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Sunday, July 16, 2017

How to Stay Hydrated in Summer

Summer and hot weather are here.  What are you doing to be sure you are staying hydrated?  Everyday Health recommends Simple Ways to Stay Hydrated This Summer.  The Henry Ford Health System also offers tips on How to Stay Hydrated.  Since hot weather is here, it is time to think about easy ways you can keep your body hydrated in the heat.  If you have kids, think of how you can ensure they keep hydrated as kids may need a reminder to drink water or other fluids in the hot weather.

  1.  Water – a great way to stay hydrated is to ensure you bring water with you.  Carry a water bottle in your car.  Have a water bottle at your desk and refill it often.  Fill a glass with ice water and add a slice of lemon.  Water is a great choice for hydration but you can also hydrate with juice, milk, coffee, tea, fruit juice.
  2. Feeling thirsty, frazzled?  Thirst is the first sign your body is becoming dehydrated, so quench that thirst.  In fact, try to drink enough water and fluids so you don’t get thirsty.  Your brain is affected by dehydration so drinking some water can help you feel more alert.
  3. Physically Active – before you engage in any activity, drink about 8 ounces of water an hour before.  Then while you are active drink about 7-10 ounces every 20 – 30 minutes.  I bring a water bottle filled with ice water when biking outside to stay hydrated on our long bike rides.
  4. Electrolytes – when you sweat you lose water and electrolytes like sodium, chloride and potassium.  If you are working out or exercising for an hour or more then consider a sports drink with electrolytes.  Or add some pretzels or eat a banana to refill your electrolytes.  Dilute some orange juice with ice water for a refreshing drink.  OJ provides potassium.  Some people refuel with coconut water and that is also a good choice after a mild workout.   Coconut water does offer potassium and some sodium.  For more strenuous workouts with a lot of sweating, you’ll need a drink with more sodium to replenish the salt (sodium chloride) lost.
  5. Hydrate with veggies/fruit – fruit such as watermelon can help with hydration as watermelon is 90% water.  Citrus fruits, berries, cantaloupe, honeydew are good ways to help your body hydrate.  You are adding water and nutrients to your day.  Veggies that help with hydration are celery, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes.
  6. Treat Yourself:  I keep some lemon slices in a baggie in the fridge.  When I get a glass of ice water, I add a slice of lemon, very refreshing.  When we stayed at the Bar Harbor Grand Hotel in June, each day they provided complimentary infused fruit water.  One day it was infused with cucumbers, another day with watermelon and of course one day was lemon slices.  So tasty.  A neighbor offered me some ice tea.  She served Crystal Light Peach with a slice of a fresh peach.  Delicious.   Make some Crystal Light Lemonade or other lemonade and add some fresh lemon slices.  For some ideas on making some infused fruit water go to:   Replace your soda with some flavored seltzer water. 

      How much water do adults need each day?   The Institute of Medicine recommends:
        Women:  about 11 cups of water a day from all sources which includes foods and beverages
        Men:  about 15-16 cups of water a day from all sources which includes foods and beverage
         Physically Active Adults and those of us who live in hot climates need even more hydration. 

      How much water do kids need each day?  A general rule is 6-8 cups of water a day.  Kids that are physically active should add half a cup to 2 cups of water every 15-20 minutes when physically active and exercising like playing soccer.  The Institute of Medicine and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends kids water and beverage requirements.  Note, this amount includes all beverages, the milk at meals, the glass of juice at breakfast.  The water in fruits and vegetables also adds “water” to your child’s day. 

Water/beverages (cups per day)
4 to 8 years
Girls and Boys
9-13 years



    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes about 43% of us are not drinking enough water each day.  So, this week, grab that water bottle, add some ice and a slice of lemon and stay hydrated.
      sliced oranges
      ice water

Photo from

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Is Your Olive Oil Real or Fake?

Olive Oil – hopefully you have a bottle in your pantry.  Why?  Because it is a heart healthy oil and an oil with many health benefits.  But to get those health benefits, it needs to be REAL Olive Oil.  So, you go to the store, or find some bargain Olive Oil on sale.  Good idea?  Bad idea?  If it is REAL Olive Oil, then you got a bargain.  But if it is FAKE or partially fake, you got cheated.  So how does one know if their Olive Oil is REAL or FAKE?  Is the Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) you purchased, really EVOO?  Turns out many people and organizations have studied this.  Southern Living just listed top food brands to buy and recommended an olive oil to purchase.  Even a money magazine, Kiplinger, has recommended which Olive Oil to buy at Costco. 

Why is there “FAKE” Olive Oil?
PopSugar has a great article, You May Be Buying "Fake" Extra-Virgin Olive Oil.   One country interested in cracking down on “fake” olive oil is Italy.   They found 7,000 tons of EVOO that was labeled 100% Italian, was not really 100%.  Apparently, it had oil from other countries such as from Turkey, Syria, Tunisia.  And a lot of this EVOO that wasn’t 100% was on its way to America.  Even 60 Minutes has covered the “fake” or imitation olive oil. 
It may not be real, 100% EVOO because a cheaper oil has been added, it may be made from olives that were damaged or overripe or not processed properly.  Or it may be packaged in a clear glass bottle and exposure to light affects the freshness of the oil
What is so good about EVOO?  It is manually pressed, no chemicals added and really is olive oil in a pure form.  UC Davis has studied olive oil and found a very high percentage of EVOO was not labeled correctly and did not meet the high standards of EVOO.  UC Davis actually has the UC Davis Olive Center that focuses on California olive growers and processors and they even sell EVOO. 

Why is “real” olive oil important to your health?
Popsugar has a great quote from the Director of the UC Davis Olive Center, Dan Flynn:  The health benefits from quality extra-virgin olive oil come from two things:  antioxidants and high monounsaturated fat.  Studies indicate that these elements are associated with benefits for reducing blood pressure, inflammation, diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, some cancers, and obesity.  Are you convinced yet about EVOO?  To get the most health benefits, buy the real thing.  How much?  Many sources recommend from 1-2 tablespoons a day.   Olive Oil Times noted about 2 T. a day is needed to get the health benefits of olive oil. 

How do you know if the olive oil or EVOO you are buying is real or fake?
PopSugar, UC Davis and the North American Olive Oil Association have suggestions as to what to look for:

      1.  Look for a Seal of Certification:

UC Davis promotes California olive oil and recommends looking for the California Olive Oil Council seal:

The North American Olive Oil Association lists types and varieties of olive oil and has a long list of oil brands they certify with their Certified Quality Seal Program. 
2.       Avoid bottles or packages with dust on them, with broken seals, any evidence of leaking or bottles with oil that has an orange tint to it.  That would mean the bottle has been exposed to too much fluorescent light or too much heat.  3
3.       Avoid clear bottles – buy olive oil in opaque or dark bottles that prevent light damage. 
4.       Look for oil from one place, one country, not oil that has been blended.
5.       Cheap isn’t the best option.  
6.       Buy olive oil in small bottles so you can use it up while it is still at its peak of freshness.

How should you store olive oil?

Keep it olive oil in a cool, dark area like a cupboard or pantry.  Exposing Olive Oil to heat or light will shorten the shelf life.  And buy in smaller containers so you can use it up.  UC Davis recommends using it up in 6 weeks or so as the freshness will decrease over time. The North American Olive Oil Association recommends using up your bottle of olive oil within 8-10 weeks of opening it.

Where is a list of quality olive oils?

  • Southern Living recently published its Food Awards from their test kitchen.  They recommend California Olive Ranch.  “Their Everyday California Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a buttery-smooth blend, has unmatched versatility.”   We just bought some at Walmart so it is easy to find. 
  • Interesting that Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine highlighted olive oil and noted that Costco’s Kirkland brand of olive oil met national and international standards for EVOO.  So, if you are a Costco shopper, you can buy the Kirkland EVOO.  But it may come in a size too large for you to use up in just a few weeks.
  • Go to the UC Davis Olive Center for a list of certified California brands of EVVO.  Or buy some from UC Davis as they offer a number of EVOO products.   
  • The North American Olive Oil Association lists many certified brands on its website.  They certify many popular brands including Bertolli, Pompeian, Sprouts, Star and Whole foods. 

So, if you don’t have any olive oil in your pantry, stop by Walmart, Costco, Whole Foods or some other store this week to pick up some real EVOO.