Everything You Need to Know About Buying Organic

The organic food market in the United States hit $49.4 billion in sales in 2017- a record. Organic food in 2017 accounted for 5.5 percent of the food sold in retail channels in the United States. Total organic sales in 2017 were $49.4 billion, also up 6.4%, as sales of organic non-food products rose 7.4 percent to $4.2 billion.

Sprouts Farmers Markets Greenville, south carolina

I know you see the Facebook posts and hear the television teasers, “are you truly buying organic? Stay tuned for our in-depth report!”

I wanted my own garden to be ORGANIC, but it is not.  I had to use man-made fertilizer to stimulate my tomatoes.


Inception of the Organic Label

In 1990, the United States Congress passed the Federal Organic Foods Production Act, which called for national organic food guidelines, including certification of growers and standards for organic food production.

Finally, in 2002, the federal government finalized regulations and put them into effect, as the National Organic Program (NOP).

Organic Regulations AgricultureThe NOP is controlled by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and develops, implements and administers national production, handling, and labeling standards for all organic products.

A 15-member National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) assists the Secretary of Agriculture in developing standards and advises the Secretary on other aspects of implementing the program.

Sur La Table

Guidelines for “Organic” Foods

Standards indicate that any agricultural product that is sold, labeled or represented as 100% organic must be produced and handled in accordance with the requirements specified in the NOP.

NOP’s standards cover all phases of food production, processing, delivery and retail sale.

This is why “organic” produce is more expensive than its counterparts.  Farmers go to great lengths and bureaucracy to be classified as “organic.”

Farmers and food processors using the “organic” label, must be certified organic by an accredited certifying agent.


HOWEVER, food producers whose gross agricultural income from organic sales DOES NOT surpass $5,000 U.S. Dollars, but still follow NOP standards CAN use the term “organic,” but not “certified organic.”

non-gmo food productsQualifications for “certified organic” include:

  • emulating a natural ecosystem
  • maintain and replenish the soil’s nutrition
  • promote reuse of ecological resources and encourage stability
  • preserve biodiversity

Genetically modified organisms and irradiation are not permitted!

Here is a chart explaining the Organic Label Standards

***From the Food Lover’s Companion

Materials or practices not permitted in organic farming include:

  • Synthetic fertilizers to add nutrients to the soil
  • Sewage sludge as fertilizer
  • Most synthetic pesticides for pest control
  • Irradiation to preserve food or to eliminate disease or pests
  • Genetic engineering, used to improve disease or pest resistance or to improve crop yields
  • Antibiotics or growth hormones for livestock

Organic and Natural – do NOT mean the same thing!

“Natural” and “organic” are not interchangeable terms. In general, “natural” on a food label means that it has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

It does not refer to the methods or materials used to produce the food ingredients.

I have a “natural” garden, but not an “organic” garden.

Organic food: Is it safer or more nutritious?

There is a growing body of evidence that shows some potential health benefits of organic foods when compared with conventionally grown foods.

Potential benefits include the following, as compiled by the Mayo Clinic:

  • Nutrients. Studies have shown small to moderate increases in some nutrients in organic produce. The best evidence of a significant increase is in certain types of flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties.  For example, the NatureSweet Eclipses Tomatoes, I previously blogged about, have a much higher nutrient level than their green and red counterparts, due to flavonoids.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. The feeding requirements for organic livestock farming, such as the primary use of grass and alfalfa for cattle, resulting in generally higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, a kind of fat that is more heart-healthy than other fats. These higher omega-3 fatty acids are found in organic meats, dairy, and eggs.
  • Toxic metal. Cadmium is a toxic chemical naturally found in soils and absorbed by plants. Studies have shown significantly lower cadmium levels in organic grains.  The lower cadmium levels in organic grains may be related to the ban on synthetic fertilizers in organic farming.
  • Pesticide residue. Compared with conventionally grown produce, organically grown produce has lower detectable levels of pesticide residue.
  • Bacteria. Meats produced conventionally may have a higher occurrence of bacteria resistant to antibiotic treatment.

Consider buying from a local CSA or farmer’s market.  Read about Community Supported Agriculture Systems here, in a previous JoAnn’s Food Bites post.

pepper - onion- community supported agriculture - joanns food bites

What is a Community Supported Agriculture System?

Find a local participating CSA:  http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

Do you buy organic or traditional produce?  I would really like to know…please leave a comment!

Sur La TableSur La Table




Posted in Food Bureaucracy, GMO's | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

JoAnn’s Food Bites Bruschetta Crostini

Great way to use NatureSweet Eclipses Tomatoes and make them the star of the dish!

Simple Bruschetta Crostini

JoAnn's Food Bites Simple Bruschetta with Nature Sweet Eclipse Tomatoes

You cannot get any easier and more delicious than my fresh bruschetta.  Make sure to make plenty for a crowd as these will go fast.

Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Italian
Keyword bruschetta
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Resting Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 people


  • crostini
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • Nature Sweet Eclipse Tomatoes thinly sliced
  • Fresh Basil sliced into ribbons
  • Mozzarella Cheese thinly sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 450º

  2. Place crostini in an even, flat layer on a baking sheet

  3. Baste on your favorite olive oil.  I love the basil infused option for this application.

  4. Place a thin slice of Nature Sweet Eclipses Tomato on each crostini

  5. Place a group of basil ribbons on top of the tomato slices

  6. Top with a slice of mozzarella cheese

  7. Bake for about 6-8 minutes, or until cheese has melted.  Serve immediately.


Posted in Appetizers/Snacks, Recipes | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Significant Health Benefits In Darker Tomatoes

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of NatureSweet. All opinions are 100% mine.

NatureSweet Eclipses TomatoesDo not be fooled when you see NatureSweet Eclipses tomatoes at your local supermarket. They may have a deeper color than a traditional red or green tomato, but that color packs a rich, bold flavor and is loaded with health benefits.

Why I Eat Dark Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a key component in a healthy human diet. Tomatoes are a major source of lycopene followed by betacarotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E.

During the ripening process, tomatoes go through a change in pigmentation. All tomatoes start green, then as lycopene accumulates in the skin surface of a tomato, it turns orange – then red – eventually turns dark as in NatureSweet Eclipses Tomatoes.

The dark pigment correlates with an increased level of anthocyanins; molecules which hold elevated antioxidant levels.

Read my article about eating lycopene here: http://joannsfoodbites.com/lycopene/

Harold McGee explains in his book On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, you can gauge healthfulness of vegetables and fruit with your eye, “the deeper its color, the more healthful the food is likely to be. The more light a leaf gets, the more pigments and antioxidants it needs to handle the energy input, and so the darker the coloration of the leaf,” (page 257).

Other Beneficial Nutrients From NatureSweet Eclipses Tomatoes

They provide small amounts of several useful dietary minerals, such as magnesium and potassium which regulates blood pressure.

According to the National Institute of Health, regular consumption of dark tomatoes along with other anthocyanin-rich foods has been found to offer protection against coronary heart disease.

Because dark tomatoes are full of vitamin C, a known anti-inflammatory, they are a good food to consider if you suffer from arthritis.

With almost 95% water content, tomatoes are great in hot weather because they counteract dehydration.

What Makes NatureSweet Eclipses Unique

NatureSweet grows tomatoes in various shapes, sizes, and colors; however, the Eclipses are the best slicing tomato in the NatureSweet Family.

NatureSweet does not grow their product in traditional soil. Instead, they use coconut husks, which are disease resistant and require less water.

To protect against extreme weather and to allow year-round harvesting, NatureSweet grows their tomatoes in greenhouses.

Associates take pride in providing the sweetest and freshest tomatoes available. The crop is hand-picked and shipped within 24 hours of harvest.

NatureSweet Eclipses Tomatoes No GMO

Want to find where you can buy NatureSweet Eclipses Tomatoes?


My Recipes Using NatureSweet Eclipses Tomatoes

NatureSweet Eclipse Tomato Salsa IngredientsWe love fresh salsa and the Eclipses tomato provide perfect sweet fresh flavor, especially in the summertime.

My quick salsa can be prepared and served in under 10 minutes.

Prepped and served in less than 20 minutes, I use only seven easy to acquire ingredients.

NatureSweet Eclipses Tomatoes Salsa

Fresh Salsa with NatureSweet Eclipses Tomatoes

Never buy salsa in a jar again, once you see how easy it is to make your own fresh salsa at home.  Only 7 ingredients and this fresh salsa can be prepped, made and served in 10 minutes.

Course Snack
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword NatureSweet Eclipses Tomatoes, salsa
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 76 kcal


  • 1 small red onion quartered
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded
  • 1/4 cup fresh, cilantro leaves only cannot use dried
  • 4 NatureSweet Eclipses Tomatoes diced
  • 4 NatureSweet Glory Tomatoes whole
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice

Just a pinch of salt and pepper


  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.

  2. Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixture.

  3. Add remaining mixture to a blender.

  4. Blend for 10-15 seconds.  Turn off blender if necessary and tamper down.

  5. Pour blender contents into a serving bowl and gently mix in the reserved salsa, which gives the salsa a chunky style.  

  6. Serve immediately, or chill in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to a week.


Here are some other delicious recipes using fresh Nature Sweet Eclipses Tomatoes

NS Eclipses Hunky Hoagies link

Pork Tenderloins Grilled Eclipses Tomato Chimichurri link

Minted Watermelon Eclipses Tomato Salad

Do not be deceived by their darker color. NatureSweet Eclipses Tomatoes have a higher nutrient content, along with a rich complex, sweeter flavor than the traditional red tomatoes.

For more information, check out their website at http://naturesweet.com/

More from JoAnn’s Food Bites: Simple Bruschetta Crostini



Posted in Appetizers/Snacks, Dinner Party, Healthy Eating, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Weeknight Taco Chicken For Two

Figuring out dinner on a weeknight can be very frustrating.

Especially, if you want to keep the meal light, but flavorful.

But chicken is so versatile and can be filled with flavor, it is a great option.

I hope this is an easy one for you to try.  Let me know in the comments if you make it at home.

Sur La Table
Save an Additional 20% on Clearance Items at Sur La Table!

Benefits of chicken

Raw Whole ChickenOf course, chicken is one of the leanest meats and low in saturated fats.  Doctors are always telling me to cut back on my red meat intake, so the next best protein is chicken.

In this recipe, we are using boneless, skinless breast, which contains fewer calories, great for most any weight-loss plan.

A 3-ounce portion of skinless, boneless chicken breast contains just 102 calories but provides 19 grams of dietary protein.

The entire dish has 32 grams of protein

Not only can eating breast chicken help you shed pounds, but it has positive effects on body composition. Boosting dietary protein decreases total body fat and abdominal fat but helps increase lean body mass and your body’s energy expenditure during periods of weight maintenance and weight loss.

Consider the cooking method

Now that we established chicken is an excellent source of protein, we need to think about the cooking method.

Deep frying chicken in oil is not the most healthy choice.  Even sauteeing chicken breast any sort of fat, oil, butter, olive oil – adds calories to the final product.

However, STEAMING the chicken adds no calories at all!  By creating a foil pack and baking the chicken in the oven, the lean protein cooks in its own natural juices, sealing in moisture and flavor.

The chicken will remain moist, especially if you let it rest before serving.

By adding the salsa and taco seasoning, we are allowing an array of flavors to encompass the dish.

Making the taco chicken an entire meal

What I like about this recipe is it could serve as the entire meal.  You have a protein, a vegetable and a small amount of fat (cheese).

I know what your saying – the potato is not good for you, or is it?

Usually, when people eat potatoes, they pile other stuff on top of it, causing it to be unhealthy!

Facts about one medium-sized potato, with the skin left on, just like we are doing in this recipe:

  • Just 110 calories.
  • No fat, sodium or cholesterol.
  • Nearly half your daily value of vitamin C.
  • More potassium than a banana.
  • A good source of vitamin B6.
  • Contains fiber, magnesium and antioxidants.

Finished dish Taco Chicken Dish

Easy Taco Chicken for Two

Easy Taco Chicken For Two

With only 6 ingredients and 10 minutes to prep, this Taco Chicken recipe is perfect for a weeknight meal for two.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken, potatoes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Resting Time 5 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 300 kcal


  • 2 medium boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 Tbsp Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 3 medium red potatoes
  • 1/2 cup thick chunky salsa
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese


  1. PREHEAT oven to 400ºF

  2. Place chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, thin the breast down to about 1/2" thickness.

  3. Using a mandolin or a knife, slice the potatoes, thinly, about 1/4" thick.  Place two large sheets of aluminum foil on the counter. Spray foil with cooking spray if not using nonstick foil. Evenly divide the sliced potatoes between the two sheets, fanning the potatoes in the center of the sheet.

  4. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap from chicken and spread 1/2 Tablespoon of taco seasoning mix on each chicken breast.  Place chicken on top of potatoes, then apply 1/2 Tablespoon to other side of chicken.

  5. Top each beast evenly with salsa and both kinds of cheese.

  6. Bring up both long lengths of foil.  Double fold top and both ends to seal each packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside.  Place both packets on a rimmed baking sheet.

  7. Bake for 35 minutes or until chicken has reached 165º.  Let stand 5 minutes before opening packets.

  8. Garnish with sour cream and scallions.

When I make this meal, I place a sheet of foil under the chicken packets, just in case they leak.  It makes for a very easy clean up.

Are you empty-nesters needing simple meals for two?  Here are some others:

Chicken Enchiladas for Two

Fish and Potatoes for Two

Meaty Skillet Lasagna








Posted in Chicken, Meals For Two, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Harris Teeter Moves Into Greenville

Harris Teeter Moves Into GreenvilleWithin the past year, magazines like Vogue, Southern Living and Food Network have declared Greenville, South Carolina a culinary destination.  Creative chefs are flocking to the Appalachian Foothills with innovative offerings besides the stereotypical meat and three vegetable traditions of southern cuisine.

However, I believe there is another aspect to Greenville’s foodie scene which is just now beginning to blossom – the supermarket shopping experience – and Harris Teeter is the latest addition to the growing trend.

Save on Home Magazines

What is the supermarket shopping experience?

I have never been one to enjoy shopping.  I might buy new clothes once a year – if that?  However, I relish the chance to go “grocery shopping.”

Having an I would rather cook from home, perspective – I am excited about the latest Greenville trend of new supermarkets moving into the area.

These “shopping experiences,” allow you to take your time and truly shop. You can buy your groceries, get a meal, buy a drink and enjoy an entire afternoon at the supermarket.

Read about Sprouts recently moving into the Upstate here!

Sprouts Farmers Market Greenville

Besides Sprouts, Greenville has a Whole Foods, Lowes Foods, Fresh Market, Lidl and will be getting a renovated, 71,000 sq. foot, Ingles in Powdersville.

These are incredible options for a foodie who enjoys shopping for food, each with their unique shopping experience.

Harris Teeter in Greenville

When I found out Harris Teeter was coming to the Upstate and a lot of buzz was circulating, I decided to drive to North Carolina and find out what is so special about this North Carolina based chain.

I made a short video, documenting five reasons to like Harris Teeter…watch it here!

Basically, it is a shopping experience.  You could spend most of the day here, but the new Greenville location – takes the adventure to another level.

Upon entering the store, a Starbucks and a Harris Teeter Tavern are available, along with 20 or so dining tables.  Wi-Fi is free and multi-televisions will keep you up to date on current events.

Harris Teeter Tavern and Startbucks at the Greenville location

Keep your Harris Teeter loyalty card handy, as you gain points, even at Starbucks.

A huge floral department makes for a pleasant entrance, along with the aroma of freshly baked bread and other hot food options. Pizza bar Harris Teeter Greenville

A wide variety of baked bread can be purchased, including half loaves, which is great when you are cooking for two.

Pizza by the slice or whole pizzas can be purchased at the Pizza Bar.

Harris Teeter has a “trail mix bar,” where shoppers can create their own mix of dried fruits, nuts and other healthy snacks, which is sold by the pound.

Trail Mix Bar Harris Teeter

Patrons can create their own lunch plate from the “hot bar.”  Options include chicken, fish or some type of protein with various sides; beans, corn, potatoes, and other vegetables.

Hot meal bar Harris Teeter

The hot bar, an Asian bar, sushi, freshly made sandwiches, and salads are convenient for lunch or grabbing a quick dinner on the way home.   Or you buy your meal, sit at the Harris Teeter Tavern and try a glass of wine or craft beer.


Other Harris Teeter Amenities

Harris Teeter Facebook Image


Besides being a full-size grocery store, with a wide variety of national name brand products, Harris Teeter has a full pharmacy, deli, meat and seafood counter.

Wine, beer, and a very large produce section are standard in their stores.

If you just don’t have time to wait in line, download their mobile app, or order online from a desktop.  You can order subs, pizza or deli items and they will be ready in as little as 15 minutes.

Cakes, party platters, and/or fruit baskets can be ready in as little as 24 hours.

Harris Teeter’s VIC Loyalty Card

Of course, just like every other retailer in the nation, Harris Teeter has their own rewards program – the VIC Card (very important customer).

However, as I discovered, being a VIC card holder has a huge advantage…discounts on specific items, not made available in their weekly advertisements and definitely not listed at the store.

When I was issued my VIC card, I went home and registered my card number along with an email address.  The following week I was sent an email telling me about three items, drastically reduced…

Dasani Water – a 24-pack case of 16.9 oz. bottles – for $2.99, instead of the normal $4.99

Smithfield Bacon – 12-16 oz packages $3.99 each, instead of $4.99.

Oreo Cookies – 15.35 oz package – $1.99 each, instead of $2.99.

The only negative – I only had four days to buy these items.  But these were NOT advertised in the store – but I double checked my receipt – and yes, I did receive the discount during checkout.


There are a few things I need to divulge which could be considered a disadvantage for Harris Teeter.

  1. Location – The new Greenville location is in a very congested area of the city.  Getting in and out of the parking lot is very difficult, especially since the lot is only 25% the size of an Ingles or Kroger parking lot.
  2. Crowds – I have visited the new Greenville location twice; once during the grand opening, when you would expect a large crowd, but I did visit once at 9 am on a Tuesday morning and it was still a full parking lot!
  3. Check out registers are too close together – Registers are offset from the end caps causing customer confusion on how to enter the checkout queue line?  While standing at the register, customers are politely asked, “excuse me,” because the next register’s cashier is only 24-inches away?  When I visited the North Carolina location, this was not the case – so I have no idea why the Greenville location was designed this way?

Besides these few minor details, I will be shopping at Harris Teeter in the future, the shopping experience is just too interesting.

Located at: Lewis Plaza Shopping Center 1720 Augusta St. Greenville, SC 28209
Store hours: 6 am to midnight – daily

Have you ever shopped at Harris Teeter?

What is your favorite supermarket? Please leave a comment!

Harris Teeter is a shopping experience





Posted in Foodie Must Do, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Food To Help Manage Hypertension

Manage Hypertension with foodI was diagnosed with hypertension when I was 25 years old and suffering from chronic migraines.  Research suggests if your family records reveal a history of hypertension, it can increase your risk by 60%.  Several blood relatives on my mother and father’s side of the family suffered from elevated blood pressure.

Prior to my diagnosis, a variety of doctors, including a neurologist required several CT’s, a daily journal documenting my health, as well as weekly visits to monitor my blood pressure.

Treatment included several attempts to find the appropriate prescription, which resulted in a daily dose of  Ziac, which continues to this day.
Our 9 Most Popular Items Are Selling Fast. Get Them While You Can!

What is hypertension?

Hypertension basically means, while your heart is beating, too much force is being applied to the blood vessels within the heart, causing the heart to work harder to maintain pressure. Because the heart’s vessels are very strong, this can go on for years, undetected; however, the heart could enlarge, hypertrophy, and eventually stop working.

The systolic, or top number in a blood pressure reading, is the amount of pressure in your arteries during the contraction of your heart muscle.

The diastolic, or bottom number is the amount of pressure in your arteries when your heart muscle is between beats.

Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury, or mm Hg (periodic symbol for mercury), which is the standard unit of measure for pressure in medicine.

Hypertension Blood Pressure Chart

American Heart Association

Hypertension contributing factors

Nearly 30% of the United States population is hypertensive.

The following can contribute to the severity and prognosis of the disease:

  • Weight
  • Salt intake
  • Elevated cholesterol numbers
  • Glucose intolerance
  • Stress

Two of every three Americans are considered to be overweight or obese.  Being overweight increases the amount of fatty tissue in your body, which increases vascular resistances, resulting in the heart working harder to pump blood throughout the body.

Although salt helps our nerves and muscles to function correctly and is necessary for our bodies, eating too much salt can cause an imbalance which reduces our kidneys’ ability to remove water.  The fluid build up causes the blood vessels to become strained, which elevates blood pressure.

High cholesterol numbers indicate a build-up of artery plaque and calcium resulting in the heart working harder to pump blood through the clogged arteries.

Diabetes is the result of the body’s inability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin, which leads to elevated levels of glucose in the blood and urine.  High sugar levels in the body decrease the blood vessels’ ability to stretch and increase fluids, both cause the heart to work harder than it should, transporting blood.

When we are stressed, our bodies produce hormones which quicken our heart rate and constrict blood vessels, therefore, elevating our blood pressure.

JoAnn's Food Bites Food Stress

Managing hypertension with food

HBP is known as the “silent killer,” because many do not know they even have it, so monitoring your blood pressure is key, especially if you already endure any of the other contributing factors.

Sur La Table

Unfortunately, my family medical history made me more susceptible to high blood pressure.  Fortunately, I only had to try a few prescription medications, to find the proper one for me.

I take my medicine religiously – at the same time daily.  If I do not, I will notice within a couple of hours.  However, here are my dietary rules to keep my numbers in check:

  1. AVOID EXCESS SALT.  I NEVER use table salt.  When cooking, I only use kosher salt minimally.
  2. CHECK NUTRITION LABEL SODIUM LEVELS. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day.  Keep this in mind when you pick up a can of soup, which is notoriously high in sodium.
  3. EAT FOODS HIGH IN POTASSIUM. Sodium and potassium have opposite effects on heart health: High salt intake increases blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, while high potassium intake can help relax blood vessels and excrete the sodium and decrease blood pressure.High Potassium Foods Manage Hypertension
  4. LIMIT SWEETS AND SUGAR FILLED TREATS.  I never had much of a sweet tooth, but I am very conscientious of how often I eat sugar-filled desserts.
  5. DRINK LOTS OF WATER. I rarely drink any soft drinks or sugary sodas.  I try to drink at least 50-60 ounces of water daily.
  6. MONITOR CAFFEINE CONSUMPTION.  I have my one cup of coffee each morning and an occasional latte, but I am very well aware and document my caffeine consumption.
  7. LIMIT ALCOHOL. Although doctors do not know the exact mechanism which causes or sometimes induces high blood pressure, research proves there is a correlation between alcohol and stressed heart function.  I limit my alcohol intake to 2-3 drinks per week.

Hypertension is a very serious disease and should be monitored and treated by a physician.  I visit my doctor every six months to verify my Ziac is working as it should.

If left unchecked or undiagnosed, it could result in a heart attack, stroke or death.


Heart Healthy Salmon

Recipe courtesy of Dr. Oz

2 Tablespoons olive oil                                                1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 chopped garlic cloves                                               3 cups diced tomatoes
3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable juice                        2 cups frozen lima beans
1 (10 oz) skinless salmon fillet                                  salt & pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill                                         1/2 lemon

In a 10″ non-stick skillet, warm the olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the pepper flakes and garlic, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.   Stir in the tomatoes and cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the vegetable juice and lima beans and simmer, stirring occasionally for 7-8 minutes.  Place the salmon fillets over the veggie mix, apply salt and pepper lightly. Cover the pan and steam on low heat for 5-6 minutes.   Remove pan from heat, stir in the dill and garnish with lemon.

What other health topics would you like for me to find food-related management techniques?





Posted in Fish & Seafood, Food For Better Health, Healthy Eating, Meals For Two, Recipes | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

FDA Extends Trans Fats Compliance

In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration required food manufacturers to disclose the amount of Trans Fats in a food product on the Nutrition Facts label, in the hopes of curtailing the use of partially hydrogenated oils, (PHO) in our food supply.

Research and health organizations, such as the American Heart Association have proven trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels, increasing your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.

CLICK TO READLower bad cholesterol roasted salmonSur La Table

Despite the labeling requirement, by 2015, a substantial number of products still contained PHOs. Therefore, the FDA set June 18, 2018, as the deadline for food manufacturers to eliminate PHO’s completely.

“the Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) has made a final determination that there is no longer a consensus among qualified experts that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which are the primary dietary source of industrially-produced trans fatty acids (IP-TFA) are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for any use in human food.” (FDA document #80FR34650).  

Trans Fat will never be completely gone from food entirely because they occur naturally (but in very small amounts) in meat and dairy products, and in other edible oils.

The 2015 compliance “grace period” allowed food companies to either reformulate products without PHOs and petition the FDA to permit specific uses of PHOs.

Although many food manufacturers have removed PHO’s and Trans Fats (if a product contains <1 gram of Trans Fats, it can be labeled as “zero” on the food label); many products still include these substances.

The FDA estimates that consumption of trans fats fell by 78 percent from 2003 to 2012, and it contends that the labeling rule and subsequent reformulation of foods were important drivers (New York Times).

However, due to pressure from the GMA  (Grocery Manufacture’s of America), the FDA is allowing more time for products produced prior to June 18, 2018 to comply with the Trans Fats ban.

At the same time, the FDA is denying a food additive petition from the GMA requesting approval for certain limited uses of PHOs.

The agency is extending the compliance date, to June 18, 2019, to stop manufacturing foods with these specific, limited petitioned uses of PHOs, and until Jan. 1, 2021 for these products to work their way through distribution.

Is our food supply safe?

In November 2013, the FDA determined PHOs are not “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) for use in food.

Just recently the World Health Organization introduced an initiative to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats from foods globally.

So why is the FDA giving manufacturers another year, when admittedly, this change could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year???

I know why….

the FDA claims the elimination of PHO’s would cost the industry about $6                                                               billion to put in effect.


partially hydrogenated oils are cheaper than saturated animal fats to                                                                         incorporate into our food.

Saturated fats are still an enormous problem in the American diet, and health experts emphasize the governmental policy action should not give consumers a false sense of security.

If you consume a 2,000 caloric diet, you should be eating less than 2 grams of trans fats per day (about 20 calories).  And remember trans fats occur in some foods naturally!

Eliminate Trans Fats

What can YOU do to avoid ALL trans fats and PHO’s…

One of the healthiest choices you can make is to use natural unsaturated liquid vegetable oils such as olivecanolacorn, or soy oils.

Incorporate fish into your meal plans.  Those highest in reducing bad cholesterol levels are salmon, halibut and Albacore Tuna.

joanns food bites salmon reduce stress

Quick & Simple Salmon

Salmon is loaded in nutritional benefits. Baking salmon filets can be easy, but flavorful with this recipe.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword salmon
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 180 kcal


  • Ingredients
  • Full Salmon fillet - I cut in half just prior to serving
  • 1/2 stick of butter melted
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 375º.
  2. Place entire salmon fillet in a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet
  3. Mix melted butter with all other ingredients.
  4. Baste butter mixture all over the salmon fillet.
  5. Bake at 375º for approximately, 15-20 minutes.
  6. Verify fish is at 145º in the thickest part; remove from oven.
  7. Spritz with lemon juice.
  8. Serve with saffron rice and a small salad for a very healthy meal.

Eat lean meat. Skinless chicken and turkey and pork chops, with the fat trimmed off, are examples of lean meat.

Eat more whole foods, fruits and vegetables, rather than processed foods.

Making simple changes now can lead to a long, healthy life!

How Do You Avoid Trans Fats?    Please let me know in the comments below – or share a recipe on my facebook page

JoAnn’s Food Bites.




Posted in Fish & Seafood, Food Bureaucracy, Food For Better Health, Healthy Eating, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments