Issue 28

How To: A Guide of Unleashing Your Inner Superhero

Be prepared for whatever life throws at you. We asked local businesses to weigh in on some of life’s toughest questions. 


The idea of cooking healthy can sometimes be daunting. And when it comes to finding healthy substitutes, it’s hard to discern what “healthy” means!

Olive oil is a clear winner in terms of replacements. It’s not hard to see the benefits: the oil has proven to help lower your risk of heart disease and research has shown that monounsaturated fatty acids, like those in olive oil, may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control.

“Olive oil is a healthy replacement for any other type of oil, especially generic ‘vegetable oils,’ which are inedible, sometimes toxic oils sent through a high heat refining process to be made edible,” said Jonathan Sciabica. “You can also swap out butter in baking, frying and—in the case of our delicate and buttery Mission Spring— even drizzling over popcorn!”

Unsaturated fats like the monounsaturated fats found in olive oil are healthy dietary fats. Choose oils high in monounsaturated fats for replacing saturated fats in foods like butter and stick margarine in order to reap the benefits.

Now that farmers markets are starting to open up, maybe you’re looking for a more local brand that’s not only delicious but also health conscious, high-quality, extra virgin olive oil. Thankfully, we have a supplier nearby.

“The Sciabica Family is by far the oldest producer in California!” said Sciabica. “My great-grandfather began cold-pressing California olive oil in 1936. Today, we’re still 100 percent family-owned and operated.”

If you’re looking for that local taste in a myriad of flavors, Sciabica offers 100 percent Single Varietal Olive Oils. They’ve also pioneered the process of cold-pressing fruits and herbs with olives to make their fresh, flavorful options. And since it’s asparagus season, why not try out this game-changing recipe that’s delicious and nutritious?

Frying asparagus in olive oil caramelizes and brings out the flavor. Often called the “‘I Don’t Like Asparagus’ Asparagus,” this recipe has converted plenty of people into asparagus lovers. Will you be next?

Pan-Seared Asparagus

  • 1 Bundle of Asparagus
  • 3 Tbsp Marsala Olive Oil (or your favorite varietal)
  • 1 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Tsp Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Sciabica’s Lemon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Sciabica’s Pomegranate Balsamic
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Spicy Brown Mustard


  1. Snap the hard ends of the asparagus off by hand.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet and add asparagus.
  3. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cook until the asparagus starts to darken on the outside.
  5. In a bowl, mix the Lemon Olive Oil, Pomegranate Balsamic, Honey, and Spicy Brown Mustard.
  6. Drizzle the mixture over the asparagus.
  7. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan. Enjoy!


It’s summer in Stanislaus County and fun is around every corner. If you’re looking for an all-ages romp, then the Stanislaus County Fair might just be the perfect fit.

“We have many free activities with the price of Fair admission,” said Adrenna Alkhas, Marketing and Communication Director of the Stanislaus County Fair. “Guests can purchase discounted fair admission tickets Apr. 29 through July 13 before the Fair opens and save even more.”

With just the price of an admission ticket, guests can access a myriad of fun activities. You can fly drones in the Drone Zone, watch pig races or high flying pirates, and even sit in on one or all of the high profile bands performing on the Bud Light Variety Free Stage, like LeAnn Rimes, Lone Star, Dennis Quaid and the Sharks, Good Charlotte, and so much more.

“The Fair has been in Turlock for 106 years. That carries tradition year after year with families attending the Fair,” said Alkhas. “It is critical that we introduce activities in which families can enjoy together and create lifelong memories that will passed down for generations.”

To facilitate whole-family fun, the Fair also has a Kids Club program that blends fun and education. Kids Club members receive a unique, educational experience by filling out a passport book used to travel around the Fairgrounds and answer Fair history, math, livestock, and agricultural related questions.

Just register your children through the Fair’s website at and they will receive a tote bag with gift items including two carnival ride tickets. Turn in completed passports and be entered in a chance to win the Disneyland getaway from KAT County 103. All passports must be turned in by the last day of the Fair, July 23 at midnight.

There will also be a butterfly exhibit to educate families about the Monarch butterflies—and the Drone Zone exhibit will discuss technology and science. And it wouldn’t be the Central Valley without some livestock education. There will be a whole 4-H Farmyard Experience that will allow guests to see how produce is made—products like dairy, eggs, and honey.


For more information about the Stanislaus County Fair, visit


Buying a house is one of life’s many large undertakings. It’s a commitment to a home and to a community. And because it’s such an impressive task, it can be incredibly intimidating.

“It should be easy,” Patty Amador from Ambeck Mortgage assures prospective homeowners. “Given that most people retain the information we need to start the process, it’s actually pretty simple. It’s our job to make it simple. We’re very hands-on in that we guide you through every step of the way. We tell you exactly what we need from you and we’re here to clarify and answer any questions that you may have.”

A home loan consists of an application and all of the supporting documents to support the information given in the application i.e. verification of income, and funds required to close. It is strongly advised that you get prequalified before ever shopping for your home. A mortgage company, like Ambeck, completes a preliminary prequalification and gives you a price range of what houses you can qualify for. Once a house is decided on, the formal process begins: using information from W2s; bank statements; and credit reports, to name a few of the supporting documents.

It may seem complicated—but it’s worth the wait.

“When you own your own home, you have the pride of ownership,” said Amador. “Home is where we all go for our refuge. It’s our main base, where our heart is. When you own the home that you’re living in, you have the security of knowing that you’ll be there as long as you want to be.”

When you rent, the duration of your contract is decided by your landlord. This can be perfect for some—but for those who want to invest in a childhood home for a family, a temporary living situation isn’t ideal. Owning a home has benefits that include pride of ownership and having control of your own life and security.

“All of us here at Ambeck recognize the importance of family and how important home ownership is to family. We know the process and we appreciate what an important step it is to actually purchase a home,” said Amador.

“We take it very personal when working to get people into homes. We recognize the commitment of time and money with the purchase of a home. The mortgage you obtain should go hand in hand with that commitment. The loan you’re getting should be designed around you and your needs.”

For more information, visit


When you think about healthy substitutions, whole milk might not be the first that comes to mind. In fact, on paper, the idea of nonfat milk sounds healthier by the virtue of it not having any fat at all.

But you might want to rethink your milk habits, if that’s the case. Whole milk has a surprising raft of health benefits ranging from keeping you fuller for longer and providing more energy from nutrients. It can also serve some deliciously healthy purposes.

“Our milk is a great recovery drink after half marathons, baseball, basketball,” Owner, Operator, and Dairyman Rick Nutcher of Nutcher Farms listed. “The sugars and calcium are a great recovery. The chocolate milk especially has a great reputation as a recovery drink.”

Nutcher Farms is a local creamery with a host of milk options in a variety of flavors. They offer standard offerings like original, chocolate, and strawberry—but if you want to try something new, they also have cotton candy, root beer, and orange cream. Part of their goal with Nutcher Farms was to make milk fun again, and to steer kids away from soda and to the more healthy properties of milk. Specifically, whole milk.

“Whole milk, to me, is the best milk out there,” said Nutcher. “It turns out the way the cow wanted you to drink it. We chill it within three minutes of it leaving the cow so it’s the freshest it can be.”

They distribute their milk to stores in glass bottles that don’t change the taste of the milk so that it comes out tasting just as fresh as it started. And some of the secret for that fresh taste is in how dairymen feed their cows.

“I can feed mine a consistent diet,” said Nutcher. “I feed for flavor.”

Nutcher Farms grows their own corn silages and forages, and has complete control over the quality of feed the cows consume. The cow’s diet doesn’t change, therefore her milk taste and quality won’t change throughout the cycle.

So when you’re looking for something fresh, pure, and delicious to keep you full and give you energy, you might just want to pour yourself a cool glass of milk.

For more information about Nutcher Farms, visit


Diabetes is a bigger threat than you might imagine. At least one in seven adult Californians has diabetes—and those numbers are going up by the day. Almost 11.4 million people—which is 41 percent of adults—in California have prediabetes.

According to a study published online in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), nearly 50 percent of adults living in the U.S. have diabetes or pre-diabetes, a condition where a person already has elevated blood sugar and is at risk to develop diabetes. In fact, 45 percent of adults in Stanislaus County are prediabetic.

One in three adults have prediabetes, however, one in four adults do not realize that they do. Considering that 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes within five years, it’s important to stay on top of it.

“I grew up watching the debilitating effects of Diabetes on my parents for the past 40-plus years,” said Gopika Gangupantula, MD, CDE, “how it slowly gnaws away the physical abilities and can get overwhelming not only for the patients but also their families and their healthcare providers.”

Dr. Gangupantula offered some helpful advice on how to tell if you’re prediabetic and how to undo the damage. She started with tell-tale signs, like a growing waistline, a darkening of skin around the neck or underarms, and increased yeast infections. The best way to make sure is to take a blood test to measure A1C, and a two-hour glucose tolerance test.

What do you do if you take the tests and find out you are prediabetic? Take care of yourself. Eat right, lose weight, and make sure that you’re physically active for at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. Losing even five to 10 percent of body weight can help lower the risk of diabetes.

And it shouldn’t just be your journey. Your family should get involved in the care, as well. The family also needs to understand the diet and lifestyle changes that you need to make and help you along, as it can get overwhelming to do it all by yourself.

“I don’t call it a ‘diet,’” said Dr. Gangupantula. “I call it meal planning or making the right meal choices. I encourage all my patients to have a friend or family member who will support them to make the the right meal choices, participate with them in their daily physical activity and cheer them on.”

The diagnosis and treatment of diabetes isn’t always easy on your own, however—which is why visiting specialists like Dr. Gangupantula is important. She is a passionate practitioner who stands as the only Fellowship-trained, Certified Diabetologist in the Central Valley. Dr. Gangupantula sees patients from Modesto, Riverbank, Patterson and Merced. Both healthcare providers and patients regularly seek her out for her expert care and advice.

“My philosophy is that patient education is key in improving diabetes control,” said Dr. Gangupantula. “If the patient doesn’t understand what’s going on in their body, they are not going to change their lifestyle. I provide extensive educational materials through videos, brochures, handouts and tools.”

If you need help managing your type 1 or type 2 diabetes, contact Dr. Gangupantula’s practice, Valley Diabetes & Obesity at


Of all the healthy snacks that have caught on of late, there’s one tried and true staple that’s a delicious classic: Almonds.

“Almonds contain many nutrients such as protein, fiber and the antioxidant vitamin E,” said Harley Brinkman at Stewart & Jasper. “They are gluten free, a low glycemic index food, and can help curb cravings and improve certain risk factors for major diseases.”

There are several ways to incorporate more almonds into your diet. For example, you can sprinkle some on oatmeal, yogurt or even salad, add almond butter to smoothies or use on toast, use almond flour for baked goods, and curb sweet cravings by munching on dark chocolate almonds.

Or you can snack on them plain, choosing natural, roasted, diced, sliced, or blanched. Stewart & Jasper also offers a number of delicious flavors like Asiago Cheese, Dill Ranch, Japaleño Cheddar, Balsamic Herb, Chili Cheese, Roasted Sea Salt, and Sun Dried Tomato.

You can also replace peanut butter with almond butter. Almond butter is a slightly better source of heart-healthy fats, such as monounsaturated fat. These fats help lower blood cholesterol levels, and may also reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke. Almond Butter is also a better source of fiber and vitamin E.

And what’s even better than almonds? Local almonds. With such plentiful almond orchards, Stanislaus County is the perfect place to pick up the freshest and most delicious nuts.

“Stewart & Jasper, a family-owned almond company on the West Side of the San Joaquin Valley, is well known for its commitment to product quality and customer service,” said Brinkman. “In today’s demanding market for high quality foods amid tighter standards for food safety, eco-friendly business practices, water conservation and customer support, no almond handler is better prepared than Stewart & Jasper to assure your satisfaction.”

To find out more about Stewart & Jasper, or to find out where to buy some almonds for yourself, visit

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