What are you up to this weekend?
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We’re being home-bodies
The weather’s been picture perfect the past few days, and it’s starting to feel like fall. My husband spent the afternoon raking leaves (the first time this year!) and picking up walnuts. My goodness, do we ever have walnuts.
I stayed in my pajamas most of the day, puttered around in the house, with the radio tuned to the ISU/Iowa game for background noise. I absolutely love college football, whoever’s playing
Admittedly we’re catching our collective breath after a busier than usual week. In between work and life, my desk was filled with open textbooks as I studied for my oral exam, marking the end of my Micronutrients class
I also spent some time doing orientation type things; a new volunteer position with our local Youth and Shelter Service’s Residential Treatment Program. For those who follow The Veggies, you’ll know addiction has left a lasting mark on our family. I’ve always wanted to repay a fraction of the kindness shown to us over the years
(much more to come .. )
But, the best part of the week? My brother and his wife were visiting from Texas, which was such a treat(!) How I love to see them. We spent evenings as a family, telling funny stories, and catching up.
There’s nothing better than seeing someone in person, and I already miss getting to hug them every day.
The final installment today of a short series about the world of supplements
Part I included information about the sources of raw materials, manufacturing practices, and if the companies are regulated. Other topics included the anatomy of a supplement, common additives (there can be a lot!), and different things to look for if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the choices out there.
Part II .. Natural vs. synthetic, is there really a difference? Also, some things to be on the lookout for when it comes to how supplements are packaged and reading their labels.
How do we know if the product contains what’s stated on its label?
Good question, in light of the surprising reality, that dietary supplements sold throughout the U.S. aren’t required to be registered with any govt. agency
The Natural Products Association (formerly the NNFA, or the National Nutritional Foods Association) is a trade organization offering something called a true label program. Its mission is to assure accuracy when it comes to label claims. How does it work?
The NPA offers manufacturers the opportunity to independently verify the quality of their products. Members must submit the label of every supplement they produce. From there, the NPA will randomly submit products to independent labs for testing. What if there’s a discrepancy?
The NPA will notify the manufacturer and request immediate action to correct the situation. If no action is taken, the results will be published in their official trade newsletter. As a result, stores may drop the supplement or even the company’s entire line. Additionally, they may be barred from displaying products at national trade shows.
Want to find out if your supplement manufacturer is a member of the NPA? There is an extensive list on their website.
Why aren’t supplements labeled as to the conditions they could help us with?
By law, manufacturers of supplements aren’t allowed to make claims regarding the treatment or prevention of specific conditions. In fact, legislation passed in 1994, The Dietary and Supplement Health & Education Act (DSHEA), outlines what information they are allowed to provide
Structure-Function Claim – Is information that describes how the nutrients in the supplement could help our bodies. For example: if a supplement contains vitamin A they could say “helps maintain normal vision.”
Educational information – As long as it’s fair, balanced, and doesn’t mention a particular brand by name. It also has to have been written by a third party, a researcher, publisher, or reporter without a vested financial interest, or ties to the product.
What’s the right product for the job?
By now we’ve read the labels, as well as the literature, verified the manufacturer is part of the NPA, looked for natural vs. synthetic, made sure there aren’t any gotchas with fillers, binders, and the like. We’re still a bit stumped when deciding
what’s the best form to buy?
The choices are many(!) .. capsules, tablets, gel caps, powders, liquids, chewable, sublingual tablets, liquid sprays, and topical gels. Not to mention both time-release and rapid dissolution forms are available for many as well.
Several things come into play. One, the form should be the best for delivery and absorption, taking into account both dissolution of the supplement, as well as the strength of your digestive system. It should also be convenient.
For example, children, elderly, people who are very sick, or don’t like swallowing pills will probably gravitate toward liquids, powers, or chewables. (Use caution here though because these products are generally higher in additives, and sweeteners to mask the taste)
The most common delivery form, as they’re easy to store and have longer shelf-lives. One downside, because they’re pressed during manufacturing, they may not be the best choice for those with poor digestion.
Capsules generally dissolve and release their ingredients quickly. Like tablets, they’re easy to store, though they may be a bit more expensive. Also of note, enteric-coated capsules dissolve in the intestine, not the stomach. They’re best for those nutrients that won’t fare well in an acidic environment.
Soft gelatin capsules that many people find easier to swallow
Sublingual tablets, sprays, and topically applied products
These are absorbed through the skin and enter directly into the bloodstream. Certainly can be an advantage to bypassing the digestive system, though they may put an additional burden on the liver.
Normal digestion and absorption from the gut deliver small amounts of nutrients at a time. The rapid entry of these may overload the liver’s ability to process the nutrients
These products are designed to slowly release nutrients over a six to twelve hour time period. Their cost can be double the price of regular supplements, in fact, talk with your doctor, but it may be more cost-effective to choose a regular supplement and take lower doses at intervals throughout the day
Where do we go from here?
Thank you, so very much, for following along on this short introduction to supplements.
I feel there is so much left to say. My sincerest wish was to offer you a place to start, some of the key terms to be aware of when researching on your own or discussing options with your doctor.
If there is one over-reaching takeaway, I hope it’s this
While there certainly will be times in our lives that we need to consider supplementation, they shouldn’t be our go-to in place of a poor diet. There will never be a company who can manufacture the perfect replacement for
When Ina Garten lets us in on some of her favorite cookbooks, one should pay attention. I’ve yet to be steered wrong by one of their recipes, this one included
I made it on a whim really, a last-minute side to take to my parents this past week, the first night my brother and his wife were in town. Big and ripe tomatoes from the CSA, a crusty french baguette, sharpened with a little olive oil, garlic, basil, and cheese.
In the end, we ate it as a light main dish, along with a big garden salad. It was perfect
The second time around I added some black olives, though I image sautéed mushrooms would be wonderful as well. On our own, we enjoyed it for dinner as a side to broiled fish, and for breakfast the next morning with scrambled eggs.
A few additional notes: Crusty bread is really important for this recipe, otherwise you’ll run the risk of the bread becoming too soggy. I bet rye bread would be a great alternative, bringing with it an interesting depth of flavor
ps: You can read more about supplements in Part I | Part II of the series
References used for this series: Navigating the Labyrinth: 3o Things You Need to Know About Nutritional Supplements by Jack Challem .. The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book by Shari Lieberman .. Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements by Michael T. Murray .. Foundations of Nutritional Medicine: A Sourcebook of Clinical Research by Melvyn Werbach and Gail Leibsohn
— — —
~ Adapted from Cold-Weather Cooking by Sarah Leah Chase
- 5 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 cups ½" diced French bread, preferably a crusty baguette
- 16 plum tomatoes, cut ½" dice, about 2 ½ pounds (use the best tomatoes you can find -- beefsteak will be juicier)
- 1 Tbsp garlic, minced (~ 3 cloves)
- 2 Tbsp natural sugar, optional
- 2 tsp fine-grain sea salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup julienned basil leaves, lightly packed
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Heat olive oil in a large (~ 12 inch) saute pan over medium heat.
- Add the bread cubes and stir to lightly coat them with the oil.
- Cook over medium to medium-high heat for ~ 5 minutes, stirring often, until the cubes are evenly browned.
- Add the diced tomatoes, garlic and sugar (if using) to the pan and continue to cook, stirring often, for ~ 5 minutes.
- Season with sea salt and pepper, add the basil leaves and remove from the heat.
- Pour the tomato mixture into a shallow (~ 6 to 8 cup) baking dish.
- Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese and drizzle with 2 Tbsp of olive oil.
- Bake for ~ 35 to 40 minutes until the top has browned and the tomatoes are bubbly.
- Serve hot or warm.
I’m in the middle of tomato attack! They’re all ready in the garden at the same time. So, I’ve been getting most of them ready and will stick them in the freezer. That way I’m ready when Food Network decides to show summer reruns in the dead of winter.
Look forward to trying your recipe this week. I’m thinking with some chicken on the grill, we’ll have an amazing dinner!
My husband and I live in Kentucky and frequent a little restaurant in Shaker Village. They make casseroles similar to this every evening, and depending upon the produce, they change it up every day. On the menu last night was a tomato dish similar to this one which has, I think oregano and brown sugar. While they don’t publish recipes on their website, the do have a cookbook and I think I’ve nearly cooked my way through it! http://www.shakervillageky.org/
(Love your site, bty, Ali)
This may be just what the doctor ordered to lift me out of my tomato-doldrums. I swear, every year I plant tomatoes, and every year they slowly shrivel up and die as I stand by, unable to help, even with the super-uper fertilizer from the greenhouse.
My neighbor, on the other hand, grows the most amazing tomatoes. As we speak, her plants are loaded with big, green monsters just waiting for a little more sun to finish them off. So I’m going to print this recipe and patiently wait until she tells me she can’t possibly pick/eat another tomato – usually about mid-August – and then I’ll come to her rescue, strip her plants bald, make this dish and live happily ever after. Thanks Ali, from one tomato-loving fool to another – you’re awesome!
This is similar to a Tomato Bread Pudding I make every summer. Roasted tomatoes, roasted bread crumbs, roasted garlic, then all baked together in a lake of cream, milk, eggs, herbs, and fontina. Pure heaven!
I had my first farm-fresh heirloom tomatoes this weekend – I think I cried a little. It’s true.
This looks amazing, Ali! My only trouble would be making sure the tomatoes and bread made it into the pan without eating them first.
I’m going to have to show this post to the tomatoes in my garden and see if it will inspire them to ripen!
Good God this sounds lovely! I’m so excited for my tomatoes, they’re almost ripe. xx
Oh goodness. I live for simple summer dishes like this! It sort of reminds me of a hot version of panzanella salad…you’ve got tomatoes, crusty bread, olive oil, basil….YUM.
What a wonderful way to use up fresh, juicy, summer tomatoes!! We’re going to have a glut on our hands in just a few weeks, so I’ve been searching for delicious looking recipes, just like this one! Even if my mom would have called it a gratin instead of scalloped.
Now then, I’m off to figure out a way to use up all of those freshly picked golden beets!
Great information about natural supplements. It’s really hard to find out what’s what when it comes to vitamins. Totally going to check out the NPA’s website. Also the potatoes look yummy.
I love tomatoes , I grow a lots in my house garden areas . Your recipe give me a great idea how to create something delicious from my fresh tomatoes from the garden
I’m always on the hunt for great tomato recipes! Thanks for sharing this one along with your helpful notes from experience.
I enjoyed reading about the supplements and recognize I have so much to learn in that department. Up until now, it’s been an area I haven’t paid much attention to. Take a multi-vitamin…check (some days)…take a Calcium supplement…check. That kind of thing. I will be following up and checking out NPA’s website to learn more!
I’ve heard so much about supplements and their benefits to the health but I don’t really know which ones I need. I’m not the one who’s fond of tablets and capsules so I really needed that info. Do you know if there are supplements that are great for the skin? Also, I’ve heard tomatoes are good for clearing the skin’s complexion, do you think scalloped tomatoes would be good?
Yummy and healthy too. Thanks for sharing this mouth watering recipe. It’s really a great way to use tomatoes. I will definitely cook this for my family.
How fun to have your family over…I wish could say the same about my own family! Something I wish I had in my life was a good bond with my family.
I am married with a person who strongly belive that “eating an apple per day keeps the doctor away!” and he taps my fingers if I dont buy anything thats is organic, product from the area and season vegetables. Lucky that I am tje boss in the house so we do end up eating other food than potatoes and carottes!
He is aswell very careful that we dont give ourself any medication just for a little aches here and there …not before we have driken ten cup of herbal tea that suppose to heal your
aches or whatever or inhale mineral oils ect. Haha it sound as I am married to a maniac!
I hope though that thanks to him we will not need to eat any supplement any time soon!
And that recipe does look very delicious!
Supplements are one of the tricky areas in the minefield that is modern day nutrition. Your takeaway is a very helpful reminder that nothing beats the complex nutritional value of wholesome, fresh food. Lol, love that you spent the day in your jammies. Way to go! I can’t remember when I last did that.
Ahh how lovely that you are volunteering, that’s really kind of you. I’m not a fan of tomatoes, they are one of the only things that I don’t eat! This does look good though and I know my husband and children would love it!
I don’t ‘take supplements, but I did enjoy reading about all the details. I do take daily meds though and a lot of this information is the same as for supplements. This looks great and my family is sort of obsessed with tomatoes, so this would be a great Sunday evening family dinner.
I love tomatoes, and have never heard or seen of them done in this manner. Sounds so delicious! We were watching the weather here this weekend…Hurricane Irma – we live in north florida, and had to watch the weather, and prepare, just in case.
I have never seen or heard about this before! I am totally going to have to give them a try. This seems like a total comfort food dish! YUMMY!
I love tomatoes. The recipe is my first time seeing and can’t wait to try this. You make this look and sound so yummy!
Aw I hope that your micronutrients exam results are good, I know how hard you work. And as a regular reader of your blog and knowing how addiction has left an impression on your family I admire that you have taken up a new volunteer position with your local Youth and Shelter Service’s Residential Treatment Program. They are very lucky to have you on board and you are such a kind and gentle soul. Autumn might be coming but I always have time for tomatoes, especially scalloped ones and your recipe sounds mouthwatering x
This looks like such a delicious recipe, and perfect for a vegan like me! I like this in-between seasons fare…perfect for using up those summer garden tomatoes, but hearty enough for a fall meal.
I agree food IS medicine when we eat the right foods! Your recipe looks fantastic! I have never made this before. I hope your brother and his wife are not from the parts of Texas being affected by the hurricane and storms!!
Glad you got to visit.
I spent most of my weekend being a bum and relaxing although we worked on our bedroom redecor too.
I love college basketball and professional football – background noise I can relate to!
Our weekend was busy as usually. The kids had baseball and we had a lot of house projects to work on. Plus I hve a cold. UGH! Not fun!!! THis is a really creative recipe. We have a ton of tomatoes in our garden. Going to have to give this a try.
There’s just something about college football that’s so exciting – I actually prefer watching it to the NFL. I wonder if I’m alone in this! This recipe looks absolutely delicious – but at this point, I’m pretty much using your website as my go-to for tasty dinners.
This recipe looks so delicious and easy to make. I am always looking for new healthy dishes to make. I will have to get the ingredients I need this weekend.
I have honestly never heard of this before!! What a delicious looking recipe!
Great to know of your brother and his wife came to spend sometime with you. Its indeed lovely. Well, understanding what is on the labels and what is the approved one is of so much importance. We pick up anything mostly without understanding but great for you to clarify. Now coming to the recipe, I love anything with tomatoes and it seems this dish is worth making.
I want to get back to cooking again. Will try it out this week. It looks really delicious. I can incorporate it as a side dish. Thanks for the recipe. I can smell it already just looking at your pictures. Yum!
I am happy that your brother and your sister in-law came for a visit! I am huge on reading labels, as I want to know what my family is putting into our bodies. I am usually looking for low sodium, low sugar and no high fructose, added colors, etc. I also love tomatoes. It enhances all dishes. I have to try this recipe! Thanks for sharing 🙂
I am happy that your brother and your sister in-law came to visit. I agree. We need to be sure to read the labels of products as we need to know what we are feeding our families and ourselves. I make sure that the ingredients are health and not artificial anything. I love tomatoes. It enhances the meal. Thanks for this recipe!
This is really a nice recipe with full of fiber and veggies. Also it can be made by left over breads and sometimes bread becomes more hard, flaky and crusty which can’t be cut, but this way we can soften it and turn into a nice full dish. We have many Indian breads which I will try to use it with scalloped tomatoes.
Wow I didn’t know all of that information about supplements! I guess I always assumed that if something was on the shelf then it must be okay/what it says it is. This recipe also looks AMAZING! My mouth is watering!
I love days when you can just sit in your pajamas and do things slowly, no need to rush or anything. It’s nice that you got to see your brother as well, it’s definitely nice to see people in person and just spend time with them. I really appreciate this intro to supplements! There are so many and that makes it tougher for one to decide! The recipe sounds amazing!
These Scalloped Tomatoes sound and look amazing!!! I don’t even like tomatoes and I can’t wait to try this for myself!!
I am all about knowing what goes into the products that I consume and after many health problems I am unable to get proper nutrition from food alone as I can not eat most vegetables. I like that there are products out there that allow me to get the vitamins I need but it can be scary since they really don’t let anyone know what is in the products they purchase these days, it is such a slippery slope of what they need to disclose and what they don’t, I like making my own everything when I can for that reason alone!
I’m a little jealous that you only have to walk out your front door to find walnuts! We have to buy them, and man are they expensive little nuts! I agree with what you said about getting your nutrients from food vs. primarily supplements, although as a picky eater, I have to supplement. I use sublingual B vitamin, and the rest are capsules or tablets. The sublingual is gross, honestly, but it is a bit easier on my sensitive stomach.
This looks really good. I’ve never had anything like it. I will have to try this out. I love how different this is too.
Sometimes you need a moment to just relax, kick back and stay in your pjs.
Wow! This is a lot of info about supplements, which I like because I keep seeing all types of information about whether or not they are just placebo forms and actually doing nothing. I know that when I don’t take my hormone supplements, I get really tired and cranky. So something must be right but I am definitely all about doing the right research, especially when it comes to spending money on them!
Ah, now that you mentioned fall, I do miss the change of the seasons! Over where I am now, there seems to be only one season haha. But anyhow, I’ve been trying to eat healthier too so this recipe helps a lot. Thank you for this!
Glad to know you had a lot of fun when they were visiting and what great info on those supplements. The scalloped tomatoes look absolutely delicious though.
I love tomatoes, but this takes them to the next level! I am bookmarking this recipe for a later date.
Wow, I have never thought of this recipe! My husband loves scalloped potatoes, I wonder if this would be something he would like!
I bet this is so good with crusty bread. Also, thanks for sharing such a in interesting post. I hope you had great family time!
I have said time after time, your blog is literally a heaven for recipes with veggies! I love all of them! I have tomatoes I need to use and I never thought that scalloped would be the way to go. I know scalloped potatoes, but this would be a very healthy alternative! Thank you for sharing, Alison!
This recipe looks good. I have never heard of coconut sugar. I would like to try it!
Oh this is really cool! I would love to give this recipe a try, my mouth is watering just reading it!
Ah, it’s spring here so my food choices are really flavorful right now. You’ve shared so much information on supplements, I’m going to save this for future reference when I need to check for more details.
Hmm, here’s another new recipe for us to try. Both the hubs and I love tomatoes so this is perfect. And I bet it’s as good as it looks!
I know that my mother is completely into the supplements and the supplement industry. She likes to add vitamins and supplements to her diet. But I always go with what my chemistry teacher said. When you eat the right kind of diet, a supplement should not be needed. But I do love all of the information that you provide here about what they mean by certain things. I don’t do well with time release ones. I hate not knowing when a pill is going to spring into action. I’d much rather have it start working right away. By the way. As far as the recipe I know what you mean by having to have crusty bread. You don’t want it to become mush.
It sounds like you had a lovely weekend catching up with your brother and sister in law. My niece got married on Saturday so we were at the wedding all day. I did lots of crying as my daughter was a bridesmaid and she looked simply stunning <3
I have never tried scalloped tomatoes and it looks like it would taste delicious. Catching up with family you have not seen in a while is always great because there are so many new stories to tell, and old memories to laugh about.
Very informative. I take 6 vitamins daily (mostly tablets). After reading this I can’t wait to go home and read my labels. I feel I won’t like what I see.
Had to reread the recipe title, I’ve never scalloped anything other than potatoes, so I was confused at the picture! Excellent creativity.
This looks delicious. I had no idea you could scallop anything other than potatoes. Now I’m thinking what other veggies and fruits could be treated this way?