Vegetarian Lunch Set of Café Couleur in Yamanashi, Japan

The price is 1,650 yen (tax included).







There’s a Best Time of Day to Exercise for Women’s Heart Health

Alan Mozes wrote . . . . . . . . .

Regular exercise has long been hailed as a great way to preserve heart health, but could a morning workout deliver more benefits than an evening visit to the gym?

New research suggests that for women in their 40s and up, the answer appears to be yes.

“First of all, I would like to stress that being physically active or doing some sort of exercise is beneficial at any time of day,” noted study author Gali Albalak, a doctoral candidate in the department of internal medicine at Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands.

Indeed, most public health guidelines ignore the role of timing altogether, Albalak said, choosing to focus mostly on “exactly how often, for how long and at what intensity we should be active” to gain the most heart health benefits.

But Albalak’s research focused on the ins and outs of the 24-hour wake-sleep cycle — what scientists refer to as circadian rhythm. She wanted to know whether there might be “a possible additional health benefit to physical activity” based on when people choose to exercise.

To find out, she and her colleagues turned to data previously collected by the UK Biobank that tracked physical activity patterns and heart health status among nearly 87,000 men and women.

Participants ranged in age from 42 to 78, and nearly 60% were women.

All were healthy when outfitted with an activity tracker that monitored exercise patterns over the course a week.

In turn, heart status was monitored for an average of six years. During that time, roughly 2,900 participants developed heart disease, while about 800 had a stroke.

By stacking heart “incidents” up against exercise timing, the investigators determined that women who primarily exercised in the “late morning” — meaning between approximately 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. — appeared to face the lowest risk for having either a heart attack or stroke.

When compared with women who were most active later in the day, those who were most active in either the early or late morning were found to have a 22% to 24% lower risk for heart disease. And those who mostly exercised in the late morning saw their relative risk for stroke drop by 35%.

Yet, the increased benefit of morning exercise was not seen among men.

Why? “We did not find any clear theory that could explain this finding,” Albalak noted, adding that more research will be needed.

She also stressed that her team’s conclusions were based on an observational analysis of exercise routines, rather than on controlled testing of exercise timing. That means that while exercise timing decisions appear to affect heart health, it’s premature to conclude that it causes heart risk to rise or fall.

Albalak also stressed that she and her team are very much “aware that there are societal issues that prevent a large group of people from being physically active in the morning.”

Still, the findings suggest that “if you have the opportunity to be active in the morning — for example on your day off, or by changing your daily commute — it wouldn’t hurt to try and start your day with some activity.”

The findings struck one expert as interesting, surprising and somewhat mystifying.

“An easy explanation does not come to mind,” admitted Lona Sandon, program director of the department of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center’s School of Health Professions, in Dallas.

But to gain better insight into what is happening, Sandon suggested that going forward it could be helpful to gather information on participants’ eating patterns.

“From nutrition research, we know that satiety is greater with morning food intake than it is with evening intake,” she said. That could point to a difference in the way metabolism operates in the morning versus the evening.

That could mean that “the timing of food intake prior to the physical activity could impact the nutrient metabolism and storage that might further impact cardiovascular risk,” Sandon added.

It could also be that morning workouts tend to lower stress hormones more than late-day exercising. If so, over time that could also have an impact on heart health.

In any case, Sandon echoed Albalak’s acknowledgment that “any exercise is better than no exercise.”

So “exercise at the time of day you know you will be able to stick to a regular schedule,” she said. “And if you can, take a morning physical activity break instead of a coffee break.”

The report was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Source: HealthDay





Salt and Pepper Brick Mushrooms


1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1-1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, such as oyster, maitake, lion’s mane or Portobello, trimmed and kept in the largest pieces possible
2 tsp capers, drained (and rinsed, if salt-packed), divided
1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving


  1. In a small bowl, combine the salt and pepper.
  2. In a large cast-iron skillet over medium low heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Place the mushrooms in the skillet and sprinkle with half of the salt and pepper mixture and half of the capers.
  3. Cover the mushrooms with a sheet of foil, folding it into a round to cover the mushrooms and fit the contours of the skillet. Place a Dutch oven or another cast-iron skillet as close to the same size as the first one on top of the foil. If you have more cast iron cookware, stack it on top, flattening the mushrooms. (If you don’t have more cast iron, use your hands — wearing oven mitts — to press down firmly on the skillet.)
  4. Press (intermittently, if doing it by hand — you’ll need to rest periodically) until a crust has formed, 10 to 15 minutes. The mushrooms will release varying amounts of liquid depending on their variety and freshness; unstack the cookware and pour it off a time or two during cooking, as needed. (Reserve the liquid for seasoning and sipping — it’s delicious!)
  5. Flip the mushrooms over, pour off any extra liquid, and sprinkle with the remaining salt and pepper mixture and capers. Cook the other side the same way, weighting and pressing intermittently until a crust forms on that side, 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and serve hot, with lemon wedges for squeezing.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Cooking With Mushrooms via Winnipeg Free Press

Today’s Comic




Everything You Need to Know About Spam

Morgan Haefner wrote . . . . . . . . .

Canned cooked pork—there’s not much to it. And yet, Spam has made its way across the globe and into dishes from Puerto Rico’s sandwich de mezcla to the UK’s Spam fritters to Hawaii’s Spam musubi. With this kind of global ubiquity, it’s no surprise that Spam has beat its own sales record for the past seven years in a row.

Hormel Foods, a US food processing company based in Austin, Minnesota, has been churning out the blue and yellow tins since 1937. The food got its name, allegedly, after the brother of a Hormel executive came up with the portmanteau for “spiced ham” for a naming contest, winning him $100. But it wasn’t until World War II that people around the globe began to associate that name with the US of A.

Spam is having a resurgence as shoppers turn to cheap and convenient food during soaring inflation. But in some places, it never stopped being cool. In South Korea, for instance, Spam is offered as a holiday gift. Part of the luncheon meat’s enduring allure is that it’s more than just something you eat—it’s rooted in tradition, versatility, convenience, and culture.

Let’s peel back the lid and see what’s inside.

By the digits

7.1%: Price increase for a 12 oz can of Spam from 2021 to 2022

10%: The jump in Spam sales amid the 2008 global financial crisis, compared to the previous year

50%: Amount Spam sales soared in 2020 compared to 2019 in South Korea, the brand’s second biggest consumer

9 billion: Approximate number of Spam cans sold to date

35,000: Attendants at the annual Waikiki Spam Jam, an event in Hawaii featuring Spam dishes

An A+ in Marketing 101

Hormel’s branding of Spam is ingenious. For one, the company magnified how versatile its product can be. Its site lists 100 recipes involving canned ham, from Spam taco kabobs to Spam risotto.

But the manufacturer also marketed the ham to be personal, positioning it to reflect American patriotism. After World War II, the Hormel Girls, a musical group of female WWII veterans, traveled the country performing songs and promoting Spam. Since then, events and museums revolving around Spam have been popularized by enthusiasts, including the Spam Museum in its hometown of Austin, Minnesota; the Spamarama cooking festival; a Spam-sponsored NASCAR race car; and even the Broadway musical Spamalot.

Perhaps that’s why the loyalty runs as thick as gelatin, and Hormel continues to innovate the 85-year-old product. CEO Jim Snee said the company is working on expanding the range of Spam products this year.


“Spam became iconic in Asia because it was a taste of America without being in America. It’s like drinking Coke. While you can’t afford to travel to America, you can eat and drink America or enjoy a little piece of America in your life.”

— Ayalla Ruvio, consumer behavior researcher and professor in the department of marketing at Michigan State University, speaking to South China Morning Post

Brief history

1795: The French government offers an award of 12,000 francs to anyone who could come up with a better method of preserving food. Parisian chef and confectioner Nicolas Appert raises his hand.

1810: During the Napoleonic Wars, Appert invents a canning method that involves designing wide-mouth bottles with corks. He presents his findings to the French government in a book called The Book of All Households or the Art of Preserving Animal and Vegetable Substances for Many Years. He wins the prize money.

1810: In the same year, based on Appert’s findings, Frenchman Philippe de Girard reportedly patents the tin can process through Englishman Peter Durand, which involves heating food and sterilizing it within a sealed tin container.

1813: Factories start producing tinned cans and find a market among seafarers.

1825: Tin plate is patented in the US. Canned oysters, fruits, meats, and vegetables are sold in New York.

1861: Louis Pasteur publishes his work on germ theory.

1880s: The UK imports 16 million pounds of canned meat, as railways, roads, and canals make it easier to move products around.

1896: “Double seaming,” a technological development that leads to a faster and more efficient canning process, is invented. Brands like Heinz capitalize on it.

Post-WWI: Food production dramatically increases in part to meet the widespread adoption of canned food.

1933-34: US president Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program delivers 692 million pounds of food—much of it being canned beef—to people in need in 30 states.

1937: Hormel Foods starts selling Spam.

1941: With the passing of the Lend-Lease Act, Hormel ships up to 15 million cans of meat per week outside the US, most of it Spam.

2007: Spam is sold in 41 countries on six continents and is trademarked in over 100 countries.

Fun fact!

What is up with the jelly layer that surrounds Spam? Natural gelatin creates the stuff inside the cans during cooking, which helps with the preservation of the meat. In 2009, potato starch was added to reduce the gooeyness. In other words, it used to be even grosser.

Is ambition a scam?

In the 2010s, we were hustling, rising and grinding, and #girlbossing. Today, the same cans of Spam from those years might still be in the back of our cupboards, but we’re probably too burned out after work to clean them out. What’s changed?

Spam’s global success had martial origins. During WWII, it was the go-to food during rationing, making its mark in England and the Pacific Islands. It was also part of US soldiers’ diets. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, American troops were deployed to the Pacific, landing in places like Guam, Japan, the Philippines, and South Korea. Wherever soldiers went, Spam followed, Robert Ku, a professor of Asian American studies at the State University of New York at Binghamton, told Time Magazine.

But the canned pork exchange was marked by tension, particularly for the Asia Pacific. During WWII, the US restricted deep-sea fishing industries in Hawaii, which Japanese Americans mainly ran. So, the Islanders had to replace the protein they would have got from fishing with Spam. During the Korean War in 1950, people rummaged through items from American military camps to make budae jjigae, or “army stew,” which consisted of kimchi, rice cakes, Spam, and American cheese.

When WWII ended, Americans shifted Spam away from the main entree to a side dish. But Spam stuck around where US soldiers had left, reflecting a lasting US influence on these countries. Since then, locals have found ways to adapt the canned meat to their taste.

In Asian cultures, Spam continues to be part of everyday eating. Though there’s a stigma of Spam being a poor man’s meal, it has also been embraced by many and has even played a role in cultivating the Asian American identity.

Source: Quartz





Bacon and Egg Breakfast Set of Sukiya Japan

The price is 390 yen (tax included).