Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. ~Hippocrates

Archive for June, 2012

Purple Breakfast?

It didn’t start out that way. Innocent as it was, I made Scottish oatmeal for breakfast. This time, rather than putting those blueberries on top, I decided I might like them a little cooked and warm, so I put them in midway through the cooking cycle. This is what I got:

Yes, it looks weird, but it tasted very good. Just to make it prettier, I added a few more berries to the top, along with some slivered almonds. This hearty breakfast lasted until lunchtime. It was packed with rich antioxidants, fiber, protein and good fats. Very satisfying.

Purple Oatmeal

Delicious Marinade With Benefits

We now know that grilling meats, poultry and fish at high temperatures (which defines grilling) can cause carcinogenic compounds (heterocyclic amines, or HCAs) to form on the food. The recommendation is to grill less often, but there is an additional way to reduce exposure.

Adding thyme and rosemary to a marinade seems to inhibit the formation of these harmful substances. Soak the meat for an hour or more then grill at moderate temperatures, not high. The antioxidants (cancer-fighting compounds) in the spices can cut the HCAs by up to 87%, according to research by Kansas State University.

So, enjoy your grilled food, but consider a tasty marinade to protect yourself from carcinogens.

Safe Weight Loss

Frankly, I was alarmed when someone recently said that she was losing a lot of weight in a very short period of time. I don’t know the details – perhaps she is under medical supervision and I hope it is not using a clinically unproven fad diet. But it prompted me to address the issue again, in general.

The Mayo Clinic and other reputable sources, cite a safe weight loss rate of 1-2 lbs per week. Rapid loss not only puts your health at risk, it is unlikely to result in sustained loss. Why? There are 2 factors going against you – one biological and one psychological. The first is the body’s natural desire to keep the weight on. When extreme dieting begins, weight will come off at first, but then the metabolism slows down to preserve that weight. Secondly, we are creatures of habit. The only way to sustain weight loss is to develop new habits. Therefore, if a diet is temporary, so will the weight loss be temporary. The way to keep it off is to change your diet habits forever.

I have written past entries about safe weight loss and maintenance. For more information see:

-Why diets fail
-How to keep your weight off after losing it
-Weight loss is not magic, and
-Diatta – from the Greek for “manner of living”

Heat and Hydration

Much of the United States is experiencing a heat wave this week, so it’s a good time to revisit the issue of hydration.

With temps in the high 90’s and humidity making it feel even hotter, it is best to limit time outdoors if possible. But when you must be exposed to the heat, it is imperative that you drink much more that you would normally. If you are working or exercising outdoors, you may need a sports drink as well. Don’t reach for the sports drinks routinely however. While they have their place, they add sugar and calories you may not need. Athletes engaging in continuous, strenuous exercise need the sugar to fuel their muscles. If you are not exercising, the sugar will just be stored as fat. Electrolytes in these drinks are needed if you are sweating profusely, as that is when you lose them. For the average person, water alone would be best.

How much? On a normal day, a good rule of thumb is 8 (women) to 12 (men) glasses. That is what we lose through perspiration, normal metabolism and elimination. On a hot day, you need more, depending on how much you sweat.

Thirst not a reliable indicator of need for water. By the time we feel thirst, we are already dehydrating. Also, the thirst mechanism fails with aging.

Be safe. Drink water throughout the day. Eat fruits and yogurt, which have high concentration of water. And only consider sports drinks when you are exercising your muscles and sweating a great deal.

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