Gadget: 2-in-1 Pizza Cutter Server

The price is 1,200 yen plus tax in Japan.


Savoury Soup with Sweet Potato and Lentil


900 mL carton low-sodium chicken broth
1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp of your favourite Indian curry paste
1/2 cup split red lentils
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup milk
2 cups packed baby spinach
2 tbsp lemon juice
plain yogurt for serving (optional


  1. Place broth, onion and curry paste in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add lentils, reduce heat and simmer covered for 5 minutes.
  2. Add sweet potato, continue to simmer covered about 10 minutes until lentils and sweet potatoes are tender.
  3. Add milk to hot soup.
  4. Puree the soup in saucepan with a hand blender. Add spinach. Stir over medium heat, but don’t boil, just until spinach is wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in lemon juice. Serve with a dollop of yogurt, if using.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Dairy Farmers of Manitoba

In Pictures: Food of Roka in London, U.K.

Japanese Cuisine

<h2The Restaurant

Staying Healthy More than Following Numbers

Cara Rosenbloom wrote . . . . . . . .

Health often seems like a numbers game. What’s your blood-sugar level?

How many calories are you eating?

And are you getting the right percentage of macronutrients? The problem is that sometimes we track, count and obsess over numbers that don’t matter very much for our overall health.

Or worse, we ignore numbers that do matter.

I was curious about which numbers my fellow dietitians consider the most important. I sought feedback from 20 experts who work in either hospitals or private practice. Here are the data that have the most clinical importance, and the ones they tell their patients to ignore.

The numbers that matter most:

Half your plate.

Instead of counting every calorie, dietitians recommend that clients simplify food decisions by using a plate model, where you choose the right proportions of each food. That means filling half your plate with vegetables and some fruit; one-quarter with protein-rich foods such as fish, poultry or beans; and the final quarter with whole grains such as quinoa or brown rice.

25 to 35 grams.

That’s how much fibre a day we need for optimal health, but most adults get just 16 grams per day. Getting enough fibre helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, prevents certain cancers, eases constipation and keeps you feeling full for longer, which is helpful forweight management. Get more fibre from vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains (or just follow the healthy-plate model, mentioned above).

Seven to eight hours.

Are you getting that much sleep every night? Lack of sleep has short-term consequences, such as poor judgment, increased risk of accidents, bad moods and less ability to retain information. Poor sleep over the long term has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. So, turn off the TV, power down your devices and get the rest your body needs.

150 minutes.

That’s the recommendation for how much physical activity (equivalent to 2-1/2 hours) you should get each week, preferably spread through the week in increments of at least 10 minutes. This level of activity helps combat heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, dementia and cancer.

100 mg/dl.

Your doctor can test your fasting plasma glucose level to check for Type 2 diabetes (a normal reading is less than 100 mg/dl). Often called a “lifestyle” disease, Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable by eating well and getting enough exercise.

If you have diabetes, lifestyle changes can actually help you reverse the diagnosis — but first you need to know your number. A diagnosis of pre-diabetes is 100 to 125 mg/dl, and a diagnosis of diabetes is 126 mg/dl or higher.

120/80 mm Hg.

High blood pressure is known as the silent killer because it often has no obvious symptoms. Left untreated, high blood pressure is a risk factor for having a heart attack or a stroke. That’s why you need to get your blood pressure checked and knowwhether you are at risk. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg (millimetres of mercury) or less. Elevated blood pressure is 121 to 129 over 80.

High blood pressure is 130 to 139 over 80 to 89.

The numbers that don’t matter very much:

Size 8:

Too many people have a diet goal to be a specific size, but the numbers on clothes are inconsistent and arbitrary. A size 4 at one store may fit like a size 8 at a different store, which makes shopping frustrating — and makes your pant or shirt size a poor measure of your health. If you don’t like the number on your pants, cut the label out. Focus on how you feel, not the number on the clothing tag.

50 years old. Or 86. Or 31, 75 or 27.

Age is just a number. You are never too young to need to take care of yourself, or too old to start an exercise program or change what you eat. A healthy lifestyle is important at every age.

1,800 calories.

Or whatever number you choose. You don’t need to count every calorie you eat — it’s tedious, often flawed and it doesn’t help you choose nutrient-dense foods. If you had the choice between 100 calories of broccoli or fries, you’d probably choose the fries, right? But that wouldn’t provide much nourishment and oversimplifies eating into one silly number.

If you are a lifelong calorie counter, there’s no need to give it up, but remember that it’s not the most vital number for your overall health.


Or any other ratio of macronutrients, the umbrella term for carbs, protein and fat. Keeping track of macros is a popular diet, and if it works for you, fantastic! But some dietitians warn that it’s difficult to know the precise macro content of every food you eat, which leads to obsessive use of food diaries and macro-counting apps. This promotes a dieting mentality, rather the concept of enjoying food froma balanced plate. There’s nothing magical about counting macros. It’s just a diet.

Below 25.

The body mass index (BMI) is a clinical tool that groups people in categories of normal weight, overweight or obese depending on their height and weight. But BMI doesn’t take age, gender or bone structure into account, and athletes are often classified as overweight because BMI doesn’t distinguish between muscle and fat. So, don’t rely on this number as your primary measure of health.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

Researchers Determine Exercise Dose Linked to Improved Cognitive Performance in Older Adults

Jacqueline Mitchell wrote . . . . . . . . .

Staying mentally sharp – that’s aging Americans’ highest priority, according to the National Council on Aging. While thousands of clinical trials suggest that exercising the body can protect or improve brain health as we age, few studies provide practical prescriptive guidance for how much and what kind of exercise.

Now, an exhaustive systematic review of 4,600 clinical trials – led by researchers at the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and published online today in Neurology: Clinical Practice – provides new insight into the optimal dose of exercise– what kind and how much – for maintaining cognitive performance in healthy older adults, as well as those with mild cognitive impairment and dementia.

“While there is solid evidence to suggest that maintaining a regular exercise regimen can improve brain health we were most interested in how we could practically apply these scientific findings to the lives of our patients, their family members and even to ourselves,” said corresponding author Joyce Gomes-Osman, PT, PhD, a post-doctoral research scholar at the Berenson-Allen Center who is also an assistant professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “For other forms of treatments such as prescription drugs, patients are prescribed a specific amount. Our study highlights the need to get this specific with exercise, too.”

The team found that nearly any type of exercise, from aerobic exercises such as walking, running and cycling to weight-lifting and mind-body exercises such as yoga and tai chi, can contribute to improved cognitive performance. Interventions that had individuals exercising for at least 52 hours over a period of six months led to the greatest improvement in thinking abilities. Additionally, the most stable improvements in thinking abilities were found in mental processing speed, both in healthy older adults and individuals with mild cognitive impairment.

“It’s very encouraging that the evidence supports all sorts of different exercise interventions, not just aerobic, to improve thinking abilities,” said Alvaro Pascual-Leone, MD, PhD, Chief of the Division of Cognitive Neurology and the Director of the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “The most stable improvements in thinking abilities were found in processing speed, both in healthy older adults and individuals with mild cognitive impairment.”

To conduct the review, Pascual-Leone, Gomes-Osman and colleagues searched the medical literature for randomized controlled trials testing the impact of various exercise regimes on cognition. The initial effort yielded 4,600 relevant studies. After screening those for quality and content, 98 trials including more than 11,000 participants were included in the review.

Taken together, the studies investigated a wide range of exercises (walking, running, weight-lifting, yoga, etc.) and duration of investigation (from as little as four weeks to up to a year). Using a rigorous review process, the researchers averaged and described the parameters used across the studies, revealing the relationships among exercise type, intensity, session duration, frequency and total hours and five categories of cognitive abilities.

Gomes-Osman notes that weekly time spent exercising in minutes – well-known to confer cardiovascular and other physical health benefits – was not correlated with improved cognitive abilities. That could suggest people need more consistent exercise over a longer period of time to achieve benefits in cognitive performance.

“We are still learning about all the ways in which exercise changes our brain, and we are also all different, so identifying an ideal exercise dose remains a challenge,” said Gomes-Osman. “We have many more questions about exercise dose, and we will design further studies to follow up.”

Source: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

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