Saturday, March 26, 2022

Set Up a Daily Routine with the Help of Citrus

You may have heard that a daily routine is important for mental and physical health. During stressful times in particular, it is  important to try to establish as much of a regular routine as possible and stick with it. Experts agree that being able to function in predictable, healthy patterns each day helps you better navigate the more unpredictable, less healthy stressors of life. By incorporating healthy choices as part of your daily routine, these choices will soon become healthy habits, with long-term benefits such as increased vitality, energy, and focus, as well as less anxiety and malaise.

Examples of a Healthy Daily Routine

We already do a few familiar things in a similar pattern each day. For example, a typical weekday may look something like this: we stretch and brush our teeth in the morning, eat breakfast, walk the dog, go to work, have lunch, work some more, come home, eat dinner, walk the dog again, brush teeth, read, and go to bed at night. Now, depending on our choices over time, each of these things can be healthy and sustaining or unhealthy and depleting. Even though our daily routine may help us find a familiar and comfortable pattern to settle into each day, if we choose fried or sugary foods for most of our meals, don't get enough sleep, and don't exercise enough, we may not feel as good as we would with more optimal choices.  

How Can Citrus Help In the Morning?

So what does a healthy daily routine have to do with citrus? Lots! Here at Florida Fruit Shippers, high-quality, fresh citrus is always in our purview, and the health results are palpable.  Let's start with your morning routine: Most people begin their day with a cup of coffee to wake up. But recent research has proven that when you feel lethargic or unable to concentrate well, orange juice will help you sustain alertness and concentration for a longer period of time than coffee.  Starting your day with a glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice versus juice from a carton will magnify this effect even more. It's all thanks to those wonderful citrus flavonoids, which along with all of their other health benefits, serve to improve blood flow to the brain.  Pair that juice with a heart-healthy breakfast of oatmeal with some delicious Florida marmalade or honey from one of our gift boxes, take your pup for an energizing walk, and you're all fueled up for a great day.

How Can Citrus Help My Midday Slump?

So your morning orange juice and breakfast combo helped you sail through your work morning, but as lunch approaches, especially after that two-hour board meeting, fatigue and hunger are setting in.  Your co-worker once again brought four dozen donuts to the two-hour meeting, and the chocolate cream one is loudly calling your name.  Your hand extends out to grab it...closer...closer...Stop!  Quick, reach for the delicious, sweet, juicy grapefruit in your bag!  Studies have proven that consuming a grapefruit before the urge to snack on sugary foods or before meals will curb both your cravings and your appetite, thereby keeping you donut- and guilt-free and able to enjoy a healthy lunch.  And, because grapefruits are also loaded with flavonoids, your brain will once again receive a fresh shot of alertness.

How Can Citrus Help Me End My Day?

Your grapefruit before lunch was just the ticket to give you the clarity and energy to deal with the many challenges that came at you in the afternoon, but now that it's 5pm, you feel your energy draining. Suddenly, the thought of a frozen pizza and a random movie before bed is very appealing.  You can exercise tomorrow, right? Wrong!  You spy the bowl of oranges on your counter, and remember your routine: get home, drink a big glass of water, change into some comfy clothes and sneakers, and grab an orange.  You take a brisk walk around your neighborhood, and simply throw the orange from your left hand to your right hand and back again, over and over, as you ambulate. This is called bilateral coordination, and is a phenomenal way to not only exercise your body, but also your mind.  It forces the brain to operate over the corpus callosum, which is responsible for the coordination between the two sides of your brain and body. As we age, we can lose this coordination. Tossing an orange from hand to hand while walking is a highly effective way of keeping the brain and body balanced and functioning at optimal potential. Best of all, when you finish your workout, you can reward yourself with the delicious orange before dinner, which will also serve to curb your appetite and keep your eating moderate.

Citrus can be a powerful ally in your daily routine.  From morning until evening, count on our freshly-picked fruits to sustain you.  You can even save your peels from your daily citrus, soak them in water overnight, and voila: you have an refreshing spritzer for your clothing and rooms. Another idea: chop and bake the rinds in a 200 degree oven until they are fully dried. Mix with dried flower petals for a fresh, comforting sachet for your desk drawers, briefcase, dresser, and suitcase.

So bring on the day, and use citrus to keep you nourished, energized, and satiated through each dynamic moment. From all of us here at Florida Fruit Shippers: Enjoy!


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Saturday, March 12, 2022

Spring Cleaning with Oranges and Grapefruits


It's a funny thing, spring: as those first March and April showers splash down on the budding plants outside, we feel a surge of energy as we look around our homes and get motivated to thrust open the windows, roll up our sleeves, vacuum, wipe, sweep and shake out the settled winter dust, and make everything fresh and sparkling.  We run to the grocery store and stock up on cleaning detergents, solvents, degreasers, de-crudders, dusters, and fresheners. Many of the name brand cleaners boast enticing, all-natural tag lines with such alluring phrases as "with the cleaning power of orange oil!" or "natural citrus power!" Here in the citrus business, we can't help but smile knowingly.  Oranges and grapefruits rival their better-known cleaning cousin--lemons--for their ability to both clean and deodorize. They don't have to be paired with harsh, environmentally unfriendly chemicals often found in most brand-name cleaners, nor are they nearly as expensive to use.

What Makes Citrus So Good at Cleaning?

The rind of citrus fruit is the concentrated storage unit for some really potent--and yet safe and environmentally friendly--cleaning compounds. We've already discussed the power of the flavonoids concentrated in orange and grapefruit peels for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Turns out, one of the main flavonoids, called d-limonene, is also a remarkable dirt and grease solvent, and is the primary essential oil that gives citrus fruits their signature bright, enlivening aroma that one equates with a clean and fresh household. In addition, the acidic nature of citrus makes it particularly effective at cleaning up stains and residues from things like fruit juices, coffee, lipstick, wine, and sweat, and also rust and limescale. Vitamin C has antibacterial properties as well; while it won't kill microorganisms outright like harsher cleaners might, it actually creates an environment that is hostile to these pathogens, so that they cannot thrive nor replicate. This is a great approach in the kitchen, as citrus can clean surfaces and subdue harmful bacteria and viruses without introducing endocrine-damaging chemical toxins to our foods and food-preparation surfaces.

Let's Get Cleaning!

Here are some great household uses for your oranges and grapefruits.  Remember, the magnitude of their cleaning power is directly proportional to the quality and freshness of the fruit you use. Here at Florida Fruit Shippers, we guarantee that you will have the freshest and highest quality fruits around, with the most concentrated levels of germ-busting, aroma-enhancing flavonoids and vitamins!

General Household Cleaner: It's easy to make a highly effective household cleaner with orange rinds, vinegar, and a few extra ingredients if you want to add them.  You'll need a quart-sized jar with a lid (like a recycled spaghetti sauce jar), an empty spray bottle from a previous cleaning solution or purchased new, distilled white vinegar, rinds from 4-6 peeled oranges (grapefruits would work too), cheesecloth, and, if desired, some herbs like rosemary. Pack the jar with your orange rinds, add rosemary or other herbs if desired, and fill the jar with vinegar.  Seal lid tightly. Store in a cool, dry, dark area such as your pantry for 4-8 weeks.  The longer you let it sit, the more the oils from the rind will infuse into the vinegar, and the darker the solution will become.  After the storage period, pour the amber-colored solution through a strainer or cheesecloth to fill a spray bottle halfway, and then fill the rest with water. You now have a cleaning solution that can tackle surfaces like stovetops, toilets, countertops, sinks, tile or linoleum floors, carpet stains, and even glass!  Because it is acidic, however, it is not recommended for granite, quartz, or marble counters, or on hardwood floors.

Bathroom Buster: Got a dirty bathroom? Grab a grapefruit! Simply cut it in half, eat the delicious fruit inside, salt the remaining pithy inedible parts generously, and voila: you have a versatile bathroom scrubber. It cuts tough bathtub rings, dissolves shower, sink, and countertop soap scum and water mineral stains, and removes toothpaste residue with ease.

Clothes Protection: In addition to making a wonderful household cleaner, oranges have another superpower: they repel bugs! No one likes the smell of mothballs, but who doesn't love the enticing aroma of oranges and cloves?  Ditch the mothballs and insert clove studs all over the peel of a whole orange.  Tie a string or decorative ribbon around your creation and hang anywhere you need to protect clothes from moths.

Fire Ant Removal: Fire ants are an invasive, destructive species. If you need to take care of a fire ant problem, don't add chemicals to the environment.  Orange oil is one of the only proven natural, environmentally-friendly solutions. Simply peel a bunch of oranges and place the peels in a blender with enough water to create a puree.  When you blend the mixture, the orange essential oils are released and, when poured onto a fire ant hill, say goodbye to the fire ants. Best of all, you'll still have the delicious fruit of your oranges to enjoy!

Clean Inside and Out

We already know that both oranges and grapefruits from Florida Fruit Shippers make for some clean and healthy eating. Now you can also use them for a clean and healthy household. 

Happy Spring!


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