As I enter yet another decade of Thanksgiving, I’m most thankful for my health. Once a person enters “senior status,” good health means “managed diseases.” My young friends often whine about the difficulty of taking a single prescription per day. I just laugh, for they don’t know what truck will hit them after age 50! Most people my age have pill minders or get theirs in daily prepared packaging ready made.
One health condition that can’t be standardized is the blood glucose reading, unless you qualify for a new 24 hour wearable monitor. Otherwise you do the stick and read at different times of the day. If you’re like me, keeping track of the blood sugar readings gives you a window into your body’s response to your food choices and your commitment to an exercise plan.
I have prediabetes, so I measure my glucose in the morning and before I go exercise. My doctor says the morning should be under 100 and the preexercise reading needs to be over 100 if I’m going for anything more vigorous than a gentle walk. I don’t yet have the high readings because for 14 years I’ve eaten a Mediterranean diet and exercised daily. I still eat around 2000 calories per day, so I’m not starving myself, since my BMR is 2060.
Would they like me to lose weight? Yes, and so would I, but my blood pressure is finally normal without medication, my arteries are clear, and my depression is in remission due to medication and lifestyle commitments. We have to pick the battles we want to fight. If our weight is fat, our bodies will metabolize food differently than if our weight is muscle. Weight bearing exercises such as walking, lifting weights, or climbing stairs, will build muscle over the long haul.
When I first started walking, I couldn’t make the whole way around a city block without stopping for breath, I was so out of shape. I set a smaller goal, mastered it, and made a bigger one. I can walk a 5K now, and even if I’m the last to finish, I still am faster than everyone who didn’t enter the race. Keep a positive attitude!
Health isn’t a number on the scale or a size of clothes into which you fit. Health is more about reclaiming your positive attitude towards food as nourishment for your body, rather than as a sedative for your emotional distress. I’ve been in this place myself. I never met a chocolate donut that wouldn’t soothe my inner angst, only to give me eater’s remorse afterwards. It was a downward, addictive spiral, for I’d eat again to feel better, only to feel icky once more.
Health is also about leaving behind the bad habits that bought on high blood pressure, high blood sugar of type 2 diabetes, and prediabetes: stress, excessive caffeine, and processed foods. These foods are the heart killer trifecta of the Standard American Diet—fat, salt, and sugars. These show up in our processed meats, dairy products, and bakery goods, not to mention our condiments and desserts.
Just as we learned negative habits, we can learn positive behaviors. We don’t have to change everything all at once, but we do need to begin somewhere, sometime. Perhaps the holidays seem to be the worst time, with all the extra cooking and treating surrounding us. If we pick one behavior each week, such as measuring our food portions this week and not eating second helpings the week of Thanksgiving, we’ll be on the way to a healthier lifestyle!
Remember the words of Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18–
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
SEE SLIDES ON WHAT AFFECTS YOUR BLOOD SUGAR READINGS
“Fabulous Fermented Foods” have been part of my family’s history for generations back. In the rural antebellum South, folks made cornbread with buttermilk and bacon grease. They didn’t waste soured milk in those unrefrigerated days, just as they used every bit of the pig but its squeal. “Waste not, want not,” was an adage my forebears took to heart, even to my embarrassment of their saving balls of string or aluminum foil for reuse. The latter I thought unsanitary, in my modern worldview, but I’d never experienced great want of any kind as they had.
I enjoyed helping my nanny can food by pickling peaches and cucumbers, but that was a different process than fermentation. My mother did ferment a fruit compote with alcohol, which we all devoured with gusto over ice cream during the holidays. “Is it ready yet?” was as frequent a question as “When can we open a present?”
Of course we ate pimento cheese sandwiches, especially during those long lazy days of summer, but none of us ever connected the cheese making process to fermentation by good bacteria or yeasts. We ate, enjoyed, and never gave it a second thought as we sought the shade or a cool dip in refreshing water. Like many people of our day, we were incurious of the many ordinary miracles which surrounded all of us.
Now I’m well into my seventh decade and understand these trendy (but ancient) foods have potential health benefits. Fermenting foods changes their taste and texture, along with their chemical and biological properties.
Fermented foods may be the oldest “new” food trend around. The process is as old as civilization itself, and fermented foods are consumed in nearly every culture in the world. While researchers attempt to tease out how the changes caused by fermentation actually impact health, many not-fully-substantiated health claims are being made. Let’s take a look at what we know, and don’t know, about these promising (and tasty) foods.
What is Fermentation? Fermentation occurs when microorganisms (certain species of bacteria, yeast, or mold) feed on starch, sugar, and other food components. This ancient process was originally used for preserving foods, but it fell out of favor in the age of refrigeration and pasteurization.
Many foods and beverages that are commonplace in the U.S. are a result of fermentation. Grains are fermented to make beer and bread; wine is made by fermenting grape juice; and yogurt and cheese are popular forms of fermented milk. Any foods can be fermented, and there are many examples of fermented foods around the world, such as Korean kimchi and the Swedish fermented fish Surströmming.
HEALTH BENEFIT CLAIMS
Behind the Health Benefit Claims. “It is becoming increasingly clear that the fermentation process changes the health-promoting characteristics of foods,” says Jeffrey B. Blumberg, PhD, professor emeritus at Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.
For example, large studies have suggested an association between consumption of fermented dairy foods and weight maintenance that is not seen with unfermented dairy products, and frequent yogurt consumption is associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and overall mortality.
Some data show kimchi, a fermented cabbage dish ubiquitous in Korean cooking, is associated with anti-diabetic and anti-obesity benefits not seen with unfermented cabbage. Some of these suspected health benefits may result from the presence of the microorganisms themselves, but emerging research indicates that changes those organisms make to the food constituents, and new constituents they create, might have health benefits in their own.
HEALTH BENEFITS INCLUDE
Some of the potentially health-promoting effects of fermentation include:
1. Adding to our gut microbiota. Probiotics are live bacteria that some evidence indicates can confer health benefits when consumed in adequate numbers.
Some bacteria used in fermentation are known probiotics (or are similar to probiotic species). If fermented foods and beverages contain live microorganisms when consumed, a relatively large number of these organisms apparently make it through the human digestive system alive. “During the last decade, the number of studies has exploded regarding gut microbiota and their impact on the health of not only the gut but also the brain, heart, and immune system,” says Blumberg.
2. Changing existing compounds. In fermentation, the microorganisms break down food constituents. This process may have health benefits. For example, in fermented vegetables certain bacteria help convert health-promoting flavonoids into a more readily-absorbed form.
In dairy products, the bacteria break down lactose, making yogurt and cheese easier for lactose-intolerant people to digest.
3. Creating new compounds. Fermentation may create new compounds that have health-promoting actions in the body.
For example, one common result of bacterial fermentation is lactic acid (lactate), which recent research indicates is involved in anti-inflammatory and possibly antioxidant processes.
Other strains of microorganisms actually synthesize B vitamins or vitamin K; discourage “bad” bacteria from taking hold in the gut; or produce molecules not found in the original form of the food that play a variety of potentially health-promoting roles in the body.
4. Deactivating undesirable compounds. In addition to creating (mostly) desirable compounds in foods, fermentation can also remove undesirable compounds. In some plant foods, so-called anti-nutrients like phytic acid bind to nutrients like iron and calcium, decreasing the amount of these nutrients available to be absorbed by the body.
Fermentation can reduce phytic acid levels, which frees up more nutrients for absorption. Additionally, some food components are typically fermented in the gut by gut bacteria. This can create gas and trigger digestive problems. Fermenting foods before consumption leaves less work for gut microbes, and may help ease digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome.
5. So far, there is not a lot of clinical data backing up the potential health benefits discussed above, or the health claims often attributed to fermented foods.
But tasty foods like yogurt, hard cheese, the fermented yogurt drink kefir, cabbage-based sauerkraut and kimchi, or the increasingly popular fermented tea kombucha are delicious ways to add nutritional variety to your overall dietary pattern.
Of course when we say “yogurt,” we mean the plain, unsweetened product, to which you control the additional fruits and sugar content. The presugared/fruit purée style is not a healthy choice. Look for a yogurt with more grams of protein than in carbohydrates (Greek usually fits the healthier choice).
The same goes for other milk products, or any prepared food or drink. If it has added sugars, leaving it on the shelf is the best way to keep it from showing up on your own body. If you have a body like mine, these sugar bombs explode in one perturbing place, every single time, as if there were a hidden sugar magnet inside my body! Every. Single. Time.
Yet we can do this! I keep weighing my food, keep a food diary, and exercise. I realize 30 minutes a day doesn’t seem to be enough to lose weight, but it is enough to keep my blood sugar and blood pressure in check. I either have to work less and workout more, or accept 2/3 of my efforts are good enough for someone in the later years of her life.
I’ll probably be working on the last 1/3, just because I can’t rest until I get it ALL. This means I need to cut back on some of my “working.” I’m going to post more monthly on this blog than every two weeks from now on. My Facebook Cornie’s Kitchen page will get more frequent posts.
Joy and peace, Cornie.
Tufts Nutrition Letter, Articles, November 2018 Issue
Cat food. People food. Ever get too much of a good thing?
Folks who grew up in the Great Depression were glad to have chicken on Sundays. In Louisiana, politicians promised “a chicken in every pot and every man a king.” My family ate fried chicken at my grandparents’ home every week, until my Nannie passed away.
When that happened, my daddy let my mother know we should plan a different menu for Sunday lunch, that is, anything as long as it wasn’t fried chicken. He was tired of the same meal week in and week out. Mother went along with this, for she knew it wouldn’t be too long before daddy would be craving some fried chicken. She was right. It wasn’t worth arguing over.
Grief hits everyone differently. My dad kept his feelings about the unchanging menu to himself for the sake of family harmony. Mother kept her grief and loss sublimated to care for her father and our family, even if she allowed herself to cry on the anniversary of her mother’s death every year.
I’ve gone on food jags before, and then lost my taste for that food. I find I crave snack foods and breads when I’m stressed, but when the stressor leaves my life, I wonder why I have this unopened bag of potato chips on the top shelf of my cabinet. Go figure! Since I have to pull out the step stool to get it, I have to think twice, “Do I truly want this or do I merely crave it?” I find myself leaving it there more often than not.
Maybe the “cat diet tips” can help you with your cravings too. Just think of your unhealthy food choices as the “cat’s favorite wet food” —just like a perverse kitty, yass—I’m not going to eat it, just cause!
First, it's not surgery, but hypnosis! This is why it's "Virtual" and not actual or invasive, cutting into the body. How do I find out about these things, you ask? My Twitter account gets spammed with folks who follow me because I write about health. They think I might write glowing words about their product. They might think wrong.
First of all, actual surgery makes real changes in the body's hormone and metabolic activity. Virtual or hypnotic suggestion can't do this. It can only help you choose smaller portions or choose to exercise more. This is real science and you'd need to get your health care professional to explain it to you. The words leptin and grehlin are involved, plus your insulin. Hypnosis doesn't work on our chemicals, just on our desires and inclinations.
Second, hypnosis is the go to panacea or cure all for what ails you. It is the original snake oil, as it were! It is the potion with a notion and the vessel with the pestle that has the brew that is true. Whatever name we know it by, hypnosis is the amazing remedy for any complaint. Just imagine, with a few noninvasive sessions, our breasts could be larger! Hypnosis is a miracle working therapy! What shrinks our stomachs can also grow our breasts!
We can even get free lessons delivered to us through the mail, or maybe get them free on the internet today. Unlimited power for good (or ill) could be ours for nothing! If we look into the mirror, for what will we use this awesome power? I would hypnotize everyone i met into loving their neighbor, no matter their race, color, creed, nation of origin, religion, or sexual preference. We don't have to be hating each other on this small blue ball out in the vastness of the cosmos.
The person offering "Virtual Gastric Bypass Surgery" didn't put a price on any of her sessions, but other web sites did: $800. Actual surgery, which is proven and covered by insurance for medically necessary conditions, runs $5,000 and up. Personally, I'd rather spend $800 on a psychologist to get down to my emotional causes for overeating, but that's just me. A lot of us have fears, anxieties, depression, and other unmet needs we attempt to satisfy with food and drink. The rest of us want to be accepted and loved, and when we aren't, we eat and drink. This leads to less acceptance and more eating and drinking. It's a downward spiral.
Hypnosis claims to break this cycle. Getting a community of support will break the cycle too. Intervention with a counselor, accepting medical help with your depression, and getting started on a healthier food and exercise plan will also break the cycle. Accept you are loved.
Listen to my voice, you are worth loving–you are worth loving–you are worth loving–when I count to three, you'll wake up and all you'll feel is LOVE FOR YOUR SPECIAL SELF! 1–2–3! Wake Up!
Joy and Peace, Cornie
Once every four years, the peaceful transfer of power in our national capitol takes place. Lots of marching bands show up, but no floats or inflated balloons. This is how we know it’s not a football bowl game or holiday parade. If Rick Perry wanted to get a leg up on renewable energy sources, he’d look into ways to harness and recycle the hot air from all the speeches and toasts at the various balls (only three of which President Trump will attend).
The television pundits watching Trump at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and at the Lincoln Memorial remarked how “he seemed to be settling into the mantle of the presidency as he entered these hallowed spaces.” They hope, but forget our new president’s true self, which is “reality television star.” He can act any part well when he needs to. The rest of America isn’t fooled.
Half of America is already dialing 911 for the trauma response team, while the other half is hoarding the last of their pills and/or guns. These latter ones have yet to decide if they have full on Buyers’ Remorse or just a touch of the Russian Flu. I think if we approach this day from a different point of view, we’ll not only survive, but thrive. On the calendar, January 20th is also Penguin Awareness Day and National Cheese Lovers Day.
Although the Libertarians didn’t get 4% of the popular vote in the 2016 election, a penguin is an unofficial symbol of the United States Libertarian Party. Evidently, more people loved the movie “Happy Feet” than adhere to free thinking political views. Penguins have equality in relationships. In some species, it’s the male penguin which incubates the eggs while females leave to hunt for weeks at a time. Because of this, pudgy males—with enough fat storage to survive weeks without eating—are most desirable. This may explain America’s fascination with our newest tuxedo wearing presidential icon.
While pudginess might describe many of our politicians, equality of relationships isn’t their usual style. This is why over 200,000 women and their supporters marched in protest this Weekend, and why many singers and celebrities were a no show to the festivities. President Trump probably needs to eat more cheese.
For instance, the average American eats almost three times as much cheese today as in 1970. The report’s dairy chart tells us the average U.S. consumer is, at 23 pounds per year, eating more than the occasional cheese dip. In 1970, the number was about eight pounds.
Given President elect Trump’s aversion to Mexico, he could make nice by eating more Taco Bell steak quesadillas, with cheddar, pepper jack, mozzarella and a creamy sauce. “The item used an average of eight times more cheese than other items on their menu,” the Agriculture Department said in a report, extolling Dairy Management’s work — without mentioning that the quesadilla has more than three-quarters of the daily recommended level of saturated fat and sodium. This way he could help Make America Grate Again.
Everyone in Washington will be dressed up in the fancy pants, or the tuxedo. Penguins spend several hours a day preening or caring for their feathers. If penguins don’t keep them well maintained, their feathers would not stay waterproof. For extra protection, penguins spread oil on their feathers. The oil comes from a special gland near their tail feathers.
This year the Republicans hold sway in Washington., so we’ll give them the honor of being the penguin with the highest number of species: the Macaroni Penguin (approximately 11,654,000 pairs). Macaroni Penguins (Eudyptes chrysolophus) get their name from the long, orange, yellow, and black feathery crests above their eyes. They were named after “macaroni dandies,” whose hairstyle was fashionable in the 18th century.
I hope these Macaroni Republicans have ideas more suited to the 21st century, or they’ll find themselves in the minority in two years. The Trump supporters who need to keep their health insurance will want to have their pledge kept, or they’ll defect in a heartbeat.
I’m eating my way through the day, making delicate dishes with unusual flavors for my ordinary meals. It’s not every day we install a new president, even if it’s not the one for which most of the American electorate voted. He may not even be the “one for whom his own supporters voted,” since his mind seems to be fluid, at bes
Finally, an A list singer, but with his lyrics scrambled into a new version just for the occasion will help us get through this very long day, for we will all need some love out in the hinterland:
“Shower The People” by James Taylor, with lyrics rearranged for Inaugural Festivities
TRUMP AND FAMILY:
You can play the game and you can act out the part,
even though you know it wasn’t written for you.
You can run but you cannot hide, this is widely known.
Tell me, what you plan to do with your foolish pride when you’re all by yourself, alone.
Things are gonna work out fine if you only will do as I say, just
shower the people you love with love, show them the way you feel.
Things are gonna be much better if you only will.
Tell me, how can you stand there with your broken heart ashamed of playing the fool?
One thing can lead to another; it doesn’t take any sacrifice.
Oh, father and mother, sister and brother, if it feels nice, don’t think twice,
just shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel.
Once you tell somebody the way that you feel, you can feel it beginning to ease.
I think it’s true what they say about the squeaky wheel always getting the grease.
Better to shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel.
Things are gonna be just fine if you only will what I’d like to do to you.
Shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel.
Things are gonna be much better if you only will.
Shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel.
You’ll feel better right away.
Don’t take much to do, sell your pride.
They say in every life, they say the rain must fall, just like pouring rain, make it rain.
Make it rain, love, love, love is sunshine, oh yes,
Make it rain, love, love, love is sunshine. Everybody, everybody.
Most of us don’t much care for Monday just because. Yep. Says it all, right? Work, the daily grind, routines, dealing with problems, and the people who want it yesterday already! What are they thinking, we’re magicians? Or they’re the only customer we have? Get a grip. And it’s not even 9 AM yet. This eight hour day is going to be a Bataan Death March to quitting time if it isn’t fueled by copious amounts of caffeine.
Monday after a national trauma is even worse. On Monday, September 11, 2001, my only thought coming into my office was to take care of the dead headlights on the church bus. It was a small thing, it was of no consequence. I hadn’t been listening to tv or radio. My plans changed from taking care of things to taking care of people.
This is another Monday, now remembered for the largest mass shooting in our beautiful America, a country founded on the principles of religious freedom and equality for all her people. While we’ve not always lived up to these lofty ideals, we are still going onto perfection.
Just because one person or a group of people may be fueled by hate doesn’t mean the rest of us should join them in their cesspool. This doesn’t mean we open ourselves up to harm, but we don’t have to hate, for this emotion will destroy our souls and empty our lives of joy.
My compassion and prayers go out to all who have lost loved ones in this tragedy, including the family of the shooter. I lost a mentally ill young daughter to a drug overdose. When we discover the background of this lone gunman, I suspect untreated mental illness will play a factor. We may discover this is another “suicide by cop” wrapped in lone gunman jihad mythology. This is a sadness, since many people with depression and other mental illnesses, myself included, live active and productive lives helping others in our messed up world.
As the chief cook in Cornie’s Kitchen, I can tell you when I get stressed over traumatic memories or undergo new new stressors, I go off my food plan big time. Does this mean I’m “bad?” No, but it is a sign I need to deal with my situation. Traveling home, I was listening to CNN on the radio. The longer I listened to them fill up the airways with words about nothing new, the hungrier for junk food I got.
I was carrying apples, but I didn’t eat them. I had cheese and whole grain crackers, but I didn’t break these out. I did eat my salad and chicken during the stretch of city road when I hit every single stop light. Once I made the interstate however, I was the junk food queen all the way home. Braumn’s brownie chocolate ice cream sundae with hot fudge syrup, nuts and whipped cream is definitely medicinal for soothing emotions. Much better than any drug and less risky than alcohol when driving. I cannot do this on a daily basis however.
Monday has come and gone. Even as I post this on Tuesday, we don’t know much more than we did yesterday about this horrific event. I only know I’m not afraid, for I believe and trust in God. I’ve been to the dark places and God was there. I’ve been to the high places, and God was already there. I’ve even said “God doesn’t exist,” but God still was there for me. This is what we mean by “God’s steadfast love endures forever.”
So after a traumatic day, God will be here the rest of the week, the month, the year, and forever. Be glad, hug your weird neighbors, your neighbors of color, your neighbors who eat different foods, and sit a spell in the Kitchen and tell one another about your day. Work to build bridges so people of peace can come together in our common humanity. Take care of one another, for we are all made in the image of God.
Love, joy and peace, Cornie.