Tag: summer foods

How To Prevent Food Poisoning (From Food & People)

how to prevent food poisoning

The news cycle moves at warp speed so you may not remember that recently I wrote about why I don’t include romaine lettuce in my Organic Green Drinks.

In case you missed it, let me sum up: more than any other green leafy veggie, romaine is the most susceptible to e. coli poisoning.

If you want to keep your gut healthy, don’t buy store bought bagged lettuce. It’s like playing Russian roulette with your immune system. Instead, try growing your own.

But eating contaminated food isn’t the only way you can get sick. In fact, not to freak you out or anything but a recent Consumer Reports article says many people “caught” food poisoning not from the romaine, but from people who ate it.

I wanted to share with you some tips from the article on how not to “catch food poisoning.”

food poisoning bacteria

Hand Sanitizer vs Hand Washing: Which Is Better

If you’re on a cruise, definitely use hand sanitizer whenever possible. Norovirus is a disease caused by food contamination. It most often occurs when you’re shacking up in close quarters to other people.

But when you’re on land, hand sanitizers are overrated. They don’t kill all the bad germs. You’re better off just washing your hands with soap and warm water for about 20 seconds.

And definitely don’t ever use antibacterial soap. It weakens your immune system. You see, you want your hands to be clean. But not too clean. You want your immune system to “exercise” by being exposed to and fighting pathogens. Antibacterial soap also kills your good bacteria. Another concern about antibacterial soap is the potentially cancer-causing chemical, triclosan. Triclosan can also make you more vulnerable to developing allergies.

I prefer to use natural products whenever possible. That’s why I use Dr. Bronner’s hand sanitizer. You can also make your own natural hand sanitizer using a blend of essential oils. To make one, you’ll need a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba. A few of the best essential oil sanitizers are lemon, tea tree, and orange. You can also add some aloe vera oil.

But if you do want to protect yourself with commercial sanitizer, get one that’s alcohol-based and contains at least 60 percent alcohol (ethanol or isopropanol). Any less and it won’t kill all the bad germs.

food poisoning good bad flora

Opening and Closing Doors

Let’s say you’re a good boy or girl and you just went potty in a public bathroom and washed your hands with warm water for 20 seconds.

You’re feeling all high and mighty about your sanitary practices and open the door to go back to your table at the restaurant. But what if the person who just went to the bathroom before you didn’t wash their hands? And what if they have a food-borne illness that’s brewing but not yet fully developed? That person just grabbed the metal door handle and you just touched it.

So whenever you have to open a metal door, even if it’s right after washing your hands, use a paper towel. Even better, to be more environmentally friendly, tear off a small extra piece of toilet paper to open the door. If you have to touch a metal surface like a door handle or railing, make sure you sanitize your hands afterwards and definitely do not touch your eyes or nose with your hands before doing so.

Sorry if it seems like I’m being your mommy. I’m sure you don’t need me to remind you to wash your hands. You’re probably doing that already.

But keep in mind that 2018’s e. coli outbreak was the deadliest in decades. About 200 people got sick and 5 people died.

Some of the people who got sick didn’t eat the contaminated romaine. Rather, they became ill by somehow being in contact with people who ate the bad romaine.

Now I hope you’re not eating while you’re reading this. Because what I’m about to tell you is gross: E. coli can be transmitted through the tiniest piece of poop. All it takes is a trace amount, a microscopic, nano-poop-particle, to both become sick with food poisoning or to infect someone else.

See why I’m preaching hand washing in this post?

True, I might be slightly nagging like a good-intentioned mama. But I do care about my follower’s health and wellness….

Preventing Food Poisoning: Conclusion

Again, sorry if I seem a bit over cautious. I don’t want you to live in fear. Eat, drink and be merry! (In moderation, of course.)

But don’t forget this sage sanitary advice to prevent food poisoning.

Keep in mind the stronger your immune system is, the lower your chance of getting sick from contaminated food. Of course, if you’re on a trip to a foreign country and drink water with bacteria your system isn’t used to, you may get a touch of traveller’s belly. That’s why you should carry a potent probiotic with you.

The strain, “Saccharomyces boulardii” is a great one. It’s a tropical species of yeast that’s naturally found in lychee and mangosteen fruit. Buy it and bring it with you for overseas trips. If you get the “D word” (it’s so nasty, I don’t even like spelling it out) from eating or drinking, it can help. I actually recommend taking it as a preventative. You can take it for several months in a row without side effects.

And don’t forget to feed the good bacteria in your gut with “prebiotics.” Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers. They are what the bacteria in your gut love to chomp on.

Know what’s a great source of prebiotic fiber for your gut? Green leafy veggies. My Organic Green Drinks contain 7 green leafy veggies. It’s the perfect way to start the day and make your belly bacteria happy. And a happy belly means a strong immune system.

To your health….

Chef V

Chef V and tropical green drink

Eat This, Not That … In The Summer

Veronica slicing cucumber

Are you stoked to finally be able to gather with friends and family this summer? You should be. After the summer of 2020 deprived many of us of pool parties, backyard barbecues and trips to the ice cream store, we should have a newfound appreciation for these favorite summer pastimes. 

I don’t blame you for celebrating life to the fullest. But before you party with reckless abandon this summer, there’s a danger posed to your health with every summertime gathering. No, I’m not referring to the C-virus; there’s already enough media attention surrounding that … you don’t need to hear it from me, too. 

The danger I’m talking about isn’t potentially lethal like the C-virus, but it can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and other unpleasant symptoms better left unspoken at the dinner table. And I’m not talking about the side effects of partying too much. Obviously, chugging beers by the pool under the blazing sun can make you feel like you’re dying. 

traditional Chinese Medicine

Worst Foods To Eat In Summer

What I’m talking about is a 5,000 year-old concept from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It’s called Damp Heat. What does an esoteric ancient philosophy from the Orient have to do with grilling it up in your backyard with friends? 

You see, eating fatty, greasy food isn’t a recent health problem. Thousands of years ago, ancient Chinese enjoyed finger-lickin’ good pork, sometimes to excess. The ancient Chinese philosophers and doctors of their day noticed that just as the air outside can be hot and sticky, eating and drinking certain things in excess can create heat and dampness in the body. 

Not to get too textbook-y here, but the basic theory of Dampness in TCM is that it occurs when there’s too much moisture or water trapped in the body. Anybody who feels like they have swollen extremities (edema) can relate. 

Unfortunately, many of the most common foods and drinks people have in the summer can create excess Damp and Heat in the body. The offenders include: 

  • Dairy (ice cream)
  • Grilled meats (barbecue)
  • Alcohol (beer)
  • Added sugars 
  • Ice-cold drinks

Am I saying you should never have ice cream? No, I’m not that puritanical of a certified nutrition therapist. But what I am recommending is that the next time you get invited to a backyard gathering, don’t have ice cream and 3 beers and 3 burgers. As always, moderation is the key. 

Another thing that Chinese medicine textbooks say to avoid in the summer is lots of raw food like salads. Wait, what? Aren’t salads super healthy and really desirable this time of year? Well, for starters, I sure eat a ton of salads and my digestion is fine. 

But the reason you’re not supposed to eat lots of uncooked veggies, according to the theory, is that it requires a lot of energy for your Spleen organ system to process. In Chinese medicine, the Spleen is the organ that’s responsible for transforming nutrients into usable energy. No double pun intended, but this is an instance where I go with my gut and throw theory to the wind.

summer vegetables

Best Foods To Eat In Summer

Yes, I’m totally throwing salads on this list, despite what traditional Chinese medicine theory says. But by all means, if you notice that after you have a big salad that your digestion is off, maybe dial it down and have a much smaller one. And start taking digestive enzymes.

Here’s some other foods I love to feast on this time of year:

  • Berries (I top them on my salads)
  • Avocado and guacamole
  • Corn (Buy organic; over 90% of the conventional corn grown in the USA is genetically-modified.)
  • Zucchini
  • Melons
  • Cucumber
  • Asparagus
  • String beans
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach and other leafy greens (I drink leafy greens every morning doing this.)
  • Apricots
  • Quinoa
  • Other low-starch grains
  • Lean fish like mahi-mahi, poke, sashimi
  • Eggplant (Want to get your barbecue on, plant-based style? Grilled eggplant is one of my faves.)
  • Mango (My go-to healthy dessert; I’m only human so sometimes I top it with whipped cream; whipped coconut cream that is!)

Any seasonal fruit and veggie should be high on your list of foods to eat this time of year. Support small family farms by shopping at local farmer’s markets. 

And make sure you don’t overdo it by eating typical summertime unhealthy foods. Not only does barbecued meat have the potential to cause Damp Heat in the body, it also produces Advanced Glycation End (AGE) products in the body. “AGE” is a very appropriate acronym because having lots of AGE products causes premature aging. 

To a happy, healthy summer!

Chef V and tropical green drink

© 2021 Chef V, LLC.