What We’re Thankful For. Now More Than Ever

What We’re Thankful For. Now More Than Ever

 

Pausing to Give Thanks
 
As we approach a Thanksgiving that may look very different, in a year that has been unprecedented, to say the least, we wanted to just take one moment to give thanks for a few of the things that make us who we are and that never get enough credit. 
 
Tomatoes: AKA “Love Apples”
 
Tomatoes are the magical and unique fruit *(vegetable?) that combine POWERHOUSE nutrition, with eloquent and unique umami flavors. Nothing else packs as big of a nutrition punch, while also being so wildly beloved and delicious. We are so thankful that these red beauties are such an easy way for families to feed their kids healthy, affordable and delicious dishes.
 
We take a lot of pride in working with the best-registered dietitians in the world, and nothing is as cool as bringing them out to the tomato fields and watching them experience the harvest for themselves in person. We couldn’t do that this year, but here’s a sweet summary from the great Leslie Schilling RD. We really count on these nutrition experts to help spread the message about not only the simple process from field to sealed, but also the truth about canned tomatoes. (This story from our buddy Toby Amidor, RD) 
 
Dietitians 
 
Here’s a fun virtual tour video that’s hosted by another of our favorite dietitians, Manuel Villacorta. He came along on a harvest tour, and also breaks down the major nutritional benefits to canned and jarred tomato products.
 
Cans and Jars: Seasonal Time Capsules
 
We hope you already know this, but just a reminder: tomatoes are actually grown in the summertime. That’s when they’re at their best. To capture those summer flavors you have to wait until they’re at their red ripe peak! Often people are surprised to learn that the freshest, ripest and most flavorful tomatoes you’re going to get all year long come from cans and jars. That’s because they’re picked at that peak and sealed within hours, locking in all that flavor and nutrition.
 
This pandemic has brought about a bit of a renaissance for canned foods, as people quickly realized that if the supply chain was in doubt, or if we’re trying not to go to the store as often, these shelf stable and affordable cans and jars are a life saver to keep our families healthy and happy. While it’s a nice reminder, we like to clarify, this wasn’t a comeback. Cans and jars have been there for you for hundreds of years.
 

Fun Fact: You can actually thank Napoleon for the invention of canned foods:
 
Napoleon offered 12,000 francs to improve upon the prevailing food preservation methods of the time. Not surprisingly, the purpose was to better feed his army “when an invaded country was not able or inclined to sell or provide food”. Fifteen years later, confectioner Nicolas François Appert claimed the prize. He devised a method involving heating, boiling and sealing food in airtight glass jars — the same basic technology still used to can foods.
 
Restaurants 
 
Every industry has been hit by 2020’s wild ride, but few as harshly as the hospitality industry. We all love restaurants because they feed us, and are where we celebrate so many of life’s milestones. Another thing we all learned very quickly through this pandemic is how much they really are an economic driver in our communities. Not only do they support so many jobs, but they are the end of the supply chain from the many food companies, canneries and plants, all the way back to the farmers. If there are no restaurants, everything gets backed up and we saw many farmers losing their crops. For all these reasons and more, we encourage everyone, safely, however they’re able, to remember to support restaurants. Everywhere is different right now, but if you can safely enjoy, or carry out, delivery or even buying gift certificates to save for the future, every bit helps. #SaveRestaurants
 
Even though people often think about Thanksgiving being a home-cooked feast, this year might look a lot different. Many restaurants are offering premade Thanksgiving feasts to go. Or if you are going the traditional route of cooking up a huge feast, maybe take a few days before and after to get carry out and take a break from the kitchen. 
 
Final Inspiration 

If you’re still figuring out some Thanksgiving sides, or just want to try some new healthy variations on classics, check out a few of our favorites from our buddy, and registered dietitian Sharon Palmer. 

 
 
 
 

Stay healthy. Stay safe.

We are thankful for you.

How Tomatoes Help Fight Prostate Cancer

How Tomatoes Help Fight Prostate Cancer

It’s Movember, which means it’s time to get serious about men’s health. One of the most pressing health issues for men is prostate cancer, with more than 1.3 million men diagnosed each year. Use this month as motivation to take preventative steps to reduce your risk of getting prostate cancer, including getting screened at age 50, and following a healthy and balanced lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and veggies contain fiber and antioxidants that have been shown to help fight cancer and keep you healthy. One of the most potent antioxidants out there is called lycopene, which is the powerful pigment responsible for giving tomatoes their bright red color. According to several scientific studies, people who consume more tomato products have a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer, likely due to the powerful combination of lycopene, vitamin A, and vitamin C that occurs naturally in tomatoes.

While fresh tomatoes are relatively high in lycopene, the compound becomes more bioavailable as tomatoes are cooked, meaning your body can absorb more and take advantage of its anti-cancer properties. Why is this? Heat changes the structure of the lycopene molecule, making it easier for the body to take in, and helps break down cell walls, which frees lycopene and allows it to be absorbed.  A recent study found that men who ate cooked tomatoes five to six times per week had a 28% decreased risk of developing prostate cancer versus those who didn’t. Eating tomato products such as tomato sauce, tomato juice, tomato soup, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and salsa is a great way to ensure you are getting in plenty of cancer-fighting lycopene.

How exactly does lycopene exert its cancer-fighting powers? Scientists have proposed several possible methods, including stopping the growth of cancerous cells in the prostate, controlling proteins that suppress tumors, and preventing damage to DNA that can have lasting impacts on the body. While lycopene is powerful on its own, tomatoes contain other anti-carcinogenic compounds, like vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber. That’s why you’re better off getting lycopene from dietary sources like tomatoes, rather than from a supplement.  

In addition to cooking, adding a little bit of oil to your tomatoes can boost your ability to absorb lycopene even more. This is because lycopene is a fat-soluble compound, and the fat in oil helps lycopene get broken down to a form usable by the body. A serving of whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce and a side salad with olive oil and vinegar is the perfect prostate-cancer-preventing meal!

It’s so important for men to be aware of the most common conditions that can threaten health, both in Movember and beyond. Prostate cancer is a frightening possibility, but early detection and prevention is key in reducing your risk. Along with screenings and a healthy diet and exercise plan, incorporating cooked tomato products into your meals several times a week is an excellent way to make sure you are maximizing your dose of cancer-fighting lycopene.

To help raise awareness for Movember, we have partnered up with award-winning dietitian Sharon Palmer to host a giveaway to aid you on a plant-based diet journey. This giveaway features Sharon’s book, Plant-Powered for Life, which has 52 weeks’ worth of plant-based (vegan) recipes, as well as a cast iron skillet to cook all of your tomato-centric meals. The giveaway runs from November 9-23, so you can enter on our Instagram here.

 

 

In addition to the giveaway, we are also doing specialized merchandise this month to raise awareness. From shirts to tote bags, you’re sure to love our new Legalize Marinara merch. Get your SWAG today and help us rep Movember!