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grapefruit

If it’s not pharmaceutical drugs being advertised on TV, it’s natural supplements being pushed in health magazines. If you want to feel old and rundown, watch Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune and take note of the advertising. Everything from cholesterol lowering drugs to denture paste to laxatives to viagra. It’s not much better in the magazine world. Unfortunately, that says something about our general state of health in this country.

“A rich source of fiber,” grapefruit pectin “may help maintain cholesterol levels already in the normal range.” All that for only $31.98 a bottle. Hmmm? Let me get this straight. You can keep your “already normal” cholesterol levels “normal” by taking grapefruit pectin supplements.

Here’s an idea. How about we skip the supplements and eat real grapefruit?

I’ll admit, I’ve fallen for some less-than-good-for-me health food claims in the past (of all things, wheat germ) and I do take a few supplements from time to time, but my gosh, we’re getting bombarded with over-the-top health claims these days. What’s true and what isn’t?

The US Food and Drug Administration recently put the smack down on General Mills for claiming that Cheerios have been “clinically proven to lower cholesterol.” Oops, the FDA says those words classify Cheerios as a drug since the intent is to prevent or treat disease and as such, they need to go through the “approved new drug application” process.

If you can’t believe in Cheerios to lower cholesterol, can you believe in grapefruit pectin? Maybe, maybe not. I believe in the healing and medicinal properties of whole foods, but I’m not buying into advertising claims applied to food that comes in a box.

I’m also not buying into the pectin supplement claims, but I am a huge fan of fiber and just in case the pectin can work some magic somewhere in my body, I leave as much of it on my citrus fruit as possible. See above for pectin-saving peel photo. I use a small paring knife and keep as much of the fibrous membrane on as possible.

Grapefruit salad
3 cups mixed greens
1 grapefruit, peeled (minimally), seeded and sectioned
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup pecans *
crumbled goat cheese

All purpose salad dressing (this is my default salad dressing)
2 tablespoons Annie’s Naturals organic Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey (or less if you don’t like sweet dressings)
Start with the mustard and place all ingredients in a small jar. Shake vigorously. If you start with the mustard, it won’t separate. Use as needed for any salad.

Assemble salad, sprinkle with pecans and goat cheese, drizzle with dressing and enjoy.

* I like toasting my pecans in a dry skillet on medium/low for 3 to 5 minutes to bring out the flavor.

Go forth and eat whole foods, pectin and all.
Melissa

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24 Responses to “grapefruit pectin to the rescue”

  1. greedydave says:

    Melissa,
    I’ve said it before but I so enjoy it when you set upon the false prophets. “May help maintain cholesterol levels already in the normal range.” Jeez, thanks for that. I can’t believe that an already non-committal statement contains a disclaimer.

    Fabulous sounding salad, Melissa. Although, I’m way behind… I’m doing your spicey squash tonight.

    GDave

  2. CoconutGal says:

    Oh my! I love tart fruits with greens, this combo sounds deeelishhh!
    So along with my request on the starchy food/veg post, I am adding a request for a post on skincare products and what is safe in your opinion and what are code words for wheat/gluten and other icky stuff lurking in the lists of these products.
    (I mentioned it in my email)

    Thanks for this great recipe. Hope you had a lovely long weekend! :-D

  3. Liz says:

    Ooooh! I think we have the same go-to salad dressing! I do switch between agave and maple syrup as my sweetener.

    I love this salad idea and couldn’t agree more about whole foods over supplements.

  4. Anali says:

    I’m not usually a huge salad fan, but this one does look good. Especially on a really hot day. The added health benefits are a nice bonus.

    And I laughed out loud when I heard that the FDA finally put the smackdown on Cheerios. Those commercials were pretty outrageous. I’m sure Cheerios knew it was only a matter of time, but they just rode it out until the end.

  5. Just ate my last grapefruit as I read this. Back to the market I go!

  6. I take a few supplements and they do make a difference to me, but the ones like this particular one you mention are rather silly. Do you ever wonder what those meetings are like in the companies that make supplements? “How about pectin, you guys?” People don’t want to take the time to eat grapefruit, so let’s give it to them in a pill. We can add our usual non-statement. We’ll get all the people who don’t want to take Lipitor.” The cholesterol fear mongers are many–traditional and alternative. A great side effect for me of the gf diet, while focusing on real food, has been that my cholesterol dropped to wonderful levels. :-) Oh, I mute the tv during commercials when I am watching Jeopardy. Seriously.

    I don’t have a problem with the FDA calling GM to task on Cheerios, but where were they when all those Wellshire Farms products labeled gluten free were far from gluten free? The Chicago Tribune had to expose the problem and as far as I know the FDA never helped the situation. It was the outrage of the public and the stores where these products were sold that ended up getting the problem fixed.

    Now, the salad looks great! I would have never thought of grapefruit and avocado together. Love the dressing–Dijon makes everything better even if I’m not a big mustard fan.

    Shirley

  7. Melissa says:

    GDave,

    Nice to “see” you again. I always miss your perspective on things (unique, interesting and humorous). I periodically check your blog and am looking forward to you launching it off in typical GDave style!

    :-)

    Melissa

  8. Melissa says:

    Coco,

    I’m into very basic stuff when it comes to skin care, although I do like some of the Boscia products (their mild cleansing cream). It’s made up of all natural ingredients and it’s very gentle stuff. Kind of expensive though. I also like that oil mix I told you about — it’s an ayurvedic blend and is a bit gooey though. You have to shower after you “soak” in the oil for awhile. Then I follow with a mild moisturizing lotion. Or, some coconut oil, but not tons if I’m going to put regular clothes on. It’s too oily.

    If those photos of you are any indication, whatever you’re doing for your skin is working! It looks absolutely flawless. Stop worrying.

    :-)

    Melissa
    xo

  9. Melissa says:

    Liz,

    Yes, I’ve noticed we have many of the same threads going through our blog posts. I agree with your maple syrup comment. That is one of my favorite sweeteners — if not THE favorite. I love the subtle variations in taste from bottle to bottle. The same goes for honey.

    I’ll have to go check your salad dressing recipe. I like making my own from pure ingredients. No wondering what is actually in it!

    Hope all is well with you. Sounds like you’ve got a crazy schedule going on right now. A good one though!

  10. Melissa says:

    Anali,

    Thanks for your comments, I appreciate it. Hmmm? Not a huge salad fan? We’ll have to flood you with good salad recipes and change that (right, Shirley?).

    :-)

    General Mills still has some quasi-misleading information on their website about how their cereals can lower your risk of heart disease. I think it’s more about what you replace with the Cheerios. Like a Big Mac or something — then your cholesterol will go down. It’s all a matter of marketing.

  11. Melissa says:

    Shirley,

    Good comments — thanks for adding to the mix. There is a lot of conflicting information about cholesterol. Mine is not low, but there’s a lot more to the picture, so I’m not at all concerned (knock on wood).

    :-)

    But I do eat a lot of fiber and things like the pectin add up when you blend that into your diet. Fiber, fiber, fiber — most Americans don’t get nearly enough.

    Yes, the Cheerios claims were over the top. I do remember that whole thing about Wellshire Farms, but I’ve never eaten any of their products, so I forgot all about it until you mentioned it. There’s a lot of that going on. You have to be responsible for your own health and I seriously think choosing fresh, organic, local, whole foods is the best option. At least when you can. It’s not easy to do, I know. Especially when you live in the mountains and you want avocados.

    :-)

  12. Melissa says:

    Meghan,

    Gosh, I have to watch for your comments in my spam folder. Geez, I can’t seem to keep up with that! It’s that racy name of your blog!

    :-)

    Thanks for stopping by and we’re on the same page with grapefruit. I love the stuff.

  13. Michelle Houston says:

    Mmmmmm, you are making me long for grapefruit again Melissa. I love it when it is in season, eating 1-2 per day. Unfortunately the grapefruit we can get now in our stores here isn’t worth buying (you should have posted this in Dec ;-) ). Oh well, I guess I will just have to stuff myself on watermelon instead.

  14. Miles says:

    Melissa,
    I’ve been reading about the health benefits of eating grapefruit recently, it’s very interesting.
    Your salad sounds nice, I love grapefruit in salad, I like to pair it with fish, especially in Vietnamese style salads with loads of fragrant herbs, chillies and fresh lime. Spot on!

    Miles

  15. Melissa – Good news on grapefruit! This morning my daughter cut away the outer orange part of an orange with a paring knife and then cut the orange just like you did in your photo above. I thought – how does she know about the good white stuff? Maybe Tom told her, who knows, but we all had a lovely fruit plate this morning that she had prepared. Your salad recipe looks yummy! Funny, I just posted a salad dressing last night too! Tis the season for salads!!

    -Ali :)

  16. Melissa says:

    Michelle,

    Watermelon? Where are you? Boy, nothing wrong with being suck with fresh watermelon on a daily basis! I’m anxiously awaiting our rhubarb season as that has become one of my favorite seasonal treats.

  17. Melissa says:

    Ali,

    Your kids sound so in tune with food and nutrition. Not to mention enjoying unusual foods and knowing what to do with them! Great job with raising little fresh foodies!

    I’ll go check out your salad dressing recipe. My schedule has been crazy lately, I’m behind on my blog surfing! Sometimes life trumps blogging!

    :-)

  18. Melissa says:

    Miles,

    Thanks (as always) for the great “insider” tips on how to use foods, herbs, spices, etc. It’s interesting, I don’t think of certain combinations and then you mention something and it makes perfect sense. Like fish and grapefruit. Ohh, that sounds so good. Thanks for your comments — I love having a chef’s perspective on how to use ingredients in unusual ways.

  19. lo says:

    What an original idea… actually EATING the food, rather than taking the supplement!! :)

    I really should hold back my sarcasm at times like this, but sometimes I really feel like our world is very out of touch. :) I’d love it for everyone to just get back to the basics.

    Love the grapefruit salad… I’m a big fan of avocado, and I think it would be perfect with a splash of grapefruit juice. That is giving me ideas for my next batch of guacamole, actually…

  20. First I love how you call these silly things out. I totally agree. So, what to do with someone like me who doesn’t like the tartness of grapefruit. I like the recipe, even the cheese I can’t eat. I may have to give this a try. Any suggestions on type of grapefruit to try?

  21. Melissa says:

    Lo,

    Yeah, real food, it’s what’s for dinner! Don’t hold back your sarcasm on my account, I agree.

    :-)

    By the way, very good idea with the guacamole — hmmm?

  22. Melissa says:

    Diane,

    What about blood oranges or tangerines instead of grapefruit? That way you skip the tartness.

    Your blog reorganization looks wonderful! I love it and it’s as easy as pie (sorry, bad pun) to scoot around snooping for recipes. Nice job!

  23. I just had to weigh back in and confess that for about a week I was not eating my salads or enough veggies. :-( I finally made quinoa tabouli on Thursday and ate that for a few days, plus put the cut up veggies I’d used in my eggs for breakfast. Then today I stocked up big time on salad material. I used to not be able to eat salads at all or anything with much fiber. I guess my digestive system was too compromised at the time. I’ve been told the same thing by others with gluten issues. Sadly, sometimes I think folks with these issues are also misdiagnosed with fruit and vegetable intolerances.

    I’m always amazed by how well Ali’s kids do with preparing and eating foods, too. Just love that! It’s a proven fact that kids who prepare foods (even ones they say they don’t like), will eat them with enthusiasm. They have a “vested” interest in them. ;-)

    Shirley

  24. Melissa says:

    Shirley,

    Fiber is SO important, but has to be increased in the diet ever so carefully or you’ll explode. You’re on track with your comments, people give up on it because they think they can’t tolerate it, when really they just need to approach increasing fruits and vegetables with caution (especially when they have digestive disorders).

    Yes, kids will eat whatever you give them (in general) if they learn about nourishing foods early on. And you are so right about kids having a vested interest — it makes a big difference.

    Melissa

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