Balance your diet

Yesterday I forgot to include the juice we have for breakfast.  We make our own juice and this year we have tomato and grape.  Usually we have apple but this year we did not squeeze any apples.  Hopefully next year we will have apples from our own trees and then we will have apple juice again.  The tomato juice comes from our own tomatoes, this year we planted 82 plants and next year we will make it an even 100.  We are increasing the size of the tomato bed because we had to buy 40 pounds of tomatoes to finish our canning.  When we can we peel the tomatoes, these peelings are put onto the blueberries to increase the acidity in the soil.  Then we take out all the seeds and strain them, the liquid is our tomato juice and the pulp we cook up as Marinara Speghetti Sauce.  Today I will give you that recipe and sing the praises of tomatoes.   In a large stew pot put the 20 pounds of peeled and deseeded chopped tomatoes, 3 large onions chopped fine, 9 garlic cloves minced, 4 Tbsp chopped parsley, 4 Tbsp chopped dried mustard leaves, 4 bay leaves, 2 Tbs dried basil leaves, 3 Tbsp dried oregano leaves, 1 Tbs dried marjoran, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp sugar.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened to sesired consistancy, at least 2 hours.  Put into hot serilized quart jars, seal  and process.   We put up between 85 and 95 jars each year.  We started this because it was almost impossible to find speghetti sauce with so little salt and we found the family all loved the home made so we make some for our daughter and her family.  We have it at least once a week all year.  We have it on speghetti, in chicken cacciatore and on pizza.  For pizza put the sauce into the food blender or chopper for a few seconds and it become the perfect pizza sauce.   Now why tomatoes,  they are a great source of vitamins A and C, folate, and potassium and a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant that pretects against some cancers. Harvard researchers found that men who consumed tomatoes or tomato-based foods -including pizza- at least four times a week had a 20 percent lower risk of prostate cancer than those who avoided tomatoes.  Men who ate tomatoes 10 times a week reduced their risk by almost half. It didn’t matter what form the tomatoes were in, although cooked tomatoes appeared to be more protective than fresh.  The researchers theorized that lycopenes- Bioflavonoids that are closely related to beta carotene- are the natural cancer-fighting agents in tomatoes. (Lycopenes are also found in pink grapefruits and watermelons)  They also speculate that cooking releases the fat-soluble lycopenes from the fruits’ cells, and that a small amount of oil, such as that in pizza or tomato sauce, intensifies the protective effect.   One medium-sized tomato contains only 25 calories, together with about 20mg of vitamin C and 1,400 I.U. of vitamin A, in the form of its precursor, beta carotene.  Most of the vitamin C is concentrated in the jellylike substance that encases the seeds. The seeds are what makes the bitter taste in some recipes when cooked so we remove as many of these as possible.  Ripe tomatoes contain up to 4 times as much vitamin A as green tomatoes but ripe or green tomatoes are otherwise nutritionally similar.  I also make my our tomato paste and catsup to that I can limit the amount of salt and us only olive oil as my fat source.   The figs are a good source of magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron as well as fiber.   The cherries are a good source of vitamin C and high in fiber that lowers cholesterol.  Raisins provide iron, potassium and a good source of fiber.   I have a quick rule of thumb for picking the fruits and vegetables each day.  I want some bright colored ones as that tells me  I am getting my antioxidants, the brighter the color the more antioxidants, these are the agents that take care of the free radicals your body releases as you process your food, free radicals are the agents that make you age.  The antioxidants are necessary for a healty heart and good eye sight.  Then I make sure I have at least one white vegetable each such as onion, mushroom, parsnip, etc .  These help to boost your immune system,  Then I like to include a green vegetable for the iron, and vitamins. Your should also include a root vegetable each day for the minerals that only the root vegetables can provide.  Keeping your colors varied each day assures you a good balanced diet.  Oats are high in soluble fiber, which can help lower blood cholesterol levels, thus possible reducing the risk of heart attacks.  I also helps the body utilize insulin more efficiently, an important asset in controling diabetes.  Have a great day and get it off to a good start.

About Carol (Ouma) Petts

I am a retired teacher. I have taught all levels from kindergarten through college and have been retired now for over 20 years. The last ten years we have lived on a farm and lived off the land, growing our own food and canning for our extended family. Now we have sold the farm and are moving to Florida to truly retire. I guess I have always had a short attention span as this is our 11th move. We have moved from a small farm in New Hampshire, to more city type living, small business adventures, focusing more on traveling, Florida living, Georgia, and Tennessee farming and now back to Florida. My blog is a way to keep my children up to date on what I am doing and letting them know I am still alive and well. My children are spread across the country from New England to Florida, Nova Scotia to New Mexico and CA and several places between, They let me know what they are up to by commenting on my blog but they are so busy with their own lives most times I have to assume " no news is good news". Now I are starting on a new adventure so will try to give daily updates until we get settled into a routine. Then I know even if I am getting older and should settle down I will start looking for some new and exciting adventure to start. Welcome aboard. Norman died Oct 30, 2017 so I am continuing the journey alone with the aid of my children, grand children and great grand children. At present I am living with my daughter and we are 7 in one house and cover four generations. We range in age from 7 to 85 and are finding common ground, we are living proof that multi generations can live and function in a three bedroom house if they really want to. Soon my grandson will have his house built next door so we all will have a room of their own except for the seven year old twins who by choice will share a room.
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