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  Index to more 10 Commandments 

... for including fruit in your diet.

  1. Humans, like bears, are omnivores.  This means we need to eat a varied diet and will eat almost anything.  Fruit and/or fruit juices should not be consumed as a major portion of a diet, but in moderation as a natural and healthy way to eat.
     
  2. Select fruit carefully; check the bottoms of prepackaged fruit to make sure there's no juice leakage.  Grapes should be uniformly colored around the stem.  A whitish color there means that they are starting to deteriorate.  Citrus should have a little give, but no shrinkage.  Apples should have flawless skin with no bumps or bruises.  Plums, peaches, nectarines, cantaloupe, kiwi and similar fruits should have a little "give" when gently squeezed.  Do the produce manager a favor and "squeeze" gently with the flat of your hand or between your palms; don't use fingertips which can bruise fruit - both what you buy and what you leave for another unsuspecting customer.
     
  3. Fruits are best when harvested nearly ripe, but this is rarely the case in supermarkets.  Remember that if you refrigerate an unripe piece of fruit, it may eventually get soft enough to eat but it will NEVER ripen.  Hasten the process by placing fruit in a closed paper bag at room temperature; check daily.  For quicker ripening, include a banana or apple in the bag - they give off a gas that hastens the maturing process.  Refrigerate ripe fruit immediately, except for bananas.  Ripe bananas should either be eaten right away, or cut into thick slices, mixed with a tiny bit of lemon juice, and laid out on a wax-paper covered tray or plate in the freezer.  When frozen solid, bag up for use in smoothies or cooking.  Or put them out on a tree branch for the birds and squirrels.
     
  4. Most fruits are better off stored without being washed; do it just before eating.  They have a natural protective coating that needs to stay on until you're ready to use them.  Washing with a veggie wash at that time increases the removal of germs and chemicals.  Remove stems and blossom ends just before serving, which may retain pesticides or funguses. 
     
  5. Whole fruit is healthier than fruit juice.  The moment that juice is made, it begins to deteriorate, whether frozen, canned, pasteurized or consumed fresh.  In addition, whole fruit has fiber and usually some other healthy ingredients not found in juice.  Even dried fruit is healthier in many ways that fruit juice.  This doesn't mean that you shouldn't drink fruit juice!  Just in moderation, and don't overlook whole fruit, which is more satisfying anyway during the chewing and digesting process.
     
  6. While fruit or juice is a quick pick-up, it usually has too much sugar to be healthy all by itself on a regular basis.  Eat fruit or drink juice with a harder-to-digest snack for healthier results - a few nuts, some yogurt, cottage cheese or low fat cheese, some baked beans, or healthy soup or sandwich... anything to slow down the digestion of the sugars in the fruit.  Eating this way inhibits the rise in blood sugar to less than healthy level, and prevents a sudden demand for insulin, which many experts believe tends to eventually lead to type II diabetes.
     
  7. Fruit punch, ades, "fruity" foods, fruit ice cream, etc. are not fruit.  They may contain a bit of fruit - or not.  They may have natural fruit flavors, fruit concentrates, or some small percentage of processed fruit juice.  Steer clear - they are a waste of money and often are harmful to one's overall health. 
     
  8. Almost all fruit is high in sugar and acid, and some are sticky as well, or have fibers that get stuck between teeth.  This can be hard on one's tooth enamel.   After a fruit or juice snack, one should brush one's teeth promptly, or if that's not possible, rinse the mouth well with water and/or chew some sugarless gum.
     
  9. NEVER put a baby to sleep with fruit juice in a bottle.  It's a bad habit, creating a desire for more and more sweets, and it can ruin baby's new teeth.  Not only that - babies that drink a fair amount of fruit juice are not getting enough milk to grow strong bones and teeth.  And later on it's too late.  Those bones need to be strong when kids are young, because it doesn't get better with age!
     
  10. Family members addicted to sweets?  Can't live without them?  Except for babies, you cannot change them directly, and nagging and scolding is counter-productive, but you can sneakily influence them.  Don't buy sweet snacks with no nutrition; let them buy their own if they insist.

Anything is better than empty calories and the high unhealthy fat content and that frequently is a large part of these snacks.  Instead of ice cream, pudding snacks, cookies, plain cake, etc., offer yogurt parfait, banana pudding, fruit pies, fruit cobblers, strawberry shortcake, pancakes with fruit, packets of dried fruit, fruit soup, cakes made  with bananas, applesauce, and/or whole, chopped or pureed dried fruit.   If they insist on ice cream (we're discussing adults in the household here), try it with a dressing of chopped fruit, or make a healthier banana split.  And don't forget to have fresh and dried fruits available, attractively arranged, where they can hopefully make healthier choices at least part of the time.

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