10/27/2012 archive

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Health and Fitness News weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

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Whole-Grain Pancakes: Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

Poppy Lemon Sunflower Seed Pancakes

I’ve got a pantry full of different grains and flours, a variety of nuts and seeds in my freezer, and a lot of ideas about how these hearty ingredients can contribute to a pancake. So this week I shook things up in the kitchen, and so far, so good.

I also wanted to come up with some savory pancakes and developed a couple of recipes that quickly became favorites in our home. I was thinking along the lines of traditional Chinese and Korean onion pancakes, but I wanted to make something lighter and at the same time more wholesome. When I’m researching whole grains, both for baking and for cooking, I often turn to Heidi Swanson (www.101cookbooks.com) for ideas, and I found a lot of inspiration in her pancake recipes.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Poppy, Lemon and Sunflower Seed Pancakes

I decided to stir some lemon zest into the batter. I dotted some of the pancakes with raspberries and left others plain.

Brown Rice, Sesame, Spinach and Scallion Pancakes

Try them heated with a little grated cheese on top, or serve with yogurt.

Maple Pecan Pancakes

Instead of using only wheat flour in these pancakes, I’ve combined whole-wheat flour and almond flour.

Teff and Oatmeal Pancakes

Teff is a tiny, nutrient-dense grain native to Ethiopia. Its calcium content is higher than that of any other grain, and it’s an excellent source of vitamin C.

Savory Cottage Cheese Pancakes With Indian Spices, Cauliflower and Carrots

We eat these Indian-spiced pancakes for dinner, along with a green salad.

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

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New York Times Editorial: Slow but Steady Improvement

The slow pace of the nation’s economic recovery has picked up a bit lately. In the third quarter, the economy grew at an annual rate of 2 percent, beating expectations and the dismal 1.3 percent growth in the second quarter. Over the past year, the growth rate has been 2.3 percent. At that pace, there’s enough momentum to keep unemployment, currently 7.8 percent, from getting much worse, but not enough to spur big job gains.

The growth figures, released on Friday by the Commerce Department, played right into the candidates’ competing themes on the campaign trail, where President Obama has pointed to slow but steady economic recovery relative to the severe recession he inherited, while Mitt Romney has criticized growth of the past few years as unacceptably slow because of Mr. Obama’s policies.

Mr. Obama has the stronger argument. The economy would have been much worse off without Obama administration policies like the stimulus and the auto industry rescue. And it would be much better off today if congressional Republicans had not obstructed subsequent stimulus proposals, most notably the administration’s jobs bill introduced last year, which could have added an estimated 1.9 million jobs – and at least a percentage point to growth, according to many private-sector economic analyses.

Gail Collins: Talk About a Way With Words

Rape is a big issue this election season. Not what we were expecting, but, these days, American voters are prepared to deal with pretty much anything.

This week, all eyes turned to a United States Senate debate in Indiana – also something we were not really planning on doing. Richard Mourdock, the Republican candidate, caused a national stir when he defended his across-the-board opposition to abortion by saying that a pregnancy caused by rape “is something that God intended to happen.” [..]

The idea of banning abortion except for rape and incest cases makes anti-choice politicians sound more evenhanded, but it doesn’t actually make much sense. If you believe life begins at conception, then that’s a life, and you should try to convince women not to terminate any pregnancy, no matter what the cause. Our difference of opinion is over whether you can impose your beliefs with the threat of cops and penitentiaries.

Ralph Nader: Capitol Hill’s Rabid, Ravaging Republicans

Has there ever been a more crazed, cruel, anti-people, corporate-indentured, militaristic and monetized Republican Party in its 154-year history? An about-to-be-released list of some of the actual brutish votes by the House Republicans, led by Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Eric Cantor, will soon be available to you from the House Democratic Caucus.

Lest you think this is just partisan propaganda, these are real, recorded votes in the House of Representatives. [..]

How do such people get elected? Is it just money and smooth slogans? Is it a lack of competition in rigged districts? Is it a winner-take-all, two-party duopoly where more than half the voters sit out the election? Is it shocking disengagement by the cynical or hopeless public, shorn of any rigorous expectation levels?

For the time being, go to the Democratic House Caucus website. Ponder the fate of our Republic. Ask why we have almost unconditionally given up our enormous sovereign power of “We the People” to those out-of-control, raging members of Congress.

Charles M. Blow: The Company Romney Keeps

The saying goes: A man is known by the company he keeps.

If that is true, what does the company Mitt Romney keeps say about him?

This week Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama again, as he did in 2008. That apparently set John Sununu, a co-chairman of the Romney campaign, on edge. Powell’s endorsement couldn’t possibly be the product of purposeful deliberation over the candidates’ policies. In Sununu’s world of racial reductionism, Powell’s endorsement had a more base explanation: it was a black thing. [..]

I worry that Sununu’s statements intentionally go beyond recognizing racial disparities and seek to exploit them.

What does that say about Romney, and what does it say about his campaign’s tactics?

Remember: A man is known by the company he keeps.

John Nichols: Paul Ryan Takes a Side in the War on Poverty: He’s Against What Works

Paul Ryan has a right to be wrong. He can believe that anti-poverty programs don’t work.

But he does not have a right to foster the fantasy that his opinion is grounded in reality.

Unfortunately, media reports on the Republican vice presidential candidate’s “big” speech on how to address poverty, focused on Ryan’s glib one-liners rather than the fact that his basic premises are false.

Ryan says that: “In this war on poverty, poverty is winning.”

That’s a nice play on words. But there’s a problem. Ryan wants us to believe that the “war on poverty” is what’s causing poverty.


carl Gibson: ‘We Pay More’: US Austerity Well Underway

After I pinned a dollar bill on my jacket lapel with “I PAY MORE” written on it in black marker, I’ve had countless conversations during my travels across the United States that went something like this:

   Them: “I pay more? What does that mean?”

   Me: “This dollar bill right here is $1 more than General Electric, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank, and a bunch of other big corporations paid in federal taxes, since 2008, combined.”

   Them: “What? That’s not right. I pay my taxes! Too much, actually.”

   Me: “But I bet you don’t hire a bunch of lobbyists to make sure Congress keeps writing in more loopholes like they do, right?”

   Them: “Well, no. I don’t have that kind of money.”

   Me: “So you pay more. Pass it on.”

Regardless of political persuasion, there isn’t one person I’ve met who isn’t infuriated by the fact that they pay more in federal taxes than a combined majority of most billion-dollar corporations. But what’s even more infuriating is that under the Budget Control Act that was passed after our austerity- crazed Congress forced it into being during the Summer-long debt negotiations of 2011, budgets for numerous essential social programs will be cut to the bone this January, under the false guise that our country is too broke to pay the bills. [..]

I pay more. So do you. Either as a percentage of our income, as an effective federal tax rate, and even as a dollar amount compared to our corporate counterparts. Let’s put an end to these cuts by illustrating how unjust it is to make us pay for the cunning tax practices of the 1% and their lobbyists on Capitol Hill with a pound of flesh taken from our own future.

On This Day In History October 27

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

October 27 is the 300th day of the year (301st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 65 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1904, the New York Subway opens.

While London boasts the world’s oldest underground train network (opened in 1863) and Boston built the first subway in the United States in 1897, the New York City subway soon became the largest American system. The first line, operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT), traveled 9.1 miles through 28 stations. Running from City Hall in lower Manhattan to Grand Central Terminal in midtown, and then heading west along 42nd Street to Times Square, the line finished by zipping north, all the way to 145th Street and Broadway in Harlem. On opening day, Mayor McClellan so enjoyed his stint as engineer that he stayed at the controls all the way from City Hall to 103rd Street.


A demonstration for an underground transit system in New York City was first built by Alfred Ely Beach in 1869. His Beach Pneumatic Transit only extended 312 feet (95 m) under Broadway in Lower Manhattan and exhibited his idea for a subway propelled by pneumatic tube technology. The tunnel was never extended for political and financial reasons, although extensions had been planned to take the tunnel southward to The Battery and northwards towards the Harlem River. The Beach subway was demolished when the BMT Broadway Line was built in the 1910s; thus, it was not integrated into the New York City Subway system.

The first underground line of the subway opened on October 27, 1904, almost 35 years after the opening of the first elevated line in New York City, which became the Ninth Avenue Line. The heavy 1888 snowstorm helped to demonstrate the benefits of an underground transportation system. The oldest structure still in use opened in 1885 as part of the BMT Lexington Avenue Line, and is now part of the BMT Jamaica Line in Brooklyn. The oldest right-of-way, that of the BMT West End Line, was in use in 1863 as a steam railroad called the Brooklyn, Bath and Coney Island Rail Road. The Staten Island Railway, which opened in 1860, currently uses R44 subway cars, but it has no links to the rest of the system and is not usually considered part of the subway proper.

By the time the first subway opened, the lines had been consolidated into two privately owned systems, the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT, later Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation, BMT) and the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT). The city was closely involved: all lines built for the IRT and most other lines built or improved for the BRT after 1913 were built by the city and leased to the companies. The first line of the city-owned and operated Independent Subway System (IND) opened in 1932; this system was intended to compete with the private systems and allow some of the elevated railways to be torn down, but was kept within the core of the City due to the low amount of startup capital provided to the municipal Board Of Transportation, the later MTA, by the state.[3] This required it to be run ‘at cost’, necessitating fares up to double the five cent fare popular at the time.

In 1940, the two private systems were bought by the city; some elevated lines closed immediately, and others closed soon after. Integration was slow, but several connections were built between the IND and BMT, and now operate as one division called the B Division. Since the IRT tunnel segments are too small and stations too narrow to accommodate  B Division cars, and contain curves too sharp for B Division cars, the IRT remains its own division, A Division.

The New York City Transit Authority, a public authority presided by New York City, was created in 1953 to take over subway, bus, and streetcar operations from the city, and was placed under control of the state-level Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1968.

In 1934, transit workers of the BRT, IRT, and IND founded the Transport Workers Union of America, organized as Local 100. Local 100 remains the largest and most influential local of the labor union. Since the union’s founding, there have been three union strikes. In 1966, transit workers went on strike for 12 days, and again in 1980 for 11 days. On December 20, 2005, transit workers again went on strike over disputes with MTA regarding salary, pensions, retirement age, and health insurance costs. That strike lasted just under three days.

F1 2012: Buddh Qualifying

It’s only the second time we’ve raced at Buddh.  Motor sports history will probably not be kind to Herman Tilke, but this circuit is not quite as boring as most of his designs.

With a mere 4 races left in the season (including this one) Vettel and Alonso are about a mile ahead of everyone else in the Drivers’ Championship and indeed with the Prancing Pony fading down the stretch and the Caffeinated Bovine stampeding it seems likely the second winner in India will be the same as the first and this will be a yawning run away and hide race unless equipment failure or accident shuffle the deck.

On offer this week will be Hards and Softs and the 2 step difference may tempt daring pit stop strategies but since they’ve never been successful so far I doubt any excitement.

Bayern Bank wants its half a Billion bribe back from Bernie.  Good luck with that.  In a totally unrelated development (yup, fer sure) just about half that will be invested by the same Texas teachers who are seeing their jobs cut to pay for Perry’s Problem for the bankrupt Lehman stake in the now Moody’s B1 rated enterprise which marks to market the total value of Ecclestone’s CVC controlled property at a mere $7 Billion overall.

Surprised?  Not I.  I’ve saved the real thing for below provided there is any.

Interactive Track

Official Sites

Carving Pumpkins 101

Rather than try to explain how to carve a pumpkin here is a video that is a handy 5 minute guide.

How to Carve a Killer Pumpkin with Leah D’Emilio

And for the more ambitious and artistic pumpkin carvers among us, here is some inspiration with seasonal music.

Amazing Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns

Pumpkins, Not Just For Carving

Re-posted from October 22, 2011

When most of us think of pumpkins, we think of the orange orbs that get carved up for Halloween and pumpkin pie with gobs of whipped cream for dessert at Thanksgiving but pumpkins come in all shapes, colors, sizes and varieties. Some are good only for decoration, while others are not only decorative but very tasty in pies, soups and stews.

According to Wikipedia pumpkin “is a gourd-like squash of the genus Cucurbita and the family Cucurbitaceae (which also includes gourds). It commonly refers to cultivars of any one of the species Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita mixta, Cucurbita maxima, and Cucurbita moschata, and is native to North America.” Some of the fun activities besides decorative carving for Halloween are Festivals and competitions with pumpkin chucking being among the most popular. Chucking has become so popular that some competitors grow their own special varieties that will survive being shot from catapults and cannons. The festivals are most dedicated to the competition for recipes and the competition for the largest pumpkin. This year that honor went to a 1818 pound beauty from Canada that was on display at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.

The pumpkin is one of the main symbols of Halloween and the Wiccan holiday of Samhain, which is a celebration of the end of the year, the final harvest and the coming of winter. The earliest that a craved pumpkin was associated with Halloween is 1866. Throughout Britain and Ireland the turnip has traditionally been used at Halloween, but immigrants to North America used the native pumpkin, which are both readily available and much larger, making them easier to carve than turnips.

In cooking, the the fleshy shell, seeds, leaves and flowers are all edible. Canned pureed pumpkin is readily available in stores, as are the small, sweet variety of fresh pumpkin for the ambitious cook to make their own puree or for stews. When it comes to pies, the easiest is the canned, my favorite being Libby’s with the recipe on the label, label, label. It’s the only recipe I have ever used for pumpkin pie and I’ve never has a complaint.

Pumpkin and all it parts are also very nutritious, containing many vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidents. There is also an interesting medical study of pumpkin extract on type-1 diabetic rats:

(P)ublished in July 2007, suggests that chemical compounds found in pumpkin promote regeneration of damaged pancreatic cells, resulting in increased bloodstream insulin levels. According to the research team leader, pumpkin extract may be “a very good product for pre-diabetic people, as well as those who already have diabetes,” possibly reducing or eliminating the need for insulin injections for some type-1 diabetics. It is unknown whether pumpkin extract has any effect on diabetes mellitus type 2, as it was not the subject of the study.

One of my favorite recipes is Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Sour Cream Topping that is more popular than pie with my family.


Recipe and baking tips are below the fold

Popular Culture 20121026: Fast Food

We normally think of fast food as somehow uniquely American and of recent origin, but that is just not true.  Certainly modern American fast food is different from what in the past qualified and in other places qualifies as fast food, but the concept is nothing new.  Before we start, let us define fast food.

To me, fast food had the following characteristics:

-  The serving establishment has a rather limited menu

-  The food is prepared ahead of time, or is very quickly prepared and reaches the customer in only a few minutes, like ten or fewer

-  The food can be eaten either with only the fingers or with minimal utensils, like plastic “silverware” and throw away plates, cups, and bowls (with some notable exceptions)

-  The food is designed to be consumed quickly, in less than half an hour and often much less, also with some exceptions

-  More often than not, fast food is relatively inexpensive

Note that nothing to do with nutritional value fits into my definition, nor does any specific type of food.  I think that my definition is sound.  By the way, when I mention brand names I am neither endorsing nor denigrating those brands.  I do this simply as a matter of reference so that we are all on the same page.