Summer is surely slowing me down, but then again, I refuse to admit it might be age. I’m sure it’s the heat. Stay hydrated—remember, caffeine is a diuretic, so drink a glass of water for every cup of the “hard stuff” you imbibe. That goes for the iced teas and colas also.
As a matter of health, I hope none of you are ingesting the sugar laden energy drinks meant for athletes. Not many of us are expending that amount of energy in our daily lives or even in our short exercise periods.
When the heat factors rise, increase your water intake. Your body will thank you. Add more veggies and fruits, which also contain water and fiber. Eat less bread and pasta, even if whole grain. You want to keep your “system moving,” as folks said in the days of old.
Keep cool, wear a mask when you go outside, avoid the crowds, and keep your hands clean. I want to keep having a cup of coffee with you from time to time here in Cornie’s Kitchen. Y’all have a good weekend.
In my neck of the woods, we’re calling this month HOT-TOBER, since it’s started off unnaturally hot. Where are those crisp, cool fall days the calendar promises us? They must be a figment of some other universe’s imagination. We’re starting out with temperatures in the 90F+ range, instead of 80F. While our trees are changing color, we think it’s because of the drought and shorter days, more than the cool weather. This doesn’t change our desire to make pumpkin soups or swill Pumpkin Spice Lattes, so we do this in our sandals, rather than our boots. Our first freeze might not be until mid-November, but that doesn’t mean our nights won’t be cool enough to wear a jacket. Football season will still be in full swing, and Halloween will also be an outdoor activity.
For health and food, October has it all: Breast Cancer Awareness Month, National Pasta Month, Italian-American Heritage Month, and Halloween, not to mention the end of the Jewish High Holy Days with Yom Kippur and the harvest festival of the Booths. As the days fly by like so many falling leaves calling us to rake, rake, rake before the in-laws and out-laws come barreling over hill and dale for the annual feast at Thanksgiving next month and we get the urge to decorate our homes for winter, let’s pause and give October its due.
When I was a child, we planned ahead for our costumes for trick or treat night. My brothers wanted to be cowboys or pirates, so they could wrangle their toy cap guns and wear their leather vests. The pirate child had an old bandana tied around his head, ripped jeans and a big hoop earring in one ear, plus a few “scars” drawn on his face. I once went as “Carmen Miranda” complete with a plastic fruit headdress and gaudy, huge earrings. The fruit kept falling off my head, since it wasn’t well secured. This did slow down my journey from house to house, while my wild cowboy and pirate brothers raced on ahead. We finished together, however. The race isn’t always to the swift and we all got the same amount of goodies and treats.
What I remember most is we rarely wore a jacket or sweater when we walked around the block on the last night of October, even sixty years ago. I never took a coat to school my entire senior year in high school either. This is how folks live down South. Montana may have a snowstorm before Freak-Tober, but that’s not happening in the lower latitudes. We close the schools in case of snow since no one knows how to drive in that white mess. Having lived up North, I can attest not many there can drive in it either.
Of course, I’ve also been at the top of Pike’s Peak in the middle of July and seen snow flurries. It’s a sight to behold for flatland tourists, who rarely see the white stuff at home. My dad, who rode old the cog railway up the mountain to its 14,000 foot peak, needed oxygen, which was on hand at the visitor center there. This cog railway was in continuous operation for 127 years, until age required a complete makeover, including the tracks, trains, and passenger cars, since no one makes the old design anymore. It has a 2020 opening date. It’s a great trip.
Every form of pumpkin is in season at your local grocery store now. This is good for Vegetarians, folks who make Homemade Cookies, and those who want to Do Something Nice for Custodial Workers or Bosses or Boyfriends. Also, you can use your pumpkins in crockpot soup recipes, which are good for busy Teachers, Techies, and Mad Hatters. If you want to celebrate National Frappe Day, remember there is NO PUMPKIN in a PSL or anything else named Pumpkin Spice at your local coffee shop. This refers to the spices, not the vegetable. World Mental Health Day is celebrated along with cake days. Most of us would be better off if we put more sweetness in our lives and less sourness. Some folks claim chocolate makes insects palatable. I’m not there yet, so I’m celebrating International Skeptics Day twice in a row.
Mid October brings us the days for World Food, National Grouch, Feral Cats, and National Bosses. I sometimes wonder who puts these lists together. I wouldn’t need a National Dictionary to figure it out, but if I Wear Something Gaudy and Eat Pasta and a Chocolate Cupcake, I’d have a running chance at it. Speaking of attire, October also has Dress Like a Dork day, National Suspenders Day, Boxer Shorts day, and Tube Top day, as well as Count your Buttons Day. If you’re rummaging in your closet, you might find a fun, handmade, and creative Halloween costume.
We wrap up the month with Cranky Co-Workers day and American Beer Day on a Sunday, which must be a pre-Monday loading of angst for the folks who hate their jobs. If they can just hold it together until Monday, they can have Chocolate all day long, spend Tuesday on the Internet watching Cat Videos, Wednesday eating Candy Corn and Pumpkin Bread, and send Fright-Tober out on the 31st with a feast of Halloween Candy and Caramel Apples, while they Carve a Pumpkin. Then TGIF it’s November, and we can put all this silliness behind us.
I’m attaching my recipe for Butternut Squash Soup with Chicken—I enjoyed this dish. It makes three full sized servings or six cup servings (serve with a sandwich).
I hope you all have a great October and get outside in the cooler air. Yes, I know it’s only “relatively” cooler, but after a hot summer, we’ll take anything that walks like Fall or talks like Fall, even if it’s summer in disguise.
Love, joy and peace, Cornie
October 1: World Vegetarian Day, National Homemade Cookie Day, Rosh Hashana (New Year)
October 2: World Farm Animals Day, (International) Walk to School Day,
October 2: Name Your Car Day, National Custodial Workers Recognition Day
October 3: Techies Day, National Boyfriend Day, Captain Kangaroo Day, National Poetry Day
October 4: National Vodka Day, National Taco Day, World Animal Day, International Toot Your Flute Day, National Diversity Day, World Smile Day
October 5: World Teachers’ Day, National Apple Betty Day, Do Something Nice Day, International Observe the Moon Night
October 6: Mad Hatter Day
October 7: Bathtub Day, Child’s Health Day, National Frappe Day
October 8: Tube Top Day, National Pierogi Day, Columbus Day ,Yom Kippur begins at Sundown
October 9 : Fire Prevention Day, Curious Events Day, National Moldy Cheese Day, Yom Kippur ends at Sundown
October 10: National Cake Decorating Day,National Angel Food Cake Day, World Mental Health Day
October 11: National Sausage Pizza Day, National Coming Out Day
October 12: National Gumbo Day
October 13: Silly Sayings Day, No Bra Day, International Skeptics Day
October 14: National Chocolate-Covered Insect Day: Bug Appétit!, National Dessert Day, Be Bald and Be Free Day, National Lowercase Day, Sukkot (Festival of Booths) begins
October 15: National Grouch Day, National Mushroom Day
October 16: National Liqueur Day, World Food Day, National Dictionary Day, National Feral Cat Day, National Boss Day
October 17: National Pasta Day, Spirit Day, Wear Something Gaudy Day
October 18: National Chocolate Cupcake Day, World Menopause Day, National Mammography Day
October 19: Dress Like a Dork Day, Rainforest Day, Sweetest Day
October 20: National Brandied Fruit Day, National Suspenders Day,
October 21: National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day, Reptile Awareness Day, Count Your Buttons Day, International Day of the Nacho
October 22: National Nut Day, International Stuttering Awareness Day, Simchat Torah/end of Sukkot
October 23: iPod Day, National Mole Day (Avrogadro’s Number), TV Talk Show Host Day
October 24: National Bologna Day, Good and Plenty Day, World Polio Day
October 25: National Greasy Foods Day, World Pasta Day, Frankenstein Friday
October 26: Howl at the Moon Night, National Pumpkin Day, National Mule Day, Make a Difference Day
October 27: Cranky Co-Workers Day, American Beer Day, Boxer Shorts Day, Mother-in-Law Day
October 28: National Chocolate Day
October 29: National Cat Day, Internet Day
October 30: National Candy Corn Day, Pumpkin Bread Day, Mischief Night
October 31: Halloween, National Caramel Apple Day, National Knock Knock Jokes Day, Carve a Pumpkin Day
September is the start of astronomical autumn. The Japanese just celebrated the Full Moon Viewing or the Mid-Autumn Festival, complete with Moon Cakes and Rice Dumplings, or tsukimi-dango, which represent offerings and prayers for a good harvest. Here in my home on Lake Hamiliton, Arkansas, the geese have made a stopover on their journey south to warmer weather. They know cooler temperatures are coming. I’ve seen some reds and yellows poking through the greens of the trees lining our roadways. My friends say, “That’s the result of drought.” I know the days are getting imperceptibly shorter and the week we had with evening temperatures in the 60’s fooled some of these living plants into an early change.
Still, September here is on pace for the warmest ever, since we’ve been keeping records. I couldn’t help but bring out my recipe for Butternut Squash Soup. I bought it during that brief cool spell, but didn’t get around to cooking it till a week later when it really warmed up. Mr. Crockpot offered to help, so I wouldn’t have to sweat, and I’m eternally grateful for his help. Also to Mr. Microwave who had a hand in this recipe. All I had to do was chop and wash a few veggies and measure out everything. This is a recipe I can get behind for later fall weekends when I have football, leaf raking, or hiking outside, or any other activity other than cooking all day inside on my list to do.
You can prep this recipe in less time than Pink Floyd’s album, Dark Side of the Moon, unless you are very particular about the size of your dicing. In soups, which you’ll blend up, this size needs only to be approximate, not perfect. Get it done, and go do something else. Mr. Crockpot can handle the rest.
Combine onions and garlic in oil in heavy pan and heat until clear.
1 Tbs olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Chop veggies and add to crock pot along with onions and garlic.
Microwave the washed and pierced squash for 5 minutes on high. Let cool.
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into large cubes (about 8 cups)
4 sprigs thyme
1 sprig sage
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 c. Water
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp harissa or chili powder
Pinch of cayenne
Cook at low heat on crockpot for 8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Smush the softened squash with a metal measuring cup, or add a cupful at a time to a blender if you want it fully pureed.
Can add mozzarella or ricotta cheese to each serving and freshly chopped parsley, for garnish.
If you have leftovers, reheat and add braised mushrooms, fresh spinach, and/or beef (ground or chunks). I’ve also added asparagus that weren’t quite fresh enough to serve individually, but were fine in a soup.
Add Kosher salt at the table to taste if needed. Taste it first–the cheese may add enough saltiness, especially for those who are eating a salt restricted diet.
NUTRITION:Makes 6 one cup servings. These numbers for original recipe, not for cheese, extra veggies, or added meats.
Welcome to June! We’re officially into summer, even though the Solstice won’t arrive until June 21st. For most of us in the USA, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer and a more relaxed schedule. And it’s early this year, to boot!
Our temperatures here in Arkansas already have begun to hit the nineties, so our kitchens can become intensely warm, even with modern air conditioning. Now, picnics and outdoor grilling will take over as the preferred sites for food consumption and preparation. Therefore, I’ve concentrated only on the food holidays. Besides, a change of pace does us good.
Watermelon is in Season Now
Moving slower means we use less energy and don’t heat up as much. When the temperatures are hot, exercise in the early mornings or near sunset. If you have medical issues or take prescriptions that reduce your tolerance for the heat, exercise indoors.
June 23rd is National Hydration Day. Don’t wait till then to begin this healthy practice. Everyone needs to drink water, even if you aren’t “thirsty.” Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. If you wear sandals and notice drying heels, up your water and vegetables. The summer heat is dehydrating and no amount of lotions applied on the outer surface will replace your inner drought.
Have a safe and happy June, June, June, under the Moon, Moon, Moon!
A few poems and a bit of prose for your enjoyment.
[under the evening moon]
BY Kobayashi Issa
Translated by Robert Hass
Under the evening moon
is stripped to the waist.
Source: The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho Buson and Issa(The Ecco Press, 1994)
I See the Moon
Perihelion: A History of Touch
BY Franny Choi
The house was filled with the smell of it, the last misshapen, sweet-heavy berries of the season losing their shapes on the stove. The house was filled with the smell of fruit unbecoming, fruit pulled to its knees at fire’s feet. All summer long, the bushes had whispered take me, shown us all the places we could kiss if we wanted. And so, as the light died, we put our mouths on the least lovable, the too-full, the easy-bruised, we shouted, I choose you, and you, and you, and you,and canned that hunger, and spooned it into our mouths on the coldest days.
ALL IN JUNE
by William Henry Davies
A week ago I had a fire
To warm my feet, my hands and face;
Cold winds, that never make a friend,
Crept in and out of every place. Today the fields are rich in grass,
And buttercups in thousands grow;
I’ll show the world where I have been–
With gold-dust seen on either shoe. Till to my garden back I come,
Where bumble-bees for hours and hours
Sit on their soft, fat, velvet bums,
To wriggle out of hollow flowers.
RECIPE FOR SUN TEA WITH MINT AND LEMON
In a large clean pitcher, add cool water up near to the top. For every 8 ounces of water, use one single serving tea bag, and for every 32 ounces or 2 quarts use a family size tea bag of tea.
I like to make my tea with 64 ounces of water in a large pitcher, so I use 1 decaf tea bag and 1 real caffeine tea bag (both family size) along with 6 herbal flavored teas (single serving size). You can also use crushed mint and lemon slices, but these will make the tea cloudy. It also needs to stay refrigerated or the natural products will go bad on you.
This recipe makes my tea a bit stronger than most, but I like it this way. You can add sweetener later by making a thin syrup of water and sugar, agave, or honey to stir into the tea. It’ll mix better than crystals or a thick liquid. Or you can use Splenda. I leave my tea unsweetened and let others adjust the taste as they see fit, as well as add their “poison of choice.” (Some only use natural sugars, while others think any sugar is a death food!)
For Mother’s Day I had leftover cauliflower egg casserole. Leftovers are a mother thing, I suppose. When I was young, my brothers and I would cook our Mother a breakfast of sorts on Sunday morning. Daddy would have brought her coffee in bed, while we three messed up the kitchen making pancakes or scrambled eggs. Of course, she accepted our tribute with a gracious smile and ate it all, no matter what it actually tasted like.
Cauliflower Egg and Cheese Casserole
I’m not sure our measurements were as exact as hers. If my own young daughter’s use of salt for baking powder in a recipe is an example of thinking “they’re both white so they should act the same,” we might have mixed up our chemistry in the old kitchen back in the day also. At least we didn’t set the stove on fire, but our parents trusted us to cook unattended at an open flame even when I was ten, and my brothers were 8 and 5 years old. We’d been supervised much earlier, and “watched like a hawk” in that apprenticeship time, so if Dad strolled into the kitchen for refills, he could tell at a glance if we were on task or about to burn the house down.
I remember my Mother always ate the heel of the bread and took the last serving of any dish at the table. She let us have the choice of the best parts and took what was leftover. I once asked her about her willingness to be last, when the rest of us were falling all over each other to be first. She said, “This is my calling. This is what I do.” I think she sometimes felt unappreciated for this gift of humbleness, for when she was frayed down to her last strand, she’d swear “I’ll get more than one star in my crown when I get to heaven! I’ll shine so bright, I’ll be a whole constellation!”
We’d laugh and hug her, and Daddy would tell her she was still the best little mama ever, and she’d calm down again. Sometimes we don’t appreciate those who do the most for us, until they can’t do any more. We load up on a few good workers at the job site, but don’t train the rest to grow into those positions of responsibility. When these retire or move on, we are left bereft. Some bosses take on all their workers’ duties and then wonder why their help doesn’t do much. If we want to raise up responsible adults, we have to raise responsible young people. We get responsible young people by letting children learn to take small challenges according to their age and capabilities.
I know THEY say never make an untested dish for a party. That just takes the adventure and excitement out of the equation. This recipe was a little more complicated than my usual because I made it for a potluck at my condo this weekend. I used my imagination and prior experience to visualize the outcome. If you can’t taste and smell the recipe before you cook it, you need to keep looking for a recipe that excites and activates your senses.
Cauliflower Cake—cheese, egg, veggies casserole
Serves 4 to 6 Ingredients
• 1 small cauliflower, outer leaves removed, broken into 1 1/4-inch florets (about 4 cups)
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
• 1 medium red onion
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
• Melted unsalted butter, for brushing
• 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
• 1 teaspoon nigella (also known as black caraway), cumin, or black sesame seeds
• 7 large eggs
• 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped (1/4 C dried basil)
• 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated Parmesan or aged cheese
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
• Freshly ground black pepper
1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Meanwhile, prepare the cake.
2. PAN BOILED CAULIFLOWER—Place the cauliflower florets and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and simmer over medium-high heat until the florets are quite soft, about 15 minutes. They should break when pressed with a spoon. Drain and set aside in a colander to dry.
3. ALTERNATIVE COOKING PROCESS—cut cauliflower into 1 inch pieces. Put into baking dish sprayed with Pam. Microwave on high for 3 minutes or until tender.
4. Cut 4 round slices, each 1/4-inch, off one end of the onion and set aside. Dice the rest of the onion and place in a small frying pan with the oil and rosemary. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
5. Meanwhile, line the base and sides of a 9 1/2-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Brush the sides with melted butter, then mix together the sesame and other seeds and toss them around the inside of the pan so that they stick to the sides. (If you don’t have this pan, use regular pan lined with parchment paper, pan well sprayed with Pam, or make in muffin pan.)
6. Transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl. Add the eggs and basil and whisk well to combine. Add the cheese, flour, baking powder, turmeric, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and plenty of pepper. Whisk until smooth. Add the cauliflower and stir gently, trying not to break up the florets.
7. Pour the cauliflower mixture into the pan, spreading it evenly, and arrange the reserved onion rings on top. Bake until golden brown and set, about 45 minutes. A knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Let cool at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving. It needs to be served just warm, rather than hot, or at room temperature.
Turmeric: substitute curry if you don’t have turmeric.
Baking pan options: If you don’t have a springform pan, you can just use a regular 9-inch cake pan or even an 8-inch square pan, but still line with parchment paper first. Or, just spray well with Pam. There’s enough oil in the recipe and cheese to keep the whole from sticking.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
I recently returned from a visit to Israel with my church group. I was glad to be there and walk the pilgrim routes of old. The hospitality was wonderful and we stayed in nice hotels. Our breakfasts and dinners were buffet style, with a good selection of excellent, freshly prepared foods. We had our choice of many Mediterranean type dishes, as well as small, fancy pastries for desert. Since we walked about five miles a day, we had a few calories to spare.
Assorted Salad Items, Israel
HUNGER IN THE MIDST OF PLENTY
I look forward to every meal, for I do enjoy my food. I also enjoy the adventure of discovery and new taste sensations. Some of my traveling companions weren’t so thrilled, however. By the second day away from the states, they were complaining about missing a “good egg and sausage biscuit from McDonald’s.” We had a plate of scrambled eggs, hummus, fresh veggies, and pita bread, plus the best olives I’d ever tasted before us that morning. I listened, but said nothing, since I hadn’t eaten a fast food breakfast in five or more years.
I remembered my own experience with the “special sauce” of the Big Mac. At least once a week, I’d feel the need to eat this burger, as if I were having withdrawal symptoms which needed to be soothed by consuming my fix. The ancient Hebrews were once used to the foods of slavery in Egypt. After they won their freedom, they were in the wilderness.
FLESHPOTS OF EGYPT “Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees; and they camped there by the water. The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.
The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (Exodus 15:27 – 16:3)
My friends were surrounded by tables groaning with wonderful food, but they bemoaned the loss of their beloved “American McDonald’s fleshpots” with their non kosher pork, cheese, and egg combination. I decided not to eat with them again. No one needs to travel over 5,000 miles to eat the same food as home. Then again, these folks may have been experiencing withdrawal symptoms if they were accustomed to their daily fix. They deserve compassion and a safe place to learn a new behavior, just like any of us who have a bad habit.
JUNK FOOD JUNKIE
Quitting junk food produces similar withdrawal-type symptoms as drug addiction. We common folk have known this for forty years, but now science has confirmed it. I visited my WayBack Machine to find the lyrics for this 1976 Golden Oldie: “Junk Food Junkie” by Larry Groce. The chorus goes like this:
Yeah, in the daytime I’m Mr. Natural
Just as healthy as I can be
But at night I’m a junk food junkie
Good Lord have pity on me!
In the Kitchen, we know food eaten any time of the day or night affects our bodies for good or ill. When I was an art student, I had a roommate who thought fasting during the day and eating in the dark would help her maintain her weight. Half a century ago, we called this theory “unseen calories have zero calories.” She never figured out why she gained weight.
HIGHLY PROCESSED FOODS AND ADDICTIVE EATING
A University of Michigan study confirms what has long been suspected: highly processed foods like chocolate, pizza and French fries are among the most addictive. Moreover, highly processed foods are linked to addictive eating. This is one of studies to examine specifically which foods may be implicated in “food addiction,” which has become of growing interest to scientists and consumers in light of the obesity epidemic.
Previous studies in animals conclude that highly processed foods, or foods with added fat or refined carbohydrates (like white flour and sugar), may be capable of triggering addictive-like eating behavior. Clinical studies in humans have observed that some individuals meet the criteria for substance dependence when the substance is food.
Although highly processed foods are generally known to be highly tasty and preferred, we don’t know whether these types of foods can elicit addiction-like responses in humans, nor do we know which specific foods produce these responses, said Ashley Gearhardt, U-M assistant professor of psychology.
Unprocessed foods, with no added fat or refined carbohydrates, such as brown rice and salmon, were not associated with addictive-like eating behavior. Individuals with symptoms of food addiction or with higher body mass indexes reported greater problems with highly processed foods, suggesting some may be particularly sensitive to the possible “rewarding” properties of these foods, said Erica Schulte, a U-M psychology doctoral student and the study’s lead author.
“If properties of some foods are associated with addictive eating for some people, this may impact nutrition guidelines, as well as public policy initiatives such as marketing these foods to children,” Schulte said.
When my daughter was young, I limited our visits to fast food outlets to Friday nights after my work week was over. Mr. Microwave and Mr. Crockpot provided meals during the week, and we grilled on the weekends. I grew up in a household with food and family at the table as a central part of our life. Food doesn’t have to be fancy, and leftovers were offered at least once a week as “druthers” night. Companionship was as important as the meal itself.
Future research should examine whether addictive foods are capable of triggering changes in brain circuitry and behavior like drugs of abuse, the researchers said. If you plan to try and quit junk food, expect to suffer similar withdrawal-type symptoms—at least during the initial week—like addicts experience when they attempt to quit using drugs.
A study by University of Michigan is believed to be the first of its kind to evaluate withdrawal symptoms people incur when they stop devouring highly processed foods, such as pastries, French fries and pizza.
Previous studies have focused on sugar withdrawal among animals and the literature regarding humans offered only anecdotal evidence, said Erica Schulte, the study’s lead author and U-M psychology doctoral candidate.
HIGHLY SATIATING DESIGN OF PROCESSED FOODS
Processed food scientists design foods to hit a satiety point or “yum factor.” This involves adjusting foods to salt, fat, and sugar levels that meet consumer preferences, as well as enabling enhanced shelf life. Employing scientists to dissect elements of the palate and tweak ratios of salt, sugar and fat to optimize taste, the processed food industry, Michael Moss says, has hooked consumers on their products the same way the cigarette industry hooked smokers on nicotine.
What all researchers can agree upon is that the addictive qualities of tobacco, drugs or alcohol affect the brain similarly and cutting back can lead to negative side effects that can make it difficult to reduce intake. Anxiety, headaches, irritability and depression are some of those outcomes.
Understanding whether withdrawal may also occur with highly processed foods was an essential next step in evaluating whether these foods might be capable of triggering similar addictive processes.
Schulte and colleagues created the first self-report tool to measure the physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms among people, then asked 231 adults to report what happened when they reduced the amount of highly processed foods they ate in the past year.
TWO DAYS WITHOUT JUNK FOOD
The participants reported that sadness, irritability, tiredness and cravings peaked during the initial two to five days after they quit eating junk food, then the negative side effects tapered off, which parallels the time course of drug withdrawal symptoms, the study found.
The U-M researchers did not focus on the method used to change their eating behavior, such as participants quitting “cold turkey” or gradually phasing out junk food. Schulte said future studies will analyze the behavior in real time rather than a retrospective approach as in the current findings.
CHALLENGE OF WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS
The study implications suggest that withdrawal symptoms may make dietary changes challenging, which may contribute to people reverting back to bad eating habits, said Ashley Gearhardt, associate professor of psychology and co-author, along with U-M graduates Julia Smeal and Jessi Lewis.
GOAL OF FOOD INDUSTRY
Bottom line is the processed food industry designs their products to keep you eating them. When you hear their siren call, it’s best to put plugs in your ears and row on by. Choose frozen bananas and cocoa powder, with almonds, and add some protein powder if you need a little extra oomph. Enjoy each spoonful slowly. Drink flavored tea. I like hibiscus green tea, mostly decaf over ice. We can do this!
More information: Erica M. Schulte et al. Development of the Highly Processed Food Withdrawal Scale, Appetite (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2018.09.013
Provided by University of Michigan
If I knew where my mind was, I’d be able to find it.
My mind goes to Pluto at the drop of a hat.
What did I come into this room to get?
And where did I park my car?
As we age, we lose brain cells. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. My mother claimed we kids were responsible for the early grey in her hair and its white was the result of the loss of brain cells, which she attributed to our wild ways driving her crazy. Neurons in the brain do die every day, but the brain grows new ones into a person’s seventies.
Previous research suggests cognitive decline doesn’t begin before the age of 60, but this view isn’t universally accepted by scientists, much less the common public. We all have met people who’ve quit growing intellectually in their 30’s, while some have flexible minds and continue to learn new ideas and adjust their previously held thoughts when new information is presented. Some people’s capacity for memory, reasoning and comprehension skills (cognitive function) can start to deteriorate from age 45.
Happy Birthday—Don’t return the favor.
This is why 40 was once considered “over the hill,” but folks today think of 50 as that apex. When my brother decorated my desk with dead plants and black balloons for my 40th birthday, I’m sure he meant it with tongue in cheek. However he might have been also alluding to my well known “space ranger” wandering mind. I don’t think I had cognitive decline; rather mine was more imaginative daydreaming, also known as “not paying attention.”
When I was 60, I watched a program on dementia and cognitive decline. The difference between forgetfulness and cognitive decline is the first happens occasionally and the latter affects your daily living negatively. On my recent vacation I forgot to bring toothpaste. I bought a tube at the grocery store. Cognitive decline is when you forget how to brush your teeth, you get cavities, and don’t make dentist appointments anymore. Then you lose the teeth and get dentures. Most likely someone also has to remind you to use the bubble cleaner on them and rinse them before they go in your mouth again.
Since understanding cognitive aging will be one of the challenges of this century, especially as life expectancy continues to rise, we have to ask, what can we do to for our whole health?
As easy as popping a pill sounds, a large recent review of studies found no solid evidence that vitamin and mineral supplements have any effect in preventing cognitive decline or dementia. The whole internet is full of health claims for this and that supplement, drink, bar, or detox tonic. While B vitamins; beta carotene; vitamins C, D or E; zinc, copper or selenium may be needed in your diet for other reasons, none of these have proved effective in preventing cognitive decline.
How can you prevent cognitive decline? Try this combination strategy:
Four steps can improve your mental skills, even as you age—
1. following a healthy diet,
2. getting regular exercise,
3. socializing, and
4. challenging your brain.
The results of the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER), which is the latest and most impressive study, goes a step further by suggesting that if you follow all four practices, you may even reverse lost mental capacity. The FINGER study indicated those who did so not only kept cognitive skills from declining, it also improved their reasoning skills and speed in performing mental tasks.
The volunteers were randomly assigned to two groups. One set of participants—the study group—received personal nutritional counseling, exercise instruction from physical therapists, and cognitive training. They also underwent seven medical exams during the study period. They frequently met in groups for cooking classes, cognitive training, or exercise instruction. The other participants—the control group—had three medical exams, during which they received general health advice. Both groups were given mental function tests again at the end of the study.
Dr. Scott McGinnis, a neurologist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital and author of The Harvard Guide to Coping with Alzheimer’s Disease, says “Healthy lifestyle behaviors can benefit people of all ages. But to have the greatest impact on late-life mental function, get started early.”
The FINGER study’s results should offer additional encouragement to pursue a healthy, active, engaged lifestyle with regular exercise, a Mediterranean diet, and challenging mental activities because these can help preserve your mental acuity. Moreover, the FINGER study reminds us it not only helps to combine these practices, but it also helps to enjoy them as we do them.
This wasn’t a quick fix, either. The FINGER program lasted for two years and the participants stuck with it because they were enjoying themselves. They also had become friends with others in their training groups. Although the experiment was demanding, only 12% of participants dropped out. Plus, these folks worked at their exercise—attendance was over 85% at training sessions, which included three to five exercise sessions a week, as well as 10 to 12 sessions of nutrition counseling and 144 cognitive training sessions over two years.
If you’re having trouble making healthy changes, a cooking or exercise class may help you get started and open a new circle of friends. Volunteering as a tutor, joining a community choir, or working on a political campaign can offer new intellectual challenges and social engagement. The key to making lifestyle changes is in finding a way to enjoy making them—and that is often among a group of companions who are striving for the same goal.
Fresh vegetables and Chicken breast in Olive oil
We all make a choice in our lives. If we want good health, but don’t want to give up our television programs, we either need to pick an exercise time outside of our favorite TV shows, or hit a gym with screens. For instance, I still eat fried chicken, but only on my vacation. I eat uncured bacon on Saturdays rather than every day, and pancakes once a month. I haven’t given up my favorite foods, but I’ve put a limit on the most unhealthy ones out of respect for my body. This gives me some room for when I feel the need to self medicate with two scoops of ice cream, as when my computer died last month and I had to replace it. Making a big decision is definitely an ice cream moment for me, but I don’t need it every day anymore.
One of my goals at Cornie’s Kitchen is to learn new skills and information to benefit the majority of persons in our world today: half of Americans and 30% of the world’s population are obese or overweight, and the cardiovascular diseases associated with obesity are increasing worldwide also. Since our children are also impacted by this health risk, we have to change our way of looking at food, exercise, time, stress, life, work, and our means of balancing the competing and complex needs in our world.
If I can’t wave a magic wand over you, say a magic spell, or cast a potion of power over you, then at least I can help you burn through a few brain cells. They’ll grow back. Grey hair is a sign of power and wisdom.
Everyone wants to eat more veggies! In fact, I hear the latest food fad is coffee with mushrooms or broccoli added to it. Some toney java joints serve coffee inside carrots, avocados, or tomatoes. I like my coffee in a plain mug, and my veggies in soups or casseroles. Lately I’ve thrown a produce aisle on my pizza, so rather than the meat lover’s pizza, I create a veggie lover’s pizza.
Using fresh ingredients and a made from scratch dough, the pie can be ready in about the same time as a delivery pizza, but at less cost, and much healthier, especially if you’re watching your salt intake. I used some almond flour to cut the carbs of the crust, plus the veggies add some extra fiber.
Dissolve in 0.25 cup (4 fl oz) Water, tap warm,
1 tbsp Active Dry Yeast
1 tbsp Agave Nectar (Wholesome Organic Blue Agave)
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Set aside and mix together the spices:
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Oregano, ground
1 tbsp Parsley, dried
1 tbsp Basil
In separate bowl sift together
0.25 tsp Salt
0.75 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 serving Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour, per 1/4 Cup
Then add the yeast mix and stir.
Add in 1 beet (2″ dia) Beets, fresh, cooked tender, and chopped fine.
Combine well and kneed until stretchy.
Might need 0.25 cup Whole Wheat Flour to keep dough from sticking to surface.
Use rolling pin or hands to push dough into about a 12” circle.
Drizzle 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil over surface to seal it.
Layers of veggies on pizza, without the tomatoes
Layer these toppings on pizza—
4 oz Spinach – Dole Baby Spinach
226 gram Kroger all natural cheese pizza blend or 8 ounces
1 cup, pieces or slices Mushrooms, fresh
4 oz Beef, 90% Lean Ground Beef from Sirloin
6 oz Tomato, grape (3oz = appro 12 tomatoes) sliced
Sprinkle dry spices over the top, or some on the inside or some inside too.
Crimp up edges to keep the food inside the outer walls of your pizza.
Bake in preheated 425 F oven on middle rack on pizza stone for best texture. It takes 15 to 20 minutes, depending on oven & cooking surface. Cheese should be melted and crust tender but not crispy.
If you roll out on parchment paper on top of a cutting board, you can slide the pizza still on the paper onto your hot stone in the oven. This way you don’t ruin the dough by picking it up. This takes the place of a “Baker’s paddle” at a pizzeria.
You could make the crust with spinach for a green crust on St. Patrick’s Day.
425 F preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the oven.
Serving Size: 8 slices of the pizza—I usually eat 2 normally, or 3 if I’m ravenous.
Reheating pizza—put slices on parchment paper in cold oven. Turn to 350F, and remove when you smell it, about 10 minutes. Don’t reheat in microwave.
The nutrition facts are from SparkRecipes. It’s a handy app for creating your own recipes and knowing the nutritional information of the food you eat. I hope you enjoy this pizza! You can modify it any number of ways.
CORNIE’S KITCHEN PIZZA RECIPES at this link—free registration
Have you readied your costume for the annual Trick or Treat event? I saw folks shopping for costumes as early as mid September, for both adults and children. Most of these garbs aren’t scary at all, unlike the one worn by the ghosts and ghouls of ancient lore, by which I mean my neighborhood companions and I.
19th Century Spookiness
We protect children today from such horrors, but back in the 1950’s, ritual exposure under adult protection was considered part of growing up. A very small child dressed as a ghost with a pillowcase over her entire body. Only the eyes and mouth holes were cut out, plus a slit in the front for holding the basket of treats. The shifting nature of the pillowcase was part of the plan—the child couldn’t race to the next house in the dark or the eyeholes would slip and then they’d slip too. I never realized how cunning my parents were.
1950’s Neighborhood Ghost Costume
LET THE HARVEST FESTIVALS BEGIN
Halloween is the official beginning of the harvest festival season in America.
First is the Chocolate Candy season, also known as Trunk or Treat in the church. Then 22 days later is Thanksgiving, a day given over to cooking and eating, with leftovers for a week afterwards. For the next month until Christmas, cookies and homemade treats roll out of our kitchens as if we were our grandparents. Once the New Year arrives, even if we make a resolution to stop this madness, we get an invite to a Super Bowl party on February 3rd, 2019. This is all happening in less than one hundred days (95).
We do this in addition to our regular lives, of course, for we don’t let anything go. No, we merely pile stuff higher and the wonder why it collapses. It’s called the Western Life Style.
LIFESTYLE POSTER CHILD
The main negative features of this lifestyle include stress (long-term and continuous, psychological), positive energy balance (excessive energy intake and low physical activity), low-quality food (both high fat and energy dense, and at the same time poor in micronutrients), and disruption of chronobiology(insufficient sleep). What toe have I not stepped on yet? As my old congregations used to say, “At first you were preaching, but now you’ve done gone to meddling!”
WESTERN LIFESTYLE DEADLY
As countries around the world adopt the Western Lifestyle, rates of metabolic syndrome and diabetes are also increasing. For 2017, the International Diabetes Foundation estimated there were 451 million (age 18-99 years) people with diabetes worldwide. These figures were expected to increase to 693 million by 2045. Almost half of all people (49.7%) living with diabetes are undiagnosed. Moreover, an estimated 374 million people are likely living with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and almost 21.3 million live births to women were affected by some form of hyperglycaemia in pregnancy.
In 2017, approximately 5 million deaths worldwide were attributable to diabetes in the 20-99 years age range. The global healthcare expenditure on people with diabetes was estimated to be USD $850 billion in 2017.
DISTURBANCE IN THE FORCE
“An acute disturbance in any of the physiological regulatory systems evokes reactions that tend to reestablish equilibrium. When the stimuli, even of moderate magnitude, tend to be repetitive or chronic, change and allostasis in one system impact on the other, and vicious cycles are created and reinforced.” The plain language translation is our bodies tend to seek equilibrium. If we lose weight, our bodies try to regain it. The vicious cycle many of us are most familiar with is losing the same amount weight over and over again.
Homemade Pizza Costume
THE FOOD WE EAT
Does what we eat make a difference? Every day a new diet fad comes down the pike, or at least a new packaging of an old one trots out for us to ride it for a while. Then we fall off that horse and look for another, with more appeal (cookie diet, anyone?).
Our food choices interact with our genetic, metabolic, and environmental factors. In obesity and metabolic syndrome, often dietary patterns are considered of central importance. In these, attention has been focused over calories, amounts, and proportions of macronutrients, and their effects on the energetic balance by themselves, and through metabolic regulators. You recognize this in the shorthand “calories in/calories out” slogan.
However, obesity, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and diabetes are way more complex operations than mere subtraction. A calorie isn’t just a calorie. That is, not all calories are created equal, although all whole foods have nutrients. Only recently have the acute effects of food ingestion, taking into consideration the type of food, and the specific effects of some nutrients, namely, fatty acids, began to be studied in relation with obesity and inflammation.
INFLAMMATORY ROLE OF FATS
Total dietary fat and saturated fat are associated with insulin resistance and high blood pressure as well as obesity-related inflammation. An immediate postprandial increase in plasma inflammatory markers after a high-fat meal had been shown in abdominally obese men. Consumption of a saturated fatty acid-rich diet resulted in a proinflammatory “obesity-linked” gene expression profile, whereas consumption of a monounsaturated fatty acid-rich diet caused a more anti-inflammatory profile. This means carnivores eating well marbled steaks every day aren’t doing their bodies long term good, but of course they’re too busy being important to have a real doctor test their blood. And they “feel fine.”
MUFA’s are foods and oils with higher amounts of monounsaturated fats, such as Nuts, Avocado, Canola oil, Olive oil, Safflower oil (high oleic), Sunflower oil, Peanut oil and butter, and Sesame oil. Everyone needs some fat in their diet, for it keeps our skin smooth, our hair lustrous, and our appetite satisfied. We don’t need fried foods or animal fats on a daily basis.
LIVER AND FAT STORAGE
The liver has two functions that directly impact the formation of excess fat: metabolism of carbohydrates (sugars) and digestion of lipids (fats). When we consume carbohydrates, our blood sugar rises, triggering a rise in insulin. That rise in insulin signals our liver to begin storing the excess glucose within its own cells. When the liver is full, it begins storing the excess carbohydrates as fat in our body fat. Sometimes that fat begins to accumulate in the liver cells, and the liver becomes fat.
Similarly, when we consume more lipids that the body can use for energy, the liver stores the excess lipids in body fat, and this excess of lipids can begin to accumulate within the liver as well. Whether the excess of food is made up of carbohydrates (sugars) or fat (lipids) —the liver stores the excess energy for future use. Often this results in excess fat accumulating in the liver itself. This is known as Fatty Liver, the first stage of NAFLD and should be viewed as a warning to change unhealthy lifestyle habits and adopt a low carbohydrate and low fat diet that is high in fresh vegetables and lean proteins.
TAKE OUT BOX
We need to eat enough quality nutrients to lose weight. Starving ourselves won’t do it, since this messes up our metabolism. Eating the good food, complex carbohydrates with fiber, for instance, and lots of vegetables full of water (spinach, zucchini, mushrooms) will help us meet our nutritional goals. Foregoing fried foods, highly processed foods, and fast foods will also improve our health. Exercise every day, if just to walk around the block. I sometimes fail on this. But I find a way to move more around the house or do big muscle chores.
Cornie’s Batgirl Costume
Time—we all have the same amount of it. What we do with it is the important thing. If I add an event to my schedule, something else has to go away. I’m not Wonder Woman. I’m not God. I might be Batgirl. I can’t do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me, but I can do all the IMPORTANT things Christ calls me to do in his power.
Below I’ve made some notes on the role of obesity, free fatty acids, and insulin resistance if you want more information. The link below has an excellent paper if you want to dig deeper. Low grade inflammation and free fatty acids are both implicated in NAFLD, non alcoholic fatty liver disease, which occurs when fat is deposited in the liver.
OBESITY AND INSULIN RESISTANCE
The reason why obesity is associated with insulin resistance is not well understood. Obesity is a condition characterized by an increase of body weight beyond the limitation of skeletal and physical requirements, as the result of excessive accumulation of body fat.
NOT A ROCK BAND
Free fatty acids (FFA) cause both insulin resistance and inflammation in the major insulin target tissues (skeletal muscle, liver and endothelial cells) and thus are an important link between obesity, insulin resistance, inflammation and the development of T2DM, hypertension, dyslipidemia, disorders of coagulation and ASVD.
FAT TISSUE: FACTORY AND WAREHOUSE
Adipose tissue not only stores and releases fatty acids but also synthesizes and releases a large number of other active compounds. According to this concept, an expanding fat mass releases increasing amounts of compounds such as FFA, angiotensin 2, resistin, TNF-α, interleukin 6, interleukin 1-β and others. Some of these compounds, when infused in large amounts, can produce insulin resistance.
However, any substance, in order to qualify as a physiological link between obesity and insulin resistance, should meet at least the following 3 criteria:
0. the substance should be elevated in the blood of obese people;
0. raising its blood level (within physiologic limits) should increase insulin resistance and
0. lowering its blood level should decrease insulin resistance.
So far, only FFA can meet these 3 criteria in human subjects.
Plasma FFA levels are usually elevated in obesity because
0. the enlarged adipose tissue mass releases more FFA and
0. FFA clearance may be reduced
Moreover, once plasma FFA levels are elevated, they’ll inhibit insulin’s anti-lipolytic action, which will further increase the rate of FFA release into the circulation.
The liver is more insulin sensitive than skeletal muscle.
FAT PILLS ARE REAL
Nevertheless, there is convincing evidence that physiological elevations of FFA, such as seen after a fat rich meal, inhibit insulin suppression of hepatic glucose production (HGP) resulting in an increase in HGP (1).
Acutely this rise in HGP is due to FFA mediated inhibition of insulin suppression of glycogenolysis or releasing glucose from carbohydrates.
Longer lasting elevations of FFA, however, are likely to also increase gluconeogenesis, or making glucose from non carbohydrate substances.
Chronically elevated plasma FFA levels, as commonly seen in obese diabetic and non-diabetic individuals, also cause insulin resistance.
GENES AREN’T OUR DESTINY
We know there’s a genetic component linked to the UCP3_HUMAN or mitochondrial uncoupling protein 3 and 2. Healthy pancreatic β-cells are poised to respond rapidly and efficiently to acute changes in circulating nutrient availability to maintain metabolic homeostasis.
CHRONIC EXPOSURE TO OVERNUTRITION
However, it is well recognized that chronic exposure to overnutrition, such as what occurs in obesity, results in a blunting of the insulin response to an acute stimulus.
Whatever its origin, be it or not obesity the main initiator, the chronic low-grade inflammatory condition that accompanies the metabolic syndrome has been implicated as a major player in both the installation of the syndrome and its associated pathophysiological consequences.
WEIGHT LOSS HELPS INFLAMMATION
In good agreement with this interpretation of things, weight loss of obese patients is repeatedly verified to be associated with a decrease of inflammation biomarkers accompanied by improvement of metabolic parameters, namely, insulin sensitivity.
For some reason, when I go into my kitchen, I like to walk on the wild side. Do I go there in real life? Never–you won’t find me climbing up a rock face or hanging off the side of a cliff. When I went to Masada, the ancient fortress where the Jews held out against the overwhelming Roman army which surrounded their mountain fortress, I was terrified as I rode the air tram up to the top. Then I discovered I had to walk on an exterior cantilevered sidewalk hanging out over the valley below to get inside the historic site.
Beet Crust Pizza with Spinach and Chicken
Once I was on solid ground, I could enjoy myself. Going back down I could do, since I’d survived it already one time. Cooking adventures in my kitchen aren’t exactly survival shows like Chopped or Naked and Afraid. Too much drama in those for me! I tend to get an idea in mind, lay out all the ingredients, and start the process. Sometimes I make it up as I go, and other times I’ve read an interesting recipe in the newspaper or on the internet. Most of the time I make a variation on the recipe for my own health’s sake to limit the salt, sugar, and fat in the mix. I use whole grain flour and extra virgin olive oil when I bake, and fresh foods whenever possible. Using foods in season keeps the grocery bill reasonable and assures a variety of nutrients in my menu too.
I had a craving for beets last week, so ate them in salads because of the hot weather. I had a lonely beet left in the veggie compartment, so rather than let it go to waste, I washed, peeled , diced , and microwaved it for 5 minutes until very soft. Then I mushed with a fork. While this was cooking, I combined in a cup 1 tbsp Active Dry Yeast, 1 tbsp Agave Nectar (Wholesome Organic Blue Agave), and .25 cup (8 fl oz) hot Water from the tap.
As the yeast was bubbling, I was sifting the dry ingredients together in a large bowl:
0.75 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 serving Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour – per 1/4 Cup
.25 tsp Salt
Then I added the mushed beets, the yeast mix, and ADD 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Stir together well. If the mix won’t combine into a ball, add just enough water to make it so.
Turn the crust out onto parchment paper. Use .25 Cup Whole Wheat Flour to kneed the dough for a few minutes. Then roll out the crust to an even thinness. It should be about 12 inches in diameter.
Rub 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil into the surface of the crust to seal it. Add the toppings onto the crust:
4 oz Spinach – Dole Baby Spinach
226 gram Kroger all natural cheese pizza blend (8 oz)
8 ounces Chicken Breast (cooked), no skin, roasted, chopped