Using the Nutrition Facts Label – A How-to Guide for Older Adults

Read the booklet at Google Drive (20 pages) . . . .

How to Maintain A Healthy Diet on A Tight Food Budget

Leslie Beck wrote . . . . .

If you’re dedicated to eating healthily, rising food costs can make meal planning and grocery shopping a challenge. Research suggests that when our food budget is stretched, fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and fish appear less often in our shopping cart – and with that go many essential nutrients, including vitamins A, C and K, folate, B12, potassium, iron and omega-3 fatty acids.

For those on a fixed income, such as seniors, it can be tricky to find affordable, nutritious food. Many key nutrients needed to maintain health as we get older, in particular brain health, are found in increasingly pricey foods, the very foods that can get squeezed out of a tight food budget.

A weak dollar, climate change and consumer trends are expected to continue to push up the price of our grocery bill this year. The University of Guelph’s Food Institute anticipates our food bill will rise as much as 4 per cent in 2016, costing the average Canadian household an additional $345.

The Food Institute’s 2016 Food Price Report forecasts fruit and nuts to increase in price by 2.5 per cent to 4.5 per cent, vegetables by 2 per cent to 4 per cent and fish and seafood by 1 to 3 per cent – increases significantly higher than inflation.

According to Dr. Carol Greenwood, Baycrest senior scientist and professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto who studies nutrition and brain health in older adults, “the only way to get the breadth of nutrients shown to help retain cognitive function is to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish. If rising foods costs mean these foods no longer fit into your weekly food budget, you need to find nutritious substitutes.”

Maintaining a healthy diet amid skyrocketing food prices doesn’t have to break the bank. The following strategies will help you spend less on your food bill and, at the same time, maintain a nutrient-packed diet that will help keep your brain – and whole body – healthy.

Shop for in-season produce. Fruits and vegetables supply many brain-friendly nutrients, including folate, a B vitamin that, some research suggests, boosts brainpower. Folate helps break down homocysteine, an amino acid that can impair brain function.

Seasonal produce, such as cabbage, carrots, parsnips, winter squash, potatoes, citrus fruit, apples and pears, is less expensive than out-of-season fruits and vegetables that have been transported long distances to your grocery store. It’s also at its peak in terms of nutrients and flavour.

Choose frozen berries. Rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, berries are thought to protect brain cells by fighting free radical damage, reducing inflammation and removing toxic proteins that accumulate with age. Blueberries and strawberries appear to be most potent in terms of brain health.

Frozen berries are considerably less expensive than imported fresh berries. Frozen produce can actually be higher in nutrients than fresh because it’s flash-frozen right after picking.

Spend on leafy greens. A number of studies have found that eating plenty of leafy green vegetables, in particular salad greens, slows cognitive decline in older adults. It isn’t clear which nutrients in leafy greens help keep the mind sharp.

Based on current research, many experts recommend eating leafy greens at least six days a week, including Dr. Carol Greenwood who advises her patients to eat them every day. “If you’re going to spend more on vegetables,” she says “do so for salad greens, like lettuce, spinach and arugula.”

Romaine, green leaf, butterhead (Boston, bib) and red leaf lettuces have more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants per serving than iceberg. Consider buying other leafy greens, such as kale, collards and Swiss chard, frozen instead of fresh.

Look for meat alternatives. Eating less red meat will help reduce your grocery bill and it’s good for your brain. The Mediterranean diet, the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet – all shown to protect from Alzheimer’s disease – recommend limiting red meat.

To replace meat’s protein (needed to help slow age-related muscle loss), add more pulses (e.g. lentils, chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans). Besides protein, pulses deliver plenty of folate, magnesium, iron, potassium and iron. As part of a brain-friendly diet, they’re recommended at least four times a week.

If you buy dried pulses, which are incredibly cheap, you’ll need to soak them before cooking. (Lentils don’t need to be soaked first.) If you don’t have the time or inclination to soak dried beans, buy them canned. They’re already cooked and, after draining and rinsing, ready to be added to soups, stews, chili and salads.

Buy canned fish. Oily fish, such as salmon, sardines and herring, are an exceptional source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid that enhances the ability of brain cells to communicate with each other. Higher intakes of DHA may also guard against Alzheimer’s disease.

To cut your grocery bill, choose canned fish – salmon, sardines, light tuna, herring – instead of fresh. It’s equally nutritious.

Choose seeds over nuts. Nuts are a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant linked to less cognitive decline as we age. But they’re also increasing in cost.

Seeds, a less expensive alternative, offer many of the same nutrients and antioxidants found in nuts. Sunflower seeds and wheat germ are high in vitamin E. (Wheat germ is the kernel of a wheat seed.) Pumpkin seeds are another nutrient-rich seed.

Visit the bulk bin. Buying staple foods in bulk such as beans and lentils, brown rice, oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit is budget-friendly. Less packaging also means less waste. If you live alone, purchase only what you need or an amount that you have room to store in your pantry.

Source: The Globe and Mail

There Are 27,000 People on the Waitlist for A Table at Noma Sydney Pop-up

The 5,500 people who will dine at Noma Australia over the next 10 weeks will have to cancel five-times-over for everyone to make it off the waiting list.

There are 27,000 people hoping in vain that someone will cancel their table and forfeit their $485 payment.

A Noma spokesman told the waiting list was offered in case diners cancelled their booking, which sometimes happens at its Copenhagen restaurant because people have to book a table so far in advance.

He confirmed all tables were sold during the initial booking process in October. There are no extra tables to be claimed.

The best way to describe the highly-anticipated Australian pop-up of Copenhagen’s Noma restaurant, which held its first service yesterday in Sydney’s Barangaroo, is with numbers.

2: The number of Michelin stars awarded to Noma Copenhagen, run by head chef René Redzepi.

5500: The number of people who will dine at Noma Australia over the next 10 weeks.

$485: How much the 10-12 course set menu costs (excluding drinks). That amount had to be paid upfront when diners booked a table in October.

4 minutes: The time it took for all tables to sell out.

27,000: The number of people who are on the restaurant’s waiting list.

So why all the fuss?

Noma is the mecca of fine dining. Since opening in 2003, it has topped Restaurant magazine’s prestigious World’s Best Restaurant list in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Mr Redzepi, who is often hailed as the most influential chef in the world, was listed in TIME magazine’s 2012 list of the 100 most influential people on the planet and was named International Chef of the Year at the Lo Mejor de la Gastronomia conference in 2008.

Price wise, it’s up there with some of the most expensive meals in Australia.

Quay’s degustation menu costs $235 per person and Attica’s tasting menu costs $220 per person. The restaurants are ranked #58 and #32, respectively, on the World’s Best Restaurant List. Bennelong offers a 10-course degustation for $650 per person.

Redzepi has spent months foraging through Australia to find unique ingredients to use in his dishes.

Here’s the full menu he came up with:

  • Unripe macadamia and spanner crab
  • Wild seasonal berries flavoured with gubinge
  • Porridge of golden and desert oak wattleseed with saltbush
  • Seafood platter and crocodile fat
  • W.A deep sea snow crab and cured egg yolk
  • A pie with dried scallops and lantana flowers
  • BBQ’d milk ‘dumpling’
  • Marron and magpie goose
  • Sea urchin & tomato dried with pepper berries
  • Abalone schnitzel and bush condiments
  • Marinated fresh fruit
  • Rum lamington
  • Peanut milk and freekeh “Baytime”
  • Wild Australian berries

So was it worth $485? Some diners said they were “underwhelmed”, while one man said his meal was so good it will “haunt” him. “We just ate lunch at the first service at Noma Australia and it was every bit as impressive as we’d hoped, and then some,” Gourmet Traveller’s chief food critic Pat Nourse wrote on Instagram.

One punter, Ben Liebmann, clearly loved the marron with magpie goose ragu.

“Call it a dumpling. Call it a taco. This marron with magpie goose ragu wrapped in a delicious milk skin will haunt my dreams for a very long time to come,” he wrote on Instagram.

Another diner, Franz Scheurer, gave the restaurant a “10/10” review.

“I am one of the lucky ones to eat there at their very first service and I can tell you this place rocks! Do anything to score a seat! Here is my review and it’s a perfect score!” he wrote on Instagram.

But Penrith courier Peter (who declined to give his surname) told The Australian his lunch was not as good as he expected.

“Flavour wise, it was a touch underwhelming,” he said. “A lot of the native ingredients I’ll never have again in my life and probably don’t want to have again. [They] didn’t taste very nice, some of them, but it was a worthwhile one-off experience.”

* * * * * * * *

This isn’t the first overseas Michelin-starred restaurant to make a fuss with its Australian pop-up.

British celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal brought his three-Michelin star restaurant The Fat Duck to Melbourne from February to August last year.

Demand for a table was so high that potential diners were asked to submit an online ballot entry from in October 2014.

Successful applicants were then “indiscriminately selected” by an independent third party. But of the 267,537 people who applied for a booking, only 14,000 made the cut.

* * * * * * * *

While In-N-Out burgers are a long way from Heston’s “meat fruit” or Redzepi’s magpie goose ragu, the hugely popular American burger chain caused similar fanfare with its Sydney pop-up last week.

The pop-up in Surry Hills was scheduled to run from noon until 4pm, but by 11.30am, all the burger had already sold out. How did that happen?

Burger fans started lining up outside Dead Ringer bar from as early as 6am. From the start, organisers decided they would only sell 300 burgers.

So they made 300 wristbands and handed them out to the first 300 people in the queue, which was several blocks long. By 11.30am, they’d run out of wristbands.

“I got there at 10am and there was already a queue around the block. The people in front of me had been waiting since 8.30am,” said Sneha Rao, who accepted a $25 Airtasker request to deliver five burgers to a lazy In-N-Out fan.

“They started handing out the wristbands at 11.15am and I missed out by five people. They said I could try next time but I needed to get there much earlier.

“I’m terribly disappointed. I just left the queue. People are crazy,” she said.


Exercise Has Its Limits for Losing Weight, Study Finds

Intense workout no more effective at burning calories than walking a couple of miles a day.

That daily 5-mile run may not be burning as many calories as you think, a new study suggests.

In fact, the researchers found, moderate exercise — the equivalent of walking a couple miles per day — may be the best way to burn extra calories. Beyond that, the body seems to adapt its metabolism so that calorie-burning plateaus, no matter how hard you work out.

The findings, published online Jan. 28 in the journal Current Biology, may sound counterintuitive — or at least disappointing.

“The predominant view is that the more active you are, the more calories you burn every day,” said lead researcher Herman Pontzer, an associate professor of anthropology at City University of New York’s Hunter College.

This study, according to Pontzer, supports a different view: “It’s really not a simple dose-response relationship,” he said. “The body adapts to exercise, and it begins adapting at a moderate level of activity.”

His team arrived at that conclusion after studying 332 adults, aged 25 to 45, from the United States, Ghana, Jamaica, Seychelles and South Africa.

All of the participants wore a device that recorded their activity levels for a week, and the researchers used standard tests to measure each person’s total calorie-burning for the week.

Predictably, people with moderate activity levels burned somewhat more daily calories than sedentary people did — an extra 200 per day, on average.

But more intense activity brought no additional benefit — at least as far as calories.

Pontzer stressed that exercise has many benefits for a person’s health in general. “There’s nothing in this study that suggests exercise is anything but good for you,” he said.

But if your goal is weight loss, exercise alone is unlikely to cut it. And that message, Pontzer noted, is not new.

“We know that diet changes are the most effective way to lose weight,” he said. “This study adds another piece of evidence to support that.”

Two researchers who were not involved in the study agreed that exercise alone isn’t enough.

“The reality is, exercise by itself is not great for weight loss,” said Dr. Timothy Church, a professor of preventative medicine at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, in Baton Rouge, La.

But, he added, exercise does boost weight loss from diet changes — and it helps people keep the pounds off.

Dr. Chip Lavie, director of exercise laboratories at the Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans, made the same point.

“Also,” he said, “there are numerous benefits of exercise besides just weight loss.”

According to Lavie, those benefits include improved fitness (with high-intensity exercise generally getting better results), a lower risk of heart disease, stress relief — and fun.

But why wouldn’t greater amounts of exercise help the body burn more calories every day? Behavior could partly explain it, according to Pontzer: When people exert themselves at the gym or on a run, they might compensate by sitting or lying down more throughout the rest of the day.

But Pontzer thinks there is also a physiological adaptation. In an earlier study, he and his colleagues focused on the Hadza, a traditional hunter-gatherer population in Tanzania. The Hadza are highly active every day, Pontzer said — walking long distances and performing hard physical labor.

And yet, his team found, the average Hadza adult burns a similar number of calories each day as the typical American.

In the new study, there was a point at which the daily calorie burn from exercise leveled off. Pontzer described it as the equivalent of walking a couple miles per day.

But, Church pointed out, there appeared to be relatively few study participants who got much more exercise than that. And that makes it harder to draw firm conclusions.

Plus, he said, the typical American falls far short of the “line” where calorie-burning plateaued in this study.

“I question how much this would mean to the average American trying to lose weight,” Church said. “Physical activity is going to add to calorie expenditure for the vast majority of them.”

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

A Better Way to Image Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Conventional imaging methods have limited sensitivity for detecting metastatic prostate cancer. With appropriate, timely treatment vital to survival and quality of life, better imaging has been an ongoing goal.

A recent study, reported in the January issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, has now shown in a prospective, systematic manner that a PET/CT scan, using the radiotracer F-18-DCFBC to target prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), is significantly more effective than other detection methods currently in use.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in men. One in seven American men will have prostate cancer during his lifetime. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 180,890 new cases diagnosed in 2016. Approximately 2.8 million American men are living with the disease, and more than 26,000 deaths from it are predicted this year.

PSMA is expressed in the majority of prostate cancers, and high PSMA expression is associated with metastatic spread. In this study, the research team from Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions compared the results of PET/CT scans using F-18-DCFBC with conventional imaging modalities (expanded Tc-99m-methylene diphosphonate (MDP) bone scan and contrast-enhanced CT of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis).

In this study of lesion-by-lesion analysis of 17 patients, DCFBC PET was able to detect a larger number of lesions—592 positive versus 520 with the conventional methods. In lymph nodes, bone, and visceral tissue, DCFBC PET proved to have a much greater sensitivity for detecting prostate cancer lesions (0.92) compared with current methods (0.71).

Steve Y. Cho, MD, corresponding author for the study and now an associate professor of nuclear medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, said, “The results of this work, in combination with a number of other studies that have been published on PSMA PET, have highlighted the improved ability of PSMA-targeted PET imaging to detect metastatic prostate cancer. Improved detection of prostate cancer using F-18-DCFBC, as well as further advances in detection with newer and improved second generation F-18-DCFPyL and Ga-68-based low molecular weight PSMA PET radiotracers, will potentially allow for earlier detection and detection of more metastatic lesions.”

Looking ahead, Cho noted, “PSMA-based PET imaging is a striking example of molecular imaging’s ability to target and detect prostate tumor tissue, thereby markedly improving the imaging of a disease process.”

Source: Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

In Alaska, People Eat Breakfast. Pretty Much Every Day.

Genevieve Roth wrote . . . . .

They eat cornflakes and smoothies and the odd sausage-and-egg McGriddle. I can verify this because I have woken up in Alaska more mornings than I’ve woken up anywhere else, and I have eaten all of those things for breakfast.

Charming restaurants all over the state have made the most of Alaska’s bounty. A Ship Creek Benedict from Snow City Café in Anchorage is two fresh salmon cakes (maybe pulled out of the actual Ship Creek, which is a mile down the road) served over English muffins with hollandaise sauce and poached eggs. At the Bake Shop in Girdwood, you can get pancakes made from a sourdough starter they’ve had going since 1963 (which they acquired from a gold miner). Most respectable places give you the option of adding a crab leg to go with your omelet, and it’s been a while since I’ve seen a place that didn’t have at least a passing notion of what to do with reindeer sausage.

But those are not my Alaskan breakfast. My Alaskan breakfast was made by only one man, eaten on one river (called the Alexander Creek, but don’t let the name fool you—in Alaska, even our creeks are rivers), and served only on Memorial Day weekend, the first morning after king-salmon fishing was opened to the public.

Here is how you make breakfast in Alaska. Start with a skillet, cast-iron and as big as you can find, seasoned for no less than a generation—more if you’re serious. The skillet that cooked the best of my Alaskan breakfasts was the size of a winter tire, passed from my grandfather to my uncle Kent. I don’t remember how long it had been in our family, but I do remember that, greased up for the fire, you could see your face in it.

Next, catch a fish—salmon, ideally. Kent was a marine biologist and a passionate, tireless fisherman. Employed by Fish & Game to make sure greedy hands didn’t overfish the rivers, he could never quite figure out how to spend his time off. So while the rest of the family slept off the trip into camp, Kent woke up early and spent his morning in a flat-bottomed boat with a pole in the water and an eye out for trouble. I spent twelve summers on that river with my uncle before he died, and I, too, was an early riser. These excursions, unknown to many of the other kids, made me feel naughty and chosen and lucky. I watched him take dozens of fish out of the water before anybody else was awake. He loved fishing as much as any human ever has, and nothing riled him more than a guy who took more than his share.

Once caught, the fish gets cleaned and the roe stored for the next expedition. Fillets are brought up to the fire. At that point the skillet is over the fire; it’s been there long enough to mean business. Onions first, then Yukon potatoes. (Mentioning that Kent chopped these things with a machete seems like a cheap shot for effect, but here’s the thing: Kent chopped these things with a machete.) Once the potatoes have taken on enough color to be called hash browns, they get pushed to the side, and a dozen eggs—maybe a dozen and a half, if my brother is around—get cracked into the open space, scrambled, and garnished with rogue ash from the fire. Lastly come the fillets, the third stripe in the Neapolitan, just long enough for a sear on each side.

As breakfast comes together, cousins and brothers and parents emerge from tents and cabins, put a second round of coffee in the percolators, and take a seat around the picnic table to look at the tide books and plan for the next round of fishing. People compliment the fish and devour the eggs. The skillet gets wiped with a chamois cloth and put up until the next day when, once again, Kent would be the first guy on the river, taking his fair share and making sure everybody else does, too

Source: Lucky Peach

What’s A Good Breakfast for Kids?

A team of researchers, led by Tanja Kral, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, concluded that a breakfast high in protein – like eggs – keeps children fuller longer than cereal or oatmeal, causing them to eat fewer calories at lunch. The study, recently published in Eating Behaviors, also concludes that the effects of a protein-rich meal don’t last throughout the day. It only impacts a mid-day meal.

The study recruited forty, 8- to 10-year-old children to consume one of three, 350-calorie breakfasts (eggs, oatmeal, or cereal), then played games with research staff and then ate lunch, once a week for three consecutive weeks. On each occasion, every participant had to eat their entire breakfast, but could eat as much or as little lunch as desired. Throughout the morning, they answered questions like, “How hungry are you?” and “How much food do you think you could eat right now?” Their parents also logged in a food journal what the children ate the remainder of the day.

According to the research, after consuming the egg breakfast (scrambled eggs, whole wheat toast, diced peaches, and one percent milk) children reduced their energy intake at lunch by seventy calories. That’s roughly equivalent to one small chocolate-chip cookie.

Moderately active children in the same age range as those who participated in the study generally need between 1,600 and 1,800 calories daily. The 70-calorie drop at one meal equals about four percent of a child’s daily caloric needs. Eating beyond the caloric threshold, even by a little, can cause excess weight gain and obesity in children, if sustained.

“I’m not surprised that the egg breakfast was the most satiating breakfast,” said Kral. “What does surprise me is the fact that, according to the children’s reports, eating the egg breakfast didn’t make them feel fuller than cereal or oatmeal, even though they ate less for lunch. We expected that the reduced lunch intake would be accompanied by lower levels of hunger and greater fullness after eating the high protein breakfast, but this wasn’t the case.”

Future research should study children over a longer period of time as these findings could have important implications for the prevention of obesity, particularly for young people. “Approximately 17 percent of US children and adolescents are considered obese,” Kral says. “It’s really important that we identify certain types of food that can help children feel full and also moderate caloric intake, especially in children who are prone to excess weight gain.”

Source: Penn Nursing Science, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing