Healthy Tips

Oregon Fruit Makes You Happy

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Posted November 30th, 2012 in Healthy Eating, Healthy Tips, News in Produce, Posts

From every turn we are encouraged, cajoled and admonished to eat more fruits and vegetables.  From the “5 a Day” campaign to Produce for Better Health, to the First Lady, Dr. Oz and Jamie Oliver on the Food Network we have been bombarded with this message.  No one could have escaped it unless you live under the proverbial rock.  Doing it, on the other hand, has been more elusive.  The “5 a Day” campaign began in 1994 and the latest research shows that only 31% of adults between 19 and 64 are reaching that goal.  For kids it is actually only 1 in 10.  Later research shows that even more servings are actually optimal-somewhere between 5 and 9 servings per day.  Last year a new icon was released called the “My Plate” to show us in picture form how to eat with half the plate made up of fruits and vegetables.

Economists and public health researchers from the University of Warwick studied the eating habits of 80,000 people in Britain. This  study found that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables not only improves your physical health, it helps your emotional well being as well!  The study determined that happiness and mental health are highest among people who eat seven 3oz portions of fruit and/or vegetables per day.

The study did not distinguish among different kinds of fruits and vegetables, nor did it matter whether the fruits and vegetables were fresh, frozen or canned.  (good news for US!)

Co-author, economist Professor Andrew Oswald from the Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, said: “This study has shown surprising results and I have decided it is prudent to eat more fruit and vegetables. I am keen to stay cheery.”

This time of year many people suffer from Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) , a kind of depression that occurs at a certain time of the year, usually in the winter.  It is not known whether this is strictly related to changes in the weather due to long periods of dreary rain and cold, the holidays or some combination.   But it can’t hurt to combat with some extra fruits and vegetables.

I am with Dr. Oswald.  For those of us “keen to stay cheery” eat more Oregon Fruit!

Frozen vs. Canned Food

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Posted September 15th, 2012 in Healthy Tips, Posts

Winco Stores Canned Fruit Section

Portland Tribune writer, Nate Ford,  tackled this issue  from a sustainability perspective in a recent issue of Sutainable Life (July 26, 2012).  As he stated, “we all know we should be eating fresh fruits and vegetables, but sometimes you just have to have produce that isn’t in season”.  Research indicates that consumers have a tendency to choose frozen foods.

Using a number of indicators, Mr. Ford evaluated frozen food versus canned food and in the end his verdict gave the nod to cans.

Here are the indicators and the winners:

Carbon Footprint-cans win because, although they use a bit more energy in the canning facility the distribution and storage of shelf stable products are far more earth friendly.

Waste:According to the EPA,  steel cans are the most reclycled containers on earth.

Health-According to some research, both frozen and canned may be nutritionally equivalent, even superior to fresh produce that has spent along time making it’s way through the supply chain.   Frozen gets the slight advantage here due to the loss of some nutrients that occurs during heat treating.  The BPA issue is still under discussion, however.  BPA is a substance used in the lining of some cans primarily the containers for high acid foods.  A BPA alternative is in the works but studies are underway to ensure that the replacement coatings are not, themselves harmful.  The very small amount of BPA that is found in canned food has been deemed to be safe. On the other hand, frozen food comes in plastic bags that while they do not contain BPA, can often release other chemicals that act similar to estrogen into the food.

Donation Friendly-A recent food drive held by the Oregon Food Bank collected 1.3 million pounds of non-perishable food for the area needy. Frozen foods are not allowed. Oregon Fruit has been a long time donor to the Marion-Polk Foodshare program that feeds the hungry in the community surrounding our plant. Through logistics efforts we also donate short coded cans to food banks all over the country.

Aesthetics- Heat treating in cans tends to dull the color of the contents while flash freezing maintains the vibrant color of produce. But if you want to make a pie, the delicious juice contained in our cans is a necessary ingredient bonus* the queen’s editorial comment.

Cost-The difference in price is variable but most of the time, cans will be the cheapest choice on a cost per ounce basis.

So next time you are shopping, veer off the perimeter and perishable track you usually follow and visit the center of the store again. You might like what you find there. Cans can be kept on the pantry shelf ready to use just when you need them, no worries about spoilage or freezer burn.  It’s just one more way to add more fruits and veggies into your diet.


A Refreshing and Healthy Dessert for Summer

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Posted July 21st, 2012 in Healthy Eating, Healthy Tips, Posts, Superfood

While traveling in Portland last week for business I found myself in a Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Shop drawn in by the sign featuring Greek Frozen Yogurt.  Greek Yogurt is all the rage right now because the fat free version is so creamy and delicious and packed with protein.  I eat it almost every day.  I recently tried a new frozen novelty made with this great product. I enjoyed it very much and it was only 70 calories.  What I had at B&J’s was not this I am sure.  I don’t even want to know how many calories it was.  The flavor was Banana with Peanut Butter Swirl and the Swirl was just delicious candy all through my virtuous Greek Yogurt. This was a bad thing for me to discover. I do not need anymore new ice cream varieties that call my name on a daily basis.

I decided to try to make something healthy and I came up with a delicious, easy, fast dessert that just might keep me out of Ben and Jerry’s.

Blueberry Greek Frozen Yogurt

Take a can of Oregon Fruit Blueberries and freeze for about an hour.  Open on both ends and push the contents into the food processor.  Blend with 1 cup of non-fat Greek Yogurt, the zest and juice of one lemon. Process until combined.  Put into a shallow glass dish and freeze for about 30 minutes. At this point you can scoop it out and eat it. If you want to eat it later, scrape with a fork every 30 minutes like you would for a granita. This keeps it from freezing rock hard.  If you forget about it, just let it thaw on the counter for a few minutes.  The color is beautiful and it has the texture of a sorbet with protein!    You can whip this up with ingredients you have on hand which just might prevent a late night run to the local ice cream shop.

The Queen and The Produce Man-Berry Fest 2012

The Queen and The Produce Man

It’s berry season in the west and that gives rise to Berry Fest celebrations all over the place. The season in California is early and Mother’s Day weekend I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Michael Marks Your Produce Man in Roseville, California. The theme was a side by side bake off with Oregon Canned Fruit and fresh local produce. We had a great time making a Northwest Berry Crisp, Rasberry Chipotle Ribs and a refreshing Mixed Berry Mocktail. We had some small audience members help out and it was a good time for all. The Johnsonville BIG GRILL bar-b-que truck was on hand sampling a strawberry bar-b-que sauce and the grillmaster Ryan stopped by to sample our Raspberry Chipotle Sauce and proclaimed it a winner! I hope you enjoy the fun vicariously via the video below. Stay tuned for the Oregon Berry Fest in a few weeks where a local Portland Chef Abby Fammarino from Abby’s Table in Portland will be gracing us with her decidedly more professional culinary skills using our canned blueberries.



Decadent Breakfast on the Run

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Posted May 24th, 2012 in Healthy Eating, Healthy Tips, Posts, Superfood

Sometimes you just need to treat yourself.

I don’t know about you but life has been pretty hectic for me lately. I find myself running from place to place, generally late for everything.  I am not sure why exactly so I have been thinking about how I can get some balance.  I am thinking about (not doing, just thinking) about trying yoga, getting back in the pool to find my zen or just strolling through the neighborhood enjoying the mild weather and quite literally stopping to smell the roses.

Whenever I feel like this I know that improving my diet will help.  Even though we get momentary comfort from food that is not good for us, in the long run a clean, healthy diet just feels better.  We have more energy, we sleep better and we feel emotionally better about ourselves when we make good nutritional decisions. But making the commitment is hard.  Research shows that if we eat more interesting, flavorful food we will feel more satisfied.

So today I made my breakfast on the run a real treat.  This Dark Chocolate Cherry Smoothie is so good it could pass for dessert but it has a powerhouse of nutrition to accompany it’s indulgent taste.

Do yourself a favor and make this!


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