Thursday, December 5, 2013


When I was in high school, my mom started serving me and my sister fresh squeezed orange juice when she came in to wake us up in the mornings. We lived north of Chicago, so it's not like we had an orange tree growing outside the back door. It took some effort on her part.

Often I would wake to the little rumbly noise of the electric juicer as she pressed the orange halves onto the rotating cone. I have a keen memory of her walking in and setting the juice glass on the blue dresser my dad had painted for me. She'd walk across the room and open my drapes and say something cheerful like, "It's a beautiful day for school!" which was equal parts nice and obnoxious.

This was back in the early 70's when Anita Bryant was on TV (before she came out as a gay hater) telling us "that a day without orange juice is like a day without sunshine" and, amazingly, that we could drink it for "just pennies a glass."

My mom could've made her own healthy commercials. She was always telling us to eat a piece of fruit when we asked for something sweet. She knew that refined sugar was a monster and she always hid the cookies. She believed in fruit salad, sunshine, and fresh air. Unfortunately none of that saved her. She was obese by today's standards, she had type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and she died of breast cancer at the age of 60. And yet, she was right-on about that orange juice. I'm just not sure she drank it herself.

What my mom didn't know, because it's relatively new information, is that body fat can become inflamed and that orange juice can reverse that inflammation. I just learned this recently watching a 3 minute video clip accompanying  an article at by Moises Valesquez-Manoff wherein he watches a woman eat a 900 calorie McDonald's meal followed by lots of fresh orange juice for researcher Dr. Paresh Dandona who draws the woman's blood for the next five hours.  Dandona has shown in a number of experiments that FRESH orange juice can prevent the inflammation ordinarily caused by high fat, high carbohydrate processed foods.

Cool, right?

Of course, the take-away here is that we shouldn't be eating foods that inflame our fat, and we should definitely be trying to get rid of that fat. However, tis the season, and we probably won't be worrying as much about that as we should over the next few weeks. I, for one, hate to be a Debbie Downer when someone offers me treats for the holidays, particularly homemade ones. BUT I think a treat that's also festive and often very appreciated is a basket or crate of oranges. I particularly like the little crates of mandarin oranges that are in all the grocery stores this time of year. They're good for bringing to a party, to set out at the office, or to give the teachers on the list. Nobody has to know their medicinal purposes.

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1 comment:

  1. Good-quality cheese, seafood, nuts and chocolates bring much taste and enjoyment to the palate, while cheap crackers, pastries and crisps do not.

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