Friday, 27 June 2014

Food Friday - That's Good To Know

Not too long ago my daughter and I attended our annual local "Food & Drink Show".  Admittedly it is not the best place to be when you are on a weight loss program, but it was interesting and it is always fun to learn about new types of food.  This was our first time attending the one in our area, but we never miss the Toronto Show.  The shows have different sponsors and between us -- shshsh -- as far as interesting foods, celebrity chef cooking demonstrations and the "bang for your buck", I think the Toronto show is the better of the two.

All that aside, I now follow the show on Facebook and they do have interesting posts.  Most recently it was a series of interesting facts under the heading of "Good Eats".  I hope they carry on the series as I am enjoying the information.

( as you can see they apparently get their information from )

I thought I'd share some of the posts here ...

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Vintage Thursdays 4 - Housework as Exercise

Last week I posted this picture from the 1950's and made a comment that it wasn't a bad idea to remember this today.  That got me to thinking.  Is housework legitimate exercise or something we've been sold into believing?

This housework as exercise thing is everywhere.  As I was noticing the plethora of "vintage work out" pictures on the internet it also struck me that the whole "housework as exercise" is certainly not a new one. Does that mean it's valid information, or does it simply mean that we need incentive to get those beds made and floors vacuumed?  Kind of brings up a question very similar to “Which came first -- the chicken or the egg?”

Now I am not denying housework burns calories … it’s darned hard work getting all the cleaning done.  But … who is doing the promoting – men or women?

Are the men convincing the ladies that housework constitutes exercise because …

  1. It keeps the ladies at home doing the housework instead of going out to the gym?
  2. It lets them off the “doing housework hook” if they can convince the ladies it’s “exercise”?
  3. Men just like to watch ladies doing the housework?

Or are the ladies trying to convince themselves because …
  1. We really don’t have time to get all the “chores” done and get to the gym?
  2. The housework becomes a little more bearable if we convince ourselves it is good exercise?
  3. It kills two birds with one stone?


Should we blame the advertisers?

Or just call it all good old fashioned advice and go with the flow of "whatever works" to keep us active.

And for goodness sake ... let's not forget all those creative ways to work in exercise using our handy, dandy everyday household items ...

Above all ... keep smiling!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Revisiting Water ... Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

With the summer months and the warm weather finally here I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the topic of water.  In the spirit of honesty I have to admit I HATE drinking water.  I don’t know what it is about water but I find it flavourless (okay, that’s a bit of an obvious statement) and I just cannot choke it down in the quantities recommended by ALL the experts.  Yet every time I read about the health and weight loss benefits of water it reinforces the fact that I am doing myself a great disservice and, quite possibly causing myself some serious problems.  The only time I consume water with any regularity is when I am working out … and even that activity has been hit and miss lately.  But!  Better than it has been over the winter months … small steps … small steps!

I did a really lengthy post on water on this blog some time ago, but recently one of my TOPS members handed me a binder crammed full of articles she had collected over the years.  I always appreciate it when people hand me their own sources of information.  Quite frankly its quite a chore to come up with motivating, informational and, hopefully, interesting meeting ideas every week.  Paging through her binder it dawned on me that this collection had been put together several years previously, as the articles were from various magazines dated between 1999 and 2007.  Unfortunately, the articles were cut out and put into the binder, so I can credit the sources accurately.

I find it difficult sometimes to keep up with accurate information these days because it changes so quickly … one day coffee is evil and the next week it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread; which come to think of it, is really not all that good for you.  The same goes for all kinds of things; milk, eggs, etc.  One day they are in the list of shoulds and the next week they are in the list of shouldn’ts.  The basics always stay the same and water is one of those basics!

Next to air, water is the substance most necessary for our survival.  A normal adult is about 60-to70-percent water.  We can go without food for almost two months, but without water only a few days.  Yet most people have no idea how much water they should drink.  In fact, many of us live in a dehydrated state.

Without water we’d be poisoned to death by our own waste products.  When the kidneys remove uric acid and urea, these must be dissolved in water.  If there isn’t enough water, wastes are not removed as effectively and may build up as kidney stones.  Water is also vital as a medium for chemical reactions in digestion and metabolism.  It carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells through the blood and helps to cool the body through perspiration.  Water also lubricates our joints.

We even need water to breath:  Our lungs must be moist to take in oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide.  We lose a pint of liquid each day just exhaling.

So …

If you don’t drink sufficient water, you can impair every aspect of you physiology.  By not drinking enough water, many people incur excess body fat, poor muscle tone and size, decreased organ function, increased toxicity in the body, joint and muscle soreness and water retention.

Water retention?

Yep, if you are not drinking enough, your body may retain water to compensate.  Paradoxically, fluid retention can sometimes be eliminated by drinking more water, not less.

Proper water intake is a key to weight loss.  If people who are trying to lose weight don’t drink enough water, the body can’t metabolize the fat adequately.  Retaining fluid also keeps weight up.

The following is a formula I had never come across before:

The minimum for a healthy person is eight to ten eight-ounce glasses a day.  You need more if you exercise a lot or live in a hot climate.  Overweight people should drink an extra glass for every 25 pounds they exceed their ideal weight.  At the International Sportsmedicine Institute, they have a formula for water intake: one-half ounce per pound of body weight if you are not active (that’s ten eight-ounce glasses a day if your weight is 160 pounds) and two-thirds ounce per pound if you’re athletic.

Let’s look at some common misconceptions …

Water’s main roll is to quench thirst.
Though thirst is your body’s way of signalling you to consume more water, it is an imperfect signal that may turn off before you have drunk enough to satisfy your body’s need.

“I never drink water and I feel fine.”
We get water from many sources – from other liquids such as juices, coffee, tea, milk, beer and soft drinks; from the content of many solid foods; from the body’s own metabolic processes.  However, the caffeine in coffee, tea and some soft drinks has a diuretic effect that ultimately causes your body to lose more water than you consume.  Alcohol, too, tends to dehydrate, which is why you make wake up thirsty after a night of drinking.

“Drinking water makes me feel fat and bloated.”
It is not the water that makes you feel bloated, but rather salt that holds large amounts of water in your body.  If your diet is low in salt and other sources of sodium, any water you consume will be quickly washed out of your body.

Many people confuse “water weight” with fat.  The weight you gain after eating a big meal is usually almost entirely water that you’ll lose in a few days.  When you go on any diet that produces rapid weight loss – especially one that is high in protein, low in sugars and starches – most of your initial weight loss will be water, not fat.  As soon as you slip back to your usual eating habits, you’ll “gain” back a pound or two of water (not fat).  While you are losing weight, it’s important to drink plenty of water to help your kidneys eliminate the toxic wastes produced by the breakdown of body fat.

You should not drink water while you are eating.
Some people believe that drinking liquids with meals dilutes digestive enzymes, preventing the body from digesting and absorbing some of the food eaten.  Not true.  In fact, water facilitates digestion.  Drinking water or other low calorie liquids before or with your meals can also help you control your portions by creating a sensation of fullness.

Did you know that …

… The average adult body holds 35 to 50 litres of water, 2.3 – 2.8 litres of which are lost every day through excretion and perspiration?

… Some seemingly solid foods are mostly water?  Fruits and vegetables are more
three- fourths water.  Green beans, for example, are 89 percent water and lettuce is 95 percent water.  Both of these are actually “wetter” than milk, which is only 87 percent water.

… Mineral water contains dissolved minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium.  All water, other than distilled water, is technically mineral water.

… “Natural” mineral water contains only mineral naturally present and is usually drawn from a spring.

… If carbon dioxide is added to mineral water for sparkle, the word “carbonated” must appear on the label.

… Seltzer is tap water that been filtered and carbonated.

… Club Soda is seltzer to which minerals and mineral salts are added.  The sodium content may be high, so it is not recommended for people with high blood pressure or heart disease.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Food Friday - TOPS Ten Under-appreciated Superfoods

I was flipping through some older TOPS magazines this week looking for some inspiration for a Monday meeting idea when I came across this TOPS Ten list of Under-appreciated Super Foods.  The topic seemed to go hand in hand with my blog post (meeting notes) from this past week, so I thought I’d share it here for this week’s Food Friday.

This list was published in the TOPSNews November 2011.


For centuries, many cultures have used these diminutive giants as a keystone for their cuisine.  Beans are nutritional superstars and an excellent source of protein and complex carbohydrates, as well as fiber and important vitamins and minerals.  Eating beans has been proven to help with lowering cholesterol levels, body weight, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and some types of cancer.  Supplement you meal planning with any of the many varieties of beans that are available in fresh, frozen, canned, and/or dried form.


Do not overlook the many benefits and uses for this simple vegetable.  Celery contributes important vitamins, minerals and nutrients that can help reduce cholesterol and protect against cancer.  This easy-to-use vegetable is quite versatile and can be added quickly to your favourite dishes, including soups, stews, meat, side dishes, casseroles, and more.


A very important bulb, there is much more to garlic than its characteristic flavour and fragrance.  Its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant phytochemical compounds protect against heart disease, reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and provide anti-clotting activity.  Garlic should be a staple in every kitchen in order to add a supply of vitamins C and B6, manganese, and selenium to a variety of foods.


This seemingly old-fashioned, commonplace staple can be sliced, diced, chopped, pureed, and added to virtually any menu item requiring pungent flavour and a nutritional punch.  Enjoy the benefits of these bulbs, including fiber, minerals, and vitamins C and B6.  Scientists are still ascertaining onion’s polyphenol and sulfur-containing compounds that may reduce the risk of some cancers, as well as help boost immune function and heart health.


Meal plans rich in green and yellow vegetables (including green peas) have been associated with heart disease prevention.  No matter your favourite variety of peas (garden, snow, snap, dried, field, etc.), these plump gems are loaded with vitamins A, C, K, and B, minerals; fiber; and protein.  Peas are also a great source of eye-healthy compounds beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.  Include peas in your favourite soup or stew, toss them into a salad, eat them as a side dish, or snack on them fresh from the garden.

Canned Tomatoes

This versatile food is a powerhouse of anti-oxidants, packed with good-for-you nutrients such as lycopene, Vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and iron.  Available all year long, keep some handy for enhancing pasta/rice dishes, soups, stews, casseroles, ethnic favourites, and side dishes.

Black Pepper

This unsung hero of the spice rack is simple, yet significant.  Black pepper adds no calories to your favourite dishes, but can noticeably enhance flavour.  Capsaicin – the substance that gives pepper its heat – is well known for its anti-cancer effects and the reduction of inflammation, which is a root of chronic disease.  Use and enjoy black pepper in its ground, cracked, and whole versions for variety.

I actually did a Friday Food post on the health benefits on black pepper over a year ago at

Sunflower Seeds

These nutty seeds are as intriguing as their large and cheerful flower.  They are a powerhouse of heart-healthy polyunsaturated oil, anti-oxidant vitamin E, protein, B vitamins, and important minerals such as manganese, magnesium, and selenium.  Sunflower seeds are also one of the best sources of phytosterols, a compound known to reduce blood cholesterol levels.  Add them to breads and salads, or enjoy them as a healthy snack.

Sesame Seeds *

Sesame seeds are one of the oldest condiments known to mankind.  Generations have benefited from the nutty, nutritious crunch they add to a variety of dishes.  These tiny treasures should be a staple in your pantry to supply your with large levels of important minerals, vitamins, protein, and fiber.  They also provide a flavourful source of cholesterol-lowering phytosterols and lignans.

Bell Pepper **

This singular food item comes in an array of vibrant colours, including green, red, yellow, orange and purple.  Remember that your meal plans should include veggies in a variety of colours for well-rounded health benefits.  Peppers are packed with powerful anti-oxideant vitamins and minerals, which can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of certain cancers.  Add sliced or diced, cooked or raw peppers to some of your favourite dishes to aid in the battle against cell-harming free radicals.


The following was not part of the original TOPS article, but falls under the category of personal edification … otherwise known as …

How did I not know that?????

** I was curious as to any difference in nutrient values for the different colours of pepper.  The TOPS article seemed to imply that there were different nutrient levels in the different colours of peppers.  I always assumed they were the same and chose the various colours from “eye-appeal”.  Here’s what I found …

Bell peppers are members of the Nightshade family of vegetables along with potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants. Like chili peppers, bell peppers originated in South America where seeds of a wild variety are believed to date back to 5,000 B.C. The various colored Bell Peppers all come from the same plant, but differ in their level of maturity:

Green bell peppers are harvested before they are fully ripe, one reason they are less expensive than other varieties. Green bell peppers will continue to first turn yellow and then red if they are left on the plant to mature. They have a slightly bitter flavor and will never have the sweet taste of their red, yellow and orange counterparts.

More mature than green bell peppers, yellow and orange peppers have a fruity taste but are not as commonly found in local markets as green and red bell peppers.

These are more mature than green, orange or yellow bell peppers. They are rich in carotenoid phytonutrients and contain almost eleven times more beta-carotene than green bell peppers as well as one and a half times more vitamin C. Red Bell Peppers have a sweet, almost fruity taste. Pimento and paprika are both prepared from red bell peppers.  There are also other varieties that have a more tapered shape and do not have the lobes characteristic of the green, orange yellow and red varieties.

The above information supplied by

** I like sesame seeds and I like sesame seed oil.  I never gave it a passing thought before but today I wondered where sesame seeds come from … so I checked it our and they DO grow on plants!  Why had this never occurred to me before?  They are seeds after all!  Oh the things I learn when I least expect it.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Don't Scrap It ... Eat it!

Dieting and making healthy lifestyle changes is often a game of “Best Intentions” that we play with ourselves.

If you are anything like me (in which case you have my sympathies) you might go to the grocery store and load up your cart with lots of good things … fresh fruits and veggies, low fat this and sugar free that.  But then life happens; you have a meeting one night and decide it’s easier to grab something than to go home and cook.  A friend calls and you go out for a meal.  When the end of the week rolls around, there are all kinds of (now) suspicious looking foods in your refrigerator that you feel you really need to throw out. 

And what about those weeks when you actually manage to make dinner for yourself every night.  When you diligently prep your food, cutting up your fruits and veggies for easy grabbing (to quell nasty cravings).  How much are you throwing away that is actually edible as well?

Research in the United States estimates that at least 14 percent of purchased food ends up in the garbage.  According to studies in the UK half of the world’s food never makes it to our plate, with two billion tons binned due to bad storage, confusion over sell-by dates, supermarket bulk-buying offers and aesthetic imperfections.  Granted the two billion tons number includes wastage in the developing world where it occurs early in the food chain due to poor engineering and agricultural practices, inadequate transport and storage capabilities.  BUT – in Europe, North America and other developed nations, perfectly edible foods are discarded because of supermarket marketing strategies and CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR.  As shoppers are bad at making the best use of the food that we buy.

Maybe we need to go back to the “clean your plate” mentality that was prevalent during my growing up years.  However, this would be unwise.  With the skyrocketing obesity epidemic and the mounting national health crisis, it’s time for a new approach.  Instead, we should view these statistics as motivation to reduce waste, cut grocery costs and safeguard our health by shopping and eating smarter.

The most common source of food waste is “over shopping”.  Buying more food than we need is easy to do when we shop without a list or when “buy one – get one,” offers tempt us to pile food into our carts.  Food that will, admittedly, often go to waste.

So how can you avoid wasting food – especially that healthy food that you had all the best intentions of eating?

Shop smarter!  Check your refrigerator to see what needs to be used or frozen before it spoils.  Check your calendar to see if there are meals that you know you will be eating away from home.  Before you go to the store, decide how many days worth of food you need.  Then take a few minutes to formulate a shopping list.  Don’t make things complicated – no need to decide what will be served each day – just plan enough breakfast, lunch and dinner meals to last until your next grocery run.

Remember, cheap food is not always a bargain!  Be flexible when you shop.  It’s okay to adjust your list if you see something on special.  For non-perishable food like cereal and pasta, only buy sale items that you are sure you will use. 

If perishable items are on sale, choose them as a replacement for something else you had planned or buy and freeze for later use.  Foods that you don’t like or that are unhealthy are no bargain – regardless of the price, because they will end up in the trash.

Things have changed since great-grandmamma grew her own food in the garden behind the house.  They have changed since grandmamma went to the corner store every day to buy fresh fruits and veggies.  Now we have super-stores, so don’t be fooled by marketing ploys and stuff your refrigerator with foods you will never eat or your tummy with foods you SHOULDN’T eat, just because you found a good deal.  If you are tempted by a “buy one – get one” deal, be sure it is something you will actually use and freeze the second item on the day you purchase it.  Alternatively, go halves with a friend to split the cost – and the savings.

Consider getting your groceries from small independent stores.  It will not only help you avoid tempting offers (and the candy aisle), but you’ll also find they stock the misshapen squash and less-then-perfect pumpkins that supermarkets refuse to sell, often a lower prices.

What if you still have leftovers?  If you consistently prepare more food than you need, the simplest solution is to cook less!  While this may seem obvious, many of us continue to cook the portions we always have, even when our households shrink in size or when we stop eating as much food as we used to, no matter whether dieting for weight loss or simply deciding to make healthier lifestyle choices.

You can also repurpose leftovers as the basis for one or two new meals each week.  The money you save from purchasing fewer meals will add up substantially.  Leftover chicken can go on a low-carb pizza or into chili or soup.  Extra fish or seafood is a great addition to a salad or a pasta dish.  And, already cooked vegetables (or fresh vegetables that won’t last much longer) can be combined in a stir-fry, soup or chili.

Before you let fruit go to waste, add it to your morning cereal or oatmeal bowl, or throw it into a green salad for a little change of pace.

Remember you portion control!  Don’t let your eyes rule your belly!  Plan to clear your plate without overeating, so only buy and cook as much as you are going to consume.  If you’ve made too much, think about packing it up and enjoying it at your desk for lunch the next day.

Shop well and keep food from being wasted before you even get it home!  Buy your cold or frozen food at the end of your shopping trip.  Check the “best before” dates on all the food you purchase.  Keep raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood away from other food in you grocery cart and your grocery bags.  Examine fruits and vegetables carefully and avoid buying items that are bruised or damaged.  If you use reusable grocery bags or bins, make sure to use a specific bag or bin for meat, poultry or seafood.  Label the bag with the type of food it carries.

It is extremely important to keep cold food cold and hot food hot, so that your food never reaches the “temperature danger zone”.  This is where bacteria can grow quickly and cause food related illness.  Refrigerate or freeze items as soon as you get home from the grocery store.

Refrigerate fresh fruits and vegetables that need refrigeration when you get home.  This especially includes pre-cut and ready-to-eat products. 

The following are recommended refrigeration times for safety, and the freezing times are for quality (since freezing really does keep food safe indefinitely).  If you store properly wrapped food in your freezer the quality may be maintained for longer periods of time than listed.

So, that about covers what you can do to make better choices and save money while you are actually out buying your food.  But what about at home when you are preparing your food.  Even if you only buy healthy foods and you eat everything you buy … there are still ways you can help feed yourself and your family, keep everyone healthy and cut down even more on food waste. 

Now it’s one thing to throw out food that has spoiled, or has been in the regrigerator too long but what about the things we throw away because we aren’t familiar with eating them, did not know that they were edible or simply do not know how to prepare them.  Canadians toss out a whopping $27 billion in unspoiled food annually.  Yes, that is NOT a typo, I meant to type “unspoiled food” – much of it highly nutritious.  Here’s how those fruit and vegetable trimmings can save you money and enhance you health.

You can add these “FREE” super-foods to your menu.

Carrot tops banish bloat!
Don’t waste those delicate protein, mineral and vitamin-rich carrot tops.  They contain six times the vitamin C of carrots and tons of potassium, which acts as a diuretic to flush excess water from your system, helping eliminate bloat and lower blood pressure.  In fact, they are so packed with potassium, they have a little bitter bite, similar to arugula.

Carrot tops are so flavourful they are sold without the carrots in France!  Those long, lanky tops of carrots have a taste reminiscent of Italian parsley.  As with other vegetable greens, carrot tops have robust antioxidants that help knock out cell-damaging free radicals.

Simply remove any thick stems, chop them and then wilt them in a hot pan with a bit of bacon and/or jalapeno.  Or sauté with garlic and onion, then mix with fresh, salted ricotta cheese and use as a topping for pasta.  You can use carrot tops as you would parsley in dishes such as tabbouleh or bean salads.  Try blending carrot tops into pestos or chimichurri sauces.

A pervasive urban legend says that carrot greens are poisonous.  That is entirely false unless you nosh on them by the bushel-full!

Beet tops keep bones strong!
Beets are the perfect two for one vegetable.  The bulb is delicious, but the slightly bitter leafy tops are brimming with nutrients.  Just a handful of these colorful greens pack more calcium than an entire glass of milk – plus three times your daily need of vitamin K. another bone building nutrient.  The kicker – one cup of the raw greens (which taste like spinach) has only 8 calories.

Substitute beet greens in any recipe that calls for spinach, add them to green smoothies or sauté or steam them until just wilted, dress with salt and vinegar and enjoy.  Chop them up and add them to a frittata for dinner.

Celery tops calm you down!
These parsley like leaves pack five times more calming magnesium andcalcium than the stalks – and are loaded with relaxing potassium. Bonus: the tops – which have a fresh taste similar to the stalk – are also brimming with
Vitamin C.

Chop the leaves and use in place of parsley in recipes for and salads.

Cauliflower leaves filter toxins!
Naturally sweet cauliflower leaves are loaded with chlorophyll, which
gives them their bright green color – and loads them with purifying enzymes that cleanse the liver and bind to heavy metals like mercury, ferrying those troublemakers our of the body fast!  No wonder eating cauliflower leaves is linked to reduced rates of breast, ovarian and colon cancers.

The naturally sweet leaves are yummy in stews and soups.  Or chop and steam them, then add to omelets or dips.  Or sauté them in olive oil with garlic and pancetta, a bit of chicken broth and rosemary.

Keep the broccoli stalks!
Peeled broccoli stalks have a wonderful, tender texture similar to asparagus.  Best of all, they’re packed with Vitamin C, and antioxidant needed for proper eye function.

Peel away the tough outer layer, thinly slice and add to stir-fries, scrambled eggs or pasta dishes.  You can also slice peeled stalks into matchsticks and add them to a crudite platter, or shave and toss into salad or slaw.

Radish tops reduce the risk of cancer!
Large, lush and full of pepper flavour, the oft-overlooked radish leaves deliver six times more Vitamin C than the actual radishes.  Even more impressive, they are an excellent source of natural detoxifier (sulforaphane), which lab studies suggest cuts your risk of breast cancer – and which new Baylor College of Medicine research shows zaps leukemia cells on contact.

Toss them raw into salads or quickly sauté the leaves in a bit of butter or olive oil with a little garlic and red pepper flakes.

Swiss Chard stems speed healing!
Think Swiss Chard stems are too tough and fibrous to eat?  Not so!  They just need a bit of extra cooking time to make them tender and sweet – and those few minutes are well worth it.  Research reveals the stems contain immunity-boosting batalains, which bolster the body’s ability to recover from injuries and surgery.

Mostly overlooked by home cooks, these stems have a satisfyingly crunchy texture.  Cut washed stems in ½ inch pieces, pat dry, toss with olive oil and sea salt.  Roast in a single layer in a 375-degree oven for 20 minutes or until tender.  Serve them with a spritz of lemon juice.  You can also sauté sliced stems for a couple of minutes before tossing them into other dishes.  Try braising the stems in an herb infused tomato sauce and garnishing with Parmesan.  Whole chard stems pickled in vinegar, mustard seeds and sugar can gussy up a grilled cheese, scrambled eggs or an antipasto platter.  The smaller leaves generally have the most tender stems, and cooking brings out their natural sweetness.

Turnip greens improve vision!
It’s not secret vision declines with age: an older adult’s retina receives just one-sixth the light of a 20-year-old’s.  But if you think there’s nothing you can do about it, think again: eat turnip greens, a top source of UV-shielding carotenoids.  Bonus:  Folks who consume the most carotenoids from foods also a 30% lower risk of cataracts.

Turnip greens boiled for an hour or so with ham hocks or salt pork and a pinch of sugar are a staple in Southern Cuisine.  Some cooks add bacon, garlic, and/or onions, though the dish is flavourful enough on its own.

Kiwi peel!
Surprise!  Fuzzy kiwi skin is very much edible.  It’s also rich in Vitamin E, and antioxidant that is believed to block an enzyme involved in cancer cell survival.  As with any fruit and vegetable peels, give kiwi skin a good scrubbing before you eat it.

Thinly sliced whole kiwi is a fun addition to salads and crepes.  For a nutritionally charged smoothie, blend a whole kiwi with avocado, mint, baby spinach and coconut water.

Squash seeds!
Butternut squash seed contain magnesium.  Scientists at Harvard found that higher intakes of magnesium can slash the risk of heart disease by 30 percent.

Rinse the squash seeds, pat dry and toss with oil and seasonings.  Spread out on a baking pan and roast at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crispy.  Enjoy then on their own, or add to trail mixes and granola.

It definitely benefits the budget and often the waistline as well to try new things.  And let’s face it … it’s fun – if for no other reason than creeping out your friends and family.  But you never know what will turn into a new favourite.  After all, not that long ago I might have scoffed at eating sushi and raw fish!

But remember the golden rule when it comes to food safety …

Never risk eating inedible or contaminated food.

DO NOT rely on look, smell or taste.

Foods that cause food poisoning may look fine and have no off flavour or odour.

NEVER taste suspicious food.