SMORGASBORD: Stay hydrated ... Cooking Mexican ... Wonderful KefirWhen the mercury hits 90 and above, tempers can get pretty fired up, too. But another glass of water or a slice of watermelon might help, because irritability is a classic side effect of dehydration.
By: Detroit Free Press/ MCT,
When the mercury hits 90 and above, tempers can get pretty fired up, too. But another glass of water or a slice of watermelon might help, because irritability is a classic side effect of dehydration.
The first physical sign is thirst, of course. But other symptoms are more subtle. You might get a headache. You can become cranky, forgetful, tired and dizzy, and your skin appears dry and wrinkly.
Remember the old adage to drink eight glasses of water a day? Well, in 2004, the Institute of Medicine issued new general fluid recommendations indicating women should drink 11 cups per day and men 15 cups.
These amounts include the water in all food and beverages we consume. Iced tea, fruit juice and even hot coffee and soups all count as hydrators. It turns out that 80 percent of our water intake is from drinking water and other beverages, and the other 20 percent is from food.
Watermelon, a summertime favorite, is made up of more than 90 percent water. Other high water content foods include lettuce, peaches, broccoli and citrus fruit.
It’s worth noting that iceberg lettuce, often dismissed as having little nutritional value as compared with its dark green leafy cousins, is a better source of water. Just go easy on the blue cheese dressing.
Sports fitness experts say it’s best to drink small amounts at a time throughout the day, because the body is better able to absorb the fluids.
Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks and sweetened ice tea, because they come with a hefty calorie price tag.
Count 150 calories for a 12-ounce soft drink. Studies show that Americans are consuming 220 more calories a day from sugar-sweetened beverages than they did in the 1960s.
If you want the bubbles, choose zero-calorie flavored sparkling waters or good old club soda.
Fruit juices provide nutritional benefits, too, including anti-oxidants and vitamins needed to help keep summer bodies at their best.
“Drinking water — either sparkling or flat and perhaps with a twist of citrus — is a great, noncaloric way to satisfy your thirst. But if you prefer 100 percent fruit juice, low-fat milk, coffee or other flavored beverages, they, too, can keep you well-hydrated,” said Kathleen Zelman, Atlanta dietitian and nutrition director for WebMD.
“Bottom line, make your beverage choices work to satisfy your nutritional needs, fluid preferences and hydration needs.” Water content Fruits and vegetables are foods with especially high water content. So, when you choose gazpacho or a peach cobbler, you’re helping to hydrate your body.
Here’s how the percentage of water plays out:
• Iceberg lettuce, cucumbers: 96 percent.
• Cabbage, celery: 95 percent.
• Tomatoes: 94 percent.
• Watermelon, strawberries, spinach, eggplant: 92 percent.
• Broccoli, citrus: 91 percent.
• Carrots, pineapple, peaches, raspberries: 87 percent.
• Yogurt, blueberries, plums: 85 percent.
• Apples: 84 percent.
• Bananas: 74 percent.
While purists often lament the Americanization of Mexican cuisine — sizzling fajitas, hard-shell tacos, frozen margaritas that might as well come from a Slurpee machine — Gustavo Arellano’s new book, “Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America” ( Scribner, $25), celebrates what might instead be viewed as the Mexicanization of American palates.
Calling Mexican food “as much of an ambassador for the United States as the hot dog,” Arellano, who writes the syndicated column “Ask a Mexican!”) for the Orange County, Calif., alternative newspaper OC Weekly, traces the evolution of Mexican gastronomy on gringo soil — and beyond. The book opens aboard the space shuttle Discovery, where two astronauts are making floating breakfast burritos.
Before Mexican food was orbiting Earth, however, it was transforming American culture. There was San Francisco’s roving tamale man craze of the 1890s, which died with the introduction of canned tamales. And the “chili queens of San Antonio,” whose nighttime visits to town plazas with their cauldrons petered out in the 1940s thanks to the city’s hygiene restrictions. And the 1992 news bulletins about salsa outselling ketchup.
Arellano explores the cyclical clamors for “authentic” Mexican food and tells a colorful anecdote about an online run-in with chef/restaurateur Rick Bayless. But this is not a book about regional Mexican cuisine; it’s about regional Mexican-American cuisine.
In his ranking of the five greatest Mexican meals in the U.S., his No. 1 is the Mexican hamburger from Grandma’s The Original Chubby’s in Denver, which he describes as “a bean-and-chicharrones burrito stuffed with a hamburger patty inside, then smothered in chili.”
It is “a monument to mestizaje,” Arellano writes. “Let the Baylessistas scream — this is a dish as Mexican as the Templo Mayor, as American as the Washington Monument, as Chicano as George Lopez.”
Here’s why we like Lifeway Foods Frozen Kefir: There are only 90 calories in a ½-cup serving, it’s wonderfully tart, not cloyingly sweet and now comes in seven flavors, with new kids chocolate, dulce de leche and pumpkin, joining mango, strawberry, pomegranate and original. The suggested retail price for a pint: $4.99.
For a store locater, go to lifeway.net.
No power? No sweat
Recent power outages, coupled with the extreme heat, raiser questions about whether food in refrigerators and freezers was safe to keep.
If your power was out just a few hours and you didn’t open the refrigerator or freezer, chances are the food is OK. A refrigerator should keep food cold for four hours and a half-full freezer 24 hours (48 hours if the freezer is full) if you don’t open the doors, according to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Here’s a clip-and-save checklist gleaned from www.fsis.usda.gov to have handy next time the power goes out:
• Try not to open the refrigerator and freezer doors (doing so lets the cold air escape).
• If you know the power will be out for an extended period, get ice or dry ice to keep foods cold.
• Use a refrigerator-freezer thermometer to check the temperature.
• In either the refrigerator or freezer, if the temperature is 40 degrees or below, the food is safe.
• Check the packages. If food still contains ice crystals or is at 40 degrees or below when checked with a food thermometer, you can refreeze it.
• Group foods together in the freezer to help them stay cold longer.
• Keep food on ice in coolers.
• Never taste food to determine whether it’s safe.
Toss these foods:
• Meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, yogurt, eggs, leftovers, hot dogs, bacon, lunch meats, pizza, shredded cheeses, casseroles, pasta and pasta sauces.
• Cream-based salad dressings, sauces and soups.
• Opened mayonnaise, tartar sauce and horseradish.
• Pasta salads with creamy or mayonnaise-based dressings.
• Sour cream-based dips.
• Fruits and vegetables that have become slimy or spoiled.
Keep these foods:
• Condiments, such as ketchup, mustard, jelly, jams, soy sauce and bottled marinade. Typically, these have high salt and sugar content that can act as a preservative.
• Fresh bread and rolls.
• Fruits and vegetables that show no signs of decay.
• The best rule to follow: “When in doubt, throw it out.”
Herald staff and wire reports
(c)2012 Detroit Free Press
Distributed by MCT Information Services