Dietary Habits and Arthritis: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Welcome back to the Tasti-Lee blog for our second post in our arthritis blog series. In the first post, we discussed the potential danger of eating tomatoes and other nightshade vegetables when you have arthritis. Today, we will discuss the good and the bad when it comes to other foods, drinks and other items.

Again, we have to emphasize that this does not constitute medical advice. We are simply relating information we have gathered ourselves online & from books such as Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford.

Now, without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Foods to Watch Out For

Even if various people have arthritis, no one is the same. We want to stress that certain foods affect individuals differently, but there are certain items that are bad for most, if not all, people with arthritic conditions. These items include:

  • Alcohol
  • Coffee (caffeine, in general, isn’t good)
  • Refined sugar (or too much of any sweet product/food)
  • Tobacco


Other “Not So Good” Foods

Dairy foods (EXCEPT fermented dairy, like yogurt, and goat’s milk products) are said to worsen arthritic conditions, but this does not necessarily apply to everyone. If you have arthritis and consume dairy, try cutting it out for at least two weeks to see if there’s improvement.

Despite what you may think, not all fruits and vegetables are good for people with arthritis. Due to a compound called oxalic acid, which affects calcium absorption, people with arthritis should limit foods like:

  • Spinach (baby spinach is said to be better than mature spinach)
  • Plum
  • Cranberry
  • Beet greens
  • Chard

Avoiding nuts (EXCEPT almonds and walnuts) and nut butters is also supposed to help improve arthritic symptoms/conditions.

Foods to Love

It may seem like you can’t eat anything, but there are fortunately a lot of foods that are said to lessen arthritic symptoms and even improve calcium absorption and/or metabolism. Some of these foods are:

  • Dark berries
  • Fatty fish
  • Seaweed
  • Alfalfa
  • Whole grains (soak before cooking)
  • Goat’s milk products
  • Asparagus
  • Cherries
  • Garlic
  • Turmeric
  • Olive oil
  • Broccoli
  • Legumes (beans/lentils – also soak before cooking)

Final Words

In the end, you’ll have to discuss with your doctor what is best for you and your specific arthritic condition, but this information can provide you with some general tips.

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Tomatoes and Arthritis: What’s the Deal?

Tomatoes are full of beneficial nutrients, but, as healthy as they are, tomatoes aren’t necessarily good for everyone. Aside from the obvious, like people with tomato allergies, tomatoes may be bad for people suffering from arthritic conditions.

In this two-part blog series, we’ll cover why tomatoes may be bad, as well as take a look at other dietary habits that can worsen or improve arthritic symptoms and/or conditions. Just to clarify, this is based on our own research and should NOT be considered medical advice.

What Do You Mean “May” Be Bad?

The truth is, no two people are the same. Tomatoes, and other vegetables in the Nightshade family (eggplant, bell pepper, potato), are generally considered bad for people with arthritis because they contain a compound that interferes with calcium metabolism, but this doesn’t necessarily hold true for everyone. Some people may see an improvement in their arthritis pain after cutting out tomatoes and other Nightshade vegetables while it makes no difference for others.

How to Determine If You Need to Cut Out Tomatoes

If you want to see if tomatoes are worsening your arthritis, there’s an easy way to check: Cut all tomatoes (and other Nightshade veggies) out of your diet for at least two weeks. If you notice a difference, then your body is reacting to those foods and you should cut them out or severely restrict them. If you don’t notice anything, then your body is probably not having an adverse reaction to them (time for tomato-lovers to cheer!).

Cutting out tomatoes and Nightshade vegetables are only one of the changes in diet that can alleviate certain symptoms of arthritis, if your body is responsive to it. Visit our blog again in a couple of weeks for part 2 of our blog series where we’ll discuss other food and drink items that may impact arthritic conditions.

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Posted in Health & Beauty, Tomato Facts

Fresh vs. Canned Tomatoes: Which Are Better?

In the late fall and winter, many people reach for the canned tomatoes instead of fresh. They believe that fresh ones don’t taste as well as the canned variety. Unfortunately, canned tomatoes aren’t necessarily better and could even be causing health problems.

Lycopene & Other Nutrients

Tomatoes in cans are cooked. When tomatoes are heated, they release more lycopene for the body to absorb, which is good, but, while cooking increases lycopene, it decreases other nutrients, like Vitamin C.

BPA Risk

In March 2012, the FDA decided to not ban the use of BPA in food and drink packaging. BPA is a chemical that has been linked to infertility, heart disease, and diabetes. Canned tomatoes have a considerably higher level of BPA because the acidity in the tomatoes draws the BPA out of the can. Even cans that state they are BPA-Free may have some of the chemical in them or another chemical referred to as BPS, which can have similar health risks.
If you’re going to use canned, it’s best to make your own and store in glass jars.

The Alternative to Canned Tomatoes

At Tasti-Lee, we always grow tomatoes with health, flavor, and freshness in mind. We are committed to providing our customers with only the best no matter what time of the year it is. This is why we recommend using only fresh tomatoes or home-canned tomatoes in salads and recipes. You can’t find the same health benefits in traditional canned tomatoes, and there’s nothing like that fresh tomato taste!

For more information about Tasti-Lee and where you can find our tomatoes, visit our website at

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Posted in Tomato Facts

Tomato Science Brings Blight-Resistant Tomato to UK

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Gardeners in the United Kingdom are happy right now. Scientists have discovered a type of tomato that resists pesky blight. Blight is a tomato disease that’s common, especially for amateur tomato growers. With these tomatoes, many budding tomato growers will be motivated to continue planting instead of becoming frustrated when their entire garden becomes useless due to disease.

About the Research

Scientists have grown a strain of tomatoes that will not be affected by blight. The research took eight years, and it was worth the wait. The breeders, Simon Crawford and Bangor University PhD student James Stroud were the ones who developed this type of tomato. Mr. Crawford found out about it when he was gardening in 2006. He had a whole garden of tomatoes that died of blight, except for one plant. One tomato plant survived, so he decided he was going to find out why, and that’s where it all began.

Mr. Crawford partnered up with Dr. Stoud and they started to breed that one tomato plant to see if they could produce more tomato plants that were resistant to blight. Through breeding they were able to create tomato plants with the PH2 and PH3 genes. These genes are resistant to the pathogen.

With the gene in hand, the researchers have started to grow them in a nursery in East Yorkshire. They have called the tomatoes Crimson Crush. They should be ready for purchase in January and will cost £7.99 for three. It’s a hefty price to pay, but the guarantee of blight free plants make it worth the cost.

Preventing Blight in Your Tomato Garden

Blight can be a very annoying disease to deal with when growing tomato plants. Once it strikes, there not much a gardener can do but say good bye to all of his or her hard work.

Preventing blight is possible, but for amateur tomato growers, it can be difficult. It’s important to plant tomatoes with enough space in between them. You shouldn’t water tomato plants from above, but instead, water at the root. Try to keep your plants from being exposed to cold, wet weather. Don’t plant your seedlings too early because that’s what usually initiates the blight. You can also purchase sprays that can help prevent blight from the start. Be sure to read the label of the product you purchase and use it correctly.

If blight attacks one plant, remove it from the garden immediately. Place it in a plastic bag and seal it. Blight is contagious, which is why an entire garden can die from it. If you can isolate the first plant, you may be able to save your garden.

Planting a Tasti-Lee Tomato Garden

If you want to plant a Tasti-Lee tomato garden from seeds, there are quite a few places where you can purchase them:

Happy Gardening tomato fans!

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Posted in Tomato News

Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?

You’re eating your favorite tomato dish and accidently spill some of it the floor. Fido races to the casualty and happily cleans up the mess. Oh no! Tomatoes!

Many people have heard that tomatoes are toxic to dogs. This is untrue. If your dog eats tomatoes, he or she will be okay.

Why Tomatoes Aren’t Bad for Dogs

Tomatoes have alpha-tomatine. This substance can be harmful to dogs in extremely large quantities. Tomatoes do not have enough of this substance to make your dog ill.

The leaves and stems of tomato plants have a lot more alpha-tomatine in them, but even though it’s more concentrated, it’s still not enough to make Fido fatally ill. Fido would have to eat a tremendous amount of leaves and stems to cause toxicity.

What May Happen to Tomato Eating Dogs

dog-tomatoTomatoes are acidic and a dog’s intestinal tract has a difficult time absorbing the alph-tomatine, which can end up causing a dog some discomfort. Some dogs will vomit or just be sluggish after eating tomatoes due to an upset stomach. It’s best to give dogs with an upset stomach a lot of love and cuddling. This will make them feel much better until their stomach follows suit.

It is important to note, though, that dog with arthritic conditions should not eat tomatoes as they can make their condition worse. Tomatoes mess with calcium absorption and tend to make joint problems worse. It is the same for humans.

Takeaways for Tomatoes and Dogs

The good news is that you have nothing to worry about if your dog ingests tomatoes. You can be rest assured he will be okay. If he ends up in a tomato patch and eats a lot of leaves and stems, then you should probably take him into the veterinarian office for an evaluation just to be sure he doesn’t need any medical care.

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5 Unusual Ways to Use Tomatoes

Tomatoes aren’t just for eating. You can use them to help you in many other ways. The following tomato remedies will surely be your new go-to supply for typical injuries/conditions.

Ouch – Put a Tomato on that Burn

Burned yourself in the kitchen? Don’t rush for the ice, but instead, grab a tomato, slice a piece off and put it on the burn. The alkalinity of it will stop the pain and help prevent a blister from forming.

Boil Trouble Gone

Boils can be an annoying and unsightly situation. Get rid of it faster with a slice of tomato. Just as it helps with burns, the alkalinity can work itself into the boil and help it heal faster.

Good Times Aftermath Treatment

A hangover can be a difficult reminder of a night of fun. Ease the hangover with tomatoes. It’s unclear why tomatoes are a good cure for hangovers, but it can be effective. It doesn’t matter how you get the tomatoes into your system. Some people choose to put them in an omelet, while others drink tomato juice.

Tomato Acne Remedy

Tomatoes’ nutritional benefits are just as good for the outside of the body as it is for the inside. Many people with acne say that cutting a tomato in half, rubbing it on their face, and then allowing it to sit for 20 minutes helps improve the appearance of acne and helps it heal faster.


Tomatoes are versatile. That’s why it’s important to grab a few Tasti-Lee tomatoes every time you head out to the grocery store. You can use them in many ways besides just putting them in a salad or recipe for lunch or dinner.

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Posted in Health & Beauty, Tomato Facts

Treat Oily Skin with Tomatoes

Did you know that you can use Tasti-Lee tomatoes to treat oily skin? It’s true! After reading this, you’ll want to run out to the store to get a batch of tomatoes just to smash all over your face.

About Tomato Masks

Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C. This is perfect for your skin because it thrives on this vitamin. It also contains vitamin A, which is another important vitamin for healthy skin. When you get enough vitamin C and A on your skin, the results will surprise you. Your skin will be brighter and you may just notice it’s clearer too.

For oily skin, the antioxidants and natural acidity of the tomatoes cools the skin and rids it of excess oil. You’ll be left with skin that is smooth, soft, and tight.

How to Make a Tomato Mask

You’ll need one tomato for one face mask. Start by cutting it in half. Take one half at a time and rub it all over your face and neck. Make sure you get every spot. Use the other half when it seems the first one is dry.

Once you’ve rubbed the tomato halves on your skin, leave the juice on there for at least fifteen minutes. This will give it time to seep into your pores and really give you the benefits you’re looking for with this mask.

After the fifteen minutes, wash your face with cold water. This will keep bacteria from spreading and close your pores quickly, so it seals in the moisture.

Give it a Try Today

Head out to the store and buy some tomatoes to give this face mask a try. You can then add it to your regular skin care regimen because it’s natural and gentle.

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Super Tomato Growers End Up with 1,000s of Tomatoes

We thought we were the only ones that could produce thousands of tomatoes a year. Apparently, that is not the case. A couple in Vermillion, Ohio did it on their own. We were so excited to see this in the news that we just had to share it with you.

Unknowingly, the couple in Ohio have become master gardeners. Ron and Mandy Mittelstaedt are still picking tomatoes from their summer tomato growing. Yes, half way through October and they still have their summer harvest.

What will surprise you the most is that they only planted eight tomato plants. Of course, eight tomato plants is still a large number of plants for a backyard gardener, but they never thought they would end up with 1,000s of tomatoes – maybe just a couple hundred.

How Did This Couple Do It?

They didn’t do anything special when planting the tomato seeds. They started the seeds in pots and then placed the pots in the ground when they were large enough. They made sure to water the plants twice a day, making sure the soil was not too dry or too wet.

For fertilizer, they had a drip system. It would take two hours for the liquid fertilizer to drip into the plants.

As you can see, this strategy isn’t too much different than most people’s way of growing tomatoes. It may have had something to do with the plant itself. They read in the Totally Tomatoes Catalog that the Umberto plant could grow to ten feet tall and grow about 250 tomatoes. The Mittelstaedt never thought this would actually be true, but it did happen. Instead of 250 though, they ended up with over a thousand and there are still more coming!

Thousands of Tomatoes, a Gift or a Curse?

At this point, you’re probably wondering what they are doing with all of the tomatoes. They have given a lot of them away and canned the rest of them. As they get more, they will probably just continue to find people who would love to stash them away in their freezer or in cans/jars.
When the couple was asked if they would do this again, they said they would. They even want to try some different varieties to see what else they will do.

All of us at Tasti-Lee are excited to see what happens next year! Maybe they’ll try Tasti-Lee tomatoes next?

Get Your Very Own Tasti-Lee Seeds

Remember, if you’d like to grow your own Tasti-Lee tomatoes, you can find the seeds from these dealers:

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