Later On

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

Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Tofu leeks

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Another ad-hoc meal. This time I used my MSMK 12″ nonstick skillet.

I’ve mentioned that freezing tofu and then thawing it in the fridge makes it like a water-filled sponge. The slightest pressure causes water to gush out of it, and by controlled firm squeezing it with your hands over the sink, you can pretty much empty it of water, leaving the sponge ready to soak up a marinade.

The texture is different — more like a fine sponge than the normal smoothness of tofu — but it is still tofu, and — especially when combined with some grain.

I had frozen half a block of tofu. I squeezed out the water and diced the squeezed-out tofu. Then I made a marinade, looking at this page for ideas. This is what I made:

Tamari
Ponzu sauce
maple syrup
liquid smoke
onion powder
garlic powder
ground black pepper
Montreal steak seasoning
coriander
smoked paprika,
Frank’s RedHot Xtra Hot
rye
sweet vermouth
extra-virgin olive oil

I whisked that together in a bowl, dumped in the cubes of tofu, and stirred with a silicone spatula. The tofu immediately absorbed almost all the liquid, but I left it for a while.

I brought two medium-small leeks from the store and halved those vertically and rinsed them well to remove all traces of dirt, then sliced them thinly including the green leaves. (I can’t believe I used to discard the leaves. What was I thinking?)

I drizzled some olive oil in the skillet, added the chopped leeks, and let it start cooking. I added:

1/2 cup cooked intact whole-grain Kamut®
1/2 teaspoon Windson salt substitute
about 5 dried tomatoes, sliced thinly

And stirred well to mix. I let that cook for five or six minutes, then I added:

marinated tofu cubes with leftover marinade

One nice thing about plant-based cooking: you can use leftover marinade in the dish you’re cooking, or as a sauce. (With meat — such as chicken — that would be a bad idea.)

After the tofu was heated through and had cooked a while, I had a bowl. Very tasty.

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2023 at 4:28 pm

Sunday coffee is great

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One advantage of having coffee only twice a week is that you really enjoy the taste and are conscious of it. Another advantage is that I believe the infrequency will forestall physical addiction.

I have mastered the Clever Coffee dripper method:

  1. Fold over the crimped part of the paper filter, put it into the dripper, and rinse with hot water (to remove filter taste). I use unbleached filters.
  2. Put a rounded quarter-cup of coffee grounds (for 16 oz water) into the filter. (see update below)
  3. Heat water to around 200ºF, start the timer and pour in just enough to thoroughly wet the grounds. Wait while they absorb water and expand.
  4. At 30 seconds, pour in the rest of the water and put the cover on the dripper.
  5. At 2 minutes, stir the coffee gently so the crust of floating grounds sinks into the coffee.
  6. At 3 minutes 30 seconds, put the filter on my Joveo Temperfect mug and go start eating my breakfast pudding.
  7. At about halfway through the pudding, go dump the filter and grounds into the trash and return with coffee to enjoy.

I recall some years ago some guy — and I presume a young guy — asked, “Why do people like coffee? It’s so acid and bitter and awful tasting!” I responded that his question was similar to people asking, “Why do people like milk? It has such a foul smell and tastes awful and has lumps in it!” The problem wasn’t coffee per se, it was the cup of (bad) coffee he was drinking.

My coffee this morning is wonderful, and on Wednesday I’m going to get a fresh pound of coffee at Fantastico. Maybe someday I’ll get another good burr grinder so I buy whole beans and grind them just before I brew the coffee (though god knows where I’d put another appliance).

— Wait! A manual burr grinder! Of course! I already have one, in fact, but it’s dedicated to use as a pepper grinder. I could get another for coffee beans.

Update: Manual grinder ordered — Hario Skerton Pro. Each Sunday and Wednesday I will weigh out 27.9g of beans and grind them for my coffee.

Update 2: Better coffee calculator.

Written by Leisureguy

29 January 2023 at 11:15 am

Posted in Daily life, Food

Tempeh Spinach, a What-I-Have-On-Hand™ recipe

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A cutting board on which are a large carrot, a beet half a small red cabbage, a large red onion, 2 boxes frozen spinach, 2 large jalapeños, 3 small red Thai chiles, half a head of red garlic, a turmeric root, a piece of ginger root, a block of tempeh, a tin of smoked paprika, a jar of dried marjoram, a pepper grinder, Windsor salt substitute, a jar of chipotle-garlic paste (homemade), and a big slab of tempeh (also homemade).
Tempeh Spinach (before)

I have eaten through the dishes previously prepared, and so I looked around for what is possible with what I had on hand. I came up with this, for which I used my 4-qt sauté pan:

Tempeh Spinach

• extra-virgin olive oil
• 10-12 oz diced tempeh (chickpea and rye)
• 1 big red onion, chopped
• 1 enormous carrot, diced
• 1 red beet, diced
• 2 jalapeños, chopped small
• 3 Thai red chiles, chopped small
• 1 tablespoon chipotle-garlic paste
• 5 dried tomatoes, chopped
• 3 cloves red garlic, chopped small
• 1 small piece ginger root, minced
• 2 turmeric roots, minced (only 1 in photo; didn’t seem enough)
• 3 small Meyer lemons, diced
• 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
• 1/2 tablespoon Spanish smoked paprika
• about 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon Windsor salt substitute

Sauté the above for a while. Then add:

• 2 pkgs frozen spinach
• about 3 tablespoons tomato paste
• good splash of tamari
• about 3 tablespoons Bragg’s apple-cider vinegar
• about 1/4 cup no-salt-added vegetable broth

Cover and simmer 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

A pot of greens, with pieces of lemon, carrot, and other vegetables visible.
Tempeh Spinach (after)

This recipe covers seven of the Daily Dozen:

Beans, Grain: Tempeh (chickpeas+intact whole rye)
Greens, Cruciferous Vegetable (cabbage) – Spinach, red cabbage 
Other Vegetables – Onion, carrot, beet, chiles, tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic  
Fruit – Meyer lemons 
Herbs & Spices – Marjoram, paprika, ginger, turmeric pepper 

And breakfast took care of

Berries (frozen mixed, dried barberry, amla)
Grain
(rolled oats)
Flaxseed
Nuts & Seeds (walnuts; chia seed)
Herbs & Spices (cloves, marjoram, spearmint, cinnamon, cocoa)
Fruit (3 pieces: mandarin, Bosc pear, apple)
Beverages (1 pint of tea)

But no real Exercise today, I admit.

I’m having a bowl of Tempeh Spinach now, generously sprinkled with roasted pumpkin seeds (more Nuts & Seeds). Very tasty, and not so hot as the chiles might suggest — but definitely some spicy warmth, good on a cold night.

Next day: I put some fermented beets in a bowl, topped it with Tempeh Spinach, and sprinkled roasted pumpkin seeds on top (a good source of zinc).

Written by Leisureguy

27 January 2023 at 4:58 pm

Is Cheese Really Bad for You?

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Written by Leisureguy

26 January 2023 at 7:33 pm

Sounds like a great restaurant

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If I could have a dinner here, I would set aside my whole-food plant-based diet for the evening.

Written by Leisureguy

25 January 2023 at 8:15 pm

Why I added baking soda when I cooked dried beans

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In my guide to making your own tempeh, I include a warning on not adding any baking soda to the water when cooking dried beans: Rhizopus oligosporus, the fungus that turns beans (and grain) into tempeh, requires an acid environment and will not grow if the beans are alkaline.

Someone in the Tempeh Makers group on Facebook asked why would I even add baking soda when I cook dried beans. Here’s why: if you’re just cooking beans to eat, a little baking soda makes them cook much faster, be more tender, and (some say) less gassy. See this Cook’s Illustrated article. It worked so well when I tried it, I made it a habit. All well and good, until I tried to make tempeh with beans cooked that way: consistent failure until I twigged to the problem.

Written by Leisureguy

25 January 2023 at 7:22 pm

I tried boiled mushrooms

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I got some good mushrooms — domestic white, good-sized — and decided to try boiling them, much as described in the video at the link. The only change I made was to include alliums, which the video neglected to do: 1/4 large red onion, chopped, and 4 large Russian red garlic cloves, thinly sliced. I put those along with 10 large mushrooms, sliced, in a skillet, covered them with water, and set them on the induction burner turned to 250ºF until the water was gone, about 35 minutes.

Then I added a pinch of salt, decided to forego the olive oil, and served them with some of my Tempeh Greens.

They’re very tasty. I’ll make them again..

Written by Leisureguy

25 January 2023 at 6:54 pm

Can Fermented Foods Boost Mental Health?

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I eat fermented vegetables frequently. They’re delicious and they also have health benefits. I ferment my own (because a) it’s much less costly and b) I can make up my own combinations), but certainly there are some excellent fermented foods you can buy — like Wildbrine krauts.

Drew Rams, MD, writes in Medscape (and there’s a video at the link):

Do six glasses of kombucha a day keep the psychiatrist away?

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Brain Food vlog. I’m Dr Drew Ramsey. I’m on the editorial board of Medscape Psychiatry and an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University. I’m also the founder of the Brain Food Clinic.

These days I’m eating a lot more fermented foods and talking about them more often with my patients. That’s partly due to a great study from Wastyk and colleagues at Stanford School Medicine, titled “Gut-Microbiota-Targeted Diets Modulate Human Immune Status,” which was published last year in the journal Cell.

All of us in mental health are increasingly thinking about inflammation and the microbiome, and how those impact brain health and mental health. This is an important study for us to consider in that regard, so I wanted to make sure you heard about it.

Fibers vs Fermentation

Over 17 weeks, investigators conducted a two-arm intervention. In one arm, they took individuals from eating about 21.5 g of fiber a day all the way up to 45 g of fiber a day. In the other arm, they increased the amount of fermented foods that individuals were eating, including things like kombucha, kefir, yogurt, and kimchi. At the beginning of the study, these individuals were eating about 0.4 servings of fermented foods per day, which they increased all the way up to 6.3 servings of food a day.

Should we be eating that much fermented food? Well, the results of this study were quite interesting.

Let’s talk about the fiber group first. As so many of our patients are moving toward plant-forward or plant-based diets, they’re eating a lot more fiber. In general, that’s a great idea and one that we often consider key to having a good, healthy, diverse microbiome.

But it turns out in this study that that’s not exactly what happens.  . .

Continue reading.

That Stanford research report linked to above is also worth a look.

Written by Leisureguy

21 January 2023 at 1:13 pm

10 things you may not know about carbs

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The title is from the BBC article, and the first thing listed is indeed something I had not known:

1. The Cracker Test

A quick and easy test to do at home to see how many carbs YOU should be eating.

Geneticist, Dr. Sharon Moalem has come up with a really easy test you can do at home to find out how much carbs you should eat. Try chewing on a cracker until it changes in taste to become a bit more sweet, or it may be some other flavour taste. If the taste changes in under 30 seconds then you probably process carbs OK – under 15 seconds is pretty good. But if the cracker hasn’t changed taste after 30 seconds, then Dr Moalam thinks you should be eating a lower carb diet, because your body isn’t as good at processing them, which can lead to weight gain and health problems. How does this test work? Well there’s an enzyme in your saliva breaks down starch into glucose sugar molecules – which is why the cracker can often tastes sweet. Dr Moalam’s theory is that the more of this enzyme you produce, the better you are at processing carbs.

2. Microwaving and freezing food will turn bad carbs into good ones

You can turn ‘bad carbs’ into good ones – Scientists have discovered that cooking and cooling turns refined ‘bad’ carbs – into resistant-starch foods, which your gut bacteria will love! And it’s even better if you re-heat things like pasta, rice and potatoes – and make sure everything, especially the rice, is piping hot – this further increases the resistant starch content. So pop last night’s lasagne into the microwave the next day for a more guilt free way to eat carbs – our bodies only take around half the calories from this food than they do from refined carbs. In effect resistant starch feeds our gut bacteria, rather than us.

3. It’s ok to eat bread!

But switch from mass produced to rye bread – Most mass-produced bread is full of easily-digested starch, which only reaches your small intestine, before dumping glucose into your blood. But Rye Bread uses wholegrains, which contain resistant starch and makes it all the way to your large intestine, where your gut bacteria is waiting. But do check the sugar content, because some mass-produced brands of rye bread add sugar to counteract the bitterness of the wholegrain.

4. The best way to eat bread – . . .

Continue reading.

I learned a few years ago that refrigerating a starch after cooking at it will convert much of the cooked starch (easily digested) into resistant starch (a dietary fiber). I now routinely refrigerated beans, grain, and purple potatoes after I cook them and before I eat them. Moreover, a raw potato is all resistant starch: zero net carbs. That’s one reason I ferment raw potatoes. (Another reason is that they are crunchy tasty in a salad or added to a stir-fry.)

Later in the list is a comment that a low-carb diet is good. In my experience, a diet low in refined carbs is good, but a whole-food plant-based diet, although high in carbs, works perfectly well even for those who, like me, have type 2 diabetes. The key is whole plant foods, which are high in carbs — particularly dietary fiber — but don’t raise my blood glucose levels much at all. For example, fruit, including berries, are high in carbs, including sugar, but they also have a lot of fiber — so no problem.

I do have to be careful with potatoes, rice, and corn. I don’t eat corn and I eat very little rice, and when I do, I eat black rice (an intact whole grain). The potatoes I eat are raw (and fermented) or purple and refrigerated after cooking. (Purple potatoes are good for blood glucose levels.)

Written by Leisureguy

21 January 2023 at 12:59 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health, Science

A simple chili, the kind with asparagus and sweet vermouth

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A pot of chili, in which are visible mushrooms, tomatoes, and asparagus.

I was in a chili mood, so I got out my 4-qt All-Clad Stainless sauté pan and drizzled in:

• about 1.5-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

And then I started prepping, adding to the skillet as I went:

• 1 large red onion, chopped coarsely
• 3 BBQ/spring onions, chopped (or use 1 bunch thick scallions)
• 10-12 small white mushrooms, quartered
• about 8 oz chickpea-rye tempeh, diced large
• about 2 tablespoons chipotle-garlic paste
• about 2 tablespoons chimayo chile powder
• about 2 tablespoons ground cumin
• about 3-4 tablespoons Mexican oregano
• about 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
• about 1 tablespoon dried thyme
• about 1 teaspoon MSG (it’s okay)

I then turned on the induction burner to 4 and sautéed that, stirring frequently with a wooden spatula. As it cooked, I added:

• 1 small can tomato paste

and continued to cook and stir until the tomato paste darkened somewhat. Then I added:

• 1 19-oz (540ml) can Aylmer’s Italian Seasonings stewed tomatoes
• enough sweet vermouth to fill the little can that held the tomato paste
• 2 squares Baker’s unsweetened chocolate
• 1 tablespoon ground coffee

I turned the burner to 225ºF and the timer to 10 minutes and covered the pan. When the bell went off, I added:

• about 12-13 ounces thin asparagus, chopped

I had a pound of asparagus, but I didn’t use the bottom portion of the spears.

I stirred that in, turned the burner on to 225ºF for another 10 minutes, and covered the pan. I just had a bowl, with a good sprinkling of nutritional yeast on top. 

It’s extremely tasty. The vermouth was a good idea, and the chocolate and ground coffee worked well. 

Written by Leisureguy

20 January 2023 at 4:02 pm

Republicans like for (other) people to suffer

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Kevin Drum points out an unappealing characteristic of the Republican mindset:

Proposed restrictions:
• No white grains - people can only purchase 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice and 100% whole wheat pasta.
• No baked, refried or chili beans - people can purchase black, red and pinto beans.
• No fresh meats - people can purchase only canned products like canned tuna or canned salmon.
• No sliced, cubed or crumbled cheese. No American cheese.
What's next: A House subcommittee will consider the bill.

Sami Scheetz, a state representative in Iowa, tweets today about a bill introduced by state Republicans that restricts the kinds of food that can be purchased with SNAP (food stamps):

It’s obvious that this is intended to make low-income workers on SNAP even more miserable than they already are. But there’s more. As the list of what’s allowed and what’s not gets longer and longer, it becomes more and more of a hassle for supermarkets and corner stores to keep track of it. Some will decide it’s not worth the bother and just stop accepting SNAP.

So SNAP will be harder to use and will restrict you to a diet not dissimilar from that of your average American prison.

This single tweet encapsulates about 90% of why I’m not a Republican. They’re just so goddam meanspirited.

Written by Leisureguy

20 January 2023 at 12:38 pm

Tiny bubbles, in the brine

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After starting a vegetable ferment — like yesterday’s potato-carrot batch — it’s always a great pleasure the following morning to see the thread of tiny bubbles ascending when the jar is tilted. The little guys are alive and well and getting to work.

Written by Leisureguy

19 January 2023 at 12:45 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Non-animal diet

Tagged with

Potato-carrot ferment

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Vegetables on a cutting board: 1 large carrot, 5 redskin potatoes, 4 red Thai chiles, 1 red onion 1 segment of ginger root, and 6 cloves garlic, along with two 1-liter canning jars, fermentation weights, airlocks, and lid rings.
All ingredients ready to start — except Medjool dates, which I forgot

As I mentioned on Mastodon, I liked the previous raw-potato ferment so much, I decided to repeat it right away and get the next potato ferment underway. As I filled the two 1-liter jars (using them to measure how much to prepare, I realized I should have bought two more of those redskin potatoes.

I diced the five potatoes I had and added those to the jars, along with 1/2 the red onion (halved again and then cut across into slabs), 6 garlic cloves (each sliced into fourths), a segment of ginger root (peeled and sliced thin), and 4 Thai red chiles (stem removed and cut in half across). I then used diced carrot to finish filling the jars. I did have a small piece of carrot left over.

Diced vegetables — orange white, purple — in two 1-liter canning jars covered with a liquid that's reddish at the top.

The vegetables weighed just over 1kg — 1.016kg — and I tossed them with 25g grey sea salt. As I did, I separated the onion slabs into quarter-rings. I totally forgot the Medjool dates I had planned, but I think the lactobacilli will find plenty on which to feast.

At right the ferment is in the jar, covered with 2.5% brine with fermentation weights in place. The slight coloration at the top is because I added some brine from the jar of Beets & Leeks in the fridge, to serve as the starter culture. 

I will try for two weeks with this batch: until February 1.

Written by Leisureguy

18 January 2023 at 3:48 pm

Potato ferment done (by fiat)

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The potato ferment was started on January 7, and I’ve decided to end the ferment today, a week later. It hasn’t changed much in appearance from two days ago except that the water is more cloudy, and the original instructions call for just a two-day ferment (which seems way too short to me). The cubes are crunchy and good. I’ll add them to my lunch and also they will work in a salad. One nice thing: they have zero net carbs. My interest, other than the resistant starch (which acts as fiber to nourish the microbiome) is in the potassium, something that potatoes have in good measure.

I’m happy with the outcome, though next time I might go for two weeks rather than one. The tarragon sprigs were a good idea, and I think the onion helped. Next time I’ll include some garlic and perhaps a jalapeño or two.

Update: Just had a bowl of cooked vegetables and greens (Tempeh Greens) with some cubes of fermented potatoes mixed in. Damn good!

Written by Leisureguy

14 January 2023 at 1:29 pm

Posted in Food, Non-animal diet, Recipes & Cooking

Tagged with

Make Kale Taste Delicious

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Useful and fun little video from Cook’s Illustrated:

Written by Leisureguy

13 January 2023 at 8:28 am

The potato ferment: Progress report after 5 days

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I started this ferment of raw potatoes on December 7. If you click the link, you will see how much the vegetables have collapsed. I observed the same thing when I fermented giardiniera (and an earlier batch collapsed even more, but I failed to get a photo).

I also saw the same sort of collapse when I fermented mushrooms.

The first time I fermented (raw) potatoes, I do not recall much collapse, but I followed (mostly) the instructions, which said to end fermentation after two days. (I actually went for 52 hours, but that’s close.) That fermentation did not use a starter. This time, I used some of the active fermentation liquid from my beet ferment that I had started the previous day, which was quite active. That took hold after 24 hours, producing a good string of bubbles when the jar was tilted.

The bubbles are not so active as that now, but they still appear, so fermentation continues. My plan this time is to continue the fermentation for two weeks (until January 21). In the meantime, I was just curious to see the potato pile collapse so much.

Written by Leisureguy

12 January 2023 at 8:44 pm

Posted in Food, Non-animal diet, Recipes & Cooking

Tagged with

New study links inflammation to decreased cognitive functioning in those with depression and obesity

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Laura Staloch writes in PsyPost:

A new study from researchers in China attempts to understand the relationship between major depressive disorder, obesity, and cognitive functioning. Examining participant body mass, biological inflammation markers, major depressive disorder diagnosis, and processing speed revealed that the higher the body mass when diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD), the slower the processing speed.

The cause of this result may be due to increased levels of three biomarkers implicated in the pro-inflammatory response: tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-8, and macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1β.

The new findings have been published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

According to the study’s authors, research suggests those with MDD have a 58% increased risk of subsequent obesity, and those labeled obese have a 55% increased risk of developing depression later. Additionally, both obesity and MDD have been implicated in slower or decreased cognitive functioning. As all three conditions, leave individuals vulnerable to other mental and physical diseases, Xiaofeng Lan and colleagues felt that better understanding the interplay of these factors would be a valuable contribution to the literature and future patient care.

Participant data was gathered from . . .

Continue reading.

I include this in the “food” category because a good whole-food plant-based diet in anti-inflammatory and, because of its low caloric density compared to other lifestyle diets, it assists in weight loss. More information on the diet and how it treats chronic diseases can be found in the book How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease, by Michael Greger, MD.

Written by Leisureguy

11 January 2023 at 8:27 pm

A somber post: We’re Living Through the End of Civilization, and We Should Be Acting Like It

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In OK Doomer Jessica Wildfire writes of what is now happening and what it portends for the future:

There’s no question anymore. This civilization is ending. You can relax. It’s not up for debate. It’s not a question of hope vs. doom.

It just is.

I’m writing this for a simple reason. The sooner everyone accepts the end of this civilization, the better. Humans don’t have to go extinct, but the way we’re living has to change. There’s no hope for this way of life, full of reckless consumption and convenience well beyond the planet’s means. The harder we fight, the more denial and delusional thinking we engage in, the worse we’re going to make it. Downplaying the truth has only made things worse. It makes everyone complacent. So, I’m going to explain things in the bluntest way possible.

First, let’s talk about Covid.

We have enough information about Covid to know we should’ve been taking it far more seriously. As one science writer shows in a thorough review of available research, we’re dealing with the most dangerous disease in modern history. It’s the most contagious virus scientists have ever seen. It does more damage than HIV, by hijacking our immune system and building reservoirs in virtually every organ in the body, from the brain to the liver. Viruses like HIV don’t cause severe illness at first. They cause mild illness. The true damage doesn’t become apparent until months later. Scientists know this now.

This virus has evolved beyond our antibody therapies and vaccines, and it’s even evolving beyond Paxlovid. As one study in Science says, “unselective use is expected to rapidly lead to emergence of drug resistance.” These are facts, and they don’t care how we feel about them. If anything, Covid wants everyone to keep living in fear of the truth. It loves our denial. This is going to be the worst year of the pandemic yet. Everyone’s tired, but we’re more vulnerable than ever. There are tools for us to make it through, but most humans aren’t interested.

Covid minimizers ask if we’re going to wear masks forever. Yes, we are. They’ve left us with absolutely no alternative.

Okay, let’s talk about the weather. A bomb cyclone followed by atmospheric rivers have dumped historic amounts of water on California over the last week. According to The New York Times, it’s going to cost at least $1 billion, and some sources estimate the damage will run far higher. The state already lost $18 billion in climate disasters last year. The flooding there is expected to go on for another week. More than 100,000 homes have been destroyed, and it’s hard to know how many people have fled. The heavy precipitation might replenish the snowpack, but at the expense of the state’s infrastructure.

What we’re seeing now has the potential to become a megaflood, something climate scientists predicted in Science last year. They discuss California’s Great Flood of 1861-1862, “characterized by weeks-long sequences of winter storms” that transformed parts of the state “into a temporary but vast inland sea nearly 300 miles in length.” Their models predict these megafloods will happen much more often now, thanks to us. One happened in Pakistan last year.

We could be watching one now.

In the southwest, it’s the opposite problem. Entire lakes are drying up. States can’t make simple water conservation plans. The federal government has finally stepped in, but it could be too late. According to a story in The Washington Post, “The negotiations will ultimately have to weigh cuts in rapidly growing urban areas against those in farming communities that produce much of the country’s supply of winter vegetables.” Parts of Arizona were already relying on trucked water. Now even that’s going away. Affluent suburbanites are losing their minds. They’re spending thousands of dollars to drill wells to nowhere.

Neighborhoods, cities, and entire states have already started bickering over water. Last year they began to demand the federal government divert the Mississippi into the desert so they could build waterparks. Then to everyone’s shock, the Mississippi river itself dried up to the point that ships couldn’t pass. Saltwater started leaching into people’s drinking water in some areas.

Soon, these places won’t have water at all.

That already happened last summer. In cities like Monterrey, people were lucky if they could find buckets to collect water from trucks. Their taps were completely dry. According to a piece in Scientific American, American cities are increasingly failing to provide clean drinking water, even while they claim brown sludge “meets federal standards.” They’re under constant boil water notices.

These things aren’t front page news.

They should be.

In Utah, the Great Salt Lake has shriveled to 25 percent of its normal size. In a few years, residents will have to evacuate. According to Live Science, the lake “could be set to disappear within the next five years, exposing millions of people to the toxic dust trapped in the drying lake bed.” Why is the dust toxic?

It’s laced with arsenic.

If the state wants to save what’s left of the lake and avoid a humanitarian disaster, they have to  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

11 January 2023 at 7:59 pm

Lead and cadmium in chocolate: A response to the report from Consumer Reports

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WorldWideChocolate.com offers a rebuttal to the Consumer Reports article:

In December 2022, Consumer Reports (CR) published an article indicating 28 chocolate bars were tested, and many had “high” levels of cadmium and/or lead.

Some points to know, which will be covered in further detail below:

  • CR is using California’s maximum allowable dose levels (MADL) as their baseline
    • They do not explain this threshold, nor is this level based in science
  • CR only focuses on chocolate
    • There is no context of how other foods are common sources of dietary cadmium uptake
  • CR does not cover how the human body removes toxic elements from your system
    • Nor do they mention how chocolate supports these mechanisms

CR neglects to include any “big picture” relative view – merely chocolate + cadmium & lead. Plus, we need to interpret these results with data & science: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

11 January 2023 at 3:59 pm

Time-restricted Eating for Prevention and Management of Metabolic Diseases

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A schedule of eating, showing a circle that represents a day, with notations:
"Use your time in bed to determine the best 10-hour eating window that starts >1 hour after wake-up time and ends >2 hours before bedtime." Assuming time in bed is 8 hours, this leaves a 10-hour eating window. Include light to moderate outdoor exercise ~30 minutes.

The National Library of Medicine has an interesting and useful paper on what researchers have learned about the effects of when you eat. It’s worth reading.

I have been successful in stopping my food intake at 5:00pm. That did take some practice — that is, I had what many view as “failures” but I view as practice, the necessary missteps one makes in acquiring a new skill. But for months now, I easily end the day’s eating at 5:00 or even a little earlier. For the remainder of the day I drink iced tea or, lately, iced water with a few dashes of bitters.

After reading this article, I’ll now focus on setting a specific starting time. I have generally started the day’s eating latish, around 8:00am or 9:00am, but now I think I’ll make 9:00am the fixed start: nothing before 9:00. 

My meal pattern has been: big breakfast, light lunch, moderate dinner. I’m switching that to big breakfast, moderate lunch, a snack for dinner. I’ll see how that goes. (Snack might be a bowl for fermented vegetables — I’m not going through one of the jars of Beets & Leeks — and half a roasted Stokes Purple® potato from the fridge. The slow digestion of resistant starch is effective at keeping hunger at bay.)

The whole paper is worth reading. Some key points:

  • Time-restricted eating or feeding (TRE or TRF) is a nutrition intervention approach in which daily caloric intake is restricted to a consistent window of approximately 8 to 10 hours.
  • In preclinical animal models, TRF without reducing caloric intake has been shown to prevent or attenuate severity of several metabolic diseases, including obesity, glucose intolerance, hepatic steatosis, dyslipidemia, and age-related decline in cardiac function.
  • In pilot human studies, TRE with or without explicit calorie reduction can reduce body weight, glucose intolerance, hypertension, and dyslipidemia.
  • TRF is based on the concepts of circadian rhythm and in animal models is shown to improve metabolism by at least partly acting through the molecular circadian clock.
  • Molecular studies in preclinical animal models show TRF exerts pleiotropic effects on multiple pathways in different organs and on gut microbiome composition.
  • Better methods to monitor and promote compliance to a daily eating pattern in humans is necessary to accurately assess TRE benefits.

Written by Leisureguy

11 January 2023 at 7:00 am

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