farmers-market-532943_1280         FRUITS AND VEGGIES PERFECT          FOR THE KITCHEN COUNTER

WELCOME back everyone to another week of What’s On the #Menu Monday.

Now, last week we discussed 7 favorite summer foods that really should be refrigerated – especially during the hot summer months. And, this week – as promised – we’ll discuss 10 common summer fruits and veggies that do not require refrigeration. In fact, these foods hate to chill. Not only will they lose substantial flavor, they may lose a large amount of their vitamin content as well.

So, even though it may be hot outside, these perineal favorites will do just fine resting in the pantry or sitting on the kitchen counter at room temperature.

Fruits first, please:

1) Apples: When it comes to this fruit, an apple will do just fine stored at room temperature for up to a week. So, if you plan on eating your apple within 7 days of purchase, great. Leave it on the kitchen counter. But, if you don’t plan to use your apple for a few weeks, then pop it in fridge. Just remember, that an apple will begin to lose its texture and flavor after refrigeration.

2) Melons: This fruit requires room temperature in order to ripen properly and sweeten. It will not ripen properly if refrigerated. Once the melon has been cut, however, any leftovers should be kept in the fridge to prevent deterioration.

3) Stone Fruit: The most common summer stone fruits include cherries, apricots, peaches and plums. And, all of them should be allowed to ripen at room temperature – and according to the experts — with the stem end down. Keep an eye on them, though. If they become soft and their sweet smell is obvious AND they haven’t yet been eaten, throw them in the fridge. This will stop the ripening process and give them a few more days of use.

4) Berries: Of course, we’re talking about strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries – all plentiful during the summer months. These fresh fruits, however, have a very short shelf life. So, it’s best to leave them at room temperature and eat them within a few days. They can tolerate refrigeration, but they will lose flavor and nutritional quality. They also may become mushy.

5) Bananas: If you want to eat your banana plain – as is – then let it ripen at room temperature. This is the best way to let it ripen and develop its wonderful flavor. If your banana starts to turn brown, then put it in the fridge to slow ripening. And, if you still don’t get to it, you can freeze that banana and use it in a smoothie or banana bread at a later date.

And, now for the veggies:

 6) Avocados: An avocado simply won’t ripen in cold conditions. So, keep this veggie on the kitchen counter and out of the fridge. Once it becomes slightly soft to your touch it should be perfect for guacamole or a southwestern omelet. Should you have any leftovers, go ahead and refrigerate them. But, remember they’ll lose flavor. And, to slow the browning process try leaving the pit in that leftover half.

7) Tomatoes: This veggie hates to chill. The cold breaks down the cell walls in the flesh of a tomato and results in a mealy and mushy veggie. Refrigeration also will destroy much of the tomato’s nutritional value. So, you might want to buy tomatoes while still hard and let them ripen slowly at room temperature. But, keep them out of direct sunlight which can cause them to ripen unevenly and too quickly.

8) Onions: Here’s another veggie that loves room temperature. In fact, if chilled an onion can become soft and will begin to contaminate other foods with its odor. Onions like air circulation, so keep them in the mesh bag from the grocery and place them in the pantry out of direct sunlight. And, separate your onions and potatoes as the gases and moisture from the potatoes can rot the onions.

9) Garlic: Like its cousin the onion, garlic likes air circulation. The pantry is perfect for storing this veggie and a bulb will keep up to 2 months without refrigeration. Also, the damp air of the fridge makes it likely that produce in the same drawer will take on the garlic’s odor. Refrigeration also can make the garlic sprout early.

10) Potatoes: Make room in the pantry or a dark drawer for this veggie. Don’t store it in the fridge. The cold will cause the starches in the potato to turn to sugar. And, this will result in an “off” flavor and cause the skins to darken during cooking – which can be unappealing. Storing potatoes in a paper bag is a great way to preserve flavor and freshness. Also, remember to keep your potatoes away from your onions – they really don’t get along 🙂

So, there we have it. Ten great, tasty, seasonal foods that really prefer the great outdoors and room temperatures. Take care of them properly and they will provide you with flavor and nutrition all summer long.

And, next week we’ll discuss a few other kitchen staples – food in bags, glass jars and plastic containers. Things we use throughout the summer months. Do we refrigerate them or not? Until then, thanks again for joining me everyone! Stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .




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fruit-basket-391414_1280   7 SUMMER FOODS THAT LOVE TO CHILL

Welcome everyone! It’s a new week and time for another WHAT’S ON THE #MENU MONDAY. We are quickly approaching the official start of Summer – and with that comes family gatherings, BBQs, vacations and lots of seasonal produce.

But, do you know how to care for all the foods you’ll be using over the next few months? Especially at that time of year when temperatures can soar and foods can spoil quickly?

If not, it’s time to review. Now, not everyone agrees on the proper storage of every food. But, most sources agree that these 7 Foods are much better off in the fridge than in the pantry to maintain flavor and safety:

  1. CORN ON THE COB – ALL SUMMER LONG: Believe it or not, this hearty veggie is quite fragile once it’s picked. At room temperature, an ear of corn will lose as much as 50 percent of its sugar content and flavor within one day of harvest. This starchy veggie should be cooked and eaten right away. But, if it’s going to lie around for a few days, make sure it does so in the produce drawer of your refrigerator.
  2. PIE – EVERYONE’S FAVORITE: Storage actually depends. Some fruit pies may be fine for a few days left on the counter. But, if your pie is made with eggs it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. If it’s freshly baked it can be kept at room temperature for up to two hours. But, if it’s a hot day and the temperature is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit these pies should be eaten within an hour. And, if you have any leftovers – something that never happens at our house – make sure to refrigerate that banana cream, meringue or pecan pie.
  3. EGGS – PERFECT IN SUMMER SALADS: We’ve all seen those cooking shows where eggs are dangling from the kitchen ceiling in a beautiful mesh wire basket. Please remember that’s TV – not real life. Most experts agree eggs – like foods made with eggs – should be kept refrigerated. When cooking with eggs, you can always leave them on the kitchen counter for 10 or 20 minutes to reach room temperature. The caveat here: Experts say some organic eggs can be left on the counter for a few days before being refrigerated. But when in doubt, don’t leave them out 🙂
  4. BUTTER – ON EVERYTHING: It depends. First, there is a distinction between salted and unsalted butter. Both are made with pasteurized milk, which means both are less likely to grow bacteria. However, butter with salt – a natural preservative – has added protection and typically does not need to be refrigerated. Most agree this type of butter can be kept on the kitchen counter, at room temperature in a properly covered dish. On the other hand, butter without salt probably should be refrigerated. It’s more likely to go bad. End of story.
  5. CHEESE – AN EASY HORS D’OEUVRE: Again, we’re talking about a dairy product, which typically implies refrigeration. Now, I’m Dutch. And, I don’t remember a day growing up when there were not several cheeses sitting on a cutting board by the kitchen sink for days at a time covered only by a glass-dome or ordinary plastic wrap. Today, however, experts seem to agree that most cheeses – even heavily processed ones — should be refrigerated. In order to enhance its best flavor, however, bring any cheese to room temperature by letting it sit for 30 or 40 minutes on the kitchen counter before eating it.
  6. NUTS – GREAT WITH A COLD DRINK ON A HOT SUMMER DAY: There are two schools of thought here. The first believes nuts are just fine stored in a dark, dry pantry. This might be right – especially if the nuts are whole and in the shell. But, if you’re like me and usually purchase nuts already shelled, the second school of thought that believes refrigeration is the way to go is probably better. And, this is why. Nuts contain large amounts of unsaturated fats. The fat and oil in a nut can become rancid quickly. Now, this may not be a threat to your health, but it sure can ruin the flavor of any pecan or walnut. By keeping nuts in the fridge in a moisture-tight glass or plastic container, they will keep their fresh flavor for up to a year.
  7. CHOCOLATE SYRUP – PAIRED WITH HOMEMADE ICE CREAM: Chocolate can actually go bad if left at room temperature for long periods of time. So too can chocolate syrup and sauce. Again, it’s not that it will become harmful, but it can become stale and develop funny flavors. Really, who wants that? Therefore, after opening, keep your chocolate sauce in the fridge where it will remain fresh and tasty for up to six months.

And, there we have it. Seven summer staples. Seven favorite foods that love the fridge. Now, you can enjoy them all season long knowing they will stay fresh and flavorful. Next week we’ll continue with a piece on summer produce – ten plentiful foods of the season that hate to chill. So until then, thanks for joining me everyone. Enjoy all the pleasures this summer has to offer, eat well, stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .




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person-768472_1920       CELL PHONES AND BRAIN CANCER —           IS THERE A LINK?

Welcome to #Wellness Wednesday everyone. Today it’s all about cell phones and their relationship – or their possible relationship – to brain cancer.

To review, back in 2011 the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that cell phones may be human carcinogens similar to lead or engine exhaust. The issue centered on the electromagnetic radiation emitted from mobile cell phones as well as other electrical devices, including computers, televisions and alarm systems.

Typically cell phones – at least those in the United States – operate in a frequency that ranges from about 850 megahertz, or MHX, to about 1900. Now, in this range the radiation produced is known as non-ionizing radiofrequency, or RF energy. Also known as electromagnetic radiation, it’s similar to the energy produced by a microwave oven and is basically considered to be harmless. This is unlike ionizing radiation that is produced by medical x-rays and can produce a health risk in certain doses.

Based on the evidence available in 2011, however, the claim by WHO that cell phones may cause human cancer was essentially dismissed by the scientific community due to lack of hard evidence.

Now, five years later new research from the National Toxicology Program (NTP) reignites this issue. Recent research has shown that electromagnetic radiation appears to be associated with the development of rare cancers that have appeared in the hearts and brains of laboratory rats. It’s difficult to know if the results would be the same in humans, but the possibility does exist. And, the question of whether cell phones are linked to human brain cancer and glioblastomas in particular just keeps resurfacing.

And should that possibility become a probability, millions of people would be affected as more than 90 percent of American adults alone use cell phones. Furthermore, we don’t really know a lot about their safety. This is because the current guidelines are based on electromagnetic injury from sudden, acute thermal exposure. For example, we know that a microwave oven can heat living tissue to the point of biological damage. In contrast, the guidelines are not based upon the low level, long-term exposure we receive from daily cell phone use. And, cell phone use is a relatively new technology that has only become commonplace over the last 10 to 15 years.

The new research has sparked concern in the scientific community – and the issue probably won’t go away any time soon. So, what are we do to? Do we ignore the research and the possibility? Or, is there something we can do about it without giving up what has become a lifeline for so many of us?

Well, short of returning to a pre-wireless age, which is out of the question and will never happen, here are a few precautions we can take:

  • Use a speakerphone. This eliminates the need to place the phone right next to your head.
  • Use a headset or an ear piece for your calls.
  • If placed next to your head, limit the duration and frequency of your calls.
  • Keep your phone in your purse, on your desk or in a pocket where it doesn’t have contact with your body. Don’t keep it in the waistband of your pants, Gentlemen – or in your bra, Ladies.
  • Limit cell phone use by children who, because of their still developing nervous systems, may be more vulnerable to any potential harm.

Protecting ourselves is simply a matter of exercising common sense and limiting our exposure to RF exposure when possible. And, until more studies have been conducted and cell phones have a long history of scientific research behind them, we’ll never really know for sure how – or if – they negatively affect our health. Until then, it’s better to err on the side of caution 🙂

Thanks for joining me everyone. Until next time, stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .


Time for Review: For more on Cell Phones and Cancer go to THE SINGLE SOURCE CANCER COURSE, Volume 1, Page 233-234;  For more on Glioblastoma go to FRIEND OR FOE? POLIO AND CANCER, http://swilkinghoran.com/friend-or-foe-polio-and-cancer/




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arlington-875453_1920                HONORING THE FALLEN

It’s MEMORIAL DAY everyone. For some, it’s a great day to get out of town and travel. Or watch a parade. Or throw a party or a barbeque. But, do you know how the holiday began? And, do you know why it’s still celebrated today around the United States?

Now, accounts vary. But, most seem to agree that Memorial Day had its start in 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina where there was a plot of land in which many Union prisoners of war were buried in unmarked graves.  One day in May, a group of freed men and schoolchildren cleaned the graves, decorated them and then held a small memorial service honoring them.

The following year in 1866 another ceremony took place in Waterloo, New York. In this one, a committee gathered on May 5 to decorate the graves of Union veterans who were buried in the nearby cemetery.

The tradition caught on, and two years later in 1868 General John A. Logan, the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, proclaimed a national holiday called “Decoration Day.” It would honor both Union and Confederate fallen soldiers and would be observed each year on May 30th so as not to commemorate any particular battle.

Over the years, however, popularity of the holiday increased and was changed to include all service women and men after World War I. After World War II the name of the holiday was changed to Memorial Day. And, in 1971 the date of the holiday was changed from May 30 to the last Monday in May – the day on which we celebrate today. Indeed,

And, let’s not confuse Memorial Day with Veteran’s Day. You see, the former celebrates those service women and men who have died in service while fighting for their country. In contrast, the latter celebrates all Veterans — everyone who has served in the armed forces. And, this holiday is recognized every year on November 11th.

So, this Memorial Day enjoy the three-day weekend. Spend it with family and friends. Have a wonderful time taking advantage of all this country has to offer. But, somewhere in the festivities – between the hot dogs and the games and the fireworks and the concerts – take time to remember those whose sacrifice made possible all the advantages and freedoms we enjoy today.

“Each for himself gathered up the cherished purposes of life – its aims and ambitions, its                    dearest affections – and flung all, with life itself, into the scale of battle.”                       James Garfield – 20th President of the United States

On this Memorial Day, may I add my thanks to all who have served our country – and have paid the ultimate price and sacrifice.

And, thanks to all of you for joining me again. Have a wonderful holiday with family and friends and until next time stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .




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bacteria-426997_1920        NEW HOPE FOR GLIOBLASTOMA

Welcome back everyone to another #WELLNESS WEDNESDAY. This week I want to revisit a subject I covered a year ago. And, that subject was an aggressive and quite common brain cancer known as Glioblastoma. I was prompted to write about that particular cancer as a close friend of mine had been diagnosed with the disease. We all hoped for the best, of course, but my friend recently lost his battle with this cancer. So, I am back to discuss glioblastoma once again – and to shed light on yet another new treatment that just may help those with the disease to significantly increase their chances for survival.

To begin, most tumors in the brain are glioblastomas. These are a type of astrocytoma, a cancer that forms from star-shaped cells in the brain called astrocytes. Men are more likely to have them than women – and as with most cancers, our chances for developing this type of tumor increase as we age.

In last year’s blog we began with news about a ground-breaking study in which patients with glioblastoma not only underwent the typical treatments of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy – but, they received an ordinary tetanus-diphtheria shot as well. Now, this particular strategy is known as a dendritic-cell vaccine, which teams the tetanus shot with the patient’s own blood cells to super-charge the body’s immune system. The results were quite positive and the treatment continues to be researched and used in clinical studies in the United States.

Today, however, we have preliminary results from yet another study on the treatment of glioblastoma. And, this one involves the polio virus. For nearly two decades, Dr. Mattias Gromeier at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University Medical Center has been researching the use of polio to treat cancer.

You see, the standard polio virus uses a receptor molecule present on brain cells to “unlock” them. The polio the enters the cell and replicates – or copies itself – over and over until the cell dies and all that’s left is the polio. BUT, in Dr. Gromeier’s model the polio is modified. It can enter a healthy brain cell, but it can’t replicate itself, so it can’t hurt the healthy cell.

Now, a cancerous brain cell has a different makeup than a healthy brain cell. So, this is how it works. The polio can enter the cancer cell in the same way it enters a healthy cell. But once it does, the polio CAN replicate itself in the cancer cell. Indeed, the polio will copy itself over and over again until it destroys the cancer cell completely. This is what the polio virus does. It destroys cells. But, this modified polio virus CANNOT replicate in a healthy cell – it can only target and replicate itself in a cancer cell, ultimately killing the cancer and shrinking the tumor.

The good news is that this treatment has had some wonderful success in glioblastoma patients. The bad news is that many more clinical trials are required before use of the polio virus will become available on a larger scale for more patients.

But, it’s a beginning! And, it promises new hope for those whose longevity is often limited to one or two years after their initial diagnosis of glioblastoma.

I’m sorry my friend isn’t here to benefit from this exciting new research. But, I know he’s with me in spirit in the hope that many others will benefit.

Once again, this blog is for you Bob. I miss you – but, more importantly I admire you for your strength, courage and kindness – none of which ever waivered throughout your ordeal. You always fought The Good Fight.

Thanks for joining me everyone. Until next time stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .




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