Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holiday Challenges - Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less

Are your well-meaning, food-sharing friends and colleagues sabotaging your efforts to eat less, move more and weigh less this holiday season? Here are 7 seven strategies for eating mindfully in the coming weeks:

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

ECA Centennial Photos

ECA (Extension Community Association) formerly known as Home Demonstration Clubs & Extension Homemakers recently celebrated their centennial.  We were wanting to share some of the photos from that special day.  Click HERE to see photos taken at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh.

For more information on ECA or how to become involved contact the Extension office at or (336) 372-5597.

Eat Smart, Move More Holiday Challenge

Worried holiday weight gain will weigh you down?

Join the Holiday Challenge to get FREE weekly e-Newsletters that will help you maintain your weight during the holidays. In this newsletter you will find healthy recipes, tips and information to help you successfully navigate the holiday season.
You don’t have to do it alone. Stay motivated and support one another. How you participant is up to you— follow along with other participants just like you on our blog, share your strategies on our Facebook page, connect for more tips on Twitter, and exchange holiday recipes on Pinterest.
The Holiday Challenge runs from November 25 through December 31.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Detox diets: Cleansing the body or possible health threat?

NOVEMBER 27, 2013
The almost inevitable overeating that occurs with the holidays often bring up the conversion of a detox. We need to get rid of all of the toxins that too much food and drink leave in our bodies right?
Hundreds of websites and books promote a number of detox routines. Many celebrities taught the benefits of detoxing. Detox diets promise everything from weight loss, sharper memory, to better health, lower cholesterol, fewer headaches, and/or general overall sense of well-being. Is this true? Do we need to detox on a regular basis for good health?

Advocates for detox diets fear that your body is constantly overloaded with toxins from pollution, cigarette smoke, pesticides, a poor diet, food additives, alcohol, drugs, and caffeine. The theory of detox is that these toxins build up in your system and cause a number of health problems such as weight gain, headaches, dull skin, bloating, fatigue, lowered immunity, and overall poor health.
There are a number of popular detox diets or routines. Some routines suggest the use of laxatives or herbal supplements while a regular diet is followed. Others prescribe a diet that is restrictive and usually very low in calories. Detox diets can vary widely.  Generally, fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, herbal teas, and water are allowed. Foods that are usually on the “do not consume” list during a detox diet are wheat, dairy, meat, fish, eggs, caffeine, alcohol, salt, sugar, and processed foods. One of the more famous detox diet is also the most restrictive. The Master Cleanse used by several A-list celebrities consists only of lemon, water, maple syrup and cayenne.
Like other fad diets, detox diets promise a quick fix to weight loss or years of consumption of unhealthy foods and unhealthy lifestyle choices. There is no scientific evidence to support the use of detox diets. Your body is equipped with a very sophisticated system to get rid of waste. Your liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, lungs, and skin do a great job of eliminating toxins. There is no evidence that detox diets or any other detox routine aids the body in elimination of toxins in any way.
Any benefits that you might see when on a detox diet can be explained. Fewer headaches and improvement in skin may be the result of being fully hydrated since all detox routines encourage the consumption of large volumes of water. Feeling less bloated may be due to the fact that limited food is consumed and laxatives or herbal supplements may increase elimination. Certainly, you may lose weight on a detox diet especially those that are most restrictive. Just as certain, the weight loss is primarily water and will be regained very quickly.
Some detox diets and routines can be dangerous. Severe restriction of calories and nutrients for more than a few days is not recommended. It should not be attempted at all by pregnant women, children, teenagers, seniors, or people with heart disease or other chronic conditions. Use of laxatives can cause dehydration. Colonic irrigation, which is suggested by some detox plans, is risky and can cause bowel perforation or infection. In addition, detox diets and routines may provide a false sense of security that they are advantageous for good health. Several days to detox and then right back to bad habits of eating poorly is not a prescription for overall well-being.
If the detox diet is not too restrictive and only consumed for a few days, there may be some benefits, although not the ones usually associated with detox. Detox diets do encourage fruit and vegetables consumption as well as drinking more water. In turn they discourage processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol. A moderate detox diet helps you to be more mindful of what you are eating. A quick fix for weight loss and overall health is not what you will get with detox. However, a few days of a moderate plan may help jump-start a new eating plan and help you be mindful of food choices.  There is no short cut to lifelong habits of good eating, physical activity, moderate alcohol use, and no tobacco.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

2014 Agripreneur Series to Begin January 16, 2014

Boone, North Carolina – Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture announces the 2014 Agripreneur (Agriculture Entrepreneurship) series beginning Thursdays in January 2014 from 6 to 8 pm. Attendees will receive business and marketing instruction specific to farm operations in this 4-part series. There is no cost to attend.

The Agriculture-Entrepreneurship Series provides education to entrepreneurs who want to begin a farming business and to farmers wanting to transform their farm into a thriving business.  The 4-part series includes real-world scenarios and hands-on activities. Each session features an education session, facilitated by Arlene Childers, Certified NC REAL trainer along with an agriculture expert guest speaker from the local farming community.  Registering for all four workshops is highly recommended.

Topics and guest speakers for the series are:
·         January 16 – Agriculture Entrepreneurship & Business Planning,
Guest speaker: Carol Coulter, Heritage Homestead
·         January 23 – Market Research and the Marketing Plan
Guest speaker: Hollis Wild, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project
·         January 30 – Business Operations,
Guest speaker: Holly Whitesides, Against the Grain Farm
·         February 6 – Business Financials,
Guest speaker: Barbara Smith, Farm Service Agency, Loan Officer

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute Small Business Center, Watauga County Cooperative Extension, the High Country Workforce Development Board, and Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture co-sponsor the series. Seating is limited, only two registrations per family. Register for workshops individually at Descriptions and speaker bios can be found at For more information contact Evelyn Asher at or 828-297-8121.

Holiday Food Safety Do's and Don'ts

Holiday food safety: don’t wear the turkey on your head and other tips

NOVEMBER 15, 2012
After a 2011 trip filled with turkey and Black Friday shopping, my parents are coming to visit Raleigh next week for their annual U.S. Thanksgiving vacation. Sure, Canada has its own festivities in October but there’s something different about the American celebration. A Thursday event, followed with three days of recovery and constant football has vaulted Thanksgiving to the top of my holiday list. Hopefully the food, sports and chasing around two little kids doesn’t kill my mom and dad; it might be too much excitement for them to handle.
A colleague and I came up with our top-5 tips for holiday food safety last year. To supplement the list we have updated the holiday food safety infosheets for 2012 and added a set of videos on thawing, turkey preparation, thermometer use and leftovers. These were recorded with  fantastic cooking show host, and a not-too-shabby chef, NC State’s news services Matt Shipman. Check out the sheets and the video below.