For me, staying healthy is right up there with having friends, being close with family, and forming solid relationships. It is all vital to the good life. Thousands of articles on the Web tout exercise and fitness as the path to health, but I want to put in my two cents about the right nutrition. Without one, the other is less effective. We all know about raw fruits and vegetables and vitamin-rich foods. We must stay away from canned goods with all the unnecessary preservatives although we can opt for frozen once in a while. If there is no added salt, you can take the easy road to home cooking.

I believe in eating from all the basic food groups including carbs, fats, protein, etc. Everything in moderation as they say. Given the facts of nutrition and the vast knowledge we have gained, I now turn my attention to something given short shrift. Food can be healthy and on the other side of the coin it can be dangerous. Anyone who has suffered from food poisoning knows what I mean. Anyone can be a victim of old shrimp in a restaurant and stay up all night as a result. But you don’t expect to get sick from a lack of proper food storage at home. How many of you pay attention to expiration dates and keeping produce at the right temperature in the fridge? Dairy is particularly vulnerable and cheese can get too moldy, although some degree is in its nature. I have found out the hard way that beer can expire when not kept chilled and found a web site called Crack a Cold One that helped me learn the proper temperature to store beer.

It is more than this when it comes to avoiding bad food. You have to know how to cook pork and fish, for example, at the right temperature so it is properly done. The biggest transgression among those who prepare food themselves is leaving things out too long. It is fine to do so during dinner, but it is likely to be a problem if you let dinner stand for hours waiting for a latecomer to return home. You might think that desserts are an exception but it is patently not so. Anything containing fresh cream or butter can go bad in no time and become a breeding ground for bacteria.

I can’t express my views on this subject too loudly as I have known people who have paid a steep price. Food poisoning is highly dangerous to children and can put you and your family in the hospital. I have to be able to count on my local market to provide me with the freshest groceries possible. I often talk with the manager about refrigeration systems and the temperatures used for my favorite products. As for fresh fare, it can’t be left out overnight. Meat and poultry are in temperature-controlled glass front cabinets. The dates on packaged goods should be clearly readable. Even canned goods have a shelf life, although it is often quite long. Be wary and stay healthy.