10 Life Lessons We Learn Too Late

Jay Bazzinotti wrote . . . . . .

1. Time passes much more quickly than you realize.

2. If you don’t take care of your body early then it won’t take care of you later. Your world becomes smaller each day as you lose mobility, continence and sight.

3. Sex and beauty may fade, but intimacy and friendship only grow.

4. People are far more important than any other thing in your life. No hobby, interest, book, work is going to be as important to you as the people you spend time with as you get older.

5. Money talks. It says “Goodbye.” If you don’t plan your finances for later in life, you’ll wish you had.

6. Any seeds you planted in the past, either good or bad, will begin to bear fruit and affect the quality of your life as you get older — for better or worse.

7. Jealousy is a wasted emotion. People you hate are going to succeed. People you like are going to sometimes do better than you did. Kids are going to be smarter and quicker than you are. Accept it with grace.

8. That big house you had to have becomes a bigger and bigger burden, even as the mortgage gets smaller. The cleaning, the maintenance, the stairs — all of it. Don’t let your possessions own you.

9. You will badly regret the things you didn’t do far more than the things you did that were “wrong” — the girl you didn’t kiss, the trip you didn’t take, the project you kept putting off, the time you could have helped someone. If you get the chance — do it. You may never get the chance again.

10. Every day you wake up is a victory.

Source: Next Avenue

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Opinion: Fat-Free Is Out. Gluten-Free Is In. What to Look For on the Label

Deena Shanker wrote . . . . .

For years, health advocates have urged the public to read the ingredients and ignore the marketing. For years, consumers have ignored the health advocates.

But lo! It looks as if they’re finally listening.

Food purchases are less driven these days by what’s written on the front of the box than what’s listed as ingredients, said Andrew Mandzy, director of strategic insights at Nielsen. Some consumers aren’t even reading so much as they are counting: About 61 percent said that the shorter the ingredients’ list, the healthier the product. Many are looking beyond the boxes themselves. In 2014, 48 percent of consumers went online for health information. In 2016, 68 percent did. Use of technology such as calorie-tracking apps is also up, Mandzy said.

“There’s a shift in how people are thinking about ‘better for you,'” he said. “People are looking for back-to-basics, simpler ingredients.”

Health professionals are happy to see the shift. “The overall trend of a more-educated consumer is excellent,” said Sharon Allison-Ottey, doctor, health educator, and author of Is That Fried Chicken Worth It? “Just being aware of what you’re eating leads you to eating less.”

Front-of-package claims such as “low-fat” and “excellent source of vitamin C” are starting to lose their magical powers, Nielsen data show. Sales of items marked for their lower fat content are down 1.2 percent in dollar value over the past five years. For “fat-free,” sales are down 2.7 percent. Items marked for their “vitamins and minerals” have seen a 0.8 percent decline in that period.

One claim, at least, seems to still work: “natural,” an essentially unregulated and therefore, meaningless term. So-called natural foods have included chicken nuggets, Cheetos, and Gatorade. Sales for products bearing the label are up 4.2 percent.

But Nielsen also created a separate category with its own, narrower criteria. For that category, the market researchers took a closer look at ingredients, store placement (for example, is it in the “Natural” aisle?), and the rest of the brand. Anything USDA-certified organic, for example, was in, and anything with genetically modified organisms or artificial or synthetic ingredients was out. The growth in that narrower category was nearly triple the growth in the broader one, at 11.2 percent. 1

As consumers pay closer attention to ingredients, they may be getting a little too zealous, avoiding some that are largely harmless. Sales of products blaring that they are gluten-free are up 11.8 percent over the past five years, and soy-free sales are up 29.8 percent. But health professionals don’t recommend that average Americans make a point of cutting out either of these ingredients.

Unless you are diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, “‘gluten-free’ has nothing to do with the actual health benefits of the food,” Allison-Ottey said. While she hopes that attention to gluten translates into more-conscious eating overall, that’s not guaranteed. “Can a manufacturer take advantage of a consumer by slapping ‘gluten-free’ on a food that never had it? Yes,” she said.

As for soy, unless you have breast cancer, in which case soy’s estrogen content is a concern, you don’t need to avoid it, Allison-Ottey said. “In an average diet, you wouldn’t have to worry about too much soy,” she said. “You’re not going to over-indulge.”

Food manufacturers are giving customers what they want. “The trend is towards products that have more ‘free from’ labels on them than a NASCAR driver has auto parts endorsements on his jacket,” a Packaged Facts market research report from April said. Gluten-free and soy-free are just the beginning. No artificial ingredients, no trans fats, no high-fructose corn syrup, and no GMOs are also popular.

Of course, not all of it is hype. Artificial trans fats are so unhealthy that the Food and Drug Administration is requiring manufacturers to remove partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of them, from foods by June 2018. High-fructose corn syrup, like all sugar, can contribute to weight gain, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.

Among the very healthiest foods are those that have no labels at all: fresh fruits and vegetables. Consumers seem to be learning this lesson, too. Growth in sales of items from the perimeter of the supermarket is outpacing those from the center of the store, Mandzy said.

“The fresher the product, typically, the better the product,” Allison-Ottey said. “As close to the ground as you can get.”

Source: Bloomberg

French-style Braised Chicken Legs with Wine

Ingredients

6 chicken legs
1 cup diced bacon trimmings
6 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large carrot peeled and roughly chopped
1 leek, trimmed and roughly chopped
1 bottle (750 ml) of red wine
3-4 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
few thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp white peppercorns
5 tbsp brandy
5 tbsp port
splash of sherry vinegar
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups veal stock

Method

  1. Put the chicken legs, bacon, and vegetables into a large bowl and pour over the red wine. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Strain off the wine and reserve it for later use. Set the vegetables and bacon aside. Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels. Heat the olive oil in large cast-iron casserole. Season the chicken legs with salt and pepper and pan-fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until browned. Remove from the casserole and set aside.
  3. Add a little more oil to the casserole, if necessary, then add the vegetables and bacon. Sweat for 8 to 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soli. Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns and fry for a couple more minutes.
  4. Deglaze the casserole with the brandy, port, and sherry vinegar. Let bubble until reduced to a sticky glaze. Pour in the stocks and reserved wine and return the chicken legs. Simmer for 30 minutes until the chicken legs are tender and cooked through, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface from time to time.
  5. Remove the legs to a plate and strain the stock through a fine strainer into a clean, Nvide pan. Boil it vigorously until reduced to a rich and syrupy sauce. Meanwhile, saute the bacon cubes in a dry skillet until crisp.
  6. When ready to serve, return the chicken legs to the reduced sauce. Warm through, then divide the chicken between warm serving plates. Garnish with the thyme sprigs, and wafer-thin slices of white toast if you like. Serve accompanied by vegetables of your choice.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Gordon Ramsay’s Maze

In Pictures: World’s Most Popular Street Foods

Hyderabadi Biryani, India

Seafood Omelet, Thailand

Salt-baked Chicken, China

Assam Laksa, Malaysia

Baked Seafood Pancake, Vietnam

Churros Sundae, United States

Beef Satay, Indonesia

Lots of Red Meat May Be Tied to Gut Disorder in Men

Men who eat a lot of red meat may have a higher risk of a painful inflammatory condition of the colon, a new study suggests.

The disorder, called diverticulitis, causes severe abdominal pain, nausea and constipation. And it can lead to complications such as tears or blockages in the colon.

The new study found that men who ate the most red meat were 58 percent more likely to develop diverticulitis, compared to men who ate the least.

The findings don’t prove cause-and-effect, stressed senior researcher Dr. Andrew Chan, a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

On the other hand, he said, there are already reasons to think about cutting down on red meat. Heavy consumption has been tied to higher risks of heart disease and certain cancers, Chan pointed out.

“This study offers one more reason to consider limiting the red meat in your diet,” he said.

As people age, it’s common for “pouches” to form in the lining of the colon; over half of Americans aged 60 and older have them, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Most people who have these pouches suffer no problems, but around 5 percent develop diverticulitis — where the pouches become infected or inflamed.

Roughly 200,000 Americans are hospitalized for diverticulitis each year, the NIH says.

The new findings, published online Jan. 9 in the journal Gut, are based on a long-term study of more than 46,000 male health professionals.

Over 26 years, 764 men developed diverticulitis. The risk was highest among men who were in the top 20 percent for red meat intake: They were 58 percent more likely to be diagnosed with the condition, versus men in the bottom 20 percent.

Men in that top group averaged over 12 servings of red meat per week, while those with the lowest consumption averaged slightly more than one weekly serving.

Of course, there could be many differences between men who eat a lot of burgers and other meats, and those who don’t, the study authors noted.

So Chan’s team accounted for factors such as older age, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and low fiber intake — all of which have been tied to a higher diverticulitis risk.

Even then, red meat was still linked to a higher risk — particularly unprocessed meat, such as steaks and burgers.

It’s not clear what can be made of that, according to Chan. A potential explanation, he said, is that people typically eat larger portions of unprocessed red meat, compared with processed lunch meats.

A dietitian who wasn’t involved in the study said it’s “impossible” to draw any conclusions about cause-and-effect.

However, other studies have linked high red meat intake to diseases of the colon, said Lona Sandon. She is an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, in Dallas.

Plus, she said, everyone should be striving for more vegetables, whole grains and a range of different proteins.

“Really, it comes down to having more variety in your protein choices,” Sandon said. “Switch out red meat with fish or poultry, or even plant sources such as tofu, beans and legumes.”

In this study, there was no link between poultry or fish and the risk of diverticulitis. Based on those figures, Chan’s team estimated that if men replaced one daily serving of red meat with poultry or fish, the risk of diverticulitis would dip by 20 percent, on average.

“So there might be a benefit from substituting red meat with fish or poultry,” Chan said.

Why would red meat contribute to diverticulitis? That’s not clear, Chan said. But he did point to some theories.

For one, the foods people eat can affect the gut’s “microbiome” — the huge collection of bacteria that dwell in the digestive tract. Some researchers suspect that the microbiome plays a role in diverticulitis, Chan said — though that’s unproven for now.

There is also evidence that downing a lot of red meat helps fuel chronic, low-level inflammation in the body, Chan said. That, in turn, might raise the risk of diverticulitis.

Since the study focused on men, future research should look at whether the same patterns hold true for women, according to Chan.

But there’s no biological reason to believe the findings would differ by sex, he said. Plus, women already have plenty of reasons to aim for a healthy diet, with limits on red meat, Chan said.

Sandon agreed. “The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a mostly plant-based diet to promote health — and that includes colon health,” she said. “Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables, choose whole grains, and vary your protein choices.”

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


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