Last week I had a very interesting discussion with my client when I told him to peel the skin of apples before he eats it. His eyes popped out saying ‘what kind of a nutritionist says throw away the peel that is a good source of fiber?’ In return I asked him what is he planning to give his body more?, Safe nutrition or germs, pesticides, wax and colours? And for fiber you can increase the quantity of fruits and vegetables instead of putting your health at risk.
My choice would certainly be organic food grown in a ‘perfect world’....or If I grow them myself in my kitchen garden. But do I have time? NO...
So here is the deal. I try and buy apples, grapes, peaches, strawberries, greens, celery, nectarines, bell peppers, cucumbers, potatoes and tomatoes from organic store as these fruits and vegetables tend to carry a lot of pesticides on their skin. And rest of the vegetables I buy from any store. Organic or not, if I didn’t grow the produce myself or get it from family friends who are trusted farmers, I always make sure to carefully wash all produce that we eat. This is especially important with non-organic produce, but I even wash organic store-bought produce as well.
Homemade fruit and vegetable washes are effective at removing residue from produce and also help preserve the fridge-life of these foods since bacteria that may cause decay is removed. To be most effective, different vegetables call for different methods of washing, but three simple and inexpensive recipes will clean virtually every type of produce.
How to Wash Most Fruits & Vegetables: For most produce with a skin place the fruits and veggies in a large bow filled with water and add 1 cup of white vinegar OR apple cider vinegar. Let soak for up to an hour, scrub gently and rinse. Dry fully before returning to the fridge.
How to Wash Lettuces & Greens: Lettuces and greens are more delicate and more difficult to wash. They also are more likely to contain insects or other little visitors. For greens, dissolve 2 tablespoons of salt in 2 cups of water and add the juice of one lemon. Spray this on the greens, let sit for about a minute, and then add them to a sink of diluted vinegar water. Soak for about 15 minutes, rinse in cool water and dry completely or use a salad spinner helps before putting in the fridge.
How to Wash Berries: Berries are perhaps the most difficult to clean because they are so delicate and take on the flavour of anything they come in contact with (vinegar flavoured blueberries on pancakes or ice crème, anyone?). Try diluted fresh lemon juice to clean berries. Mix 2 cups of water with 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice and spray on the berries and then soak in fresh water for about 15 minutes. Dry completely before storing in the fridge!
Other tips that one must follow to prevent health related risks:
I love this time of the year. Just celebrated Diwali: a festival of lights. With Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas around the corner...Just love it. My favourite bit is the Holiday spirit, the decorations and music. It just makes me so happy. I just want to set and stare at the decorations, the candles; the music...simply wow!
Along with decorating my house, I love to cook as friends and family come over for a feast. The word festival means “FEAST DAY”, festive celebration. As kids, when there used to be festivals the only thing that came to our mind was sweets and holidays. Isn’t it?
The word ‘sweets’ raise an alarm if one has high blood sugar. The idea is to enjoy every bit in moderation. Know which food/ sweets/ dishes/ recipes have how much carbohydrate? Knowing the amount of carbs in a dish will help you choose wisely and keep your blood sugars under control. If you have to attend a feast, choose correct portions. Remember the rule of thumb is a balanced plate. Pick roasted chicken/ turkey over the ones with thick gravies etc. That too the size of your fist, with an equal portion of healthy carbs , like mashed sweet potatoes/ pumpkin over pumpkin pies and butter laden mashed potatoes. And fill the rest of your plate with salad or greens or vegetable casserole.
Here are some tips to help you enjoy your festivals without the guilt of elevating your blood sugars:
1 Always eat something before you step out for a feast or a get together or else you will end up eating more.
2 If someone insists on a sweet, learn to say NO / take a small portion. If a small portion of sweet is included in your diet, reduce the amount of rice/roti/ whole wheat bread. Also increase the amount of vegetable/salad, pulses/ legumes or lean cuts of chicken to keep you feeling full.
3 Prefer homemade sweets which are made of skimmed milk rather than deep fried sweets. If lunch / dinner are expected to be heavy, keep the other meals lighter but balanced.
4 Remember to follow strict portion control.
5 If you are taking insulin, you may need to adjust the insulin dosage depending upon your estimated carbohydrate intake of the meal, but only after consultation with your health care provider.
6 Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor.
7 Always check your post meal blood sugars and update your food journal/dairy
8 Exercise a little longer than you usually do to keep your blood sugar in check.
9 Do not skip meals to make up for a previous or subsequent heavy meal.
10 Inform your doctor if you notice any unusual symptoms or discomfort.
11 Keep yourself well hydrated.
Festivals can be an enjoyable experience even for diabetic patients, if you choose the right foods in the right amounts. So, choose smart and enjoy the festivities…