Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Peculiar Produce: Kiwano

This is a Kiwano:

I obviously had to get it. Is it like a kiwi and mango delivered in some strange spiked vessel?

Not exactly. Still pretty so I had high hopes.

 But they were quickly dashed when I tried some. Slimey, salty, sort of frothy at the same time. Not a happy mouth feel. The flavor was somewhat cucumber-melon like...but it was certainly lost to the texture. It felt like eating snot. Ugh.

So if you come across one of these bad boys. Be wary.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Alcohol and Your Body

Animal, You are DRUNK

We all know when someone drinks alcohol it effects them. Maybe they're better, maybe they're worse (and annoying). Either way the next few poorly drawn cartoons depict what the body does with alcohol.

The boozey night your planning is first thwarted in the stomach. There your drink meets alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH, an enzyme) which works on breaking down alcohol-although not much of it is present in your stomach. About 20% of alcohol is also absorbed and enters your bloodstream from here. Ladies have less ADH in their stomach so more alcohol enters the blood sooner as compared to men.

Eating before drinking slows things down in two ways. 1- it delays the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream by keeping it in your stomach rather than having it move onto your small intestine (where the remaining 80% is absorbed into your bloodstream). 2- Food provides just a wee bit more time for that small amount of ADH to do some breaking down.

 Guess I shouldn't have made that joke about the donut.

After the alcohol gets into your bloodstream more ADH rears it's oxidative enforcement of sobriety when "drunk blood" reaches your liver. Here more alcohol is broken down. The downside is that ADH breaks down alcohol and gives off some bad chemicals in return (acetylaldehyde) which can cause tissue damage. Oh and the entire process leaves your liver cells with a "reduced cytostolic environment" meaning the liquidy bit of the cell has some bad energy/electron mojo making them more susceptible to damage too.

Eventually drunk you gets past this enforcer because at some point the liver can't handle it and the enzymes reach capacity. The excess "spillover" causes the microsomal ethanol oxidizing system (MEOS) to get involved.

I know, you're probably thinking I just had to get all fancy with the big words. Yes I did, so sound it out and get back to learning.

MEOS acts as an electron transport chain. A special cytochrome called cytochrome P-450 is involved (just thought it sounded cool). MEOS also breaks down steroids and barbiturates. YAY

It looks like this:

Advanced nutrition flashback. AH.       

My rendition of MEOS is this:

 The different steps of MEOS break down alcohol further and further. Eventually one oxygen atom oxidizes NADPH to NADP+ and another breaks down an ethanol substrate to acetylaldehyde. This is also where the 7calories/gram of alcohol comes into play. MEOS takes the energy yielding part of the molecule and puts it to use.

Tolerances build up at this stage because some of the enzymes involved in MEOS are triggered to be produced more in the presence of alcohol. So the more your drink the more efficient the system is at breaking down everything.
Animal you are sober...and adorable.

Not too terrible to understand. Also super cool.

Sources in a bit:

Food Additives: A

Agar-Agar: A stabilizer and thickener that is transparent, odorless, and tasteless and is obtained from seaweed (mostly from Pacific and Indian oceans and Sea of Japan). Discovered in 1658. Used in drinks, ice creams, frozen custards, sherbet, meringue, baked goods, jellies, frozen candied sweet potatoes, icings, and other treats. Nontoxic with the exception of a rare allergic reaction.

Acetone Peroxide: a maturing additive for bleaching flour and dough, has a sharp acrid odor similar to hydrogen peroxide. Approval for use in flour, and in bread and rolls. Being a strong oxidizing agent it can be damaging to skin and eyes. The internet is full of instructions on how to make bombs our of acetone peroxide.


Winter R. A Consumers Dictionary of Food Additives.  New York, NY: Three Rivers Press; 2009

Monday, May 13, 2013


Not sure of the  original source of the photo but I really enjoyed seeing this on a feed earlier today.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Monkey Bread

Considering the previous post was about "Gramma's cooking" it is no wonder I have been thinking about monkey bread. It is hands down the best thing -food wise- at the holidays in our family. It hasn't been around the last few years so I made up a lazy recipe- ensuring it's eventual return to the table next to the cheese-ball.

I'd imagine by now you've figured out I ain't about that measurement thing. It's 4 ingredients, if you're really struggling with the concept of "winging it"...look at another blog.

1. Shape biscuit dough into globular shapes, roll in cinnamon sugar and line a pie pan with them.
I used 2 store bought containers of dough (vacacation is no time to make dough from scratch).

2. Bake in a 350 degree oven. About 12-15 minutes
3. While baking melt butter in a pan. Add leftover cinnamon sugar mix from rolling biscuits...if you used that up feel free to use brown sugar. Melt down sugar-let it bubble make sure it doesn't burn.
4.Remove delicious biscuit wreath from oven
5. Pour butter/sugar mixture over delicious biscuit-wreath
6. Try to let cool before devouring

These little nuggets are obviously the best. Biscuit, butter, sugar. The risk of developing pre-diabetes is a risk I'm willing to take.

I made this for my Mom while we were at our cottage. It's a miracle any made it through the night and into the car for the ride home. The second it was done it was being devoured. We got our fingers dirty, we ruined out appetite for dinner. We did not care.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Gramma's Cooking

 Gabriele Galimberti took photos of Grandmothers with their families signature dish. Hard to pick a favorite out of the bunch.

Delicatessen with Love

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mindless Eating

 Brian Wansink, a professor at Cornell University, is doing some of the coolest research!

  His book Mindless Eating has been a favorite for some time and is a solid go to when coming up with presentation ideas. I have presented many of his studies and tips for eating more thoughtfully several times and each time is keeps the audience engaged and laughing because some of the outcomes of pretty shocking. In addition it's empowering to know research shows a lot of people make the same mistakes when it comes to overeating- especially when they're busy. A few tips can go a long way on cutting down consumption.

For example this article deals with the foods we choose after fasting. When we're hungry we typically pick high caloric foods because we want to refuel our bodies. But if someone routinely skips meal and buys food on impulse the "only this time" indulgence in starchy food can become a habit. A second more more recent article deals with grocery shopping when hungry. Simple steps like having a healthy snack before driving home or grocery shopping can curb the desire to eat or buy too much. If this doesn't work Wansink reports in his book some people even go out of their way to change their routes home so they're not exposed to the temptation. Whatever works to make it home to a healthier meal!

Although sometimes small in size Wansink has performed dozens of studies related to eating behavior, marketing, and social cues related to consumption. Each one is more interesting than the next!

Monday, May 6, 2013

TED Talk, Jamie Oliver

My Mom and I both have a spot for Jamie Oliver in our hearts. Talking passionately about food with an accent. What's not to love? PLUS he's working on making a difference.

This video is clear, bold, funny, and inspiring.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Death Row and Final Meals

Photographer Henry Hagreaves recreated the final meals of several inmates about to be executed for their crimes. In a separate article Hagreaves explained the potential of what someone could learn from the meals. For example was the man who asked for a single olive somehow trying to create an association with an olive branch...a symbol for peace? We may never know.

Link to article

Henry Hargreaves Website
Who has quite a few food related projects!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Health and Indulgence

It's hard to find a "focus" for this blog since everything about nutrition interests me. Health and wellness with tasty fruits and vegetables interests me as much as the indulgence of sweets and gourmet food.
The breakdown of nutrients in the body is inspiring. Which sounds odd to say but I am often reminded by how incredible our bodies are as they break down what we eat to such small components and use them as building blocks. The human body is an outstanding machine, and as much as I want to fuel mine with the cleanest of fuel...those indulgences leave me wanting and disregarding any consequence.

Nutrition itself is constantly changing and becoming more complicated. Yet food and cooking should be so simple. Transforming raw products into dishes healthy or otherwise is magical.

This being said I can't really say this blog is anything but an adventure. It's all over the place much like my life at the moment. Healthy and active, indulgent and lazy, bold but doubtful. I'm hoping one day to find a healthy balance between all of the things I want to be. But with so many options, much like nutrition, it is going to take lots of learning, trial and error, and acceptance.