Eight healthy veggies you can grow

By Jeff Yeager

bunches of asparagus at farmers market

I’ve confessed before that my enthusiasm for gardening usually dies on the vine long before the first cucumbers of summer are ready to harvest. I’m always looking for easy ways to satisfy my green thumb and, of course, ways to get the most broccolis for my gardening buck.

That’s why I’m a big fan of growing perennial vegetables in my garden — plant them once, and enjoy the fruits (well, actually, vegetables) of your labors for years to come.

I’ll always remember when the UPS man delivered a mysterious, rather dirty looking box to our new home the first spring we lived here. The box was carefully packed with damp sphagnum moss, the packaging material of choice for shipping the sacred Yeager Roots, a housewarming gift from my parent.

Other families pass down jewelry or antique furniture, but for the Yeager clan, the holy triumvirates of family heirlooms are root starts of asparagus, horseradish, and rhubarb. They are the direct descendants of the original Yeager Roots, dating back at least to my great-grandparents, and — family legend has it — much, much further.

Although — unlike fruits — there aren’t too many vegetables that are perennials, many of the ones that do exist grow in a wide range of climates and, once established, are low-maintenance enough even for a lazy gardener like me. They’re also among the healthiest veggies for you, and they’re generally inexpensive to purchase, if you don’t come from a family with its own royal roots line. Here are my personal eight great perennial vegetables: [Read more...]

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The facts are in: better diet limits cancer

Cancer is becoming more prevalent in our society. You’ve not just read about it, but you’ve seen it among those you know or perhaps experienced it yourself.

It’s tough news to hear even in the best of circumstances. But this article might provide a boost to your commitment to battle the affliction, whether personally or vicariously  –  Lori Drummond, R.D., L.D..

Dr. Dean Ornish and other research physicians recently published a randomized controlled trial showing that the progression of early-stage prostate cancer may be stopped or perhaps even reversed by making similar changes in diet and lifestyle.

This was the first randomized controlled trial showing that the progression of any type of cancer may be modified just by changing what we eat and how we live. What’s true for prostate cancer may be true for breast cancer as well.

Recent studies by the Preventive Medicine Research Institute continue to show how dynamically lifestyle changes can improve our health and well-being, even on a genetic and cellular level. [Read more...]

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Fight cancer with these resources

If you or a friend are battling cancer, check out the marvelous resources on my latest page addition to this site — Cancer-fighting information

Have a great cancer-fighting Internet site to suggest? Please let me know via the comment link below.

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Sleep more, weigh less?

Want to lose weight?   Perhaps you should get more sleep.

Researchers from Case Western University in Ohio monitored 70,000 women for over a 15-year period and determined that those getting five hours or less of sleep each night 30 percent more likely to gain weight than were those getting seven hours or more of sleep.

Light sleepers also have a significantly higher risk of becoming obese, according to the study supervised by Dr. S. Patel of the university.

What surprised the researchers was that sleeping patterns had a much greater influence on women’s long-term weight than eating habits or physical activity.

At the start of the study, the women who slept up to five hours a night weighed 5.4 pounds more than those who got 7 hours or more. They also put on 1.6 pounds more each year than the good sleepers. [Read more...]

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Protect health with natural cleansers

Many of us have loved ones and/or friends fighting cancer. And I see cancer patients nearly every day as part of my clinical nutrition career. Since some cancer is linked to topical or inhalation exposure, learning from the following summary of Christina Strutt’s A Guide To Green Housekeepingis a good start toward less toxic cleanliness in your home. — Lori Drummond, R.D.

Sure, it’s great to find that one magical product that solves a very specific household problem. But the truth is, you need little more than the following six ingredients—baking soda, borax, lemon juice, salt, olive oil and white vinegar—to clean just about anything in your home (pet hair excluded).
guide to green housekeeping

Here are just a few of the many uses for these, well, magical multi-taskers:
1. Baking soda: Acts as a scrub to remove hard water stains; polishes metal; deodorizes pretty much anything it touches (try stashing some in the fridge).
2. Borax: Mixed with three parts water, it makes a paste for cleaning carpet stains; mixed with ¼ part lemon juice, it cleans stainless steel and porcelain. (Note: although borax is a natural substance, you still shouldn’t eat it—and neither should your kids or pets.)
3. Lemon: Deodorizes and cuts grease on counter tops; rubbed on cutting boards, it bleaches stains and disinfects; combined with baking soda, it removes stains from plastic food storage containers.
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Recommendations for cancer prevention

The American Institute of Cancer Research has offered the following advice for reducing cancer occurrence, based on the 2007 findings of WCRF/AICR’s expert report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective.

1. Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight.

2. Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.

3. Avoid sugary drinks. Limit consumption of energy dense foods (particularly processed foods high in added sugar, or low in fiber, or high in fat).

4. Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes such as beans.

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Buy more organic, enjoy better health

organic carrot harvesting

Numerous research report summaries harvested by the Organic Trade Association have yielded a clear conclusion: the added cost of organic products is often compensated by dramatic increases in nutritional value and flavor.

Growing crops in healthy soils results in food products that offer healthy nutrients. There is mounting evidence that organically grown fruits, vegetables and grains may offer more of some nutrients, including vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and less exposure to nitrates and pesticide residues than their counterparts grown using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

Below are five report summaries that point to the importance of organic food:

♥  Researchers studying cultivation practices for high-bush blueberries in New Jersey found that blueberry fruit grown organically yielded significantly higher fructose and glucose levels, malic acid, total phenolics, total anthocyanins and antioxidant activity than fruit grown using conventional methods.  Scientists carrying out the study are based at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Genetic Improvement of Fruits and Vegetables Laboratory in Beltsville, MD, and at Rutgers University in New Jersey.  (Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Vol. 56, pages 5,788-5794 (2008), published online on July 1, 2008.)

♥  A report jointly produced by The Organic Center and professors from the University of Florida Department of Horticulture and Washington State University provides evidence that organic foods contain, on average, 25 percent higher concentration of 11 nutrients than their conventional counterparts. The report was based on estimated differences in nutrient levels across 236 comparisons of organically and conventionally grown foods.  (Source: “New Evidence Confirms the Nutritional Superiority of Plant-Based Organic Foods,” www.organic-center.org/reportfiles/5367_Nutrient_Content_SSR_FINAL_V2.pdf.)

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