This is Halloween: The Scariest Thing About Today

In the midst of current events, what is one thing a nutrition student thinks is “scary?”

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Happy Halloween everyone!  Hopefully everyone has a safe holiday, whether you are Trick-or-Treating, or going to another drinking party, or even staying home watching horror movies or playing horror games.  Or even not celebrating Halloween, that’s fine too, I guess.

In life there are many fears.  There’s the fear of things like climate change, the upcoming United States election, failing college courses and having to retake them etc.  Well, one thing you should really fear is the Halloween candy.

An article posted on Harvard’s blog page highlighted a study they conducted, and it showed that those who consumed larger amounts (25% or more of daily Calories) of added sugar were twice as likely to die of heart disease than those who ate a lower amount of added sugar in their diet.

Sugar is also “empty” Calories, meaning that foods with higher amounts of added sugar (think candy or soda) often contain very little nutrients, like vitamins and minerals.  Diets with larger amounts of Calories than your body can burn can often lead to obesity, which the American Heart Association cites as a risk factor for heart disease.

Added sugars also increase the risk for dental carries, aka cavities.  The presence of sugar gives the bacteria naturally in your mouth something to “eat,” which causes them to release acids that break down tooth enamel.  Once the tooth decays into the deeper parts of the tooth, it can be very painful.

Now, I am not saying it is bad to celebrate and to eat Halloween candy.  It is a celebration, after all.  Plus, candy does taste good.  What I am saying is to keep it in moderation.  Plus, there are better things to worry about, like the upcoming US election, climate change, grades in college classes etc. than getting heart disease later in life.

So what do you guys think?  Anyone with experience dealing with heart disease patients, or coming up with dietary plans reducing added sugar for health reasons not listed (like diabetes)?

Sliced ‘n Spiced: An Applesauce Recipe

A recipe I adapted from a class to add my own personal touch to it.

img_20161021_124558783One great thing about living in the Pacific Northwest during autumn is the apples.  Fucking apples all over the place.  Normally, they are crisp and crunchy, unless if they have been climate controlled (and thus became mealy).  Either way, throw them in the motherfucking pot and boil them down until there is only mush left.

Here’s what I used (the recipe is adapted from my food laboratory notebook for a science of foods class):

  • 4 Apples: I used Jonagold and Granny Smith because of their flavors
  • 1 C. water
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger: In the picture I used crystalized ginger, which is basically large chunks of ginger root cooked in a syrup.  Be sure to cut it up into smaller pieces
  1. Wash the apples. This step is important because food borne illness is a bitch.
  2. Peel, cut, and core apples. Feel free to eat the peels.  I did.
  3. Put the apples in a slow cooker. Use a liner if you want, I really do not give a fuck.  You do you.
  4. Pour the water over top of apples. Season the apples with nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger to taste.  I like mine spicy and brown, you might like it more appley.
  5. Turn the slow cooker onto high, and cover. The applesauce will be done in about 4-5 hours.
  6. I let applesauce cool on the countertop, and then transferred into the fridge to help it cool and form a slightly thicker sauce.

 

The way I made it, the sauce is a bit sweet, a bit tangy, and somewhat bitter or earthy.  If a sweeter sauce is desired, you can use sweeter apples, less spices than I did (that is why it is dark brown, I really like my spices), or add 1-3 Tbsp table sugar if desired.  Personally, I do not like a whole lot of sugar in my applesauce, as I wanted the natural sweetness of the apples and flavor of the spices to be the “stars” of the flavor profile.

What the F**k is Wrong with You?: The problem with Self-Diagnosing

How Googling symptoms can lead to unexpected problems

A lot of people often use online sources to find out what their problems are.  Hell, even I have done web searches to find out some illnesses I’ve had.  The problem with doing this is that you probably are not a doctor (unless you actually are a doctor of medicine, in which I shall shut the fuck up and let you do your job).  Using the symptom checkers can often lead to conclusions that are not quite logical for the situation.

For example, let’s say you ate a whole can of beans for some reason.  Hours later, you have a belly ache.  There is some pain in your abdomen, so you look up the symptoms.  It’s a sharp, moderately severe pain with a feeling of fullness.  Using the symptom checker, this person can have issues that are relatively severe, including diverticulitis (sacks that develop in the colon which then get filled with bacteria and poo), dermatomyositis (rare disease which causes muscle pain, weakness, and blotchy patches), or, quite simply, gas pains.

While it is important to monitor your health, sometimes a doctor is not needed.  If you are just farting a lot due to eating a whole lot of beans, there probably is not much a doctor can recommend, save for some anti-gas medications that you can get over the counter.  In more severe cases, like if you wound up having some blotchy patches in addition to the pain, then yeah, maybe see a doctor.

Looking up symptoms can also lead to hypochondriasis like conditions, and I know I have fallen into such trap.   An example is thinking the slight discomfort from eating the beans is a sign of severe gastrointestinal cancer.  Thinking the most severe situation after a short duration of time can lead to unnecessary doctor visits, which can add up financially when insurance gets involved.

Now, I am not saying to forgo going to the doctor for ailments, I am simply saying to be smart with it.  If the pain came from eating a whole can of beans, or if you have a sore, runny nose and it’s cold season, then it probably is not a severe gastrointestinal issue, or even nasal polyps.

So what do you guys think?  Has online symptom checkers helped find diseases you never knew you had, or did it lead to a trip to the doctor that was not needed?

 

AP/EP: What does this even mean?

A look at what the abbreviations AP and EP are, their application, as well as a bad AC/DC pun that does not work so well.

I made this title a certain way because I wanted to explain more in the actual article, as well as to make a bad AC/DC pun, because to me, AP/EP sounds similar, based on the ending sounds of “C” and “P.”  But I digress.

Let me explain what “AP” means first.  AP stands for as purchased.  Now, this one is pretty explanatory, but I will continue to explain, because that’s what I do.  Imagine going to your favorite grocery store, and picking up some ingredients for dinner.  Or lunch.  Or whatever, that’s not the important part.  Let’s say that you bought some oranges, for your secret family recipe of putting oranges on top of some bread.  You bought a pound of the fuckers for $1.49, because I am an American so I use American units.

Now, here’s where the “EP” or edible portion comes in, as well as all the annoying math.  Now, there are 16 ounces in a pound, which means per ounce of orange, you are spending about $0.09.  However, because nobody wants to eat the zest and pith parts of the orange (aka the skin), you have to peel it off before putting it on the bread.  Of the 16 oz of oranges you bought, you wind up using 11.2 of them.  The 11.2 is the weight of the edible portion of the food, so 4.8 oz of orange gets wasted.  This is a 70% yield, meaning that the oranges go from $0.09 to $0.13 in price just counting the EDIBLE part.  So, for one serving of orange, you are spending $0.93 for the peeled orange, compared to the $0.63 for the whole orange.

So what does this mean?  Well, you are for one not good at cooking if bread and oranges became a family recipe.  But it also means that you are spending more money on less food, due to the fact that about 30% of the oranges gets wasted.  It is also an important factor, as there is a food waste problem.  Waste gets thrown out, which can pollute the areas surrounding landfills.  Now, I am not promoting never throwing anything away, but I am promoting awareness.  Maybe you can save some money per serving by using apples instead?