Later On

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

Archive for the ‘Non-animal diet’ Category

Pleasantly meditative video on making Japanese curry udon noodles

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Note the size of the garlic cloves.

Written by Leisureguy

15 September 2021 at 4:21 pm

Diet may affect risk and severity of COVID-19

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Tracy Hampton writes in The Harvard Gazette:

Although metabolic conditions such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes have been linked to an increased risk of COVID-19, as well as an increased risk of experiencing serious symptoms once infected, the impact of diet on these risks is unknown. In a recent study led by researchers at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and published in Gut, people whose diets were based on healthy plant-based foods had lower risks on both counts. The beneficial effects of diet on COVID-19 risk seemed especially relevant in individuals living in areas of high socioeconomic deprivation.

“Previous reports suggest that poor nutrition is a common feature among groups disproportionately affected by the pandemic, but data on the association between diet and COVID-19 risk and severity are lacking,” says lead author Jordi Merino, a research associate at the Diabetes Unit and Center for Genomic Medicine at MGH and an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

For the study, Merino and his colleagues examined data on 592,571 participants of the smartphone-based COVID-19 Symptom Study. Participants lived in the U.K. and the U.S., and they were recruited from March 24, 2020 and followed until Dec. 2, 2020. At the start of the study, participants completed a questionnaire that asked about their dietary habits before the pandemic. Diet quality was assessed using a healthful Plant-Based Diet Score that emphasizes healthy plant foods such as fruits and vegetables.

During follow-up, 31,831 participants developed COVID-19. Compared with individuals in the lowest quartile of the diet score, those in the highest quartile had a 9 percent lower risk of developing COVID-19 and a 41 percent lower risk of developing severe COVID-19. “These findings were consistent across a range of sensitivity analysis accounting for other healthy behaviors, social determinants of health and community virus transmission rates,” says Merino.

“Although we cannot emphasize enough the importance of getting vaccinated and wearing a mask in crowded indoor settings, our study suggests that individuals can also potentially reduce their risk of getting COVID-19 or having poor outcomes by paying attention to their diet,” says co-senior author Andrew Chan, a gastroenterologist and chief of the Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit at MGH.

The researchers also found a synergistic relationship between poor diet and increased socioeconomic deprivation with COVID-19 risk that was higher than the sum of the risk associated with each factor alone.

“Our models estimate that nearly a third of COVID-19 cases would have been prevented if one of two exposures — diet or deprivation — were not present,” says Merino.

The results also suggest that  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

13 September 2021 at 4:52 pm

Plant-Based Diet Tied to Better Urological Health in Men

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The subtitle of this article will also be of interest to many men:

Eat more plants for your prostate and your erections

Mike Bassett, Staff Writer, writes in MedPage Today:

Men interested in preserving their urological health may benefit from eating more vegetables and fruits, researchers reported.

A trio of studies presented at the American Urological Association (AUA) virtual meeting suggested that plant-based diets were associated with a decreased risk of erectile dysfunction (ED), lower PSA rates, and possibly a lower rate of total and fatal prostate cancer among younger men.

“We can summarize this session succinctly,” said AUA press conference moderator Stacy Loeb, MD, of NYU Langone Health in New York City, who also presented one of the studies.

“Eat more plants for your prostate and your erections,” she advised.

Plant-Based Protection

Investigators at the University of Miami (UMiami) Miller School of Medicine used the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to evaluate the association between a plant-based diet and PSA levels. Using Food Frequency Questionnaire dietary data they calculated a plant-based diet index (PDI) and healthful plant-based diet index (hPDI).

Ali Mouzannar, MD, reported that in a cohort of 1,399 men, those with a higher consumption of healthy plant-based diet (high hPDI scores) had a decreased probability of having an elevated PSA (OR 0.47, 95% CI 0.24-0.95).

“It seems plant-based diets have protective effects against prostate cancer,” Mouzannar said during the press session. “We still need more insight and more clinical trials to establish the causative effect, but there have been multiple associations between lower risk of prostate cancer, lower risk of elevated PSA with a plant-based diet.”

He added that “it also works the other way around — meat has been shown to be associated with a high rate of aggressive prostate cancer, and high risk of recurrence.”

In a second UMiami-based study, Ruben Blachman-Braun, MD, Ranjith Ramasany, MD, and colleagues used NHANES data base to evaluate 2,549 men, 57.4% of whom had some degree of ED. He reported that risk factors, such as increased age, BMI, hypertension, diabetes, and history of stroke, were all strongly associated with the risk of ED.

“However, increasing plant-based consumption was associated with a decreased risk of erectile dysfunction,” Blachman-Braun pointed out (OR 0.98, 95% CI 0.96 0.99).

Loeb and colleagues conducted a prospective study involving 27,243 men, who were followed up to 28 years, in the Health Follow-up study.

They found that in men ages ≤65 at diagnosis, greater overall consumption of plant-based diet was associated with a lower risk of advanced prostate cancer (HR 0.68, 95% CI 0.42-1.10). Among younger men, greater consumption of a healthful plant-based diet was associated with lower risks of total prostate cancer (HR 0.81 95% CI 0.70-0.95), and fatal disease (HR 0.53, 95% CI 0.32-0.90).

“This is really encouraging given the many health and environmental benefits of plant-based diets,” Loeb said. “And we believe they should be recommended for men who are concerned about the risks of prostate cancer.”

‘A Win-Win’

On the issue of the environmental impact of following plant-based diets, Mouzannar noted that higher meat consumption is associated with greenhouse gas emissions, water issues, decreased biodiversity. “There is a significant effect in following plant-based diets,” he said. “Whether that’s in individuals by promoting a healthy lifestyle and decreasing the risk of multiple cancers — in addition to prostate cancer, specifically — or the environmental effects.” . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

13 September 2021 at 4:06 pm

The role meat may play in triggering Parkinson’s disease, and the role fiber may play in protecting against it.

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Written by Leisureguy

13 September 2021 at 3:02 pm

Other Vegetables, Chinese Style

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You see at the bottom of the photo a bitter melon, and above that a few Shanghai bok choy mue (“mue” seems to mean “really young”) and a chayote squash. To the right of the squash are a Nantes carrot (these are huge) and two Chinese leeks. Above and to the left are two Roma tomatoes (I ended up using three) and to the right a turmeric root and a head of Russian red garlic. The jar contains spicy preserved lemons (small: about the size and shape of a ping-pong ball).

I also included some olive oil, salt, a great quantity of ground black pepper, a handful of sultanas, a good splash of Red Boat fish sauce and a good splash of white-wine vinegar, along with some of the liquid from the jar of lemons (briny and spicy). The lemons I cut into eighths: halved, then halved again, then halved once more.

It’s simmering now. I think it will be good. Not the most common version of Other Vegetables, but good from a standpoint of variety. After some cooking at 5, stirring often, the vegetables wilted somewhat, so I reduced heat to 225ºF and cooked for 25 minutes, covered. Result:

In case you’re wondering: it’s very tasty. I’m having a bowl now, with 2 tablespoons of soybeans and 2 tablespoons of oat groats mixed. Definitely a spice kick from the lemons and preserving liquid — and the black pepper, as well.

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2021 at 1:20 pm

Red Kale Plus

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The supermarket had extremely fresh red kale in large bunches, so that’s what I’m cooking now. It looks good, and I think I got a nice combo.

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 large red onion, chopped
• 1 1/2 large carrots, diced (1//2 because it was left over from Carrot Cake in a Jar)
• stems from 1 bunch of Lacinato kale (used in yesterday’s soup), chopped small
• good-sized pinch of salt
• cloves from 1 head of Russian red garlic, chopped small
• 1 turmeric root the size of my forefinger, minced
• 10-12 medium domestic white mushrooms, chopped
• 1 lemon, ends cut off and discarded, diced
• 1 big bunch of red kale, stems minced and put in with onion, leaves chopped
• several good dashes fish sauce — about 1 tablespoon
• about 1-2 tablespoons Frank’s Hot Sauce
• about 2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper

The first thing I did was peel and chop the garlic and set it aside to rest, then chop the kale and put it in a large bowl so it also could rest (for 45 minutes). I didn’t cut out the stems, as I had done for the Lacinato kale, but just cut off the part of the stems below the leaves and minced that.

With the garlic and kale resting, I prepared the rest. I put the olive oil in the 6-qt pot. I used the large pot because, before the kale cooked down, it more than filled the pot — I had to add it a little at a time — but as it cooks it wilts, and at the end the pot is not close to full, as you can see in the photo above.

With the oil in the pot, I added the minced Lacinato stems, then diced the carrot and added that, then chopped the onion and added that. I minced the turmeric and put in the bowl where the garlic was resting, and then I chopped the mushrooms by cutting them in half vertically, putting a half on the flat side and slicing it into several pieces. I had a fairly good pile of mushrooms when I was done. 

I diced the lemon and added that to the bowl with the kale — the lemon is for flavoring and also, with the mushrooms, for some liquid.

Once the timer went off, I turned on the burner to 4 and started cooking. The kale stems, carrots, and onion in the pot I cooked for 5-7 minutes, adding a good pinch of salt and stirring frequently. When that seemed to have cooked enough so that the onions were transparent, I added the garlic, turmeric, and mushrooms and cooked thos for several minutes, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms started to give up their liquid.

Then I added the kale and diced lemon — put a handful in the pot, stir it, lifting up what was on the bottom of the pot to put it over the leaves. As the leaves collapsed, I added more. 

About halfway through that, I added the fish sauce, pepper sauce, and ground black pepper. I add pepper toward the end because in a hot pan, pepper can burn and get an off taste. Once there’s liquid in the pot, burn risk is gone. 

I covered the pot, set temperature to 225ºF and timer to 30 minutes, and let it cook. A couple of times I went in to stir and verify that there was still liquid in the pot — I could always add some water if it cooked dry, but there was ample liquid to steam the kale.

Photo above take right after it was done. Colorful, eh? This I will count as Greens, although of course it does include some Other Vegetables.

Written by Leisureguy

6 September 2021 at 12:59 pm

Soup with Lacinato kale, white bean, and Calabrian pepper paste

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I’m making this soup again, but this time I’ll use regular shallots (as called for in the original recipe), but instead of ‘nduja, I’ll use Calabrian pepper paste. Calabrian peppers are what give ‘nduja its color and taste, so it should work fine as a substitute. I’ll update this post along the way. I’m following more closely the original recipe, except I did add some marjoram and basil, as much for the antioxidant value as the taste. No tomatoes, though I did include 1 cup cooked oat groats.

Written by Leisureguy

5 September 2021 at 2:13 pm

Cultured Carrot Cake in a jar

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Right after all added to jar.

So today I made this recipe from Cultured Food Life:

2 cups carrots, shredded
2 whole apples, shredded – [I went for 2 cups of shredded apples, and the 2 apples I had did the job – LG]
4 whole dates, chopped
2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/8  teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon Cutting Edge Cultures

Instead of the culture, I’m using about 1 cup of juice from sauerkraut from the refrigerated section (i.e., unpasteurized sauerkraut in which the culture is still living).

You can read the remaining instructions at the link, but basically you mix althat well in a bowl, and put into into a quart wide-mouth jar. A canning funnel is a big help for that. Cover the jar in a way that keeps air out but lets gas escape, and let it ferment for a few days. I’m using a canning jar and I’ll put a small weight on the lid. That will hold it down to keep air out, and as pressure builds up the jar, the gas can burp out.

UPDATE: During the night after I packed the jar full and set it on the counter to ferment, it occurred to me that the carrots and apples would likely expand, causing some overflow. I therefore put the jar in a bowl, and this morning around noon I did find liquid in the bowl. I tasted it, and it does indeed taste like carrot cake.

A process like this fermentation roughly follows an exponential curve: initially very little visible activity, but then things speed up. I expect that tomorrow (the second day of fermentation), fermentation will be visible, and certainly on the third day I will see activity. 

So far, so good. /update

UPDATE 2: It’s extremely tasty. I thought it would be sour (like sauerkraut), but it’s just somewhat tart. I’m definitely making this again, and I think I’ll try using a packaged starter culture. And I’ll also try these airlock fermentation lids. (I didn’t want to buy supplies until I knew whether I liked it.) /update

Written by Leisureguy

5 September 2021 at 1:56 pm

Cacao chia pudding with berries and/or nuts

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I blogged this previously, but it was hard to find because title doesn’t include the recipe name. And I did have a couple of enhancements. Here it is, tested and with enhancements to the original recipe:

CACAO CHIA PUDDING – REVISED

• 2 1/4 cups water
• 1 cup raw cashews
• 5 soft dates (preferably Medjool), pitted and chopped
• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
• 1/2 cup raw cacao powder (or use regular unsweetened natural (not Dutch process) cocoa powder)
• 1/2 cup chia seeds (white or black)
• 2 tablespoons maple syrup –
• 1 cup frozen blueberries or mixed berries or 1 cup walnuts or both

If the dates are hard, soak them in hot water for an hour to soften, then drain before chopping.

The pudding must be chilled for 2-3 hours before serving. It can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. It never lasts that long for me — and not because it spoils, if you get my drift.

Put into a blender the cashews, dates, vanilla extract, maple syrup, salt, and chia seeds and add 1 to 1 1/2 cups water and puree until very smooth. Add cocoa power and the remaining water and blend to mix thoroughly.

Pour into a glass storage container and mix in the berries and/or nuts. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours, until set

You could chop the walnuts, but since I buy “pieces and halves,” quite a few are broken halves, so I just use them as is. A good chunk of walnut is not a bad thing.

Really tasty. But the total recipe is 77 WW points, so small servings work best.

Written by Leisureguy

4 September 2021 at 2:19 pm

Tackling Inflammation to Fight Age-Related Ailments

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Jane E. Brody writes in the NY Times:

The quest for a fountain of youth is many centuries old and marred by many false starts and unfulfilled promises. But modern medical science is now gradually closing in on what might realistically enable people to live longer, healthier lives — if they are willing to sacrifice some popular hedonistic pleasures.

Specialists in the biology of aging have identified a rarely recognized yet universal condition that is a major contributor to a wide range of common health-robbing ailments, from heart disease, diabetes and cancer to arthritis, depression and Alzheimer’s disease. That condition is chronic inflammation, a kind of low-grade irritant that can undermine the well-being of virtually every bodily system.

Chronic inflammation occurs to varying degrees with advancing age in all mammals independent of any existing infection. Researchers call it “inflammaging.” As Roma Pahwa of the National Cancer Institute and Dr. Ishwarlal Jialal of California Northstate University put it in a recent report, “Although chronic inflammation progresses slowly, it is the cause of most chronic diseases and presents a major threat to the health and longevity of individuals.”

However, recent studies have identified measures potentially available to everyone that can minimize the potency of chronic inflammation and stymie — and possibly even reverse — its progression. The measures will come as no surprise to people familiar with the healthful advice that has been offered in this column for many years: Adopt a wholesome diet (details to follow), get regular exercise, avoid or reduce excess weight, get adequate quality sleep, minimize stress and don’t smoke.

In essence, chronic inflammation, which can last indefinitely, results from the failure of the immune system to completely shut down its response to an illness, insult or injury. Among the factors that cause it are the body’s failure to eliminate an inflammation-inducing agent like a bacterium or fungus; exposure to a foreign substance, like asbestos or silica dust, that can’t be eliminated; and the presence of an autoimmune condition like rheumatoid arthritis.

As people age, their immune responses become less well regulated, resulting in elevated blood levels of inflammatory substances like C-reactive protein and chemokines, and allowing inflammatory agents like interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-alpha) to persist in body tissues.

The drug metformin, commonly used to treat Type 2 diabetes, is known to have an anti-inflammatory effect and will be tested for its ability to delay the development of age-related diseases in a forthcoming trial called TAME, the acronym for Targeting Aging with Metformin.

Another consequence of aging is the accumulation of so-called senescent cells, normal cells that stop dividing, contribute to tissue aging and secrete substances like cytokines that induce inflammation. Elimination of senescent cells can counter chronic inflammation, said Steven N. Austad, director of aging studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. A combination of two drugs, dasatinib and quercetin, was shown in a Mayo Clinic study in obese mice to remove senescent cells and permit cell growth to resume in the brain. The findings were reported in January in Cell Metabolism.

But consumers don’t have to wait for the results of drug studies in people to take steps that can ward off chronic inflammation and the age-related ailments that it may contribute to or cause. Many practical measures known to counter chronic inflammation can be safely adopted now.

Let’s start with what to eat and the foods to avoid eating. What follows will likely sound familiar to aficionados of a Mediterranean-style diet: a plant-based diet focused on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and cold-water fish and plants like soybeans and flax seeds that contain omega-3 fatty acids.

A Mediterranean-style diet is rich in micronutrients like magnesium, vitamin E and selenium that have anti-inflammatory effects, and its high-fiber content fosters lower levels of two potent inflammatory substances, IL-6 and TNF-alpha.

Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, strongly recommends limiting or eliminating consumption of foods known to have a pro-inflammatory effect. These include all refined carbohydrates like white bread, white rice and pastries; sugar-sweetened beverages; deep-fried foods; and red meat and processed meats. They are the very same foods with well-established links to obesity (itself a risk factor for inflammation), heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

In their stead, Dr. Hu recommends frequent consumption of foods known to have an anti-inflammatory effect. They include green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and collards; fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines; fruits like strawberries, blueberries, apples, grapes, oranges and cherries; nuts like almonds and walnuts; and olive oil. The recommended plant foods contain natural antioxidants and polyphenols, and the fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, all of which counter inflammation.

Coffee and tea also contain protective polyphenols, among other anti-inflammatory compounds.

The bottom line: the less processed your diet, the better.

At the same time, don’t . . .

Continue reading. And there’s no paywall on this one. It’s a gift article.

Written by Leisureguy

3 September 2021 at 4:56 pm

On Milk

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Alicia Kennedy has a post on “vegan milk”. The URL is odd — as though it doesn’t link to a specific post, but just to her most recent post, so the article may later be hard to find. It begins:

The way people talk about non-dairy milk, you’d think it was a fad dreamed up by vegans in the ’90s and gradually force-fed to the populace via overeager baristas, Gwyneth Paltrow, and the Swedes of Oatly. Unfortunately for people who’d like to simplify all narratives around not using animal products, almond milk dates back to at least 1226, when it was mentioned in A Baghdad Cookery Book. Soy milk came onto the documented scene in 1365, and almond milk had made it to Europe by 1390, when it became popular during Lent. The first written mention in English of soy milk was in 1704. Thank you to the SoyInfo Center!

Contrast this with a “Shouts & Murmurs” in the August 23, 2021 issue of The New Yorker begins its “A History of Alt-Milk” in 218 B.C. with, “Elephant steps on errant walnut” and skips over all actual developments in the name of “humor,” because there is nothing funnier than not drinking the breast milk of another species.

Historically, human diets have been much more diverse and localized than in the West of the past 100 years or so, and the idea of cow’s milk dairy as the most neutral and “normal” is a European invention. “Most people who retain the ability to digest milk can trace their ancestry to Europe,” as Scientific American reported back in 2013. According to this 2002 (yes, old) study, that’s only 35 percent of the global population. That’s the thing we’ve been force-fed: a non-diverse diet based on European taste and genetics, with animal exploitation a given at an industrial level of production. In the U.S., dairy producers received subsidies totaling $3.5 billion in 2020, whereas oat producers received $44 million. The power is not with dairy alternatives, despite whatever guilt the media folk of New York City have observed among their peers.

It doesn’t get everyone on Twitter’s panties in a knot to realize this, though, and panties in a knot are what drive traffic. Better to talk about how “sensible” one’s experience of summer 2021 in Europe was and announce that hot girls are bringing back whole milk, as this Grub Street piece published last week states based on a couple of tweets. Apparently non-dairy milk’s popularity and creep toward culinary normalcy has been manufactured by the wellness industry, and people haven’t felt like they’re “allowed” to have cow’s milk. This idea, in the piece, comes from someone who works in artisanal cheese. It reminds me that the IDFA (International Dairy Foods’ Association) lobbied for more milk in schools against the advice of nutritionists because they see sales declining.

“In 2018 alone, the IDFA spent around $300,000 a quarter lobbying on issues including school lunches,” wrote The Guardian in 2019. “‘Any government program is going to be a huge moneymaker for them and that includes schools,’ said Levin. ‘That’s where a lot of excess surplus product is dumped; it’s dumped in schools, it’s dumped in prisons.’” That’s hot, just like having that European gene for lactose tolerance!

And as Austin, Texas–based barista Katie Hatch tells me, whole milk probably isn’t making a comeback. She has anecdotal experience, yes, but that’s also what the beloved free market tells us: Oat milk sales grew 170 percent in 2020. It seems to be the only consumer choice people are making on a big enough scale to have an actual impact on industrial animal agriculture.

One hypothesis Hatch has is that people realized they don’t want to drink ounces upon ounces of cow’s milk in the morning—that it’s indeed one easy dietary and ethical change they can make in their lives to feel good about.

“I’ve worked in coffee the past seven years and everyone was into the local, low-temp pasteurized, non-homogenized milk in 2014–18,” Hatch tells me. “Since oat milk made its U.S. debut three to four years ago, it has completely changed the game. Cafés are making their in-house chocolate ganache oat-based, featuring seasonal menu items that complement the oat flavor, and making sure they have a vegan or dairy-free version of just about every menu item. I clear a fridge full of oat before I go through four gallons of whole milk these days! Hot girls drink iced oat lattes and tip at least $2. Rich people drink iced Fronk’s lattes (locally made almond, cashew, date blend that has a five-day shelf life and is a $2 upcharge), but mostly because rich people can’t deny the most expensive version of something and Austin can’t deny a local brand.”

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t like milk, so I have a pretty fierce anti-milk bias. I use full-fat coconut milk in most recipes, sweet and savory, and also have Costco packs of almond or macadamia around to put in cakes, but I take my coffee black. When I was in college, I would order a double tall soy mocha from Starbucks on my way to school sometimes, because I had been proven lactose intolerant about 100 times over and I was sick of running to various bathrooms (most notable of these vivid memories of gastrointestinal distress involve Dunkin’ Donuts, whether on the Hutchinson River Parkway or Main Street in Port Jeff).

A new restaurant in San Juan, Pío Pío, has challenged my resolve by serving the most exquisite Irish coffee I’ve ever tasted. I drink it, because it is good and because by the time dessert rolls around, I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine. Then I pay the price.

I grew up in a whole cow’s milk house, though I would never drink a glass of it on its own, nor would I ever eat anything cheesier than a slice of pizza, because I’ve always been averse to what I would later realize I’m intolerant of. Because of that intolerance and my later strict veganism, I have a very judicious relationship with dairy as a whole. To me, all milk is just . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

1 September 2021 at 7:12 pm

Eating a Hot Dog Shortens Your Life by 36 Minutes

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Note how efficient is the hot dog, how much leverage it brings: it shortens your life by an order of magnitude more than the time it takes to consume it, assuming you eat the hot dog in 3 minutes 36 seconds.

Nicolaus Li reports in Hypebeast:

According to a new study by University of Michigan researchers, eating a hot dog shortens your life by 36 minutes while a peanut butter and jelly sandwich adds 33 minutes to your life.

A nutritional index published by the School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health Sciences in the Nature Food journal ranked 5,800 foods in the United States based on minutes gained or lost of “healthy” life per serving. With “healthy life gains” explained as an increase in “good-quality and disease-free life expectancy.” The Health Nutritional Index reveals that beef, processed meat, pork, lamb, cheese and sugar-based drinks cause the most healthy minutes lost, while nuts, fruits, vegetables and whole grains provide the most healthy minutes gained.

The Health Nutritional Index is based on harmful health effects tracked by a 2016 Global Burden of Disease study, along with information regarding the nutritional and environmental impact of foods. Aside from pushing for more conscious diets, the University of Michigan researchers behind the index note that the argument for plant-based versus animal-based foods cannot be generalized.

Head over to  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

24 August 2021 at 2:14 pm

Other Vegetables, Summer Edition

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I need some Other Vegetables, so I thought I’d cook these: clockwise from upper left: the herbs (Mexican oregano, thyme, herbes de Provence, basil), three jalapeños that I have on hand, an orange bell pepper just above a turmeric root and a head of garlic, green and yellow zucchini, three San Marzano tomatoes, yellow and red onions, two bunches Italian parsley, and a Japanese eggplant. Not shown — no room — four or five medium-large domestic white mushrooms and 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives. 

I’ll also include salt, a lot of ground pepper (for the turmeric), and some umami boost — fish sauce, or tamari, or soy sauce, or Worcestershire sauce — along with an acid boost — a quarter-cup of some sort of vinegar (Bragg’s apple cider, or red wine, or white wine).

In the past I’ve roasted the vegetables, but this time I think I’ll just dice them and see how much liquid ensues. If it’s enough, I’ll add a small can of no-salt-added tomato paste.

This will make enough for several meals, and it should be tasty. I think I’ll use the 6-qt wide-diameter pot. That will be roomy and after it’s cooked it goes into glass storage containers in the fridge.

I’ll start, of course, by chopping the garlic and letting it rest. The chopped onions I’ll sweat in 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, then add garlic and minced turmeric root to cook a briefly, then add the rest, chopped and diced. After it has simmered a while, I’ll know if the tomato paste will work. (I want to include that because it’s a good source of potassium as well as lycopene.)


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Notes in progress: The long vegetables (zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes) I quarter lengthwise then cut across in chunks — fairly good-sized chunks for the zucchini and eggplant so they will maintain structure. Right now I have three bowls:

  1. Large bowl: zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper, mushrooms, and the herbs
  2. Smaller bowl: parsley, tomatoes, a good amount of ground pepper (probably 2 tablespoons at least)
  3. Smaller bowl yet: garlic and turmeric

The two onions and three jalapeños are chopped and in the pot with the olive oil and a good big pinch of salt. 

Everything is prepped, and the jar of pitted Kalamata olives is standing by. (I get very large jars of these at Costco.) I will bring out vinegar and fish sauce (I’m going with Red Boat fish sauce for the umami boost) and have those in sight so I don’t forget them.

So: cook onions; add garlic and turmeric and cook; then add the large bowl and cook for until those cook down, then the smaller bowl of parsley, tomatoes, and pepper, along with olives, vinegar, and fish sauce and simmer for 15 minutes.

Then check liquid level to decide about the tomato paste.


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Turned out that I used red-wine vinegar mostly — I had a bottle to use up. That was 1/4 cup, and I added probably another tablespoon of Bragg’s apple-cider vinegar. And when I measured out the amount of Kalamata olives, it turned out that 3/4 cup seemed right, not 1/2 cup. And I went with six mushrooms rather than five.

The onions and jalapeños cooked very nicely, with frequent stirring and the induction burner on 4. It was good that I used the 6-qt pot — this is much more than would have fit in the 4-qt sauté pan, my other choice. After a good while — the onions were just starting to brown — I added the garlic and turmeric and cooked it for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently.

The large bowl went in next, and the pot was about 3/4 full. I cooked that, still on 4, for a good while, using the spatula to lift up the bottom vegetables and turn over the mass. After about 8 or 10 minutes, I added the rest of the ingredients: tomatoes, parsley, pepper, olives, vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of Red Boat fish sauce.

I covered the pot, turned the burner to 225ºF, and set the burner timer for 25 minutes. I’ll go check on it from time to time and decide about the tomato paste. The photo above on the right is what it looks like after about 15 minutes. I’ll just continue simmering until it seems done. Not a lot of liquid yet.


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And here it is in the last minutes of cooking. As I’ve pointed out before, cooking plant-based is pretty flexible. You want the food tender, and cooked enough for nutritional purposes (the beta carotene in carrots is more available when carrots are cooked*; the lycopene in tomatoes is not available until the tomatoes are cooked), but you don’t have to worry about parasites and the like (cf. pork). 

I did decide that there was plenty of liquid to accommodate the tomato paste, so I did add that. Ideally, the tomato paste is added right as the onions are done and cooked until the paste darkens, but so it goes. 

I have some now, and it turned out very well. Despite the jalapeños, it’s not all that spicy. I imagine they were overwhelmed by the other vegetables. Still, they do add presence.

Click photos to enlarge. Click again to super-enlarge.

* From kinetic data, it was estimated that the bioavailability of carrot-derived β-carotene compared with pure β-carotene was about 11 % for raw carrots, but 75 % when the carrots were stir-fried.

From this study.

Written by Leisureguy

23 August 2021 at 2:21 pm

Sultana Spinach

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I think this will be tasty. I need to cook Greens, and it’s the end of the week so I’m going with what I’ve got, and thus the greens in question will be three 300g packages of frozen chopped spinach: 900g = 2 lbs (or, more accurately 1 lb 15.75 oz). So:

Garlic and 1 teaspoon measure for scale

• 1 head of Russian red garlic, cloves peeled, chopped small, and allowed to rest
• about 1-1.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 quite large red onion chopped
• 6 dried chipotles, cut up with kitchen shears
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 4 medium turmeric root, minced
• 3 packages frozen chopped spinach, 2 lbs total
• 1/4-1/3 cup Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
• 1/3-1/2 cup sultanas 
• about 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper (for the turmeric)
• several good dashes fish sauce

The photo is to give you an idea of the size of the cloves — the total amount of garlic is, shall we say, generous, but this garlic is not so pungent as the common garlic from Gilroy, but sweeter and not at all harsh or biting. I did, of course, allow the garlic to rest for 15 minutes after chopping before beginning to cook. 

I used my 4-qt All-Clad d3 Stainless sauté pan — the large cooking surface works well for this amount. I added the oil, onions, chipotles, and salt to the skillet and sweated the onions on 2 until they were transparent and just about to brown, then added garlic and turmeric and continued to cook, stirring often with a wooden spatula, for 2-3 minutes.

I then added the remaining ingredients, covered, and let it cook for 10 minutes. By that time, the blocks of frozen spinach had thawed, so I broke them up with the spatula and stirred well to mix everything together. 

I covered the pan again, turned heat of 225ºF and set the timer to 20 minutes. The spinach is already pretty well cooked before being frozen (because it’s blanched), but I wanted to let the flavors meld. 


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It’s done, and it is indeed quite good, with good warmth from the chipotles and a touch of sweetness from the sultanas. The fish saurce adds umami, and it hits the spot as Greens. I’m having it with Grain (oat groats from the fridge), Beans (Du Puy lentils, likewise), and Other Vegetables (Chayote Delight from the other day). I mixed in 1 tablespoon flaxseed, freshly ground.

Sultana Spinach, ready to serve

Written by Leisureguy

21 August 2021 at 3:39 pm

The American Heart Association looks at how little doctors know about nutrition

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This article is from a couple of years ago, but I doubt that much has changed. The article begins:

Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Cut down on sweets and processed foods. Increase consumption of fish, nuts and legumes.

This rudimentary advice has been dished out to the public for decades, yet soaring rates of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and other chronic illnesses linked to poor diet – and which increase risks for stroke and heart disease – fail to reverse.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that doctors don’t know how to provide information beyond the basics.

Inadequate instruction during medical school, residency and other additional training is a primary reason for this dearth of expertise, according to an American Heart Association science advisory published Monday in the journal Circulation that looked at gaps in nutrition education over the decades. [That link is worth clicking — the report is quite interesting. – LG]

“Any nutrition education gained is likely to be lost if not reinforced and translated into practical how-to knowledge,” the advisory authors write.

Dr. David Eisenberg, director of culinary nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, applauded the AHA report, saying it documents “the total lack of requirement” in most medical schools to understand the practical skills necessary to advise patients struggling with their weight, blood sugar, blood pressure or heart disease.

“It is a scandal that health professionals are not introduced to these facts above and beyond minimal information about nutritional deficiencies in biochemistry, and that these things do not appear on their examinations to become a practicing physician,” said Eisenberg, who was not part of the group that wrote the advisory. “Nor are they required on board certification, whether it’s to become an internist, cardiologist, endocrinologist – you name it.”

Gaps in nutrition education among medical school curricula go back decades, said Dr. Karen Aspry, the cardiologist who chaired the AHA advisory group.

She pointed out that after a 1985 survey of one-third of U.S. medical schools found “inadequate exposure to nutrition and health and disease,” the National Academy of Sciences recommended a minimum of 25 classroom hours.

Yet, various studies conducted between 2000 and 2013 found few schools were meeting that goal. The most recent survey, in 2013, found that 71 percent of medical schools provide less than the recommended 25 hours.

“The average number of hours has actually declined to 19 hours. That means this is not keeping up with the recognition that so much obesity and cardiovascular disease is linked to poor nutrition and poor diet quality,” Aspry said.

A poor diet was tied to nearly half of U.S. deaths from heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes in 2012, found a study published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association(link opens in new window). “This is a huge problem,” Aspry said.

The new advisory found that schools which exceeded the minimum recommended hours of nutrition education did so by integrating the training across the medical school curriculum instead of containing it to a single course.

Several universities have tapped into innovative ways to teach future physicians about how to manage their own diet to build a set of personal tips they can eventually pass on to patients. Schools are incorporating lessons through online, open-access programs, or by turning commercial kitchens into interactive classrooms where students learn about healthy cooking.

Andrew Del Re is benefiting from that kind of innovation. A first-year student at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School in Rhode Island, he recently completed a “Food + Health” elective that pairs medical students with culinary arts students from nearby Johnson & Wales University. The course was part lecture – on topics such as healthy cooking on a budget – and part hands-on learning, such as cooking low-sodium meals inside an actual kitchen.

“Becoming a better communicator is also a really big part of the course,” he said. “You have to be able to transmit practical knowledge so the patient can leave the office saying, ‘OK, now I know exactly what I need to do to live a healthier lifestyle, and change my behavior for the better.’”

Del Re is now leading this semester’s Food + Health class with two other student assistants, adding more emphasis on nutrition and diet counseling, and possible ways to customize such lessons to the individual lifestyle of patients.

Other types of nutrition training can be found in medical school electives that . . .

Continue reading. There’s much more.

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2021 at 1:06 pm

This Is Your Gut on Sugar

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Markham Heid writes about health and science in Elemental, and his article on the effects of refined sugar on your gut is interesting. (Sugar in whole foods — for example, in the two luscious peaches I just ate — does not have the same effect at all.) He writes:

That means . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2021 at 12:54 pm

Flora, Fauna, and … Funga? The Case for a Third ‘F.’

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Giuliana Furci wrote a field guide for Chilean fungi and set up the Fungi Foundation when she realized the unique organisms were largely ignored in Chile. Visual: Mateo Barrenengoa

Jonathan Moens writes in Undark:

IN 1999, GIULIANA FURCI developed a profound interest in fungi. They were everywhere, and the 20-year-old took particular joy in the multiformity of mushrooms: small and button-shaped; tall and umbrella-like; bulging, with crimson red caps topped with white flakes. But Furci also quickly realized that these fungi went largely ignored in Chile, where there were few guidebooks and an almost total lack of policies and resources to legally protect them from over-harvesting, land exploitation, and deforestation.

Determined to correct this, Furci wrote a field guide for Chilean fungi and set up the Fungi Foundation — a nonprofit dedicated to fungi conservation for which she is the executive director. In 2010, she took an even bigger step: Allied with other environmental nonprofits, Furci put forward a proposal for the Chilean government to systematically assess how large new developments such as housing, dams, and highways affect fungi. In 2012, the motion passed and Chile became the first country in the world to protect fungi by law.

Chile is unique in its legal commitment to these spore-producing organisms. As a taxonomic group, fungi are both ubiquitous and diverse, including molds, yeast, mushrooms, and a variety of other organisms. They are also largely neglected in global conservation efforts. Of the estimated 2.2 to 3.8 million species of fungi on Earth, approximately 450 have been assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature for inclusion on its Red List of Threatened Species, a large-scale effort to catalog the conservation status of species across the globe. Groups like mammals, birds, and amphibians have been completely or almost completely assessed, while fungi account for less than a percent of all assessments to date.

Policymakers and biodiversity institutions agree that fungi are fundamental to rich and sustainable ecosystems, but few institutions have taken direct steps to explicitly include these organisms in their policy frameworks. One reason: People tend to prefer large charismatic creatures, says Axel Hochkirch, a professor of biodiversity conservation at the University of Trier in Germany. Whales, rhinos, and elephants capture the collective imagination and foster a sense of empathy, he says, driving interest, money, and resources into fighting for their preservation. Fungi have historically been associated with disease, death, and decay, especially in the Western world, says Gregory Mueller, chief scientist and vice president of science at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Fungi face an additional challenge. After decades of being classified as plants, in the late 1960s biologists recognized that they needed their own separate kingdom. But this recognition has been slow to seep into policy. Popularized by Carl Linnaeus in the 18th century, the term “flora and fauna” no longer includes fungi, but mycologists argue that the term lives on in environmental laws, international biodiversity conventions, and treaties, allowing fungi to be overlooked in policy frameworks and making it challenging for conservationists to obtain legal environmental protections for this diverse and ecologically important kingdom.

In response, a small team of fungal experts and legal scholars have banded together to try and tilt public and legal discourse in favor of fungal conservation. The team aims to add another “F” — funga — to upcoming high-impact reports, declarations, conventions, and treaties that would otherwise focus on “flora and fauna.” One of their chief goals is to get fungi explicitly included in the upcoming Convention on Biological Diversity, a United Nations multilateral agreement and one of the most influential conservation initiatives in the world, whose next meeting is now scheduled to take place in Kunming, China in October.

“Government, people, institutions still think of biodiversity in terms of ‘flora and fauna,’” says David Minter, president of the European Mycological Association. “And that, of course, absolutely excludes fungi — it’s so pervasive.”

Until relatively recently, fungi could belong to only one of two scientific categories: plants or animals. Given that fungi are non-motile organisms often anchored to the soil, they were scientifically classified as plants. But they also differ from plants in significant ways — notably fungi reproduce via spores rather than with flowers and seeds and lack basic structures that plants have, including stamens and pistils. Because of this, for decades fungi were generally considered more primitive and were referred to as “lower” plants.

In 1969, the ecologist Robert Whittaker published a paper challenging the binary classification model, proposing, instead, a five-part classification system that included fungi as its own kingdom. (Later models have included even more kingdoms.) In Whittaker’s system, fungi’s lack of chlorophyll, its general inability to photosynthesize, and its distinct cell wall composition — made from the same substance as insect exoskeletons — made them a unique kingdom of life, more similar to animals than plants.

Fungi establish deeply symbiotic relationships with trees and other plants through intricate underground networks of thread-like filamentous structures, which improve access to water and nutrients for the plants in exchange for carbohydrates. Fungi also decompose leaves, rocks, and other organic materials, turning them into soil, which create the foundation for other organisms to thrive on.

“Their symbiotic nature is very important, and they are the organisms that actually create ecosystems. Without fungi, you just have separate components,” says Furci. As a result, omitting fungi from conservation initiatives has had dire consequences on the world’s ecosystems, experts say. And despite a lack of data, scientists know enough to say that many species of fungi face similar environmental risks as plants and animals, given their susceptibility to climate change, land exploitation, pollution, and deforestation.

Overharvesting of prized mushrooms is also a problem. For example, in Northern Sicily, the white ferula — a girthy, eggshell-colored mushroom noted for its delicious flavor — was the first fungi placed on the IUCN Red List. Found in an area spanning no more than 39 square miles and frequently picked by mushroom hunters, the white ferula is currently teetering on the brink of extinction, with no formal legislation to protect it in the wild. . .

Continue reading. There’s more, including photos.

Written by Leisureguy

14 August 2021 at 12:57 pm

‘Inflammation clock’ can reveal body’s biological age

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Again, the whole-food plant-based diet confers an advantage: it is, in practical effect, an anti-inflammatory diet (and that’s a good thing). Max Kozlov writes in Nature:

A new type of age ‘clock’ can assess chronic inflammation to predict whether someone is at risk of developing age-related disorders such as cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disease. The clock measures ‘biological age’, which takes health into consideration and can be higher or lower than a person’s chronological age.

The inflammatory ageing clock (iAge), reported on 12 July in Nature Aging1, is one of the first tools of its kind to use inflammation to assess health. Other age clocks have used epigenetic markers, chemical groups that tag a person’s DNA as they age and are passed along as cells divide. The researchers who developed iAge hope that, because inflammation is treatable, the tool could help doctors determine who would benefit from intervention — potentially extending the number of years a person lives in good health.

The study “is a further reinforcement of the fact that the immune system is critical, not only for predicting unhealthy ageing, but also as a mechanism driving it”, says Vishwa Deep Dixit, an immunobiologist at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, who was not involved in the work.

Keeping time

iAge is based on the idea that as a person ages, their body experiences chronic, systemic inflammation because their cells become damaged and emit inflammation-causing molecules. This ultimately leads to wear and tear on their tissues and organs. People who have a healthy immune system will be able to neutralize this inflammation to some extent, whereas others will age faster.

To develop iAge, a team including systems biologist David Furman and vascular specialist Nazish Sayed at Stanford University in California analysed blood samples from 1,001 people aged 8–96 who are part of the 1000 Immunomes Project, which aims to investigate how signatures of chronic, systemic inflammation change as people age. The researchers used the participants’ chronological ages and health information, combined with a machine-learning algorithm, to identify the protein markers in blood that most clearly signal systemic inflammation. In particular, they pinpointed the immune-signalling protein, or cytokine, CXCL9 as a top contributor; it is mainly produced by the inner lining of blood vessels and has been associated with the development of heart disease.

Sayed says that CXCL9 being a key component of iAge gives new credence to the adage that “you’re only as old as your arteries”.

After developing it, the researchers tested iAge by collecting the blood of 19 people who had lived to at least 99 years old, and using the tool to calculate their biological age. On average, the centenarians had an iAge 40 years lower than their actual age, according to a press release — aligning with the idea that people with healthier immune systems tend to live longer.

Ageing gracefully

Scientists have long explored the idea of age clocks as a predictor of how healthy a person currently is. Epigenetics-based research in this area has shown some promise2, but María Mittelbrunn, a molecular biologist at the Autonomous University of Madrid, says that evaluating a person’s biological age by measuring epigenetic changes to their DNA can be complicated. Measuring inflammation with a blood test would be easier, making a tool such as iAge more practical for a clinical setting.

Furman hopes that iAge and other age clocks based on inflammation might enable personalized treatments, too.

When examining CXCL9 as a biomarker of systemic inflammation, Furman and his colleagues grew human endothelial cells, which make up the walls of blood vessels, in a dish and artificially aged them by letting them divide repeatedly. The researchers saw that high levels of the protein drove the cells into a dysfunctional state. When the team silenced expression of the gene that encodes CXCL9, the cells regained some function, suggesting that the protein’s harmful effects might be reversible.

If caught early, “inflammation is one of the best things we can treat”, says Mittelbrunn. “We have developed. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

13 August 2021 at 10:57 am

How gut microbes could drive brain disorders

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The more we learn about the gut microbiome, the more important it seems. I am happy that my own (whole-food plant-based) diet nourishes a good gut microbiome, and I do try to pick foods (e.g., allliums, asparagus) that support good gut microbes. Cassandra Willyard writes in Nature:

In 2006, soon after she launched her own laboratory, neuroscientist Jane Foster discovered something she felt sure would set her field abuzz. She and her team were working with two groups of mice: one with a healthy selection of microorganisms in their guts, and one that lacked a microbiome. They noticed that the mice without gut bacteria seemed less anxious than their healthy equivalents. When placed in a maze with some open paths and some walled-in ones, they preferred the exposed paths. The bacteria in the gut seemed to be influencing their brain and behaviour.

Foster, at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, wrote up the study and submitted it for publication. It was rejected. She rewrote it and sent it out again. Rejected. “People didn’t buy it. They thought it was an artefact,” she says. Finally, after three years and seven submissions, she got an acceptance letter1.

John Cryan, a neuroscientist at University College Cork in Ireland, joined the field about the same time as Foster did, and knows exactly how she felt. When he began talking about the connections between bacteria living in the gut and the brain, “I felt very evangelical”, he says. He recalls one Alzheimer’s disease conference at which he presented in 2014. “I’ve never given a talk in a room where there was less interest.”

Today, however, the gut–brain axis is a feature at major neuroscience meetings, and Cryan says he is no longer “this crazy guy from Ireland”. Thousands of publications over the past decade have revealed that the trillions of bacteria in the gut could have profound effects on the brain, and might be tied to a whole host of disorders. Funders such as the US National Institutes of Health are investing millions of dollars in exploring the connection.

But along with that explosion of interest has come hype. Some gut–brain researchers claim or imply causal relationships when many studies show only correlations, and shaky ones at that, says Maureen O’Malley, a philosopher at the University of Sydney in Australia who studies the field of microbiome research. “Have you found an actual cause, or have you found just another effect?”

In recent years, however, the field has made significant strides, O’Malley says. Rather than talking about the microbiome as a whole, some research teams have begun drilling down to identify specific microbes, mapping out the complex and sometimes surprising pathways that connect them to the brain. “That is what allows causal attributions to be made,” she says. Studies in mice — and preliminary work in humans — suggest that microbes can trigger or alter the course of conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, autism spectrum disorder and more (see ‘Possible pathways to the brain’). Therapies aimed at tweaking the microbiome could help to prevent or treat these diseases, an idea that some researchers and companies are already testing in human clinical trials.

Credit: Nik Spencer/Nature

It is early days, but the prospect of new therapies for some of these intractable brain diseases is exciting, says Sarkis Mazmanian, a microbiologist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena — particularly given how much easier it is to manipulate the gut than the brain. Getting therapies into the brain has been a long-standing challenge, he says, “but you can sure as hell change the microbiome”.

Tangle transmission

In 1817, the English surgeon James Parkinson described some of the first cases of the “shaking palsy” that would come to be known as Parkinson’s disease. One individual had developed numbness and prickling sensations in both arms. Parkinson noticed that the man’s abdomen seemed to contain “considerable accumulation”. He dosed the man with a laxative, and ten days later his bowels were empty and his symptoms were gone.

Parkinson might have been on to something. Some people who develop the disease experience constipation long before they develop mobility problems. And many researchers have embraced the idea that the disease begins in the gut, at least in some cases.

To understand the idea, it’s useful to know a little about the disease. The hallmark symptoms of Parkinson’s — tremors, stiffness and slowness of movement — appear as the neurons responsible for coordinating motion begin to die. Why these neurons die isn’t fully understood, but a protein known as α-synuclein seems to have a key role. In people with Parkinson’s disease, the protein misfolds. The first misfolded protein causes more to misfold, until harmful clumps known as Lewy bodies begin to form in the brain.

What triggers this cascade? In 2015, Robert Friedland, a neurologist at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, proposed a new theory. He had read that . .

Continue reading. There’s much more.

Written by Leisureguy

13 August 2021 at 10:36 am

Chayote Delight

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Not much going on, so I’m inclined to cook. Because I’m going to be simmering some tomato, I decided to usethe 2-qt All-Clad d2 Stainless sauté pan. (I always mention what pot or pan I use to give an idea of the size.)

• 1.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 large red onion, chopped
• pinch of Diamond Crystal kosher salt
• 6 cloves Russian red garlic, chopped small and allowed to rest 15 minutes
• 4 banana peppers, sliced thinly across
• 1 chayote squash, diced
• 1 San Marzano tomato, diced
• 2 mushrooms, chopped
• 1 tablespoon Mexican orgeano
• 1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
• 1 medium turmeric root, chopped small (remembered it this time)
• 2 tablespoons Sriracha Revolver Cilantro-Lime hot sauce (partly for liquid)
• splash of vinegar
• dash of fish sauce
• about 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper (for the turmeric)

Cook onion in the oil over medium-low heat until it becomes soft and transparent.

Add garlic and cook about a minute, then add remaining ingredients, stir, cover, and cook over low heat (250ºF is my burner setting) for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. I started at 225ºF, but that was too low, so I upped it. The food starts out dry, but enough liquid develops as it cooks.

Above on the left: chopped garlic in my little food scoop (which I use constantly), chopped mushrooms, finely chopped turmeric, diced chayote, and thinly sliced banana peppers. On right, the red onion (and olive oil), before and after the onion has cooked to the point where I’m ready to add the garlic.

It filled the pan quite full, but it did cook down. Still, the 4-qt sauté pan with its larger cooking surface might have worked better. But it worked out, and it will be a tasty Other Vegetable. Here it is at the end:

Written by Leisureguy

12 August 2021 at 4:49 pm

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