Category: July 2018

Add More Plants to your Plate!

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages increased consumption of plants — whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds — and reduced consumption of solid and added fats, added sugars, and refined grains. However, people are not eating nearly as much plant food as is recommended. Only 19% of Kansas adults eat enough fruits and vegetables. Don’t let a busy schedule keep you from choosing healthful foods. Instead, turn to a diet with more plants, one that is full of flavor and nutrients, low in calories, and very satisfying.

Benefits of Consuming More Plants

  • Weight control: Weight gain is generally correlated with high daily calorie intake without nutrient-dense foods full of dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole-grain foods typically provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories, compared to other types of foods. Putting more of these kinds of plants on the plate makes it easier to manage appetite and maintain body weight.
  • High dietary fiber: Only plant foods contain fiber. Dietary fiber is a complex form of carbohydrate. Several decades of studies have confirmed the health benefits of eating a fiber-rich diet. Specifically, diets rich in foods containing fiber — such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains — may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and improve regularity. A healthy elimination system allows bodies to get rid of toxins. Beans and legumes contain more dietary fiber than almost any other food, so they are an integral and versatile part of a balanced diet. The dietary fiber in legumes is both soluble, which is especially useful in helping control cholesterol levels to lower heart disease risk, and insoluble, which improves regularity. Beans are also filling, so they help promote weight management by satisfying hunger.
  • Chronic disease management: Consuming a diet featuring more plants is good for your health, today and tomorrow. Complex carbohydrates are easy to digest, and the antioxidants in plants help strengthen your body’s immune system. Many people with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and various autoimmune diseases have been able to alleviate their symptoms by eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and consuming fewer solid and added fats, added sugars, and refined grains.

Adopting a more plant-based diet requires a change in thinking. It is not easy to change eating habit.  But gradually, as more vegetables, fruits, and grains and legumes are added to your daily menu, you will discover how “real food” looks, smells, and tastes.

For more information about adding more plants to your plate, please view our K-State Research and Extension publication MF2977, which is the source of this information.

By:  Ashley Svaty

Have You Seen Slime Mold?

Slime molds are common on turf and mulch and sometimes on tree trunks. Slime molds are not fungi and are no longer classified as such. They belong to the Kingdom Protista rather than Kingdom Fungi. On turf, you might see large numbers of small gray, white or purple fruiting structures, called sporangia on leaf blades during cool and humid weather throughout spring, summer, and fall. Affected areas are often several inches to 1 foot in diameter. During wet weather, the fruiting structures may appear slimy. As the structures dry out in hot weather, they become ash gray and break up easily when touched.

Homeowners often are concerned that this is a disease organism that will kill the grass, but slime mold feeds on bacteria, other fungi, and dead organic matter. It simply uses the turf as a structure on which to grow. However, slime mold can damage turf by completely covering leaf blades and interfering with photosynthesis. Chemical control of slime molds is not necessary. Use a broom or a heavy spray of water to dislodge the mold.

Slime molds on mulch often attract attention because of their bright colors and disgusting appearance. Common names are often quite descriptive. For example, the “dog vomit” slime mold is a bright, whitish color that resembles its namesake. It eventually turns brown and then into a hard, white mass. Slime molds do not hurt anything, but most people do not find them attractive and want to get rid of them. Simply use a shovel to discard the offensive organism and then stir up the mulch for aeration.

By: Cassie Homan

Your Reusable Water Bottle – Keep it Clean!

If you fill a water bottle and carry your healthy drink along with you, congrats! But it is important to keep your reusable bottle clean or you could actually make yourself sick. Here are some key points to good clean (healthy) drinking!

  • Wash and disinfect your water bottle at least every few days, if not more often. It’s simple – just add a few drops of dish soap to your water bottle, fill about half full with warm water, screw on the top and shake! Rinse the bottle thoroughly and leave open to air dry.
  • If your bottle is in need of deeper cleaning (think – to remove an odor?) after you wash with soap and water, use a vinegar soak of 1/5 white vinegar and 4/5 water. Let it sit in the bottle overnight, then rinse thoroughly with water in the morning.
  • Disposable plastic bottles aren’t made to be used more than once. By washing and reusing a single-use bottle, you may begin to breakdown the plastic and expose yourself to harmful chemicals.

By:  Ashley Svaty