Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Get Outside!

Hello everyone! We hope you’re enjoying all the festivities of the holiday season! Here at Pathfinder Village, we’ve been having a ball with community get-togethers, seasonal music concerts, and all other types of fun. But we’re never too busy to keep our tasty and convenient Pathfinder Produce market well-stocked for our customers. Come on down and check out all the great tasting fresh fruits and veggies on Thursday, Dec. 13, from noon to 5 p.m.
At this busy time of year, everyone is time-strapped, so let us take the hassle out of your produce shopping. Use our convenient online ordering system, pay with your credit card, and plan to pick up your purchases at our Edmeston or Morris locations on Thursday afternoon. It doesn’t get any easier!
***
“Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful …,” starts off one of my favorite seasonal songs.  But rather than stay inside, I really think it’s the best time of year to go outside and play!
I remember as a kid how my siblings and I would go out and play for long afternoons in the snow.  Building snow forts, throwing snowballs, and ice skating were great fun – we used to skate on an old farm pond that had cattails spiking up through the ice.  Talk about challenging!  However, the most fun was had when we went sledding … we’d see how daring we could be, standing on our Flexible Flyers and plastic toboggans like skateboards.  We got pretty good at sled surfing when the snow was right, but invariably our lunkheaded German Shepherd, who was never quite right in the head after a mishap with a truck, would chase us and knock us off the sleds.
Mom always made sure we were well bundled for these hours in the snow, with dry mittens, warm socks, and boots.  Our toes and faces were a little chilled though, I recall, as we came inside for warm mugs of tea and sitting by the woodstove.  It’s always important to make sure kids and older folks aren’t frostbitten when they go outside on cold days.
Recently, I’ve enjoyed some fun times hiking during this crisp weather, taking walks around “Graceland.” The snow, dusted on our hemlock trees, fairly sparkles in the sunlight; the air is so fresh that it stings the skin just enough so you really feel awake.
Plus, walking in colder temperatures helps one burn more calories, as your body expends energy to keep warm as you walk. And, if you’re lucky enough to go out on a sunny day, time in the sunlight helps your body in getting sufficient Vitamin D.
One challenge I find is gaining a firm footing on our hillside, which is slippery in the snow (and mud from all the rain we had this past fall).  I’m grateful for a great pair of sturdy, yet light, insulated boots, plus a pair of lovely alpaca-wool socks I “borrowed” from my son.  (You can’t beat good wool socks for keeping your toes nice and warm – they also make toasty warm gifts!).  Before you go out, even if it’s only down the block, make sure your feet are well-insulated and shod to negotiate the ice and slush that you may encounter.
Until next time, get some fresh air and enjoy winter!

Lori

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Within Moderation

Welcome to December, a month of holiday lights, celebration days, great eats, and fun parties!  We’re here at Pathfinder Produce to help you prepare for all of your get-togethers by providing the freshest, tastiest fruits and veggies around!  We’re open at the Village Commons every Thursday afternoon in December, with extended hours from Noon to 5 p.m.  Also, we have our convenient online ordering … check it out at our website and pick-up on Thursday afternoons!

During this festive time of the year, we all try to shine in the art of entertaining. If you have a veggie tray arrangement or table display that you’d like to share, take a picture and send it to us at lgrace@pathfindervillage.org.  We’ll be happy to share it on our blog posts. Also, if you’re feeling a little hurried and stressed in the next few weeks, take time to relax, pamper yourself, and perhaps follow the advice of these seasonal quotes from the Huff Post.

Below, my colleague Martha Spiegel shares some other year-end strategies to manage the mountains of treats that come our way each holiday season.  Enjoy -- but within moderation!

***

For many people, the holidays are a time when we gather friends, family, and pounds. If it were only Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day, and Christmas or Chanukah, it would not be so bad, but from Thanksgiving Day through the first week in January there is a constant supply of treats, party food, and feasts. If you’re like me, you have to take precautions not to put on the Holiday 5!

I did a search on the internet for suggestions for managing caloric intake during this ever-so-tasty time of year, and here are a few that seemed fairly doable.

1.     If you go to a potluck gathering, be sure to bring something that you like that is healthy, and eat that first, along with other healthy choices. This does not mean that you have to eat nothing but carrot sticks with no dip, but a tasty vegetable casserole or something made with a lean protein and not a lot of gooey cheese would be a good option. Here is one of my favorite potluck contributions: Southwestern Spaghetti Squash. (I make it in a casserole dish, not stuffed into squash halves.)
2.     Use the smallest plate available, and take tasting portions of several items. This way you can try a bite or two of several dishes or desserts without stuffing yourself.
3.     Be selective. Try foods that are new to you, that you can’t get other times of the year, or that look particularly amazing. And again, remember to take small portions. 
4.     Eat before you go. If you are hungry when you arrive, you’ll be more likely to overeat.
5.     Be sure to balance alcohol, sodas or punch with water. Calories in beverages can add up quickly, so perhaps go with a glass of water instead of a refill.
6.     Engage in conversation. You’ll eat less if you are spending more time chatting.
7.     Eat slowly, savor the flavors, and be mindful of your appetite. Stop eating when you feel satisfied, not stuffed.

For more suggestions, see the following:


So don’t deprive yourself, but do your best to not overindulge. That happy medium can be achieved!

Martha (and Lori)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Foods in the News

Hello, everyone!  We hope that you had a pleasant Thanksgiving and that the weeks ahead are full of get-togethers with friends and family!  For your holiday meal planning, don’t forget to stop by Pathfinder Produce for all your fruit and veggie needs.  We’re open at the Pathfinder Village Commons each Thursday, now from Noon to 5 p.m.  We also offer our convenient online ordering …. just place and pay for your order and plan to stop by either our Edmeston or Morris pick-up locations on Thursday afternoon.  Easy!

***
Thanksgiving week at our house is a fun combination of family visits, noshing, and relaxing next to the woodstove after spending time outdoors. This year was no different -- the guys watched football games and I cruised my Facebook feed.  However, I was a little concerned that all the posts I received after Thanksgiving were on diabetes prevention and maintenance programs.

Yes, like everyone, I probably over-did it on Thanksgiving.  I suspect these social networking posts weren’t targeted specifically at me, but that they were sent out en masse because diabetes is a growing problem in the U.S.  The prevalence of pre-diabetes and the increasing cost of insulin is a public health perfect storm.

So, I did some research on diabetes and insulin responses … essentially diabetes happens when we either don’t make enough insulin (Type 1) or our insulin response isn’t sufficient to balance out blood glucose levels (Type 2).  A good primer article to read on this is at Healthline.com.

And while diabetes is related to how our bodies metabolize sugars, it’s a more complex issue than just not eating sugar.  I found this article on the Everyday Health website that explores the relationship between simple and complex carbs and Type 2, and also points out other factors that can influence if a person will develop diabetes.  Along with general health guidelines, the article recommends keeping added processed sugars at minimal levels, less than 25 grams (6 tsp.) per day for women and less than 36 grams (9 tsp.) per day for men. (As a reference, one 12 oz. can of soda has about 39 grams of added sugar).

Of course, the other big news story on my Facebook feed was about romaine.  For several days, the Centers for Disease Control recommended that all romaine lettuces be discarded due to E. coli contamination.  More up-to-date stories still advise caution; read the labels of any lettuce you may have at home or are purchasing.  If the package doesn’t list an area of origin or it indicates it was grown in the Central Coast area of California, do not eat it.

Harmful E. coli rears its ugly head in our food web every year; it is commonly found in cattle digestive tracts.  Illness outbreaks are typically traced back to direct contamination from feedlots to processed beef, or are caused by indirect contamination of growing fields through agricultural run-off.  Specifically, Shinga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria (STEC) can cause diarrhea or dysentery, UTIs, respiratory infections and other illnesses.  More information on STECs and prevention are at the CDC’s website.  Safe food handling and proper hand washing are essential steps.

Both news stories -- diabetes and STEC -- underscore that we all need to be aware of ongoing issues and educate ourselves on food safety. 

Until next time, eat and be well,


Lori

Friday, November 16, 2018

Where We Get Our Food & Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello everyone!  We hope that you are doing well after this first big snowfall for the
season … it’s time to get out the skis and sleds for winter fun!  We also wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving, with fun times spent with your near and dear ones.


Pathfinder Produce will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22,
so that our market staff … members and staff of our Adult Day Services program, may spend the day with their families.  Our online ordering will also be closed this week, and will open again on November 23.  But then we'll open again the next Thursday at the Village Commons with the freshest fruits and veggies around, on November 29, from noon to 5 p.m.

***

Where We Get our Food

At Pathfinder Produce, we work with regional fresh produce vendors that offer many insights through the year to customers on various fruit and veggie crops, as well as the impacts that growing regions may be experiencing through weather patterns, natural disasters, and other factors.  The emails that we receive from our food industry partners underscore how all our commercially sourced foods are global.

Any walk through a large grocery store will bear this out:  That bag of frozen broccoli florets may have been grown in Guatemala, your red grapes may have come from Chile, and the green peppers may have been grown hydroponically in Ontario.  There are many workers who have planted, tended, harvested, processed and shipped fresh produce on its trip from the field to your refrigerator.  There are many logistical decisions that happen along each step to ensure that food arrives at your table at the peak of its flavor.

As I thought about this recently, I wondered how the California wildfires are impacting our food supply; it appears from some cursory research that the Camp Fire is to the north of major growing regions.  However, drifting smoke from the fires is a concern for farmers in the Central Valley, as the air quality can affect growing conditions to the south.  For example, grapes actually absorb smoke from the air, taking on a smoky flavor.  Wine grape growers are concerned and may face serious losses from ongoing fires.

Each year, as the seasons change, another step in the process is how growers move their operations between California and other areas to keep production humming.  For lettuce growers, this shift has just occurred, with entire processing plants being packed up and shifted between Salinas and Yuma, Arizona. (I liken this to the changing of pasture lands for nomadic shepherds in ancient times). There are several interesting videos to watch online, which really makes you realize the scope of some of these farming operations.

Until next time, enjoy time with your loved ones and give thanks for your blessings. Everyone at Pathfinder Produce extends our deep gratitude to all who support our friendly neighborhood market, which is “rooted in community.”

Lori


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

New Look! New Hours! National Peanut Butter Lovers Month!

Hello, everyone!  We’re eager to share some great news … Pathfinder Produce will now be open at the Pathfinder Village Commons, Edmeston, on Thursdays, from noon to 5 p.m.  That means that you’ll have an additional hour, conveniently scheduled at noontime, to shop at our market.  With hearty family meals and Thanksgiving coming up, this is indeed welcome news!  Of course, we also offer our online ordering too, with convenient pick-up locations in Edmeston and Morris.

Also, our Pathfinder Produce market will be getting a bit of a facelift with some new staging -- bushel baskets and wooden crates for displaying our delicious fruits and veggies.  We want to make your shopping experience more enjoyable and satisfying.  Our market is “rooted in community,” and we think it’s important that our weekly “pop-up” keeps in step with current customer service trends.  New look, new hours … what’s not to love about Pathfinder Produce?

Yesterday, the market staff – members of our Adult Day Services program – rolled out some of these new displays as a dry run for Thursday, and you could tell how excited they were in making sure everything for our customers was just perfect.  Ashley and Brandy, Chris and Casey, and other members of the crew have taken ownership of market operations; they are so proud of how they support their home community each week by serving customers through the market. 

Along with being excited about these updates, November offers other reasons to be both excited and thankful.  My colleague, Sally Trosset, sings her praises of peanut butter, an American staple since the late 1800s.  (Peanuts are native to South America, and ground peanut foods were first developed by ancient South-Central American Native cultures. George Washington Carver was also a luminary in the commercial development of the peanut in the U.S.).

***

National Peanut Butter Lovers Month

A peanut butter lover all my life, I had no idea that November is National Peanut Butter Lovers Month.  While most of us spend the month anxiously awaiting Thanksgiving dinner, delicious pies and leftovers galore, who knew November also shares the spotlight with peanut butter?  I certainly had no idea, so I decided to do some smooth and crunchy research to find out a little more about jelly’s best friend!

Speaking of smooth and crunchy, did you know that preference hits demographics and gender lines when choosing smooth versus crunchy peanut butter? Demographically speaking, people on the East coast prefer creamy peanut butter and people on the West coast prefer crunchy.  Women prefer creamy peanut butter and most men opt for crunchy.

From a farming standpoint, America is the world’s third highest peanut producing nation after China and India.   More than half of the American peanut crop is used to make peanut butter, and it takes approximately 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter.  That’s a lot of peanuts!

While sometimes considered a comfort food (who doesn’t love a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich on dense white bread?!), peanut butter is quite healthy, especially if you opt for all-natural peanut butter.  All-natural peanut butter has a very short ingredient list and typically includes just peanuts and trace amounts of salt for flavoring.  “Less natural” kinds include added sugar and higher amounts of salt and oil.  Either way you like it, any peanut butter you buy in the United States will be just that…peanuts!  According to the Food and Drug Administration, the law states that all peanut butter must contain a minimum of 90% peanuts.

According to The Peanut Institute, there are many other health benefits of peanut butter.  Eating five or more servings of peanut butter, nuts and peanuts can reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 50%.  Over 75% of the fat in peanut butter is unsaturated (heart healthy), and like all plant foods, contains no dietary cholesterol.  Peanut butter is also a good source of protein, niacin, folic acid, phosphorus, and vitamin E.  It is also loaded with potassium, which is shown to help counteract the effects of a high-sodium diet.

Peanut butter is a beloved pantry item in many homes across America and it can be used in almost anything.  As we hit the half-way mark in November, and if you are a fan like me, I challenge you to try some new and interesting twists on the American staple in honor of Peanut Butter Lovers Month.  You’ve got just enough time before the turkey coma settles in!

Until next time, enjoy great food and good times!

Sally (and Lori)

It is important to note that peanut allergies are one of the most common causes of allergy attacks, especially in children.  Even if you or your child has only a mild allergic reaction to peanuts, it is very important to speak to your doctor.  For some people with peanut allergies, even tiny amounts of peanuts can cause a serious reaction. Call 911 or your local emergency number if you or someone near experiences severe dizziness, breathing trouble or loss of consciousness from peanut exposure.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Fall Family Dinners and RA Care

Hello, everyone!  Welcome to another busy week … there's Election Day and the affiliated community dinners on Tuesday, winter sports start-ups for student-athletes, and much more!  Pathfinder Produce is here to help everyone get through the week in a healthy way with lots of fresh and tasty produce. Stop by on Thursday at the Village Commons from 1 to 5 p.m. to stock up, and don't forget about our convenient online ordering!

This past weekend, my family gathered to celebrate Dad's birthday with a visit and meal at the old homestead. My sisters and their families, who live out of the area, frequently return here during the fall for hunting, and it's always a good time to visit and enjoy meals together.

My mom outdoes herself in the cooking department, with the traditional meat, potatoes, veggies, and all the trimmings. I have to remind myself to watch my portions as these comfort foods are always so enticing. I noticed one of my brothers-in-law, who is generally careful in his eating habits, was avoiding carbs à la Atkins … even though he's not at all heavy he said he wanted to trim a few pounds.

Dad enjoyed the birthday cake and presents he received – one gift was a pair of Smartwool® socks, which of course prompted some good-natured jokes about “Smart wool, sheared from sheep with exceptionally high IQs.” But more than the gifts, you could sense he really just loved having his extended tribe gathered round. He and Mom were in great spirits, with everyone lingering around their extra-long dining table (with a few others at the “not so little ones” table too).

Table talk focused on the sightings of deer, some politics, a portable sawmill my other brother-in-law had just purchased, and everyone's health. My son's recent experiences in watching a video of hip replacement surgery in his Anatomy and Physiology class led to discussions of one relative's hip surgery and complete recovery, probably 15 years ago – early days for that procedure. Modern medicine is a marvel and the advances of science in improving individuals’ quality of life is astounding.

Rheumatoid arthritis was also a topic … one of our oldest relatives has been recently diagnosed RA. While the person is feeling better with a change in daily medications, I was wondering if their doctor had made suggestions about eating better or exercise to fight inflammation. According to the Arthritis Foundation, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system – which normally protects one’s health by attacking bacteria and viruses – mistakenly attacks a person’s joints. This causes inflammation that makes the tissue that lines the inside of joints thicken and leads to swelling and pain.

While care for an RA diagnosis should be overseen by healthcare professionals, according to the Arthritis Foundation there are some measures people can also take:

·       Improve your diet:   Foods that are rich in antioxidants and can help. The Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fish, vegetables, fruits, and olive oil, among other healthy foods can reduce inflammation. It’s also important to significantly reduce processed and fast foods that fuel inflammation. Losing a few extra pounds can also help relieve stress on tender joints.
·       Supplements: Studies have shown that turmeric and omega-3 fish oil supplements may help with RA pain (however, talk with a doctor before taking these to discuss side effects and drug interactions).
·       Quit Smoking: Smoking is linked to RA, particularly for longtime smokers, who actually have an increased risk for more-severe rheumatoid arthritis. Smoking decreases the effectiveness of some RA prescriptions, and can be a barrier to exercise activities that may help RA pain.
·       Balancing Activity with Rest: Rest helps reduce inflammation and fatigue. Taking breaks conserves energy and protects joints.
·       Exercise is helpful and should focus on low-impact aerobics or yoga, muscle strengthening and flexibility.
·       Heat and Cold:  Heating pads and warm baths can help soothe stiff joints. Cold can numb painful areas and help reduce inflammation.
·       Topical Pain Relievers: Rub-on NSAIDs, salicylates or capsaicins are helpful in relieving RA pain.
·       Natural and Alternative Therapies:  Deep breathing, visualization, and other relaxation methods can help painful muscles relax. Massage can help reduce pain, improve joint function and ease stress. Acupuncture or acupressure may also be helpful. Maintaining a positive outlook is also helpful.

Until next time, be good to yourself, enjoy time with loved ones and friends, and take care!


Lori

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Healthy Oils

We hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween tomorrow night … it’s really hard to believe that it’s almost November!  Everyone at Pathfinder Village sends out thanks to our volunteers who helped out at our successful Community Trick-or-Treat event this past Saturday.  We had crews from NYCM Insurance, who assisted with creating our Haunted Hallway, and students from Hamilton College, who came to help with the ghostly duties as families went through our very spooky Village Commons.

We hope to see all our friends and neighbors at Pathfinder Produce this week on Thursday from 1 to 5 p.m.; please help us spread the word about our well-stocked and competitively-priced market.  If you know of others who would like to get onto our regular weekly produce price email list, please just let me know at lgrace@pathfindervillage.org
 
Also, a few reminders: We’re offering our tremendous 10% off coupon through November, and we have our convenient online ordering, which is open from Friday through noon on Wednesday.  Just put in and pay your order from the convenience of your home, and stop by either our Morris or Edmeston pick-up locations.  It’s easy!

Below, my colleague Martha Spiegel considers some healthy oil options to try to help make your recipes and cooking healthier.


Healthy Oils

People usually think of olive oil when it comes to healthy oils. It is true that olive oil is a good source of mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6), and is a better nutritional choice than saturated fats such as butter. But there are several other liquid vegetable oils out there, and they lend themselves to a variety of uses.

Grapeseed oil: A versatile oil with a higher smoking point than olive oil, so it can be used to cook over high heat.

Peanut oil: A good cooking oil due to its high smoking point, as long as nut allergies are not a concern.

Avocado oil: It has a mild avocado flavor, making it a nice change of pace for salad dressing, and also has a high smoking point.

Canola and Sunflower oils:  These are both very neutral-flavored, good for almost any kind of cooking, and have the added benefits of being fairly inexpensive and readily available.

Sesame oil: While not usually used for cooking, it has a nutty flavor, and is often added to Asian-inspired dishes.

One word of caution: While these are all referred to as healthy oils, they still need to be used in moderation as they contain a significant amount of calories. Fortunately, adding just a small amount of fat to a dish can enhance its flavor without becoming too calorific.

Until next time, eat well and be well!

Martha (and Lori)