Page 120 - Cityview May-June 2017
P. 120

MAY  JUNE 2017
And as you’d suspect, the fresher food you can get, the better. The decision between frozen or fresh berries for
your smoothie, for instance, is not about which packs more nutrients, but about which contains less preservatives— another reason to choose the farmers’ market over the canned or frozen food aisle. Sure, canned foods are extremely convenient, and it’s a good idea to keep some on hand, just in case. But packing your meals with preservatives, sodium, oil, and brine on a regular basis is not such a good idea. You want to look for “sodium free” or “low sodium” on the label, as the added sodium can deplete nutritional value. You also want to look for vegetables and fruits canned in water, not oil or fruit juice, to cut back on added fats and sugars. Hold poultry, meat, and fish to the same standard.
On the other hand, there are rare instances where canned foods can be the better option. Hall says, “the canning process increases some of the valuable nutrients found in some foods. For example, when tomatoes are canned, the lycopene content increases. Lycopene is the antioxidant found in tomatoes that helps to fight free radicals and chronic disease.” Canned tuna can be another
good bet if you wish to eliminate the risk of mercury poisoning sometimes encountered with fresh ahi tuna steaks.
When it comes to protein, don’t forget beans, nuts, and lean meats like fish or shellfish. Hall provides an easy rule of thumb: “The average serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards.” That’s much smaller than our average portions here in the U.S. Of course, all the effort you put into sourcing the right proteins won’t matter if you’re going to cook them in loads of butter and oil. Thank- fully, grilling season is once again upon us. But, for the cooler nights, get your baking or broiling game on.
To bring out the best in your newly purchased fresh food, it isn’t necessary to load it with fat for flavor. Line a pan with foil or parchment paper, or smoke or sear your meat to keep the flavor in. Generously season your poultry with garlic and herbs like rosemary and tar- ragon to accentuate its natural flavors. There’s no need to baste with heavy, oil- rich and sodium-laden sauces. Lighter marinades that focus on a lemon juice or vinegar base can work to accentuate fla- vor rather than mask it. And they work great as a toss for fresh veggies as well.
One practice you may not want your
grocery dollars to promote is the use of antibiotics in animals that are part of the food supply. Why? Hall explains, “There are some instances where producers add antibiotics to feed or drinking water to help chickens gain more weight with less food. This creates a potentially dangerous situation because the more we use these drugs, the more infectious organisms become resistant to them, making antibiotics less effective when used for medical purposes.” If you’re sensitive to this issue, look for the “Raised without antibiotics” label when buying meat.
By contrast, “no growth hormones” stamped on packages of chicken is mar- keting, pure and simple. Though many are wary of the alternative, law dictates that no chickens can be injected with growth hormones in the United States. “Natural” is another unregulated term, but in common parlance it means that the food contains no artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors.
For dairy, Hall recommends choosing low-fat dairy, 1%, or skim, adding that dairy milk provides calcium and vitamin D, which are important for bone and mental health. Some believe that the FDA’s milk regulations are strict enough that you can essentially purchase any gallon of milk in the country without being worried that it will contain syn- thetic growth hormones, conventional pesticides, or ionizing radiation.
When labels get confusing one great strategy is to go directly to the source: farmers, that is. Thankfully, Knoxville provides plenty of farmers’ markets. When you go to farmers’ markets,
you can often get to know people who understand exactly what has gone
into each and every piece of food. You can ask what fertilizer was used, or if pesticides were used on the crop or in the feed. Many local farms also source to restaurants and grocery stores. Not only can you get firsthand information, but you can put your money back into the local economy.
Tennessee farmer and owner of Mau- ro Seed Company Dave Mauro takes the idea of knowing about the food you’re

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