Friday, June 29, 2018

Food Handler’s Course

Foodborne illnesses can be prevented by following simple food safety practices. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension-Wise County provides a Food Protection Management Training Program that seeks to reduce the risk of food borne illness. 

Food service employees and those who operate a cottage food business can attend a two hour food handler’s class on Wednesday, July 18, 2018 from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm at the Wise County Extension office in Decatur to learn more about good personal hygiene, cross contamination and time and temperature abuse. The registration fee is $20.00 and covers course materials and an official food handler card. The deadline for registration is Tuesday, July 17. Space is limited.

The Texas Cottage Food Law requires that anyone who operates a cottage food business have a food handler card.  The food law allows the following list of foods that can be sold: baked goods, jams and jellies, dried herbs, pickles, popcorn snacks, candy, unroasted nut butters, and vinegar. These foods can also be sold at venues outside the home including farmers markets, roadside stands, and fairs. 

For questions concerning the food handler class or the Texas Cottage Food Law please call 940/627-3341 or come by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s, Wise County Office, 206 S. State St., Decatur, Texas 76234. The Food Protection Management (FPM) Training Program is brought to you by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in cooperation with the Texas Department of State Health Services, and the County Commissioners Court Cooperating.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Detoxing with a Balanced Diet

From time to time I hear someone mention that they have either fasted or gone on a restricted diet to “detox” — and, of course, to lose a lot of weight relatively quickly. The following article from Ohio State University provides useful   information to help us understand how a balanced diet can ensure that our body systems will take care of the detox.  
Any diet that promises a quick fix, encourages a severe restriction of calories, advises you to eat only certain foods or requires that foods be eaten only in specific combinations screams “fad diet”. Detox diets claim to “detoxify” the body, allowing toxins and contaminants that have accumulated over time to flush out. You can find many versions of the detox diet, but they usually start with a very low calorie fast followed by drinking juice and eating small amounts of fresh produce.
The body already has some perfectly good systems in place to detoxify the body. They’re called the liver, the kidneys and the colon. Although supporters of detox diets disagree, there’s no evidence to support the idea that those systems need a substantial restriction of food and calories to help them remove harmful substances from the body.
Some people claim the detox diet helps them feel healthier and more energetic. There could be several explanations for this. Their normal diet might be heavy in saturated fats, refined grains and heavily processed foods. Taking a break from those foods would certainly make your body feel different. Eating fruits and vegetables after severely restricting food intake for an extended period might also make someone feel better. But putting yourself on any very low calorie diet has its downsides. One is that you may lose muscle, which would cause your metabolism to dip and make it easier to gain weight.
Instead of detox or other fad diets, nutritionists recommend eating a balanced diet centered on lean proteins, vegetables and whole fruits, whole grains, and a modest amount of healthy (unsaturated) fats. Also, don’t skip meals, especially breakfast, and limit portions to a sensible size. To contribute to a balanced diet, try the following recipe idea for Cucumber, Corn and Bean Salsa. 

Cucumber, Corn, and Bean Salsa


2-3 large cucumbers
2 tomatoes
1 yellow bell pepper
1 small red onion
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup black beans
½ cup fresh whole kernel corn, cooked
1 ounce package dry ranch dressing mix
1/8 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar, optional

Yield:  Makes 20, ½ cup servings

DirectionsWash all vegetables. Finely chop cucumbers, tomatoes, pepper, and onion. Combine in a large mixing bowl with chopped cilantro. Drain and rinse beans and add to chopped vegetables. Add corn. If using canned corn instead of fresh, drain off liquid prior to adding to vegetables. In a small bowl, mix together ranch dressing packet, vinegar, and sugar. Pour dressing over vegetables and mix well. Serve immediately or refrigerate until chilled.

Nutritional Analysis:  50 calories, 0 g fat, 130 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 70% Daily Value of vitamin C, 6% Daily Value of vitamin A.

Finally, if you are thinking of making drastic changes to your diet, it’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor first. For additional information on tips for consuming a balanced diet, contact the Extension office at 940/627-3341.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Staying Sun-Safe

With the first day of summer this week, it’s time to review the risks that come from sun exposure.  Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 5 million people are treated for skin cancer each year, which equates to a cost of over $8 billion.
While skin cancer can also be caused from tanning beds or sun lamps, the most common cause is cumulative exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, says Erica Reyes, a health specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. “Increased exposure can often lead to the deadliest type of skin cancer known as Melanoma, taking the lives of more than 9,000 people each year.”
Skin cancer forms in many shapes in sizes, so staying actively aware of new spots or irregular moles on your skin is necessary for your health. Most doctors recommend checking your own skin at least once a month. If you happen to notice any new or irregular spots, be sure to tell your personal physician at your next check-up and request to see a dermatologist if necessary.
When self-checking to see if a spot is Melanoma, Reyes recommends using the “ABCDE” rule from the American Cancer Society:

·         A is for Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.
·         B is for Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched or blurred.
·         C is for Color: The color is not the same all over.
·         D is for Diameter: The spot is larger than 6 millimeters across.
·         E is for Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape or color.

Regardless of what skin tone you have, anyone can get skin cancer. The good news is that most skin cancers can be prevented. However, it is up to you to make sure you are taking precautionary measures when spending time out in the sun. The Center for Disease Control recommends using a layered approach for sun protection. Here are some easy steps to follow when planning to spend time outdoors:

·         1.  Seek shade, especially during midday hours.
·         2.  Wear a hat, sunglasses and protective clothing to shield skin.
·         3.  Use broad spectrum sunscreen with at least 15 SPF to protect exposed skin.
·         4.  Re-apply sunscreen every two hours, especially after swimming, sweating or toweling off.

Being outdoors is a great way for you to stay active, combat stress or enjoy fun activities with family and friends. Just remember while doing these things, it is important to stay sun- safe and protect the skin you’re in. For additional information contact Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service-Wise County office at 940-627-3341.