Eat Apples… For your Health

Apples help boost Brain Power!

It’s no secret that people who are the healthiest among us enjoy a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Health experts everywhere agree that we should be eating more for our better health. Over the years research has shown us that some foods can help prevent heart disease, cancers, high blood pressure, and a wide variety of other more minor ailments. Now, health experts are finding that some of these “Superfoods” can even increase brainpower. There is a whole category of “Brain Food”. Pretty cool right! Continue reading “Eat Apples… For your Health”

National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month

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March celebrates National Nutrition Month! Thus, I thought it would be a great time to fill you all in on the new 2015 guidelines that have just been released! Yes, I know we are in 2016, but it usually take a year before the new guidelines are officially released. The dietary guidelines are updated every 5 years based on the latest research and trends we are seeing in the American population when it comes to the average nutrient intake. The dietary guidelines for Americans are a joint effort between the Health and Human Services department and the US Department of Agriculture. They describe adaptable eating patterns that both promote health and reduce the risk of chronic disease across an individual’s lifespan. Continue reading “National Nutrition Month”

The Truth About the 5 Second Rule

The Truth About the 5 Second Rule

Coborn's Blog: The Kitchen Detective

Hi Everyone! My topic for today’s blog is the “5 Second Rule”. I think at some point in time we all have either given into the 5 second rule and/or at least contemplated it, right?  I, myself, can say that is true. Saying to myself… “Really, what could possibly be wrong with this, it was only on the floor for a second?!?!”  Well, let me tell you, there are various organisms including some fairly harmful bacteria that reside in the soil:  Listeria, Salmonella, E.coli… just to name a few. Granted, not all bacteria residing in the soil are harmful, but the reality is we do not know where these harmful ones are lurking. They don’t glow, smell or leave any type of calling card that let you know where they are residing, so it is best to presume they may just be there!

Also, just thinking about all of the places our shoes take us each day, from either walking across the grass to pick up something blowing in the wind to walking through a park or down a trail where a dog needed to do it’s business or a bird flew overhead leaving nature’s duty in it’s path. This leaves the bottoms of our shoes a nice little harborage area for germs, in turn leaving some of these bugs behind on the floor as we walk through the cafeteria or into the restaurant or across our own floor at home. Some might say, “Well, I remove my shoes when I get home.” I think we all have experienced, 5 Second Rule5 Second Rulethough, even if we are committed to taking our shoes off in our homes, that our floors still get dirty. Either from dust, old food debris that may have fallen on the floor from previous meals and even dirt (because we cheat from time to time, don’t we? “I just need to run in quick and get my cell phone that I left on the counter!”)  …your secret is safe with me.

If the potential for some harmful microorganisms lurking on the floor doesn’t raise a cause for just throwing the food out, what about the thought of any physical object sticking to the food item. A piece of hair, a small pebble or that little dust bunny. Biting into these physical objects makes eating not very pleasurable either.

So the next time someone shouts, “5 Second Rule!” Think twice… Do you want to take the risk? Or would you rather pick it up, throw it out, wash your hands (of course) and go for another bite of something that hasn’t spent even a second on the floor!

Wishing you healthy and SAFE eating!

Coborn’s, Inc, Food Safety & Nutrition Manager, Registered Dietitian

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Best If Used By, Use By, Sell By, What Do They Mean?


Food Safety Basket

Coborn's Blog: The Kitchen Detective

Do you ever wonder when you’re grocery shopping “What do those dates on the packages actually mean”?  It’s important to understand the phrases, “Best if Used By”, “Sell By” and “Use By”… What are these dates telling us??  Well, let me help explain.

Product dating is truly up to each manufacturer. Federal regulations actually do not require food products to be labeled with a date, with the exception of baby formula.  If a food manufacturer does choose to date a product, this is where the requirements kick in.  If using a calendar date, it must include both the month and the day.  They must also include a year if it is a shelf stable or frozen item.  In addition, this date needs to include a statement such as “Sell By”, “Use By”, etc.

Interesting Tidbit – Although Federal regulations do not require dating on product labels, dating of select food items is required in 20 or so states, Minnesota and North Dakota are among those.

Product dating can be presented in basically two ways.  Either through what is called Open Dating or Closed Dating.  Open Dating is essentially calendar dating which is easily understood by the consumer.  As I talked about earlier, this will include a month and a date and often the year.  Closed Dating, on the other hand, also known as coded dating, is just that….a code.  These codes can be presented in various forms including random numbers and letters which are not intended for the consumer to understand.  These codes allow the manufacturers to track their products and may often represent the date of production, which manufacturing plant the product was produced in, etc.

A little more about open dating and the words typically used (from USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service)

Sell By – tells the store how long to display the product for sale.  You should buy the product before the date expires.
Best if Used By – recommended for best flavor or quality.  It is not a purchase or safety date.
Use By – is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality.  The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.

As stated above these dates refer to the quality of the product not the safety which is a common misconception.  Foods impacted by spoilage bacteria may exhibit changes in flavor and appearance and may have an off odor, these products should not be used due to poor quality.  It is important to note that spoilage bacteria do not impact the safety of the food.  Pathogens (organisms that will make you sick) do not give off any odors nor do they make food taste or look badly.  It is also important to remember that mishandling of the product can cause rapid bacterial growth and if pathogens are present at even the slightest level this mishandling can cause the levels to grow and then foodborne illness can result.  So it is very important to handle foods properly, specifically those food items that are perishable (requiring refrigeration).  Some examples of mishandling include:shutterstock_143015473

  • Allowing product to sit too long in the Danger Zone..…remember “The Danger Zone”?? this is from 41°F-140°F
  • Thawing product at room temperature – this should always be done under refrigeration or if in a hurry under cool running water or in the microwave and cooked immediately afterwards.

Another factor that will affect the safety of the product is how long it is kept once opened.  The charts below outlines how long a product should be kept once opened.  If the product has a Use By date, this date should be followed even after opening.  For example, if the product is opened on the actual Use By date, it should not be kept past that date, even if the chart states 3-4 days after opening.

Refrigerator Storage of Processed Products Sealed at Plant

Processed Product

Unopened, After Purchase

After Opening

Cooked Poultry 3 to 4 days 3 to 4 days
Cooked Sausage 3 to 4 days 3 to 4 days
Sausage, Hard/Dry, shelf-stable 6 weeks/pantry 3 weeks
Corned Beef, uncooked, in pouch with pickling juices 5 to 7 days 3 to 4 days
Vacuum-packed Dinners, Commercial Brand with USDA seal 2 weeks 3 to 4 days
Bacon 2 weeks 7 days
Hot dogs 2 weeks 1 week
Luncheon meat 2 weeks 3 to 5 days
Ham, fully cooked 7 days slices, 3 days; whole, 7 days
Ham, canned, labeled “keep refrigerated” 9 months 3 to 4 days
Ham, canned, shelf stable 2 years/pantry 3 to 5 days
Canned Meat and Poultry, shelf stable 2 to 5 years/pantry 3 to 4 days


Refrigerator Storage of Fresh or Uncooked Products


Storage Times After Purchase

Poultry 1 or 2 days
Beef, Veal, Pork and Lamb 3 to 5 days
Ground Meat and Ground Poultry 1 or 2 days
Fresh Variety Meats (Liver, Tongue, Brain, Kidneys, Heart, Chitterlings) 1 or 2 days
Cured Ham, Cook-Before-Eating 5 to 7 days
Sausage from Pork, Beef or Turkey, Uncooked 1 or 2 days
Eggs 3 to 5 weeks

I hope this has provided you with some useful information in regards to those dates we see on packages as we are shopping.  They certainly are helpful tools, but truly do not imply the safety of the product.  We should always follow our Food Safety “Recipe for Success” to ensure we are following safe food handling practices.

Until next time – Eat Safe and Be Healthy!


Coborn’s, Inc, Food Safety & Nutrition Manager, Registered Dietitian

Click Here for more articles written by Kim - The Ktichen Detetive

Health Benefits of Soy

Health Benefits of Soy -

Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley.

The month of April celebrates soyfoods!  I know there is a lot of confusion out there about soy, that is why it is important to remember to get your information from a reputable source. Many of you have come to my classes and presentations and you know that I am constantly correcting those pockets of misinformation, so here is another one!  Here are some science based facts in an article about soy straight from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

“Soyfoods, such as soybeans, edamame, tofu and soymilk, have been important in Asian diets for at least 1,500 years. For example, people in Japan average1–1½ serving of soy products per day.” sums soy up simply by stating: “Soy, a versatile bean grown in many countries around the world. It is found in foods like soy milk, soy sauce, miso (soybean paste), tempeh (which is kind of like a soy cake), and tofu. Soy is also sometimes added to foods like breads, cereals, and meat products, and used as a meat substitute in vegetarian products such as soy burgers and soy hot dogs.

Foods that contain whole soy are a good source of protein for vegetarians and vegans because they provide all the amino acids — a type of nutrient — that people need to stay healthy. (People who eat meat get all their essential amino acids from animal products)”

What’s the difference between Soybeans and Edamame?

The difference between soybeans and edamame is in the level of maturity when the beans are harvested. Soybeans are mature, while edamame is harvested while the beans are still young and soft. You can make soybeans into products such as miso, soybean paste, tofu, soybean curd, tempeh or fermented soybeans; however, you can also eat soybeans on their own. Roasted soybeans are also called soy nuts, according to the University of Michigan. Edamame beans are less mature, sweeter soybeans that you eat when they are still green. Eat them for snacks, in stir-fry, salads or add them to chili.

National Soy Foods Month - Soy Swaps - www.cobornsblog.comSoy is very Nutritious.

One-half cup of cooked soybeans contains: 29% daily value (DV) of protein, 21% DV of fiber, 25% DV of iron, 14% DV of calcium, as well as at least 9% DV of 10 other essential vitamins and minerals. Soy protein is a plant protein with all 8 essential amino acids, making it equivalent to animal protein, thus a complete protein. In addition, soy is rich in health promoting bioactives, such as isoflavones, saponins, and phytosterols, as well as the omega-3 fatty acid ALA. These are the heart healthy fats, we should all be striving to get more of each and every day!

Isoflavones, the compounds in soy which have captured the attention of both researchers and the public, are phytoestrogens (plant estrogens). These phytoestrogens are the source of much confusion over soy safety. However, although they are similar in some ways to estrogen, they act very differently in the body than estrogen and may have a variety of positive effects on health. Isoflavones may have weak estrogen-like activity in some cases that are affected by estrogen hormones, but have no effect or opposite effects in other cases.

Soy for Men’s Health

There is no scientific evidence that soyfoods cause feminizing effects in men. Even though phytoestrogens are similar in structure to estrogen, they do not impact testosterone or estrogen levels in men, according to multiple research studies, and they do not affect sperm count, quality or motility.

Soy intake may help protect against prostate cancer. A meta-analysis of studies showed soy intake was linked to a 30% reduction in risk.

Soy for Women’s Health

Soy intake does not increase breast cancer risk; in fact it’s even safe for breast cancer survivors. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, the latest science shows soy consumption either has a slightly protective effect or no effect on breast cancer risk. Interestingly, studies show consuming soyfoods during childhood or adolescence may have a protective effect against breast cancer. Although more research needs to be conducted in this area, soy may help lessen hot flashes during menopause, according to a recent systematic review.

How Much Soy Can I Consume?

Studies show that soyfood intake of two to four servings a day is safe. A serving is: 1 cup soymilk or cultured soymilk “yogurt”; 1/2 cup cooked soybeans, edamame, tempeh or tofu; 1/3 cup soynuts; a soy rich nutrition bar, or a veggie burger.

One of the easiest ways to introduce soy into your diet is to drink soymilk, the only plant-based, lactose free, nutritionally comparable alternative to dairy with an average of 7 grams protein per serving. You can replace dairy milk with fortified soymilk as a beverage in cereal or coffee, or in recipes such as smoothies, baked goods, sauces and casseroles.

Be sure it is unsweetened so that it doesn’t contribute added sugars.

Soy Benefits

Eating soy may help protect against heart disease, the number one killer in the U.S. Soy foods, low in saturated fats and rich in fiber and other beneficial plant compounds, may modestly lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and work through other mechanisms to protect heart health, and provide an excellent alternative for other protein choices, such as red meat. Soy may be beneficial for athletic performance and recovery. Soy is not only rich in high-quality, complete protein that can help support muscle growth during training, it is rich in antioxidant compounds that may help reduce oxidative stress associated with exercise. Soy may help protect your bones. A recent study found that drinking fortified soymilk—which contains comparable amounts of calcium and vitamin D as dairy milk—is linked with bone protection.

Soft or Extra-Firm?

Try to include tofu as a meat replacement at least once a week; it’s excellent as a substitute for chopped chicken, ground beef, or cheese in a range of recipes. Tofu comes in a variety of textures, ranging from soft to extra firm. Use firm or extra firm tofu for slicing into stir-fries, casseroles, side-dishes or salads. If you’d like to puree tofu into dressings, fillings, dips or smoothies, try soft or silken tofu.”


© 2014 Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN) Contributed by: Sharon Palmer, RD

Click on this link for some fabulous soy recipes! Give it a shot, what do you have to lose?

Happy Cooking!


Peace and Wellness,

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