Diet Trends

By Alexandra Pettit, AZFB Communications Intern

While there are basics to nutrition, Fill Your Plate features some of the latest diet trends. We have covered anything from the keto diet to intermittent fasting. Dieting can be hard to find the one that works for you.


Keto with Caution

Is Keto Better for You?

My 1 Week Ketogenic Meal Plan

Understanding Keto Myths Versus Facts

Ketogenic Diet: Do’s and Don’ts from a Nutrition Students attempt

Ketogenic Diet: Vegan and Vegetarians

Ketogenic Diet: Satiating effects of Fat

Ketogenic Diet: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Ketogenic Diet and Obesity

Ketogenic Diet and Motor Function

Ketogenic Diet for Migraine Relief

Ketogenic Diet and Epilepsy

Ketogenic Diet vs Cancer

Ketogenic Diet and Blood Pressure

Ketogenic Diet and Autism

Keto Diet: A cure for Acne?

How a Ketogenic Diet Can Stop Sugar Addiction

Ketogenic Diet improves Acid Reflex

Ketogenic Diet: A Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease

5 Reasons Why the Keto Diet Is the Right Diet

Keto Approved Foods and What to Avoid:

Shift to the Med Diet May Help Fight Depression

Growing the Med Diet in the Desert:

Everything You Need to Know About the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet and Olive Oil: A Buying Guide

Enjoy Arizona Olive Oil with Your Mediterranean Diet!

The Mediterranean Diet: Heart Healthy and Delicious

Arizona Agriculture Grows the Mediterranean Diet

University of Arizona Nutrition Mediterranean Diet Conference

The Mediterranean Diet: Does it Work?

7 Ways to “Spice” up your Mediterranean Cooking

The Fast Diet: the What and How

Could A Healthy Lifestyle Include Fasting?

Intermittent Fasting, is it Good or Bad?


Looking for some recipes to make to impress the whole family check out the recipe section. Check out our in season produce section, this helps keep food prices economical.

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Arizona is Sweet on Apples!

By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau

Because “Apple Month” occurs in the fall, October by the way, and Arizona families are focused on making the delicious, healthy fruit such an important part of all their fall and holiday cooking and celebrating, Arizona families need to know that Johnny Appleseed may have made it to our desert state, but it’s our apple farmers that are really allowing us to pick this amazing and versatile fruit.


According to Robert E. Call, U. of A. retired extension agent who covered Cochise and Graham counties as a horticulture educator, “Apples are actually one of the most difficult crops to grow,” he says. “To be productive and truly grow them right you have to do 63 different production steps to take care of the trees.”


While Briggs & Eggers, farming in the Willcox area, is Arizona’s only commercial apple producer, our smaller U-pick apple farms also help us get to our Arizona apples. Plus, Briggs & Eggers is on Fill Your Plate because it sells some roadside stand apples. Briggs and Eggers also ship all over the United States and is the only grower of Pink Ladies during the fall period in Arizona because of the state’s four-week jump on the harvest season.


“We’ve been USDA certified organic since 1989,” says Lance Eggers of Briggs & Eggers. “We can pack 1,000 boxes a day at the height of the season. We produce a quality product and are focused on maintaining a reputation of a real good, high-quality grower and packer.”


Members of Arizona Farm Bureau, Briggs & Eggers now have approximately 460 acres of apple orchards. They’re currently producing 500 tons of apples per year, but once all the trees are producing will ship anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 tons of apples to Florida and New York on the East Coast and San Francisco and San Diego on the west coast and everywhere in between. You can find them in all the specialty organic markets under the Covilli label and watch for the “grown and packed by Briggs and Eggers” to find out they grew in our bright Arizona sun.


Eggers also said he sees “a bright future for apples in Arizona and one of the reasons we’re tied in with a national distributor and co-pack for them.” He adds, “We see a good market for our organic apples and a lot of opportunity to grow our market.”


We also have the well-known Apple Annie’s, also Farm Bureau members, that Arizona families have come to love and make part of their fall family trek to the farm.


The best news? Arizona apples have some unique qualities that Arizona apple growers can be proud of.

  1. Arizona apples are sweeter overall than just about any other state because they love the sun. Our 300+plus days of sun produce some very sweet fruit.
  2. This includes the Granny Smith Apple that most people think is sour and tart. The Arizona Granny Smith apple has a sweet tartness to it that’s like none other.
  3. Because of our climate, our apple harvests get a 3 to 4 week jump on the market.
  4. We grow a variety of apples: Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Pink Lady, Sundowner and Granny Smith


Arizona’s climate has always been a key component to our state’s success in agriculture. As we celebrate Arizona Farm Bureau’s centennial in the coming years and the state’s 5 “C’s” we hope to continue celebrating climate and agriculture into the future. Our Arizona apples certainly do!

More Fun Facts about Apples


  1. Apples are a member of the rose family, just like pears and plums. They can range in size from as small as a cherry to as big as a grapefruit.
  2. The crabapple is the only apple native to North America.
  3. An apple tree can live for more than 100 years.
  4. 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States, but only 100 varieties are grown commercially in 36 states in America. They grow in all 50 states. It’s estimated that 7,500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world.
  5. Apples come in all shades of red, green, and yellow.
  6. A standard-size apple tree starts bearing fruit 8 to 10 years after it’s planted. A dwarf tree starts bearing in 3 to 5 years. Most apple blossoms are pink when they open, but gradually transition to white.
  7. Apple trees can be grown farther north than other fruit trees because they bloom late in spring, minimizing the chance of frost damage.
  8. 25 percent of an apple’s volume is air; that’s why they float.
  9. Most apples are still picked by hand in the fall.
  10. Americans eat more apples per capital than almost any other fruit fresh and processed combined (with the possible exception of the tomato, which is a fruit). In fact, the average person eats 65 apples each year.
  11. Two pounds of apples make one 9-inch pie.
  12. Apple blossom is the state flower of Michigan.
  13. Apples are fat, sodium, and cholesterol free. They contain high levels of boron, which increases mental alertness. And, apples also contain malic acid, a chemical used in teeth whitening products, which helps dissolve stains.
  14. A medium apple is about 80 calories.
  15. Apples are a great source of the fiber pectin. One apple has five grams of fiber.
  16. The pilgrims planted the first United States apple trees in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
  17. The science of apple growing is called pomology.
  18. Apple trees take four to five years to produce their first fruit.
  19. Apple varieties range in size from a little larger than a cherry to as large as a grapefruit.
  20. Apples are propagated by two methods: grafting or budding.
  21. The apple tree originated in an area between the Caspian and the Black Sea.
  22. Apples were the favorite fruit of ancient Greeks and Romans.
  23. Apples harvested from an average tree can fill 20 boxes that weigh 42 pounds each.
  24. The largest apple picked weighed three pounds.
  25. Europeans eat about 46 pounds of apples annually.
  26. The average size of a United States orchard is 50 acres.
  27. Many growers use dwarf apple trees.
  28. Charred apples have been found in prehistoric dwellings in Switzerland.
  29. Some apple trees will grow over 40 feet high and live over 100 years.
  30. Most apples can be grown farther north than most other fruits, because they blossom late in spring, minimizing frost damage.
  31. It takes the energy from 50 leaves to produce one apple.
  32. Apples are the second most valuable fruit grown in the United States. Oranges are first.
  33. In colonial time, apples were called winter banana or melt-in-the-mouth.
  34. Apples have five seed pockets or carpels. Each pocket contains seeds. The number of seeds per carpel is determined by the vigor and health of the plant. Different varieties of apples will have different number of seeds.
  35. World’s top apple producers are China, United States, Turkey, Poland and Italy.
  36. The Lady or Api apple is one of the oldest varieties in existence.
  37. Newton Pippin apples were the first apples exported from America in 1768, some were sent to Benjamin Franklin in London.
  38. In 1730, the first apple nursery was opened in Flushing, New York.
  39. One of George Washington’s hobbies was pruning his apple trees.
  40. America’s longest-lived apple tree was reportedly planted in 1647 by Peter Stuyvesant in his Manhattan orchard and was still bearing fruit when a derailed train struck it in 1866.
  41. Apples ripen six to ten times faster at room temperature than if they were refrigerated.
  42. A peck of apples weight 10.5 pounds.
  43. A bushel of apples weights about 42 pounds and will yield 20-24 quarts of applesauce.
  44. Archeologists have found evidence that humans have been enjoying apples since at least 6500 B.C.
  45. The world’s largest apple peel was created by Kathy Wafler Madison on October 16, 1976, in Rochester, NY. It was 172 feet, 4 inches long. (She was 16 years old at the time and grew up to be a sales manager for an apple tree nursery.) (Source: Guinness World Records)
  46. It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider.
  47. Apples account for 50 percent of the world’s deciduous fruit tree production.
  48. The old saying, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away” comes from an old English adage, “To eat an apple before going to bed, will make the doctor beg his bread.”
  49. Don’t peel your apple. Two-thirds of the fiber and lots of antioxidants are found in the peel. Antioxidants help to reduce damage to cells, which can trigger some diseases. In fact, apples are an excellent source of fiber; one medium apple contains 5 grams of fiber, including the soluble fiber pectin.
  50. In 2005, United States consumers ate an average of 46.1 pounds of fresh apples and processed apple products. That’s a lot of applesauce!
  51. Sixty-three percent of the 2005 U.S. apple crop was eaten as fresh fruit.
  52. In 2005, 36 percent of apples were processed into apple products; 18.6 percent of this is for juice and cider, two percent was dried, 2.5 percent was frozen, 12.2 percent was canned, and 0.7 percent was fresh slices. Other uses were the making of baby food, apple butter or jelly and vinegar.
  53. The top apple producing states are Washington, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California and Virginia.
  54. In 2006, 58% of apples produced in the United States were produced in Washington, 11% in New York, 8% in Michigan, 5% in Pennsylvania, 4% in California and 2% in Virginia.
  55. Almost one out of every four apples harvested in the United States is exported.
  56. Many apples after harvesting and cleaning have commercial grade wax applied. Waxes are made from natural ingredients.
  57. National Apple Month is the only national, generic apple promotion conducted in the United States. Originally founded in 1904 as National Apple Week, it was expanded in 1996 to a three-month promotional window from September through November.
  58. On August 21, 2007 the GoldRush apple was designated as the official Illinois’state fruit. GoldRush is a sweet-tart yellow apple with a long shelf life. The apple is also the state fruit of Minnesota, New York, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.


Go to Fill Your Plate for recipes with apples and to read more articles about health, nutrition and the food Arizona agriculture produces.

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Easy Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole

By Angela Bates a Recent ASU Nutrition Student

After putting all the work into your holiday dinner, whether you are hosting the whole party or bringing a dish, it’s too tiring to make the whole family breakfast in the morning. That’s where a make-ahead southwest-style casserole comes in! It uses simple ingredients, can be made the night before and assembled and baked the next morning, and serves up to 10 people. Serve it up with pancakes, cereal, or toast and some orange juice for a full breakfast to keep everyone energized to help out with the holiday cooking or cookie baking.

A few different things can be done to personalize this recipe. Although thick-cut bacon is my preferred option, you may substitute turkey bacon, ham, or sausage instead. If you want a vegetarian dish, you may leave out the breakfast meat or substitute a vegetarian meat product. You may substitute egg whites only if you need to but add a bit extra to make up for the missing yolks. Shredding potatoes to use for the crust is definitely an option, but the frozen hash browns are a fast and easy trick to use. Swapping the green chiles for roasted red peppers takes this from slightly southwestern to a bit Italian. The cheese can be whatever medium to hard cheese you like. I like to think of every recipe as customizable, so you can do the same.

Serves 10


1 16-ounce package frozen shredded hash browns, thawed

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon, plus 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon, plus 1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided

4 ounces butter, melted

1 pound thick-cut bacon

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup onion, finely diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 4.5 ounce can green chiles, drained

8 large eggs

1 cup whole milk

3 cups Colby-Jack cheese, shredded and divided


Place hash browns in a large bowl and mix in garlic and onion powders, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

While the hash browns are baking, cook bacon in a frying pan just until crisp. Set aside to cool.

In the same pan, add olive oil and onion. Saute over a medium-low heat until translucent, adding the garlic near the end of the cooking. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, place the 8 whole eggs and milk. Whisk until well combined, then stir in cooled onion mixture, bacon, chiles, 2 cups of cheese, and remaining salt and pepper.

You may store these two mixtures in the fridge until the next day.

Preheat oven to 425℉.

Butter an 11×13 baking dish. Place hash brown mix into the prepared dish and press lightly. Spread butter over hash browns and bake in oven for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Turn oven down to 350℉.

Pour egg mixture into casserole dish and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the dish and sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese over the top. Bake for another 25-35 minutes or until the eggs are set.

Serve and enjoy!

For more recipes be sure to take a look at the Fill Your Plate recipe section. If you liked this article, then you will love the Fill Your Plate blog.

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The Amino Acid Citrulline and Arginine

BY Amanda van Dall A Recent ASU Nutrition Student

Wisdom follows age, experience, and education. Part of this wisdom is learning how to balance what you have with what you want. Often it is better to eliminate what you do not want before you acquire what you need. Such is the curious case between nitric oxide (NO) and ammonia (NH3). Concerning exercise, you want more emphasis in your pump (NO) and less waste in your post (NH3). This is where citrulline becomes your close ally. This non-essential amino acid is a team player in the urea cycle which rids the body of excess urea and ammonia. The excess citrulline (from supplementation, etc.) kicks the urea cycle into hyperdrive, and this disposes of the unwanted ammonia before it produces muscle fatigue. In addition, this will delay the decrease of your muscle pH, which will let you complete a longer workout.

Concerning supplementation, the citrulline in citrulline malate is bonded to malic acid in order to increase its stability and absorption. Also, since both citrulline and malic acid are both active in the TCA cycle, they may provide synergistic results if taken together. This is similar to the synergistic effect created when citrulline and arginine are paired together, And while citrulline possesses its own fatigue-fighting prowess, malic acid has earned its own reputation as a powerful fatigue warrior due to its process of recycling the body’s lactic acid and reusing it as energy within the mitochondria of cells. However, this is assuming that you have purchased a high-quality supplement which has been properly bonded (good supplements makers chemically bond their ingredients, while bad ones merely use malic acid as a separate filler) and clearly states the ratios of the contents (a good ratio is 2:1, citrulline:malic acid).

As stated, both citrulline and arginine individually or synergistically create nitric oxide. This is potent for exercise purposes, but other benefits of this combination include:

  • Relaxation of arteries, which may improve the efficiency of blood flow. As a result, these beneficial amino acids may be utilized to treat heart conditions, fatigue disorders, erectile disorders, and muscle fatigue, among various other conditions. Certain innovative physicians also use the amino acids in conjunction with therapies for age-related dementia, diabetes, and various forms of sickle cell disease. However, the latter uses have not been researched or peer-reviewed to the point where their use has become standard practice.
  • Depending on the physiology, citrulline converts to arginine then nitric oxide in the kidneys (although the majority of the cycle occurs in the liver). In theory (and only in theory at this point), this process and its by-products may stimulate the production of human growth hormone. But this idea, while chemically viable, is esoteric at best in practice.
  • Citrulline may facilitate the detoxification of alcohol. But don’t count on your favorite amino acid to save you from any binging idiosyncrasies.
  • Among the more practical uses, arginine may aid in wound healing, tissue repair, and boosting the immune system.
  • Excellent food sources of both citrulline and arginine include organic liver, beef, other red meat, wild salmon, garlic (and other sulfurous foods), and watermelon.

There are excellent reasons for using either supplement. After discussing your options with your health professional, use your nutrition erudition to determine which supplements work most efficiently with your individual physiology. Sagacious experimentation, not capricious trial, is the best way to responsibly test your options while enjoying your life. Have fun. Have a steak. Try a new amino acid. Try a new vegetable. Learn a new fact. Learn a life lesson. This is the best way to discover who you are and reveal what makes you happy. Because life is about progress, not perfection.

Want more of these valuable amino acids? Go to Fill Your Plate and search for beef.

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Fill Your Plate with the Mediterranean Diet

By Alexandra Pettit, AZFB Communications Intern

Over the last year Fill Your Plate has covered everything you need to know about the Med diet. So, if you are looking for more information on the med diet, we have your back. This diet has shown to help fight may different health conditions and keep you healthy.

Mediterranean Diet Articles:

Shift to the Med Diet May Help Fight Depression

Growing the Med Diet in the Desert:

Everything You Need to Know About the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet and Olive Oil: A Buying Guide

Enjoy Arizona Olive Oil with Your Mediterranean Diet!

The Mediterranean Diet: Heart Healthy and Delicious

Arizona Agriculture Grows the Mediterranean Diet

University of Arizona Nutrition Mediterranean Diet Conference

The Mediterranean Diet: Does it Work?

7 Ways to “Spice” up your Mediterranean Cooking


Check out Fill your plate Pinterest account and Fill your plate blog for fun snack ideas for kids.

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