kris ulland

Your Nutrition Partner

Going “green” is a profitable business strategy.

Greenwashing (also called green sheen) refers to the act of portraying an organization’s product or services as environmentally friendly only for the sake of marketing. In truth, the product or service doesn’t have or has very little environmental benefits. In fact, they may be operating in damaging ways to the environment while making the opposite claim.

An example of greenwashing is the oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil when they indicated that they were reducing greenhouse gas emissions while they were actually increasing. It was a blip on the news channels.

Volkswagen released an ad campaign to debunk the fact that diesel was bad and that it used a technology where it emitted fewer pollutants.

Later, the truth was revealed that Volkswagen had rigged 11 million of its diesel cars with “defeat devices,” or technology designed to cheat emissions tests and that the vehicles emitted pollutants at levels up to 40 times the U.S. limit. Federal agencies made the company pay $14.7 billion to settle the allegations of cheating emissions tests and deceptive advertising.

Greenwashing is, in fact, harmful to public health as well as environment. In 2008, the Malaysia Palm Oil Council had a TV commercial which portraying itself as eco-friendly. However, critics soon pointed out that palm oil plantations are closely linked to rainforest species extinction, habitat loss, pollution, and other negative effects. The ad was then identified in violation of advertising standards.

Check personal and house cleaning supplies. Don’t be duped by images of leaves or animals. In truth, genuinely eco-friendly products use simpler images and plain packaging. I have the EWG’s app Healthy Living on my phone. It rates more than 120,000 food and personal care products, including most cleaning supplies.

Unfortunately, no one is monitoring companies and many products are labelled “Certified”, “100% organic”, etc. without any supportive information to prove the same. There is a good chance that these labels are self-created and self-declared. Read the labels. You are looking for words like fragrance (Mrs.Meyer’s cleaning products all have too much and all fall into the dangerous zone.). More ingredients to avoid:

  • Phthalates are found in many fragranced household products, such as air fresheners, dish soap, even toilet paper.
  • Perchloroethylene or “PERC” – this is a neurotoxin found in dry-cleaning solutions, spot removers, and carpet and upholstery cleaners
  • Triclosan is found in most liquid dishwashing detergents and hand soaps labeled “antibacterial.”
  • Quarternary Ammonium Compounds, or “QUATS” is a skin irritant found in fabric softener liquids and sheets, most household cleaners labeled “antibacterial.”
  • 2-Butoxyethanol gives a sweet smell to window, kitchen and multipurpose cleaners.
  • Ammonia doesn’t leave streaks when it evaporates, so it is found in polishing agents for bathroom fixtures, sinks and jewelry, and in glass cleaner.
  • Chlorine is in many cleaning products. Scouring powders, toilet bowl cleaners, mildew removers, laundry whiteners, household tap water. You will get exposed through fumes and possibly through skin when you clean with it, and because it’s also in city water to get rid of bacteria, you’re also getting exposed when you take a shower or bath. The health risks from chlorine can be acute, and they can be chronic. It’s a respiratory irritant at an acute level. But the chronic effects are what people don’t realize: It may be a serious thyroid disrupter.
  • Sodium Hydroxide is found in oven cleaners and drain openers

None of the listed ingredients above are safe but can be found in “green” products!

“Health-washing” is when a food company adds synthetic and processed additives to food to make it appear healthier and more nutrient dense than it actually is. Food companies will also add specific labels to the packaging to imply a product is healthier than it actually is.

Researchers questioned participants in a recent survey about their health perceptions of vitamin-fortified food.

“When the snack food carried a nutrient claim for vitamin fortification, participants were:

1) less likely to look for nutrition information on the Nutrition Facts label
2) more likely to select the product for purchase
3) more likely to perceive the product as healthier
4) less likely to correctly choose the healthier product.”

We are highly susceptible to marketing. In fact, the name of the study I just mentioned was “Vitamin-Fortified Snack Food May Lead Consumers to Make Poor Dietary Decisions.” That pretty much says it all – we are lured into choosing foods that don’t support our health because we believe what’s on the package.

Food brands health wash their products by adding synthetic vitamins and minerals to artificially pump up the nutrient content. 8Greens tells you it’s got “As much Vitamin C as 6 Oranges”… “As much Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) as 15 cups of Broccoli”… and “As much Vitamin B6 as 6 cups of Spinach”… but actually these nutrients in 8Greens are NOT coming from oranges, broccoli, or spinach. 8Greens adds in synthetic vitamins (i.e. artificial vitamins) that are made in a laboratory. In response to questions from Vani Hari, a food investigator,  the team at 8Greens wrote, “The eight greens themselves (spinach, wheatgrass, kale, blue green algae, spirulina, chlorella, barley grass and aloe vera) naturally contain vitamins, but we have added extra vitamins to make sure that 8Greens is a more effective supplement. These are those extra vitamins and minerals that you see added to our formula and listed on the nutrition label. These extra vitamins on the label are synthetic… Any naturally occurring vitamins are not listed and such breakdown isn’t available however our green proprietary blend is 686 mg per tablet.” – 8Greens Customer Support (June 2019)

The packaging says it is made from real greens but the majority is coming from synthetic vitamins and the synthetic vitamins are NOT healthy. They are created from questionable sources like coal tar, petroleum and GMOs. Lab-created vitamins differ from their natural counterpart, and are absorbed less by your body. Vitamins that you get from whole food and supplements with vitamins derived naturally from whole foods still contain cofactors that aid in absorption and bioavailability – enzymes, bioflavonoids, minerals, etc. Real food and natural vitamins are always best.

Another thing food companies do is add probiotics to unhealthy sugary food. It is widely known that sugar destroys good gut bacteria. The FDA doesn’t regulate how much probiotics are added and probiotics are fragile. Cooking will inevitably destroy whatever has been added.

Or, food companies say their product contains healthy fruit when it actually doesn’t…

Clif Bar Organic ZFruit Strawberry Snack is made with ZERO strawberries. This is a product designed for kids.

To make ZFruit, they use heavily processed apple “concentrates” and flavor it to taste like strawberries because it’s cheaper to produce. People also think it’s a healthy snack for their child because it is “Organic” – but in reality – it’s heavily processed, full of sugar, and hardly has any nutrient value.
Apple concentrates are not the same as whole apples. To make a concentrate, fruit puree or juice is heated into a syrup, which makes them higher in sugar, lower in fiber, and lower in nutrients than whole fruit. According to Vasanti Malik, a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, people should view fruit concentrate as an added sugar, similar to high-fructose corn syrup.
This Clif Bar ZFruit (made with apple puree concentrate and juice concentrate) contains 14 grams of sugar and less than 1 gram of fiber. They add in synthetic Vitamin C (ascorbic acid). If you were to eat 1⁄2 cup real strawberries instead, you’d eat only 4 grams of sugar with about 2 grams of fiber – and lots of valuable vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients. This is why whole fruit is better for you! (Remember that fiber slows down the absorption of the sugar.)
Food companies add processed fibers to increase the fiber content. Sara Lee and BFree say their products are good sources of fiber, but they add cellulose to artificially pump up the fiber content. The type of cellulose that food companies typically use is made from wood. Cellulose is much cheaper to obtain from wood than fruits and vegetables, and is manipulated in a laboratory to form different structures (liquid, powder, etc) depending upon the food product it is used in. According to the Center For Science In The Public Interest, cellulose is a cheap way to boost the fiber content on food labels. Wood fiber is not as healthy as fiber that comes from natural foods. Recent research links this additive to weight gain, inflammation and digestive problems. Get your fiber from whole grains, fruits and veggies instead!

Persimmon

Persimmons are native to China. This bright orange colored fruit looks like a tomato, but is more like a berry with thin skin. It is also known as the “Apple of the Orient” and belongs to the Ebenaceae family. Though persimmons are small in size, they are packed with an impressive amount of nutrients.

Some say the persimmon has a pumpkin flavor mixed with allspice and cinnamon. They are sweet and very juicy.

The word persimmon is derived from the Algonquin Native American word for “a dry fruit”. They grow to about the size of a large plum, less than half the size of most small Asian persimmons.

In the western hemisphere, the word persimmon is used interchangeably to denote both the fruit native to North America and the fruit native to Asia.

American persimmons are preferred for preserves and cooking and never eaten raw. Asian persimmons such as the Fuyu and Hachiya are eaten raw or cooked and are usually dried in Asia.

One persimmon contains:

  • Calories: 118
  • Carbs: 31 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: 0.3 grams
  • Fiber: 6 grams
  • Vitamin A: 55% of the RDI
  • Vitamin C: 22% of the RDI
  • Vitamin E: 6% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 5% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): 8% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 8% of the RDI
  • Copper: 9% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 30% of the RDI

Persimmons are also a good source of thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), folate, magnesium and phosphorus. Just one persimmon contains over half the recommended intake of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin critical for immune function, vision and fetal development.

Aside from vitamins and minerals, persimmons contain a wide array of plant compounds, including tannins, flavonoids and carotenoids.The leaves of the persimmon fruit are also high in vitamin C, tannins and fiber, as well as a common ingredient in therapeutic teas.

Diets high in flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants found in high concentrations in the skin and flesh of persimmons, have been linked to lower rates of heart disease, age-related mental decline and lung cancer. A study in over 98,000 people found those with the highest intake of flavonoids had 18% fewer deaths from heart-related issues, compared to those with the lowest intake. Diets high in flavonoid-rich foods can support heart health by lowering blood pressure, reducing “bad” LDL cholesterol and decreasing inflammation.

Persimmons are also rich in carotenoid antioxidants like beta-carotene, a pigment found in many brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Studies have linked diets high in beta-carotene to a lower risk of heart disease, lung cancer, colorectal cancer and metabolic disease. Additionally, a study in over 37,000 people found that those with a high dietary intake of beta-carotene had a significantly reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Tannins that give unripe persimmons their mouth-puckering bitterness may lower blood pressure. Many animal studies have shown that tannic acid and gallic acid, both found in persimmons, are effective at lowering high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease.

Persimmons are an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin C. In fact, one persimmon contains 20% of the recommended daily intake. Vitamin C helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and combats inflammation in the body. Vitamin C reduces free radical damage by donating an electron to these unstable molecules, thus neutralizing them and preventing them from causing further harm.

C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 are substances produced by the body in reaction to inflammation. An eight-week study in 64 obese people found that supplementing with 500 mg of vitamin C twice daily significantly reduced levels of C-reactive protein and interleukin-6.

Persimmons also contain carotenoids and vitamin E, both of which are potent antioxidants that fight inflammation in the body.

Persimmons are a high-fiber fruit that has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels. One study found that adults who consumed cookie bars (!) containing persimmon fiber three times a day for 12 weeks experienced a significant decrease in LDL cholesterol, compared to those who ate bars that did not contain persimmon fiber. Fiber is also important for regular bowel movements and can help reduce high blood sugar levels.

Soluble fiber-rich foods like persimmons slow carbohydrate digestion and sugar absorption, which helps prevent blood sugar spikes. A study with 117 people with diabetes showed that increased consumption of soluble dietary fiber led to significant improvements in blood sugar levels.

Persimmons provide lots of vitamin A and antioxidants that are critical for eye health. One persimmon delivers 55% of the recommended intake of vitamin A. Vitamin A supports the functioning of the conjunctival membranes and cornea. Vitamin A is an essential component of rhodopsin, a protein necessary for normal vision. Persimmons also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoid antioxidants that promote healthy vision. These substances are found in high levels in the retina, a light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of the eye.

Diets rich in lutein and zeaxanthin may reduce the risk of certain eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration, a disease that impacts the retina and can cause vision loss. In fact, a study in over 100,000 people found that those who consumed the highest amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin had a 40% lower risk of developing age-related macular degeneration than those who consumed the least amounts.

How to Buy

Persimmons mature through the summer but are not ready for harvest until late fall. They reach their peak after all of the leaves on the persimmon tree have fallen. The first frost is said to heighten the persimmon’s sweetness.

There are more than 50 common varieties of persimmons, but there are two that you can probably find in your market: the Fuyu and the Hachiya.

The Fuyu and Hachiya are known as Asian or Japanese persimmons. In Japan, China, and Korea they are called kaki fruit. Kaki fruit originated in China. Today the kaki is the national fruit of Japan and the traditional fruit of the Japanese New Year.

 

 

The Fuyu has a sweet, mildly spicy flavor and can be eaten either firm or soft. The Fuyu is a squat almost squarish-shaped fruit. From a distance, it might be mistaken for a late-harvested tomato. The Fuyu’s flesh is reddish-yellow and it contains no tannins, an important point if you have ever bitten into the Hachiya which does contain tannins and is very astringent unripe.

A ripe Hachiya has a tangy-sweet flavor and will be pudding soft. It can not be eaten firm like the Fuyu. An unripe Hachiya will have a yellowish-orange skin, be hard, highly astringent and inedible. The Hachiya has an elongated heart shape to 4 or more inches long and 2½ to 3 inches across. It can commonly be half again larger than the Fuyu. The Hachiya has a bright orange flesh and skin when ripe.

Persimmon trees can grow as tall as 50 feet but most grow much smaller, usually to 15 feet. The persimmon’s oval, glossy dark green leaves turn a rich golden-yellow color in the fall. The entire persimmon fruit is edible except for the seeds and the four papery leaves or calyx at the stem end of the fruit.

Select persimmons that are plump and smooth with glossy bright color. The Hachiya is ripe and ready for eating when it is squishy-soft. The flat, tomato-shaped Fuyu is ready for eating when it is still firm. Choose persimmons that are bright orange or red. Persimmons mature from green to yellow to orange and red. Avoid persimmons with yellow patches.

 

How to Store

Ripe persimmons are best eaten immediately but can be refrigerated for 1 or 2 days. Unripe persimmons will keep in the refrigerator for up to one month. Keep refrigerated persimmons unwashed in the crisper drawer.

Hachiya-type persimmons can be placed in a single layer on a baking sheet and frozen until solid. Then store them in the freeze in air tight containers.

Persimmon purée can be frozen for up to 6 months. Stir 1½ teaspoon lemon juice into each cup of purée before freezing. Thaw at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Persimmons can be dried and eaten like figs or dates. Set persimmon slices on a tray and allow them to dry in a cool, shaded spot for two weeks.

 

How to Cook

A ripe persimmon can be enjoyed as a dinner starter or as a dessert. It can be eaten out of hand like an apple or puréed and used in baked goods, puddings, and all types of desserts.

Wash persimmons gently before eating. Core and discard seeds.

Crisp, unpeeled persimmons can be used in cooking like apples. Purée softer persimmons for use in baking.

Cut Fuyu-type persimmons into ½-inch wedges, discard the seeds and sauté until hot and tender (3 to 5 minutes).

Asian persimmons can be eaten raw or cooked like an apple.

  • Cut the fruit in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon like a melon.
  • Slice or dice the firm Fuyu and serve in winter salads or compotes.
  • Eat the Fuyu out of hand like an apple.
  • Use the Hachiya puréed as a topping for sorbets, ices cream, yogurts, custards, steamed pudding, cookies, cakes, quick breads and crêpes.
  • Soft persimmon can be served with coconut cream or milk.
  • Drizzle persimmon slices with orange-flavored liqueur.
  • Add mashed Hachiyas to pancake or waffle batter.

Persimmons have a flavor affinity for almonds, apple, brandy, cinnamon, ginger, grapes, hazelnuts, ice cream, kiwi, lemon, lime, orange, pine nuts, pomegranate, walnuts, and non-dairy yogurt.

Here are some other ways to add persimmons to your diet:

  • Top your morning yogurt or oatmeal with fresh or cooked persimmon for a burst of natural sweetness.
  • Roast persimmons in the oven and drizzle with coconut nectar or maple syrup for a tasty and healthy dessert.
  • Mix dried or fresh persimmon into muffin, bread or cake mix.
  • Combine with berries and citrus fruits for a delicious fruit salad.
  • Throw frozen persimmons into your favorite smoothie recipe for extra nutrients.
  • Slice and dry persimmons in the oven to make natural fruit strips.

Waldorf Salad with Persimmon and Asian Pear

Adapted from Cathy Barrow / Nutritionicity: Food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Serves 8

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked (1 cup before soaking)
  • 1/2 cup plant-based milk (non-sweetened)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt finely ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard (not powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder – optional

Salad

  • 2 cups chopped crisp sweet red apple (about 1/4 inch pieces Pink Lady or Fuji)
  • 2 Asian pears, cored, halved and sliced 1/4 in thick
  • 4 Fuyu persimmons, cut into wedges
  • 2 ruby red grapefruit, peeled, seeded and sectioned – optional
  • 6 red radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (walnuts can be substituted)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup diced celery (1/8 to 1/4 inch pieces)
  • Boston or green leaf lettuce for serving

Instructions

Dressing

  • 1) Soak cashews in 1 1/4 cups very hot water overnight or for at least a couple of hours. Cashews should be soft and tender. Rinse and drain.
  • 2) Add soaked cashews and remaining dressing ingredients to blender or food processor. Pulse a few times to break down nuts then blend on high speed, stopping periodically to scrape sides.

Salad

  • 1) Core and chop apple. Add to medium mixing bowl. Bathe apple in 2 tablespoons lemon juice. This must be done immediately to prevent apple from browning.
  • 2) Chop pears, persimmons, grapefruit, celery, and nuts and add to bowl containing apple. Stir to blend ingredients.
  • 3) Dollop salad mixture with 1/2 cup of dressing and stir gently until evenly mixed. If a more heavily dressed salad is desired add more dressing at this point. Optionally reserve some dressing to add to salad after chilling.
  • 4) Salad may be eaten immediately but is best when chilled (about an hour). After chilling add more dressing and serve on a bed of greens such as Boston or green leaf lettuce. Store in refrigerator for 2 or 3 days.

Resources

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https://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/08/11/exxonmobil-takes-olympic-gold-deceitful-advertising
https://foodbabe.com/are-you-a-victim-of-healthwashing-find-out-the-ways-food-companies-trick-you/
https://www.meghantelpner.com/blog/healthwashing/
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2212267216312151
https://foodbabe.com/ingredients-to-avoid/
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/volkswagen-emissions-scandal-forty-years-of-greenwashing-the-well-travelled-road-taken-by-vw-10516209.html
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/sugar-keeps-good-microbes-at-bay/
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https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1542356518300843
https://foodbabe.com/are-you-eating-this-substance-that-lines-food-industry-pockets/
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https://cspinet.org/eating-healthy/chemical-cuisine#cellulose
https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/11-benefits-persimmons/
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https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4120831/

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