Tweaklet #58 – Washing fruits and vegetables

I love buying fresh fruit and vegetables but one thing I have been guilty of is not being well informed as to how best to wash it when I get it home. Mostly I just run rinse it in running water before I use it and I know that whilst that gets rid of some pesticide residues it is not the best form of cleaning my precious produce.

So I researched.

I started with commercial produce cleaners and most sources told me that most of these are not much better than just using water.

The best ways to wash your fruit and veg are with salt water, vinegar water, or baking soda water.

Researchers found that a 10% salt water solution was the most effective. Using full strength vinegar was equally effective but would quickly be very expensive and of course there’s that lingering vinegar taste!

Surprisingly a weak baking soda solution (that’s one ounce of baking soda to 100 ounces of water) was THE most effective way of removing pesticide residues from the skin and below the skin. However it took 12 to 15 minutes of soaking time.

When I want to cook I like to get going so I needed to find the most efficient method to clean my fruit and veggies.

I liked the quick technique of using a salad spinner for leafy greens where you dump in your greens, fill the spinner with water and a teaspoon of baking soda. You soak them for a minute or two, dump out the water and rinse and then spin them dry.

Other hardier veggies you can simply soak them in the water and baking soda solution, scrub them, then rinse them and dry them off.

Most fruit can be washed in the same way. However berries and delicate fruit should be carefully patted dry. You need to eliminate moisture because this accelerates spoilage, microflora, and mold. So it’s good to wash them just before you eat them.

One important thing to note is that even organic produce needs cleaning as it generally carries some pesticide residue as well.

But like anything on Tweaklets, adding this extra step into your food preparation should not be a nuisance so don’t make it a big deal. Find a method for washing your fruit and vegetables that works for you. Even rinsing it under running water has some benefits. And that’s what we’re all about isn’t it – tiny food tweaks that make all the difference to our health!

If you have any other good techniques I’d love to hear about them so write in the Comments below.

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Tweaklet #47 – Magnesium

It’s not essential to understand the role of vitamins and minerals but there is one macro mineral that is very useful to be aware of – and that’s magnesium.

Magnesium is an integral part of over 600 reactions in our body, including the metabolism of food, the transmission of nerve impulses, the synthesis of fatty acids and proteins. It helps balance our blood sugar and maintains the electrical impulses in our heart. Magnesium is critical for the mechanical functioning within tissues such as nerves and muscles and blood vessels.

We need to consume about 100 milligrams of magnesium per day. Unfortunately Magnesium levels are at much lower levels in our soil these days…..and Chemicals like chlorine and fluoride deplete it as do the regular intake of caffeine and sugar.

So what’s the food solution to keeping our magnesium levels up? Spinach, bananas, almonds, cacao  or really good dark chocolate, and seeds like Pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, chia, hemp and flax are all excellent sources of magnesium and easy to include in our diet.

Just at an every day level magnesium is really helpful. It plays a major part in balancing out anxiety and depression, it helps with the symptoms of PMS, helps calm those restless legs, eases muscle cramps and migraines. Magnesium also helps with memory retention and can assist with leveling out breathing problems and arrhythmia.

You can of course look at a magnesium supplement, if you think you are deficient or want to boost your levels, but I find that just making some of these food tweaks really make a difference to me. Well food is always a good place to start don’t you think?

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Tweaklet #38 – Raw vs Cooked

An interesting topic of discussion amongst foodies and nutritionists is raw versus cooked. There is a growing amount of evidence to support the health benefits of eating raw food as opposed to cooked and in fact shifting to a completely raw diet is no longer thought of as a fad.

A raw food diet is usually one that includes a wide selection of fruits and vegetables and eliminates all packaged and processed foods.

Contrary to popular belief raw food is actually more easily digested than cooked, plus raw food retain more nutritional value from not having been heated.

Raw foods help to alkalize the body and reduce acidity and the digestive enzymes mean they are more easily eliminated which means there is less chance of food fermenting in our body.

Some of the benefits of eating raw, apart from better digestion, getting more fibre, and easier pooping….. include a lowering of inflammation………. improvement in heart health and liver function…… as well as giving us more energy and better clearer skin.

Raw versus cooked is a really interesting topic and a fun one to play around with. As with any kind of dietary change, take it slowly and do your research to find out what suits your body the best.

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Tweaklet #36 – Chocolate

Nothing contentious today. No dangerous subjects. Nope, today we’re talking about chocolate! I do love a nice piece, or three…….. of chocolate. But like everything else, not all chocolate is created equal.

I am still a lover or milk chocolate and the odd bit of white chocolate but instead of doing us good those two choices really don’t.

Dark chocolate is a whole different thing, however. There are a number of pretty impressive benefits associated with eating dark chocolate.

First and foremost dark chocolate is full of antioxidants that neutralise free radicals and protect the body from damage. These antioxidants include vitamins and minerals and, significant studies have shown, that eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate definitely has a positive effect on heart health.

Lots of research is being done but there are correlations to dark chocolate lowering blood pressure,…..improving blood flow to the heart and brain…..an improvement to heart circulation….. and improved blood clotting.

Now don’t take this as a license to eat a chocolate bar a day, although I have to admit to being tempted, the results are positive and well-founded.

So, if you’re a chocolate lover, look for a good quality brand that is nice and dark – 70% and above.

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Tweaklet #37 – Fermented Foods

If you’ve been tuning into Tweaklets for a while, you know I often talk about gut health and what a difference a healthy gut makes to our overall health.

Well, today I have another good way to improve our digestion, boost our immunity and help with our weight, which is by eating fermented foods. Those familiar with the concept of fermented foods will cheer and those new too it will shudder. Food that’s been fermented?

I know I get it, I shuddered too!

Fermented foods contain a whole lot of good bacteria (otherwise known as probiotics)….. and research suggests that these mighty microbes help look after our gut.

Here are some fermented foods you can have fun making.

Sauerkraut… t’s not just something you have with German sausage, it’s been around for thousands of years. All it is, is cabbage and salt. Choose a good quality sea salt and add it to your cabbage and then massage the cabbage very well until breaks down and releases all its liquid. Then you simply put it in a well-sealed jar, put it in a dark place in the cupboard and leave for a couple of weeks. It’s delicious and versatile and so good for your gut!

If you like spicy food then try kim chi, the Korean equivalent of sauerkraut. There are many different recipes for this that range from simply adding chilli to a sauerkraut recipe, to the more authentic style that includes adding Asian radish, ginger, green onions, nori, and garlic.  It’s a really interesting process to watch and learn.

Other top fermented foods included Kefir – a fermented yoghurt drink….. Kombucha – a tangy fermented tea. …….Miso – a fermented paste made from barley, rice or soybeans which can be used as a soup or dressing………Tempeh, which is similar to tofu but fermented………and yoghurt.

Fermented food is all about boosting our gut and digestive function and that means better immunity and all-round better health!

So take a look at some recipes and see if one of them appeals to you. Just don’t do what I did and forget about some jars of sauerkraut I made, only to find them a VERY long time later in the back of the cupboard.

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Hi everyone! Claire Linley here with you and as always I am delighted to share a few minutes with you talking about food and ingredients and most importantly our health!

I hope you’re enjoying the Tweaklet video series and if you’d like to read more you can download the E-book for free. I’ve added in a few recipes so make sure you get your copy of the E-book so you can start playing around with those.

Thanks again for joining me for Tweaklets – those tiny food tweaks that can  really make a difference to our health.

Visit the Tweaklets YouTube Channel

Download my free E-Book here.