10 Foods You’re Eating Wrong …who knew?! Read on for your health!

10 Foods You’re Eating Wrong  By Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD

Not all food is created equal if prepared the wrong way. See which mistakes you could be making with some of your favorites.

Steaming was the only cooking method that completely preserved, and even increased, the cancer fighting components of broccoli.

Imagine the following scenario. You’re engaged in conversation at a dinner party with friends that you feel comfortable enough to discuss “hot button” topics with. Politics, religion, and parenting techniques probably come up and most likely, the views vary by person. When I attend dinner parties, however, the issue of food is often the hot topic of the night, and even hotter, the opinions surrounding the right and wrong way to eat. It’s not enough these days that we are eating more kale (thank you trendy farmers markets and Hollywood celebrities!), we have to now dissect the right and wrong way to eat it as well. It was discussions like these that motivated me to write this blog. After all, my career surrounds helping people to simply eat better — to get, what I call, the most bang for their nutritional buck. There are many factors that impact the amount of nutrients that you will derive from a food. Things such as cooking and ripening method, food pairing and even your own gut flora may impact how much benefit you get from plant-based foods. Different varieties of foods affect this as well. Not all nuts, apples or as you’ll read in my first example, potatoes are created equal. If you’re interested in knowing how science views the best way to eat, then read on. Spoiler alert: Raw is not always the right way to go!

Think you’re getting the benefits of the potato vegetable when you consume French fries, mashed or baked potatoes from white potatoes? Think again! One study found that it was purple potatoes that gave the best benefits, like lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk for cancer. Further, a 2014 study found that purple potatoes surpassed their white counterparts when it came to high amounts of polyphenols and decreased effect on overall blood sugar response.

As fall gears up, our love of soup increases as well. Next time you’re making a batch of chicken noodle soup, resist the urge to cut up your carrots. One study found that cutting carrots increased surface size and allowed more nutrients to leach out. That means after washing and peeling, your carrots should hit the water in their whole form. Keep cooking (vs. raw) though. One study found that cooking carrots increased the bioavailability of carotenoids.

If you want high nutrient absorption with your high tea, then forget about doing as the Brits do it! Several studies have shown that adding milk to your tea may actually take away some of the cardiovascular benefits that tea provide. Going with green tea? Add a little juice instead to sweeten. The vitamin C in juice may help to increase the bioavailability of green tea’s nutrients.

Don’t rush your garlic, CRUSH your garlic! Research indicates that crushing your garlic and allowing to sit for at least ten minutes released an enzyme called allicin that has been shown to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by making platelets less sticky or more likely to flow freely through the cardiovascular system.

Salad dressing
Fat free dressing may seem like a good idea in theory, but when you look at what you give up; it’s no match for the full fat counterpart. Several studies have shown the benefits that fat has when dressing your greens, from keeping you fuller and more satisfied after consumption to getting more nutrient absolution from your salad (specifically from lutein, lycopene, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin).

Apples & Pears
Let your fruit ripen up a bit! One study found that the ripening process allowed the breakdown of chlorophyll in ripening apples and pears which, in turn, produced more “highly active” antioxidants in the fruit.

Broccoli is, without doubt one of the best foods you can feed your body! Broccoli is part of the brassica family of foods, a family that has shown to be quite effective in terms of prevention of certain cancers from breast cancer to skin cancer , but how you prepare your broccoli makes all the difference in the world. A 2008 study found that steaming was the only cooking method that completely preserved, and even increased, the cancer fighting components of broccoli. Boiling and frying were found to be the worst cooking methods. Still don’t want to ditch the boiled broccoli? Pairing with a spicy food may help! A 2012 study found that adding spicy foods to broccoli increased its cancer fighting power and the spicier the better according to the study authors!

Mustard in any form is a fabulous condiment to add to sauces, salads and sandwiches, but if you’re interested in decreasing overall inflammation as well as reducing your risk for certain cancers then you better keep your mustard choices simple. That’s right! It’s the cheap yellow mustard options that have the best benefits. Why? Because they contain a compound called curcumin (that’s the active ingredient in turmeric) that not only gives cheap yellow mustard its yellow color, but all of its potential health benefits as well!

While the factors discussed in this piece have an impact on the best ways to consume your foods, the truth is, simply adding these foods to your diet is a huge step in the right direction. Once you have mastered a liking for these healthier food options, the next logical step is to prepare in the best way for maximum nutrient density!  Eat more fruits & veggies for best results!!

Eating in Season

Fruits and vegetables

The benefits of “Eating In Season” are truly substantial for several reasons! When produce is in season locally, the relative abundance of the crop usually makes it less expensive. It’s the basic law of supply and demand, and when crops are in season you’ll be rewarded financially by purchasing what’s growing now.

For most of us, the taste of the food we buy is every bit as important as the cost, if not more so. When food is not in season locally, it’s either grown in a hothouse or shipped in from other parts of the world, and both affect the taste. If possible, grow it and pick it yourself – you’ll know exactly what went into growing those vegetables and you can enjoy them at their peak the day they are harvested. If gardening isn’t your thing, visit a local farmers’ market weekly or join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, some of whom even deliver the weekly harvest to convenient distribution locations.

While it might not always be possible to purchase your seasonal produce locally, the next best thing is to purchase what’s in season somewhere else – and hopefully not too very far away to minimize shipping time and subsequent damage.

So determine what’s in season right now and dig in. You’ll be rewarded with high quality produce, packed with nutrition, at a lower cost. And your taste buds will definitely thank you for it!

Be Green, Share Gold

There are many choices we make each day that influence the size of our carbon footprint, one major one being the food we buy and eat. One of the best ways to be environmentally conscious about the food you consume is to purchase produce that is in season. Not only will these products be cheaper and more flavorful but it is also a much more sustainable way of eating. This is due to the fact that seasonal vegetables don not need to travel as far distances to reach their markets and thus do not require as much fuel to transport. Moreover, out of season produce generally need chemical washes as well as wax coatings in order to preserve them over the course of their long travels to their destination markets. Thus, by eating seasonally, one reduces the need for these chemical processes and reduces their overall carbon footprint.

This handy guide shows…

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Novelty in the Produce Aisle: Sumo Tangerines, Kiwi Berries and Romanesco Broccoli

These produce items are unique and interesting. Fresh produce is an ever-changing and evolving commodity…and don’t forget, it’s GOOD for you, too!  Eat up!


If there’s one thing I love in life, it’s the novelty of it all! And that means foods too. This past month I’ve tried sumo tangerines, kiwi berries and romanesco broccoli:

Yum Yum Yum Yum Yum Yum

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Opening Day…and we’ve got a blog!


baseball  If there was ever a day to start a blog, I believe this is it.  No longer am I sitting at the office listening to my favorite choice of musical accompaniment today…instead, I’m hearing ESPN speak of how baseball season is about to start.  Oooooh…the sheer excitement.  No better day to start a blog, in my book!

Seriously, it is perfectly ok…I mean baseball is after all, America’s sport, is it not?  How could I not love it?  My office mate (the hubs) has the Cubs vs. Pittsburg game on the telly.  How I vividly remember many an opening day back when we lived in Chicago…freezing in the stands–hoping for that one sliver of sunshine to hit us while we munched on popcorn and hotdogs, and cheered on the Cubbies–hoping that THIS would be “the year.”  Good times, indeed.  Yes, I think I’ll blog…and keep my fingers crossed for the Cubs.

With that said, WELCOME to ~The Grape Aficionado Blog~  …a place where you can learn things, laugh, create and WIN!  We’ll talk produce and more–and it will be FUN!  Come along…you’ll be glad you did!!