Fresh, Frozen, or Canned? Raw or Cooked?

Today (and yesterday) we are stuck inside due to the intense winds, rain and overall nature of Typhoon Muifa that is slowly (very slowly) moving over our tiny island.

I’ve had time to organiz two closets, clean the fridge, prep foods for lunch and dinner incase the power goes out, study, prepare for one (of 3) final exam(s) and entertain my almost 2 year old little heathen! We have drawn pictures, watched TV, munched on Plantain chips, dried fruits chunks, and drank tons of water! Nola has had my socks on her hands as mittens (off, on, off, on – oh…about 200 times). Then I put them on her feet and hiked them way up like soccer socks and that was a whole new ball game! (yeah for about 20 minutes!) I have done 3 loads of laundry, IM’d w/ the husband in Thailand and worked on some random nonsense research for my own interests.

The word on FB is that the storm is slow moving, very big and will be hovering around our island from now until the eye hits and then still hanging around as the tail end of it passes over – oh geesh!

Today is supposed to be a REST day for me but since yesterday was sort of a wash (did some upper body circuits but not much else) I think I will end the day with a Jackie Warner video after the little monkey heads to bed.

TidBits to Share from School:

This is an article taken directly from my Nutrition Textbook but I found it extremely useful and just wanted to share! I am learning so much from this class and from my transition and journey into the Paleo lifestyle. While I don’t agree with 100% of what is said in the text book (they are pro grains), I have found 95% useful in my kitchen!

Selecting and Preparing Foods to Maximize Vitamin Content

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all shop daily for fresh fruits and vegetables? When picked at their peak ripeness, fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with many different vitamins. Remember that light, heat, air, acid, and alkali can destroy many vitamins, and cooking liquids can leach them out. Even if you can’t buy fresh foods daily, you can still minimize nutrient loss after purchase. Start by choosing clean, undamaged produce at each of your regular shopping trips. Then store foods with minimal exposure to light and air. Many fruits, most vegetables, and all animal products require refrigeration. Get them cold right away, and keep them cold. Because vitamin content can decrease with time, plan on using fruits and vegetables soon after purchase. The vitamin C of fresh green beans, for example, drops by half after 6 days at home. 

What about frozen and canned foods? Their vitamin content is much better than you might guess. True, the heat used in canning is destructive. But the processor typically uses fresh-picked produce, which is higher in vitamins than food transported to faraway markets. The vitamin levels in canned foods remain relatively constant, even after two years. Often, vitamins end up in the liquid in which the food is packed. Use the liquids from canned vegetables in soups and stews to get the benefit. (But be cautious about the sodium)

Carotenoids are stable during the canning process. In fact, research suggests the lycopene in processed tomato products is better absorbed in to the body than that from raw tomatoes. Unfortunately, vitamin C is lost from fruits and vegetables during canning, but much of the lost vitamin remains in the canning liquid and juice. Ready-to-drink orange juice loses about 2% of its vitamin C content each day once opened. 

What is the best way to cook vegetables? To maximize vitamin content, think minimal – minimal heat, minimal cooking water, and minimal exposure to air. A good rule of thumb: “minimize to maximize.” Try to minimize handling the food before and during cooking. Dicing a food such as a potato reduces cooking time, but also exposes more surface area to vitamin destruction. So, cut if you must, but not too small. 

Because steaming, stir-frying, and microwaving minimize cooking time and water use, they are the best cooking methods for preserving vitamin content. If you boil foods, use the cooking water for sauces, stews, or soups to salvage lost water-soluble vitamins. And do not add baking soda to beans or vegetables (some folks do that to intensify color and tenderize). Baking soda destroys some vitamins. 

Remember, to retain the most vitamins in your food, be gentle with storage, kind with cooking, and “minimize to maximize!”

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