Restaurant Robot with Swappable Tray System

Chris Albrecht wrote . . . . . . . . .

Bear Robotics has officially launched the second-generation version of its Penny restaurant robot. The autonomous robot, which shuttles food and dishes between the front and back of house, now features a versatile tray system for carrying more and different types of items.

With its new design, Penny has lost its bowling pin shape and single carrying surface. Instead, Penny 2.0 is more cylindrical in shape, and can sport up to three tiers of carrying surface. Not only can Penny carry more, a new swappable tray system means it can be configured to carry any combination of food, drinks or bus tub.

On the inside, Bear updated the smarts of Penny, giving the robot enhanced obstacle-avoidance technology, and while the company didn’t go into specifics, a tablet can now be attached to Penny for expanded customer interaction capabilities.

Penny 2.0 is being shown at the National Restaurant Association trade show this weekend and is available now. While Bear doesn’t disclose actual pricing, Penny is offered on a monthly subscription, which includes the robot, setup and mapping of a restaurant and technical support.

Penny is among a wave of robots coming to restaurants in the near future: Flippy makes burgers and fries up chicken tenders, Dishcraft is still stealthily working on automating tasks in the kitchen, and there are entire establishments like Creator and Spyce built around robotic cooking systems.

Any discussion of automation always involves the loss of human jobs. John Ha, CEO of Bear Robotics, actually owned a restaurant and built Penny after noticing how hard servers work, often for little pay. By automating the expediting of food and bussing, Bear aims to free up humans to provide higher levels of customer service (ideally earning those humans higher tips).

Source: The Spoon

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Cajun Pile-ups with Pepper Sauce

Ingredients

1/2 of 16-ounce loaf multigrain Italian bread, cut into 8 slices
4 cups (about 2 ounces) loosely packed, torn romaine pieces
2 tablespoons (1-2 ounces) pickled mild banana pepper rings, drained
1 medium tomato, cut into 4 slices and then halved
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 medium green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 lb deli-sliced lean ham
2 thin slices (1-1/2 ounces) reduced-fat Swiss cheese, cut in half

Sauce

1-1/2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons Louisiana-style hot sauce
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

Method

  1. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stir until completely blended.
  2. Drizzle one side of each bread slice with sauce.
  3. Top four bread slices (sauce side up) with equal amounts of filling ingredients in the order listed, beginning with torn lettuce.
  4. Place remaining bread slices (sauce side down) on top of filling.
  5. Press down slightly, and cut each sandwich in half diagonally before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: The Heart-smart Diabetes Kitchen

In Pictures: Home-cooked Breakfasts

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

Barbara Gordon wrote . . . . . . . . .

It’s all the rage. The internet is filled with stories of how everyone from movie stars to ordinary people have shed stubborn pounds with the ketogenic diet. Some suggest that this eating pattern also may be helpful for managing diabetes and warding off Alzheimer’s disease. So, is it a miracle diet or just the latest fad?

How the Keto Diet Works

The ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate eating pattern, which differs from general, healthful eating recommendations. Many nutrient-rich foods are sources of carbohydrates, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, milk and yogurt. On a keto diet, carbs from all sources are severely restricted. With the goal of keeping carbs below 50 grams per day, keto dieters often consume no breads, grains or cereals. And, even fruits and vegetables are limited because they, too, contain carbs. For most people, the keto diet requires making big shifts in how they usually eat.

Why does the Keto diet restrict carbs?

Carbs are the main source of energy for our body. Without enough carbs for energy, the body breaks down fat into ketones. The ketones then become the primary source of fuel for the body. Ketones provide energy for the heart, kidneys and other muscles. The body also uses ketones as an alternative energy source for the brain. Hence, the name for this eating pattern.

For our bodies, a ketogenic diet is actually a partial fast. During a total fast or starvation state, the body has no source of energy. Thus, it breaks down lean muscle mass for fuel. With the keto diet, the ketones provide an alternative source of energy. Unlike a full fast, the keto diet helps to maintain lean muscle mass.

Is the Keto Diet Safe?

This eating pattern is not recommended for individuals with:

  • Pancreatic disease
  • Liver conditions
  • Thyroid problems
  • Eating disorders or a history of eating disorders
  • Gallbladder disease or those who have had their gallbladders removed

Plus, there are both short-term and long-term health risks for all people associated with the keto diet. Short term health risks include flu-like symptoms. For example, upset stomach, headache, fatigue and dizzy spells. This is called the “keto flu.” Some people also report trouble sleeping. Cutting back on high-fiber vegetables, fruits and whole grains also can increase risk for constipation. Often keto dieters must take a fiber supplement to help stay regular, but this should be discussed with a health care provider.

Long term health risks of the keto diet include kidney stones, liver disease and deficiencies of vitamins and minerals. To limit carbs, many nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits are cut out. Thus, intakes of vitamin A, C, K and folate usually are low.

The high fat nature of the keto diet is very controversial. A considerable body of research has shown that diets high in saturated fat may increase the risk for heart disease and other chronic health problems. The risk that keto dieters might be taking with regards to their long-term cardiovascular health has not been fully studied.

What the Science Tell Us About the Keto Diet

The keto diet has been used to help manage epilepsy, a disorder characterized by seizures, for more than 100 years. More recent studies are evaluating the keto diet as an alternative dietary treatment for obesity and diabetes. Research findings on the benefits of the keto diet for these health conditions are extremely limited. Studies on effectiveness of the keto diet were conducted with small groups of people. And, most of the research about Alzheimer’s disease relies on research done on lab animals. To fully assess the safety of this eating pattern, more research is needed. Plus, studies must be done on the long-term health effects of the keto diet.

Body mass index and individual metabolic rates impact how quickly different individuals produce ketones. This means that on the keto diet, some people lose weight more slowly than others — even if they are following the same exact keto diet plan. For this group of people, the keto diet can be frustrating and may impact their motivation for making healthy dietary changes. Plus, many people are not able to stick with the keto diet and gain back the weight after returning to their previous pattern of eating.

The Bottom Line

The ketogenic diet is quite restrictive. Research supports this eating pattern for epilepsy when managed along with a health care team, since its treatment can be very complex. However, with regards to the keto diet as a tool for weight loss and other health benefits, the jury is still out.

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Sudoku, Crosswords Could Make Your Brain Years Younger

Mornings spent figuring out Sudoku or finessing a crossword could spell better health for aging brains, researchers say.

In a study of over 19,000 British adults aged 50 and over who were tracked for 25 years, the habit of doing word or number puzzles seemed to help keep minds nimble over time.

“We’ve found that the more regularly people engage with puzzles such as crosswords and Sudoku, the sharper their performance is across a range of tasks assessing memory, attention and reasoning,” said research leader Dr. Anne Corbett, of the University of Exeter Medical School.

“The improvements are particularly clear in the speed and accuracy of their performance,” she added in a university news release. “In some areas, the improvement was quite dramatic — on measures of problem-solving, people who regularly do these puzzles performed equivalent to an average of eight years younger compared to those who don’t.”

Does that translate to protection against Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia? The study “can’t say” at this point, Corbett said, “but this research supports previous findings that indicate regular use of word and number puzzles helps keep our brains working better for longer.”

The study was conducted online. Participants were assessed each year, and they were asked how often they did word and number puzzles. They were also given a series of tests measuring attention, reasoning and memory, to help assess changes in their brain function.

The result: The more often participants did word and number puzzles, the better their performance on the brain tests, Corbett’s group found.

Although the study couldn’t prove cause-and-effect, some differences were significant. Brain function for those who did word puzzles was equivalent to 10 years younger than their actual age on tests of grammatical reasoning, and eight years younger than their age on tests of short-term memory.

The findings are outlined in two papers published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, and add to results presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in 2018.

The study is now expanding into other countries, including the United States.

Brain experts in the United States weren’t surprised by the findings.

The large, decades-long study “confirmed what your grandmother told you: ‘If you don’t use it, you lose it,'” said Dr. Gayatri Devi. She’s a neurologist specializing in memory disorders at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

The fact that something as simple as puzzle-solving can take years off the brain is “a comforting finding,” Devi said.

She stressed that exercising the body can do the same. “Physical exercise is one proven way to keep our brains and our body healthy,” she said.

Dr. Gisele Wolf-Klein directs geriatric education at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y. She said interventions to help the brain stay healthy longer are sorely needed.

“As older patients live longer, the growing number of Alzheimer’s patients represents a major challenge for health care systems worldwide,” Wolf-Klein said. “Currently, the pharmaceutical industry has yet to propose any promising medical treatments. So, searches for lifestyle interventions that might preserve cognition [thinking] has become a priority.”

“This study further supports many [prior] studies highlighting the benefits of mind exercises,” she said. It also “reinforces the need for all of us to keep our minds as active and engaged as possible.”

Source: HealthDay


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