Quirky Thursday: Olives and Mold

Quirky Thursday posts are ones a little heavier on the humor side, with some health info thrown in. Usually.

I hope you are enlivened and enlightened by todays post.

I was going to write about the importance of sleep; then it was sleep and mold, both being on my mind. Then it segued into and mushrooms (because they are fungus which is sort of like mold); then olives were added because well…

One day I got home from work at 1:30pm starving just as my sister Paula called. I grabbed the first thing I could find: a can of black olives. The next thing I knew I was telling Paula I had just eaten a whole can of olives for lunch. I wondered what would happen to me. She laughed. So we looked at the can. Well I looked and relayed the information. A serving size is 3 olives. Hahaha. Twelve servings in a can. So then the geniuses that Paula and I are, we started doing the math: Whole can equals 300 calories, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 0 protein, 30 grams of monosaturated fat (the good kind). Not too bad. Maybe throw in a can of sardines, and something green, and you would have a real lunch.

But wait. I didn’t want to talk about olives first. And the discussion about sleep and mushrooms will have to wait for another day…

Anyway, I am really concerned about mold. I buy these raspberries, blueberries, cauliflower and peaches that either have a little mold or develop it soon after. So I am wondering if it really is unhealthy and bad to eat mold? Or are they just trying to scare us? All this food fear that people are propagating. I want to be afraid of things that really are truly scary. So I looked into mold and was convinced that it is actually prudent not to consume it or be exposed to it. While this is not a treatise on mold, know that molds vary. Some are very toxic, some are safe, while, according to one source, others are not problematic if you don’t eat them very often. Well, I don’t even like to hear that.

So, here’s the deal. Certain molds can cause allergic symptoms, gastrointestinal upset, and can be cancer causing. Oh, that’s nice to know. Incidentally, grain and legume molds are especially toxic, the worst offenders possibly being aflatoxin in peanuts and corn. If something is moldy like cheese you can still eat it, but you have to cut away an inch portion in all directions, avoiding contaminating the knife. Question: Will there be any cheese left after you do this? This same method can be done with things like potatoes, cauliflower and other firm vegetables and fruit as well, but if it is a moldy peach, throw the whole thing out. As for raspberries and blueberries, throw out the moldy ones right away if there are only a couple, and wash and eat the rest soon.  If the food item is porous, is soft, or has a high moisture content, mold can be more of a problem.

Check this out for more specifics on various foods and mold.

On a more positive note, It turns out that olives are antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, helps with hot flashes, prevents heart disease, and reduces the severity of asthma and arthritis. They are a good source of fiber, iron, copper, good fat, and vitamin E. Sounds like something I want to be putting into my body.

Now the one thing I found that had mixed opinions on the healthiness of olives was how the olive was cured. There are three ways: with brine, with water, and with lye. Right away one would think “oh I would never want to eat an olive cured with lye”, but that is what is used with a lot, if not all, of the canned black olives like the Lindsay brand. I am a little suspicious though about lye-cured olives. I need to dig more before I make a conclusion, but it appears to be okay because the olive is rinsed well afterwards. (Insert skeptical look here.)

Bottom line take-away from this post: Be wary of mold on food and eat lots of olives.

But overall, I keep finding in everything I research to eat lots of fresh vegetables, a piece or two of fresh fruit, some good quality protein, and good fat. Those are healthy.



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