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Ever walk through the neighborhood and catch a whiff of that wonderful grilled food smell? Mmmmm… makes my mouth water just thinking of that sizzle. Grilling can be a healthy, low fat, tasty way to prepare food. Let’s look at a few tips…

Safety Tips

  • Start with a clean grill to avoid flare ups and potential contaminants. Scrub the grill with hot soapy water and a brush.
  • Use clean hands and cooking utensils.
  • If you’re using frozen food, be sure to thaw it safely in the refrigerator, microwave or cold-water-sink-method (changing cold water every 30 minutes).
  • Don’t cross-contaminate. After using dishes or grill utensils on raw meat, be sure to wash them in hot soapy water before using them again on cooked meat or other ready-to-eat food.
  • Marinating is a great way to add flavor and tenderize meat. Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Don’t re-use meat marinades that have touched raw meat on cooked meats or other foods. If you want to use some of the marinade as a sauce on cooked food, reserve a portion before placing raw meat and poultry in it.
  • Don’t leave the grill unattended.
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure high enough cooking temperature to kill bacteria.

Steak, porkchops: 145°F (Allow to rest for 3 minutes before carving or consuming)
Hamburgers, ground meat: 160°F
Chicken: 165°F

grilling2

Healthy and Yummy Tips
Grilling allows any fat to drip off the food, making it a healthy way to prepare food. Here are some healthy suggestions from http://www.eatright.org:

  • Choose lean cuts of meat for less chance of flare-ups from fat drippings.
  • Add color and flavor with fresh vegetables. Vegies such as sweet peppers, onions and tomatoes add flavor, color, vitamins and nutrients to any meal. Some of the best vegetables to grill are onions, cabbage, mushrooms, bell peppers, asparagus, and corn. You can sprinkle herbs on each cob of corn and then wrap it in foil to grill it. You won’t even need butter!
  • To grill a veggie kabob, brush the vegetables with olive oil and your favorite spices and grill over medium heat, turning until marked and tender (about 12 to 15 minutes, and 8 to 10 minutes for cherry tomatoes and pre-boiled potatoes).
  • How about a grilled, marinated Portobello mushroom? Marinate then grill mushrooms, gill sides up, over medium-low heat with the grill covered until they are marked and softened (about 15 minutes). Flip and grill until cooked through, being careful not to char the gills (1 to 2 minutes).
  • You can even grill a tasty dessert like fruit kabobs. Try pineapple slices or peach halves. Grill on low heat until the fruit is hot and slightly golden. Serve them on top of low-fat frozen yogurt or angel food cake.
  • Every try grilled watermelon? When grilled, the water evaporates, leaving an intense watermelon flavor. Grill watermelon slices for about 30 seconds on each side.

Click here for more great grilling ideas.
Click here for a link for more information on grilling safety and tips.
I hope you find a tasty way to celebrate national grilling month in July and all summer long!

Sources:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=10958
http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442476609&terms=grilling
North Dakota State University Extension http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn658.pdf

Writer: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu.
Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith, NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, Ohio State University Extension, smith.3993@osu.edu

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Just like journaling your physical activity, expenses, or the foods you eat – journaling your stressors and how you react is also a good idea. Research has shown that writing about what stresses us improves our mood and even boosts the immune system. When you journal or write down your stressors, no one will disagree or criticize you, which can be a good way to get swirling thoughts out of your mind. Talking with others and reaching out to professional help is important, but may not be easily available to all of us. Journaling

Try in the next few weeks to journal your stress for a 5 to 7 day period. Track what causes you stress and what you do. When you find out about a big project that is due, do you head to the vending machines or do you stop eating all together? Do you take a walk to clear your head? Or do you skip your Zumba class? Once you know your current reactions, you may be able to choose some new coping techniques to get through the next crisis.

Other techniques to help you handle your stress:

  • Laugh – a good belly laugh can help. Try comics, funny YouTube videos, comedy movies or TV shows.
  • Be Physically Active – all forms of exercise will ease depression and anxiety.
  • Establish Boundaries in Your Life – choose not to check work email at home or after a certain time, don’t answer the phone during family time or meals, or promise to only look at Facebook once a day.
  • Use Your Vacation or Personal Days – don’t let the company keep them. Use that time to recharge.
  • Find Your Relaxation Zone – Take time for at least one thing you really enjoy like music, reading, crafting, golf, fishing, playing cards, or gardening.
  • Avoid the Bad Habits – Avoid excessive snacking, caffeine, too much or too little sleep, smoking, and anger. They will only make things worse in the long run.

Try journaling your stressful situations and reactions, or just writing when things are really bothering you, then let us know what you think. Did it help?

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewers: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County and Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Fayette County.

 

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Feeling stressed? What are you eating? Most of us reach for comfort foods when we are stressed, stressed woman such as cookies, cake, candy and other high sugar, low fiber foods. These foods are not good choices to prevent chronic inflammation from developing and affecting our body. High levels of chronic inflammation are believed to cause rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, asthma and inflammatory bowel disease. Even low amounts of inflammation can increase your risk of obesity and the effects of aging. Prolonged chronic inflammation increases our risk of cancer, heart disease and other diseases. One study on postmenopausal women found that those eating a healthier diet reduced their risk of death from any cause by 60% and had an 88% reduced risk of death from breast cancer.

What should we eat to avoid inflammation building up in our body? Three eating patterns provide reliable assistance along with allowing individual choices of food. Those three eating patterns are the USDA Dietary Guidelines, the Mediterranean Diet and DASH Diet. my plate Each of these has some differences but all three emphasize certain patterns.

All three eating patterns encourage us to eat:
• Plenty of vegetables and fruit.
• whole grains
• Low-fat or Fat-free Dairy
• Seafood and plant proteins

They also encourage us to reduce eating:
• Empty calories including foods with added sugar, or drinking excess alcohol
• Refined grains
• Saturated fat foods
• High sodium food

What would a daily eating plan include?
• Vegetables – 2 to 4 cups
• Fruits – at least 2 cups a day
• Whole grains – 3 to 4 ounces a day
• Fish/Seafood – 8-16 ounces a week for Omega-3
• Nuts and soy – 4-6 ounces a week
• Olive oil – 1 -2 Tablespoons a day.
• Dairy (1% or skim) – 1-3 cups a day
• Alcohol – 0-1 drink a day

Limit the amount of red and processed meats you eat to less than 12 ounces a week and keep added sugars to less than 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men a day.

Make it a goal to eat lots of fiber by eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains and nuts. fruits-veggies This will increase the anti-inflammatory properties from these foods. Add some garlic, onion, pepper and other herbs for additional anti-inflammatory properties.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer: Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D., West Region Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed
OSU Extension

References:
Orchard, T. [2015]. Eating healthy under stress: improving diet quality to lower chronic inflammation. webinar for Your Plan for Health, Ohio State University

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So what’s the secret potion behind these magical beans? Protein of course! Protein is a hot topic in today’s society and you see promotions of different protein powders and nutrition bars everywhere. Personally, I know of many people who have fallen into this trap of trying different protein powders to add to their “protein shake” in the morning to get that quick fix of protein. However, they are spending so much money on these quick-fix protein sources and need to find another way to incorporate protein into their diet. Beyond these protein powders and bars, most people go for the typical meat, fish and poultry when it comes to a reliable protein source, but don’t forget to give plant-based protein credit!

DWDHeartyBeanSoup (1)

Beans are packed with a bunch of different nutrients that are beneficial to your health. Beyond protein they are a great source of fiber, folate, magnesium and potassium. In regards to fiber, beans are packed with soluble fiber. Soluble fiber attracts water and slows down digestion and emptying of your stomach. This delay in emptying of your stomach makes you feel fuller for a longer period of time, which could be a great tactic for controlling your weight. About 5-10 grams of soluble fiber can decrease your LDL cholesterol by 5%, with beans containing about 0.6 to 2.4 grams of soluble fiber per half a cup.   This makes eating beans a great way to help with decreasing cardiovascular disease and inflammation.

Now let’s talk about beans and its protein content. One serving of beans is ½ cup of cooked beans, which provides roughly 7-8 grams of protein! Protein causes satiety, or fullness, so with the combination of soluble fiber and protein beans can be a great way to keep you feeling fuller for a longer period of time. Like stated before, this can help keep your diet and weight on track.

Most Americans consume canned beans, but dried beans are also a great way to incorporate more beans in your diet. Dried beans are underutilized in America and on any given day less than 8% of Americans report consuming beans .The problem many people face with dried beans is how to cook them. Canned beans are easy and convenient yet dried beans can come off as intimidating and time consuming. The truth is that they aren’t that hard to figure out once you know how! Soaking your beans is what takes the most time but you actually don’t have to do much to soak them…it’s just a waiting game. There are many different methods that can be used when cooking dried beans such as traditional, hot and microwave soaked methods. One method that is most convenient is the quick soak method:

  1. Rinse: to ensure proper cleanliness of your beans it is important to wash them off before consuming them.
  2. Place beans in a large pot and add 10 cups of water for every 2 cups of beans.
  3. Bring to a boil and let boil 2-3 minutes.
  4. Dried beans, discard soak water and rinse with cold water.

How easy is that?! Once you figure out which method works best for you, you can incorporate beans in your diet. Dried beans make a mass amount of product and can last you for a long time. If I over-committed on my bean abilities and made too much I freeze the remaining beans and just quickly heat them up! A 1-lb. bag of dried beans usually costs around $1.49 and can make around 13 servings of beans! What a great, and cheap, way to incorporate more protein into your diet!

Check out the US DryBean Council website for many recipes to try using beans!

Written by: Courtney N. Klebe Dietetic Intern, Bowling Green State Univeristy and Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, LD, MA, Extenstion Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County

References:

  1. Messina V. Nutritional and health benefits of dried beans. Am J Clin Nutr 2014; 100: 437S-42S.

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What goes into the body dictates what comes out. Did you know your poop may actually be a useful reference tool for you to judge the quality of your diet? Take some time to look into the toilet before you flush; you may be surprised at the contents.

Poop

Poop is an important indicator of health. Your food choices have a lot to do with whether or not you make good poop or bad poop. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables promotes healthy bowel function because of the presence of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber eases the elimination of waste products.
Drinking enough water or fluids is also essential to making good poop. Adding fluids helps regulate bowel movements and aids in the digestion and absorption of nutrients.

What’s in your poop?
restroom
Poop is about 75% water. The other 25% includes fiber, bacteria, and mucus. Soluble fibers you eat, such as the white part of an apple or pear, turn into a gel-like substance that helps hold your poop together. Insoluble fibers (seeds, strings, peels, pulp, bran) are harder to break apart and may actually come through your poop partially undigested.

Color

An unusual color of poop (not brown), may be caused by something totally normal; or an indication of a more serious problem.
• Red: Eating beets, cranberries, red gelatin, or red velvet cake may cause red poop. However, bright red poop may also signal bleeding in your digestive system. Common reasons for that include hemorrhoids, a stomach ulcer, or colon cancer.
• Green: Green food coloring, green leafy vegetables, iron supplements, or a C dif infection.
• Yellow: Yellow poop can indicate problems with the gallbladder and/or liver. Bile salts from the liver give poop its brown color, so when there is a lack of bile, your stool may be yellow.
• White or gray: White or gray poop may reflect a lack of bile, which can indicate serious problems such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, a blocked bile duct, or pancreatitis.

Shape

If your poop is small and hard-to-pass, you are most likely constipated. Common reasons include a lack of fiber and water in your diet. Stools too loose? You might be suffering from celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, bowel cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammation of the pancreas, or just have a viral, bacterial or parasite infection. If your poop is pencil-thin, the reason may be something as simple as constipation, or as serious as a bowel obstruction. Healthy poop is usually 1-2 inches in diameter.

Weight

Poop should sink to the bottom. If your poop floats instead of sinks, it may be trying to tell you there is too much fat in your diet. It might also mean you have an issue in your pancreas that’s preventing digestive enzymes from breaking down the fat in your food. Or, it could just be a food allergy or infection that is damaging the lining of your intestine.

Smell

If your poop smells like rotten eggs (sulphur), and you have diarrhea, you may have a parasitic infection called giardia. Other odiferous contributors include colitis, Crohn’s Disease, and celiac disease.

Time

Digestion can take anywhere from 24-72 hours. There is no “normal” when it comes to how many times one should poop daily. Your body develops its own routine, and that is normal for YOU!!

Farting

Farting is a sign that good bacteria is breaking down and fermenting your food. Passing gas 10-18 times per day is normal.

Bottom Line

If there is anything that looks a bit unusual about your poop or pee, please consult your doctor for a proper assessment of your health.

Written by: Donna Green, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA, green.308@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Beth Stefura, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Sources:
http://www.mayoclinic.org/stool-color/expert-answers/faq-20058080
http://www.webmd.com/women/features/digestive-problems
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003132.htm

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Safe, high quality home canned foods begin with the right equipment, used properly.  Why risk losing your time and food dollar through spoilage?  Check and assemble good equipment before the season begins, then maintain it well.

Check jars and bands.  Discard chipped jars and rusted or distorted bands.

Have pressure gauges checked.  Check with your local Extension office for Food Preservation Workshop or pressure canner gauge testing dates/times.

Check seals on last summer’s produce. canned foods

Make plans to use up last summer’s produce (both frozen and canned) to make room for new products and to prevent waste of food.

Check files to make sure your food preservation information is complete and up-to-date.

HOME CANNER’S QUESTIONS

  1. I have several peanut butter, pickle and quart-sized mayonnaise jars which I would like to be able to use for canning. Is it safe to use these jars in a boiling water bath canner or a pressure canner?
  2. NO! Use only standard canning jars for home canning as these jars have been specially annealed to withstand the heat necessary in the home canning process. However, these make good refrigerator storage jars, are a perfect solution for your picnic packaging  needs, or can be recycled at your local recycling center.
  3. How long is it safe to store canned food?
  4. For optimum quality of food, plan to use home-canned food within one year. After 1 year, quality of food goes down, but is still safe as long as the seal is still intact and there is no sign of spoilage.  Whatever the age, ALWAYS boil low-acid, pressure canned food a full 10 minutes.  Twenty (20) minutes for corn, spinach and meats) to destroy any botulism toxins.  DO NOT taste prior to boiling.
  5. Which pressure canner is more accurate– the kind with a dial or the one with a weight control?
  6. Both are accurate if used and cared for according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some people like numbers on a dial; others prefer the sight and sound (“jiggling” noise) of the weight control.
  7. Do I have to use a pressure canner to can low acid foods such as green beans, corn, potatoes, etc.?
  8. YES, YES, YES!!! Low-acid foods must be canned in a pressure canner. Whether food should be processed in a pressure canner or boiling-water canner to control botulinum bacteria depends on the acidity of the food. Acidity may be natural, as in most fruits, or added, as in pickled food. Low-acid canned foods are not acidic enough to prevent the growth of these bacteria. Acid foods contain enough acid to block their growth, or destroy them more rapidly when heated. The term “pH” is a measure of acidity; the lower its value, the more acid the food. The acidity level in foods can be increased by adding lemon juice, citric acid, or vinegar.

Low-acid foods have pH values higher than 4.6. They include red meats, seafood, poultry, milk, and all fresh vegetables except for most tomatoes.  For more information – check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s website at http://nchfp.uga.edu/.

Resources/References:

OSU Extension’s page on food safety:  http://fcs.osu.edu/food-safety.

National Center for Home Food Preservation – www.http://nchfp.uga.edu/.

Written by:  Cynthia R. Shuster, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA.

Reviewed by:  Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Fayette County, Miami Valley EERA.

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7066102771_036ffa76ba_nWe’ve all heard that “April Showers bring May Flowers” but those same showers are ushering in allergy season. Some experts are saying that this might be an especially bad season for those of us who suffer from seasonal allergies. We had a long, cold winter and suddenly warm weather has arrived and many trees, shrubs and grasses are blooming at the same time increasing the pollen in the air. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that at least 17.6 million people suffer from hay fever – so you are not alone!

So what can you do to minimize the sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, nose and throat? Several useful tips are provided below.

It’s important to keep pollen out of your personal environment.

• Leave your shoes at the door. Pollen coming into the house on shoes, clothing and even your pets can worsen your symptoms.

• Wash your hair and change your clothes before going to bed. If you sleep in the same shirt you wore outside, all of the pollen that has attached to the shirt will surround you all night!

• Control the air inside your home. Close windows and doors on high pollen days. Utilize your air conditioner or furnace and remember to change the air filters!

• When you are in your car, use the recirculate option with the air conditioner. Keep windows and overhead vents closed.

• Dry your clothes in a dryer – don’t hang them outside.

See your doctor. Many people are helped by over the counter medicines but others may benefit from visiting an allergist for testing and treatment.

You can be proactive with your allergies – check the daily pollen count and then plan your activities. Pollen counts are usually lower in the evening so that might be a good time for outdoor exercises such as walking. If grass pollen is especially bothersome to you it might be worth it to hire someone else to mow the lawn for you!

Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu
Reviewed by: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, green.1405@osu.edu

Sources:
Spring Allergy Season Could be a Bloomin’ Nightmare
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=188018

Allergy Relief Tips Wherever You Go.
http://www.webmd.com/allergies/allergy-relief-10/seasonal-allergy-checklistt

Allergies and Hay Fever.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/allergies.htm#

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