Food: Hawaiian Style

I spent July 7th, until July 16th, in Hawaii, and it was quite an experience. We stayed on the island of Oahu, four letters, three syllables. It is the third largest island, behind The Big Island( they were up all night thinking of that name), and Maui. We stayed at the Aulani Hotel, which is a Disney Resort. We had a wonderful time, and there was lots of eating and drinking, especially the drinking. A very popular drink in our group, was the Mango Mojito. The name just rolled off your lips with ease, even when your lips did not exactly work all that well, after the third one. The drink went down just as smoothly. The beer was excellent, with many Hawaiian brews to choose from. My favorites were the Longboard Lager, Bikini Blond Lager, and Pete’s Island Wheat. Needless to say, I did no driving, while on the island. Overall the food ranged from good to excellent. There was one extraordinary dining experience, but will save the best for last. There were some surprises, and disappointments, so lets get them over with. The surprise was, there were not that many seafood choices. I expected this to be a seafood feast, but this was not the case. Beef and pork took center, stage at most restaurants, that we went to. The most disappointing experience was the Lua, we attended, on our first night there. Some of that has to be attributed to Covid. Instead of a buffet, you received two prepared plates. One was a salad plate, with macaroni salad, and some greens, and vegetables . Then the entre plate, had some pulled pork, baked chicken, fried chicken thigh, with some sticky rice, and some broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. They did not have any sauces to go with the food. The only thing they had was tartar sauce. Do they put tartar sauce on chicken and pork in Hawaii? I did not go for that and did not care much for the sticky rice. Stinky rice is what I would call it Although the entertainment was very good, the food experience left a lot to be desired. They did make a great Mai Tai, although not quite as good as those Mango Mojitos. They were potent enough to make it difficult to walk back to the hotel, but we made it. Now, lets get to the good stuff.

Other than the Lua, the food overall was excellent. The food at the resort was very tasty, ranging from an almond croissant to a smoked salmon bagel, for breakfast. The coffee was excellent to start the morning. The favorite eating place at the resort was called Off The Hook. Their wings and chicken fingers were great bar food. One night the feature was barbecued spare ribs with mash potatoes and the ribs were tender fall off the bone delicious. Across from the resort was a restaurant called the Monkey Pod, which, by far had the freshest and the best seafood. Their pork tacos were to die for, with raw jalapenos on top. They also had jalapeno mashed potatoes, which is something I will be making myself. For desert they had these cream pies, strawberry, chocolate, and mango, which were some of the best pies I have ever tasted. The most outstanding dining experience though, came at the restaurant, Senia, in the heart of Chinatown, in downtown Honolulu. I started the meal with a martini know as the Buttoned Up, that was very smooth going down. After drinking it, I was probably incapable of buttoning up. We had a private room for 8 and we all experienced the tasting menu of July 14th. It was a dream come true for my taste buds. There were nine items and each one or two were paired with a particular wine. The whole meal included various vegetables, caviar in a sauce with one raw quail egg, Kanpachi, which is a sushi fish, venison tartare, Scallops and a beef selection. Everything tasted superbly with each dish getting better and better. The wines were perfect for each dish. The desert, looked like various bird eggs, that you just popped in your mouth, and this wonderful sweet creamy nectar, would just explode all over your taste buds. Then the meal was finished off, with various chocolate cordials. Overall, it was one of the best dining experiences I have ever had. The wait staff was so informative, as they explained every dish, and every wine that was served. It was a great vacation for many reasons, but the food and drink made it one of the most festive experiences, that was much needed, after this year and a half of pandemic life. Still, it was good to return home, and get back to a normal routine. The blogs should return at their normal rate and yes, I will still write about the Pirates. Too bad, I don’t have the Mango Mojito any more, to make the job easier.

Food: Recommendations

I am never one to make many recommendations, when it comes to food, or food products, because tastes can be so variable. What is delicious to one person may make another person throw up. However, I have come across some products that are so good, that I do feel obligated to share them. None of these foods are going to come under the heading of healthy eating, but they can be under the heading of good eats. There are 3 things that I have found to be very tasty, and a fourth that I have changed the way I make it.

Frozen pizza has come a long way, and many brands are at least, palatable. The DiGiorno Hand-tossed version is outstanding. The grocery store we go to, only seems to carry the peperoni version, but I am sure there is just a cheese version. That is the one I would recommend, and then just put on your own toppings. The interesting thing I find about the cooking instructions, is that the oven is only pre-heated to 375 degrees. Most frozen pizzas, want you to have a much hotter oven. The directions tell you to put the pizza directly on the rack, but I never do, in case there is a cheese over flow. I have a pizza tray with holes in it, that I put in the oven when it is heating. I use the convection oven, when cooking the pizza, and cook it according to the directions for 18 minutes. It is so tasty, that I will be ordering take out, only in a pinch. Have had it numerous times, just to make sure the first time was not a fluke. The first time, I was shocked on how good this frozen pizza tasted. The crust was delicious.

If you like scalloped potatoes, but don’t like to go though all the hassle of making them, try the Idahoan Homestyle Scallop Potatoes. They make other versions with cheese, bacon, and sour cream, but the homestyle seems to be the best. The directions are simple, just combine their ingredients,( which look disgusting by the way) with milk, butter, and water, and put it in the oven at 450 for 25 minutes. This transforms these disgusting looking ingredients, into a very tasty dish of scalloped potatoes. The only thing I add to the concoction is pepper, before I put it in the oven, because we like pepper. The other casserole potatoes, for whatever reason, are not quite as tasty. They make a lot of other products, that I can not vouch for, but the homestyle scalloped potatoes are very good. It has become a regular side dish at our table. The only negative, is the regular size only makes enough for 2 people. They do make a family size version, which I have never tried.

Then, there is the greatest invention since sliced bread, the Haagen-Daz Vanilla Soft Dipped Ice Cream Bars. There are a lot of great ice cream bars around, and lets face it, it is hard to screw up chocolate and ice cream. The Haagen-Daz ice cream bars are tasty, but not any better than other high end ice cream bar. What makes these bars so great is, as you are eating them, the chocolate does not flick off the bar. Praise the lord, a miracle has happened. Every ice cream bar I have ever eaten, the chocolate coating is falling off with practically every bite, and making a big mess. The chocolate on these soft dipped bars, adheres right through every bite. Every once in awhile a side chunk may come off, but it is nothing compared to the other bars. The chocolate is dark and delicious, and you get it with every bite of vanilla ice cream. I am eating one, right after I am done with this blog.

Finally, there is popcorn. I have been a microwave popcorn junkie for 25 years or longer, but after reading about how bad it is for you, I am back to popping my own again. I guess, it is all that stuff that is congealed in bag that, is going to kill you. After all these years I hope it’s not too late, to reverse the damage. When I decided to go back to popping popcorn the old fashioned way, I got on the internet, to see what methods were deemed the best. After reviewing many of them, here is the method I use, that so far has worked out well. I use my 8 quart pasta pot. I put in about 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil and 1/3 cup of popcorn. I do not preheat the oil. I cover the pot and turn the gas burner to high. I then wait to hear the popcorn, start to pop. As the popcorn starts to pop more, I tilt the lid a little to let the steam out. I will give the pot a little shake, only one time. As the popping slows down to a near halt, I will turn the burner off, and wait until at least 5 seconds when there is no popping. Remove the lid and dump the popcorn in a large bowl. No butter, just salt, and I am eating popcorn. This method seems to pop all the kernels, with no burning. I have only tried two brands Jolly Time and Orville, with Jolly Time winning hands down, for taste and kernel texture. I will try some other brands in the future.

There you have it, four things I have found to be quite tasty and and easy to do. Hopefully the pandemic will go in the right direction, and food will become a more festive part of our lives again, with more to experience, and write about. Enjoy.

Meditation: Results

When you read or hear anything about life, or life coaching, it is always about the journey not the destination. It is about the process, not the outcome. This subject, results, could have been written under any of the titles, that I discuss. Food, how does it taste? Golf, what did you shoot? Sports, what was the final score? Meditation, what are the benefits? All the answers to those questions, have nothing to do with the process, but the results. On your job, you need to have results. What is the bottom line? Every boss has said, at one time or another, I do not want to hear about any excuses, I want results. We all want to get to our destination, whatever that may be. People set a goal, and some will have a plan to achieve that goal. The best laid plans can go awry, due to many unforeseeable circumstances. This philosophy, that what’s important is the journey, or the process, is just a way to help handle failure. I am not too sure, if that’s the reason, that coaches try to get their clients to think this way, but to have this results only attitude, is not something that is going to improve your health.

There is no question, the sports fan is at the top of the list, of the results only philosophy. You will see many fans tweet, that if my team does not reach the championship game or series the season is a failure. Now in professional sports you are really fighting the odds. There are 30 to 32 teams in each of the four major sports leagues. That means, that with everything being equal, there is only about 3% chance, that your team is going to win the championship. Now, we all know that everything is not equal, so there are going to be some teams that have a better chance than others, to win the title. The teams that do win the title, seem to have some process, or plan, and when it succeeds, then everybody tries to copy them to some degree, with various results, that are usually not as successful as the original team. One thing about the process it is not ignored, especially in golf. In fact the process is given too much credit, by some professional golfers, who have had success in the past. They have a had a great stretch of golf covering years, and run into a bump in the road, and will change coaches, and swings, to see if they can recapture their previous success. Sometimes they don’t even need a bump in the road, to completely revamp their swing, supposedly, trying to get better. The best example I know of this, is Tiger Woods. After winning the Masters by 12 shots, he changed his swing. Now because he went on to have great success, that decision is not questioned, as much as it should be. There are many other examples of this in golf, the most recent is Rory Mcilroy, who is going through this process right now. He is only ranked 11th in the world, I would be changing my swing, too. Is it really the journey, and process, and what are we to do if the results are not what we want?

To get the first part of question out of the way quickly, the answer is a resounding no. If this kind of thinking helps you, then go ahead and continue, but do not delude yourself into thinking, that results do not matter. The one factor that is forgotten about, when there is any successful outcomes, whether it be on a small or short term scale, or a large or long term scale, is luck. Yes, that’s right good old luck. We never give luck enough credit, whether it be good or bad luck. The reason for this, is if we think luck played a major role in our success or failure, it takes the results, out of our hands. It can also, make it seem like all the hard work we put in, may have been wasted, if we were not lucky. Instead of being grateful for our good fortune, we brush it under the rug, and try to forget about it, because we do not want to lessen our accomplishment. This doesn’t really lessen the accomplishment, it is just our perception. When our luck is bad, we don’t talk much about it then, because it looks like complaining. If it is not the journey or the process that is important, how are we to handle the less than desirable outcomes or failures. You have to handle failure with acceptance. In other words you almost have to be happy to fail. This will not stem your desire to succeed, but it will allow you to move on, and possibly try again, or move into a totally new direction, with a new plan. It is the process that allows you to try and find your path. There is that fine line between having faith in yourself, and continuing on the journey, or finding a new path toward a different life goal. It is the hardest part of the whole process, of finding your way through this life. Results are important, but the most important part of any result, is what you do with it once you get it.

Food: The Cat

As promised, this is the blog on feeding the cat. Before I get to feeding the cat, I am going to discuss the cat as a pet, in general. The country is over run with cats. This is true, even as the cat was becoming the new pet of the 80’s, 90′, and right up to the present. Cats have always been considered easy to care for, when compared with the dog. I think this was used as a selling point, in shelters, to get people to adopt cats, and who could blame them. Thousands of perfectly healthy cats are being put to sleep, in shelters, every day. This idea that cat’s are easy to care for, has led to stress laden psychotic cats. I am hear to set the record straight, that cats are not easy. They have just as many needs as any dog. Granted, there are no 50 to 100 pounds cats, running around any bodies house, and when it comes to pets, size is a consideration. A big dog is going to cost more to take care of, especially medically, but the needs of the pets are pretty much, the same. Even though this is a blog about feeding the cat, let’s discuss one thing that is the result of eating, going to the bathroom and litter pans. Here are the rules, and they are unbreakable. If you are going to have a happy cat, or cats, you need one more litter pan, than cats. Yes, that does mean if you have one cat, you must have two litter pans. Everyday, those litter pans need cleaned, and replenished. If you do not think so, then just try a little experiment at home. If you have 3 bathrooms, have one toilet, that is not allowed to be flushed, and see how long people stop using it. If there are 2 people or more in the house, it will take less than 24 hours. The littler pans need cleaned every single day. Now, let’s get to feeding those sweet creatures.

Who ever invented the self feeding bowl for cats, should get the award for the worst devise every invented. This devise has turned many cats into blimps, and I am not talking about Goodyear here, because those cats will never leave the ground. Cat’s are very susceptible to stress, and many will stress eat. Free choice is not an option for a cat owner, no way, no how. Cats are known for vomiting, and many times, hair and hair balls, are blamed for this condition. Vomiting is a very non specific symptom, and there can be many causes. but it is rarely hair. If the cat vomits, anywhere from 3 to 7 times a week, and is healthy otherwise, eating, and drinking, and moving around, it is most likely the way it is being fed, that is the culprit. There are two basic differences, when it comes to feeding the cat, compared with dog. Cats need and should be fed canned food everyday. Cats can have some odd drinking habits, which the canned food can take care of, because of all the moisture content, in the food. They need to be fed at least 3 times per day, and preferably, 4 to 5 times per day. This puts less food on their stomach, and therefore takes care of most non illness vomiting problems. For two feedings you can mix dry and canned food together and for the other feeding just give a small amount of dry. I can hear the rumblings already. I work, I have kids, hell I don’t even touch my cat 4 to 5 times a day. I said the minimum is 3 times per day, which you can feed morning, evening, and bedtime. If you get up in the middle of the night, for any reason, then put a little dry in the bowl. Depending on the size of the cat, here is how I recommend to feed cats. First thing in the feed 1/8th cup of dry with 1/2 of a 3.5 oz. of canned. Around 10am feed 1/8 cup dry, followed up with 1/8 cup dry around 2. Then, at dinner time, repeat the morning meal, and feed 1/8 cup dry at bedtime. Now, do I follow this every single day, no, life does get in the way. But adjustments can be made. The more frequent you can feed the cat, the happier the cat will be. It is perfectly acceptable to feed 3 times, on those busy days, with a little more at each feeding, and on days when it can be done, 5 times is perfect. Cat’s should not have access to food 24 hours a day.

Two final things. Again, I am not going to recommend any particular food, just stick to a main brand, and remember, canned food everyday. Now, getting to those odd drinking habits of cats. Many cats will only drink water out of a bowl, until it gets about 2 inches below the lip of the bowl, and then they will not touch it. This requires two things from the cat keeper. The water needs to go through a complete change two times per day, and try to keep those bowls filled, if you see them down a bit. This is not like the dog, who slurps up water until it is gone, and then goes after what’s on the the floor. Cats require unique care, when compared to the dog, and I would call it far from easy. But they are the definition of cool, so you better take care of them right, brother.

Food: The Dog

No, this is not a blog, about how to cook the dog. Food has not been a very big topic lately, with the pandemic and all. Food to me, means a festive time, with friends and family, and certainly, things have not been too festive lately. I decided to write about how to feed the dog, since the dogs have no idea, that a pandemic is going on, and eating for them, continues to be a festive time. I am not going to discuss much about what to feed your dog, but on how to do it. The next blog will discuss feeding cats, who need to have a totally different method. What should you feed the dog? As long as you stick to a well known brand and company, you really can not go wrong. Common sense says that if 50 pounds of dog food costs about $15, how much nutrition can it have. On the other side of the coin, I do not think you need to spend 2 to 3 dollars a pound for dog food. The food the dog eats should meet three criteria. The dog should seem to enjoy it. The bowel movements should be nice and solid. The food should not create a lot of gas in the intestinal tract. It maybe very humorous, for your dog to pass gas, at a party gathering, but the fact remains, that gas is an indication the dog is having a hard time digesting the food. You may have to go through some trial and error, to find the right food. In some cases, it might be the way your feeding the dog, that is causing some of the problem. Follow the feeding guides on the bag, in order to know how much to feed. The only caveat here, is that the recommendation on the bag is based on the dog getting nothing else to eat. If you give the dog a treat or two during the day, like Milk Bones, then you will have to make an adjustment downward. Now let’s look at the way to feed a dog.

The first method you hear about is called free choice. What free choice doesn’t mean, is that the dog has access to all the food it wants, for 24 hours a day. The way free choice works, is first thing in the morning, you put down the dog’s daily food ration in a bowl. If the dog will nibble the food all day, then this method works just fine. There are some dogs, that will gobble the food up, all at once, making this method very unsatisfactory. If the dog eats, over half the food at one sitting, then you should put the dog on scheduled feedings. Many people that do this, will feed twice a day, dividing the daily ration equally. The problem arises on the timing of the feedings. They will feed first thing in the morning, and then again at 4 or 5 in the afternoon. This leaves too long of a time between the evening feeding, and the next morning feeding. Twice a day feeding should be 12 hours apart, as in 6am and then 6pm. However, the best way to feed a dog, to avoid a lot of digestive problems, is 3 times a day. I am not saying to feed it, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Feed it, first thing in the morning, then around 5pm, and a final meal at bedtime. When dogs were in the wild, they hunted in packs, captured their prey, and proceeded to over engorge themselves. Then they may go 2 to 3 days, before they ate again. The domesticated dog’s stomach has evolved, to be more like the human stomach. Many dogs, that are not given food for 10 to 14 hours, will have a tendency to throw up yellow, which is gastric juice, from the stomach being empty. Feeding 3 times per day, 1/3 of the daily ration at each feeding, will help prevent this problem, and make the food easier to digest, because there is not as much food, entering the stomach.

The final thing to discuss briefly, is whether to feed dry food, or canned food, or both. There is nothing wrong with canned food, except it is 70 to 80% water. Because it has such a high quantity of water, it is not a very calorie dense product. You can use this to your advantage, if you are trying to get a dog to lose weight. However, if you have a dog over 30 pounds, it can be very expensive to feed canned as it’s sole source of calories. As a general rule it is better to feed dry food. It is an entirely different story for the cat, which will be discussed in the next blog. Enjoy feeding the dogs, as they make it through this pandemic, in the beauty of ignorant bliss.

Food: What It Can Teach Us.

Food, the way it is prepared, and eaten can teach us many things.  First it can teach us the differences in people, and how that is not a bad thing.  People can be divided into two groups, when it comes to food.  You are either a foodie, or a non-foodie. The difference is easy to define.  A foodie lives to eat, and a non-foodie eats to live. The easies way to find a foodie, is to turn to any show on the Food Network, or the Cooking Channel. These people love to cook, and consume food.  They like to find new places to eat food, and find new ways to prepare food. They are enthusiastic eaters, and when  they are eating will use  words like, heaven, oh my God, and so good.  The non-foodie will eat, and enjoy certain foods, but will not go to any great means, to find unusual ways to prepare, and eat food.  Even though, there is a distinct difference, between these 2 groups, they all seem to get along.  No one, seems to discriminate against one group, over the other, when it comes to jobs, civil rights, and opportunities. The foodies and non-foodies seem to be fine with each other, despite their distinct differences.

Food can show how unique you are.  We all have foods, that on the whole, are good for the general populous, that can just, not make us feel good.  Mine is tomato juice.  About 12 hours after drinking tomato juice I will get a splitting headache.  My daughter can not eat broccoli. Then, there is the more serious allergic reactions, that some people develop to certain foods.   It tells you, that you are a totally unique person, and that is not bad.  You want to cultivate that uniqueness, into something special. You never want to worry about being a little different, than the “regular people”.  You are that one special person, with your own hopes and dreams, that only you can accomplish.

Food can teach you compromise.   The best example of this is microwave popcorn.  The compromise is between unpopped  kernels, and burned popcorn.   You do not want too many unpopped kernels, but if you try too hard to pop all the kernels, then the popcorn will burn.  I once, had someone tell me, they liked burnt popcorn.  This person turned out to be an idiot. For those of  us, of at least average intelligence, the goal is to pop as many kernels, without that awful burnt smell, when the bag is opened.

Food can teach you when to be creative, and when to have discipline.   When you are cooking food, that is the time, to let the creative juices flow.  When baking, you better have the discipline to following the recipe exactly.  You might be creative in finding a unique way to bake cookies, pies, and cakes, but you  better remember exactly what you did, or the next time will be a disaster. In cooking, when I make sauces, dips, and rubs I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. When the sauce, dip, or rub, really turns out well, and someone wants to know what I put in it, not only do I not the amount, but many times, I don’t remember all the ingredients.  In my view, that is the fun of it, just wing it. I do not do this, when I bake chocolate chip cookies.

Food can teach us to plan.  Planning what you are going to cook and eat for the week is a great way to learn how to plan other activities.  Planning your meals for the week can help you eat healthier and help your budget.  Plan on some left overs, which you can prepare in different ways from the original meal. You can get into your creative mode again.

Food helps you to get to know yourself, by listening to your body, on how it responds to certain foods, and cuisines.  This goes beyond the more severe reactions, we discussed earlier. Start to pay attention to how you feel, after you eat.  You should feel better than when you started.  Things that can make you off, after you eat, maybe related to waiting too long to eat.  There may be a certain food, that you can tell is difficult for you to digest, or just doesn’t make you feel right.  By paying attention to such things, you can improve your abilities in any endeavor you are doing.  You may sleep better, and be more relaxed by eating foods, that only make you feel good.

Finally, food is a great way to try new things.  Not much of a negative can happen to you, by eating something you have never tried before.  Being more adventuresome in the food world, may spread to other aspects of your life.  Getting use to trying new cuisines, may make your life a little more fulfilled. Even though we need food to survive, food is there to give us so much more.  Try to eat more mindfully, and enjoy every bite, by appreciating what all that good food can really do, to make your life better.

Food: How Did It Get So Important

Food is a necessity.  Without taking in food, you would die in about 6 weeks or less. We all have to eat.  You do not even have to eat healthy, to survive.  You must supply your body with fuel, to function. In the modern world, food is much more important than that. Food is associated with events and activities.   Popcorn at movies, Peanuts, cracker jacks and hot dogs at baseball games, the hot dog at turn, in golf, and cake at birthday parties.   Food has a whole day devoted to it, called Thanksgiving.  If the Pilgrims only knew what they started, they would have given thanks by only drinking water.  Even at the most casual get togethers, like playing cards, book clubs, and watching sports on TV, the host will feel an obligation to provide some food. So how did food go from becoming a necessity, to becoming the part of almost everything we do socially, to the point that sometimes it is the main event?  There are lots of ideas about the subject, and all the things that food can do, to make any social event better, and how much it shows you care, by providing food, and lots of it, at an event that you are hosting.  But no where is there any mention, on how this process all came about. There had to be sometime in history, where people got together to do something, and food was no where to be found. But there seems to be no documentation of this.  Even very old movies, made in the 1920’s show people gathering together, and eating and drinking, in almost the same way, that we do today. Naturally I have some theories, and there is very little data elsewhere, to dispute it.

It all boils down to the rich and famous.   There was a time in our history, particularly during the depression and World War II that food was hard to come by.  Even so, if you had money, then food was plentiful.  What better way for the rich and famous  to show how much money they had, by serving lots of  food at any big social function.  As times got better and food became more plentiful, and less costly, it was a way for the middle class to be just like the rich and famous, by having food included, in any social event that they were going to have. Plus, it was not a problem for the rich to distance themselves from everyday people, by other means.   Today, with the corona virus taking away all social functions and contact, food has become less fun.  We have returned to the day, where food, now is just a necessity, that we have to cook for ourselves, and whoever we are sheltering in place with.   Once this pandemic is over, I am sure food again, will take its place as the center piece of most any social function.  The way things are now, it is hard to believe that this will ever be.  We are a more open society today, than we were 100 years ago. Today, you can have quite a diverse group of people getting together for fun, food, and a good time, wherever that may be.  Food is taking a back seat, as the pandemic is moving on and on and on.  With so many questions on what will happen, concerning the virus, food has lost a lot of its importance.  So, no matter what started  food having to be at the center of all social events, these last two months have shown, that it is something that is ingrained in our beings, and is not helping us get through this crisis.

Hopefully, we will again, be able to enjoy food with our friends and family, in the not too distance future.   Food has been a big part of the human experience for a long time. This pandemic could affect how we enjoy and feel about food, for the rest of our lives. Let’s hope that we can all get through this, with as few emotional scars as possible, and that everyone we know remains healthy and safe.  As things begin to open up, I hope there will be no major setbacks in the near future.   I can smell those hot dogs already.

 

Food: Can it really do that?

When you read about food, there are many articles that talk about all the health benefits of any particular food. Looking at a particular nutrient of food, like the omega 3 fatty acids, is another popular topic.  Omega 3 fatty acids are give many positive attributes. One article I read, stated that there are 17, count’em 17, science-based, I mean real science baby, benefits of eating omega 3 fatty acids. Even the name sounds cool.  I am the Omega Man, the preventer  of many health problems.  Lot better than being called Celery Man. According to the article Omega 3’s can help with mental disorders, blood pressure, brain health for the fetus and in early life, and may even help prevent cancer. I am out the door to get 20 pounds of salmon and 30 cans of sardines.  This article will take you to many studies, to back up all 17 claims.  I read them, and they all have some flaws, and come to conclusions, that may not be correct.  Many health agencies want you to get 2 servings a week of a fish, that is high in omega 3’s  to reap the benefits.  However, fish oil supplement companies want you taking the product everyday. If you google the benefits of eating almost anything you will find results that are positive.   I googled garbage, dog poop, and processed foods, and they all came up with benefits, when they are consumed.  If you continued this process on any food, you would assume you could eat anything and live a long healthy life. Could that be true?

At first your answer would be no way.  When I googled the benefits of eating garbage, I came across a site, that said why do people eat garbage. My first thought was, I didn’t know people ate garbage, unless they were homeless.  But the garbage that this author was writing about, is food purchased at fast food chains, and highly processed foods. He  describes how nearly 90 percent of America’s budget is spent on junk food.1 What is more appalling is that nearly 60 percent of food eaten in America are ultra-processed,2 convenience foods that can be purchased at your local gas station. These processed foods also account for nearly 90 percent of the consumption of added sugar in the U.S. Now lets say that this is all true.  I have no doubt that it is true.  You have to wonder then, how does anybody make it to 85 years and beyond.  There are three diets that are describe in various sites.  The Mediterranean diet, which is a middle European diet,  the Natural diet attributed to Asia and Japan, and then the good old Western or American diet.  You could conclude that if you are on the Western diet, that you probably won’t make it past 40. If you have doubts about all the benefits that certain foods can give you, then possibly you should have doubts about all the harm that food could do. Are there any conclusions that can be drawn from this hodgepodge of claims and so called data?

Lets look as some things that we absolutely know about nutrition and health. There are absolutely a number of diseases, directly related to nutritional deficiencies.  They range from Scurvy, Rickets, Iron deficient anemia, Pellagra, and Calcium deficiency diseases. If your diet lacks certain vitamins. minerals or other essential nutrients you will get sick. There is no denying that.  There is no question that people have a sensitivity to certain aspects of food.  Gluten, certain preservatives, and spices may make some people sick. Once you eliminate the sensitivity issue, when you look at so called bad diets, it may not be what’s in them, but what’s not in them, that may be causing all the problem. The other issue, may be the amount of food, that is consumed rather the content.  What would happen if you put people on a plant based diet but they consumed vast amounts of that food, especially things like nuts and whole grains along with vegetables and became 40 to 50 pounds overweight. Do you think they might get some of the same health issues that overweight individuals get  from a processed animal based diet.   There are many more variables I can make up, but it shows why these so scientific studies are difficult, and may not be all that scientific. When it comes to food, variety and common sense, are the key ingredients.  To answer the question at the top of the page, can food really do that? I think we all know the answer is no.

Food: Caffeine

Caffeine is the most consumes drug in America, and probably in the entire world. In the United States, it is estimated between 85 and 90% of the people, consume some amount of caffeine daily, with the average being about being about 164 mg per day.  Over the years caffeine has gone from being bad for you, to being good for you, back to being bad, and now it is considered good for you, again. There are many medical and food sites, that discuss the pro and cons of consuming caffeine.  The general consensus is, that for the most part caffeine can help you, more than hurt you.  It’s pretty common knowledge, that caffeine affects the brain, and it seems to allow you to concentrate better, and be more alert, about one hour after consumption. The common side affects, are  keeping one awake at night, and it might give you some heart palpitations at higher doses.  Anyone can go on line and find the information.  However I did find some things that were interesting, and surprising, about how the scientific community feels about caffeine, and  there is still a lot to learned.

One thing I found that has to with nothing, but is interesting, is caffeine supposedly was discovered by an Ethiopian goat herder, who gave it to his goats, and it seemed to give them more energy.  Why you would want goats to have more energy is beyond me. The second new fact, for me anyway, was that there is not a lot of difference between what is safe to drink and what could cause some problems.  Taking in about 150 to 300 mg of caffeine per day seems to be very safe.  However taking in about 500 mg very quickly can cause some heart and blood pressure problems. So drink that coffee slowly. There is a debate in the scientific community, on whether caffeine is addictive.  Some sites say that it definitely is, while other sites say that it does not have all the traits of what constitutes an addictive drug.  All I know, is that some people do seem to have withdrawal symptoms from caffeine, if they try to stop taking caffeine abruptly.  They can get the shakes, headaches, and will be come more agitated in certain situations. My most surprising finding was that it seems that we are all drinking  coffee at the wrong time.  It all goes back to that darn circadian rhythm, again.  Its seems that when we wake up in the morning, that cortisol levels are at their highest, and therefore we do not need that jolt of caffeine, even though are brains may be telling us something different.  It is best to hit the coffee machine about 10 am, when your cortisol is starting to go down, and your body really does need that boost.  We seem to cycle back down around 1:30 so another cup will help again.   It is best to end the caffeine intake just after 2PM if you want a good nights sleep.

There is no doubt that caffeine is a drug, and the affects of are real.  On the whole caffeine can be a benefit, to help and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  However, there are more dangers involved than the general media puts forth.  After all, the coffee industry is a multi billion dollar business.  It goes back to those idiosyncratic responses that so many people have to so many different substances.  I know many people that say they can drink one or two cups of coffee at 7 to 8 PM, and sleep like a baby.  If I drank one cup at 7 PM, I would be up all night. Caffeine has many health and wellness claims, some more substantiated than others.  One claimed benefit is helping to prevent gall stones. The dose for prevention is 400 mg per day and even higher.  I think I would take my chances with gall stones.  I am going to start drinking my coffee later in the morning, when possible, and see if it makes any difference. It boils down to the same old thing.  Please. just listen to your body, it will tell you all you need to know.

Food: How Did We Get Here

The consumption of food is costing us billions of dollars every year. I don’t mean the cost of the food. I mean the results of consuming too much food for our own good.  Over half the world is overweight.  Over one third of world is a lot over weight.  I am not going to use the o word, in describing how much a person is overweight. In my view, any amount of weight over your ideal weight, can cause a problem. This is different than being pregnant, where you can be a little bit overweight.  This should not lull you to sleep, thinking that this is probably ok for your health, because it is not. Spend an entire day carry around a 10 bag of potatoes, and see how you feel at the end of the day. This is how your body feels, after it  carries your ten pounds of excess fat around, for the last so many years. This blog is not about how to lose those 10 pounds or more, but to try and find out how the world go so fat. How did we get to this state.  This is a problem that is on the rise.  More people die from complications of being over weight than smoking.  The cost of treating weight related diseases is estimated to be 147 billion dollars a year.  Each individual has to take responsibility for their own condition, but let’s look at some big picture elements, that have a lot to do with it, and what if anything we can do about it.

The beginning of the fast food chains, has done has as much as any industry, to cause people to eat more.  The fast food industry has taken a lot of criticism, over the years, for not offering as many healthy choices as they should.  Because of this criticism, fast food has improved in quality and variety. However, fast food still entices you, in many clever ways, to eat more than you should.  From catchy names like the Big Mac, The Whopper, The Whaler, MAKE IT A MEAL FOR ONLY $1.50 MORE and SUPERSIZE IT, DUMB ASS. Not only do they entice you with catchy slogans, but the more you eat, the less you pay per unit. A single Burger at Wendy’s is 4.49, but put another patty on, for just a buck, and make it a triple for just another dollar.   It goes on and on, and every chain is like this.  Should there be a law against this.  If that’s what it takes, to keep this from happening, yes, I am all for it.  There should be at least a suggestion, like on alcohol commercials, to eat responsible, because we all don’t want to pay for  those 5 stents you’ll get in 5 years.  You should not have to pay more, but you should not get a discount, because your appetite is like the offensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The entire food industry is like this.  That’s the whole purpose to buying clubs like Sam’s and Costco’s, in that they want you to buy in bulk and save money.  Unfortunately, I think this makes you eat in bulk also.  This kind of thinking. in my view, must come to an end.  The idea of the bigger you buy, the less it will cost.  It is not doing us any good. By the same token, all you can eat food bars, should come to an end. Again, they just contribute to a problem that is escalating at an unbelievable rate. I know that none of these things are going to happen, but it would be interesting if they did, just to see if they helped this costly problem of American  and world health.

Everyone is responsible for their own health and well being, but it does not help when people are bombarded with the above nonsense.  Can we learn a lesson from all this? We can all get into the mode of moderation.  With some moderate consumption habits and some moderate exercise added to our daily regime I think most of us can get back to a more healthful condition of our body.  Even though I wrote that any amount of being over weight is not good for your body, any amount of weight loss is good for your body.  Enjoy your food, but only eat one patty of ground meat, and eliminate the word large or big from your vocabulary, anytime you are going to order food.  Unless you have a big family buy small and eat small.  In the long run you will make you and the world a better place. Now excuse me, as I take my 54 tater tots out of the oven.