Yesterday it occurred to me that instead of continuing to write full length One Simple Change posts here every week (which I just don’t have time to do right now), I could occasionally just give you some informational “snippets” instead. So below are 5 random things I have learned while researching my book, and which I just think you should know about.

{Note that the “snippets list” is followed by directions for making home dried chile peppers. The chile peppers have absolutely nothing to do with One Simple Change but this is such an easy technique…it’s something else I just want you to know about! Plus, it’s a perfect (crazy easy) weekend project.}

1. You don’t have to give up coffee to be healthy. I learned from reading The Happiness Diet: A Nutritional Prescription for a Sharp Brain, Balanced Mood, and Lean, Energized Body (a GREAT book!) that a Finnish study linked coffee consumption to a decreased risk of dementia. Coffee has also been linked to a decreased risk of diabetes and heart disease. BUT: I think you should drink organic/fair-trade coffee (because it’s the right thing to do!) and you shouldn’t go overboard. Too much caffeine- especially in the afternoon and later- can negatively affect your sleep. Also: watch what you put in your coffee. White sugar isn’t good for you, and real cream is much healthier than fake creamers.

2. Drinking water with meals does not dilute your digestive enzymes. I’ve long thought this was the case, but there’s no science to back this fact up. So don’t worry about washing your food down with water…it’s just not a problem.

3. I mentioned the fact that cleaning exposed areas with soap right after being in the sun may interfere with vitamin D production in this post, and I wanted to tell you that this is definitely true. So it’s best to wash your “stinky areas” (sorry- I don’t know how else to describe them) with soap, but use just water to rinse your skin that was in the sun. I like to exercise outside in the sun sometimes so this one’s a bit tough for me…when I hop in the shower after, I have to consciously stop myself from soaping up all over.

4. Many of the nutrients in dark leafy greens are best absorbed when they are eaten along with healthy fats. Keep this in mind if you drink a lot of green smoothies that don’t have fat in them. Another thing: raw greens that contain oxalic acid (like spinach) can block calcium absorption…this is problematic if you’re putting high-oxalic greens in a yogurt-based smoothie. I sort of mentioned these points in my post on leafy greens but I felt they were worth mentioning again.

5. Don’t hold your pee. Seriously! I have to fess up that I do this all the time, but I am going to stop. If you don’t pee when the urge strikes, your bladder will stretch. Over time, it will no longer be able to empty fully, and this can lead to urinary tract infections. I didn’t know this…again, I am accustomed to holding my pee quite frequently because it just seems inconvenient to go sometimes. Obviously a little waiting is ok if you’re not near a bathroom, but why make yourself hold it if there’s really no reason to (like when your home office is across the hall from the loo…um, hello? Guilty as charged)? Along the same lines: if you have to cough or burp, go ahead and do it. Let it go, people…let it go! Thank you lovely Alana (who I chatted up in a porta potty line last weekend) for sharing this tip about not holding it in:)

I also want to mention here that I just learned about algae oil. It’s an vegan omega-3 supplement that a good alternative to fish oil for those who don’t eat fish (and who therefore won’t supplement with fish oil). I strongly suggest this if you are vegan…getting enough omega-3s is really important. Just putting it out there.

Now about these chile peppers.

I grew A LOT of chiles this year; I also purchased way more habaneros than I needed in order to make this recipe. Since there were a bunch of hot peppers just hanging out in my fridge (and essentially waiting to rot), I decided to dry them so they’d keep much longer.

What you see above is mostly habaneros, as well as some other chiles (I am not 100% sure what kind). To dry them, all I did was spread them on a baking sheet and stick them in a 150 degree F oven. I kept them there for a long time- more than 12 but less than 24 hours- until there was no trace of moisture and they were very brittle (the habaneros took longer to dry then the others, which I removed from the oven sooner).

When they were all done, I put some of the chiles into a glass jar for storage in the pantry, and I crumbled up a couple of the others for a homemade version of crushed red pepper. Not exactly red, I know, but it packs some serious heat!

For a more authentic version of crushed red peppers, I suggest using Serranos, and please wear gloves when you crush the dried peppers (in other words, don’t be like me). If you do end up doing this with very hot chiles (like habaneros), use the dried versions very sparingly…I certainly will.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Related Posts You Should Check Out:

My Chile Garlic Sauce
Homemade Crushed Red Pepper from FoodieBride
How to Dry Hot Peppers from My Kitchen Addiction

 

12 Comments

  1. 1

    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — September 21, 2012 @ 7:09 pm

    Yay, I have no plans to give up coffee (which I consume in moderation)! :) Your chile peppers look fabulous!

    • Winnie replied: — October 8th, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

      Thank you Laura! The crushed dried ones are crazy hot :)

  2. 2

    Janet — September 22, 2012 @ 8:33 am

    So years ago I read a Christiane Northrup article about how heeding your body’s cues is the simplest and most essential way to take care of yourself–meaning, pee when you have to pee, eat when you are hungry, drink when you are thirsty, and go to bed when you are tired (I am sure my mother wishes I would add, put a sweater on when you are cold). All of these sound so elementary, and yet I find I hardly do any of them. Even if we are not stretching our bladders (thank you, Alana–am scared straight now!), we are missing easy, daily opportunities to thank the old flesh and bones for making everything possible. Off to dry some peppers now (but stopping off to pee first!).

    • Winnie replied: — October 8th, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

      Wonderful…I adore Christiane Northrup and that is fantastic advice.

  3. 3

    gluttonforlife — September 22, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

    Winnie, you are such a font of useful information! Did you dry chiles when green? And did they turn red? I have been air-drying mine but was thinking about moving to the dehydrator…

    • Winnie replied: — October 8th, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

      I picked some green and some red, then dried them. How long does it take when you air dry them?

  4. 4

    Paula — September 22, 2012 @ 8:24 pm

    These snippets are wonderful! Good news about the coffee and good to know about the algae oil for a non fish eating like myself. I did not know about your bladder stretching over time if you hold your pee. At 57 I’m hoping it’s not too late. Thanks for confirming that info about vitamin D.

    • Winnie replied: — October 8th, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

      Hope it’s all helpful on some level Paula ;)

  5. 5

    Kris — September 25, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

    Great tips, as per usual. But I’m mostly writing to say thanks for the book suggestion. I just ordered it from the library. I’m looking forward to the read.

    • Winnie replied: — October 8th, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

      Let me know what you think!

  6. 6

    Catherine — September 25, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

    Hello, you have a wonderful site. I love these tips that you have shared. I do hope you visit soon. Blessings, Catherine

    • Winnie replied: — October 8th, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

      Thanks Catherine!