Does Melatonin Do Anything?

Melatonin is a supplement that’s supposed to help you sleep. But does it work? What’s the chemistry of this sleep aid?

This video discusses the chemistry of melatonin and the realities of supplements.

Watch video at You Tube (4:52 minutes) . . . . . .

Strudel with Amaretto Custard Sauce


7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of fine sea salt or kosher salt
3 Anjou pears (about 1-1/4 pounds total), peeled, quartered, cored, and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/4 cup dried tart cherries
12 sheets frozen filo pastry, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
Confectioners’ sugar, for sifting

Amaretto Custard Sauce

3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 to 2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur


  1. To make the strudel, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a large heavy rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small heavy skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the panko and stir for about 5 minutes, or until golden.
  3. Transfer the panko mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add the pears and cherries and stir well.
  4. Place the remaining 5 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan and melt it over low heat.
  5. Lay 1 filo sheet on the work surface with a long side facing you. Brush the filo lightly with some of the melted butter. Layer 5 more sheets of filo over the first sheet in the same manner, brushing each sheet lightly with melted butter.
  6. Mound half of the pear mixture evenly along one long side, leaving about a 1-1/2-inch border at both ends. Roll up the strudel tightly, turn it seam side down and fold the ends under to enclose the filling.
  7. Transfer the strudel to the baking sheet and brush with some melted butter. Repeat to make a second strudel.
  8. Bake the strudels for about 45 minutes, or until dark golden (some juices will spill out of the strudels).
  9. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool the strudels for 15 minutes.
  10. To make the custard sauce, in a small heavy saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a simmer over medium heat.
  11. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar and yolks together. Whisk in the hot milk mixture, then return the hot milk-yolk mixture to the saucepan. Using a heatproof silicone spatula, stir the mixture over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, or until the custard thickens slightly and reaches 180°F on an instant-read thermometer. Do not allow the custard to simmer. Stir in the amaretto to taste. Strain the sauce through a sieve into a bowl and set aside.
  12. Lift the warm strudels, on the paper, and transfer to a cutting board. Sift confectioners’sugar over the strudels. Using a large serrated knife, trim the ends, then cut each strudel into 6 slices.
  13. Place the slices on plates, spoon some custard sauce alongside, and serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Curtis Stone What’s for Dinner?

In Pictures: Strawberry Cakes

France Banned Calling Meat Alternative ‘Meat’

Malte B Rodl wrote . . . . . . .

France recently passed an amendment to its agriculture bill. It prohibits any product that is largely based on non-animal ingredients from being labelled like a traditional animal product. This essentially bans product names such as “vegetable steak”, “soy sausage”, or “bacon-flavoured strips”.

The argument is that consumers might be misled into believing the products were real meat. Commentators have pointed out how bizarre this claim is, given that these products can easily be distinguished from meat products by their name and their taste.

But to understand this legislation, it’s necessary to look at the recent history of changing food trends and the effect this is having on the meat industry.

Changing tastes

There is an increasing demand for meat alternatives across the globe. Market research forecasts suggest this will grow 8.4 per cent between 2015 and 2020. The UK market for meat alternatives currently ranges between £250m and £300m annually, which is nearly 3 per cent of the meat market.

And these substitutes are not just popular with vegetarians and vegans. The largest share of meat alternatives are bought by consumers looking to reduce their meat intake, and so-called flexitarians. There are growing health, ethical and sustainability concerns around animal farming and so every forecast is highly optimistic that the demand for meat substitutes will grow.

It’s easy to see how the meat industry might feel threatened: its market share is being eaten into.

In some countries, including Germany, the Netherlands and the US, the meat industry has realised the huge potential of this area. For example, some prominent manufacturers of meat-free products in Germany are meat processors. They argue that “if anyone can produce alternative products tasting like meat and sausages, it would be us”.

Due to their combined negotiating power with retailers and large available funds, they have an advantage over new entrants to the market. In North America, some of the world’s biggest meat manufacturers are investing in meat-free companies, aiming to keep up with changing times.

In other countries, such as France or the UK, this shift into the branded meat-free market still seems distant. One important factor is the fear of losing out on business by competing with itself. So it might not come as a surprise that the originator of the aforementioned French amendment was a cattle farmer.

Legal precedent

This perceived threat is also an issue with dairy products. The French amendment draws a coherent logic to a ruling of the European Court of Justice in June 2017. This ruling prohibited dairy product names for non-dairy products, such as “soy yogurt” or “vegan cheese”.

It was based on EU legislation from 2013 which protected milk as “the normal mammary secretion”, and on that basis all dairy-related product names. Excluded are traditional versions, such as almond or coconut milk and peanut butter.

There has been no such legislation on meat and an EU commissar in 2016 replied to a parliamentary question saying there was no such legislation planned. But the meat industry is clearly getting protective over naming issues.

Source: Independent

Using Diet to Prevent and Manage Diabetes

Len Canter wrote . . . . . . . .

Diabetes has become a worldwide epidemic, but you can protect yourself with a healthier diet. And the same type of diet can help you manage diabetes if you already have it.

According to experts at Boston’s Joslin Diabetes Center and the Harvard School of Public Health, specific foods that help reduce your risk include green leafy vegetables, oat cereal, yogurt and dairy products, grapes, apples, blueberries and walnuts. Surprisingly, coffee and decaf java are also on the list.

Though weight loss for people who are overweight is often suggested, the researchers also found that even without weight loss, changing to a healthier diet helps stave off diabetes.

The quality of your fats and carbs matters more than the quantity. That means making choices like whole grains instead of refined ones, while limiting processed carbs in general and choosing fish and chicken in place of red and processed meats. Also, choose plant-based fats rather than animal fats, which also promotes heart health. And aim to add other fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts, while limiting alcohol and skipping sugary drinks and foods.

If you find it more helpful to follow a set plan, there are many healthful diets that can be tailored to your personal tastes and calorie needs.

Diet Starting Points:

  • Mediterranean diet.
  • Low-glycemic index diet.
  • Moderately low carbohydrate diet.
  • Vegetarian diet.

Keep in mind that it’s never too late to use diet to your advantage, even if you already have diabetes. People enrolled in Joslin’s “Why WAIT” program, which includes a low-carb diet and regular exercise, not only lost weight and maintained it, but were also able to cut their diabetes medications by more than half.

Source: HealthDay

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