October 16, 2018

Soup’s On!

Cooler weather is finally here, so soup’s on – literally! When that first blast of cold air hits each fall, everyone I know starts to clamor for soup. From chili to chowder, hot thick soup fills and warms your tummy and is the perfect antidote for a chill.
tomato soup
Soup preference is often determined by the base of the soup. Some prefer broth or stock, some tomato, and some cream. This is reflected in the top five soups sold in America – chicken noodle, tomato, clam chowder, potato, and minestrone.

Of course the choices don’t stop there. There’s tortilla soup, French onion soup, chicken and rice, chicken chili, split pea, lentil, butternut squash, corn chowder, beef stew, ham and bean, lobster bisque, gumbo, vegetable, Thai chicken coconut soup, and phở. The possible combinations are seemingly endless.

My grandmother made her own chicken stock and canned her own tomato juice. These became the base for soup at her house. Most of us don’t feel like we can spend 2-3 hours in the kitchen prepping the base for a soup. That doesn’t mean the only way to have a delicious soup for dinner is to pop open a can or have some delivered.

A great soup can begin with ingredients you usually discard. Vegetable broth from fresh green beans, black beans, butternut squash, cabbage, greens, and even sour kraut can serve as a flavorful base.

You can also boil potato skins, and asparagus, mushroom, broccoli, and cauliflower stems that would normally go in the trash or composter in a separate pot at the same time you prepare those vegetables. You’re using veggie pieces that result from prep you’re already doing and you’re cooking during a time you’ll already be around the kitchen. That makes for a time friendly, budget friendly practice.

Put the resulting broth in a large glass jar in the refrigerator and save it for soup. You can add broth from multiple vegetables over several days to deepen the flavor and nutritional value.

Your broth can also include chicken skin, hearts, livers, and gizzards, or fat trimmed from beef, pork, or chicken. If you prefer, you can place these in a slow cooker with some water, onion, seasonings and vegetables to create broth while you’re at work. You’re going to discard everything but the liquid so don’t worry that the ingredients are ugly things you wouldn’t eat on their own.

When I am too taxed to have the capacity for planning soup in advance, I use prepared items from the grocery to get me started. My favorites are Pomi Tomatoes, Imagine Free Range Organic Chicken Broth, and milk. I always have these items around.

pomiPomi Strained Tomatoes are just that. Tomatoes. There’s nothing added – no water, no salt, no preservatives. For a healthy soup base with a long shelf life and no prep time, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Imagine Free Range Organic Chicken Broth is available from any store at which I shop. It comes in a low sodium version. The ingredients are: organic chicken broth (filtered water, organic chicken), organic onions, organic celery, organic carrots, natural chicken flavor, organic spices, sea salt. The only thing suspect here is “natural chicken flavor”, but there’s no MSG, no sugar, no yeast extract and the natural chicken flavor isn’t at the top of the list of ingredients. Truthfully, I don’t always buy the low sodium version.

I don’t always have cream on hand, but with a 2-year-old around I consistently have whole milk. It may not be quite as rich as cream, but it gets the job done in potato soup or corn chowder.

I also keep rice in the pantry, curry in the spice rack, onions and garlic on the counter, and herbs growing in pots on the back porch or in the house. All of these can be used to flavor or enhance soup.

The temperature in my house has dropped 10 degrees in the last hour, but I’m in luck. I have chicken breasts in the refrigerator, chicken broth and rice in the pantry, an onion and fresh garlic, some English peas and some rosemary. With those and some salt and pepper, I can make soup for dinner.

It won’t be long before soup’s on!

https://solesoups.com/2017/02/17/top-five-bestselling-soups-america/

https://www.pomi.us.com/en-us/products/#strained-tomatoes

https://www.fooducate.com/app#!page=product&id=9EBAF56C-E113-11DF-A102-FEFD45A4D471

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/why-did-your-grandma-make-chicken-soup/

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/dump-soup-perfect-for-a-lazy-day/

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/travel-tip-12-cold-soups-vary-different-countries/

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

October 8, 2018

New Studies on the Health Benefits of Alcohol are Making Me Want a Drink

Two new studies indicate that alcohol consumption may not have as many (or any) health benefits as research previously indicated; these studies are making me want a drink! Try to figure out the health benefits or harm of consuming coffee, fat, carbohydrates, chocolate, or even bananas can be confusing at best. Now that they’re messing with happy hour, I think I’ll mull over the evidence drink in hand.

I’m not here to defend alcohol consumption. Alcohol has had devastating effects in my family. My grandfather drunkenly stumbled on the concrete front steps of his house, fell, hit his head, and eventually died from his injuries. The psychological effects of his drinking left my dad angry and violent. I understand on a visceral level that the detrimental effects of alcohol may not be quantifiable without including their contribution to psychological and physical trauma within families.

I’m not here to rail against alcohol consumption either. I know there are many people who have a drink occasionally or regularly and that’s it. They don’t overdo, drink and drive, or engage in other high-risk behaviors. Some of these people are genetically predisposed to alcoholism and yet they never develop the disease.

barrelsLike other dietary decisions, drinking alcohol is a lifestyle choice fraught with religious prohibitions, social implications, and conflicting evidence regarding health benefits. The path to making the best choice in such a situation is to have clear intentions, be informed, tell yourself the truth, own your choice, and give yourself permission to change your mind.

The older I get, the less it suffices to wait for someday to fully enjoy life. It is increasingly important to me to have a few moments each day that are pure pleasure. These moments don’t have to be big or monumental, but I intend to lean into them.

Last weekend, one of those moments was tasting a delicious coffee liqueur at the end of an impromptu distillery tour with friends. If I made a blanket prohibition against consuming alcohol, I would have missed that moment.

I chose to embrace it knowing there was no health benefit, but also knowing that I do not suffer from alcoholism. I am happy with that choice. If in a month I find myself spiking my coffee or milk with liqueur every morning, it may be deliciously pleasurable, but it will also be time to reconsider my choice.

There are so many pieces of life over which we have no control that we can feel quite powerless at times. It is easy to get lost in that feeling. Making deliberate choices to improve the quality of life in small, consistent ways can greatly increase a feeling of purpose and well-being which in turn can improve our health.

Each of us will have a unique path to wholeness, happiness, and health. Each of us will find obstacles on that path, naysayers who discourage us, cheerleaders who encourage us, and examples that inspire us. We will find pleasure and comfort in different ways.

I cannot say what the journey should look like for you. I do know that intention and practice can propel each of us toward becoming our best selves while enjoying life fully. Sometimes for me, that means watching the sunset while sipping a Hendrick’s and soda garnished with a cucumber.

Here’s to you loving the path you’re on!

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31310-2/fulltext

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/15300277

https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/body/news/a45281/bananas-bad-breakfast/

https://zenhabits.net/wholeness/


Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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October 2, 2018

Looking Down the Road at Potential Celiac Disease Treatment, Will You be an Early Adopter?

Looking down the road at potential Celiac Disease treatment, will you be an early adopter? It may seem too soon to consider, but it’s possible that in 5 years there will be multiple pharmaceutical treatments or vaccines for Celiac Disease on the market. By the time they are FDA approved, they will have been through clinical trials involving human study participants that indicate the drugs are relatively safe and will most likely work. Once the drugs are approved, will you run to your doctor to request a new treatment, or will you take a wait and see approach?

Some of us love to be on the cutting edge of everything – fashion, interior design, automotive design, technology, everything. Some of us are even willing to pay dearly for the privilege. One of my graphic designer friends bought an Apple Lisa back in the day. He paid about $10,000 for it although he’ll tell you it was about $20,000. That’s $10,000 for a computer with 5MB (not GB) of hard drive space and a 5MHz processor. I regularly email photos that are 10MB.

This friend continued to buy a MAC immediately when a new model appeared. Then he’d scream often as he zapped the PRAM or held the shift key to disable extensions when he was trying to get the buggy system to boot. He’s followed the same pattern with iPhones. When it comes to technology, he understands he’ll pay more and experience less system stability as an early adopter and that’s okay with him.

I tend to wait a bit longer. I’m not on the tail end of adopting innovation, but I like to give companies a chance to work out a few of the bugs before I jump in with both feet. The internet has made it easy to monitor MAC computer system bug fixes. Armed with that information and knowledge of the nature of the bugs, I buy a bit later than my friend. I feel like I experience less downtime, less frustration, and less expense that way.
periodic
When it comes to pharmaceuticals, there’s a whole other level for early adopters to consider – long-term health effects. We often assume that the long-term effects of drugs have been studied before a drug goes to market. That’s not necessarily true. In fact, the more effective a drug is in clinical trials, the less true it may be.

If a drug or vaccine is extremely effective in producing a good outcome, a clinical trial may be ended early. This can mean some side-effects or long-term complications may not show up until after the drug receives approval and is prescribed to patients. There can be a lag in gathering and disseminating information regarding those complications to patients and physicians. The level of risk this presents for patients depends on the specific drug or vaccine.

The FDA website in describing the process of approving drugs states:
“Even though clinical trials provide important information on a drug’s efficacy and safety, it is impossible to have complete information about the safety of a drug at the time of approval. Despite the rigorous steps in the process of drug development, limitations exist. Therefore, the true picture of a product’s safety actually evolves over the months and even years that make up a product’s lifetime in the marketplace. FDA reviews reports of problems with prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and can decide to add cautions to the dosage or usage information, as well as other measures for more serious issues.”

If you’ve watched any network TV recently, you may have seen ads for lawyers representing patients who have received the shingles vaccine Zostavax. Various lawsuits allege the vaccine causes both loss of eyesight and, ironically, shingles. Class action lawsuits have also been filed on behalf of patients who allege they were harmed by drugs including Abilify, Ambien, Avandia, Baycol, Celebrex, Chantix, Crestor, Fosamax, Invokana, Januvia, Lamisil, Lexapro, Lipitor, Pradaxa, Prozac, Ritalin, Serevent, Tekturna, Xarelto, and Zyprexa.

Each of us has to weigh the potential risks and benefits of a recommended medication. If you have life-threatening bacterial pneumonia, the risk of refusing antibiotics most likely outweighs the benefits. If you have prediabetes, the possible risk to your long-term health from medication may not outweigh the benefit of reducing the possibility that you may develop a disease that you may not develop anyway.

With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at the drugs that are being explored for the treatment of Celiac Disease:

BL-7010
An Israeli company owns the rights to a non-absorbable polymer that binds gliadin in the gut and prevents the formation of peptides that trigger an autoimmune response. The drug is not absorbed into the blood and is excreted along with protein from the gut. BL-7010 drug has made it through a Phase 2 clinical trial.

Egg Yolk Therapy
The theory here is that antibodies in the yolk of chicken eggs neutralize gluten allowing people with Celiac Disease to include a little gluten in their diet without suffering symptoms. This therapy would be used alongside a gluten-free diet. It is not believed to be a potential cure.

Larazotide Acetate
Larazotide acetate is an oral peptide that reduces leakiness in the intestines so that gluten doesn’t cross the intestinal barrier and trigger an autoimmune response. It would not eliminate the need for a gluten-free diet, but could lessen the effects of accidental gluten ingestion. Phase 3 clinical trials are being conducted this year.

Latiglutenase
Latiglutenase is a combination of enzymes that was hoped to break down gluten so that damaged intestines could heal. In a Phase 2 clinical trial, participants receiving latiglutenase improved, but so did those receiving a placebo.

The data have now been re-analyzed and scientists believe that latiglutenase may help relieve the symptoms of Celiac patients who are following a gluten-free diet, but still experience discomfort and pain. Last year, the NIH extended a grant for a two-year blind study of latiglutenase. This research will focus on symptom reduction.

Saliva Rothia
There is an enzyme that pulverizes gluten found within a bacterium called Rothia in saliva. Using knowledge of Rothia’s enzyme, researchers found that another bacterium, B. subtilis, produces an enzyme similar to Rothia. Recent research proves that modified subtilisin enzymes adhere to and detoxify gluten in mice. A big plus is that B. subtilis is safely consumed in Japan in the fermented soybean dish natto, making food-based delivery a possibility.

TIMP-Gliadin
TIMP-Gliadin is a compound composed of the protein particle and Toleragenic Immune Modifying nanoParticles. It sounds like the nanoParticles may alter the body’s immune response to gluten, but I can’t be sure. It’s too early to know much about this research.

Nexvax2
This vaccine works much like allergy shots in that a patient develops gluten tolerance through a series of injections. $40 million in funding has been secured for future research and the vaccine will enter Phase 2 clinical trials. The goal of this vaccine is to eventually eliminate the need for a gluten-free diet.

As you can see, the goal of many of these drugs is to reduce or eliminate the effects of accidental gluten ingestion. They would not eliminate the need for a gluten-free diet. Nervax2, BL-7010, and TIMP-Gliadin could possibly achieve the loftier goal of allowing those with Celiac Disease to consume gluten without damaging their intestines.

With these treatments on the horizon, now is a great time to explore whether you are an early adopter, a wait and see type, or someone who is content following a gluten-free diet. The gluten-free diet remains an effective treatment for Celiac Disease as long as you are compliant, so there’s really no wrong answer here. It’s all up to you, your preferences, and your goals!

Waaait, does that make this decision easier or harder? Probably depends on whether you’re an early adopter. I think I’ll wait and see…

https://www.macstories.net/mac/the-lisa/

http://info.cmsri.org/the-driven-researcher-blog/merck-admits-shingles-vaccine-can-cause-eye-damage-and-shingles

https://www.thejusticelawyer.com/practice-areas/detail/dangerous-drugs-medical-devices-list/

http://www.immusant.com/clinical-development/celiac-disease-programs.php

https://www.allergicliving.com/2018/03/14/inside-the-race-for-a-celiac-disease-treatment/

https://www.fda.gov/ForPatients/Approvals/Drugs/ucm405579.htm

https://www.verywellhealth.com/celiac-disease-drugs-in-development-562289

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

September 25, 2018

I Dropped An FBomb, So I’ve Ordered Another One

Last Friday, I dropped an FBomb…apparently. I was in my hometown to celebrate my cousin’s 98th birthday. I stopped into my favorite restaurant to grab a bite and there on the counter sat a box of FBomb Salted Chocolate Macadamia Nut Butter. I’m a fan of everything the name includes – salt, chocolate, macadamia nuts, and fbombs. I bought one to try later.
FBomb
The next morning after sorting through bags of trash mixed with recycling, financial records, and family photos in my cousin’s house, I was hungry. There’s no food in her house other than leaking canned goods I need to don a hazmat suit to clean up. No problem – I had an FBomb in my car. Except I didn’t.

I couldn’t find it anywhere. I looked in my purse, briefcase, ashtray, cup holder, and console. I looked beside the seats, under the seats, and in the trunk. I found a plastic spoon, a coupon, and a toy car, but no FBomb. I can only conclude that I dropped it on the way from the restaurant to my car. It’s possible. It wasn’t in a bag. Due to this unfortunate circumstance, I can’t tell you whether the flavor is good or the texture pleasant. I’ll just tell you what I know.

The packaging is attractive. I like the logo, black background, and contrasting bright colors. I noticed the product immediately. Once I read the ingredients and saw that it was a single serving, I was ready to purchase.

If you have an aversion to the word fat, this is not the snack for you. It is full of fat, including 4 grams of saturated fat. Although it contains cane syrup, it only has 1 gram of added sugar and it’s low in sodium. This is the kind of snack that can fill you up without relying on carbs. It’s also the kind of snack that’s great when you’re traveling and gluten-free.
back
Some research indicates that macadamia and other nuts are good for your heart and can help lower the risk of coronary artery disease in those with elevated cholesterol. They are also a source of thiamin and manganese. Nuts and nut butters also contain beneficial fiber.

All FBomb Nut Butters contain macadamia nuts. One flavor combines macadamias with coconut. One has pecans and sea salt, and the fourth just has sea salt. I’ve ordered a sample pack that contains all four flavors. That will give me a chance to sample every flavor before I buy in bulk. I threw in a second sample pack to use for stocking stuffers.

That pretty much sums up what I know about FBombs other than how to drop them. If you’ve tried this product, was it good? We’d love to hear what you think.

https://www.dropanfbomb.com/collections/nut-butters

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/nuts/art-20046635

https://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1009507-9-healthiest-nuts-that-may-live-longer/?slide=7

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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