Salmonella in Steve’s Real Food dog food causes 8th recall in 24 days

Maybe dog owners should just start cooking for their pooches as they do for themselves.

The eighth salmonella or listeria dog food recall in 24 days involves one lot of Steve’s Real Food’s Raw Frozen Dog Food Turkey Canine Recipe, but one lot that went to 21 states. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture found salmonella when testing a retail sold sample.

The 5-pound bags in lot No. E 178 with a best by date of Sept. 17, 2018 went to retail stores in Florida, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

Dogs with salmonella can suffer from vomiting, regular diarrhea, bloody diarrhea and fever. Even if a dog suffers lesser symptoms — fever, decreased appetite — the dog can be a salmonella carrier to other pets or to humans.

Humans also can get salmonella from handling contaminated food or touching unwashed surfaces that the food touched. In people, salmonella can cause the same problems as in pets, but also arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms.

Those with this food in this lot should toss it or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Anyone with question can call Steve’s Real Food at 888-526-1900, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Eastern time.

An updated list of recent pet food salmonella or listeria recalls:

▪ Raws for Paws ground turkey, Feb. 8.

▪ Smokehouse Beefy Munchies treats, Feb. 8. Smokehouse expanded its Beefy Munchies recall on Feb. 15 to include all lots, varieties and best by dates.

▪ Arrow Reliance/Darwin’s Natural ZooLogics Duck with Vegetable Meals for Dogs and ZooLogics Chicken with Vegetable Meals for Dogs, Feb. 10. These actually prompted an FDA alert concerning Arrow Reliance/Darwin’s Natural after four recalls for salmonella or listeria and multiple complaints over a 16-month period. “The FDA has investigated six complaints of illness and death in animals that have eaten the recalled products,” the alert stated.

▪ Redbarn, 7-inch Bully Sticks, Feb. 15.

▪ TruPet, Treat Me Crunchy Beef Delight treats, Feb. 23.

▪ Northwest Naturals, Chicken and Salmon, Feb. 23.

▪ Carnivore Meat Company, Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Beef Nibblets Entrée for Dogs, Monday.

▪ Kitten Grind raw pet food, Thursday.

▪ Steve’s Real Food’s Raw Frozen Dog Food Turkey Canine Recipe, Friday.

And there’s also the Feb. 15 “withdrawal” of Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘N Bits, Skippy and Ol’ Roy canned dog food back to 2016 for possibly having pentobarbital, the sedative used to put dogs down.

Author Nicole Taylor’s Grub Street Diet

Nicole Taylor made her name writing thoughtfully about the larger issues surrounding food, particularly as eating relates to her southern and African-American heritage. (The Georgia native’s The Up South Cookbook is about rediscovering her roots.) Taylor has done audio projects (she was the host of Heritage Radio’s Hot Grease podcast), and written for publications like the New York Times, Saveur, and the Undefeated. Over the last year and a half, she’s worked at Claus Meyer’s Brownsville Community Culinary Center. This week, Taylor juggled the many obligations of her freelance life — but still found time for a trip to Hart’s, made her usual visit to Sahadi’s, and ate lots and lots of nuts. Read it all in her Grub Street Diet.

Thursday, February 22
I woke up around 7 a.m. but lay in bed for over an hour. I typically drink water with a few splashes of vitamin D water before going to bed, but the night before had been my friend J.J. Johnson’s cookbook party, and I’d jumped straight into bed after talking too much to him. So I drank some before my morning ritual of lighting my palo-santo stick and getting dressed. I do it, basically, every morning and night. I made a quick decision to have breakfast at home before heading out. Freshly cut pineapple, a dollop of Seven Stars Farms yogurt, and red-pepper flakes.

My life is always about juggling. So I ate while tracking my yellow cab through the Curb app. I’ve also learned that I’m not fun to be around when hangry and grabbed a Big Spoon Roasters Cherry Pecan Bar for later.

I ate half the bar on the cab ride to Brownsville. I work part-time as director of special projects for a supercool culinary center and café, the Brownsville Community Culinary Center. I’ve been there a year and a half, when we were still in the church, and was involved in determining what the programming and the curriculum would be.

For lunch, I ordered the Caribbean fish stew because our chef, Charlene Johnson, has updated it with yucca, plantains, and pumpkins. Mastering food consumption between meetings and answering emails is my superpower. I sat in the dining room; our playlist is straight ’90s R&B. Music is a must while I work and eat. I don’t like working in the basement here; I just work upstairs so I can listen to my music. The new Janelle Monáe is on rotation right now, and I saw that Rae Sremmurd was trending on Twitter, so I listened to all of his stuff.

I had a cucumber-ginger fresh soda before I finished up part one of my workday. I was tempted to take a few bakery items home for later. Brownies with almonds for dinner? I passed. Every day, I’m fighting my sugar addiction!

Before I left the center, I ate the remaining Big Spoon bar. It was raining, and I contemplated taking the train or a cab for 30 minutes. Verdict: cab to Whole Foods 365. To stay on budget, I sat down and ate brown-rice-salmon-avocado rolls. These are my must-buys at any Whole Foods every time I’ve gone the last 15-plus years. It was really my gateway into eating sushi, when I lived in Atlanta. I have no idea what I like about the rolls, it’s the weirdest thing ever.

It took me two trips to get my goods to my fourth-floor apartment. I was praying to the gods that my bags would hold up. My biggest fear is cleaning up sesame oil and safflower oil on our building steps.

Back home, I devoured a slice of Whole Foods’ berry-chantilly cake before dinner. Radicchio and romaine were staring at me, but I looked deep in the fridge for pickled vegetables. I get a CSA and I’m always trying to figure out how to stretch stuff. I always have Mason jars of pickled beets, pickled carrots, and pickled jalapeños. I didn’t make the salad, but before bed, I did drink water with vitamin D.

Friday, February 23
I finished my bedside glass of vitamin D water and then shared fresh carrot-ginger juice with my husband. Days before, I’d used my Vitamix to break down a superlarge bag of carrots from the Clinton Hill CSA. I still had another large bag in the fridge, which I got the idea to use for carrot fritters.

This was my day to focus on writing projects. I have three freelance stories due in March, one has to do with my hometown. But I made breakfast first. I peeled and boiled kohlrabi. I’m always searching for new ways to use this root veggie, but went ahead with my usual routine. I cooked up chorizo and onions. In the same pan, I crisped up the kohlrabi and fried eggs. I guess this was a weekday breakfast hash. Those kohlrabies had been in the fridge and I was like, I need to do something with this.

Golda’s charcoal-activated latte stays in my Instagram feed, so I finally tried one. I live four blocks from it, so, yes, I go there too often, but this time was to meet an artist and aspiring food writer, Iris Bennett. The good thing is that both of my favorite baked goods were gone. I wasn’t even hungry … but someone had the potatoes with kokkari vinaigrette, a green-herbs-and-caper mixture, and I was like, Damn those look good. So I went back for them. The vinaigrette is what makes them so deadly.

After answering a few more emails, I made an Old North Shrub muscadine drink. It’s a wild grape. I love the color, especially the red. It’s like you’re drinking Kool-Aid. When you make a syrup, it’s really beautiful. I had like three bottles of Old North. Anytime I can get my hands on some southern food, I’m all over it.

Dinner was a romaine-and-radicchio salad, along with grilled scallops, grilled pineapple, onions, and jalapeños. I added avocado on top. I’m the kind of cook who is not going to go out a million times to buy more things. I can eat the same thing almost every day. It’s about not wasting food.

Then I spent the night at home with my husband catching up on recorded TV. We watched all of BET’s Death Row Chronicles documentary.

Saturday, February 24
Breakfast was a smoothie: yogurt, hemp seeds, frozen berries, fresh mango, and pineapples. I like my smoothies with fresh ginger, but I was out. Also had a half-cup of Brooklyn Roasting Company Coffee (splash of cream and no sugar) while tending to my plants and creating an errands list. Then, I ordered my husband around a bit! He bagged up the compost for the farmers’ market.

Went off to Hart’s for book-club brunch. I ordered grapefruit juice first. We read Gabrielle Union’s new book. My friend Lesley Ware and I both heard Gabrielle on the Death, Sex, and Money podcast. We were like, I was never really a big fan, but I was really interested in reading the book. Lesley suggested that we read it together. We started reading it and one of her friends joined, so we all decided to get together.

I suggested Hart’s because they have fried chicken now. The recipe is inspired by Shannon Mustipher’s. I’ve had hers a million, gazillion times. We all share the fried chicken with fermented hot chili over yellow grits, cranberry beans, ham, and eggs, along with sourdough bread with ricotta and honey and hash browns with paprika and aïoli.

After, I went shopping at Sahadi’s and discovered that Cook’s Companion closed. How did I miss this announcement? Where will I sharpen my knives? Twenty years old and done.

At Sahadi’s, I ordered dried star fruit, roasted unsalted peanuts, a small clear tub of hummus, and tabbouleh. Sahadi’s is definitely, 100 percent a regular spot. Usually, I go in and spend way too much. I was so proud of myself: I stuck to my list. It’s a hard thing to do there!

I arrived home around 7:30 p.m. and snacked on Mary’s Gone Crackers and hummus. For dinner, I made a grass-fed burger on a gluten-free English muffin, and sprinkled it with Point Reyes blue cheese.

After the burger, I decided to Netflix and chill. I watched David Chang’s Ugly Delicious “Fried Chicken” episode twice and fired off a bunch of texts about the fine details. I probably shouldn’t have texted a few people so late at night, but I’m in a documentary called Holy Bird and it’s all about fried chicken and its history. The director, Daniel Thoennessen, texted me that he was curious about my thoughts. So I saw the stuff about Dave’s show and wasn’t sure if I wanted to watch it or not. Then, I watched Somebody Feed Phil’s “New Orleans” episode.

I went to bed thinking about fried chicken and gumbo, but only had my vitamin D water.

Sunday, February 25
Three days and no sun in NYC. The vitamin D water is my fake sunshine. Breakfast was a yogurt bowl with the last of the fresh pineapple and a sprinkle of hemp seeds on top. Then I jetted out to get my hair braided.

Pulled out my snack, a Big Spoon Roasters Apricot Pepita bar, while sitting. Braiding calls for patience.

I was at my friend’s when the breakfast and snacks wore off, so I ordered enchiladas for lunch. One vegetarian and one meat. GrubHub to the rescue: Not a place I normally would’ve ordered from, but I was in a friend’s office, it was raining, and that was the only place. It worked.

I needed to write more, so I listened to Jenna Wortham’s Longform podcast and got to work. Afternoon snack was peanuts and hazelnuts — I love, love, love, love nuts. Then dinner was another romaine-and-radicchio salad — this time with hot honey, raw turnips, beets, and dressing I made with tabbouleh. I always get it from Sahadi’s, and when it gets less fresh, I put some olive oil in it, some lime juice, and make a vinaigrette.

Monday, February 26
More vitamin D water, but I just sip a little because I was running behind. It was the opening day for The Wing Dumbo, a women’s only co-working space. It’s dreamy and has an in-house café. I was there to meet Lesley about a podcast project. It was great. The sun was out that day, it was beautiful, and we spent a lot of money eating food there. I ordered a hearty gluten-free breakfast sandwich with egg, bacon, pickled jalapeños, greens, avocado, and Berber yogurt. I devoured it!

Before beginning my daily writing, I got coffee. Listen, I didn’t buy into the oat-milk hype. Then Lesley came in with a latte and told me that she got oat milk. Look, I stopped getting lattes a long time ago because I was like, I’m spending a lot of money for foam or creamy milk? I started getting black coffee; I can save some dollars. But her latte looked good, and she offered me a taste. It tasted different in a good way, much more body than a regular latte. You know, I liked it enough that I may have it at home.

I nibbled on a gluten-free cherry-almond muffin and drank tons of water throughout the afternoon. The gluten-free choices were left over from a no-gluten January. So now I’m just kind of gluten-flex. I’ll try stuff. But, there’s a lot of not-so-great gluten-free breads. Always down to try something, but they’re usually mediocre. I feel like it has to have a lot of something on it to ignore it. Or if it’s a gluten-free dessert or pastry, it’s too sweet. I haven’t found that right one yet.

We were there for like six or seven hours, and then I nibbled on my friend’s fattoush salad and then caught the B25 home. I have this thread in my life where every day is, Am I going to spend money on a cab? I like riding the bus: I can read, get sunshine, not be late because of the subway. The B25 stops right by my house and takes you straight to Dumbo, so it’s a no-brainer.

That night, I was cooking on a vibe. Working with the last of the chorizo and head of Romanesco cauliflower. I made that over Banza chickpea fettuccine. No vitamin D water before bed, though. I drink a Bruce Cost Passion Fruit Ginger Ale instead.

Tuesday, February 27
I worked from home and never left the house. It was emails, light cleaning, and writing all day. Breakfast was a smoothie with frozen berries, yogurt, hemp seeds, and fresh mangoes, and lunch was a soft-boiled egg, bacon, and a tabbouleh smear on half a gluten-free English muffin.

Friends were coming over that night, so I started testing the carrot fritters. That turned out not great. Oh my god, I don’t even know what the fuck happened to those! I was using the hush-puppy recipe from my cookbook as a base. I made a batter with some blue cornmeal from Anson Mills and roasted chickpea flour from Sahadi’s. The problem was probably the cornmeal. You’re supposed to keep it in the fridge or freezer, and I think it was rancid. It just had a really not-great taste to it. The chickpea flour was good, I’m sure, but the blue cornmeal was suspect. I had to throw all of the batter out.

For a moment, I was kind of panicked. I took all this time and grated all these carrots! I looked in my fridge. I had two or three rutabagas, a plantain, beets, carrots, onions, and jalapeños. All good!

I nibbled on hummus and gluten-free crackers before my guests — my friends Aki Baker, a co-founder of Minka Brooklyn, and Naima Green, an awesome photographer and sometimes writer — arrived. I’ve known Aki since I moved here, and I met Naima at a storytelling class or program at Yale. We ran into each other at the farmers’ market, the day the Obama portraits came out, and she had this photo series of black and brown people in gardens, so we talked. This dinner came out of that.

We started off with dried cherries, Point Reyes blue cheese, goat cheese, gluten-free crackers, hummus, tabbouleh, and olives. I used the last of my radicchio and romaine and dressed it with oil, rice vinegar, hot honey, and lime juice. I also made a big pot of coconut-jasmine rice, and deep-fried all of those vegetables and sprinkled them with cumin, salt, pepper, and red-pepper flakes. They loved them.

To drink, we had Rezpiral Espadin de San Baltazar Mezcal and Bozal Mezcal Ensamble. And for dessert, I wanted to make Smitten Kitchen’s hot-fudge sauce for sundaes, but time ran out. So it was Van Leeuwen vanilla ice cream, toasted nuts, and shaved chocolate. We started at 7 p.m., and we talked about everything under the freakin’ sun: Range Rovers, #MeToo, Afropunk, creative processes, Japanese food. I mean, a weeknight dinner party that goes until 11 p.m.?

FDA launches project to keep fresh herbs and guacamole safe for consumers

This large-scale project, which is expected to continue for 18 months and involves collecting 1,600 samples of each category, is balanced between U.S.-grown and imported products.

The goal is to focus on the rates of contamination, and then issue voluntary recalls for U.S.-grown products, or refuse entry for imported products. An additional goal is to help identify any common factors possibly linking contaminated samples — an important issue to go beyond detection — and address the potential reasons for the contamination.

Over about a decade, the FDA reported nine food outbreaks linked to basil, parsley and cilantro, resulting in nearly 2,700 illnesses and 84 hospitalizations. These popular herbs (and all fresh herbs consumed raw) might put consumers at risk because they are eaten without cooking.

These herbs are mixed into a variety of salads, main and side dishes, often without the consumer’s knowledge. Early results show that out of the 35 U.S.-grown samples tested, none tested positive for contamination. From the 104 imported samples tested, three were positive.

Foods to Avoid While Pregnant – Lists, Potential Dangers and More

Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times for a woman. But it’s also one of the most nerve-racking. Many women spend a lot of time and energy researching how to stay safe and healthy while pregnant. Everything from household chemicals and medications to environmental toxins and food can be a danger to a mom-to-be and her developing fetus.

And while some of the more common dangers can be avoided or at least minimized, eating cannot be put on hold for nine months. That’s why it’s important to know which foods are safe to consume and which ones to avoid when pregnant.

Food Poisoning During Pregnancy

Food poisoning is very common, with the Centers for Disease Control estimating around 48 million people become sick from a foodborne infection each year. Thanks to an altered immune system during pregnancy, moms-to-be are at an increased risk of contracting harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause these foodborne illness. Contracting a foodborne illness while pregnant can lead to miscarriage or premature delivery, so it’s important to ask your doctor for the most up-to-date food safety guidelines.

While there are many pathogens that can cause food poisoning, experts have identified five key pathogens to be concerned about during pregnancy:

  • Campylobacter
  • Escherichia coli (E. coli)
  • Listeria
  • Salmonella
  • Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii)

The symptoms for each vary and can produce health problems during the pregnancy or also pass on health issues to the baby. The effects can be mild, such as fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. However, in some cases, these pathogens can cause life-threatening illnesses, such as a low birth weight for the unborn baby and the possibility of paralysis later.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) highlights all the potential pathogens along with their potential symptoms and health impacts. It’s important to contact your doctor or healthcare provider immediately if you experience any symptoms related to a foodborne illness.

Most Common Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet is one of the most important things a mom-to-be can do for herself and her baby. This includes getting plenty of foods with Omega-3 fatty acids to facilitate beneficial brain development as the baby grows.

Although most foods are safe to eat during pregnancy, there are some that you should definitely avoid at all costs because they are more prone to contain one of the dangerous pathogens. In general, this includes dairy products made from unpasteurized milk and juices, any foods that contain raw eggs, and any kind of raw meat, fish or poultry.

Foods Possible Pathogens
Soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, including Brie, feta, Camembert, Roquefort, queso blanco or queso fresco E. coli or Listeria
Raw cookie dough or cake batter Salmonella
King mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish, and tuna High levels of mercury
Raw or undercooked fish, such as sushi Parasites or bacteria
Unpasteurized juice or cider, including fresh squeezed E. coli
Raw milk (unpasteurized) Campylobacter, E. coli., Listeria, or Salmonella
Salads made in a store, such as ham salad, chicken salad, and seafood salad Listeria
Raw shellfish, such as oysters and clams Vibrio
Undercooked or raw sprouts, such as alfalfa, clover, mung bean, and radish E. coli or Salmonella

Others Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

In addition to foods you should always avoid, there are foods you need to be careful consuming while pregnant. Part of the concern comes from eating at restaurants or purchasing pre-made food at a grocery store or deli.

The way a food is prepared can make it more susceptible to contamination. Certain foods, like egg salad and homemade ice cream, can become contaminated because they are undercooked or contain raw ingredients. That’s why it’s best to prepare food at home as much as possible while pregnant.

Foods Potential Danger
Hot dogs, luncheon meats, cold cuts, fermented or dry sausage, and other deli meat and poultry Listeria
Raw eggs, undercooked eggs, and pasteurized egg products Salmonella
Homemade eggnog Undercooked eggs
Fish (especially raw fish) Parasites or bacteria
Homemade ice cream Undercooked eggs
Raw or undercooked meat (“tartare”), including beef, veal, lamb and pork E. coli
Unpasteurized meat spread or refrigerated pates Listeria
Smoked seafood Not safe unless cooked to 165ºF

You might also want to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about the use of caffeine, alcohol, certain herbal teas, wheatgrass (commonly added to smoothies), soft drinks, and fresh-squeezed juices. The FDA has also developed a chart that goes further into detail about which types of fish pregnant women, as well as children, can safely consume.

Staying Healthy While Pregnant

Overall, though it may be difficult to avoid some of your favorite foods that may be on the “do not eat” list, taking precaution while pregnant is important for your and your baby’s health. Be sure to speak with your doctor about your dietary concerns and needs, including additional vitamins you may need to take as your baby grows. By simply avoiding some of these foods, you can help ensure you have a happy, healthy pregnancy.

Seven tips to avoid food-borne illnesses

If you’ve ever been an unlucky victim of food poisoning, you know just how
awful it can be. With symptoms like abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting,
this illness is highly unpleasant. Most food-borne illnesses are caused by

bacteria found in things like meat, fish, eggs, and seafood
, and can produce severe symptoms. The good news? There are simple
precautions you can take to avoid food-borne illnesses while preparing food
at home. Here’s what you can do to keep yourself and your family safe:

1. Separate your groceries

Cross-contamination accounts for a large portion of food-borne illnesses.
Essentially, when raw food and ready-to-eat food

come into contact with each other
, you put your meals at risk. Avoiding cross-contamination begins at the
grocery store — make sure to keep raw food (meat, poultry, eggs, seafood)
and ready-to-eat food like fresh produce in separate plastic bags to avoid
any transfer of bacteria.

2. Store foods properly

Believe it or not, how you store meat plays a role in food poisoning. Raw
meat and poultry should always be

kept in tightly sealed containers placed on the bottom shelf

of the refrigerator. This helps to avoid the risk of these raw items
dripping onto other food. In addition, make sure that your cooked and raw
meat do not touch each other.

3. Know how to defrost

It’s important to know that while freezers can keep food safe until it’s
ready to be cooked,

harmful bacteria will not be completely destroyed
. It’s recommended that when it comes time to defrost frozen food, use a
microwave, fridge, or cold water to gradually increase temperature and
facilitate the defrosting process.

4. Use caution when prepping

Another potential culprit of contamination is your cutting board. Like your
shopping cart, keep raw food away from cooked food to avoid the transfer of
bacteria. The best way to do this is to

use a different cutting board for anything raw and cooked
. You should also use separate plates and utensils, and thoroughly wash
anything that was in contact with raw food before using again.

5. Cook food meticulously

Always make sure that your food is cooked to a safe internal temperature
before enjoying it.

As a general rule,

cook whole meats to 145 °F, ground meats to 160 °F, and poultry to 165 °F.
Oftentimes, it’s hard to tell whether meat is fully cooked based on
appearance alone, so be sure to use a food thermometer to get a reliable

6. Understand the “Danger Zone”

When it comes to meat, egg dishes, and seafood, the “Danger Zone” refers to the spectrum of 40 to 140°F where harmful bacteria multiples
the quickest. Therefore, food should not be left out too long in this
temperature range. Keep leftovers cold at or below 40 °F and keep hot food
at 140 °F or above. Hot food that will be consumed later can be kept out of
the Danger Zone

with the help of warming trays, slow cookers, and more

7. Make smart choices

Your own logic goes a long way. Don’t eat anything perishable that’s been
left out for over two hours, avoid anything that smells or has a bad taste,
always rinse produce, stay away from things like raw cookie dough or batter
that contains uncooked eggs, adhere to expiration dates, and

wash your hands thoroughly before and after cooking
. Being aware of potential danger is a major component of food safety.

Food-borne illnesses can be miserable, but they don’t have to be
commonplace. By taking proper precautions and making smart decisions, you
can keep yourself and your family safe when you’re handling, storing, or
preparing food in the comfort of your own home.

Learn healthy new recipes at Healthy Cooking Class: Every Wednesday at Independence LIVE

Types of Elimination Diets – mindbodygreen

A ketogenic diet may be used by health practitioners to help treat neurological problems like epilepsy. A ketogenic diet gets around 70 percent of calories from fat, 25 percent from protein, and only 5 percent from carbohydrates. This means that almost all forms of carbohydrates are excluded. It should only ever be undertaken with experienced medical or dietetic support, as there can be significant risks, both when starting the diet and while maintaining it.

Whichever route to habit change you choose, remember that you can go completely at your own pace—this is not race. There is no finish line.

Want to try an elimination diet for yourself? Check out the doctor-led mbg class on the subject!

Excerpted from The 10-Day Plan to Nourish & Glow by Amelia Freer, with the permission of Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Copyright © 2018.

Planting a seed for healthy eating | Local

FISHERSVILLE — Augusta Health is taking “eat your veggies” to a new level.

As part of a new “farm-to-table” program underscoring its promotion of healthy, nutritious eating, the hospital, in a partnership with Allegheny Mountain Institute, last week began planting vegetables on an acre of its land.

The site, part of the old Yoder family farm, is located behind the  Augusta Community Care Building off Mule Academy Road. The farm still looks very much like it did when it was a working farm, with a large barn, a silo, main house and now, crops, gracing the property. 

The vegetables grown on the hospital land — which Augusta Health officials describe as some of the most fertile in the county — will provide h ealthy food for the hospital and the community, and for nutrition education as well.

Krystal Moyers, community outreach manager for Augusta Health, said that from the hospital’s 2016 community health needs assessment survey, “nutrition and physical activity, diabetes and mental health were identified as our top three priority areas to address.”

No. 1 was nutrition and physical activity.

Augusta Health convened a committee of experts in the community on nutrition education and access to healthy foods.

“And of the ideas that came out of that was starting a farm on Augusta Health campus,” Moyers said.

The board of directors of the Community Partnership Committee of Augusta Health determined that “the best partner to help us realize the goal of helping to provide people with greater access to healthy foods, as well as education about and increased knowledge about what healthy foods are” was Allegheny Mountain Institute, which is based on the Augusta Health campus.

Sue Erhardt, executive director of AMI, said the project will actually have two parts of production in three phases. In phase 1, which just began, AMI hopes 9,000 pounds of food will be grown on one acre on campus, while ¼ to ½ of an acre will be designated for education and a demonstration gardens. The vegetables will be grown under organic and sustainability practices. Pesticides will not be used.

Erhardt said that for the first three years of the project, AMI hopes to reach ages 3 to 83 with education about healthy eating with the demonstration garden and with nutrition programs conducted out in the community.

“We want to work with everybody and talk about how to have a healthier lifestyle and greater well being,” Erhardt said.

In phase 2, for the fourth and fifth years of the project, another acre will be dedicated to production and ¼ of an acre for education. And phase 3 will be conducted in the last four years of the project with another acre of production.

More than 30 vegetables will be planted, according to Erhardt, including cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onions, peas, squash, spinach and lettuce.

Moyers said that Augusta Health will refer a number of its patients with diabetes to the hospital’s Food Pharmacy Program for 16 weeks. Twenty participants will be chosen for the pilot program.

“They will receive nutrition education from our providers and other education specialists in the hospital about how to eat healthy and the purpose of eating healthy,” Moyers said. AMI will provide information about preserving fresh food and how to grow your own garden.

Participants in the program will receive voucher coupons to obtain produce from the hospital’s farm.

The farm will also provide produce for daily Augusta Health patient meals and food in the hospital’s cafeteria.

Moyers said cooking demonstrations will be held in the Food Pharmacy to show participants how to store and cook raw foods like vegetables.

“Because then when they get this beautiful produce with their vouchers, we want them to feel empowered to do something with [the food], and then when the program ends, to have that knowledge to carry it over to really make it a lifestyle change,” Moyers said.

She added that the hope is to “see an overall impact in the health of the community through the farm.”

“The goal is we’re having a wide variety of vegetables because to have a healthy life and well being you need to have a large variety of vegetables in your life,” Erhardt said.

Grain-free pet foods are no healthier, vets say

Losing weight is tough. It would be easier if a benevolent someone concerned about your health controlled exactly how much you ate and how often you exercised, right? That’s the situation for most dogs and cats in the United States, and yet the majority are overweight or obese.

As with our own dieting woes, the unpleasant prospect of the simple solution — feeding our furry friends less — makes us reach for alternative, quick-fix strategies. Many pet parents have turned to radically new menus. These grain-free, all-meat and raw-food diets are inspired by the meals eaten by wild relatives of our fidos and felixes.

But are these diets really better for our pets? Veterinarians and pet nutrition researchers say probably not.

According to clinical veterinary nutritionists at Tufts University, grain-free foods were one of the fastest-growing sectors of the pet food market in 2016. “All I ever hear is, oh, on a good diet, it’s grain free,” said Dena Lock, a veterinarian in Texas. The majority of her pet patients are overweight.


Why have these pet diets become so popular?

“It’s a marketing trend,” Lock said.

Cailin Heinze, a small-animal nutritionist at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, notes: “A lot of foods market themselves by what they’re not including,” and the implication is that the excluded ingredient must be bad.

“Grain-free is definitely a marketing technique that has been very successful,” said Jennifer Larsen, a clinical nutritionist at the University of California Veterinary School in Davis. People think that if they pay a lot for food and there are a lot of exclusions on the bag, that the food is healthier, but “they’re buying an idea,” she said, “not necessarily a superior product.”

There is absolutely no data to support the idea that grain-free diets are better for pets, Heinze and Larsen noted.

Some pet owners have a false impression that grains are more likely to cause an allergic reaction, but “it’s much more common for dogs to have allergies to meat than to grain,” Heinz said.

Chicken, beef, eggs, dairy and wheat are the most common allergies in dogs. And it’s not that there’s anything particularly allergenic about these foods, she said, they’re just the most frequently used ingredients.

Marketing campaigns such as Blue Buffalo’s “Wilderness” or Chewy’s “Taste of Wild” claim that their grain-free, meat-forward formulations better reflect the ancestral diets of our dogs’ and cats’ evolutionary predecessors, but the veterinarians I spoke with also questioned this logic.

For one, our pets’ wild cousins aren’t all that healthy.

“People believe that nature is best,” Larsen said, but “animals in the wild don’t live that long and they don’t lead very healthy lives.”

For dogs, we know that they have diverged from wolves genetically in their ability to digest starches.

“Dogs aren’t wolves,” said Robert Wayne, a canine geneticist at UCLA. “They have adapted to a human diet.” Research in Wayne’s lab showed that most wolves carry two copies of a gene involved in starch digestion, while dogs have between 3 and 29 copies. According to Heinze, the average dog can easily handle 50 percent of its diet as carbs.

For cats, this argument makes a little more sense. Cats are carnivores rather than omnivores, so they have higher protein requirements than dogs, but “cats can digest and utilize carbohydrates quite well,” said Andrea Fascetti, a veterinary nutritionist at the University of California Veterinary School in Davis.

Many grain-free pet foods are made with starch from potatoes or lentils and they may be higher in fat. If you cut grains but increase calories, your pet is going to gain weight, Heinze said.

Dogs and cats also have a drastically different lifestyle from wolves or tigers. Pets are almost always spayed and neutered, which is a risk factor for obesity. And most live inside or in pens, so their energy needs are reduced dramatically.

In the wild, wolves and feline predators eat the hair, bones and cartilage of their prey, not just meat. For pet owners who do choose to feed their animals an all-meat diet, it’s essential to add supplements to make sure their pet isn’t missing out on key nutrients such as calcium, Fascetti said. And there’s the environmental impact to consider: Pets consume a quarter of all animal-derived calories in the United States.

Experts especially caution against feeding pets raw meat. “It’s not uncommon to find things like salmonella and E. coli and listeria in raw meat,” Larsen said. There are a lot of microbes present in our farming systems, and unlike when an animal is hunting in the wild, there are many opportunities for bacteria to contaminate meat between the time an animal is slaughtered and when it reaches our kitchens.

Contaminated meat also poses a health risk to pet owners and their children who handle the pet food and waste. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration both warn against feeding raw meat to your pets, and “I really can’t advocate it, because it’s not safe for the whole family,” Heinze said.

But what about all those benefits you hear about from feeding a raw diet, like shiny coats and less frequent stools? Raw diets tend to be lower in fiber, and high fiber probably results in larger stools. But we don’t have a sense of whether stool quality and quantity correlate with health, Fascetti said. And that shiny coat probably is because of high fat, Heinze said.

If pet owners wish to formulate their own diets, they should work with their veterinarian and a board-certified nutritionist. If you’re feeding your pet a balanced diet such as in a commercial chow, obesity is the biggest nutrition issue pet owners should worry about, Heinze said.

We want our pets to enjoy what they’re eating, so many foods and especially treats are formulated to be high in fat, Larsen said. Most people don’t realize that a milk bone has about as many calories as a candy bar, Lock said.

I know the struggle. My own hefty husky mix stares at me with her big brown eyes and licks the window when she wants food. I’ve taken to calling the dental chews I buy her “guilt-a-bones,” because I can’t help but give her one every time I leave.

But studies have found that feeding dogs to maintain a lean body weight has positive effects on their overall health and can increase life span. This is also the case in mice and rats, and “we believe that these findings apply to cats as well,” Fascetti said.

Eexperts strongly recommend working with your veterinarian to find a diet that works for you and your pet. When it comes to pet food, Lock suggests finding a company that employs a veterinary nutritionist and does feeding trials.

Try not to get hung up on “the no list,” Heinze said. “Claims like no gluten, no grains, and no soy generally mean no science.”

A minute with Maria K Thomas Blogger

A minute with Maria K Thomas Blogger – Cyprus Mail

Behind the hype: will fermented foods really improve your health?

If geeking out on food is your thing, fermentation will sound like music to your ears. This ancient food preparation technique uses a friendly dose of bacteria that give ‘normal’ foods probiotic powers to promote a healthy gut.

Fermented foods are more popular than ever before. They are the number one ‘superfoods’ in the US this year, according to a survey among 2,050 nutritionists. And globally, the market is expected to be worth US$ 40 Billion (32 billion euros) by 2022.

While fermented products like kombucha, kefir and kimchi may sound a bit mysterious, chances are you’re already eating live bacteria. Cheese, bread, yoghurt and many other everyday products went through the fermentation process.

Feb 12, 2018 at 11:17pm PST

The increased popularity comes from a greater awareness of the importance of gut health, according to Lisa Mueller, an active food chef, nutritionist and athlete. “People start to realize that having an active and natural variety of microbes in the intestines may optimize overall health,” she told Living it.

Can live bacteria take gut health to another level?

The good bacteria produced by fermentation are said to make food more digestible, preserve nutrients, help curb sugar cravings, keep the immune system healthy and benefit the overall gut health.

The BBC reports studies that have associated microbes with a lower incidence of cancer, heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, asthma, depression, autism, irritable bowel syndrome, colic, Parkinson’s and many allergies.

However, independent research on the health benefits of probiotics is still emerging. And while early studies show promising results, strong scientific evidence to support specific uses of probiotics for most health conditions is still lacking’.

“Generally speaking, there is a lack of independent research in the area of food,” said Stephanie Jeffs, Raw Food Chef & Author. Her company Explore Raw runs ‘fermentation retreats’ for serious health seekers, who are curious about wellness and eager to learn how to make better food at home.

Anecdotal evidence from her community, and Jeffs’ personal experience show positive health results with fermented foods. “You cannot deny the stories of healing from people that have been living off homemade fermented foods for many years,” Jeffs told Living it.

Thinking outside the ‘pill’ box

Food writer and DIY food activist Sandor Katz is a walking advertisement for the health benefits of live bacteria. The ‘master’ of the revival of fermentation has lived with HIV since the 80’s and experimented with fermentation for nearly twenty-five years. While it hasn’t cured him, and he still takes medication, he considers fermented foods to be an important part of his healing, which allows him to lead a vibrant and energetic life.

Feb 5, 2018 at 1:40am PST

“For now, it seems to be another form of ‘self-help’,” Mueller said. During her research on the health benefits of bone broth, she noticed that many people have a sick stomach and bad digestion. “Everyone tries to cure themselves naturally because medication doesn’t really work properly,” she said.

The brain-gut connection: Can food dictate your mood?

Eating fermented foods for a healthy gut may also benefit mental health. Some studies have confirmed that the gut affects our mood and plays into food cravings and eating behaviours.

“I have absolutely no doubt that when one is eating well, one will get mental clarity,” Jeffs said. “You rid the body of bacteria and mucus that can cloud the gut and the brain.”

Most of us will have first-hand experience of the connection between the gut and the brain; when you feel nausea before giving a presentation, a stomach ache during stressful periods, or ‘butterflies’ in your belly when falling in love.

And new insights reveal that people with serious disorders such as obesity, anorexia, irritable bowel syndrome, autism and PTSD – that have been thought to be solely psychological – share a common symptom: a hypersensitivity to gut stimuli.

While doctors are aware of the brain-gut connection, official studies are still lacking, blocking the development of new treatments. “If the link between the brain and the gut is clinically proven, doctors may start prescribing probiotics instead of antidepressants,” Mueller said.

Now what: how to get started with fermentation?

Sauerkraut is the best option for beginners, according to Mueller. To make it, alternate layers of cabbage in a jar, sprinkle it with salt in between and tap each layer with a spoon. Then leave the cabbage submerged in its liquid for two to three days.

“The fermentation process can be a bit intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it, it is fairly easily done by yourself and much cheaper than most ‘superfoods’,” Mueller said. The only thing you need is good hygiene, patience, and a bit of space in the kitchen.

Fermented foods are also widely available in supermarkets. A good thing, according to Jeffs, as “they bring beautiful foods to a mainstream audience.” However, store-bought products are “absolutely no comparison”. They don’t have the full range of bacteria that you would get with homemade or artisanal products.

The main issue with commercially sold products is pasteurisation. It kills 80 percent of the good and bad bacteria, wiping out almost completely its positive effects. “If it doesn’t say non-pasteurized, you’re basically just eating very expensive cabbage with barely any probiotics,” Mueller said.

Starting off with store-bought products will get you more familiar with fermentation, but as Katz confirms in the introduction of his book ‘Wild Fermentation’: “If you want live-culture fermented foods in our world of pre-packaged mass-produced food commodities, you have to seek them out or make them yourself.”

And while encouraging bacteria growth in a jar of vegetables may not seem like the most appealing way to make a tasty dish, the fermentation process makes food taste “absolutely amazing”, according to Jeffs.