An Inside Look at How the USA Girl Scouts Chose Their Next Cookie Flavor, Raspberry Rally

Halisia Hubbard wrote . . . . . . . . .

A new Girl Scout cookie has joined the lineup. Meet Raspberry Rally, which is being called the sister of the iconic Thin Mint. Or is it a challenger?

“We hope that we’ll hear some healthy competition from folks – maybe a little Thin Mint-Raspberry Rally battle,” Wendy Lou, the chief revenue officer of Girl Scouts of the United States of America, told NPR.

Usually, Girl Scouts launches a cookie with a new design, totally unlike its predecessors. Reimagining a cookie with an existing format is something new for them, Lou said. But while the Raspberry Rally may be comparable to a Thin Mint, Girl Scouts still had to develop its flavor and internal color.

From concept to production, it takes about two years to debut a new Girl Scout Cookie. Girl Scouts of the United States of America, or GSUSA, first conduct market research and receive input from Girl Scout troops and cookie fans for ideas. The company also researches consumer trends to see what’s popular. Because berry flavors are currently popular, Lou said, they realized a raspberry cookie could be a hit.

After the research stage, GSUSA tests their leading ideas with Girl Scout Cookie lovers. Once the organization learns what catches fans’ interest, it works with its bakers to work on the flavor and develop a recipe.

“It’s a little bit light and a little bit sweet, but not overwhelming […] You feel like you can eat 20 of them,” Lou said.

Then, the new cookie goes through the naming process, as well as final tests with an advisory group of Girl Scouts from across the country to make sure it’s scout-approved. They helped choose Raspberry Rally as the winner.

The Girl Scout’s slogan this year is “Ready, set, rally!” The annual event each troop holds to kick off their cookie season is called a rally, but the word “rally” is also intended to celebrate the spirit of the community that comes together to support Girl Scouts, Lou said.

The Raspberry Rally will be available exclusively online during the local cookie season, alongside the rest of the Girl Scout Cookie lineup. The season varies across the country, but typically falls between January and April. The profits from cookie sales stay local, according to the Girl Scouts’ website, and fund activities and community projects for each troop.

Lots of other cookies were in the running, but Lou said she can’t share what they were, as Girl Scouts may end up making them another year. In the last couple of years, Girl Scouts has been releasing a new cookie annually, and Lou said it’s still up in the air how long this one will be around.

Source: npr






Music: Bridging Memories for People With Alzheimer’s

Dennis Thompson wrote . . . . . . . . .

Wes Mika started out on drums, but in his heart he was a tambourine man.

“He got fascinated by the little silver discs on the tambourine,” said his wife, Susan Mika. “Sometimes he would hit the tambourine with the little mallets of the drum. He just he loved that tambourine.”

Wes, 77, has dementia and lives in a memory care facility in Arlington Heights, Ill., a northwest suburb of Chicago. He and Susan, 76, participated in a music program designed to help dementia patients connect with their loved ones.

The program, Musical Bridges to Memory, has been shown to enhance patients’ ability to non-verbally interact with their caregivers, according to a study published recently in the journal Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders.

The music therapy also reduces troubling dementia symptoms like agitation, anxiety and depression.

“He’s in a wheelchair, and it was just a nice, close connection for both of us,” Susan said. “We both enjoyed it. I would sing the lyrics I knew, and at times I would see him moving his lips. He doesn’t speak loudly but he would move his lips, so I think he knew the words and was connected with the music.”

The music program was developed by the non-profit Institute for Therapy through the Arts, and is designed to help dementia patients who are losing their ability to communicate verbally with loved ones.

In the program, a live ensemble plays music from a patient’s youth. The patient and their caregiver are encouraged to interact with the music together by singing, dancing or playing simple instruments like shakers, drums or tambourines.

It’s well-established that even as dementia wreaks havoc on the mind and memories, the degenerative brain disorder doesn’t appear to affect a person’s ability to enjoy music until much later in the disease course, said senior researcher Dr. Borna Bonakdarpour. He is an associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago.

Because of this, patients can retain their ability to dance and sing long after their ability to talk has diminished.

“They can process music, they can get it, they receive it, they respond to it, they can dance with it, they can play with it, they can sing along with it,” Bonakdarpour said. “These are components that are pretty much intact, which is amazing.”

The Alzheimer’s Association recognizes music therapy as an important non-drug therapy for dementia, said Sam Fazio, senior director for psychosocial research and quality care.

“You’re accessing different parts of the brain that may not be affected by the disease’s symptoms,” Fazio said. “Sometimes when people can no longer express themselves in words, they can still express themselves with lyrics of a song or feel the melody.”

Helping patients and caregivers

For this study, Bonakdarpour’s team asked 21 patients and their caregivers to take part in the Musical Bridges to Memory program once a week. The study was unusual because earlier music therapy efforts have tended to focus solely on the patient, while this involved both patients and caregivers.

The program included 45 minutes of music, as well as a 15-minute talk beforehand so the music therapist could discuss specific communication skills to be addressed during the time together. Overall, patients took part in 12 sessions over three months.

The patient/caregiver pairs also were videotaped for 10 minutes before and 10 minutes after each session, so research assistants could analyze the effect music therapy had on their interactions, Bonakdarpour said.

While the program is designed to help access the musical part of a patient’s brain, these sessions also counsel caregivers on ways to patiently engage with their loved one, Bonakdarpour said.

“Things can get escalated between the patient and caregiver because the care partner doesn’t know what to do with abnormal behaviors,” he said. “A patient with a memory problem may ask the same question 10 times, and the partner can get exasperated.”

Wes and Susan took part in the program virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The music included old standards like “You Are My Sunshine,” “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” but the musicians took requests, Susan said. She and Wes love Josh Groban, so the ensemble added some of his tunes to their repertoire.

“She would play videos and she’d do an opening and an ending song,” Susan recalled. “She asked what we wanted to hear, and she would play it for us, and then we would sing along. I was right next to him, so I would often look into his face, and we’d connect that way.”

The researchers found that non-verbal social interactions significantly increased between the patients and caregivers who took part in the program, while communication declined among eight patient/caregiver pairs who did not participate and served as a control group.

In group conversations after the music, patients were more socially engaged, the researchers said. They maintained eye contact more often, were less distracted and agitated, and were in an upbeat mood.

Bonakdarpour remembered one particular patient “who was very hyperactive and during the sessions would get up and wanted to dance with everybody. The wife was kind of embarrassed, and she would get mad at him.”

“But then as the sessions moved forward, and by the middle to end, this guy was sitting down during all the sessions with his wife,” Bonakdarpour said. “They’re communicating. They’re using percussion instruments to participate. They dance together. So it really changed their relationship.”

‘It just makes him happy’

Based on these results, Bonakdarpour’s team has received a three-year grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to expand the program and perform another clinical trial involving more patients.

Fazio praised the study because it was done with professional music therapists and with the right protocols so it could have the best possible outcomes.

“Sometimes people think they’re doing music therapy by just playing a record in the background, when that’s not really true,” Fazio said. “To have the outcomes we want, like increased engagement and less anxiety or agitation, the correct protocols need to be in place by trained music therapy professionals who understand how to use music to accomplish non-musical goals.”

Bonakdarpour is convinced that music therapy should be an important part of helping manage the symptoms of dementia patients whose capabilities are declining.

“For some of these psychiatric issues of people with dementia, we don’t have great drugs,” he said. “When we’re really desperate, we have to use some drugs that have side effects. Some of them can really affect the heart. It can even shorten people’s lives. And if you can avoid using these toxic medications, wouldn’t that be great?”

Wes enjoyed the program so much that Susan now incorporates music into their regular visits, she said. She asks an Amazon device to play a list of songs.

“Alexa plays those songs and then we just play along with the instruments. I try to find songs that he’ll remember. It just makes him happy,” Susan said.

Source: HealthDay





In Pictures: Food of Atomix in New York, USA

Fine Dining Modern Korean Cuisine

No.33 of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022





Lots of Ultra-Processed Foods Could Raise a Man’s Odds for Colon Cancer

Denise Mann wrote . . . . . . . . .

Many guys love a breakfast plate piled high with sausages and maybe a sugar-glazed Danish on the side. Now, research shows that wolfing down too many ultra-processed foods like these could be bad news for a man’s colon.

Specifically, men who consumed the highest amount of ultra-processed food had a 29% greater risk for developing colon cancer, when compared to men who consumed smaller amounts. Surprisingly, there was not an increased risk for women who consumed higher amounts of ultra-processed foods.

“The study provides evidence of the potential link between ultra-processed foods and colorectal cancer, and supports the public health importance of limiting certain types of ultra-processed foods for promoting better health outcomes in the population,” said study author Lu Wang. She is a postdoctoral fellow at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston.

Ultra-processed foods are high in added sugar, oils/fats and refined starch, all of which contribute to weight gain and obesity, and obesity is a well-known risk factor for colorectal cancer, Wang explained.

“They are also low in beneficial nutrients and bioactive compounds, such as minerals and vitamins,” Wang added.

Exactly why only men appear to be at higher risk isn’t known. “One possible explanation is the composition of the ultra-processed foods consumed by women could be different than that from men,” she said, noting that ultra-processed dairy foods like yogurt may counteract the harmful impacts of other types of ultra-processed foods in women. “Further research will need to determine whether there is a true sex difference,” Wang added.

The study included more than 200,000 U.S. men and women (nearly 160,000 women and about 46,000 men) from three large studies of health care professionals. Participants completed food frequency questionnaires every four years that asked how often they ate about 130 foods. Intake of ultra-processed foods was classified into quintiles, ranging from the lowest amount to the highest.

During more than 25 years of follow-up, there were 1,294 cases of colon cancer in the men and 1,922 cases among the women, the investigators found.

Men who ate the most ultra-processed foods were at the greatest risk for developing colon cancer. This was driven largely by ultra-processed meat, poultry or fish-based, ready-to-eat products and sugar-sweetened beverages. The increased risk was particularly clear for tumors in the distal (last part) of the colon.

While the study didn’t find an overall increased risk for women who ate higher amounts of ultra-processed foods, those who consumed more ready-to-eat/heat-mixed dishes were at an increased risk of colon cancer.

The findings held even after the researchers controlled for other factors known to increase risk for colon cancer including race, family history of cancer, physical activity, smoking status and alcohol intake.

The study was published online Aug. 31 in the BMJ.

The new findings add to a growing body of research linking diets high in ultra-processed foods to cancer, specifically colon cancer, said Dr. Robin Mendelsohn, co-director of the Center for Young Onset Colorectal and Gastrointestinal Cancers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in New York City.

Certain chemicals used in processed meats such as nitrates and nitrites, which keep meat fresh, or heterocyclic amines, which are produced when meat is cooked at a high temperature, are known to cause cancer, Mendelsohn noted.

Her best advice?

“Eat a plant-based diet,” Mendelsohn said. “About two-thirds of your plate should be fruits, vegetables and whole grains, with the rest being lean meats, fish, poultry and legumes. Limit red meat and try to avoid processed meats.”

Ultra-processed foods contain chemicals that may alter the healthy bacteria in the gut, which can worsen inflammation and lead to an increased risk of colon cancer, explained Dr. Amitpal Johal, division chief of gastroenterology at Geisinger in Danville, Pa.

“More studies need to be done to better understand what characteristics of ultra-processed foods lead to the higher rates of colon cancer,” said Johal.

Reducing the amount of ultra-processed foods in your diet and including things like fruits, vegetables, calcium, vitamin D and foods that are high in fiber can help lower risk for colon cancer, he explained.

“Exercise, proper sleep hygiene, and controlling an individual’s weight can also help,” Johal added.

Men and women should also schedule regular screening colonoscopies once they’ve reach 45, he advised.

Source: HealthDay





Beef and Vegetable Wrap


1 lb beef
5 large cabbage leaves
1/2 carrot
2 green peppers
2 oz mung-bean sprouts


1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 egg
6 tbsp chopped green onion
2 tbsp garlic
1 tbsp rice wine
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp sesame salt
1 tsp salt
black pepper


  1. Remove the vein stems from the cabbage leaves and cut the leaves into 4-inch square pieces. Scald in salted boiling water and rinse them in cold water.
  2. Cut the carrot into 1/4-inch thick pieces and scald and cut them into 1/4-inch cubes.
  3. Halve the green peppers to remove the seeds and cut them into 1/4-inch square pieces.
  4. Scald the mung-bean sprouts, squeeze and chop them finely.
  5. Mix the minced beef and sliced vegetables well with the seasoning ingredients. Shape the mixture into oval meatballs in the palm of your hand and coat them in cornstarch.
  6. Coat the insides of the cabbage leaves with cornstarch. Place each meatball in the cabbage leaf and wrap it into a small bundle.
  7. Place the cabbage bundles in a steamer and steam for 15 minutes.

Source: Healthful Korean Cooking

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