Shelf Talker

So, I’m reading an article about wines and how they are numerically rated and the term “shelf talker” comes up. If you’ve browsed the wine section at the grocery or your neighborhood wine shop, you’ll know immediately what is meant. There’s talk of  the nose, the legs, the fruit, the hints, the color, the tannins or lack thereof…

Do we need shelf talkers in the grocery to help us make healthy choices? The descriptions in the produce area would all scream – take me home! You’ll love me and I’ll love you. You can’t go wrong. My color is fab and so is my nutrition. You cannot live without me. And I smell great too.

Feeling a little tired? Well, here I am all cut up ready to go on your sandwich, your pizza, your salad or here’s some cubed melon so you don’t have to endure sticky counters.  Look, we’re even skewered and can go directly on the grill.

Each fruit and vegetable would score a 100.

Talk to me. The US food guide recommends half of your plate consist of fruits and vegetables. Five to nine servings each day is ideal; that doesn’t mean each needs to be different but the more variety, the better.

This is the perfect season to re-double your efforts in the produce section or farmer’s market. The shelves and bins are talking to YOU. Love your produce to be well,




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Transit time

Life moves at a pretty fast pace. Though it looks like we’re slowing down in one area –  how long it takes for food to travel from your mouth out?

The term is whole gut transit time. We know too fast is bad  (diarrhea) and too slow is bad (constipation) so let’s talk about what’s “just right” in travel time.

First, we should remember that each of us is unique so what’s normal for one person may be out of the norm for the next. Second, remember babies  have a pretty rapid transit time and that’s normal; as we age, the gut slows down and that’s normal too. But let’s look beyond.

Whole gut transit time is the sum of stomach emptying time, small intestine travel time and large intestine travel time.

We like food to remain in our stomachs for awhile because that gives us a feeling of fullness. Average time for the stomach to empty is between 4 and 6 hours. Fiber is a perfect way to influence that. Plant foods remain in the stomach while our body tries to figure out what to do with it. Plants fibers are essentially unchanged in the stomach.

In the small intestine, we like the food mass to move at a pace that allows for final digestion and nutrient absorption; this will take about 5 hours on average. And then on to the all important large intestine or colon. The range for fecal matter transit is anywhere from 10 – 59 hours. So, a meal makes it out in 1 – 3 days.

And it’s that last segment that concerns researchers. The journal Nature Microbiology published a study suggesting that harmful break down products that linger in the colon are potentially harmful. These compounds may damage the colon’s inner lining.

So, to achieve “just right” transit time, prevent constipation. More plant foods, more water and more exercise will help your gut, to be well,




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