Sunday, August 1, 2010

Nutrition for casual runners

Running and participating in a marathon is in vogue. Whether you choose to run the full nine yards or 26.2 miles or do a half marathon, you owe it to yourself to provide your body with the proper nutrition to perform at your best . Race car drivers tune up there car, put the best auto parts and premium fuel so that the car will perform at its peak during a race.This attention is ongoing and up to the time of the actual race to insure that the car perform to the max. Treat your body the same way!

There's is no question about it, runners,whether experienced, casual and pro's need proper nutrition and hydration for the 26.22 mile stretch. In 2009, approximately 468,000 marathon finishes was recorded in the United States, an increase of 9.9 % over the 2008 finishes. Modern marathon commemorates the run of the soldier Pheidippides from a battlefield in the town of Marathon to Athens Greece in 490 BC, bringing news of the Greeks victory over the Persians. After delivering the momentous message of the Greeks victory, he collapsed and died. Being in a battlefield and fighting a war, he did not have access to proper nutrition and hydration, and the long run depleted his electrolytes and glycogen stores. This is inspite of the fact that he was spartan, a strong soldier breed from birth to be a fierce warrior. According to the book " Food in History "a Greek warriors nutrition ration is water and a dried up corn bread or polenta. In todays society,training to become a soldier requires surviving the boot camp training. What sets the runner and boot camp training apart is the type of nutrition they get.

To compete in a marathon requires a feat of strength,endurance and stamina. Proper nutrition,hydration and training is vital to a runners success and survival. Hal Higdon,a well respected runner and author recommends a 1 year running base of distance between 3-6 miles run before a novice runner attempts to train for a marathon. Practice running and logging miles is the most important element of the physicial training program. Higdon has an 18 week novice marathon training schedule, where he describes the need to gradually increase running miles and to max out four weeks before the actual race. He recommends gradual tapering down miles run 4 weeks before the marathon. Proper rest is paramount to prevent exhaustion and injury.

Runners need 7-10 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram body weight. This means that if you are 60 kg. you will need approximately 420 grams of carbohydrates(using the low end range ) or about 28 servings of pasta,rice,corn etc ( 420 grams carbohydrates divided by 15 grams of carbohydrates per serving =28 servings. During long runs, carbohydrate needs should top the upper range. High carbohydrate is needed to saturate the muscles with glycogen.

The training diet is consist of 3 macro nutrients: Carbohydrate,Protein and Fat. This macro nutrients should be distributed as follows: 55% of your estimated calorie requirement should come from carbohydrates and up to 65% during long runs, 15-20 should come from protein, and 30 % from fat. If are a male and your height is 5'10" your estimated kilo calorie requirement is 2264 calories per day,55% of this calories should come from carbohydrate food,15-20% of the calories should come from protein foods and 30% of the total calories should come from fat.

This how calculate your carbohydrate,protein and fat needs using the above recommendation.

1. Carbohydrate should be 55% of your estimated kilo calorie requirement.
Using the above example of a active male who is 5'10" and 166 lbs. has an estimated calorie requirement of 2264 per day .
multiply 2253 x.55%=1245 kcal . Divide this by 80 calorie. 1 serving of carbohydrate food yields 80 calories. example, 1slice
bread,1/3 cup cooked rice,noodles,cut corn 1/5"tortilla etc.
1245 calories (55% of your total calories divided by 80 calories= 15.56 servings of carbohydrate food . this is your
opportunity to binge on the dreaded carbs. 15.56 or round it up to 16 servings translates to 16 slices of bread or51/4 cup
of pasta or 51/3 whole bagels choose your carbohydrate. Fruits,juices and vegetables are also carbohydrate food but yield
less calories per serving. 1 serving fresh or canned fruit packed in natural juice yields 60 calories. vegetable juices like v-8
juice has minmal calories and is considered free food. Caution : they are very high in salt, but provides lots of potassium
which is beneficial when you are running.This is assuming that you are in good health and have no kidney issues because
of the high potassium and salt.
1 cup of greens sans beans (w/tomatoes,cucumbers,celery, lettuce ,spinach) is about 25 calories almost a free food. The
dressing you add to it is not free and should be calculated in the fat group . Read labels to see how many grams of fat per oz
is the dressing and deduct from your fat allowance.

2. To calculate how much protein you need, multiply 2,264 calorie by 0.15 % (if you are going for a long run use the high end
20%. 2264 x0.15 %=340 calories. 1 serving of protein food is about 62-80 calories per oz meat,fish or poultry.
fried foods are higher in calories.
For the purpose of illustration lets use protein foods that are either baked, broiled,grilled or boiled. Lean meats,chicken
and turkey breast,fish and seafoods are lower in calories. We will use 70 calories per oz of this group.
340 calories (15% of total calories) divided by 70 calories= 4.86 or round it off to 5oz of lean cooked meat,fish,poultry or
seafood. That's about 1 2/3 piece of cooked chicken breast without the skin.

3. The recommended fat is 30% of total calorie needs. Take 2,264 calories and multiply by 0.30%=688.2 calories. 1 serving of
fat=45 calories.
Example of 1 serving of fat is 1/8 slice of medium avocado,1 tsp. butter or trans fat free margarine,1tsp olive oil or other oil
about 1tbsp.gravy and 1oz mocha mix or half and half etc.

4. Smooties,should fall under your fruit and fat allowance. Usual ingredients are fruit,nuts and vegetables .If you add milk
then you need to calculate it to be equivalent to 1 carb and 1 protein. If you use 2% milk you are using 2 grams of fat
if you use whole milk it is 5 grams fat.
Gatorades and other high energy drinks fall under your carbohydrate allowance.
Mineral water are usually free of calories.
All other energy sources,such as glucose tab,candies,power bars are carbohydrates

5. Dont forget you can only burn so much calories. Excess calories are stored as fat,it does not matter if they come
from carbohydrates or protein.

Runners produce extra free radicals from the extra oxygen they inhale during running,thus food intake should be high in anti oxidants in addition to that which the body defenses provides. While the body has a complex anti oxidant system to defend itself from CO2 fragment and free radicals, runners and other endurance athletes can benefit from a fuel efficient carbohydrates because of the extra calories they burn each day.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Puffer Fish, death or ecstasy?

Puffer fish or fugu is the only delicacy forbidden to the Emperor of Japan, for his own safety. Puffer fish are the second most poisonous vertebrae in the world, after the golden poison frog.The flesh of the puffer fish or fugu is considered a delicacy in Japan and Korea. In Japan it is known as fugu and bok in Korea . In 1603-1868 The Tokogawa Shogunate prohibited the consumption of fugu on Edo and its area of influence.When the power of Shogunate weakened, people started to eat fugu again. During the Meiji era, (1867-1912) fugu was again banned in many areas of Japan . Fugu contains lethal amounts of the poison tetrodotoxin in the organs ,especially the liver area and ovaries,and also the skin. The poison is a sodium channel blocker, which paralyzes the muscles while the victim is fully conscious and eventually dies from asphyxiation. There is no known antidote for fugu poisoning. The standard medical approach is to support the respiratory and circulatory system until the poison dissipates.

Starting 1958, Japan only use licensed chefs to prepare puffer fish or fugu. The license chef know how to remove and isolate the poisonous part of the fish when preparing it. The offals (liver and ovaries) contain the toxic poison and a precise skill in removing it is a must. The chef have to wear thick gloves when processing the fish to protect them from the poisonous sting of the fish spines that can pierce them while skinning the fish . To ensure that the poison is contained in the opals, the fish is skinned alive. In Japan selling of fugu liver is illegal. Some stubborn chefs disregard this rule and eat the liver, which often result in death. During the post war era where many people in Japan were left homeless and without food, these people dig the restaurant garbages and ate what was thrown out. Deaths have resulted because they ate the liver and opals that were discarded . Now the restaurant are required to store the discarded opals and liver in a locked container. In Thailand, many people died because of eating the fugu fish, which came with the fisherman's catch. The people who bought and prepared the fish were unfamiliar with the poisonous nature of the fish.

To become a licensed fugu chef one must undergo 3 years of apprenticeship before being allowed to take an official test. Only 35% pass the rigourous test which is consist of a written test, illustration and actual preparation of the fugu fish. In addition the licensed chef must also have artistic skill. The most popular puffer fish dish is fugu sashimi, also called fugu sushi, or tessa. The fish is sliced thinly (transparent) using a fugu hiki knife so that the pattern of the plate ,where the fish is to be served can be seen throughout the plate and are often arranged in the form of a chrysanthemum flower which is significant to Japanese culture and symbolic of death. When fugu is deep fried it is called fugu-kare-age. When the fins of the puffer fish or fugu are fried and soaked in hot sake, the dish is called hiri-sake. A fugu stew prepared with traditional vegetables is called fugu-chin or tetchini. The skin of the fugu is sliced thinly and added to salad in a dish called yubiki. The soft roe (shirako) of the blowfish, a variety of puffer fish is a highly prized Japanese item. It is often sold in department stores around Japan in tiny wood gift boxes. I have eaten the soft roe of the cod, and it is quite delicious eaten with melba toast and a dash of brandy over it. The appearance of the shirako is similar to cod milt and but by far more expensive.

A dish of puffer fish or fugu can cost approximately $50.00 and can be found as low as $20.00. A full course (usually 8 servings can cause between $100-200.00 or more. Fugu has become one of the most celebrated and notorious dish in Japan.
As of 2008, due to advances in fugu research, a non toxic fugu can now be mass produced. The farmers farm the fugu by separating them from tetrodotoxin-laden bacterias. Usuki, a town in Oita Prefecture ,became famous for selling non-poisonous fugu. So far no one has been poisoned or died from eating the fish.

In some remote area of Japan, the puffer fish or fugu is pickled, which allows the poisonous part to be eaten . The exact method is not known and kept as a secret . From what someone can surmiss, the process involves lengthly saturation of the fish in sake and salt for over 3 years.

Strict fishing regulation are now in place to protect the dwindling fugu population from being depleted. Most fugu are harvested in the spring during the spawning season and then farmed in floating cages in the pacific ocean. The largest wholesale market for fugu in Japan is Shimonoseki. Fugu prices rise in the fall and peak in winter,which afecionados claim is the best time to eat fugu, as the fugu fatten themselves before winter to survive the cold. The fugu are shipped to the restaurant alive and only licensed chef are allowed to prepare them for the public.

As a child I have seen puffer or fugu fish washed in the seashore in the town where I grew up as a child and was informed earlier on by my elders of the danger and poisonus nature of the puffer fish . We were only allowed to look and are forbidden to touch the fish. The Japanese who live in our town know how to prepare and eat the fish. Japanese restaurants in town did not serve the fish in their menu, if they did, it is only to a few select Japanese clientile. Since there is an abundance of fish from the sea , rivers and fish ponds, there was no desire to eat this ugly looking fish. Since I have not eaten fugu I can not describe the taste. People who ate fugu say that it is quite delicious and worth the risk . The centuries of trouble that Japan had to go through to make this delicacy survive means there is something special about it. I have been told that the taste is decadent! As for me, the risk is far too great to arrive at an ecstasy.

Truffles, a treasure from the earth

Truffles is one of the most expensive natural food in the world and can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars per pound. These delicacies had been found in Europe, Asia,North Africa and North America. Only 3 species are commercially important. In Texas, Tuber Texensis is collected, in Oregon, it is the white truffle Gibbosum. The Oregon white truffles is still in its infancy but truffles is harvested in sufficient amounts to meet commercial demands. The Oregon truffles cost about $150.00 per pound. Truffles have to reach maturity to be able to acquire that pungent, earthy smell that connouseur go crazy for.
The European truffle cost is prohibitive. Sometimes the Black Perigord from France is referred too as the black Gold.

Truffles grow in close myocorrhizsal association with the roots of specific tree and grow underground beneath the roots. Truffles range in size from a walnut to a small potato. The tuber is gnarled like a ginger, or like that of a withered potato. The season for truffle is from September to May. If you are in Italy or France during the truffle season, visit the markets and you will find truffles for sale . Beware, you can not touch them, nor can you touch any produce. The Italians and French people prize their produce. You just have to judge the item by sight. If you buy truffles, I am not sure if you can take your purchase back to the US anyway. When it is in season all the restaurant have it on the menu so eat and enjoy!

There is another variety of truffle that never reach the world market place , and that is the desert truffle. As soon as the first spring rain fall, the Bedouins scours the wide sand plains that starts from the East of Damascus and stretched hundreds of miles to Bagdad for signs of telitale grasses and cracks indicating that truffles lies beneath the surface. Desert truffles are a specie of the mushroom family and a distant relative to the European Truffle. They are packed with protein, and often used as substitute for meat in the Middle East

The two most expensive truffles are the French black truffle (tuber melanosporum) from the Perigord region of Southwest France. and the white odorous white truffle( tuber magnatum) of Alba in the Piedmont district of Italy. The black truffle is used in making pate de foe gras, and is an ubiguitos ingredient in French Provencial cooking. The white truffles from Italy is usually eaten fresh sprinkled on top of salads,sauces,souffle and other prepared dishes. When shavings or thin wedges of truffles are added to a dish, the dish is glorified. In Italy the white truffle is crushed with olive oil,filtered and dispense in a 3 ounce medicine bottle with an eye dropper. No one knows what they do with the truffle pulp , some suspect that it is canned and sold to the foreign market.

In Europe the truffles were harvested with the aid of a female pig (swine) , which are able to detect the smell of the truffle because the smell is liken to the smell that a male pig emits. Lately, they stopped using the female pig as it devours all or most of the truffles found. Dogs are now trained to haunt this delicacy since they can be trained to search and find this jewels and are happy to get a different reward. In Cordon Bleu cooking school, the truffles are kept in the kitchen safe. If you take a course in French provencial cooking, they will issue you a piece of truffle, mine was the size of small withered potato. One of my classmate who was a Canadian actress thought it was trash that was placed in her supply bin by mistakes, so she threw it in the trash. The instructor made her pick it up and gave us a lecture of how expensive this ingredient was.

The smell of truffles can permeat other food. If you store a piece of truffle in your rice bin, the rice will acquire the taste of truffle. Put it in a basket with eggs and the eggs will taste like truffles.This is especially true of the white odorous truffle from Italy.

If you buy a fresh truffle, do not wash it in water, chances are it has already been cleaned. I was told that the best way to clean truffles is to use a brush sans water, this will remove the dirt or soil attached to the truffles. If you want to store truffle, put it in a container with madeira wine and refrigerate. When I make gallantine and other cooked dishes requiring truffles, I use truffle peelings which can be purchased in specialty stores in 7oz can and cost about $40-45 a can. And then there is the 6oz white truffle oil spritzer that you can spray on salads for a delicious truffle taste. The cost of either black or white truffles is prohibitive and unless I am impressing someone, I will not use the whole truffle. You can buy truffles on line from different France company but the price is not stable, it is like the stock market , it goes up and down based on availability.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Caviar, a treat from the Caspian Sea

Caspian sea or also called Qazun in the ancient map is the largest body of water on earth by area . it is bounded by Northern Iran, Kazakstan , South Russian, Western Kazakstan, Turkmenistan and Western Azerbaijan. The Caspian sea holds a large number of sturgeon fish priced for their eggs called Caviar. The sturgeon fish reaches maturity between age of 15-20 years and can live up to 100 years.

There are 20 varieties of sturgeon, 6 varieties inhabits the caspian sea and 3 produces the 3 most sought for caviar. The 3 types of caviar are the Beluga, Sevruga and 0ssetra. In 2005 , the US banned importation of caviar . The highbrow clientile did everything in their power to undo this act . In 2007 ,the United Nations lifted the ban. For what kind of New Year celebration will there be without caviar to celebrate it with!. The bad news is the supply of caviar from the caspian sea is dwindling,which means the cost will escalate, but I am sure the feast will go on irregardless. There is also news that the oil beneath the Caspian sea is worth over 12 trillion dollars. Drilling the oil will disturb the sturgeon fish habitat. The question that is still unanswered is: will the countries involved vote to keep the sturgeon or mine the oil.?

According to caviar afecionados,the best tasting caviar comes from Iran. The beluga caviar is the most expensive of all caviar and can fetch a price from $75.00 to over $100 an ounce. The Russian caviar ranks next to Iran. Iranian tourist are allowed to bring 2 kilos of caviar when visiting the US . I had the privileged of eating this scrumptious delicacy from a Persian friend and I agree, the Iranian beluga caviar is the tastiest of all, but the other varieties are too, they are not as black and big as the beluga, but they are packed with intense flavor and marine aroma , sought for by afecionados.

The one ounce bottled caviar from the grocery store is not descriptive of the taste of the real caviar. People who claim they do not like caviar must have been served this type of caviar, which is usually a heavily salted lumpfish roe. The heavy salting acts as a preservative to make the fish roes shelf safe. In France, the term caviar only refers to the roe of the sturgeon fish. In the US, caviar refers to the fish roe from the following fishes: salmon,paddle fish,flying fish,lumpfish and american golden white fish . I had eaten the salmon roe which cost between $40-50 a pound and is quite delectable. Caviar is salted to preserve the roe from spoilage, malossol refers to the degree of saltiness of caviar. Pressed caviar is the thick jammy residue of eggs that were broken during processing. It has very intense flavor that is a bit of an aquired taste. Serve it with sour cream,chopped eggs and chive over blini and it is a match made in heaven. This is how I was introduced to caviar.

The Russian Tea Room in New York City use to serve a ton of caviar annually. It is a shame that it is now closed. According to Bruce Sobol of Caviarteria, "caviar is the only food with no known threshold of excess , a spoonful maybe enough,but a bowl is not too much". If you suffer from hypertension, stir away from caviar, as it is salty. Caviar has 47 vitamins and minerals. An ounce of caviar provides 74 calories or 1,188 calories per pound, 68 grams of fat, and 25% cholesterol.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sour sap or Guayabano fruit ,role in cancer treatment

I am amazed at the number of tropical fruits and vegetables that are now becoming a source for the treatment of various illness especially that of cancer. I grew up in a country where almost every house have a guayabano tree growing in their backyard. Guayabano tree is a moderate size tree, and bears fruit all year long. The tree is not a prolific fruit bearer. The fruit which is quite large ,irregular shape and greenish in color and is covered with conical nibs. It usually ripens during the rainy season or moonson, as it is called in South East Asia. The fruit grows very close to the truck or stem which supports its weight. The fruit must be picked when matured other wise it will be bruised and picked on by birds. When ripe,the fruit emits a citrusy,soury smell signaling that it is ready to be eaten. It takes a few days or a week in the kitchen counter for the mature fruit to ripens. Usually it is ripe when it is soft to touch,like that of avocado. The skin of the fruit is thin and leathery. Upon opening the fruit,you will see segments of creamy flesh . The pulp covers the seeds which is quite large and numerous. Put a fruit segment in your mouth and savour the ambrosial taste. Guayabano grows wild in the amazon forest of Brazil where it is called graviola. The Spaniards refer to the fruit as Guanaba.

Extracts from guayabano can attack cancer cells safely and effectively without causing extreme nausea,weight loss and hair loss. It protect the integrity of the immune system and avoid deadly infection . It makes one feel stronger throughout the course of there chemotheapy treatment. Guayabano kills malignant cells in 12 types of cancer ,including colon, breast,lung and pancreatic cancer. Guayabano is said to be 10,000 times more effective in slowly cancer than andriamycin , a commonly used chemotherapy drug.

The compounds extracted from guayabano selectively haunts down and kill only cancer cells and not the good cells.
South Americans traditional medicine uses various parts of the guayabano including the bark leaves,roots,fruits and fruit seed in the treatment of heart disease, asthma,liver problems and arthritis. The National Cancer Institue performed the 1st scientific test in 1976. Results showed that guayabano leaves and stems were found effective in attacking and destroying. malignant cells. Numerous uses of guayabano in folklore medicine shows healing properties. The seeds have emetic property and used for treating vomiting . Crushed leaves is applied directly to the wound to promote healing. Juices are taken orally as a remedy for arthritis,haematuria and liver ailment. The decoction of the young shoots is used as remedy for gallbladder , as well as coughs,catarth,diarrhea,dysentery, lice, bedbugs and indigestion. In addition, the root bark is used as antidote for poisoning.

I combed the Farmers market, Asian,Mexican and African and Indian stores to see if they sell the frozen fruit or if anyone grew the fruit in there backyard. The fruit can grow in Vista, San Diego, Fullerton California and some parts of the LA basin that has a microclimate that is subtropical. The only guayabano I found is canned sour sop juice which is a product of Thailand. The brand is FOCO. The great thing about this find is that the juice list the first ingredient as water and the second ingredient is sour sop puree 25%. I purchased a dozen of the canned juice and intend to go back for more. If you live in the East Coast, you can go to Canada where guayabano is sold in the market (the restricitons for foreign imported fruit is not as strict as USA).
Mexico is in close proximity to California where they grow guyabano, which they call guanaba, however one can not take it back to the USA, I guess the same thing goes for Canada

Besides the alleged medicinal property of guayabano, the fruit is also high in fiber and vitamin C.
The internet offerings for guayabano is in the form of capsules,drinks and pills .
If you know someone who grows this fruit in their backyard,please let me know and I would like to purchase some.
Also I would like to know more healing fruits and vegetables that you might know, that I do not know.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Organic vegetables, is it worth the price you pay?

France and Italy pioneered organic farming and small scale agriculture. The taste of their produce is the best . The French and Italians have no second thoughts about paying the price for these delicacies. Emilia Romagna, a small province in Bologna, Italy, grow the finest and tastiest produce surpassing the quality of French produce, and the world. These vegetables are grown in the alluvial plains where the soil is naturally fertile .

Italy and France started farmers market long before the United States conceived the idea. They eat what is in season and utilized locally grown produce. In France foreign produce can be seen sold in produce markets, usually imported from countries where they had previous political influence, a good example is the abundance of Vietnamese produce , both fruits and vegetables. Except for the fruits, the France people have strong affinity to there own vegetables and doubt that the foreign produce influenced there set cuisine.

One of the reason that prompt americans to go organic is the green revolution. It is all about saving the planet . The second most important reason is the safety of produce . A growing number of serious health food advocates have stopped buying produce sprayed with pesticide or chemicals for fear of the cancer forming residue. This concern gave rise to commercial organic farming and widespread increase of health food stores touting the virtues of organically grown produce and selling them 5-6 times more that the cost of non organic produce. In 2007 Harris pool stated that 30% of americans buy organic food occassionally, there reason is, organic produce is safer and better for your health.

Organic is big and getting bigger. In 2006 , the sale of organic food in the US totaled to 16.7 billion (Figure from Organic Trade Association). Overall amount does not specify how much was spent in organic produce. This amount is less than 3% of the overall sales of food and beverage. In 2009, the 1st Lady, Michele Obama began digging a portion of the South lawn of the White house to plant an organic vegetable garden. Concern about childhood obesity and rise in the number of diabetics is a national concern.

Farmers who practice sustainable farming can only operate in small scale basis since the requirements of USDA (United Sates Department of Agriculture ) for growing organic produce is strict and specific . The farmers argue that when you buy organic , you do not buy a product, you buy a way of life that is committed to not exploiting the planet ( by Ed Maltby, Executive Director of North East Organic Dairy Producers Alliance).

If you want to use organic produce, here is a guideline for you to use.

When the label indicates that the product is all natural, free range, or hormone free, it is not organic. It is only describing how the produce or product is raised or grown.

Organic food should have the following labels or USDA Seal
100% organic (USDA guidelines for growing and or raising a produce is followed 100%)
Organic 95% means there is a slight variance that was not meet
70% or less organic means only 70 % or less of the ingredients is organic and 30% is not.

Organic farmers do not use pesticide or insecticides to banish the insects or pest but use alternative methods ,such as growing plants that will entice beneficial insects and birds to visit there site and then feast on the pest that cause havoc to there produce.Instead of chemical fertilizers, they use compost and crop rotation and mulching or hand weeding. Organic farmers whose annual income from the sale of organic produce is $5,000 or less are exempt from getting a certificate but must follow all of the USDA guidelines. You will encounter this if you go to farmers market where organic backyard farmers sell their excess produce for a nominal cost. It is also a place where you can find rare fruits and vegetables from other countries that are grown locally sans the pesticide.

Goverment research continue to find better ways of protecting the environment and the consumers. Although the use of acceptable pesticide continues , they are now use increasingly in combination with non-chemical control practices, a farm management system known as IPM (Integrated Pest Management). The goal is to use all possible technology to keep pest population below economic injury. Pesticides are only used when there is a demonstrated need. Sample method is breeding,crop rotation,biological control and use of a bug vac- a type of vacuum cleaner that inhales the pest and spares the plants. Through research they found out that increasing the sugar content of fruits will repel white flies .

While organic produce are free from synthetic chemicals, one should be aware that the plants produce their own natural toxicants and organism, which are sometimes more harmful than the established acceptable chemical residue. Individuals who choose to eat organically grown produce should be informed that organic foods are not necessarily free from pesticide residues. Contaminations from wind drifts, soil shifts and ground water are factors that can affect the process of growing organically grown produce. In addition, animal and plant waste presents a special problem in the treatment of compost , especially when animal manure is added.

Of particular concern with our fast growing world is the increasing use of imported produce. Seasons are defiled. Fruits and vegetables that are not in season in the US are available year round coming from Chile,Panama, South East Asia and other countries that gained permit to sell there produce to the US market. The growing regulation is not the same as the US and the the process of inspecting the imported produce entering the US is at random. Not every piece of produce is tested for pesticide

Finally there is no evidence that organically grown produce is superior in quality ,safety or nutrient content as compared to the conventionally grown produce. Inspite of reassuring statements from the governmental agencies responsible for the public protection of our food supply. For this reason, it is important that we become more sensitive to our changing environment, and take more responsibility for ourselves. Some sensible protective measures is to eat a variety of vegetables. This practice helps minimize the exposure to any one pesticide. Eat what is in season, off seasonal produce are imports and maybe subjected to less rigorous pesticide surveillance plan.

Irregardless of the source of your produce, it is a good practice to wash and store your vegetables in your refrigerator crisper to ensure freshness and to prevent nutrient loss. Deep green vegetables and citrus contains Vitamin C, a heat labile vitamin that is destroyed by prolong exposure to light and air. The practice of hoarding fresh vegetables when on sale is not advisable. Properly stored fresh fruits and vegetables must be consumed within a week.

Some chemicals breakdown naturally after harvest and are diminished by washing,peeling and cooking. While some people worry about the potential danger of pesticide residue, others are non cha lant about it. Often, I see people in the produce section of a supermarket,sneaking and sampling unwashed produced without guilt!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Morning glory, how to flower when vine fails to bloom

I love morning glory . It is a must have plant for me. This plant is an annual in my area, so every year I buy a morning glory vine, already in its glory,twinning,flowers and all. This year after April Fools Day I purchased a 5 gallon blooming morning glory . I planted the vine in an area that will provide sun all day as is in the requirement. According to the instruction, this vine will grow in any soil condition and will tolerate drought. They also have fast growth and twinning habits which is excellent for the trellis outside my bathroom. It will provide shade to my house and reduce cooling cost.

In April, the rainfull came and the temperature dropped with days of cold spell. The winds created havoc . My vine looked like it went to the war, but resilient. The flowers came the first week I planted it and then stopped. I was worried that the gophers had taken a bite of the roots, I check gopher activity and there was none. I augmented the soil with Amend, since I did not enrich the soil when I transplanted it. I waited 2 weeks, no flowers, but the vine is twinning all over the place. I fertilized with a high phosphorus fertilizer to help bring it to bloom, still no flowers.

I have asked every person I know who likes plants and no one know's whats wrong. My garden experience is worthless if I can not make this vine flower. I check the internet for tips on how to flower morning glory but none of my query's resulted in an answer on how to flower morning glory. Each day I check the vine to see if there are buds , but to my dismay, the vine is all leaves.

By the end of April on to mothers day, my garden is ablaze with flowers from my flowering trees, but none on my morning glory. On the 3rd week of May I went to the post office to buy stamps, the post lady had a picture of morning glory with hummingbird feeding on it on her stand. I asked if she grew morning glory in her yard and she said yes. I asked her how to flower a morning glory and she said, just don't water it for a week, maybe you are spoiling it, it is better to ignore it.
I did just that. After a week my morning glory started to bud and since then the vine greeted me blooms of beautiful blue flowers each morning.

I also did not know that morning glory represents love in vain. According to the Victoria Language of Flowers, they attribute various properties and sentiments to flowers ,so people can communicate their feelings to the type of flowers given ,such as a suitors gift to a lady there are interested in. Nice to know. And also, did you know that morning glory is poisonous?

Until then, I will continue to share my gardening experiences . Follow my blog.