Later On

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

Archive for the ‘Plant-based diet’ Category

Mediterranean Power Squash reprise, with peppers

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I made this recipe just now, but instead of red pepper flakes, I added:

1 Anaheim pepper, seeded and chopped
1 Hungarian purple pepper, seeded and chopped
1 Hungarian pale green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
1 red habanero, seeded and chopped

with the garlic, leek/scallions, squash, and zucchini.

Very tasty. Recipe at the link has been updated.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 August 2019 at 3:23 pm

Got my erythritol and tried the pink juice with green foam

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It’s great! I use my immersion blender and its beaker. Put into the beaker:

1/2 cup frozen cranberries
a handful of fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons erythritol
1 cup of water

Blend that, then add enough water to bring the total to 2 cups, stir, and enjoy.

Erythritol is good. It doesn’t cause gas or bloating, doesn’t raise blood glucose or trigger insulin, has no side effects, and is just about zero calories. Use it instead of granulated sugar, teaspoon for teaspoon.

Since I’m consuming the whole cranberry and not just extracted juice, I’m  thus getting fiber and the bioflavonoids that are in the skin, making this a very healthful drink indeed.

Next I’m going to try frozen cherries and lemon juice with water to make 2 cups.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 August 2019 at 11:49 am

Avocado and cholesterol

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Written by LeisureGuy

24 August 2019 at 10:31 am

Alzheimer’s Meeting: Lifestyle Factors Are the Best—and Only—Bet Now for Reducing Dementia Risk

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Karen Weintraub reports in Scientific American:

Samuel Gandy became an Alzheimer’s disease researcher in part to help his own family. He watched his mother spiral downward as she lost her memory and then her ability to care for herself.

After that, Gandy, now director of the Center for Cognitive Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, thought his research might help prevent a similar fate for himself. Now in his 60s and having watched every single promising drug trial for Alzheimer’s fail, he’s had to give up on that idea, too.

Gandy is now focused on helping the next generation of young scientists who work in his lab and others. “Now I just want to contribute to the eventual eradication,” he says. “As long as I feel like I’m moving the ball down the field in the right direction, that’s worthwhile.”

The repeated failures of Alzheimer’s drugs in late-stage, hugely expensive trials, have forced Gandy and other researchers to recalibrate any optimism about finding a cure. With the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference currently finishing up in Los Angeles, scientists are still hopeful about the future—but that future now seems a lot further away.

For three decades, most researchers assumed that the cure for Alzheimer’s lay in getting rid of the build-up of a protein called beta-amyloid in the brain. Eliminate that bad actor, and the disease would be vanquished, the thinking went. Then, when that failed, researchers thought they had to get rid of the beta-amyloid earlier—let it spread too far and clog up too much and there was no way the brain could bounce back, researchers assumed.

Yet all the recent trials of early-stage patients proved that idea wrong, too. Amgen, Novartis and the federal government announced at the conference that they were ending their latest anti-amyloid trial, because the drug harmed more patients than it helped. Nearly everyone has now given up on the idea that fighting amyloid will be enough to combat Alzheimer’s on its own once damage has begun.

There are 102 drugs being tested right now in patients, according to the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation. Most are in mid-stage trials, meaning they’ve already been shown to be safe in a small group, but have not gone through the rigorous testing in patients to determine whether they are effective. Maybe one will turn out to make a big difference. Yet few researchers believe in the prospect of a magic bullet. Scientists think that it’s more likely that a combination of approaches will be needed to prevent, treat or cure Alzheimer’s, similar to how a drug cocktail is needed to treat HIV.

Two research pursuits seem to hold the most promise—though both might need to be used in combination with each other, perhaps along with anti-amyloid approaches. The first is addressing a protein called tau. Tau causes tangles of material in the brain that clog it up, compounding the problems of beta amyloid. Getting rid of tau is looking more and more promising as part of a cocktail of approaches, says Kenneth Kosik, a professor of neuroscience, and co-director of the Neuroscience Research Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The second area focuses on inflammation. There’s some indication that an immune reaction—perhaps from something as seemingly benign as the microbes that cause cold sores or gum disease—could be a spark that launches a series of events that ultimately lead to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. . .

Continue reading. There’s much more.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 August 2019 at 5:57 pm

A healthful high-antioxidant drink: Pink Juice with Green Foam

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And, it turns out, erythritol is even good for you:

Written by LeisureGuy

22 August 2019 at 3:10 pm

Interesting phytate fact

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I’m rereading How Not to Die, and I thought this passage was interesting:

Subsequent research has suggested that dietary prevention of cancer may involve something other than just fiber. For instance, colorectal cancer rates are higher in Denmark than in Finland,34 yet Danes consume slightly more dietary fiber than Finns.35 What other protective compounds might explain the low cancer rates among plant-based populations? Well, fiber isn’t the only thing found in whole plant foods that’s missing from processed and animal-based foods.

The answer might lie in natural compounds called phytates, which are found in the seeds of plants—in other words, in all whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Phytates have been shown to detoxify excess iron in the body, which otherwise can generate a particularly harmful kind of free radical called hydroxyl radicals. 36 The standard American diet may therefore be a double whammy when it comes to colorectal cancer: Meat contains the type of iron (heme) particularly associated with colorectal cancer37, but lacks, as do refined plant foods, the phytates to extinguish these iron-forged free radicals.
>For many years, phytates were maligned as inhibitors of mineral absorption, which is why you might have heard advice to roast, sprout, or soak your nuts to get rid of the phytates. In theory, this would allow you to absorb more minerals, such as calcium. This belief stemmed from a series of laboratory experiments on puppies from 1949 that suggested that phytates had a bone-softening, anticalcifying effect,38 as well as from subsequent studies with similar findings on rats.39 But more recently, in light of actual human data, phtates’ image has undergone a complete makeover.40 Those who eat more high-phytate foods actually tend to have a greater bone mineral density,41 less bone loss, and fewer hip fractures.42 Phytates appear to protect bone in a manner similar to that of antiosteroporosis drugs like Fosamax,43 but without the risk of osteonecrosis (bone rot) of the jaw, a rare, potentially disffiguring side-effect associated with that class of drugs.44

Phytates may also help protect against colorectal cancer….

The numbers in the text identify footnotes that specify the studies on whose findings the statements are based.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 August 2019 at 1:45 pm

If Everyone Ate Beans Instead of Beef

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James Hamblin writes in the Atlantic:

Ecoanxiety is an emerging condition. Named in 2011, the American Psychological Association recently described it as the dread and helplessness that come with “watching the slow and seemingly irrevocable impacts of climate change unfold, and worrying about the future for oneself, children, and later generations.”

It’s not a formal diagnosis. Anxiety is traditionally defined by an outsized stress response to a given stimulus. In this case, the stimulus is real, as are the deleterious effects of stress on the body.

This sort of disposition toward ecological-based distress does not pair well with a president who has denied the reality of the basis for this anxiety. Donald Trump has called climate change a fabrication on the part of “the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” He has also led the United States to become the only G20 country that will not honor the Paris Climate Accord, and who has appointed fossil-fuel advocates to lead the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency.

For people who experience climate-related anxiety, this all serves as a sort of exacerbation by presidential gaslight. The remedy for a condition like this is knowing what can be done to mitigate environmental degradation, from within in a country singularly committed to it.

Like what?

Helen Harwatt is a researcher trained in environmental nutrition, a field focused on developing food systems that balance human health and sustainability. She’s interested in policy, but realistic about how much progress can be expected under the aforementioned leadership. So she and colleagues have done research on maximizing the impacts of individuals. As with so many things in life and health, that tends to come down to food.

Recently Harwatt and a team of scientists from Oregon State University, Bard College, and Loma Linda University calculated just what would happen if every American made one dietary change: substituting beans for beef. They found that if everyone were willing and able to do that—hypothetically—the U.S. could still come close to meeting its 2020 greenhouse-gas emission goals, pledged by President Barack Obama in 2009.

That is, even if nothing about our energy infrastructure or transportation system changed—and even if people kept eating chicken and pork and eggs and cheese—this one dietary change could achieve somewhere between 46 and 74 percent of the reductions needed to meet the target.

“I think there’s genuinely a lack of awareness about how much impact this sort of change can have,” Harwatt told me. There have been analyses in the past about the environmental impacts of veganism and vegetarianism, but this study is novel for the idea that a person’s dedication to the cause doesn’t have to be complete in order to matter. A relatively small, single-food substitution could be the most powerful change a person makes in terms of their lifetime environmental impact—more so than downsizing one’s car, or being vigilant about turning off light bulbs, and certainly more than quitting showering.

To understand why the climate impact of beef alone is so large, note that the image at the top of this story is a sea of soybeans in a silo in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. The beans belong to a feed lot that holds 38,000 cattle, the growth and fattening of which means dispensing 900 metric tons of feed every day. Which is to say that these beans will be eaten by cows, and the cows will convert the beans to meat, and the humans will eat the meat. In the process, the cows will emit much greenhouse gas, and they will consume far more calories in beans than they will yield in meat, meaning far more clearcutting of forests to farm cattle feed than would be necessary if the beans above were simply eaten by people.

This inefficient process happens on a massive scale. Brazil, the world’s largest exporter of red meat, holds around 212 million cattle. (In June, the U.S. temporarily suspended imports of beef from Brazil due to abscesses, collections of pus, in the meat.) According to the United Nations, 33 percent of arable land on Earth is used to grow feed for livestock. Even more, 26 percent of the ice-free terrestrial surface of Earth is used for grazing livestock. In all, almost a third of the land on Earth is used to produce meat and animal products.

This means much less deforestation and land degradation if so many plant crops weren’t run through the digestive tracts of cattle. If Americans traded their beef for beans, the researchers found, that would free up 42 percent of U.S. crop land.

“The real beauty of this kind of thing is that climate impact doesn’t have to be policy-driven,” said Harwatt. “It can just be a positive, empowering thing for consumers to see that they can make a significant impact by doing something as simple as eating beans instead of beef.”

She and her colleagues conclude in the journal Climatic Change: “While not currently recognized as a climate policy option, the ‘beans for beef’ scenario offers significant climate change mitigation and other environmental benefits, illustrating the high potential of animal to plant food shifts.”

The beans for beef scenario is, it seems, upon us.

“I think it’s such an easy-to-grasp concept that it could be less challenging than a whole dietary shift,” said Harwatt. The words vegetarian and vegan . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 August 2019 at 2:27 pm

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