegetables, legumes and whole grains such as oatmeal, lentils, and broccoli.

Another low-calorie and high-fiber snack is our Lettuce Wraps with Crunchy Apple Salad. Did you know? One large apple has a whopping 5 grams of fiber. For an afternoon treat, try these delicious wraps during National Nutrition Month. They’re sure to turn into a year-round favorite!

For more about Rebecca Subbiah RDN (US and UK), LDN, go to her website, blog and follow her on Twitter @chowandchatter

Lettuce Wrap with Crunchy Apple Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Head of Pete's Living Greens Butter Lettuce or Baby Romaine
  2. ½ Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  3. 2 TB Orange Juice
  4. 2 TB Orange Zest
  5. 1/2 Tsp Garam Masala
  6. 1 Cup Grated Carrot
  7. ½ Cup Chopped Celery
  8. 1 Red Apple, Cored, Chopped
  9. 2 Green Apples, Cored, Chopped
  10. 1 Cup Red Seedless Grapes, Halved
  11. ½ Cup Golden Raisins (or chopped dates)
  12. ½ Cup Chopped Roasted and Salted Cashews
Instructions
  1. Mix the yogurt, orange juice, orange zest and Garam Masala in a small bowl to blend. (You can prepare this dressing up to a day ahead of time)
  2. Add the grated carrot, diced celery, diced apples, halved grapes, raisins or dates and cashews to a bowl. Add the dressing to salad and toss.
  3. Cut the roots off the head of the lettuce and lay a leaf out flat. Place a couple of tablespoons of the salad in the leaf and repeat with the remaining leaves.
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/

 

Celebrating American Heart Month with Healthy Recipes

 

Copy of Heart healthy monthAs we enter the month of February, decorative hearts and cupids occupy neighborhood storefronts. Decadent boxes of chocolates and candies inscribed with “LUV” and “Be Mine” tantalize in the aisles of the grocery store. But before you reach for a few truffles, read this cardiovascular wellness post during American Heart Month.

According to the CDC,  about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year – that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Though genetics can play a role, there are several ways that you can thwart your chances of developing cardiovascular disease. One way is through diet. A variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans and nuts is essential to maintaining a heart healthy lifestyle. Within a heart healthy diet, The American Heart Association recommends including dark leafy greens daily. Kale, collard greens and varieties like our own Watercress and Baby Romaine are packed with nutrients and minerals. “[Green veggies] are high in carotenoids, which act as antioxidants and free your body of potentially harmful compounds. They’re also high in fiber and contain tons of vitamins and minerals,” says health.com.

Need a few weeknight #hearthealthy dinner ideas? We’ve got you covered!

Food52’s Sardine, Avocado and Radish Salad with Upland Cress – This recipe is covered head-to-toe in hearty nutritional goodness. Sardines are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which, research has shown, can decrease risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats). Rich in the monounsaturated fats, avocadoes may lower heart disease risk factors. To round out the dish, cruciferous veggies upland cress and radishes pack a punch with cancer-fighting properties.

Whole Food’s Watercress Salad with Pears and Pomegranates – “Pomegranates contains numerous antioxidants, including heart-promoting polyphenols and anthocyanins which may help stave off hardening of the arteries,” reports health.com. Additionally, the luminous fruit and peppery watercress both possess an ample amount of vitamin c.

Brown Sugar’s Romaine Lettuce Chicken Salad Wraps – Romaine lettuce is a versatile green. With more more vitamin A than a carrot, the hearty lettuce makes an excellent stand in for a wrap or sandwich bread in this recipe. In this rendition of chicken salad, Brown Sugar includes walnuts. In a 2011 study, findings suggested that walnuts may be the top nut for heart health. What are you waiting for? Get crackin’!

For more heart healthy recipe ideas, check out our latest Pinterest board.

Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

 

Handwashing, tea steeping, someone meditating and a woman sleeping in a bedDid you know? The influenza virus may survive better in colder, drier climates, and therefore be able to infect more people in the winter reports Harvard University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences blog. 

With the holidays behind us and a long winter ahead, it’s important to protect yourself and family against the nasty flu and pesky cold. To help, we’ve come up with a few tips to stay healthy.

  1. Add watercress to your daily diet as a vitamin booster. Based on its nutrient-to-calorie ratio, watercress is ranked highest on the nutrient scale. It even has as much vitamin C as an orange. Vitamin C helps the body fight again against immune system deficiencies and the common cold.
  2. Stay hydrated. “Your mucous membranes and the immune cells in their secretions defend against cold viruses, and they can’t work as well if you’re dehydrated,” says Dr. Jamey Wallace, MD, chief medical officer at Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle in Prevention. Herbal tea on a chilly day is a great way to stay hydrated. Try our Trifecta Tea made with our Living Watercress here
  3. Wash and dry your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap frequently. According to waterandhealth.org, “It is important to dry hands thoroughly after washing because some bacteria remain on hands after washing, and these bacteria are more easily spread via wet hands than dry ones.”
  4. Get enough sleep. When you don’t get a sufficient amount of sleep (7-9 hours of quality sleep is recommended for adults) it makes it more challenging for your body to stave off an infection. In fact researchers of one study found that exposed subjects to a common cold virus and those who slept less than 6 hours a night during the prior week were 4 times more likely to get a cold.
  5. Meditate and exercise. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin – Madison found that individuals, “involved in mindfulness training can reduce the incidence, duration or severity of acute respiratory infections (ARI) by 40 to 50 percent and the use of exercise can reduce symptoms by 30 to 40 percent.” Need helping getting started? Our very own Charlene Rodriguez, a wellness and fitness expert, shares a few exercising and mindfulness tips here. 

Keep Your Immune System Strong with Watercress Tea and Other Self Care Tips

 

Fall The crisp fall air often feels refreshing. Yet as temperatures dip and we find ourselves indoors more, influenza (AKA the flu) cases tend to increase during the month of October. Now in midst of school, activities and household responsibilities, it’s easy for families to begin to feel a bit run down. To help, we’re sharing a few self-care tips to keep your immune system strong.

Drink lots of fluids!

Most health experts, recommend the “8×8” rule, which is eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. However, your intake depends on a variety of factors, including physical activity, where you live and whether you’re pregnant. Staying hydrated doesn’t mean other fluids are out of the question. Fresh juices, infused waters and herbal teas are also healthy options and can contribute towards your daily intake.

We’re quite smitten with Alternative Daily’s watercress tea recipe. Not only will this tea keep you hydrated, it also will support a healthy immune system. For the complete recipe, go to Alternative Daily.

Get regular exercise!

As we reported in last week’s post, experts recommend three 25-minute sessions of high intensity exercise or five to six 30-minute sessions of moderate intensity exercise each week.  According to Harvard Health Publications, “Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.”

If you find yourself crunched for time, try these exercises suggested by personal trainer Garnet Henderson that can be done in your office, hotel room or even between appointments.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables!

Diet plays a part in a healthy immune system. The USDA recommends filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables (or 5-9 servings per day). Fruits and vegetables full of Vitamins C, A and D are especially helpful when staving off a cold.

Did you know? Our Living Watercress and Upland Cress have as much vitamin C as an orange and romaine lettuce has more vitamin A than a carrot. One of our favorite cold-remedies is our very own hearty watercress vegetable soup. Try it today!

Don’t forget to breath!

Deep breathing helps in times of stress. In fact, if the body is faced with constant stress this can have a negative effect on your immune system according to Harvard Health Publications. We love Time’s 6 Breathing Exercises to Relax in 10 Minutes or Less.

And if that doesn’t do the trick, “Romaine Calm” as Call Me Artsy reminds us!

Running into Fall: Eat Leafy Greens to Give Your Athletic Performance a Boost

 

A woman runs as the sun sets. Two images for leafy green salads accompany the runner photo.Marathon running may not be synonymous with fall pastimes like sipping pumpkin lattes or heading to the cider mill. Yet, thousands of diligent individuals are preparing for half and full marathons around the world this season. These athletes have to properly cross-train, fit in ample training time and stretch to successfully complete their goals. They also have to be mindful of what they eat. In fact, intense bouts of physical activity like marathon running deplete one’s antioxidant levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, plant-based foods, like Pete’s Living Upland Cress and Organic Watercress, are the best sources of antioxidants.

 Why are these substances important?

“Powerful antioxidants found in dark leafy greens, including lettuce, can benefit athletes by reducing damage to cells during exercise and in recovery,” says Barbara Ruhs, Arizona-based Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Expert. “In addition, leafy greens are a source of hydration and a variety of vitamins (vitamin C), minerals (potassium, magnesium) and nutrients (fiber) that may enhance athletic performance.”

When our bodies undergo physical exertion, we produce free radicals, and there is evidence linking free radical production to the process of aging and DNA and cell damage. Ruhs mentions a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition that found that subjects who consumed watercress daily before working out, experienced less DNA damage than their non-consuming watercress counterparts.

You don’t have to be a marathon runner to reap the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise regime.  The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week.  Our Pete’s Living Greens products are an excellent addition to a well-balanced diet for active individuals of all levels. Peruse our blog and Facebook page, for a variety of nutritional yet tasty recipes.

You can find Barbara Ruhs on Twitter at @BarbRuhsRD, Facebook, Pinterest and on http://www.neighborhoodnutrition.com/

 

Pete’s Living Greens Celebrates Family Meals Month – You Can Too!

 

In 2015, the FMI Foundation launched the family meals movement to help American families achieve the goal of sharing one more family meal each week at home with items from the grocery store. 

The family meals movement culminates this September with National Family Meals Month™, and we invite you to join us in celebrating! Tell us or show us with a photo what’s for dinner at your family table on social media (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter) and tag us @PetesLivingGreens and use the hashtag #Familymealsmonth.

This initiative hits close to home for our Vice President of Sales Brian Cook. We’ve asked him along with his family to share why eating together is important to them.


Top: The Cook Family; Bottom Right: Cauliflower Tabbouleh Living Butter Lettuce Cups by http://www.livingandeatingwell.com/
Top: The Cook Family; Bottom Right: Cauliflower Tabbouleh Living Butter Lettuce Cups by http://www.livingandeatingwell.com/

Brian: Since the kids were little we always had dinner together. It was one of the unbroken rules at the house. Everyone was to be home for dinner and if someone was at practice or other extracurricular activity, we waited, at least until they became teenagers. I loved that no one really ever complained either. Since we started the tradition so young they knew what to expect and if it was going to be a late dinner, we would have a snack.

The outcome? We all continue to be really close. Well, as close as we could be. My son, Saige, and daughter, Peyton, are on their own and away. We miss them dearly around the dinner table. I pray that they will keep the tradition when they start their families, which I hope is not too soon.

Dinners changed as the kids grew and frankly, we got older. Our young, very active family was happy with mac and cheese and pasta. But as they got older and didn’t want us hovering at practice, we began making more in-depth meals such as enchilada casserole, tacos and other comfort food since we had more time. Now, we enjoy a healthy eating lifestyle and have stayed very active together: walking and hiking together regularly. Dinner comes in the form of increased fruits and vegetables with smaller portions of protein. I threw a fit at first but feel much better since we’ve move to this route.

I love having dinner with the family because it is the one time things are still and many laughs are had. I asked the family their reasons for enjoying dinner and have shared those with you below. Wishing you all the very best and a great dinner….TOGETHER.

Jeanette (Mom) – I love to eat dinner with the family so we can stay connected.

Alynna (Daughter, 20) – Food and family are very important to me (she’s a chef) and it’s cool that they can come together.

Peyton (Daughter, 19) – I enjoyed talking about what’s happening in everyone’s life while enjoying a good meal.

Savannah (Daughter, 16) – Feels that eating together makes food taste that much better. 😉


The Cook Family can’t wait to try our new Cauliflower Tabbouleh Lettuce Cups During Family Meals Month!

Cauliflower Tabbouleh in Butter Lettuce Cups
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Head of Pete's Living Greens Butter Lettuce, conventional or organic
  2. 1 Head Cauliflower (or 2 bags florets)
  3. 2 Large Tomatoes, chopped
  4. 1 Cup Chopped Parsley
  5. ¼ Cup Chopped Mint
  6. 3 TB Lemon Juice
  7. ¼ Cup EVOO
  8. Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Instructions
  1. Pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor, or chop them by hand, until they are small bits resembling grains.
  2. Toss with chopped tomatoes, chopped parsley and mint, lemon juice and olive oil.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Spoon into the Pete's Living Greens Butter Lettuce cups and serve.
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/

Throwback Thursday: Living Watercress Plays a Key Role in UV Safety Month

Watercress SunglassesLast year we wrote about the importance of UV Safety Month and this July is no different. As our patrons and their families spend increasing time outdoors this season, we feel it’s vital to revisit this informative post.

While we gather with friends and family for barbecues, travel to vacation houses and head to the beach, it’s important to protect our skin. Long-term sun exposure not only causes sunburn but it can also lead to a number of vision complications, including Photokeratitis (corneal sunburn that can result in temporary vision loss), corneas, and even skin cancer around the eyelids.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology says wearing hats, avoiding staring at the sun, checking medication side effects and driving with sunglasses are excellent ways to protect your eyes.

In addition to these precautions, including certain fruits and vegetables, like our Living Watercress, in your diet also promotes eye health. Medical News Today says that two cups of watercress contains 48% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C and 44% of vitamin A. According to the American Optometric Association, “scientific evidence suggests vitamin C lowers the risk of developing cataracts, and when taken in combination with other essential nutrients, can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and visual acuity loss.”

“Your eye also needs vitamin A to nourish other parts of your eye, including the cornea… Without enough vitamin A, your eyes cannot produce enough moisture to keep them properly lubricated,” reports the American Academy of Opthalmology.

In addition to its vitamin A and C power, watercress and upland cress contain lutein — an antioxidant found most notably in dark green leafy vegetables. Lutein has been found to support eye health and vision.  And it’s crucial to eye health because it protects against UV damage before it can damage the sensitive part of the retina that is vital to detailed sight. [Bausch + Lomb]

Incorporating our Living Watercress or Upland Cress into your summer bites is simple. Add it in your sandwich or mix a handful of it into your lunchtime salad. Begin taking care of your eyes and skin this summer by picking up Live Gourmet brand Living Upland Cress and Grower Pete’s Organic brand Living Watercress!

Show Some Culinary Love this Valentine’s Day During American Heart Month

 

OV26AOMUMIFebruary is American Heart Month, and according to the CDC, nearly 1 in 3 deaths in the US each year is caused by heart disease and stroke. At least 200,000 deaths from heart disease and stroke each year are preventable. What can you do prevent heart disease? Stop smoking, incorporate a daily exercise regime, and maintain a healthy and balanced diet says the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Eating foods such as leafy greens and vibrantly colored fruits that contain flavonoids, plant compounds found in various foods and drinks, are rich antioxidants that are thought to help prevent cell damage. A Finnish study concluded that a high intake of flavonoids could be protective against heart disease.

Our Living Watercress and Upland Cress are among those fruits and vegetables that are excellent sources of flavonoids and other impactful antioxidants. Show some culinary love this Valentine’s Day by preparing a meal that’s heart healthy and high in vitamins and minerals.

datwatercresssssssFirst, pick up our Grower Pete’s Brand Organic Living Watercress or Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress at your local market. Then, start with Food Network UK’s Bruschetta with Gorgonzola, Balsamic Figs, Mint and Watercress or Food 52’s Oyster’s Rockefeller (which are thought to be an aphrodisiac) with Watercress and Greens. Is your sweetheart a vegetarian? Don’t fret. You can still cook a romantic meal that meets both of your dietary needs without sacrificing flavor, like Sainsburys Magazine’s Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Watercress Mint Pesto. Last, but certainly not least, indulge in a bottle of red wine or dark chocolate. They too are rich in flavonoids!

Make Homemade Tea with our Living Watercress

 

IMG_1445Tea has been consumed for over 4,000 years for its association with good health, its calming effect and as a social custom amongst cultures around the world. Ask people how they like their tea and you’re bound to get a variety of responses: black tea with milk and sugar, the currently popular Japanese Matcha or loose leaf tea brewed with an infuser. Whatever your preference, the beverage offers numerous benefits, including helping keep inflammation at bay and increasing bone density.

Maximize your cup of tea by adding vitamin-rich plants to your daily cup. Country Living Magazine recommends using a combination of greens, herbs — we recommend  North Shore Living Herbs — and edible flowers to create a balanced pot of tea that is both healthy and soothing. Our Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress and Live Gourmet Upland Cress are robust additions, not only for their peppery flavor but also for their superfood properties. Our cress products contain as much vitamin C as an orange, more calcium than milk, high levels of magnesium, lutein, phosphorous, potassium, iron, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, B1, B6, K, and E.

Though you can easily purchase an assortment of herbal and caffeinated varieties at your local grocer, be a botanist for a day and make your own tea on a quiet afternoon. We’ve included our own recipe for you to try!

Live Gourmet’s Trifecta Tea
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. Equal parts (about ½ cup of each) of: our organic watercress or upland cress,
  2. lavender & edible flowers
  3. 8 cups of water
Instructions
  1. Boil 8 cups of water
  2. Wash your greens, flowers and herbs thoroughly
  3. Add your ingredients to a French press or tea infuser
  4. Pour the water over your tea ingredients and let steep for 10 minutes
  5. If using a French press, lower the plunger down slowly. If using an infuser, remove it from the pot or mug. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. For an extensive list of ingredient recommendations go to Country Living Magazine: http://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/a478/herbal-teas-0906/
Adapted from Country Living Magazine
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/