Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for December 21st, 2022

Can a Common Artificial Sweetener Fuel Anxiety?

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That could explain a lot. Megan Brooks writes in Medscape:

Aspartame, an artificial sweetener commonly found in diet drinks and food, may raise the risk for anxiety, early research suggests.

In a new preclinical study, investigators observed that mice that drank water containing aspartame exhibited pronounced anxiety-like behaviors in a variety of maze tests.

This behavior occurred at aspartame doses equivalent to less than 15% of the maximum daily human intake recommended by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“It was such a robust anxiety-like trait that I don’t think any of us were anticipating we would see. It was completely unexpected. Usually you see subtle changes,” lead author Sara Jones, doctoral candidate at Florida State University (FSU) College of Medicine, in Tallahassee, said in a news release.

The findings were published online December 2 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Transgenerational Transmission

When consumed, aspartame becomes aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol ― all of which can have potent effects on the central nervous system, the researchers point out.

Exposing the mice to aspartame also produced changes in the expression of genes regulating excitation-inhibition balance in the amygdala, a brain region that regulates anxiety and fear.

Giving the mice diazepam, which is used to treat generalized anxiety disorder, alleviated the anxiety behavior in the animals.

“The anxiety, its response to diazepam, and the changes in amygdala gene expression are not limited to the aspartame-exposed individuals but also appear in up to two generations descending from the aspartame-exposed males,” the researchers report.

“Extrapolation of the findings to humans suggests that aspartame consumption at doses below the FDA recommended maximum daily intake may produce neurobehavioral changes in aspartame-consuming individuals and their descendants,” they write.

“Thus, human population at risk of aspartame’s potential mental health effects may be larger than current expectations, which only include aspartame-consuming individuals,” they add.

Far From Harmless?

The investigators plan to publish additional data from the study that focus on how aspartame affected memory in the mice.

In future research, they hope to . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

21 December 2022 at 9:30 pm

Ducks: Terrific video

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Do watch this video.

Written by Leisureguy

21 December 2022 at 6:40 pm

Posted in Daily life, Video

Soup thoughts

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A pot of crowded vegetable soup, vegetables in a broth that's dark red from smoked paprika. Visible are disks of purple potato, mushrooms, thinly sliced leek leaves, and pieces of Shanghai bok choy.
The soup at the beginning

The day is very sunny — clear skies, with the brightness of sunshine bouncing off snow. It’s a trick: the temperature report is that it “feels like” 19ºF (-7.2ºC). This is a day indoors, and another soup day. (I still have vegetable broth to use up.)

I will use my 6-qt wide-diameter soup pot, the wide diameter being good for sautéing the vegetables before adding liquid.

Solstice Soup

Drizzle in about 1.5-2 Tbsps EVOO (true EVOO) and then cook:
• 6 large cloves garlic, chopped fairly large and rested
• 1″ ginger root, minced (all I had on hand; would have used more)
• 3 BBQ onions (like spring onions), chopped
• leaves from the tops of 5 leeks, rinsed well and sliced thin (leftovers from this)
• 10.7 oz lentil-and-wheat tempeh (this one), diced medium
• 12 medium domestic white mushrooms, sliced thickly
• 5 dried tomatoes (not in oil, just dry), chopped
• 4 Shanghai bok choy mue, chopped
• 2 medium-large beets, diced small
• 1 tablespoon Spanish smoked hot paprika
• 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
• 2 teaspoons Ceylon cinnamon (Cassia cinnamon toxic to liver at high doses)

Once that has cooked pretty well, add:
• 2 Tablespoons tomato paste (I buy it in a tube so I can use small amounts)

Continue cooking until the tomato paste darkens, then add:
• 1 540ml (19-oz) can Aylmer Italian Seasonings tomatoes
• the aforementioned veggie broth — a little more than 1 quart; had also to add water
• 2 large roasted Stokes Purple® potatoes from the fridge, sliced into disks
• good dash of Red Boat fish sauce
• splash of Bragg’s apple-cider vinegar
• 1/2 teaspoon MSG (it’s okay)

I decided against adding spinach. The pot is filling up, and the leek leaves add plenty of green.

A thick soup, dark red, crowded with vegetables. Cubes of tempeh are visible, and thin slices of leek leaves, along with the cooked millet and rolled oatss.
The finished soup

Simmer for 35 minutes, and then add:
• 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
• 1/4 cup unpolished little millet

I decided to add those because, although the overall soup is thick, the liquid is not. My thought is that these will thicken the liquid. [Bonus: when I retrieved the millet from the cupboard I saw I had an unopened bag of barnyard millet, which is particularly good.] You can see the millet in the finished soup in the photo at right.

At the end, just before dishing it up, I added:
• 3 lemons, peeled and then blended to make a pulp

I just stirred in the lemon pulp and have a bowl cooling. I did taste it. The soup is amazingly tasty, which is lucky, because there are 5 quarts of it and only I eating it. I’ll undoubtedly freeze some. The smokiness of the paprika definitely comes through.

I served it with
• a sprinkling of pumpkin seed (unsalted)

The little cubes of tempeh are nice and chewy. They give the stew a meaty mouthfeel.



Written by Leisureguy

21 December 2022 at 1:31 pm

Welcome, Solstice

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Shave set up with the brush — the "Solar Flare" have white synthetic bristles and a handle whose top half is white and bottom half is a mustard yellow, with the base octagonal. The tub of soap has a label with the word "Solstice" large and centerd against a dark background from which three mesas rise. The top half of the label is a sky filled with wide rays of sunshine. Next to the soap is a bottle of aftershave with a black cap and the same sun-filled label. In front is a gold double-edge razor with a fluted handle, lying on its side.

Today we celebrate Ra, with the winter solstice just a few hours from now. The sun will start to climb up the ecliptic at 1:47pm (PST), so by this afternoon, days will begin to lengthen. I can’t wait.

I naturally enough reach for Solstice when a solstice occurs, partly because I do love the fragrance of this soap: “Sage, Sweetgrass, Cedar, Rose Absolute, and Benzoin Resin.” My own tub antedates the CK-6 formula at the link. Mine is the Kokum Butter formula, also excellent though not so amazing as CK-6 (which, BTW, comes in a 5-oz tub, so you get 25% more than most tubs of shaving soap).

The Solar Flare shaving brush seems appropriate for today’s shave, and I do like this brush a lot: excellent feel and performance.

My golden Merkur Progress did an excellent job, leaving my face perfectly smooth with no problems. First I massaged a dot of Grooming Dept Rejuvenating Serum into my face and then applied a splash of Solstice aftershave to get another hit of that great fragrance.

This is the way to celebrate the return of warmth (though of course we now have the full duration of winter before we arrive at spring).

The tea this morning is Murchie’s No. 10 Blend: “a mild, sweet combination of Gunpowder and Jasmine greens and Keemun and Ceylon black teas.”

Written by Leisureguy

21 December 2022 at 11:43 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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