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  • Keep Your Nutrition Stored for the Long Term

    It’s a brand new year, and time for the customary list of New Year’s resolutions. Raise your hand if you have “lose weight” as a New Year’s resolution … again? (I won’t mention how many years it’s been on my list.)

    Last week, U.S. News and World Report ranked 38 popular diet plans. All of the best plans had one thing in common: an emphasis on fruit and vegetables.

    veggies nutrition

    “People who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Vegetables provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body,” says choosemyplate.gov, a U.S. Department of Agriculture site to promote healthy, nutrition-rich eating.

    Let’s call it how it is: fresh food is almost always better for you. However, what if you’re in a survival situation where fresh food is hard to come by? Or, what if you want the convenience of pre-packaged foods without all the additives? Freeze-dried foods and canned foods can help fill those needs.

    For example, let’s take this recipe, from the Mayo Clinic, for the DASH diet and the Mayo Clinic diet. The DASH diet was ranked the best by U.S. News and World Report experts. The Mayo Clinic diet was ranked fourth. By the way, I’m not promoting any diet plan. How can I promote something I can’t stay on?

    Here’s the original recipe:


    shepherdspie3col nutritionShepherd's Pie

    By Mayo Clinic Staff

    Serves 6


    2 medium russet potatoes, cut into nickel-sized cubes

    1 teaspoon olive oil

    1/2 cup chopped onions

    1/2 cup chopped carrots

    1 pound lean ground beef

    1/2 pound ground turkey breast

    1 tablespoon tomato paste

    1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

    1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

    1/4 teaspoon black pepper

    2 cups chicken stock

    1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

    1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed

    1 cup skim milk

    1 tablespoon butter

    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


    Heat the oven to 400 F. Place the potatoes in a medium pot with water and bring to a boil.

    While the potatoes are cooking, heat oil over medium heat. Sautee the onions and carrots until tender. Add the beef and turkey. Break apart the meat and stir frequently. When the meat is thoroughly cooked, add the tomato paste, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Add the stock and cook for 10 minutes; stir in the peas and corn. Cook the mixture down until most of the stock is absorbed; place the mixture in a casserole dish.

    When potatoes are soft, drain off the water. Then return potatoes to the pot over medium heat. Add the milk, butter and salt. Using an electric mixer or potato masher, mash the potatoes to a smooth consistency. Spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the top of the meat mixture and bake for 20 minutes or until slightly golden brown around the edges. Serve hot.


    Now, let’s say you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to chop up onions, potatoes and carrots. You’re just mashing the potatoes. Instant mashed potatoes might be the fastest substitute, because they contain milk, salt, pepper, and butter flavor. If you don’t like the additives, consider using freeze-dried potatoes, which contain salt. Other food storage-based options include rinsed canned potatoes.

    To save more time, use freeze-dried onions, and carrots, which are already cut.

    Nearly all the ingredients in this recipe can be kept on shelves in food storage. So even if you’re, say, in a tough period and need to use food storage, you still have healthy food.

    Potatoes contain potassium, and diets with a lot of potassium may help keep healthy blood pressure, according to ChooseMyPlate.gov.

    In addition to giving strong flavor, one onion has only 63 calories, and provides up to 20 percent of daily requirement of vitamin C, according to WebMD.

    One carrot provides 200 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin A, according to WebMD.

    According to WebMD, a ¾ cup serving of peas has more protein than a whole egg or a tablespoon of peanut butter, less than one gram of fat and no cholesterol.

    Now, a caveat to replacing fresh food with preserved. When you buy food for storage, check the labels. A lot of canned and dried foods have added salt and sugar. If you use something like beans canned with salt, rinse them well first.


    Blog Image nutrition

  • 5 Flu-Fighting Foods You Should Be Eating

    Sick guy - flu

    Ug. Being sick with the flu is awful. Your energy is gone, your body is on fire, and those aches and pains just won’t go away! If that’s something you’re in to, then by all means, have at it. But if you’re like me and don’t appreciate being all kinds of sick, you’ll love learning about this little trick to overcoming the flu much faster.

    It’s called nutrition, and it’s going to help you kick that flu in the proverbial pants.

    As I’m sure you’re well aware, it’s important to eat healthily so as to keep your body in tip-top shape. But did you know that some foods will actually go out of their way to fend off the invading flu virus better than others? It’s true! In fact, Byron J. Richards’ Wellness Resources website states that “basic nutrition can make a profound difference in fighting the flu,” and if we as a nation were to improve our general nutrition, the severity and reach of the flu would be greatly diminished. Sounds about right, don't you think?

    So what can you eat to help fight the flu? I give you, fair reader, five foods that will help boost your immune system.

    1. Garlic

    Garlic on the wooden background - fluWe all know the main use of garlic is to ward off vampires, but did you know that the flu is related to those undead bat-people? OK, so that may not be entirely true (about the vampire relationship), but it is true that garlic is great at warding off the flu. If you’re feeling flu-like symptoms, garlic can “help destroy [the flu] before it becomes a full-blown flu in the body,” thanks to garlic’s flu-fighting properties, according to Best Health.

    Now for the unpleasant part: eating it. The most effective way to get garlic into your system is to chew on raw cloves. While this probably won’t be your favorite remedy as far as taste is concerned, it will help you more than if it’s just cooked (although cooked garlic will still help, just not as much). Just be warned that you might have some pretty bad garlic breath after this, which will not only keep away vampires, but your family and friends as well (at least until you brush your teeth).


    1. Dark Chocolate

    Dark Chocolate - fluDark chocolate is a surprisingly effective immunity booster. Mother Nature Network suggests that “high doses of cocoa support T-helper cells,” which are essentially the ones keeping your body healthy. Basically, eating dark chocolate is like supporting your internal troops. So the next time somebody calls you out on eating chocolate, just tell them you’re fighting the flu – and winning. Just…make sure it’s dark chocolate.


    1. Yogurt

    Yogurt - fluYogurt keeps your digestive tract functioning smoothly, which is “one of your biggest immune organs,” according to Mother Nature Network. So this flu season, why not start your mornings off with a bowl of yogurt, topped with fruit for extra fighting power. Because parfaits have to be the most delicious thing on the whole planet (as they say).


    1. Onions

    Onions - fluFlu-fighting food can’t all be sweet and delicious. While probably not your first choice to eat raw, having a serving of onions every couple of hours can really give your immune system that extra edge of support. If you’re not a huge fan of raw onion (I shudder just thinking about it), add some extra onions to your soup and other meals. At least that way you’re not chomping down on it like some sort of purple apple.


    1. Spices

    Cinnamon - fluWhile not what you might expect when you’re looking for food to fight the flu, spices can really…well, spice up that internal battle your body is fighting. Of course, certain spices are better than others, which include cinnamon and nutmeg. I wouldn’t recommend eating spices by the spoonful (in fact, I highly discourage it), but you can most certainly add spice to your meals. Eating oatmeal? Cinnamon would go nicely mixed in with that! Of if you’re still drinking eggnog, why not sprinkle in a little extra nutmeg?


    While doctors can certainly help with illness, prevention is the best way to deal with the flu in the first place. These are just five foods that will help your body fight the flu this – and every other – flu season. If you feel the flu coming on, go ahead and start adding more of these foods into your diet. You might not be able to avoid it completely, but it can most certainly lessen the time you’re lying around sick with a fever. And of course, if you aren’t sick yet, keep eating healthily and you might just make it through this flu season without ever getting sick.


    What are some other foods you have found that work great for fighting the flu?


    Health Banner - flu


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