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Archive for May, 2013

A former student said, “I learned a lot about sanitation from you.”

I gave a puzzled look and said, “But I didn’t teach that course to your class.”

“Oh, yes you did. Every time we walked into that kitchen you said, ‘Wash your hands.’”

True. I didn’t teach the course, but I did teach the practice. Clean hands are important, but even that isn’t enough to protect your family from foodborne illnesses.  Germs accumulate on unsuspecting surfaces. While you may scrub your sink and clean the counters—even sanitize them, germs lurk in less obvious places.

The non-profit science organization, NSF International, recruited twenty families to check fourteen kitchen items for four types of microorganisms related to foodborne illness: E coli, salmonella, yeast and mold, and listeria. All items tested positive for yeast and mold. E. coli and salmonella were found in thirty-six percent of all items, and listeria was present in fourteen percent of the items tested.

Items having the most pathogens, in order of frequency, included:

  • Refrigerator water dispenser. That handy gadget frequently handled and rarely cleaned, ranked number one on the naughty chart of germ haven. Dispensers may develop mold and yeast that can cause allergic reactions and respiratory ailments.
  • Rubber spatulas. Unless molded into one piece, spatulas will harbor germs under the scraper blade. Incidences of E. coli, and yeast and mold have been reported. Take apart and clean in the dishwasher or scrub with hot soapy water.
  • Blender gaskets. Many believe the upper jar container is adequately cleaned when put into the dishwasher without taking apart. Not so. The blade and gasket may harbor salmonella, E. coli, and yeast and mold that cake around and under the blade. For effective sanitation, remove the blade and gasket and scrub with hot soapy water or place individual pieces into the dishwasher.
  • Refrigerator vegetable compartment. Produce can transmit  bugs. Mold and yeast accumulate rapidly from deteriorating fruits and vegetables. Salmonella, listeria (think cantaloupe) may be present on fresh produce. Clean the compartment monthly or more often if needed.
  • Refrigerator ice dispenser. These are especially susceptible to yeast and mold and can be harmful for those with allergies. At least monthly turn off the ice maker, empty the ice from the ice bin, and wash the bin with dish soap and warm water. Occasionally wash the system with vinegar, rinse thorough, and toss the first ice cubes.
  • Refrigerator meat compartment. Fresh meats can be disasters waiting to happen. They are prone to E. coli, salmonella, plus yeast and molds. Keep meats away from other foods to prevent contamination. For both fruit and vegetable compartments and meat compartments, wash with warm water with one to two tablespoons baking soda per gallon of water.

Other likely culprits to spread foodborne illnesses include can openers and food storage containers with rubber seals. Place in the dishwasher or clean thoroughly with hot soapy water after using.

Remember the areas in your kitchen that often get less attention yet may hide pathogens. Keep everyone safe with a little precaution and extra cleaning effort. Don’t make your family sick.

For a great visual see http://www.nsf.org/consumer/newsroom/pdf/where_germs_are_hiding_infographic.pdf

For more information see http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57576902/where-are-germs-hiding-in-your-kitchen-study-finds-surprising-results/

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While many believe skipping breakfast is the ideal solution to cutting calories and losing weight, possibly the opposite is true. New research confirms that food within the first few hours of the day may promote better health. Skipping breakfast possibly will cause:

  • Worse eating habits. Fasting at breakfast causes the brain to seek high-calorie foods. Even pictures of high-calorie foods trigger areas of the brain linked to reward and pleasure of eating.
  • Greater hunger. Those who fail to eat in the early morning are more likely to become hungry and seek calorie-laden foods.
  • Reduced activity. Individuals who skip breakfast tend to be less active.
  • Increased waist size. Adults who skipped breakfast as children and continued into adulthood may have a waist size nearly two inches greater than breakfast eaters.
  • Increased risk of heart disease. Those adults who have continued to skip breakfast since childhood acquire greater risks for heart problems.
  • High cholesterol. Skipping breakfast can elevate cholesterol levels.

It does matter if you break that fast with breakfast after a night without food. Some people say they can’t eat when they arise in the morning. Even something simple like yogurt or a high-protein breakfast drink or bar can help. Give it a try for a few weeks. It could improve your health. Not only that, you may even lose a pound or two. Now to most of us, that’s important.

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You may not have a white beard, but if your belly shakes like a bowl full of jelly and looks like Santa Claus, take heed. That’s not a jolly good thing. When it comes to health, shape is as important—even more so—than weight.

Body shape—especially extra stored fat—influences risks for such conditions as diabetes and heart disease. The ratio between hips and waist is three times more effective in predicting heart disease than is Body Mass Index (BMI) or weight alone.

Health professionals often refer to body build as apple-shaped or pear-shaped. Those shaped like apples have belly fat above the waist. Pear-shaped individuals have major portions of fat on the thighs. Overweight apple-shaped people have more health risks than those of the same weight who are built like pears. If you look more like an apple than a pear, you will improve your health if you lose a few pounds and decrease that roll of fat.

New evidence shows that people with more belly fat may have higher risks for kidney disease—even when not overweight. Higher blood pressure in the kidneys causes damage to small blood vessels which in turn hinders blood flow through the glomeruli (tiny filters that rid the blood of waste). Regardless of body weight, this is true in healthy individuals who don’t have high blood pressure or diabetes. Overweight individuals have an even greater risk. The glomerular filtration rate (amount of blood passed through the glomeruli each minute) decreases every year with normal aging. Therefore, as apple-shaped individual’s age, they are even more prone to kidney problems.

Weight loss is more crucial for those with upper body fat. You know your physical shape, but look in the mirror again. If your belly shakes like jelly, you and Santa better watch out. Fat above the waist makes a difference. Be good to yourself and get rid of that belly fat.

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