Archive | September, 2007

Conflicting Research on Alcohol

29 Sep

Up until now research showed that a drink of a glass of wine a day was beneficial to health and posed no risk. News coming out of Barcelona Spain today said that any amount of alcohol is detrimental to a woman’s health and raises her risk of breast cancer.  It is believed that alcohol raised hormone levels in the blood to levels that could cause cancer.   Researchers analyzed 70,033 women of various races from 1978 to 1985.  By 2004, 2,829 had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Researchers did not see any difference in women developing cancer and the type of alcohol consumed. Dr. Arthur Klatsky of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in Oakland, Calif., revealed their findings at a conference in Barcelona  

Heart Healthy Coffee Cake for your Sweet Tooth

26 Sep

Ingredients

  • 5 cup(s) apple(s), tart
  • 1 cup(s) sugar
  • 1 cup(s) raisins
  • 1/2 cup(s) nuts, pecans
  • 1/4 cup(s) oil, vegetable
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg(s)
  • 2 cup(s) flour, all-purpose
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Lightly oil 13- by 9- by 2-inch pan.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine apples with sugar, raisins, and pecans. Mix well and let stand for 30 minutes.

4. Stir in oil, vanilla, and egg. Sift together flour, soda, and cinnamon, and stir into apple mixture about a third at a time – just enough to moisten dry ingredients.

5. Turn batter into pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool cake slightly before serving

Vegetarian Lasagna without Pasta

26 Sep

Ingredients4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped fine 2 tablespoons onion, chopped fine2 (14.5-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes2 tablespoons dried oregano1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste Salt and ground black pepper to taste2 large eggplants 2 tablespoons dried thyme1 large yellow squash, thinly sliced lengthwise (optional)1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese 1 large egg1/2 cup fresh-grated Parmesan cheese2 cups (4 whole) roasted peppers1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella 1/4 cup fresh basil, shredded 2 cups spinach (optional)  InstructionsPreheat oven to 450°F. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in skillet and cook garlic and onion until they become aromatic and begin to brown. Add stewed tomatoes and 1 tablespoon dried oregano. Once tomatoes begin to bubble, stir in tomato paste. Reduce heat to low, add salt and pepper to taste, cover, and let simmer lightly while you continue.  Slice eggplant lengthwise in 1/4-inch slices. Spread out eggplant slices on a rimmed cookie sheet sprayed lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Salt the slices generously on both sides, sprinkle with thyme, and lightly brush (fingers are fine) with the remaining olive oil. Roast eggplant in oven until tender and slightly browned. If using yellow squash, also roast briefly until soft and pliable. Remove and let cool enough to handle. Reduce oven to 375°F.  Meanwhile, stir together ricotta cheese, egg, remaining oregano, and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. In a 12×9-inch baking dish, spread 1/4 cup of tomato sauce. Cover with 3 or 4 eggplant slices, then half of the roasted peppers, and then a third of the ricotta cheese mixture, followed by a third of the mozzarella. Sprinkle half the basil over cheeses, and then spinach and yellow squash (if using). Cover with more tomato sauce, eggplant, peppers, ricotta, mozzarella, and basil. Top with remaining eggplant, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and any remaining Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for about 15 minutes more or until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. Remove and let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving

Organic or non organic cereals for children

26 Sep

There is an article in the New York Times (Sept 26/07)alerting parents to the fact that if they choose to give their children  organic breakfasts they may be missing out on vitamins found in the regular cereals.

The article proceeded to report that since the 1940’s, commercial cereal companies have been adding vitamins to their flakes, puffs and O’s in order to replace nutrients stripped away during the manufacturing process.

This is ridiculous and I think articles like this is just trying to promote those useless, additive-driven, sugar and salt laden cereals for children.  What is better than pure wholesome food?  We do not need manufacturers to strip wheat of its natural vitamins and minerals to make it more appealing and then add these back to the foods using all kinds of preservatives.

The natural vitamins and micro-nutrients found in pure food cannot be replaced fully by artificial means.  There may be valuable trace nutrients that even the scientists do not know about but which provides us with some healthy benefits.

My advice is to separate food from vitamins.  If you have to give your child a multivitamin a day, then do so but don’t try using cereal as a multivitamin table. It’s absurd.

Selecting the leanest cut

24 Sep

Are some cuts of meat less fatty than others? Definitely. And less fat can mean lower cholesterol and a healthier heart. Making relatively easy changes in your diet can have a big impact on your health. By picking out cuts of meat with less fat you’ll be making good, heart-healthy choices.Here’s a guide to the meats that are lower in fat:

Beef: Top round, eye of round, round steak, rumproast, sirloin tip, short loin, strip steak lean, lean and extra lean ground beef

Pork: Tenderloin, sirloin roast or chop, center-cut loin chops

Lamb: Foreshank, leg roast, leg chop, loin chop

Of course, chicken, turkey and vegetarian meals can be even more healthy.

Baby Bliss – gripewater apple flavour recalled

21 Sep

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to use the apple flavoured Baby’s Bliss gripe water because it could be contaminated with a parasite that causes intestinal infection.

The gripe water carries the code 26952V and an expiration date shown as 10/08 (for October 2008).

It is sold as a 4 oz plastic bottle inside a cardboard carton that bears the Baby’s Bliss logo and the product name Gripewater Apple Flavor.

According to FDA information the product label carries the following text:

  • Baby’s Bliss. Pediatrician Recommended Gripe Water. Apple Flavor.
  • An herbal supplement used to ease the gas and stomach discomfort often associated with colic, hiccups, and teething.
  • Other ingredients: Deionized Water, Vegetable Glycerin, Fructose, Natural apple flavor, Citric acid, Bioflavonoid Extract, and Grapefruit Seed Extract.
  • Distributed by: MOM Enterprises, Inc., San Rafael, CA 94903 USA.

The FDA said consumers should throw away any bottles of the product.

The product was distributed throughout the US by MOM Enterprises Inc of San Rafael, California. The company has issued a voluntary recall from distribution chains and retail outlets. The product was also sold worldwide over the internet.

The recall and warning follows laboratory confirmed tests in August on a 6 week baby in Minnesota that proved positive for cryptosporidium, a parasite that causes intestinal infections.

The most common symptoms of infection by cryptosporidium are: watery diarrhea, dehydration, weight loss, stomach pains and cramps, fever, nausea and vomiting.

They generally appear between two and ten days after the parasite enters the body and last up to two weeks.

Most healthy people recover without treatment, but the infection can be life-threatening for certain people like pregnant women, babies and children who can become seriously ill from dehydration due to diarrhea. People with weakened immune systems are also at risk.

If your baby or child has recently drunk Baby’s Bliss Gripewater, Apple Flavor and has any of these symptoms you should take them to see a doctor at once.

If your baby or child has recently drunk the product but is not showing any symptoms, you should monitor them very closely, especially for any sign that diarrhea could be developing.

MOM Enterprises said it is offering full refunds on Apple Flavored Baby’s Bliss Gripewater.

The company and the FDA are currently investigating the cause of the contamination.

Consumers can call the FDA on 1-888-723-3366 or the company on 1-877-457-4955

High Starch Intake may Damage Liver

21 Sep

BBC News

Fatty liver

Fatty liver can be a sign of serious problems to come

A diet rich in potatoes, white bread and white rice may be contributing to a “silent epidemic” of a dangerous liver condition.“High-glycaemic” foods – rapidly digested by the body – could be causing “fatty liver”, increasing the risk of serious illness.

Boston-based researchers, writing in the journal Obesity, found mice fed starchy foods developed the disease.

Those fed a similar quantity of other foods did not.

One obesity expert said fatty liver in today’s children was “a tragedy of the future”.

GLYCAEMIC INDEX

High GI foods:
Mashed potato
White bread
Chips
Some breakfast cereals (eg Cornflakes, Rice Krispies, Coco Pops)
Steamed white rice

Moderate GI foods:
Muesli (non-toasted)
Boiled potatoes
Pitta bread
Basmati rice
Honey
Wholemeal bread

Low GI foods:
Roasted salted peanuts
Rye and granary bread
Whole and skimmed milk
Spaghetti
Boiled carrots
Baked beans

Fatty liver is exactly as it sounds – a build-up over time of fat deposits around the organ.

At the time, no ill-effects are felt, but it has been linked with a higher risk of potentially fatal liver failure later in life.

The study, carried out at Boston Children’s Hospital, looked at the effect of diets with precisely the same calorific content, but very different ingredients when measured using the glycaemic index (GI).

This is a measure of how quickly the energy in the food is absorbed by the body, producing a rise in blood sugar levels – high GI foods lead to sharper rises in blood sugar, and similar rises in insulin levels, as the body releases the chemical in response.

High GI foods include many breakfast cereals and processed foods such as white bread and white rice.

Low GI foods include unprocessed fruit, nuts, pulses and grains, including rye or granary bread, spaghetti, apples and oranges.

Silent and deadly

After six months on the diet, the mice weighed the same, but those on the high GI diet had twice the normal amount of fat in their bodies, blood and livers.

Fatty liver is going to be one of the tragedies of the future unless we do something about it

Tam Fry, National Obesity Forum

The researchers say that because the processed carbohydrates are absorbed so quickly, they trigger the release of more of the chemical insulin, which tells the body to lay down more fat.

Dr David Ludwig, who led the research, said that the results would also apply to humans, and even children, in whom fatty liver is becoming far more common.

Between a quarter and half of all overweight American children are thought to have the condition, he said.

“This is a silent but dangerous epidemic,” he said.

“Just as type 2 diabetes exploded into our consciousness in the 1990s, so we think fatty liver will in the coming decade.”

Insulin resistance

Tam Fry, National Obesity Forum board member and chairman of the Child Growth Foundation, said it was clear that eating a diet rich in high-glycaemic food led to increased fat.

He said: “Fatty liver is going to be one of the tragedies of the future unless we do something about it.”

Azmina Govindja, a dietician and spokesman for the British Dietetic Association, said that the biggest threat from a diet rich in high-glycaemic food was development of insulin resistance – the first sign of type 2 diabetes.

She said: “There is a place for high-glycaemic carbohydrates in moderation as part of a balanced diet, but there’s good research that eating too much can increase the risk of insulin resistance – and this can lead to serious health problems.

“However, this study is interesting, as there is other evidence that people who eat a diet rich in high-glycaemic food are more likely to have more body fat.”

Asian Chicken Salad wrap Recipe

21 Sep

Serves 4.
Description
This is a tasty way to use leftover chicken. The recipe can easily be scaled down for one or two. Make half the sauce and use just over 1/3 cup shredded chicken for each wrap. Use whole wheat tortillas if you can find them.
 
Prep time: 40 minutes

Ingredients
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp  soya sauce  
1/4 cup sugar substitute
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
8 6-inch flour tortillas
4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
3 cups shredded cooked chicken (3/4 pound)
1 large ripe tomato, cut into thin wedges
1 cup grated carrots (2 medium)
2/3 cup chopped scallions (1 bunch)
2/3 cup slivered fresh mint

Instructions
1. Whisk lemon juice, soy sauce, sugar substitute, garlic and crushed red pepper in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved.
2. Preheat oven to 325°F. Wrap tortillas in foil and heat in oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until softened and heated through. Keep warm.
3. Combine lettuce, chicken, tomato, carrots, scallions and mint in a large bowl. Add 1/3 cup of the reserved dressing; toss to coat.
4. Set out chicken mixture, tortillas and remaining dressing for diners to assemble wraps at the table. Serve immediately.
Tip:
To warm tortillas in a microwave, stack between two damp paper towels; microwave on high for 30 to 60 seconds, or until heated through.

Toys R Us – Naaat!

20 Sep

The recent spate of recalls of toys made in China by Mattel and others in the toy business has put the industry into the full glare of the public’s ignorance of what they may inadvertently be exposing their children to.  The question being asked by sensible people is why the need for so many toys for our children.  In spite of all the fancy expensive toys that are abound everywhere, the best toys for most children are the pots and pans and a spoon with which to bang on them.  Children do not need all these manufactured toys we are throwing at them.  I believe these toys stunt the creativity of children.  If on the other hand they are allowed to create their toys out of ordinary stuff at home, we are helping to grow that child’s brains. Okay, some toys may bring some joy to the child but most bore our children and if they could speak they’d tell us to get those hideous things away from them and hand them an ordinary cup to make something of that.

I remember as a child, we made houses from as little as 7 or 8, where we lived with our imaginary husbands and children. We created stuff from nothing. These days we want to spoon feed our children into brilliance which ends us making them more dull.  

Toy manufacturing is big business. I urge you instead of wasting your money on useless toys to impress your friends and family put that money away to send your child to a camp or a trip around the world when he/she grows older.  They would appreciate it a heck of a lot more.

A recent newspaper article explained it this way

On the list  (of recalled toys) were 56 Polly Pocket sets (including a Lip Gloss Studio Playset), 11 Doggie Daycare toys, 4 Batman figures, 43 Sesame Street toys (not just Elmo Stacking Rings but Giggle Grabber Soccer Elmo and Grow Me Elmo Sprinkler), 10 Dora the Explorers and more than a score of assorted figures and cars. These are designed mostly for preschoolers; none encourage violence and many feature the cute and caring. But, a parent might ask, why 56 Polly Pocket sets? Wouldn’t a half-dozen meet the needs of any child? And why teach 4-year-olds the fine points of cosmetics?

Yet most of us are not shocked by this list. Indeed, a business model that sells endless additions to basic toys even when they have nothing to do with any recognized child-rearing ideal or even imaginative play seems natural.

Gary Cross, a professor of history at Pennsylvania State University, is the author of “Kids’ Stuff: Toys and the Changing World of American Childhood,” suggested that it may be the time to start censoring ads on children’s programs.  I don’t think we need to go that far.  There are enough laws.  I think parents want the best for the children but may not know be aware of the dangers of some of these toys and what they are doing to the minds of their children.

 Come on people, spare your children these mind numbing toys and help them to explore the world as they see it or can understand it at the time.  Your child will be a lot smarter. Experience is the best teacher

How to get the best reading of your blood pressure

20 Sep

 

A number of factors can boost your reading even when you don’t have hypertension.

 

Several factors can lead to an artificially high blood pressure reading — elevated numbers even though you don’t have hypertension. One common cause: nervousness about being at the doctor’s office. Try the following suggestions to get the most accurate results.

*       Don’t drink coffee or smoke cigarettes for at least 30 minutes before having your blood pressure measured.

*       Go to the bathroom prior to the reading. A full bladder can change your blood pressure reading.

*       Before the test, sit for five minutes with your back supported and your feet flat on the ground.

*       Rest your arm on a table at the level of your heart.

*       Ask the doctor or nurse to take two readings, at least two minutes apart, and average the results.

 

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