Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Some people think throwing out food is good

Americans throw away 80 billion pounds of food a year. But only half realize food waste is even a problem.

In a peer-reviewed study published in PLOS ONE, 500 people were quizzed on food waste.

Only 53% saw this as a problem.  this was up 10% from an earlier Johns Hopkins study.

Still, you don't change your behavior if you don't think there is a problem.

Basically, those who responded had several ideas about waste:

--68% believed that throwing away food after the package date prevented food borne illness. Almost 60% believed throwing away old food ensured meals were fresh and flavorful.

--77% were guilty about throwing out food.  But only 58% saw this as bad for the environment.  And--only 42% saw this as a waste of money.

--51% thought it would be difficult to reduce this waste. Forty-two percent said they didn't have time to worry about it.

--Fifty-three admit they waste more food when they buy on sale or in bulk.

--87% thought they wasted less than other people.

The researchers said removing SELL BY and USE BY from packages would significantly reduce waste without harming anyone.

Making people more aware, they added, would only affect the behavior of 5-10%,.

My daughter asked me the other day could she eat sour cream that said SELL BY August. I said could it get more sour?

She lived.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Cinnamon may make you a better learner

Smart choice?
Kalipada Pahan, a researcher at Rush University, has high hopes for the spice cinnamon.  In mice, anyway, cinnamon turns slow learners into good ones.

In a study in the June 24 issue of the J of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, poor-learning mice took 150 seconds to find the right hole in a maze test, but after a month of cinnamon treatment, they found it within 60 seconds.

Pahan thinks this comes from an ingredient in cinnamon called sodium benzoate, which ironically is found in many processed foods.

This chemical can have some health concerns, but the amounts we are talking about is considered safe.

The substance is absorbed very slowly from cinnamon.

Although the exact mechanism for increasing learning is not known yet, cinnamon did seem to erase a brain protein gap between slow and good learners.

They also looked at the brain cells of the mice--the sodium benzoate had enhanced the structural integrity of the cells.

Still, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says high quality evidence on the efficacy of cinnamon is lacking. Most of the research has been on whether cinnamon regulated blood sugar.

Before you start throwing cinnamon into everything, note this:

--Most cinnamon in stores is Chinese, which contains a compound called courmarin, which is toxic to the liver in large amounts (tons). Pahan says to look for Ceylon or Sri Lanka on the container.

Still, Prahan takes some cinnamon in honey each evening as a supplement.

You have to do your research and decide for yourself. Cinnabons are good...wait, did I type that out loud?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Houston Fire Dept screens for ambulance need

Under a program dubbed Ethan (Emergency TeleHealth and Navigation project), the Houston Fire Dept uses Panasonic Toughpad tablets on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network to screen patients at home.

Where appropriate the first responders set up a teleconference between the sick person and a physician using the tablets. The physician then monitors the patient's vital signs remotely and talks to the person.

Based on this, the situation can go one of several ways:

--Referral to the ER in the ambulance

--The patient is asked to go to a clinic appointment and offered a free taxi. If the person refuses, the taxi is provided to go to the ER.

--Or home care instructions may be offered. If this is refused, again a taxi to the ER will be provided.

Eighty percent of expensive ambulance trips are avoided.

I have often taken a taxi to the ER--but on one occasion did take an ambulance. It took me a year to pay the ambulance fee.

I think having the EMTs there, and a talk with a physician, would have been helpful and the ER could have been avoided.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Processed food may even be superior sometimes

Delicious lycopene.
We are harangued every day--only eat food from the outer aisles of the supermarket--nothing "processed," nothing enhanced...certainly nothing geneticaly altered, on and on.

Robert Clements, an adjunct prof of pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences at the Univ of Southern California, says many consumers already know processed foods and reduce costs and improve convenience--but they did not know that food technology can increase food safety and boost nutrition.

You mean some processed food can be good for you?

Example: Tomatoes. These contain lycopene, an important dietary element linked to reduction of the risk of prostate cancer. When food companies "process" these tomatoes in sauce, juice, or paste--the lycopene is transformed into a form more easily used by the body.

You hear a lot about eating a "raw foods" diet--but cooking enhances the body's absorption of pigments such as lycopene, or the beta carotene (the orange in carrots) by softening it so it can be digested better. Adding some fat, as in pasta cause, enhances absorption even more.

Researchers urge people to eat both fresh and processed tomatoes.

Other processing techniques also make food more nutritious--for instance, companies freeze green beans within an hour--making frozen green beans better for you than the ones at the farmer's market.

Plus--vitamins are often added to food--such as the often-needed vitamin D to milk and cereal.

This isn't saying you should be jamming in the Hot Pockets, but don't turn up your nose at all processed foods.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Woman shamed by Playboy Dummy, I mean Bunny, strikes back

I don't know if you saw this, but a snarky Playboy Bunny took a naked photo of a larger woman in the gym and posted it to some social media, saying, "Since I can't unsee this, you can't either."

Her gym lashed back, banning her from all the chain's facilities--you are not supposed to take camera pix  in the locker rooms. What they thought about her body shaming the woman was not noted.

The target of the attack, Nicole Henry, handled that aspect fine herself.

She cheerfully posted, calling herself  lumpy bumpy or something like that, and pointing out the amazing things her body has done--volunteering in a slum school in Africa, building houses for Habitat for Humanity, running two 5Ks, becoming a foster parent, earning two  undergrad degrees and teaching kindergarten for 6 years.

Even then, she said, she wasn't asking for cheers for doing this--just recognition that everyone is more than a physical body.

Well, not everyone...I know one person who has banked on her looks. But looks don't last, honey--what will you do when you start to crumble?