fresh food

  1. Unleash your inner caveman

    You don't need to hunt wooly mammoths to be a "caveman" these days. In fact, you don't even need a cave.

    The "caveman" diet is more about what you eat than where you live -- and if you can stick to a 100-percent natural lifestyle of fresh meats and vegetables with no processed foods, congratulations.

    You're officially a caveman.

    It's hard to find anything wrong with this diet, and science now confirms what should have been obvious all along: Eating only fresh foods can help put you in the best shape of your life and slash your risk of illness and disease.

    Researchers at the University of California San Francisco asked a group of unhealthy people to stick to a "caveman" diet high in healthy fats and proteins from meats, fish, and nuts as well as generous amounts of fresh fruits and veggies.

    After just two weeks, everyone's blood pressure and cholesterol levels plunged -- with triglycerides alone falling by an average of 30 points.

    "That's the kind of drop you get by taking statins for six months," Dr. Linda Frasettom, who led the research, told Medical News Today.

    I'd almost agree -- except statins come with a risk of severe muscle pain, liver problems and kidney damage. A diet of fresh natural foods will do none of those things to you.

    Statins can even increase your risk of diabetes -- but a diet with no added sugars and zero processed foods will practically guarantee that you'll never get the disease.

    Dr. Robert Lustig, an endocrinologist at the university, says diabetics who've tried this back-to-basics approach have seen a reversal of the condition -- and some have actually been cured.

    That's right. The "c" word -- and while most of the media is of course only too happy to trash the diet and even mock the people who follow it, one reporter got an up-close and highly personal look at just how well it works.

    Dr. Kim Mulvihill of the CBS station in San Francisco had been battling a weight problem and pre-diabetes when she volunteered for the UCSF study. In just 10 days, she saw dramatic changes to her cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels as well as a boost in energy.

    She eventually lost 30 pounds, and after seven weeks was no longer considered a pre-diabetic -- causing her own doctors to tell her to stick to the diet permanently.

    If you're facing your own battle with disease -- or simply want to avoid ever having to worry about one -- maybe it's time to go caveman yourself.

  2. Secrets to keeping food past its expiration date

    They're the lonely refugees of supermarket impulses... and they live in all our homes.

    From the sad little jar of hot pepper jelly at the back of the fridge to the old can of tomato sauce rusting away at the bottom of the cupboard, a kitchen just isn't a kitchen without a few food relics.

    So when should you throw them out?

    You might think it's the expiration date. But in many cases, that's not quite true--even when it comes to the fresh food and dairy that you probably do use frequently.

    Don't worry--you're not alone if you've been tossing your food the moment it reaches the date stamped on the package. A new survey asked 2,000 Americans about 10 common products, and most people thought one or more of the items on the list should be disposed of by the expiration date.

    In fact, 61 percent of the respondents in the ShelfLifeAdvice.com survey said milk is not good past its sell-by date, while 57 percent said the same about cottage cheese. In addition, 54 percent said mayo needs to go, 50 percent said yogurt turns bad and 45 percent said eggs are no longer egg-cellent once that date passes.

    But that's not always true, because you can often keep your groceries well past their expiration dates as long as you store them properly.

    Here are a few pointers from ShelfLifeAdvice:

    • Eggs can last for up to five weeks past the expiration date.
    • Milk can last for up to a week beyond its sell-by date.
    • Yogurt can keep for up to 10 days past the date, or up to two months in the freezer.
    • Mayonnaise can last for a month past the expiration date if it's unopened.

    What's more, other packaged foods can last far beyond their expiration dates. One expert told MSNBC that cereal can keep for an extra year if you store it in a cool, dry place... and that toothpaste never seems to go bad, despite the date you'll usually find on the tube.

    Some dates are required by law... but in many cases, the manufacturers say they just want to set a date by which they can guarantee freshness. Truth is, more than a few of them probably just want to make sure you restock regularly... whether you need to or not.

    And that means you might be able to hold onto those sad food refugees for just a little bit longer.

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