It’s Fruit and Veggie Season Again :)

hippocratesfoodquote

 

Federal health officials estimate that nearly 48 million people are sickened by food contaminated with harmful germs each year, and some of the causes might surprise you.

Although most people know animal products must be handled carefully to prevent illness, many don’t realize that produce can also be the culprit in outbreaks of foodborne illness. In recent years, the United States has had several large outbreaks of illness caused by contaminated fruits and vegetables—including spinach, tomatoes, and lettuce.

Glenda Lewis, an expert on foodborne illness with the Food and Drug Administration, says fresh produce can become contaminated in many ways. During the growing phase, fruits and veggies may be contaminated by animals, harmful substances in the soil or water, and poor hygiene among workers. After produce is harvested, it passes through many hands, increasing the contamination risk. Contamination can even occur after the produce has been purchased, during food preparation, or through inadequate storage.

FDA says to choose produce that isn’t bruised or damaged, and make sure that pre-cut items—such as bags of lettuce or watermelon slices—are either refrigerated or on ice both in the store and at home. In addition, follow these recommendations:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.
  • Cut away any damaged or bruised areas before preparing or eating.
  • Gently rub produce while holding under plain running water. There’s no need to use soap or a produce wash.
  • Wash produce BEFORE you peel it, so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable.
  • Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers.
  • Dry produce with a clean cloth or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present.
  • Throw away the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage.

 

Lewis says consumers should store perishable produce in the refrigerator at 40 degrees or below.

This article appears on FDA’s Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.

World Salt Awareness Week

How to understand and use the US Nutritional F...

How to understand and use the US Nutritional Fact Label (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke—

Everyone can:

Know your recommended limits for daily sodium intake.

Choose to purchase healthy options and talk with your grocer or favorite restaurant about stocking lower sodium food choices.

Read the Nutrition Facts label while shopping to find the lowest sodium options of your favorite foods.

Eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and frozen fruits and vegetables without sauce.

Limit processed foods high in sodium.

When eating out, request lower sodium options.

Support initiatives that reduce sodium in foods in cafeterias and vending machines.

More at CDC – DHDSP – Salt: What You Can Do.

Monday – Six Weeks Post-Op

day-mon

Another slow day.  The 3 walking events from last weekend were just too much for now.  In all three instances, they involved parking garages and it was cold.  I remember the visiting nurse saying to put a scarf over his nose to keep the air coming in a bit warmer but, of course, we didn’t have a scarf.

Someone had asked DH to meet at iHop tonight.  I weighed in and said that they should meet at Bob Evans because we knew that there was something there he could eat and we had no idea if there was anything at iHop.

The day slipped by in naps and DH never made the call.  His phone was off and he finally got the message that the person had been waiting for 30 minutes at iHop.  <sigh>

The dog got to go for a ride when we dropped DH off.

Fortunately, DH got a ride home so we didn’t have to go back out.  He said that I was right (of course!) – there wasn’t anything on the menu he could eat.  But he managed to cobble together something with fresh fruit, dry toast and herbal tea.  I thought the only fruit there was in those syrups.

day-wed

We had snow, sort of.  Big, heavy stuff that would have been good for a snowman but we weren’t going out, except for me walking the dog.

I was having a movie kind of day and heard someone out in the driveway, shoveling.  I went out to investigate and found two women from church clearing our driveway.  That was so nice 🙂  In a bit DH came out and said hello, too.

day-thurs

Thursday, I was into day 2 of an itchy cycle.  I haven’t written about that yet, so there’s something to look forward to!  As a result, I don’t do much of anything but itch and be miserable.  At night, I can take Benadryl which helps the itching and makes me sleep.

More on that later!

day-fri

Fridays, I normally play piano duets with an older friend but I hadn’t been since before Christmas.  I decided it was time to go back so I took DH along with me.  We all had a nice visit – we’ve known my friend and her husband for maybe 35 years.  She had a heart attack about 15 or so years ago so DH was able to ask lots of questions.

When we got back, it was nap time, again.  It’s still mostly do something followed by an equal length nap but it’s getting better.

day-sat

I had been awake until 4:30 am so I wasn’t in a great mood when I woke up.  DH wanted to go walking at the Mall – but first, a stop at Staples for more business cards.

I was already tired before we got to the Mall but we walked a bit.  Stopped in the Apple Store to look at iPad Minis, then turned around.  He went into Zales to get the ruby he didn’t get on the first day, the anniversary-heart-attack-day.

On the way out of the mall, he said we could go to Bob Evans for breakfast and I said no way!  Too tired.

day-sun

Back to Staples to pick up the cards from Staples, then on to walk around Wal-Mart.  DH looked longingly at no-salt peanuts.  I showed him the back with the calorie counts and pointed out the size of 1 serving and asked if he could stick to that.  He put them back.

Back home and more nap time.

He says he’s feeling better and better, has lost more weight, no more pain killers.  Hooray!

Monday – Five Weeks Post-op

day-mon

Today went pretty well.  DH did some computer work with an employee.  After about 2 hours, DH rested his eyes for a bit while the other guy finished up.

I took the opportunity to go out to do some grocery shopping.  Exciting stuff!

A few phone calls, then DH napped some more – a bit of computer and you know the rest!

Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies

Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometime before this adventure started, DH had ordered 2 boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

Those arrived this evening and DH said he’d have “just one”.

I didn’t check how many he had but I saw that 4 (the typical serving size for Thin Mints) is 125 mg of sodium.  Possible trouble looming.

Maybe I’ll have to sacrifice myself and eat them all first 🙂

day-tues

Today was a pretty good day.  DH actually did some more work got a testimony ready to file, then some napping.  He went out with a friend to meet some others and actually had half a cup of coffee for the first time since surgery.

While he was out, I went to bell rehearsal to sub for someone else.  A very odd feeling to be subbing in my own group but they’re getting ready for a festival and someone has to ring my position – and it can’t be me.  I won’t be able to be away overnight for a while.

It was nice to be back, even briefly 🙂

day-wed

Up early in the morning for the stress test on the treadmill at the cardiologist.  I dropped DH off at the front door.  By the time I’d parked and gotten upstairs, he was already hooked up to the monitors but they wouldn’t let me go in.

Apparently, he passed with flying colors, all the way up to a 7% grade so he can start cardiac rehab as soon as we can get it set up!

On the way home, we saw my mom out walking so pulled over to say hello.  She was on her way to the library.  She had an appointment with her oncologist next Wednesday and she had been dithering about changing that in case DH’s rehab was on Wednesday mornings.  I told her not to change it – she might change TO the rehab date.  As it turned out, the oncologist had cancelled her.  Problem solved.

We decided to be brave and went to Bob Evans for breakfast.  DH did fairly ok with veggie omelet, egg beaters, fruit plate and dry whole wheat toast.  Another step in getting out into the real world again…

day-thurs

Last night didn’t go well.  I tossed and turned all night.  DH started trying to sleep in our room and went to the recliner about 1:00am, then back to the room about 4:00am.  About 8:00am he was in the recliner again so I guess he didn’t sleep well, either.

The day was like most days – a lot of napping and working.

DH called rehab and he can’t start for 2 weeks.  A bit disappointing 😦

I cleaned out our pantry and got rid of all the canned foods with sodium in them.  I took some to my mom, then took the rest to church to send to Western Fairfax Christian Ministries.

I went to church choir.  They’re getting ready for Holy Week and Easter so there’s lots of new music to learn.  I’m starting to feel less mole-like.

day-fri

Another lazy day.  We were going to go to the mall to walk but work and naps got in the way.

DH is sitting in his recliner listening to some app that will teach him Spanish.

Our son came home and DH actually went with me to Union Station to pick him up from the train.  I parked as close as I could so it was a short walk to the escalator, then another walk, another escalator and a longer walk.

DH was hungry so we went to get some Jamba Juice.  Even though the store was open, they said that they were cleaning up and closed.  DH went into Starbucks against my better judgement and got some kind of strawberry muffin thing.

On the way home, he wanted to go to McDonalds so I went through the drive-through and got 3 shamrock shakes, a grilled chicken sandwich for DH and a quarter pounder, no cheese for me.

Going out into the world is going to wreck all my careful food planning over the last 4 weeks!

day-sat
I woke up at 4:00am with a raging headache, possibly from that shamrock shake.  I’m not used to all that sugar any more 😦  It’s too bad – that’s about the only thing I really like(d) at Mickey D’s.  Oh, well.

At 11 we had our first Mended Hearts meeting.  That went pretty well.  I actually talked some – DH, of course, talked more.  I found it ironic that the snacks included no coffee but the raffle gift was a coffee cup.  HMMM…

It was good listening to other patients and caregivers talking about some of the issues we’ve gone through.

day-sun

 

Today was a take-it-easy day, a bit of TV, napping and playing piano duets with our son.  At night, we took him back to the train station.  Later, DH said that his chest was hurting a bit, probably from so much walking in the train today and Friday and the walking through the parking garage and hospital on Saturday.

Hopefully, a little Tylenol will help.

Next report next Monday…

Mediterranean Diet

Fresh vegetarian pasta (2528005054)

Fresh vegetarian pasta (2528005054) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A randomized, multicenter trial conducted in Spain found that a Mediterranean diet resulted in a reduction in the incidence of major cardiovascular (CV) events and a 30 percent relative risk reduction in major CV events over a 4.8-year follow-up period.

The trial results were published on Feb. 25 in The New England Journal of Medicine. The PREDIMED (Preventión con Dieta Mediterránea) trial compared the consumption of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with either extra-virgin olive oil or nuts vs. a control diet among 7,447 individuals at high risk of CV disease (CVD) but with no CVD at enrollment. Individuals in the trial had either type 2 diabetes or at least three of seven major CV risk factors — smoking, hypertension, elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, were overweight or obese, or had a family history of premature coronary heart disease.

Results showed the group of participants assigned to a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil had 96 primary endpoint events (a composite of myocardial infarction, stroke and death from cardiovascular causes), those assigned to a Mediterranean diet supplemented by mixed nuts (walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts) had 83 events and the control group had 109 events (p = 0.015). The Mediterranean diets resulted in an absolute risk reduction of three major CV events per 1,000 person-years.

A traditional Mediterranean diet consists of high amounts of olive oil, fruit, vegetables, nuts and cereals; moderate amounts of fish and poultry; and low amounts of dairy products, sweets, red meats and processed meats. Participants assigned to the Mediterranean diet groups significantly increased weekly servings of fish and legumes, as well as olive oil and nuts, depending on the group they were in.

According to the study authors, the results of the trial might explain, in part, CV mortality rates among Mediterranean countries compared with mortality rates in northern European countries and the U.S. They note that the dietary supplements of extra-virgin olive oil and nuts were possibly responsible for most of the observed benefits of the Mediterranean diets.

From CardioSource – Mediterranean Diet Major CV Events.  The original link also includes a video