Essential Arrogance

Last month, the Bees posted a news bite about the amazing new “chocolate vitamin”, epicatechin, which has the very startling potential of addressing 4 out of 5 of the significant public health issues we face today. That’s huge. As you’d expect, researchers are hopping all over this like chaos theory circa 1970. As you’d expect, the major media would rather delve infinitely deeper into the Anna Nicole Smith saga than investigate things like the elimination of every major current health problem facing Western humanity.

Thank goodness for rational, objective journalistic media. It’s horrifying to think where would we be with all these amateur, biased bloggers who are certainly incapable of rational enquiry into serious matters.

You’ll have to pardon my sarcasm. If I were a better man I’d rise to the level of mere sardonic wit, but I’m feeling pretty angry about the presumption, ignorance and – most of all – arrogance that are parading around society with all the dazzle and spice of a trio-appetizer sampler from [insert chain restaurant of choice here]. Like the samplers, this attitude is toxic and full of…well, you know.

I bring up arrogance because of a paragraph in the above news bite that discusses the possibility that epicatechin may in fact be an essential vitamin for human existence. Miss this vit, and major health problems ensue. It’s a good hypothesis. It may get thrown out, as most new scientific hypotheses do, but so far, it’s very compelling. At any rate, it highlights the trouble with arrogance. Mainstream medicine and the government have been quick to discount any new discovery that might challenge the holy grail of “13 essential vitamins and minerals”. I wish that I had the luxury of simply being baffled by this persistent intransigence, but human lives are truly at stake. Who determines essential? Why should we be so arrogant as to assume that we know all there is to know about nutrition? If we really only need 13 “essential” vitamins, or, if the modern diet really is supplying all our nutritional needs, where’s the glowing good health to reflect this bedrock assertion?

Epicatechin is simply the latest – and possibly greatest – discovery to make things a little uncomfortable for those who have an investment in the status quo. By no means do I think we ought to welcome every new “wonder drug” or “miracle nutrient” with open arms. We ought to be skeptical. But there’s a terrific difference between healthy scientific skepticism and essential arrogance.

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[tags]chocolate vitamin, arrogance, epicatechin, wonder drug[/tags]

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A Real Pain in the Caduceus

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

More healthcare news out today makes it pretty clear that radical changes are in order. (By the way, this is a caduceus.)

News Item Uno: Morbid Obesity Is Up, Way Up

There are kinds of obesity? Yes, that’s right: there’s an entire taxonomy of overweight. Kinda sad that we need that, isn’t it? Obesity in general is up, but morbid obesity is way, way up – dangerously so.

What we can do about this:

1. Fire off a letter to your senator. People do pay attention to letters. They know that for every letter they get, there are 1,000 more who share the sentiment.

2. Write letters to the CEOs of junk food companies (oh yeah, pretty much every food company in America). Ask them if they enjoy sleeping in their 1000-thread count sheets children’s diabetes is paying for.

3. Eat fresh, whole foods, and keep the portions small. Teach your children and friends. Be annoying about it. (But not too annoying.)

News Item Dos: Kids Are Manipulated Like Crazy

The overwhelming majority of kiddie-aimed commercials feature junk food. In a recent study, literally no commercials advertised any fresh food. Theoretically, commercials may not influence adults – certainly up for debate – but children are highly vulnerable to marketing messages. This is the portion of the population that believes in Santa Claus, remember.

What we can do about this:

1. Again with the firing off of letters. How to: Make one good point, be brief, state what action you want them to take, and state what action you will take if they don’t.

2. Shield the commercials – and television in general – that your child is exposed to. Turn the tube off, or invest 5 bucks a month in Tivo.

3. Don’t buy junk – companies sell this garbage because we are buying it.

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For the Love of Flavor

Taste buds bored to tears? Here are ten unusual food pairings that will wake up your week. Several of my readers have written me lately with really interesting, unusual and fresh food combinations, so if you need to shake up your menu, don’t miss these tips.

As a bonus, they’re all fresh, low-carb and loaded with antioxidants.

10. Tomato “Toast”

Tired of toast? Want to reduce the carbs in your diet? Yes, you do. Slice up beefsteak or large heirloom tomatoes, top with cheese of choice, and pop them into the toaster oven. Not recommended for a vertical toaster.

9. Eggs topped with Cashew Butter

Thanks for the Omega-3-friendly tip, Donna!

8. Sliced Grapefruit, Mango and Avocado

Our editor, Sara, swears by this combo.

Uncommon Muse Flickr Photo

7. Green Olives in Scrambled Eggs

Toss out the salt and try this flavorful mix instead.

6. Strawberries and Asparagus

This was one of the strangest combinations I’d ever heard, but reader Nickie insisted I had to try it. I steamed the asparagus, let it cool, then sliced up the spears and tossed with olive oil and halved berries. Garnish with a little black pepper, and prepare to eat the entire bowl in one sitting.

Maruchan313’s Flickr Photo

5. Goat Cheese and Blueberries

A lot more interesting than yogurt.

4. Sliced Jalapenos and Cottage Cheese

The healthy person’s answer to those awful fried jalapeno poppers. Thanks, Anne.

Thomas Hawk Flickr Photo

3. Mango and Cucumbers

Sliced up and mixed together, this is light and refreshing.

2. Tuna Salad with Green Apples

I buy the Omega-3 mayonnaise and use it sparingly. Add in lots of chunks of green apple and a big dash of nutmeg. Good stuff.

1. What’s your favorite food combination that surprises people?

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Thoughts on the Rocks

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

Radical thoughts to shake you up…or stir you into action. That’s Bee, Worker Bee.

#1: Feeling Restless?

The news out today is that restless leg syndrome increases the risk of heart disease. Ready for this? We say baloney. Restless leg syndrome is a curiously modern phenomenon that seems suspiciously correlated to obesity and lack of exercise. We’ll lay good honey on the bet that it’s not restless leg syndrome increasing your risk for heart disease; rather, it’s an unhealthy lifestyle that’s causing both health problems. Mightn’t physical discomfort, elevated blood pressure and clogged arteries be symptomatic of a common underlying problem? Say…a completely ridiculous lifestyle? Take one part fast-paced lifestyle, one part processed diet, and garnish with inactivity, and it sounds like the makings of a toxic CHD cocktail to us.

#2: Strange but True

Apparently, tai chi helps prevent shingles, a painful skin virus that makes chicken pox feel like a walk in the park. Scientists aren’t sure why tai chi works, but it does. Tai chi also helps stop bone loss, anxiety, depression, and skin problems. A rather motley assortment of health maladies are cleared up by this gentle Eastern exercise system, leaving us to consider but one conclusion: how much of our current health crisis could be resolved if we were simply less stressed?

#3: Seriously, What Is Going On?

Autism is up. Alzheimer’s is up. Suddenly every child has ADHD, and adults everywhere are feeling the weight of anxiety and depression. Unless someone is just making all this up, we’re beginning to wonder what the common thread is here. There is so much disease and illness, and the powers that be act as though this is a normal part of life. But why should poor health be the status quo? Something is wrong here. Might it be processed foods, which are high in fats that cause oxidative damage, sugars that cause type 2 diabetes and all sorts of related issues, and chemicals for which we don’t yet know the long-term safety? Because all we’re sayin’ is, something is strange about all this, and it’s not okay. Case in point: diabetes causes mental decline. The FDA and mainstream medicine insist that you can get all the nutrients you need from today’s food supply, that we’re healthier than we’ve ever been, and modern medicine and surgery are working super great.

Really? Because we’d like to see that evidence. As fellow Apple Crystal asks, when are we going to put two and two together?

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Healthy Tastes Great!

Zucchini Spirals with Fresh Vegetable Sauce Using a Mandoline Slicer

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Wow, Broccoli…Again

Hi, Apples! Sara here. Mark asked me to write this week’s Smart Fuel column as he is buried in the latest batch of science and medical journals. So, I am here to tell you about the wonderful uses of the mandolin slicer in your steadfast pursuit of healthy meals. Right about now you may be thinking, “Mandolin slicer? That’s not Smart Fuel!” but stick with me. (I follow directions very well, as you can clearly see. This is a habit I have taken great pains to cultivate since childhood. It takes real tenacity to flunk first grade, but I am here to tell you, it can be done.) Thank goodness the Big Apple (Sisson) actually encourages breaking all the rules, or I’d never be able to tell you about the joys of a mandolin slicer! I personally love cooking and look forward to it (my mother tells me to give it a few years). However, I know that when it comes to meals, convenience and speed are not only preferable for a lot of us, these things are downright necessary. There’s a reason restaurants, fast food joints and the frozen food aisles flourish – we’re busy! So, these meals aren’t doing us any healthy favors, but who has time to wash, peel, pit and slice a bunch of vegetables for some casserole that will take longer to bake than the maturation time of your average Barolo? Enter the mandolin slicer. Mark is always extolling the virtues of making vegetables the basis of your diet, and it really is easier than you might think: bagged lettuce, frozen veggies, ready-to-go stir fry mixes. But no family (or boyfriend), no matter how tolerant, is going to put up with three days straight of broccoli florets for dinner when Domino’s is just a phone call away. This is why I love the mandolin slicer. It solves all the usual problems getting in the way of your health and your lean physique: time constraints, boredom, and empty carbs. Problem 1: Time The mandolin slicer makes awfully short work of everything from yams to cucumbers to organic chicken sausages. Beets, parsnips, carrots, brussels sprouts and cabbages don’t stand a chance around this simple, old utensil we all have lurking in a drawer somewhere (usually the same one that houses the gravy syringe…ew…and the egg slicer). Here’s what to do: buy a big batch of fresh veggies of all types, wash them up, and slice away. Toss them individually or in various combinations into 1 or 2 quart plastic storage containers and put them in the fridge. You’ve just prepped a week’s worth of tasty meals in about 45 minutes. You can aim for 30, but your pinky fingertip’s curvature may never look the same. Just a warning. Problem 2: Boredom Frozen veggies can get a little boring, simply because there’s often not much to choose from (broccoli, spinach, peas, carrots, corn…broccoli, spinach, peas, carrots, corn…sigh). There are often stir-fry blends to be found, and there’s always … Continue reading “Wow, Broccoli…Again”

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