Sorbet with Tapatio Hot Sauce

After Ice Cream in Orange County, U.S. is rolling out a special sorbet with collaboration flavor, made by infusing Tapatio into Afters’ mango sorbet.

To give it some extra punch, they’ve added a Tapatio swirl. Then, they drizzle a good amount of Tapatio on top and dust it with a layer of Tajin, the popular Mexican seasoning powder.

The new flavor will be available at all Afters locations for a limited amount of time.

Mediterranean Vegetable Stew with Stockfish Dumplings


Vegetable Stew
1 red and 1 yellow pepper
5 oz fennel bulb
4 oz carrots
3-1/2 oz celery
1 red onion
3-1/2 oz green courgettes
2-1/2 oz peas (fresh or frozen)
10 cherry tomatoes
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red chili
2 tbsp finely chopped herbs (parsley, chives, tarragon)
Approx. 32-48 fl oz vegetable or fish stock
salt and pepper as desired

Stockfish Dumplings

8 oz soaked stockfish (dried cod) without skin or bones
5-6-1/2 fl oz cream
1 egg
4 tsp sherry
1/2 tsp lemon juice
dash of tabasco

Dumpling Cooking Liquid

salted water
2 sprigs thyme
champagne or white wine vinegar


  1. To make the vegetable stew, quarter the peppers and remove the stalks, seeds and white inner membranes.
  2. Trim the fennel and celery, peel the carrots and onions and cut the ends off the courgettes. Cut all the vegetables into approximately 1-1/2 inch strips.
  3. Halve the tomatoes.
  4. Peel and slice the garlic and fry in olive oil. Set aside.
  5. Remove the stalk from the chili and cut the chili into rings, removing the seeds in the process. Put all the vegetables (except the peas, courgettes and tomatoes) into a large pan with the stock and cook until soft.
  6. Add the peas and courgettes 5 minutes, and the tomatoes and chili 2 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Add the garlic and the oil it was fried in, salt, pepper and herbs.
  7. To make the stockfish dumplings, dice the fish and chop roughly in a food processor. Chill the cream and fish separately in the freezing compartment, then puree the fish, at the same time gradually adding the ice-cold cream and the egg, to produce a glossy, compact mixture.
  8. Strain through a fine sieve. Important: stand the bowl containing the dumpling mixture in a bowl of cold water throughout. Season to taste with lemon juice, tabasco and sherry. Shape into dumplings using two spoons and cook very gently in the cooking liquid for 10-12 minutes.
  9. Ladle the stew onto plates and add the stockfish dumplings.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Mediterranean Cuisine

In Pictures: Decorative Roll Sushi

Kazari Maki Sushi

High-fat Diets Affect Your Brain

Jami LaRue wrote . . . . . . . . .

Much research has pointed to how an unhealthy diet correlates to obesity, but has not explored how diet can bring about neurological changes in the brain. A recent Yale study has discovered that high-fat diets contribute to irregularities in the hypothalamus region of the brain, which regulates body weight homeostasis and metabolism.

Led by Sabrina Diano, the Richard Sackler Family Professor of Cellular & Molecular Physiology and professor of neuroscience and comparative medicine, the study evaluated how the consumption of a high-fat diet — specifically diets that include high amounts of fats and carbohydrates — stimulates hypothalamic inflammation, a physiological response to obesity and malnutrition.

The researchers reaffirmed that inflammation occurs in the hypothalamus as early as three days after consumption of a high-fat diet, even before the body begins to display signs of obesity. “We were intrigued by the fact that these are very fast changes that occur even before the body weight changes, and we wanted to understand the underlying cellular mechanism,” said Diano who is also a member of the Yale Program in Integrative Cell Signaling and Neurobiology of Metabolism.

The researchers observed hypothalamic inflammation in animals on a high fat diet and discovered that changes in physical structure were occurring among the microglial cells of animals. These cells act as the first line of defense in the central nervous system that regulate inflammation. Diano’s lab found that the activation of the microglia was due to changes in their mitochondria, organelles that help our bodies derive energy from the food we consume. The mitochondria were substantially smaller in the animals on a high-fat diet. The mitochondria’s change in size was due to a protein, Uncoupling Protein 2 (UCP2), which regulates the mitochondria’s energy utilization, affecting the hypothalamus’ control of energy and glucose homeostasis.

The UCP2-mediated activation of microglia affected neurons in the brain that, when receiving an inflammatory signal due to the high fat diet, stimulated the animals in the high-fat diet group to eat more and become obese. However, when this mechanism was blocked by removing the UCP2 protein from microglia, animals exposed to a high fat diet ate less and were resistant to gain weight.

The study not only illustrates how high-fat diets affect us physically, but conveys how an unhealthy diet can alter our food intake neurologically. “There are specific brain mechanisms that get activated when we expose ourselves to specific type of foods. This is a mechanism that may be important from an evolutionary point of view. However, when food rich in fat and carbs is constantly available it is detrimental.”

Diano’s long-standing goal is to understand the physiological mechanisms that regulate how much food we consume, and she continues to perform research on how activated microglia can affect various diseases in the brain, including Alzheimer’s disease, a neurological disorder that is associated with changes in the brain’s microglial cells and has been shown to have higher incidence among obese individuals.

The study was published in Cell Metabolism.

Source: Yale News

Vitamin D: How Much Is Too Much of a Good Thing?

Nancy Whelan wrote . . . . . . . . .

As health professionals and tennis enthusiasts who love to work out at the gym, Heather and Michael Giuffre (photo above) have always been interested in making diet and lifestyle choices that will keep them strong and healthy. When they heard the University of Calgary was looking for volunteers for a study looking at the effects of different doses of vitamin D supplements on bone health, they signed up right away.

“My mom has osteoporosis, and so do a number of our extended family members,” says Heather. “We’ve seen first-hand the effects of poor bone health and we want to do what we can to avoid it. There is so much conflicting information out there about how much vitamin D you should take. We felt this study was important.”

The Giuffres were participants in a study at the Cumming School of Medicine’s McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health. The study, released this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), showed there is no benefit in taking high doses of vitamin D. More research is required to determine if high doses may actually compromise bone health.

The vitamin D controversy

When bare skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D, which is needed by our bodies to absorb calcium and ensure strong, healthy bones. With bathing suit skin exposure, it only takes about 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure during the summer to generate all the vitamin D your body needs for the day. Unfortunately for Canadians, exposure to sunlight is diminished during the long winter months. This results in many turning to supplements to get the required vitamin D.

For normal, healthy adults, Health Canada recommends a total daily intake of 600 international units (IU) up to age 70, and 800 IU after age 70. Other sources, like Osteoporosis Canada, suggest adults at risk of osteoporosis, a condition characterized by bone loss, should take 400 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D. However, some people may be taking up to 20 times the recommended daily dose to prevent or treat a variety of medical conditions that might be related to having not enough vitamin D. So, what is the correct dose? And, how much is too much?

“Although vitamin D may be involved in regulating many of the body’s systems, it is the skeleton that is most clearly affected by vitamin D deficiency,” says Dr. David Hanley, MD, an endocrinologist in the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM), and one of the principal investigators of the study. “Current Health Canada recommendations were set to prevent the bone diseases caused by vitamin D deficiency for the vast majority of healthy Canadians. But it has been more difficult to clearly establish the optimal dose of vitamin D. When we designed this study, there remained a question whether there’s more benefit in taking a higher dose.”

Three years and 300 volunteers

The three-year study followed 300 volunteers between the ages of 55 and 70 in a double-blind, randomized clinical trial to test the hypothesis that with increasing doses of vitamin D, there would be a dose-related increase in bone density and bone strength. A third of the study participants received 400 IU of vitamin D per day, a third received 4,000 IU per day, and a third received 10,000 IU per day.

Volunteers had both their bone density and bone strength measured using a new, high-resolution computed tomography (CT) scan of bone at the wrist and ankle, called an XtremeCT, used only for research. The XtremeCT, located in the McCaig Institute’s new Centre for Mobility and Joint Health, is the first of its kind in the world, and allows researchers to look at bone microarchitecture in detail never seen before.

Standard dual-X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) bone density was also obtained. Participants received scans at the start of the study and at six, 12, 24 and 36 months. To assess vitamin D and calcium levels, researchers also collected fasting blood samples at the beginning of the study and at three, six, 12, 18, 24, 30 and 36 months as well as urine collections annually.

There was a decrease in bone density with higher doses of vitamin D

Bone mineral density (BMD) is determined by measuring the amount of calcium and other minerals in a defined segment of bone. The lower the bone density, the greater the risk for bone fracture.

Adults slowly lose BMD as they age, and the DXA results showed a modest decrease in BMD over the duration of the study, with no differences detected between the three groups. However, the more sensitive measurement of BMD with high resolution XtremeCT showed significant differences in bone loss among the three dose levels.

Total BMD decreased over the three-year period by 1.4 per cent in the 400 IU group, 2.6 per cent in the 4,000 IU group and 3.6 per cent in the 10,000 IU group. The conclusion was that, contrary to what was predicted, vitamin D supplementation at doses higher than those recommended by Health Canada or Osteoporosis Canada were not associated with an increase in bone density or bone strength. Instead, the XtremeCT detected a dose-related decrease in bone density, with the largest decrease occurring in the 10,000 IU per day group.

“We weren’t surprised that using DXA we found no difference among the treatment arms, whereas with XtremeCT, the latest in bone imaging technology, we were able to find dose-dependent changes over the three years. However, we were surprised to find that instead of bone gain with higher doses, the group with the highest dose lost bone the fastest,” says Dr. Steve Boyd, PhD, a professor in the CSM and one of the principal investigators of the study. “That amount of bone loss with 10,000 IU daily is not enough to risk a fracture over a three-year period, but our findings suggest that for healthy adults, vitamin D doses at levels recommended by Osteoporosis Canada (400-2,000 IU daily) are adequate for bone health.”

Elevated levels of calcium in the urine with higher doses of vitamin D

A secondary outcome of the study explored a potential safety concern with taking high levels of vitamin D. Although there were incidences in all three arms of the study, the investigators found that participants assigned to receive higher doses of daily vitamin D supplementation (4,000 IU and 10,000 IU) over the three years were more likely to develop hypercalciuria (elevated levels of calcium in the urine), compared to those receiving a lower daily dose. Hypercalciuria is not uncommon in the general population, but is associated with increased risk of kidney stones and may contribute to impaired kidney function.

Calcium supplements may be a contributing factor. Hyperalciuria occurred in 87 participants. Incidence varied significantly between the 400 IU (17 per cent), 4,000 IU (22 per cent) and 10,000 IU (31 per cent) study groups. If hypercalciuria was detected in study participants, calcium intake was reduced. After repeat testing, the hypercalciuria usually resolved.

“What we saw in this study is that large doses of vitamin D did not improve bone density or strength,” says McCaig Institute member Dr. Emma Billington, MD, one of the authors of the study. “For most healthy adults, 400 IU daily is a reasonable dose for maintaining bone health, and no further bone benefit would be obtained with doses of 4,000 IU or higher.”

Source: University of Calgary

Today’s Comic