Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Gilled Meat and Cancer Risk

This weekend is Memorial Day and with the warm temperatures we are experiencing this week it will be a perfect time to break out the grill if you have not already done so. 

Over the years, there has been some reports about potential cancer risks associated with grilling.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) has been studying this issue.

The Research: AICR’s expert report and updates say there isn’t enough evidence to show that grilled meat specifically increases risk for cancers. But we do know that cooking meat at a high temperature – like grilling – creates cancer-causing substances, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These carcinogens can cause changes in the DNA that may lead to cancer.

Risk of these carcinogens forming is higher from red and processed meats – like hamburgers and hot dogs. Smoke or charring also contributes to the formation of PAHs.

Evidence is clear that diets high in red and processed meats, contribute to an increased risk of colorectal cancer. Based on the evidence, AICR recommends limiting red meat to 18 ounces of cooked meat per week and staying away from hot dogs or other processed meats.

AICR has developed this Guide to Safe Grilling to help you reduce cancer risks from grilling meats.

Follow these guidelines for healthy grilling:

  • Marinate: Studies have suggested that marinating your meat before grilling can decrease the formation fo HCAs. Scientists theorize that the antioxidants in these marinades block HCAs from forming. 
  • Pre Cook: If you are grilling larger cuts, you can reduce the time your meat is exposed to the flames by partially cooking it in a microwave, oven or stove first. Immediately place the partially cooked meat on the preheated grill. This helps keep your meat safe from bacteria and other food pathogens that can cause illness.
  • Lean Cuts: Trimming the fat off your meat can reduce flare-ups and charring. Cook your meat in the center of the grill and make sure to flip frequently.
  • Mix It Up: Cutting meat into smaller portions and mixing with veggies can help shorten cooking time. 
  • Go Green: Grilling vegetables and fruits produces no HCAs and plant-based foods are actually associated with lower cancer risk. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Establish Chore Time to Give You More Play Time

School is almost out and we all look forward to fun evenings and weekends with family.  But when we get home we are often faced with a long list of chores which leaves little time to enjoy the longer days.  Take advantage of your children not having homework by enlisting their help.  

There are two key strategies you can try for getting your children on board with chores. Keep it simple … and challenge them to be part of the solution.  Start by creating a Chore Chart in a central location. Try a chalkboard, bulletin board, or basic sheet of paper set up in a grid: columns for days of week, and rows for family members. Scratch paper with pushpins or reusable sticky-notes are great tools – involve the kids by having them write one chore per slip of paper. These can then be moved around to different days/"assignees" as desired.
Don’t forget about the basic chores that everyone should do every day – these can be a general list to serve as a reminder for all!

Sample Chore List

Nancy Bock of the Soap and Detergent Institute provided this list of chores in her May/June 2016 newsletter "Cleaning Matters."  Use this general list as your guide; add additional/specific chores that are required in your own home. Remember to keep the ages and abilities of each family member in mind as you make chore assignments!  Take the time to show and train your children on how to do their assigned chores properly.  It will take lots of encouragement at first, but your child will benefit from these skills and work ethic for the rest of their lives.

Every Person/Every Day

  • Make Bed
  • Clean up after showering (hang towels, wipe up water spills)
  • Clear plate after meals
  • Put dirty clothes in hamper/laundry room
  • Put away toys and games

Household Cleaning: Team Tasks

  • Set the table
  • Do the dinner dishes
  • Wash pots and pans
  • Take out garbage
  • Bundle/sort recycling
  • Pick up clutter
  • Clean your room
  • Dust family areas
  • Sweep the floor
  • Vacuum carpeted areas
  • Feed the cat
  • Walk the dog
  • Mow the lawn
  • Do the laundry (NOTE: keep laundry products out of the reach of young children)
  • Put away clean/laundered clothing
You may add chores that are specific to your family's needs.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May 8 - 14 is Food Allergy Awareness Week

Life with Food Allergies: If you have food allergies, it is vital to read food labels and contact manufacturers for clarification if you have any concerns about whether an allergen may have made its way into the item. Product ingredients are always changing. Check the label, every time, even if the person with the allergy has safely eaten that exact food before. Food labels aren’t the only ones you should read. Be sure to check labels on products like lotion, soap, and cosmetics, which can contain wheat, milk, tree nuts, or eggs.
It’s also important to avoid contamination. Every tool and surface should be thoroughly cleaned with hot, soapy water before being used. If you are preparing an allergen-free meal alongside others, make the one without allergens first. Then cover it and place it well away from the rest of the foods.

According to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), eight different foods are responsible for 90% of all allergic reactions that are related to food. These allergens are…
  • Peanuts
  • Tree Nuts
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
The only way to prevent an allergic reaction is to steer clear of the food. There is no medicine currently capable of preventing food allergies. However, there are some available to help control the symptoms of a reaction. If a doctor prescribes an EpiPen, have the person with the allergy carry it with them. If you have an allergy, consider wearing a medical alert ID.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Please Attend This Forum on Tuesday!

This weeks Safe Food Challenge

When it comes to Convenience Foods, Cook It Safe

Many Americans’ freezers are stocked with fast, tasty convenience foods.  While the shortest distance between the freezer and the table may be the microwave oven, not all convenience foods can be cooked in the microwave. Challenge yourself to Cook It Safe!  Prevent foodborne illness due to under-cooking frozen or other convenience foods with these four simple tips:

1. Read and Follow Package Cooking Instructions.
2. Know When to Use a Microwave or Conventional Oven.
3. Know Your Microwave Wattage Before Microwaving Food.
4. Always use a Food Thermometer to Ensure a Safe Internal Temperature.

A complete explanation of dangers of cooking incorrectly in a microwave is available in this brochure.
Cook it Safe Brochure 

Do You Have Food Prepared for an Emergency?

April's Do 1 Thing to Prepare for an Emergency revolves around food. An emergency food supply doesn’t have to sit on a shelf, ready for disaster to strike (although it can). It can be part of the food you use every day. The key to a good food storage plan is to buy ahead of time. Replace items before they run out. Buy items when they are on sale. A large duffle bag or plastic tub with a lid makes a great storage place for an emergency food supply. Make sure your family, including pets, will have what they need when disaster strikes.
Put aside a three-day supply of food for disasters. You probably have a better idea than anyone else how much food you and your family members would need for three days. Follow the BUS rule to help you. BUS stands for balance, usability, and shelf-life.
1. Balance: You may already buy food that provides a balanced diet for your family. A balanced diet includes a variety of foods from each of the basic food groups. This is especially important for people with certain health conditions. Also include high energy foods (such as nuts and protein bars) and comfort foods (such as graham crackers or chocolate).
2. Usability: Choose items that don’t need to be cooled, heated, or need a lot of water. Examples include canned or dried meat, dry cereal, and canned vegetables. Make sure you have a manual can opener if you plan to use canned goods.
3. Shelf Life: Look at the expiration date listed on the food item. Use and replace foods before the expiration date.

During an extended power outage, temperatures in your refrigerator and freezer will begin to rise, even if the doors stay closed. As the temperature rises, harmful bacteria may begin to grow on your food.  If the temperature in your refrigerator stays above 41 degrees Fahrenheit for more than four hours, perishable food items (milk, lunchmeat, mayonnaise based salads, poultry items, leftovers, etc.) may be unsafe to eat.

If the temperature in your freezer stays above 41 degrees Fahrenheit for more than one to two days, food may be unsafe to eat. Food that still contains ice crystals should be safe. Always check the color and odor of food, particularly meat when it is thawed. If it is questionable throw it out (make sure it is discarded where animals can’t get to it).

Take steps now to make sure your perishable food remains as safe as possible:
• Place a thermometer in your refrigerator and freezer.
• If you anticipate a power outage, such as a winter storm, reduce the temperature of your fridge and freezer. The colder your food is the more time it takes to thaw.
• Keep containers of ice in your freezer to keep the temperature down.

When the power goes out:
• Cover the refrigerator or freezer in newspapers and blankets. Keep vents clear in case the freezer starts operating again.
• Avoid opening the door to the refrigerator or freezer.
• Use dry ice, if available. Identify a source for dry ice in advance and remember that if the power outage is widespread, there may be a lot of competition for this resource.

If you don’t know the temperature of your refrigerator or if the refrigerator was off for more than four hours, the food should be discarded. Eating perishable food that has not been kept cold can cause food poisoning, even if it is refrozen or cooked. When in doubt, throw it out!

Some people are on special diets for health reasons. There can be serious effects if the right food is not available during a disaster. If you use special equipment, like a blender, food scale, or feeding tubes, make sure you take those with you. Think about keeping extra equipment at a friend or relative’s home in case you have to evacuate.  Talk to your healthcare provider or a nutritionist about non-perishable menu options that can be used if you can’t get to a grocery store, or that can be prepared at an emergency shelter. Keep a description of your medical condition and the diet in your emergency kit.