Saturday, March 12, 2011

Radio Show Notes: Making Polenta w amazing recipe

I love polenta ... in writing this article, I noticed that the word 'polenta' wasn't even in my spell-checker!! How can that BE? 

To listen to this conversation live, click here. Show time is Saturday, 12-1pm EST, call in to chat with me: 412.333.1360

Polenta is awesome, dirt-simple to make and you can do a ton of things with it. The recipe below is from "An embarrassment of Mangoes". What makes it crazy-good is the coconut milk used as the base. 

Try this and let me know how it comes out, then play with the added stuff the next time!! 

Coo-Coo (Caribbean Polenta)

This dish, which came to the islands from Africa (“coo-coo” means side dish in a number of African languages), is the Caribbean version of polenta. Slices of coo-coo are also excellent grilled. Brush them lightly with olive oil and set on the barbeque.
  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine coconut milk, butter and salt. Bring to a boil.
  • Gradually stir in cornmeal. Lower heat and cook for about 5 - 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking, until the mixture thickens and leaves the sides of the pan. If it becomes too thick, add a bit more coconut milk or water.
  • Pour the mixture into a greased 8 by 8 pan. Allow to set for a couple of minutes, then cut into squares and serve warm.

Great article from the NYTimes ...

Radio Show Notes: Neuropsychiatrist assesses Charlie Sheen on air!!

Dr Afield is going to talk to us about the mental state of Charlie Sheen ... and the line between crazy-talk and REALLY really crazy. 

To listen to this rant live, click here. Show time is Saturday, 12-1pm EST, call in to chat with me: 412.333.1360
The US is #1 in Bi-Polar disorder ... is Charlie Sheen our world champion?  

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Want high blood pressure? Here's what to drink.

Just when you thought it was safe. Just when you thought it was easy to understand how to prevent high blood pressure and the pesky brain haemorrhage that can follow from it. 

Just cut out salt, right? 

Well, now scientists have linked drinking sugary drinks like fizzy cola and fruit drinks with high blood pressure and say their findings suggest that cutting both sugar and salt intake could help reduce the risk.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death worldwide.

In a study of more than 2,500 people in the United States and Britain, researchers found that for every extra can of sugary drink consumed per day, participants had higher systolic blood pressure by an average of 1.6 mmHg and a higher diastolic reading by an average of 0.8 mmHg.

Listen. If you get a brain bleeder, chances are?, you're done; your family either has to put you in a box or take care of you for the rest of your vegetative life. 

And for what? A soda? How in the world does this make sense to do? Just give them up and trade them in for tea, or water, or even a glass of wine at dinner!! 

Study links sugary drinks with high blood pressure | Reuters:

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Welch’s lied about juice claims. A math error?

See where it says "100% Juice". It seems as though there was in fact a math error. 

This is said best by Ily Goyanes at the Miami New Times Food Blog ... so I'll let him tell the story. 

Welch's, known for its juices and commercials featuring adorable gap toothed kids, has agreed to pay a huge settlement after being sued for false advertising. Welch's 100% Juice White Grape Pomegranate Flavored 3 Juice Blend was labeled as if it contained more pomegranate than it actually did, according to the suit. Of course, since pomegranate was the "it" fruit of, like, three minutes ago, it is entirely believable that the big W stretched the truth in order to jump on the purple bandwagon. For example, labeling products "pomegranate" even when they only included one drop of pomegranate juice in an 8,796-ounce vat of white grape juice. 

Welch's mistake I can understand (well, it does have pomegranate juice, dammit), but what about the multiple lawsuits brought against Welch's? Yes, multiple. This has been a veritable telenovela of civil action.

First, Pom Wondeful, a competing juice manufacturer, went after the juice giants. This brought attention to the situation. Pom proved in court that Welch's label was indeed misleading, but wasn't able to prove any damages, so there was no payday.

Cue civilians -- from Courtney in California to Rojas in Florida. They all wanted their piece of the pie, and had all had apparently been depending on pomegranate to cure what ailed them. That is the pomegranate in Welch's White Pomegranate Flavored 3 Juice Blend. Unfortunately, the pathetically small amount of pomegranate turned the plaintiffs into rabid, purple poodles, and they had to be put down. Just kidding.

What I can't fathom for the life of me, is how the hell did Pom Wonderful find out that the Welch's product did not contain the amount of pomegranate it claimed? Did they test the competitor's juices? Did they have a spy at Welch's?

The company agreed to distribute $30 million in coupons to settle the two class action suits. It will also pay off some folks and donate $350,000 in juice to some charitable groups. And it is trying to suck the money out of its insurers, who, surprise, don't want to pay.

Welch’s to pay $30m over misleading juice claims

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Is Love Better for Men's Health Or Women's?

This story from is interesting. It starts out by asking whether marriage is good for your health ... but ends up deciding that it's not marriage at all. 
It's love. 
What's also funny is how "relationship" affects men and women differently ... wonder why THAT is. I mean, I know that men and women are fundamentally different in many ways, but why is there the difference they see here? 

Is marriage good for your health? In general, research suggests yes. Married people live longer, have better access to health care, enjoy a more satisfying sex life, experience less stress, live a healthier lifestyle, and have lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, and depression compared to their single counterparts.
The list of health perks conferred by marriage is so long, in fact, that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has made it a centerpiece of its two-year-old, $5 million national media campaign to promote wedded bliss.
But there's a catch -- men and women don't get the same or equal benefits from a legally sanctioned pairing. A man's sex life is likely to improve more than a woman's after getting married, for instance, while a woman's risk for depression tends to decrease more than her partner's when she's in a long-term relationship.
And in reality, getting hitched may not be strictly necessary. Women and men can reap some health benefits just by living together, or even by being in a stable long-term relationship, research suggests. Experts believe that same-sex couples, many of whom don't even have the option to get married, also score health gains, though almost all research so far has focused only on heterosexual relationships.
"I don't think it's necessarily a matter of the marriage license; it's a matter of the level of social support and mutual attachment," says John Gallacher, Ph.D., a researcher at the Cardiff University School of Medicine in Wales, who recently published a paper on the health benefits of relationships in a BMJjournal.

Does Love Benefit Men's Or Women's Health More?

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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

National Sleep Awareness Week

How'd you sleep last night?
If you're among the third of Americans who don't get enough shut-eye, then there's no better opportunity to make sleep a priority than National Sleep Awareness Week, taking place this year from March 7 to 13.
This annual education and awareness campaign, spearheaded by the National Sleep Foundation, aims to help the public, healthcare providers and policymakers better understand the benefits of good sleep habits and the importance of identifying the signs of a sleep disorder.
Sleep deprivation has become a badge of honor for many people 
Research shows, however, that adequate sleep is key to a healthy lifestyle. Sleeping the recommended seven to nine hours nightly can benefit your heart, weight and mind -- not to mentionyour appearance.
The end of National Sleep Awareness Week appropriately coincides with the beginning of Daylight Saving Time -- the "springing forward" that causes Americans to lose an hour of sleep. It is on this day, perhaps more than any other, that the effects of insufficient sleep are felt and lamented. It's important to realize, however, that sleep deprivation may be negatively affecting you all year long.
Take the time to educate yourself about your own sleep needs this week -- and don't forget to get some rest!

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Jon Stewart's Pantry of Shame VIDEO

This hilarious piece on the absurdity of our Culture of Health.

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Mama mia! FDA busts ABBA (Pharmaceuticals, that is)

The FDA has issued a warning letter to Florida-based dietary supplement manufacturer Abba Pharma because they are misrepresenting their products.

Although these pill makers are urging you to Take A Chance on Me, they're now in trouble because, Mamma Mia!, they're pumping out pills like a Super Trouper. 

But now they have to issue an S.O.S. because of the multiple safety violations listed by the FDA. What happens next? Well, Knowing Me, Knowing You, there is nothing we can do because there is Money, Money, Money at stake here. 

Bottom line? 
Kidding aside, Abba Pharma represents another reason why you should think very carefully about taking supplements at all because 1) the safety regulations are loose, and 2) their effectiveness is questionable anyway. 

If you to take supplements, something you should do is to check out who is producing them. Safety actually is a concern and you should be aware of this. 

Here are the violations: 
  • Failure to test every finished product batch or, “a subset of the finished dietary supplement batches that you identify through a sound statistical sampling plan to determine whether the finished product meets established product specifications for identity, purity, strength, and composition of the dietary supplement”
  • Failure to clarify Standard Operating Procedures for final product testing.“Your records indicate that you performed microbiological tests on the finished product, but this type of test does not verify the identity, purity, strength, and composition of the finished product.”
  • Failure to establish component specifications for, “Thiamine HCl, Riboflavin Phosphate, Pyridoxine HCl, Cyanocobalamin, Ascorbic Acid, Folic Acid, Niacinamide, D-Biotin, Calcium D-Pantothenate, Propylene Glycol USP, Glycerine 99.5%, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Potassium Sorbate, Cremophor RH40, Triethanolamine, Aspartame, Orange Oil, and Purified Water”.
  • Failure to identify ingredient identity testing protocols. “Your response does not specify, and you did not provide, supporting documentation on how you intend to ensure that you will verify the identity of each dietary ingredient used in the dietary supplements you manufacture.”
  • Failure to establish and follow written procedures for, “calibrating instruments and controls that you use in manufacturing or testing a component or dietary supplement. Specifically, you did not have records of calibration for the scales used to weigh raw materials in the manufacturing of your dietary supplement products.”
  • Failure to follow a written master manufacturing record (MMR) for each formulation and batch size
  • Water use did not meet GMP requirements

Mama mia! FDA busts Abba for GMP and labeling violations

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Monday, March 07, 2011

Fish pedicures? Really? Now there's an investigation

UK investigates fish spa pedicures on health issues

(Reuters) - Fish spa pedicures have become a popular alternative to exfoliation in recent years but health officials say they are now investigating the pampering treatment on concerns it may spread infection.

The procedure involves customers placing their feet into a water tank filled with toothless Garra rufa fish -- also called doctor fish -- which suck the dead tissue off their feet to leave them feeling softer.
Officials at Britain's Health Protection Agency (HPA) said they were launching an investigation into possible infection risks associated with the exfoliation treatment after receiving enquiries from local environmental health officers.
Fish spa pedicures have already been banned in some U.S. states for health and safety reasons
UK investigates fish spa pedicures on health issues | Reuters

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