Angela Ardolino
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Monday
May022016

Krups and Te Bella- a Delicious Combination

To me, there is nothing that a cup of tea can't fix. This is especially true of one of my favorite teas: turmeric tea. It has been known to prevent alzheimers and and has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits. Turmeric also has antioxidant properties and has been known to prevent gas and bloating and can help your metabolism stay on track. In Eastern cultures, it is even used as an anti-depressent. 

Many cultures use ginger to treat headaches, cold and flu symptoms, nausea, pain and inflammation, heartburn and menstrual cramps. Many people drink our Ginger Turmeric to help minimize the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis as well, according to TeBella

 

To make this tasty tea, I tested the Krups FL700 Electronic Tea Maker. This glass electronic kettle is a two-in-one product. It can be used as a convenient tea maker to brew hot and ice teas as well as a powerful water kettle. It is avaialbe online for $100.

I purchased the loose-tea at my favorite boutique tea shop, TeBella, which has a location on Davis Island as well as inside of Oxford Exchange in Tampa. Turmeric Ginger tea is available for $7.00$47.60, depending on the amount. 

Making the tea is easy, especially with the Krups Tea Maker. TeBella recommends steeping Ginger Turmeric for 4-5 minutes at 208°. The licorice root becomes more pronounced the longer you steep this blend. If you like the flavor of licorice root, steep Ginger Turmeric for a full five minutes. If you prefer to give the licorice root a more subtle presence, limit your steeping time to only four minutes.

If you want to sweeten it, ditch sugar and try honey instead. Not only does it taste better, but the health benefits are greater than sugar. 

More information about staying healthy:

Healthy Choices for Kids
Yoga for Kids

Monday
May022016

Guide to Organics in the Bay Area

“I’m eating pesticides,” I thought as I bit into my apple. Not exactly a thought that makes you say “yum!”

Pesticides are often so common that we don’t even realize that we are ingesting them. But, the same chemicals used to protect our produce from getting insects may also cause health risks. The pesticides that fruits and veggies are coated with have been linked to nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone system disruption and IQ defects in children, according to Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) spokesman Alex Formuzis.

However, one way that we can stay away from the harmful chemicals on our fruits and veggies it to go truly organic.

Last year it was reported there are 21,000 certified organic operations in the United States found by the Agricultural Marketing Service. That’s a 12 percent increase in organic farms between 2014 and 2015.  

"We have shown that consumers who buy organic fruits and vegetables are exposed to just one-third as many residues as they’d eat in conventionally-grown foods, and the residues
are usually lower as well," says Edward Groth III, senior scientist at
Consumers Union.

To keep consumers aware of the most pesticide-covered foods, EWG has developed a “dirty” list of produce. They are often called the “Dirty Dozen” and include strawberries, apples, nectarines, peaches, celery, grapes, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers.

So, how do farmers avoid pests from invading plants if they don’t use pesticides? Chris Seal, professor of food and human nutrition at Newcastle University in the U.K. gives an example of a carrot being attacked by a fly. The carrot produces compounds known as polyacteylenes, which taste bitter to the fly and can help drive the fly away.

Photo courtesy of Berry Kingdom Inc. FB page
Berry Kingdom getting ready for u-pick berry season beginning in early June and ending in July.  

Organic Food Delivered to Your Door

Josh Kinser co-owner of Tampa Bay Organics, an organic delivery company that receives produce from certified organic farmers, says there is a reason that organic food costs more.

“It takes longer for it to grow,” says Kinser. “With conventional farming they add hormones which makes it grow faster.”

In addition, organic fruits and veggies tends to look and taste differently than conventional produce. Organic produce tends to look physically imperfect while non-organic produce tends to look relatively the same. This is because regular fruit is treated with a variety of growth enhancing substances. For example, apples and oranges might appear to be coated in wax and you might notice a slight sheen to cucumbers and lettuce.

At Tampa Bay Organics, to keep the produce fresh before it is shipped the team puts them in a huge walk in cooler that contains a few Ecoroq’s -- a filter that removes toxins from the air and helps double the shelf life of produce.

Since organic fruit doesn’t last as long as conventional Kinser decided to see how long organic fruit could last using the new filter system. Shockingly enough, after three weeks the fruit still looked good enough to eat.

Once the produce is packed with a Temperatsure -- a re-useable gel ice pack -- the package is ready to be shipped. Tampa Bay Organics gets its produce from Jordan Farms (FL), Uncle Matt’s (FL), Bryson Family Farms (FL), Lady Moon Farms (FL), BlumenBerry Farms (FL), and Southern Belle Organics (NC).

Photo courtesy of A Land of Delight Natural Farm
Shoppers can choose from a wide assortment of USDA approved organic fruits and veggies. 

The Guinea Pig Project

After reading some of these statistics about how unhealthy conventional fruit is I decided to go organic for a week. Trying to find restaurants that serve organic food on days that I wanted to eat out was nearly impossible. 

From the various fruit I received from Tampa Bay Organics I noticed a slight difference in the taste. In comparison the organic pink lady apples, ataulfo mangos, breaker bananas, and pears tasted slightly sweeter and juicer than the non-organic fruits.

Use of organic produce lowers the overall exposure to pesticides in our environment, this may be especially important for women who are pregnant or nursing, according to BayCare. A study performed by Stephen A. Rauch published on Environmental Health Perspectives showed that expectant mothers who have elevated pesticide levels in their bodies have shown to give birth to smaller, earlier babies. Some studies suggest that eating meat from animals treated with antibiotics may contribute to antibiotic resistance in humans.

Organic is also better for the environment. Organically, managed soil holds more carbon dioxide which helps lower greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

How can you tell if fruits and veggies are organic? 73 percent of grocery stores sell organic food, according to BayCare, With so many stores claiming to be organic, it can be hard to tell which products are truly organic.

First, look at the product label. If the 5-digit number does not start with a 9 it is not certified organic by the government. Those that have a 5-digits beginning with an 8 contain GMO’s or genetically modified organisms and those with a 4-digit code mean it’s conventionally grown.

Photo courtesy of Sweetwater Organic Community Farm Facebook Page
Sweetwater Organic Farm located in Town N’ Country offers locally prepared organic veggies and shoppers can jam out to their Sunday music series. 

Organic Stores:

 Rollin Oats
1021 N. MacDill Ave. Tampa FL 33607
Hours: Monday-Friday: 8 am- 9 pm
Sunday 10 am- 7pm

Trader Joe’s
3808 W Swann Ave Tampa FL 33609
Monday-Sunday: 8 am-9 pm

Whole Foods
1548 North Dale Mabry Highway Tampa FL 33607
Monday to Sunday: 8 am- 10 pm

Publix GreenWise
Various Locations
Monday through Sunday

Local Organic Co-Ops:

  1.  DiVita Organics
    323 Meadow Brook Court, Oldsmar
    Buying club for organic produce and local dairy

     
  2.  Lutz Local Food Club
    Tampa Metro, North Tampa, New Tampa, South Pasco
    813-695-2797
    Locally produced dairy, eggs, and organic produce

     

Food is kept fresh at Tampa Bay Organics in a large walk in fridge. 

Organic Farms and Markets

Hillsborough County:

A Land of Delight 
2514 Leaning Pine Lane Plant City
941-681-8485
Saturday: 8 am to 5 pm
Various fruits and veggies

Balm Farm
14519 Balm Riverview Road, Riverview
813-299-4401
Organic fruits and vegetables.

Big Bear Farms
7606 Kinard Rd, Plant City
813 986-1152
Monday-Sunday: 9 am to 5 pm
U-Pick blueberry season: starts 4/21 open every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

EcoFarm
4321 Needle Palm Road, Plant City
813-754-7374
Provides fruits and vegetables to Plant City Green Market and other local businesses

Florida Urban Organics
11010 Riverview Dr., Riverview
(813) 279-8849
Monday- Saturday: 10 am- 4 pm
Strawberries are available for u-pick.

My Mother’s Garden Farm
3819 County Road 579 South, Wimauma
813-642-0191
Family-owned, certified organic farm and pasture that supplies Mabry’s Market in Wimauma.

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm
6942 W Comanche Ave, Tampa
813-887-4066
Sunday: 12 pm -4 pm
Various fruits, veggies and organic coffee.

Tampa Downtown Market
400 and 500 block of Franklin Street and 200-300 Madison Street, Tampa
813-649-8747
Mid-October through Mid-May, Fridays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Organic fruits and vegetables and homemade gifts

Tampa Wholesale Produce Market
2801 E. Hillsborough Ave., Tampa, FL,
813-237-3314
Year-round, Monday through Saturday, 3 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Locally grown organic fruits, vegetables and meats

Ybor City Saturday Market
8th Ave. and 19th Street, Ybor City, FL
Phone: 813-241-2442
Year-round, Saturdays 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Organic foods, entertainment, shopping

Photo courtesy of www.rabbitsectc.us
Chemically Free vegetables grown at Rabbits Etc using an upscale growing system. 

Pinellas County:

Downtown Clearwater Farmers’ Market Clearwater City Hall, 112 S. Osceola, Clearwater
727-461-7674
Sept. – March; Wednesdays 8 a.m. -1 p.m. Fruits, veggies, specialty products

1    Dunedin Downtown Market
Douglas and Main Street, Dunedin, FL
Friday and Saturday, 9 am. – 2 p.m.

 

Gateway Organic Farm
6000 150th Ave. N, Clearwater
727-492-0010; 727-244-0724 Provides locally grown, organic food delivering 6-8 vegetables and herbs a week to members during the growing season. 

 

Saturday Summer Market
400 First St. S., St. Petersburg
727-455-4921
June- Sept., Saturday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Fruits, veggies, specialty items, kids activities

Hernando County:

Berry Kingdom Inc.
26596 Ernest Lee Rd.  Brooksville, FL. 34602
727-460-2950
U-Pick Season starts late May thru Mid-July
Crops available now: Red Russian Kale, ready by appointment
June 1-July: Berry tomatoes and black berries

Rabbits, Etc.
16362 Wilson Blvd. Masaryktown, FL 34604-7335
352-796-0459
Monday-Saturday: 10 am.-5 pm
Tours: Saturday 3 pm
Chemical free carrots, and strawberries. 

Tampa Bay Organics team prepares to ship veggies from local organic farms. 

Delivery Options:

Tampa Bay Organics
21137 Leonard Rd, Lutz FL 33558
813-949-1112
Monday- Thursday 9 am to 5 pm
Friday 9 am to 4 pm
Has different fruit available every week
Delivers to Gulfport, New Port Richey, Plant City and Dade City.
Delivers 3 days a week but delivery depends on what area you live in.

Lancaster’s Hydro Farm Organic Home Delivery Club
5329 Lithia Pinecrest Road, Lithia
813-482-2008 Local hydroponic farm offering the Tampa Bay area and surrounding communities the opportunity to experience the freshest vegetables and fruits available, delivered right to your door!

Urban Oasis Hydroponic Farm
5416 W. Linebaugh Ave., Tampa
813-239-3276 Organic seasonal favorites and staples for delivery as well as grower’s supplies.

Photo courtesy of Big Bear Farms Inc.
Big Bear Farms Inc. has been organic since 2004 and meets all the USDA National Organic Programs regulations by using no synthetic herbicides, fungicides, miticides, insecticides or any other synthetic pesticides on crops. Blueberries are now available for u-pick. 

Growing Organic at Home
 
One way to make sure that you are getting organic fruits and vegetables is to grow them yourself. Not only does growing fruits and veggies give you peace of mind that you are truly keeping the chemicals away, but it also gives you a fun family activity to do with the kids. Growing organic fruits and vegetables is simple: start by choosing the seeds that are in season and that will work for the type of light on your garden. If you live in an apartment, green boxes work perfectly for small vegetables.

To stay organic, make sure to buy soil that doesn’t come infused with chemicals. Shops like Grace’s Hydro Hydroponic Organic Garden Center are great places to get your organic garden started.

Remember, your garden may take a little longer to grow good fruits and veggies since you aren’t using chemicals, but it is well worth the wait.  

Photo courtesy of flurbanorganics.com
Florida Urban Organics uses bio-organics to ensure no chemicals and pesticides get onto the crops

More articles about Organic Food and Pesticides:

 

 

 Downtown Clearwater Farmers’ Market
Clearwater City Hall, 112 S. Osceola, Clearwater
727-461-7674
Sept. – March; Wednesdays 8 a.m. -1 p.m.
Fruits, veggies, specialty products

2.      Dunedin Downtown Market
Douglas and Main Street, Dunedin, FL
Friday and Saturday, 9 am. – 2 p.m.

Fruits, vegetables, specialty products, activities

 

3.      Gateway Organic Farm
6000 150th Ave. N, Clearwater
727-492-0010; 727-244-0724
Provides locally grown, organic food delivering 6-8 vegetables and herbs a week to members during the growing season.

Saturday Summer Market
400 First St. S., St. Petersburg
727-455-4921
June- Sept., Saturday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Fruits, veggies, specialty items, kids activities
Wednesday
Apr272016

Summer Screen Fever 

 

One of the joys of summer for kids is having less to do and more time to do it. For parents, however, that can be nightmare. “There is much less structure to a child’s day this time of year, and for millions of children, summertime means overindulging in screen time,” said Jean Moorjani, MD, a pediatrician at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, Florida. “Between social media, apps, video games and chatting with friends, kids often spend hours more each day looking at screens in the summer, and they are starting much earlier in life.”

In fact, according to a recent survey, more than half of all children get their first cell phone by age 6, just as they’re starting first grade. Three out of four children now own tablets and nearly as many have video game consoles. “There is so much vying for a child’s attention, it doesn’t take much for kids to get preoccupied during the summer months and spend a lot more time online than they do outside.”

To help families find a healthy balance, Moorjani has some tips.

Do more than set time limits - The current recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) puts a 2 hour time limit of screen time per day for children over the age of 2. But Moorjani says screens are so pervasive these days, merely setting time limits may not be enough. “It’s not just how much time your child spends on their devices, it’s the content they’re consuming. Parents need to know exactly what their children can see and control that content as much as possible.”

Consider this: the current recommendations based on setting time limits for children published in 2011 and only addressed things like television and video games. However, because the first generation of tablets had just come out at that time, the guidelines don’t mention the use of tablets or smartphones by children. “We can’t watch our kids 24 hours a day to make sure they honor time limits, but we can control what kinds of content they have access to, and parents should take an active role in doing just that,” said Moorjani.

Remember, not all screen time is bad - There is a difference between a child simply watching something on a device and actually interacting with it. “It’s the difference between consumption and creation,” said Moorjani. “If a child is passively consuming media, it’s not doing them any good, but there are some 80,000 apps considered educational that may actually help them.” During the summer months, in fact, many parents use educational apps to help their children retain and even sharpen things like language and math skills.

A word of caution from the AAP, however: there are apps that claim to be educational, but to date, there has been little research to validate their educational value. To learn more about age-appropriate content, go to www.commonsensemedia.org.

Set up media-free zones in your house - One way to balance social media with personal interaction is to establish media-free zones in your house. “Make a rule that in certain places, or at certain times, there are to be no devices whatsoever,” said Moorjani. “The family table is a perfect place to start. No matter if we’re eating breakfast, lunch or dinner, the table is the one place where we communicate face-to-face and can really put the focus back on the family.”  

Bedrooms are another important media-free zone. Research has shown that the presence of screens in a child’s room - from televisions to smartphones - leads to later bedtimes and often serious disruptions in sleep patterns. Without rigid schedules during the summer months, kids may be more tempted to use screens in their bedrooms late into the night.

To prevent the misuse of screens, make a family charging station so that all devices can be accounted for and monitored when they are not to be in use.

Don’t leave kids to their own devices - The reason kids may not use their electronic devices as much during the school year is because they simply don’t have the time. Phones and tablets are forbidden in many classrooms, and if your child takes part in extracurricular activities, they may not have access to their devices until later in the evening.

“If a busy schedule works during the school year, there is no reason it can’t work during the summer months, too,” said Moorjani. “With a little pre-planning, you can sign your kids up to play sports, go to camps, do volunteer work and a myriad of other activities that will limit their screen time opportunities.”

Parents can also assign chores to children that require them to spend time outdoors and may want to consider creating physical challenges for kids to complete. “Set a goal for a certain number of miles they ride their bike each week, for example, or help them organize neighborhood basketball or softball tournaments,” said Moorjani. “If you don’t want your child staring at a screen this summer, give them something else to do. You may be surprised how much they like it."