I said in last month’s newsletter, that we don’t need to get complicated when we strive to excel with our health. I discussed what I thought was valuable regarding a workout routine and suggested a very simple food program as a suggestion towards creating new habits with food that will have long-term affects to your physical health. We’ll be discussing medicinal qualities of food and food in general for the next several newsletter.
The more knowledge we can learn about food and how it affects our body the more we can be engaged with our physical self. Again, rather than hiring someone to do it for us, it is better to engage in the process for ourselves and have someone assist us in that process. It is very difficult to maintain consistency when we have the perspective that I’ll hire someone to get me to my goal. We are the only ones who can get us anywhere! And with this perspective, we are able to tap into our passions and generate motivation and fulfillment for ourselves.
In chemistry, alcohol is any organic compound in which a hydroxyl group (-OH) is bound to a carbon atom, which in turn is bound to other hydrogen and/or carbon atoms. The general formula for a simple acyclic alcohol is CnH2n+1OH. In general usage, alcohol refers almost always to ethanol, also known as grain alcohol, and often to any beverage that contains ethanol (see alcoholic beverage). This sense underlies the term alcoholism (addiction to alcohol). As a drug, ethanol is known to have a depressing effect that decreases the responses of the central nervous system (see effects of alcohol on the body). Other forms of alcohol are usually described with a clarifying adjective, as in isopropyl alcohol or by the suffix -ol, as in isopropanol.
This substance, in and of itself, is tasteless and colorless. “Congeners” that are included in alcohol to give it color, flavor, and character. These “congeners” stem from the aging of the liquor to its fermentation. The bacteria in our bodies actually produce tiny amounts of alcohol all the time. When alcohol enters the stomach, it reacts with an enzyme in the stomach and liver that transforms the alcohol to acetaldehyde. It is the acetaldehydes that we should be concerned about because they are the producers of our nasty hangovers. Alcohol just get’s us drunk. The body burns off about half an ounce of pure alcohol (about the amount in a dose of alcohol) in an hour. Let’s demonstrate this point with your average 12 ounce can of beer. A 12 ounce can of beer is about 5% alcohol and so only has about a half ounce of alcohol in it. A 5 ounce glass of wine is 12% alcohol and a one & a half ounce shot of 80 proof whiskey is about 40% alcohol. Do the math and you’ll find out how long it takes you to burn off the alcohol that you consume. Once the alcohol reaches our bloodstream, it travels to various parts of the body. Once it enters the brain, it replaces the water molecules of the brain and so slows down the its efficiency. Also, overdoses of alcohol shuts down our central nervous system, which in extreme cases causes the brain to stop sending us signals that remind us to breathe. All alcoholic drinks have a lot of calories with very little protein.
Caffeine, sometimes called theine when found in tea, is a xanthine alkaloid found in the leaves and beans of the coffee tree, in tea, yerba mate, guarana berries, and in small quantities in cocoa, the kola nut and the Yaupon holly. In plants, caffeine acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills many insects feeding upon them. Caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, having the effect of warding off drowsiness and restoring alertness. Caffeine-containing beverages, such as coffee and tea, enjoy great popularity, making caffeine the world’s most popular psychoactive substance.
The world’s most popular drink is coffee and the “boost” it contains can be found in 60 types of plants. Coffee, tea and cocoa are just the most popular of the bunch. Many health problems are associated with Caffeine ranging from addiction, heart disease, and low birth rates in babies. These risks are more likely to happen to people who drink 5 or more cups per day. It also stimulates the central nervous system by affecting chemical carriers in the brain that are known as neurotransmitters. Thus, it can make you feel more attentive and can increase your capacity to concentrate. This results in the feeling of alertness that is associated with Caffeine, as well as causing your metabolism to speed up to allow for the burning of calories. That does not mean that Caffeine helps you lose weight! It doesn’t because the increase in your metabolism is very small. The maximum amount of coffee that a person should drink per day is four cups, because any more than that can cause an increase in your cholesterol and blood pressure. Other studies link caffeine to breast cancer and miscarriages.
In general use, “sugar” is taken to mean sucrose, also called “table sugar” or saccharose, a disaccharide which is a white crystalline solid. It is the most commonly used sugar for altering the flavor and properties (such as mouthfeel, preservation, and texture) of beverages and food. Table sugar is commercially extracted from either sugar cane or sugar beet. The word sugar originates from the Sanskrit word sharkara, which means “sugar” or “pebble.” The “simple” sugars, or monosaccharides, such as glucose, are a store of energy which is used by biological cells. A sugar is denoted by any word on the ingredient list that ends with “ose”. Given that sugar contributes energy (calories), if you consume more than you need you will gain weight. Weight gain increases your risk of getting heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or even some types of cancer. However, if you are underweight, sugar can add extra calories so that you can gain weight. If your body doesn’t make enough insulin (in case of diabetes), then the sugar you eat increases the sugar in your blood to unhealthy levels. The body breaks down sugar into the simple sugar that is found in your blood (glucose). Unfortunately, there are no vitamins or minerals in sugar and so it is called an “empty” nutrient. That is why it is the first food to be eliminated from a weight loss diet. By the way, it does not matter if the sugar is white or brown. The amount of molasses in brown sugar is so low it doesn’t contribute enough of any vitamin or mineral to count.
• Zsweet: a natural diet sweetener made from erythritol, a granular sugar alcohol approved for use in the United States as a food additive and sweetener.
While erythritol is 70 percent as sweet as table sugar, it is substantially less caloric and has a mild cooling effect in the mouth. Zsweet can be used for baking.
• Sucralose: a noncaloric sweetener also known by the brand name Splenda.
It is about 600 times sweeter than sugar and is the only artificial sweetener on the market made from sugar. It is altered artificially with chlorine atoms. Heating doesn’t reduce its sweetening power, so it can be used in baking.
• Aspartame: sold under the brand names Equal and NutraSweet and approved for use in hundreds of foods and beverages.
Aspartame is made from two amino acids: phenylalanine and aspartic acid. It is not good for baking and is about 220 times sweeter than sugar.
• Stevia: a natural, zero-calorie sugar substitute found in health food stores.
It is made from a South American shrub and is about 300 times sweeter than sugar. Unlike Zsweet, approved by the FDA as a food, Stevia is sold as a dietary supplement in the U.S. It does not measure like sugar and is not ideal for baking.
24-Hour Wine & Cheese Omelet
* Butter 2 shallow 3-quart (9×13-inch) baking dishes. Spread bread over bottom and drizzle with butter. Sprinkle with Swiss and jack cheeses and salami.
* Beat together eggs, milk, wine, green onions, mustard, pepper and red pepper until foamy. Pour over cheese. Cover dishes with foil, crimping edges. Refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake casseroles covered until set, about 1 hour. Uncover: spread with sour cream and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, until crusty and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
1 loaf day old French or Italian bread, broken into small
6 tbl unsalted butter, melted
3/4 lb Swiss cheese, shredded
1/2 lb Monterey jack cheese, shredded
9 slc Genoa salami, coarsely chopped
16 x eggs
3 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 whl green onions, minced
1 tbl Dijon or German mustard
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1 1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (2/3 to 1)