Spring Desserts

Cherry Blossom Mille-feil and Cheesecake

Marble Ice Cream and Strawberries

Chinese-style Pork Bone Soup with Lotus Root


2 pounds pork neck bones
1 pound lotus root
4 slices of ginger
1 tablespoon dried goji berries
12 cups cold water
salt, to taste


  1. Rinse bone, drain, and set aside. Boil a large pot of water, and blanch the pork bones for about 5 minutes. Drain.
  2. Right before you’re ready to start the soup, peel the lotus root and cut it into large chunks (If you do this too early, the lotus root will oxidize, similar to a potato. So hold off until you’re about to start cooking).
  3. Add all the prepared ingredients to a stock pot: the pork, lotus root, ginger, goji berries and cold water. Bring it to boil, and then turn it to down to a slow simmer. Cover and simmer for 3 to 4 hours…the longer the better. Add salt to taste, and serve.

Source: Hong Kong magazine

In Pictures: Character Foods of Miffy Pop-up Cafe

Downside to Gluten-Free Diets: Diabetes Risk

Amy Norton wrote . . . . .

“Gluten-free” may be the latest diet fad, but new research casts some doubt on its presumed health benefits.

In a large study of U.S. health professionals, scientists found that those with the least gluten in their diets actually had a slightly higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes over a few decades.

The findings do not prove that a low-gluten diet somehow contributes to diabetes. But the study raises questions about the long-term benefits of avoiding gluten, which many people assume to be a healthy move.

Some people — namely, those with the digestive disorder celiac disease — do have to shun gluten, said lead researcher Geng Zong.

But there is little research on whether other people stand to gain from going gluten-free, said Zong. He is a research fellow in nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in Boston.

That’s a big evidence gap, according to Zong — given the popularity and expense of gluten-free foods.

Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley. Gluten-free diets are a must for people with celiac disease — an autoimmune disorder in which gluten-containing foods cause the immune system to attack the small intestine.

But gluten-free, or at least gluten-light, diets have caught on as a way for anyone to lose weight and improve their health.

One recent study found that the number of Americans who say they’ve gone gluten-free tripled between 2009 and 2014.

The new findings are based on nearly 200,000 U.S. health professionals whose health and lifestyle habits were followed over three decades.

The low-gluten fad did not exist when the study period began, in the 1980s, Zong pointed out. But participants’ gluten intake naturally varied, based on how often they ate foods like bread, cereal and pasta.

Over 30 years, just under 16,000 study participants developed type 2 diabetes — a disease in which blood sugar levels are persistently too high. Obesity is one of the major risk factors.

When Zong’s team looked at people’s gluten intake, the investigators found study participants who ate the least of it actually had a somewhat higher risk of developing diabetes over time.

Most people consumed no more than 12 grams of gluten each day, with the average being 6 to 7 grams. Those in the top 20 percent for gluten intake were 13 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, versus those in the bottom 20 percent — who typically ate fewer than 4 grams of gluten each day, the findings showed.

Zong’s team did try to account for other factors, including people’s exercise habits, weight, typical calorie intake and family history of diabetes.

However, lower gluten intake was still tied to a higher type 2 diabetes risk.

Zong was scheduled to present the findings Thursday at a meeting of the American Heart Association, in Portland, Ore.

The study does not prove that limiting gluten somehow causes diabetes, according to Lauri Wright, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Even though the researchers weighed other factors, she said it’s still possible that people at heightened risk of diabetes tried to avoid the types of food that often contain gluten.

Wright, who was not involved in the study, is also director of the doctorate in clinical nutrition program at the University of North Florida, in Jacksonville.

The bottom line, according to Wright, is this: Unless you have celiac disease, focusing on the quality of your carbohydrates — rather than gluten avoidance — is the way to go.

Wright advised eating vegetables, fruit and fiber-rich whole grains, as opposed to refined carbohydrates.

“But be aware of the portion sizes, and be careful about what you add,” Wright said. Cream sauces and butter, she noted, are examples of “additions” that can thwart your good intentions.

One concern with going low-gluten is that it could cut out major sources of dietary fiber — which, research suggests, helps ward off type 2 diabetes and other chronic ills.

In this study, people with low gluten intakes did eat less grain-based fiber. And that seemed to partly account for their higher diabetes risk, Zong said.

He agreed that it’s important to focus on eating a range of nutrient-rich whole foods, rather than obsessing over gluten.

Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Source: HealthDay

Read also:

Is going gluten-free giving you diabetes? New study links diet with the disease . . . . .

Can Combined Exercise and Nutritional Intervention Improve Muscle Mass and Function?

A study of the combined effect of exercise and nutrition intervention on muscle mass and function in seniors finds that exercise has a positive impact, with some possible additive effect of dietary supplementation.

Although progressive muscle loss is a natural part of ageing, sarcopenia is generally identified when muscle mass and muscle function falls below defined thresholds. Sarcopenia’s impact can be enormous as it affects mobility, balance, risk of falls and fractures, and overall ability to perform tasks of daily living. Given the ageing of populations worldwide, public health and clinical recommendations to prevent and manage sarcopenia are urgently needed.

The new systematic review ‘Nutrition and Physical Activity in the Prevention and Treatment of Sarcopenia’ summarizes the results of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) assessing the effect of interventions combining physical activity and dietary supplements on muscle mass and muscle function in subjects aged 60 years and older.

Following up on a previous study, the new study looked at a total of 37 RCTs. The studies were heterogeneous both in terms of protocols for physical exercise and in regard to dietary supplementation. The various supplements used included proteins, essential amino acids, creatine, β-hydroxy-β-methylbuthyrate, vitamin D, multi-nutrients and others.

Professor René Rizzoli, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at University Hospitals of Geneva, stated: “

Previous trials have shown that physical activity, and primarily resistance training interventions, have a positive impact on muscle strength and physical performance. Other studies have suggested that certain dietary supplements play a role in muscle mass or function. However, more needs to be learned about the synergistic effects of these two interventions.”

The review concluded that:

  • In 79% of the studies, muscle mass increased with exercise and an additional effect of nutrition was found in 23.5% of the RCTs.
  • Muscle strength increased in 82.8% of the studies following exercise intervention and dietary supplementation showed additional benefits in a small number of studies (22,8%).
  • The majority of studies showed an increase of physical performance following exercise intervention (92.8%) and interaction with nutrition supplementation was found in 14.3% of these studies.

Physical exercise was found to have a positive impact on muscle mass and muscle function in healthy subjects aged 60 years and older. The greatest effect of exercise intervention, of any type, was observed on physical performance (gait speed, chair rising test, balance, SPPB test, etc.). Based on the included studies, mainly performed in well-nourished subjects, the combined effect of dietary supplementation on muscle function was less than expected.

Professor Elaine Dennison, Professor of Musculoskeletal Epidemiology and Honorary Consultant in Rheumatology within Medicine at the University of Southampton, noted:

Among the challenges in carrying out this study was the great heterogeneity in the RCTs, including in the exercise protocols and in the dosage of supplementation, all of which contributes to the variable findings between studies. Nevertheless, the results of the systematic review show the overwhelming positive impact of exercise interventions. One should also bear in mind that the majority of studies included in this systematic review looked at primarily healthy older subjects. It is likely that populations with nutritional or physical deficiencies would benefit more from nutritional interventions than well-nourished populations.”

The study authors point to a need for more well-designed studies assessing the impact of a combined exercise intervention and dietary intervention in frail and sarcopenic populations, and in populations suffering from nutritional deficiency or at risk of malnutrition. Furthermore, future studies should include rigorous documentation of the subjects’ baseline exercise levels and nutritional status prior to the implementation of intervention regimens.

Source: International Osteoporosis Foundation

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