Gadget: Manual Food Chopper

T-fal Chopper

This T-fal Food Chopper will chop your fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, and meats in just 5 seconds!

Simply pull the handle and let the dual patented blades do all the work with its progressive chopping technology.

The price of the 900 ml chopper is 3,218 yen (plus tax) in Japan.


Watch video at You Tube (1:27 minutes) . . . . .

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Gourmet Beef Burger

Ingredients

500 g ground beef
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
sea salt and cracked black pepper
8 slices pancetta`
4 burger buns, halved and toasted
4 thick slices vintage cheddar cheese
salad leaves, caramelised onion relish or tomato chutney, to serve

Method

  1. Place the beef, garlic, tomato paste, sauce, parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix until well combined.
  2. Shape into 4 large flat patties.
  3. Place a round of pancetta on each side of each patty.
  4. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook the patties for 4 minutes each side or until cooked to your liking.
  5. Place the patties on the base of the toasted buns and top with cheese, salad leaves and onion or chutney. Top with remaining bun halves and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Donna Hay

U.K. Grocery Chain Launches ‘World’s First’ Compostable Packaging for Prepared Meals

Jennifer Marston wrote . . . . . . . . .

Waitrose & Partners recently announced it will launch “the world’s first home compostable ready meal packaging” this month in its stores. According to a press release, the new, fiber-based containers will replace the hard-to-recycle black plastic trays typically used for Waitrose-brand ready-made meals you throw in the microwave and serve.


From the press release:

Waitrose & Partners has worked with its suppliers, Huhtamaki and Saladworks, to use the latest technology to make sure the trays can be heated in the oven and microwave, and is cool to touch after cooking. The fibre based packaging is Forest Stewardship Council certified, creates a 50% saving in Co2 emissions, and can also be recycled.


The new fiber-based containers will hit stores on May 29 with all Waitrose & Partners Italian ready meal products. The grocer’s goal is to remove the tough-to-recycle black plastic trays from all in-house packaging by the end of 2019.

The efforts seem right in step with the EU’s plans to ban single-use plastics by 2021(Brexit may or may not affect the ban’s status in the U.K.), and more generally with efforts around the globe to cut down on our staggering amount of plastic waste. Some estimates say if we continue generating plastic waste at our current rate, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

Earlier this year, Waitrose & Partner’s removed black plastic trays from all packaging for fresh meat, fish, poultry, and produce items. Meanwhile, ditching all plastic trays is the latest in a long line of moves Waitrose & Partners has outlined to make the company a more sustainable grocery chain overall. The company says that 70 percent of its house-brand packaging is currently recyclable, and 100 percent of it will be by 2023. Additionally, the company plans to test refillable containers in stores, get rid of single-use plastic bags (currently, customers can pay £.05 per bag), and replace baggies for loose produce with home-compostable alternatives.

Source: The Spoon

Osteoporosis — What are your risks?

You might not think of bones as being alive, but they are. Every day, your body breaks down old bone and replaces it with new bone. As you get older, however, the ratio becomes unequal: more bone is lost than gained. If too much is lost, then you can develop the bone disease osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis can cause bones to become weak, brittle and prone to break. Due to loss of bone tissue, bones that were once dense and strong can be unable to withstand the stress of even normal activity, such as bending over or coughing. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the spine, wrist and hip. In addition to bone fractures, osteoporosis can cause bone pain, loss of height and a stooped posture. All of these symptoms can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.

No one can say for sure which individuals will develop osteoporosis. But research has revealed what makes some people more likely than others to develop it. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the risk factors — and what you can do about them.

Bone health basics

Generally speaking, the risk of developing osteoporosis and being more prone to bone fractures depends on your bone health — the size and strength of your bones and the condition of your bone tissue. Bone health is a result of how well your skeleton developed during childhood and early adulthood, as well as your peak bone mass — the maximum amount of bone tissue you have. Most people achieve peak bone mass in their late 20s to early 30s. Bone health is also affected by how rapidly bone mass is lost as you get older.

Risk factors that can’t be changed

Some risk factors for osteoporosis, such as your age and family history, aren’t things you can control. But just because you’re at risk doesn’t mean you will get the disease. You can monitor your bone health for early signs of abnormal bone loss and take steps to prevent osteoporosis or to slow its development.

These are common risk factors for osteoporosis:

Age. The older you are, the more likely you are to develop osteoporosis and the more likely you are to break a bone because of it. After you’ve reached your peak bone mass, it’s normal to begin losing a small percentage of bone mass each year. This happens because new bone formation slows with age, while bone breakdown stays the same or increases. The internal structure of bones also begins to weaken, and the outer shell thins.

Gender. Women usually have lower peak bone mass than men do. Women also tend to live longer. So, in effect, women have less bone to lose but more time to lose it. In addition, during menopause, women experience a drop in estrogen levels, which usually accelerates bone loss. Osteoporosis is most common among postmenopausal women.

Ethnicity. Caucasians and Asians are at greater risk of osteoporosis; Hispanics and Native Americans appear to have an intermediate risk, while African-Americans have the lowest risk. These various levels of risk are based in part on differences in bone mass and bone density.

Genetics. Family history is a strong predictor of low bone mass. If your mother, sister, grandmother or aunt has osteoporosis, then you’re at greater risk. But remember that having a family history of low bone mass doesn’t automatically mean the same thing will happen to you. By taking steps to lower your risk, osteoporosis can be prevented.

Body frame size. Men and women with small body frames tend to have a higher risk because they usually have less bone mass to draw from as they age.

Health-related risk factors

Individual health circumstances, including health conditions and medications, can influence osteoporosis risk.

Childbearing. Pregnancy builds stronger bones by raising estrogen levels and increasing weight. Bone density decreases slowly during pregnancy and more rapidly while nursing a baby, but this bone loss recovers within six months after stopping nursing in most women.

Medications. Certain medications can accelerate bone loss and increase your risk of osteoporosis. If you take any of the following medications, then talk to your health care professional about what you can do to counteract their effects on bone health.

  • Corticosteroid medicines. Long-term use of corticosteroids, including prednisone (Rayos), cortisone, prednisolone (Orapred, Prelone, others) and dexamethasone (Maxidex, Tobradex, others), lowers bone mass. If you take one of these medications for more than a few weeks, then your doctor will likely monitor your bone density and recommend preventive measures.
  • Anticonvulsants. If you take a medication to control seizures (anticonvulsants) over a long period of time, then your liver begins to metabolize vitamin D in a way that causes a deficiency of the vitamin. If you take an anticonvulsant medication, such as phenobarbital (Lumina), carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol, others) or phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek, others), then your health care professional may recommend vitamin D and calcium supplements.
  • Thyroid medicines. When used in excessive quantities, thyroid medications such as levothyroxine (Synthroid, Tirosint, others) can cause high thyroid hormone blood levels that accelerate bone loss.
  • Diuretics. These drugs prevent fluid buildup in your body. But by doing so, certain diuretics can cause the kidneys to excrete too much calcium, leading to weaker bones.
  • Other drugs. Certain blood thinners, such as heparin, can cause bone loss when used over a long period of time. So can aromatase inhibitors, a class of drugs used to treat breast cancer, and drugs that are used to treat endometriosis and prostate cancer (gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonists).

Medical conditions. Certain medical conditions can increase the risk of osteoporosis by slowing bone formation or speeding up bone breakdown. They include:

  • Endocrine disorders, such as hypogonadism, overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), hyperparathyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome and diabetes
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, including Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, lactose intolerance and liver disorders such as primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Absent or infrequent menstrual cycles in women of childbearing age

Gastrointestinal surgery. Surgery to reduce the size of the stomach or to remove part of the intestine limits the ability of these organs to absorb nutrients, including calcium.

Risk factors you can change

Although the risks may seem daunting, it’s important to realize there are some risk factors for osteoporosis that you can control. It’s never too late to do something about your bone health.

Low calcium and vitamin D intakes. A lifelong lack of calcium plays an important role in the development of osteoporosis. Low calcium intake contributes to diminished bone density, early bone loss and an increased risk of fractures. Because vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, chronically low levels can contribute to osteoporosis. Some studies suggest that large portions of the U.S. population may have low levels of vitamin D. But the data is difficult to interpret, because the definition of what constitutes deficiency can vary. Still, it’s a good idea to have your vitamin D level checked if are in one of the categories of higher risk of deficiency.

Eating disorders. Severely restricting food intake and being underweight can weaken bone.

Lack of physical activity. Regular physical activity is key to preventing osteoporosis and fractures. Lack of exercise accelerates bone loss; whereas, weight-bearing exercises such as walking and resistance training can increase or at least maintain your bone density at any age.

Smoking. Here’s another good reason to quit — smoking is bad for your bones. Smoking interferes with the production of estrogen and testosterone, which are needed to build bone. Smoking also disrupts calcium absorption.

Alcohol use. Alcohol delivers a double whammy to your bones, putting a damper on bone building and stimulating the bone loss process. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Energy Drinks May Increase Risk of Heart Function Abnormalities and Blood Pressure Changes

Drinking 32 ounces of an energy drink in a short timespan may increase blood pressure and the risk of electrical disturbances in the heart, which affect heart rhythm, according to a small study published in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

The study enrolled 34 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 40 years. Participants were randomly assigned to drink 32 ounces of one of two commercially available caffeinated energy drinks or a placebo drink on three separate days. The drinks were consumed within a 60-minute period but no faster than one 16-ounce bottle in 30 minutes.

Researchers measured the electrical activity of the volunteers’ hearts by electrocardiogram, which records the way a heart is beating. They also recorded participant’s blood pressure. All measurements were taken at the study’s start and every 30 minutes for 4 hours after drink consumption.

Both energy beverages tested contained 304 to 320 milligrams of caffeine per 32 fluid ounces. Caffeine at doses under 400 milligrams is not expected to induce any electrocardiographic changes. Other common ingredients in the energy drinks in the study included taurine (an amino acid), glucuronolactone (found in plants and connective tissues) and B-vitamins. The placebo drink contained carbonated water, lime juice and cherry flavoring.

In participants who consumed either type of energy drink, researchers found that the QT interval was 6 milliseconds or 7.7 milliseconds higher at 4 hours compared to placebo drinkers. The QT interval is a measurement of the time it takes ventricles in the heart (the lower chambers) to prepare to generate a beat again. If this time interval is either too short or too long, it can cause the heart to beat abnormally. The resulting arrhythmia can be life-threatening.

The results of the study confirm previous findings and suggest that the QT interval changes are generally sustained over the four-hour monitoring period rather than being a short-lasting effect after consuming 32-ounces of an energy drink.

Researchers also found a statistically significant 4 to 5 mm Hg increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in participants who consumed the energy drinks.

“We found an association between consuming energy drinks and changes in QT intervals and blood pressure that cannot be attributed to caffeine. We urgently need to investigate the particular ingredient or combination of ingredients in different types of energy drinks that might explain the findings seen in our clinical trial,” said lead author Sachin A. Shah, Pharm.D., professor of pharmacy practice at University of the Pacific, Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Stockton, California.

The study is the largest controlled study of the effects of energy drinks on the heart and blood pressure in young healthy volunteers. Estimates indicate that about 30% of teenagers between the ages of 12 through 17 years in the United States consume energy drinks on a regular basis, which have been linked to increased emergency room visits and death.

“Energy drinks are readily accessible and commonly consumed by a large number of teens and young adults, including college students. Understanding how these drinks affect the heart is extremely important,” said study co-author Kate O’Dell, Pharm.D., professor of pharmacy and director of experiential programs at the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Among the study’s limitations, it was designed to assess the effects of short-term consumption of an energy drink and does not provide insight into long-term effects nor the effects of routine energy drink consumption. Additionally, energy drink consumption was evaluated alone, and it is not uncommon for energy drinks to be consumed in combination with other substances such as alcohol. Finally, the study included only healthy individuals between the ages of 18 to 40 years and the results may be different in other populations.

“The public should be aware of the impact of energy drinks on their body especially if they have other underlying health conditions,” Shah said. “Healthcare professionals should advise certain patient populations, for example, people with underlying congenital or acquired long QT syndrome or high blood pressure, to limit or monitor their consumption.”

Source: American Heart Association


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