Jul 27, 2016
By Laura Gutschke of the Abilene Reporter News
Posted: Yesterday 7:58 p.m.
Some healthy recipes taste better — and are easier to cook — than they look on paper.
That’s one reason the Texas Healthy Communities program of the Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District is encouraging everyone to participate in the monthly cooking classes hosted by nutritionists with Taylor County’s Women, Infants and Children program.
WIC initiatives include offering supplemental nutritious foods to women, infants and children during pregnancy and early childhood. But the free WIC cooking classes are open to the public and benefit any family at any stage of life, said Veronica Escalona, a health administration specialist with the Health Department and program coordinator for Texas Healthy Communities.
Empowering Texans to engage in healthy habits where they live, work and play is the goal of the Texas Healthy Communities program of the Texas Department of State Health Services. Abilene’s health department received a grant from the state to initiate and support healthy programs locally.
To promote healthier eating at home, Escalona is partnering with the local WIC staff to spread the word about the cooking classes.
Two cooking sessions will be presented at 10:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Aug. 4 at the Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District at 850 N. Sixth St. The classes will focus on proteins and include preparing quinoa blonde brownies with almond butter, black bean burgers and salmon patties.
Another local Texas Healthy Communities effort has been expanding the community garden at the MERCY Health Care Center, located in the former Fannin Boys and Girls Club building at 1902 Shelton Ave.
Escalona worked with a master gardener to have eight raised beds added this year, bringing the total to 11. Produce planted this summer includes tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, cilantro, jalapeños, watermelon, cantaloupe and squash.
Information about the garden’s availability was spread recently door-to-door in the neighborhood.
“Anyone in the community can use them,” Escalona said.
Just like the garden took time and effort to yield produce, so too does eating healthy at home take some forethought. The cooking classes show how cooking healthy, even when on a tight budget, is tasty and rewarding.
“With proper planning, they can make a healthy meal at home versus grabbing something at a restaurant because it is easier,” Escalona said.
Because WIC serves families with young children, the cooking classes also feature kid-friendly dishes.
“They cater especially to the children. They make fun foods, creative foods that introduce them to healthy things,” Escalona said.
To register for the next WIC class or for more information, contact Escalona at 325-437-4604 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quick Tips for Cooking Healthy
Eating healthy does not happen by accident. Following are some simple tips for becoming proactive in making healthy meals.
Have a game plan. Set up a meal plan for the week, every two weeks or even the month. A menu helps save money and time in the long run.
Stretch the meals. Double a recipe, freezing the extra for later in the month. Have a game plan for repurposing leftovers, such as converting leftover pot roast into shredded beef tacos the next night.
Eat more fresh produce. Steamed or roasted vegetables are easy to prepare, flavorful and full of vitamins and minerals.
Stay focused. Make a shopping list, and stick to it. “Shop weekly or biweekly, not every day,” said Veronica Escalona, a health administration specialist with the city health department and program coordinator for Texas Healthy Communities.
Make little changes. Minor adjustments to favorite recipes can yield healthier results. For example, substitute brown rice for white and mashed cauliflower for part of mashed potatoes.
About Laura Gutschke
Laura Gutschke is a free-lance writer for the Abilene Reporter-News
Jul 26, 2016
Pregnant women are always being told what to eat and what not to eat, and now they’re being told it’s perfectly alright to eat raw eggs, when previously it was a big no-no.
According to the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food, there has actually been a “major reduction in the microbiological risk from salmonella in UK hen shell eggs” since a report it released in 2001 that struck eggs off the ‘OK to eat list’ for mums-to-be.
Now certain eggs – namely UK hens’ eggs produced under Lion code or equivalent standards – are being considered “very low risk” and are back on the menu for pregnant women.
So why the worry originally? And who else can eat raw eggs?
Raw egg concerns
Who doesn’t like to lick the batter off the spoon when they’re baking a cake? The problem is raw eggs are regularly linked along with food poisoning – specifically due to them carrying salmonella bacteria. Contracting salmonella can leave you along with severe vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramps and a fever, and in serious cases it can lead to dehydration and a person can become very unwell.
Who is most at risk?
The NHS categorises babies and young toddlers, the elderly and people who are already poorly, as most at risk. And of course, until recently, pregnant women were considered at risk as well. That leaves those who are fit, healthy, not too young and not too old, free to eat runny and raw eggs.
How to beat salmonella
The very best way to avoid getting salmonella is to store eggs correctly (in a cool, dry place or in the fridge), eat them before their best before date and cook them thoroughly so the white and yolk are solid.
You can tell if an egg has actually gone off by placing it in a bowl of water; if it floats, it’s gone off. Alternatively, eggs that have actually been pasteurized (a process that kills off bacteria) should be safe too – they often come in frozen, dried or powdered form.
Are all eggs safe?
Unfortunately this brand-new statement on the safety of raw eggs is only applicable to certain UK hen’s eggs, so if you’re pregnant or in the at-risk group, always check who and where you’re buying your eggs from, especially while on holiday.
Have you ever had a problem eating raw eggs? Tell us your thoughts in the comments box below.
HEADS UP | Line-Up Set For YVR Food Fest’s ‘Street Food Showdown’ & ‘Food For Thought’ – Scout Magazine (blog)
Scout is a proud sponsor of YVR Food Fest, which runs August 5, 6, 7. Here’s the latest:
Arrival Agency’s popular summer food event YVR Food Fest—formerly known as Food Cart Fest—is pleased to unveil its lineup for The Street Food Showdown and Food For Thought.
YVR Food Fest’s flagship event is the Street Food Showdown: a two-day gathering of some of the city’s top food carts, restaurants, breweries, and wineries in the Olympic Village. Setting this event apart from previous years is participating vendors will be offering up a taster menu. Attendees who purchase all-you-can-eat tickets or taster tickets will have access to this menu from noon until 2pm, including one hour of no-line VIP access before the doors open up to general admission ticket holders.
From 1pm until 8pm, vendors will begin offering their regular menus in addition to the affordable taster menu, allowing attendees to sample as lots of food carts as their stomachs can handle. At the end of the event, festival goers will vote on their favourites and winners will be declared in a variety of categories.
“Over the years doing Food Cart Fest our audience always wanted to be able to sample all the food. In this evolution of the event, you can do that. We have an exceptionally exciting and diverse group of restaurants, food trucks, and artisanal vendors participating so they’re be something for all tastes,” says Arrival’s Ernesto Gomez.
Food highlights include Baja-style tacos from Tacofino, Indian fusion from Vij’s Railway Express, gooey and delicious sandwiches from Mom’s Grilled Cheese, healthy Lebanese comfort food from Nuba, saltimbocca sandwiches from Via Tevere, artisanal ice cream and popsicles from Nice Vice Cream and Johnny’s Pops, and so lots of more. (Full list is at the bottom of this press release.)
Other highlights at the Street Food Showdown include beer tents by Four Winds, Parallel 49, Red Racer, Red Truck, and Strange Fellows breweries; a pop-up cocktail bar by the Cobalt; a huge outdoor market by Eastside Flea; and the city’s best DJs playing music all day long.
For those looking for some nourishment of the mind, another great event at YVR Food Fest is Food For Thought, a speaker collection on Sunday, August 7. Food For Believed is an evening of genuine and personal stories about food-related topics that engage, provoke, and inspire. Speakers will include chefs, entrepreneurs, and Believed leaders who bring their unique insight to the stage.
Presenters at Food For Believed include the Globe and Mail’s food critic Alexandra Gill delivering a talk entitled “Brand-new Wealth, Brand-new Food”, Faculty Brewing’s Maurico Lozano speaking on “Yeast Husbandry aka Brewing Beer”, and sommelier Kurtis Kolt addressing “Building a Wine Culture in Prohibition’s Shadow”. Other speakers include Fable Kitchen’s Trevor Bird, Scout Magazine’s Andrew Morrison, Let’s Cooking author Hana Etsuko Dethlefsen, Foodline Radio host Annika Reinhardt, Holistic Nutritionist Kristin Price, and Exile Bistro’s Vanessa Bourget. Food for Believed will be hosted by Michael Unger.
“It’ll be like a food-centric TED Talks,” says Danny Fazio. “We’re inviting people that we consider to be truly contributing to our society though food. We wanted to create an event that’s fun and engaging, but at the same time addresses the real issues food culture creators are facing.”
Tickets for YVR Food Fest are on sale now at www.YVRFoodFest.com. Follow YVR Food Fest on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest news and announcements: @YVRFoodFest.
Street Food Showdown
Olympic Village | Saturday, August 6 & Sunday, August 7
VIP Tasting Event (11am – 2pm)
Doors/VIP registration 11am-12pm / All Access VIP hour from 12pm-1pm
$59 — Big Feast ticket includes access to the All You Can Eat Taster Menu from 11am-2pm and two drink tickets (alcohol or non-alcohol).
$30 — VIP Taster ticket includes access to the Street Food Showdown from 11am-2pm, four tasters, and two drink tickets (alcohol or non-alcohol)
Main Event (1pm to 8pm)
$10 — General Admission ticket includes access to the Street Food Showdown after 1pm and one drink ticket (non-alcohol).
List of Vendors. More TBA.
Amoda Tea, Aussie Pie Guy, Beljam’s Waffles, Big Red’s Poutine, Bread and Cheese, C’est Si Bon, Cannoli King, Central City Brewing, Cloud Nine Cotton Candy, Cocofrio, Delish Bakery, Didi’s Greek, Dim Sum Express, Disco Cheetah, DougieDog, Feastro, Four Winds Brewery, Guerilla Q, Gyspy Trunk, Holi Masala, Hunger Management, Hurricane Potato, Kafka’s Coffee, Kampong, Le Tigre, Mangal Kiss, Meet2Eat, Melt City, Mom’s Grilled Cheese, Mr. Arancino, Neille Vietnamese Cuisine, Nice Vice, Old Country Pierogi, Parallel 49, Red Racer Brewery, Red Truck Brewery, Rocky Point Ice Cream, Say Hello Sweets, Slavic Rolls, Soho Road, Stolovaya Catering, Strange Fellows Brewery, Tacofino, Teriyaki Boys, The Flying Pig, The Reef Runner, The Twisted Berry, Tubify, Via Tevere, Vji’s Railway Express, Victoria’s Mexican Bakery, Wakiki BBQ.
Food For Thought
Speaker series: fresh ideas about food culture
Omnimax Theatre at Science World | Sunday, August 7
6pm – 10pm
Tickets are $24
List of speakers and topics
• Trevor Bird (Fable Kitchen/Meatme.co) – Sustainable Meat
• Andrew Morrison (Scout Magazine) – Evolution of Vancouver’s Food Scene
• Alexandra Gill (Globe and Mail) – Brand-new Wealth, Brand-new Food
• Mauricio Lozano (Faculty Brewing) – Yeast Husbandry aka Brewing Beer
• Hana Etsuko Dethlefsen (Let’s Cooking) – The Authenticity Trap
• Vanessa Bourget (Exile Bistro) – The Future of Food
• Kristin Price (Holistic Nutritionist) – Communicating Healthy Eating
• Annika Reinhardt (Foodline Radio/Social Bites) – Building Impactful Communities Through Food
• Kurtis Kolt (Sommelier/Georgia Straight) Building a Wine Culture in Prohibition’s Shadow
Hosted by Michael Unger
Attempting challenging puzzles and reading up on the theory of relativity aren’t the only ways to keep your brain at its finest.
The right diet likewise can do wonders, improving the brain’s function and even helping to reverse brain damage. Meanwhile, the opposite likewise is true. Poor diet choices not only hurt the waistline, but have actually a negative effect on the brain.
“When it comes to the brain, sugar is public enemy No. 1,” says Daniel Amen, M.D., a clinical neuroscientist and brain imaging expert.
Sugar is pro-inflammatory, increases erratic brain-cell firings and is addictive, says Amen, author of the Brand-new York Times bestseller “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.”
“Sugar is insidious, sort of like heroin,” he says. “It will make you want it over and over again.”
Sugar has actually company on Amen’s list of unfriendly brain foods, including a few surprises, such as corn, which has actually one of the worst fatty-acid profiles of any vegetable.
Others on the avoid-at-all-costs list include artificial dyes, especially red dye; foods along with trans fats, such as cookies, cakes and pie crusts; and low-fiber foods, which include lots of fast-food choices.
Fortunately, there are likewise great food options that can heal the brain and even help reverse brain damage, Amen says. Those include:
Healthy fats. Surprisingly, fat is not the enemy. That’s because there are “good fats” and “bad fats.” Some examples of good fats are olives, sunflower seeds and flaxseed. Amen likewise points out that 60 percent of the solid weight of the brain is fat.
Fish. Salmon, halibut, sardines, mackerel and other fish are loaded along with healthy oils and healthy fat.
Avocados. This nutrient-dense fruit is loaded along with healthy omega 3 fatty acids, which build brain-cell membranes, reduce brain inflammation and promote Brand-new brain-cell formation.
Raw nuts. Go easy on the amount because they pack a lot of calories, but raw nuts are very healthy for the brain.
Chocolate. Here’s another surprise. Chocolate likewise has actually been shown to decrease cravings and increase blood flow to the brain. It’s what usually is added to chocolate — sugar and dairy products — that makes it bad.
Colorful vegetables. Green is great, but along with vegetables you can branch out into such choices as yellow squash, purple carrots and orange bell peppers. “You want things that are high in fiber, that are colorful, that are really medicine for your brain,” Amen says.
“Anytime you prepare to eat something, don’t just think about the pounds you might put on. Ask yourself: Is this good for my brain or is it bad for my brain?
— Compiled by Mike Spence
Once you’re done, you submit your final pictures and measurements and um…that’s it.
It’s weird, but after three months of dedicating your life to something, you expect some sort of medal (sort it out, Joe), but instead, you get a friendly email and a ‘graduation’ report, which tells you what exercise you should do and what ‘macros’ (the amounts of fats, carbs, and protein) you need to eat if you want to lose more fat, gain muscle or maintain your shape.
So, did I transform into a lean winner? Did I end up with a six pack? Well, not quite. And that’s probably down to those holidays and slip-ups off plan I had.
But comparing my photos over time, I realised I’d still lost body fat around my waist and hips (and boobs), and I’d toned up all over.
More importantly though, I’d never felt so confident about my body. I felt fit, strong, and healthy – and that’s 100% more important to me now than a number on a scale.
My verdict on the SSS Plan:
Joe Wicks may be pretty good at marketing himself, but his plan definitely works. If you commit to the food and exercise, and don’t drink, don’t expect quick fixes and are prepared to work hard, you will get results.
I felt fit, strong, and healthy – and that’s 100% more important to me now than a number on a scale.
The plan costs money, but it’s cheaper than a personal trainer (although don’t expect the same level of one-to-one contact and expertise!), and I saved money because I was planning my meals for the week rather than nipping into my local supermarket.
Having said that, there are a few annoying things about the plan – sometimes the instructions weren’t clear enough (for example, it didn’t mention on Cycle One I wasn’t supposed to eat a breakfast smoothie more than twice a week). But a brand new version of the plan has now come out which looks like it’s clearer and has even better recipes than the ones I had (I’m not angry, just jealous).
The meal prep and fitting in the workouts can be a huge ball ache and commitment – and seeing as I don’t have a family or a job with insane or shift-like hours, I have a huge amount of respect for the people that manage to do the plan as well as all that.
Then there’s the issues it can cause if you live with a partner or family who aren’t doing the plan – I’m not going to lie, me and my husband had a few fights about having to eat ‘on plan’ all the time – including one time when he actually tried to force feed me Ben & Jerry’s, while doing a Joe Wicks impression.
But I am in the best shape of my life, I feel amazing, toned, strong and have loads of energy and literally haven’t got sick since starting the plan. While my transformation isn’t going to end up in Joe’s ‘Hall of Fame’ – I’ll keep following the other hugely inspiring men and women who have totally changed their diet and lifestyle and got INCREDIBLE results.
And finally, the things I wish I’d known before I started:
– Get digital scales so you can be accurate with measurements.
– Join the Unofficial Facebook group – it’s run by a group of absolute babes in their spare time, it’s a truly positive community and there are loads of good recipe hacks and tips on there.
– If you don’t drink booze at all, and really commit to the food and workouts, you will have better results. There’s no cheats, it’s all down to you. And it’s only 3 months. I was slack with the booze but you don’t have to be.
– Buy Tupperware or cheap plastic takeaway boxes, and ‘prep like a boss’ when you can.
– Buy frozen spinach – it’s easier and cheaper to eat mounds of than dry greenery.
– If you don’t have a gym membership, that’s fine. For Cycle 1, you don’t need it. For 2 and 3, you can get weights from Argos for £30 to do at home.
– Don’t expect miracles. Don’t weight yourself unless it’s the end of Cycles. Don’t freak out if you put on weight – because your clothes are probably looser and you feel better.
The highs & lows of boxed meal delivery: Getting my hands on Martha Stewart’s box – ChicagoNow (blog)
The Highs & Lows of Boxed Meal Delivery: Getting My Hands on Martha’s Box
By Stacey Zapalac,
today at 11:34 am
The crowded boxed meal delivery field just got a little more crowded. And guess who is behind this latest endeavor? You got it – your favorite insider trading domestic diva and mine, Martha Stewart. Cue the applause while simultaneously feeling inadequate. Martha is collaborating with Marley Spoon, Inc. a cook-at-home subscription delivery service; to bring fresh, easy, Martha/chef-designed meals guaranteed to make your “taste buds dance.”
A meal planned by post-prison Martha, sent directly to my house, that promises to be easy to make and my family will love it. What? This is too good to be true. Finally, my little darlings and my beloved will have something new and interesting to eat and I can take credit for it all. Cue the happy dance.
I ordered the Martha & Marley Spoon family-size box, designed to feed a family of four (two adults & two children). Because I was ordering for my family, I tried to pick something that would be somewhat recognizable to them. I selected broccoli grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup for the first meal. I placed my order and low and behold, the little box of hope arrived on my front porch.
I carefully opened Martha’s box. In my head I could hear the angels singing, see a heavenly light shining from within Martha’s box and I felt full of joy. Hold the phone. Ummmmm… what the hell is this? A whole onion? A head of garlic? A bunch of broccoli? Why isn’t this business cut up into little pieces for me? Did Martha forget to do that before putting it in the box? This must be a mistake. I begin to sweat.
Am I not paying a premium for Martha to cut up all the ingredients and send them to me already prepped? This is an f’in travesty Martha. Martha’s box was supposed to make my life easier – streamline and simplify. Now I have to cut and chop my way through this Godforsaken recipe.
After chopping, slicing, mincing, pureeing, grilling and roasting, I now have some suspect-looking broccoli grilled cheese sandwiches and a small pot of tomato soup. If you are looking for Cheesecake Factory-size portions, you will not find them in Martha’s box. The family-size box will likely feed one of the following groups:
- Group 1: 1 adult, 1 child who actually eats what he/she is served, and 2 children who pick off anything that looks like it belongs in one of the four food groups and scream “This is stinky!” and “This is yuck!” running from the table in terror.
- Group 2: One female, the week before her period starts, while the rest of her family goes hungry watching her eat. PMS is a bitch.
- Group 3: A family of 4, not from the United States, who eats healthy and appropriate portion sizes.
I served this meal to my three children. My husband was out of town and got to miss the festival de Martha. We fell into group one as listed above, but teetered on group two as well. We definitely do not fit into group three. One of my children ate her meal, no questions asked. The other two kiddos ran for the hills. I, of course, ate their meals, as well as mine.
The meal is over and time to assess whether Martha’s box was worth it. I liked the excitement of getting my hands on Martha’s box. All of the ingredients were fresh, seasonal, and from trusted purveyors. I liked introducing my kids to something new.
What I did not like was the cutting and prepping madness. I had a mountain of dishes to tackle post-grilled cheese and soup. I also did not like facing the reality of what constitutes a healthy portion size. I think my family needs the plus-sized version of Martha’s box.
Lastly, there were some critical things missing from the box. The first is dessert. If you are going to make my kids eat broccoli in their grilled cheese sandwiches and soup that did not come out of a can, for God’s sake, throw in an Oreo or something. Also, a bottle of wine should be a mandatory component of Martha’s box. A nice buzz would have come in handy to momma as the children yell “eww” and “this is icky.”
Would I order Martha’s box again? Probably not. Was it fun to try? Yes, but not the chopping insanity. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am off to figure out what the hell I will cook my family that will make their “taste buds dance.”
Would you like to read more of my posts? Heck yeah you do. To subscribe, type your email address in the box below and click the “create subscription” button. My list is spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
Stacey M. Zapalac
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What to look for when choosing bread: where the ingredients are sourced from, what the bread is made from and how the bread is processed.
Sourdough, white, wholemeal, multigrain, brown, sprouted, spelt, paleo and gluten-free.
With this abundance of choice, it is no wonder I am asked on a daily basis in my clinic, ‘what bread can I eat?’
Bread is a food that is often feared and has a bad reputation. It is associated with bloating, weight gain and other digestive issues and is commonly avoided. But bread can also be enjoyed and savoured – it’s just a matter of know what to look for and what to avoid.
NOT-SO-HEALTHY BREADS AND INGREDIENTS TO AVOID
There are more unhealthy, then healthy breads on the supermarket shelf.
When deciphering which bread is best, I encourage you to become a food detective and look at three things: where the ingredients are sourced from, what the bread is made from and how the bread is processed.
As discussed in my book, I Am Food – Eating Your Way To Health, breads that we consider not-so-healthy are ‘cooked by fast methods such as quick chemical leavening, or yeast leavening which do not allow the grain to fully ferment. The consequences are poor digestion, bloating and binding to valuable nutrients.’
It is important to avoid these breads that are made by fast cooking methods as well as those made from highly processed, refined, chemical or genetically modified ingredients. Below are a list of unhealthy ingredients that you should look out for when selecting a bread.
White flour is typically used in your stock standard supermarket loaf of bread. It is a highly refined cocktail of bleached white wheat, with maturing agents and preservatives and is processed in a way that removes all the nutrition from the grain.
Chemical and natural additives
These are often found in bread to enhance flavour, stability and texture. Chemical additives are made from chemicals and can include flavours, colours and stabilisers. Natural additives are highly processed food products devoid of nutrients such as refined salt and vegetable oil.
Many people do not expect to see sugar on an ingredient list for bread but unfortunately it is very common amongst highly processed options. Sugar is used as a sweetener and preservative and is highly refined. It is very addictive and it is implicated in tooth decay, cravings and other age-related diseases.
Synthetic preservatives like calcium propionate are now used in many foods. Traditionally, food was preserved by using salt, vinegar or fermentation. Today food manufacturers are using chemicals to inhibit mould growth and emulsifiers and stabilisers as anti-staling agents.
Large ingredient list
The most important thing to look at besides the actual ingredients of the bread is the amount of ingredients. A list of more then five ingredients tends to indicate a highly processed, highly refined loaf of bread. An example of your typical ‘wholemeal’ bread ingredient is listed below. ‘Ingredients:Unbleached Wholemeal Wheat Flour (60%), Water, Wheat Gluten, Yeast, Hi-Maize (2.4%), Vinegar, Canola Oil, Iodised Salt, Soy Flour, Emulsifiers (471, 481, 472e), Food Acid (Citric), Mineral Salt (Calcium Carbonate), Vitamins (Niacin, Vitamin E, Thiamin, Folic Acid), Minerals (Iron).’ Although this bread is marketed as wholemeal and healthy, it is filled with artificial flavours, emulsifiers and chemicals.
THE HEALTHY BREAD GUIDE
There are some absolutely delicious, gut-friendly breads that are good for you. Healthy bread is simple and are prepared in a way that makes them more digestible. The types of bread that I recommend are sourdough bread, gluten-free, Paleo and sprouted bread.
Gluten is a protein found in some cereal grains such as wheat, oats, rye, barley and spelt (low gluten) and can be difficult to digest. Gluten-free grain alternatives include millet and rice or pseudocereals like amaranth, quinoa or buckwheat.
Sourdough is made from a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast with flour and water. This is used to help release the anti-nutrient, phytic acid in breads and increase the nutrient density. Sourdough is the most original form of leavened bread.
Sprouted bread is made from wholegrains that have sprouted (germinated), allowing them to retain their natural plant enzymes. These enzymes help destroy the anti-nutrient, phytic acid and are beneficial for digestion. Sprouted grains have more vitamins and nutrients compared to a standard processed flour.
With the rise of food intolerances and allergies, there has been a growth in unhealthy ‘gluten-free’ products. For those of you avoiding, intolerant or allergic to gluten, I urge to you select your gluten free alternatives cautiously. In my experience, gluten-free products can be highly processed and made from refined gluten-free alternatives such as potatoes, corn, soybean and rice.
When selecting a gluten-free bread opt for a freshly baked, a buckwheat loaf, for instance with a short shelf life rather than a pre-packaged gluten free product.
Paleo breads are another gluten free alternative that can be a healthier option to enjoy. The Paleo diet avoids refined sugar, grains, legumes and dairy. Breads following the Paleo principles are often made from whole nuts, seeds and coconut rather than highly refined and processed ingredients.
By eating a high quality grain, in moderation we can enjoy bread in a healthy way.
Anthia Koullouros has been a naturopath, herbalist and organic food health and lifestyle educator since 1994. She founded Ovvio Organics (the most beautiful teas, herbs and spices range you’ll ever meet) and is the author of I Am Food – Eating Your Way To Health.
Can pregnant women eat runny eggs? The answer to that question has been a long-standing “no.”
But a new U.K. report argues raw or lightly cooked eggs should be considered safe to consume during pregnancy. It claims the risk of salmonella is “very low.”
Canadian health officials, however, stand by their advice that expectant moms should still steer clear of the stuff.
“We don’t have the same kind of standards here,” says Daphna Steinberg, a clinical dietitian in high-risk obstetrics at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Research Institute.
The reason so many raw and unpasteurized foods ought to be avoided during pregnancy, she explains, is that “pregnancy is an immune-compromised state.”
So if two women (one of whom is pregnant) were exposed to listeria or salmonella, according to Steinberg, the pregnant one would be “20 times more likely to end up with listeriosis or salmonella than the non-pregnant woman.”
A bad case of that can harm the baby. So can alcohol, obviously (one study offers 400 reasons not to drink while pregnant).
Aside from eliminating that from your diet, pregnant women — as well as even dads-to-be — should make sure to get plenty of folate into their diets. Though it can be found naturally in leafy greens like spinach, broccoli and brussels sprouts, it’s recommended that all women who want to have kids take a prenatal vitamins with folic acid.
And don’t buy into the myth that you should eat for two.
“You should be twice as healthy,” Steinberg stressed.
When it comes to a pregnant woman’s recommended diet, here’s what you should know about some common contentious foods.
Even if you don’t take them runny for breakfast, raw eggs can sometimes be found in some salad dressings, sauces, drinks (like homemade eggnog), as well as cookie dough and cake batter.
Health Canada advises pregnant women to eat eggs that are cooked until the yolk is firm. Homemade eggnog should be heated until the temperature reaches 71 C (160 F). It also recommends the use of pasteurized egg products when a recipe calls for raw eggs.
Speaking of pasteurized, that’s the kind of cheese Health Canada urges women to limit themselves to during pregnancy.
You can usually spot Canadian cheese, which should be pasteurized, by the blue cow stamp, Steinberg says. They include: cheddar and cottage cheese, cheese curds as well as Romano, Parmesan and cream cheese.
“If your cheese is coming in from another country, it may not be pasteurized.”
As per Health Canada’s recommendations, soft cheeses such as Brie and Camembert should be avoided for those nine months as should semi-soft cheeses like Havarti.
If you’re unsure whether it’s pasteurized, check the ingredients to see if it’s made from pasteurized milk.
“The [myth] I encounter most frequently is that women should avoid fish altogether in pregnancy,’” Steinberg said. “And that is something that we absolutely don’t want you to do.”
“We want you to have the fatty fish that’s low in mercury at least twice a week.”
The reason for that is that it’s high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for a baby’s eye and brain development. It’s also good for your heart and keeping cholesterol down.
Low-mercury fish include:
- Arctic char
- Atlantic mackerel
- tuna (light canned)
You can actually eat two servings of those every day and still be safe. Just make sure it’s cooked.
READ MORE: How much fish should pregnant women eat?
The high-mercury seafood to avoid is: swordfish, marlin, and shark.
It’s true that pregnant women should avoid shellfish such as raw oysters, mussels and clams. Smoked seafood should also be skipped, as should any sushi with raw fish.
“If you have cooked sushi, that’s fine,” Steinberg said.
That means it’s totally fine to have a California roll (which includes imitation crab) without roe (those are the little orange fish eggs).
“Or if you want to have the vegetarian or … tempura-based sushi, that’s all fine.”
Pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake to 300 milligrams per day.
An eight-ounce cup of brewed coffee has about 135 milligrams of caffeine, according to Steinberg.
“So you can have up to two cups a day.”
Health Canada lists deli meat like turkey breast, roast beef and bologna as food to avoid.
“If … you’re really jonesing for a sub, then just make sure to get it toasted so it gets to a steaming temperature,” Steinberg urged.
The same goes for hot dogs, which are also on Health Canada’s “do not eat” list.
“Often what happens with these is it’s a precooked meat … so people will throw it on the barbecue for a minute or two or into a pot of boiling water, but it won’t necessarily get steaming into the centre.
“So you just want to make sure it’s steaming all the way through.”
Some groups have expressed concerns about the use of BPA in the lining of canned food in Canada.
“Ideally we want people to choose fresh or frozen when it comes to fruit, vegetables, beans,” Steinberg said.
She realizes however that the high cost of food doesn’t always make that possible. Canned food, especially legumes, can sometimes be more convenient.
“I much prefer you eat [vegetables] out of the can than don’t eat them because you didn’t have time to soak them.
“Just try not to have it every day more than once a day.”
As healthy as veggies normally are for you, it’s best to say no to sprouts like Alfalfa while carrying a child.
“Just because they have a lot of surface area that bacteria can linger on. They’re just hard to clean,” Steinberg explained.
Consuming artificially sweetened drinks daily while pregnant can lead to an increase in a baby’s weight and a greater chance of early childhood obesity, according to a University of Manitoba study this past May.
Another study from 2013 found that giving into junk food binges during pregnancy could have a lasting impact on developing babies.
Australian researchers said that pregnant moms who feast on meals packed with fat, salt and sugar give birth to babies with an innate craving for junk food.
The reasoning is that because they’re desensitized to the chemical reactions of fat, sugar and salt, they eat more of it to reap the “feel good” response.
Moms-to-be are better off reaching for the naturally sweet stuff — like fruits, which a recent University of Alberta study claims might even make babies smarter.
Here’s another quick look at Health Canada’s dietary recommendations for pregnant women:
With files from Carmen Chai, Global NewsFollow @TrishKozicka
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Tran started making Pho in Vietnam when she was 6 years old.
Pho, like this bowl in Hanoi, is a popular street meals across Vietnam. Prepare the rice vermicelli according to package directions. Once done, transfer to a colander and drain well. Rinse well under cold running water. Drain thoroughly prior to using.
When prepared to serve the soup, for each serving ladle 2 cups of the hot broth in to a large soup bowl. Quickly dip the cooked noodles in the remaining hot broth to rewarm, then place a handful of noodles in each bowl. Divide the sliced chicken breast between the bowls, laying the slices over the top of the noodles.
Serve the soup immediately, along with the fresh cilantro, basil, mint, bean sprouts, lime wedges and jalapeno peppers in baskets on the table for each person to garnish their own soup. Add sriracha sauce or fish sauce, to taste, if desired.
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A video showed a staff member at a special-needs school in Antioch striking a boy in the face, fighting with him and tackling him to the ground in January.
A video showed a staff member at a special-needs school in Antioch striking a boy in the face, fighting with him and tackling him to the ground in January.
Unnamed student seen being hit and taken to the floor by unnamed staff member in freeze frame of SnapChat videos taken at Tobinworld II special needs school in Antioch.
Unnamed student seen being hit and taken to the floor by unnamed staff member in freeze frame of SnapChat videos taken at Tobinworld II special needs school in Antioch.
Photo: Shared On Snapchat
Unnamed student seen being hit and taken to the floor by unnamed staff member in freeze frame of SnapChat videos taken at Tobinworld II special needs school in Antioch.
Unnamed student seen being hit and taken to the floor by unnamed staff member in freeze frame of SnapChat videos taken at Tobinworld II special needs school in Antioch.
Photo: Shared On Snapchat
Unnamed student seen being hit and taken to the floor by unnamed staff member in freeze frame of SnapChat videos taken at Tobinworld II special needs school in Antioch.
Unnamed student seen being hit and taken to the floor by unnamed staff member in freeze frame of SnapChat videos taken at Tobinworld II special needs school in Antioch.
Embattled Antioch special-needs school closes for good
An Antioch school for students with special needs permanently closed its doors Tuesday following a collection of controversies that included a teacher’s aide striking a 9-year-old boy in an episode caught on a cell phone video earlier this year.
The school’s executive director, Judy Weber, announced the closure July 6 in a letter to parents that blamed “false and misleading media attacks” for prompting Antioch and Oakland school districts to pull out students, and thus funding, from the Tobinworld II campus. A state review, however, previously found the school wasn’t following laws that govern the welfare of special-needs children.
“Both districts refused to fund Tobinworld II although we are certified by the California Department of Education!” wrote Weber, who couldn’t be reached for comment. A spokesman retained by the school, Bernie Roswig, said he couldn’t discuss the school’s closure or answer questions because of pending litigation.
Tobinworld continues to operate a school in Los Angeles County, but the Tobinworld II campus and its satellite classrooms in Antioch Unified School District locations have been shuttered. Tobinworld, a private institution that receives funding from public districts, teaches students ages 5 to 22 with autism or severe emotional or developmental disabilities.
An investigation by state education officials last year concluded that Tobinworld failed to comply with special-education codes that ensure the health and safety of students. The review found that Weber’s husband, Matthew Israel, an advocate of shock therapy, had been working for the school to design “behavior interventions” without the proper licenses, credentials, tuberculosis test or background check.
The investigation’s report also noted that employees without the requisite credentials were teaching and that 4 of 10 classrooms had more students than was allowed in a contract with the River Delta Unified School District in Rio Vista, which sent students to the Antioch campus.
The state Department of Education suspended the school’s certification in August 2015, preventing it from enrolling students until it took several “corrective actions,” which it did, said Peter Tira, a spokesman for the department.
In January, a collection of videos circulated on social media that showed a teacher’s aide fighting with a 9-year-old boy, striking his face and tackling him to the ground. Antioch police stepped in and arrested the aide, Kamaljot Kaur, on suspicion of child abuse. She was charged alongside another aide, who allegedly witnessed the abuse and failed to report it.
The incident mirrored other allegations of abuse the school had weathered: A 2014 lawsuit accused school officials of restraining another 9-year-old boy and telling him he couldn’t eat snacks or use the restroom.
The January video prompted the Department of Education and state Attorney General’s Bureau of Children’s Justice to launch an investigations into the school. State officials once again yanked the school’s certification and outlined steps the school had to take to get it back. Tira said Tobinworld II took those steps and had its certification restored.
1 probe incomplete
The probe by the Bureau of Children’s Justice, announced by state Attorney General Kamala Harris, is still in its early stages, said Kristen Ford, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office.
According to AUSD Superintendent Stephanie Anello, Tobinworld officials in March held a meeting with parents of students in the satellite campuses in an attempt to persuade them to send their children to Tobinworld II.
Pitch to parents
Doing so, they said, would certainly be a better educational experience — but, according to Anello, Tobinworld stood to gain more than $1 million by having the students at Tobinworld II rather than the satellite classrooms. School district officials were not allowed into the meeting but heard the details from parents, Anello said.
“We were told by the director that the meetings were closed and we were not welcome,” she said. “Parents were told Tobinworld had an attorney they could use if we tried to block students from moving.”
The secret meeting, coupled with the video of alleged abuse, prompted the Antioch school district to pull out 44 students from Tobinworld. Oakland Unified School District, which also sent students there, took out eight others, according to Weber’s letter, depleting the school of funds to continue operating.
Students who had attended Tobinworld II will now go to Spectrum Center in Pittsburg or the Sierra School of Solano County, according to KRON, which first reported the school’s closure.
July 26, 2016
by World Grain Staff
The healthfulness of grain-based foods is manifest in a study comparing diverse population segments regularly consuming grain-based foods with individuals largely avoiding grains.
WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The healthfulness of grain-based foods is manifest in a study comparing diverse population segments regularly consuming grain-based foods with individuals largely avoiding grains. That was the conclusion of research published in July in Food and Nutrition Sciences.
The 18-page study was written by Yanni Papanikolaou, Nutritional Strategies, Inc., Paris, Ontario, Canada and Victor L. Fulgoni III, of Nutrition Impact LLC, Battle Creek, Michigan, U.S. It carries the title, “Certain Grain Food Patterns are Associated with Improved 2015 Dietary Guidelines Shortfall Nutrient Intakes, Diet Quality and Lower Body Weight in U.S. Adults: Results from the National Heath and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2005-2010.” The research was funded by the Grain Foods Foundation.
Based on the findings, the researchers suggested nutritionists in often lumping grain-based foods in just two broad categories — whole grains and refined grains — could be painting with too broad a brush.
“In several of the grain patterns examined, we see a better nutrient intake profile, which demonstrates the important dietary contributions made by different grain foods and emphasizes the importance of consuming whole grains and not eliminating refined grains,” the study says. “Indeed, while some of the grain food clusters contributed nutrients to limit in the diet as identified by the 2015 DGAC (2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans) report, including saturated fat, added sugars, and sodium, several of the grain food patterns were associated with lower intakes of these nutrients and improved shortfall nutrients and diet quality.
“Thus, it is conceivable to rationalize that Americans need more specific dietary guidance about grain consumption rather than simply having two broad categories of recommended intakes that revolve around refined and whole grains.”
Underpinning the study, the first to look at links between grain food pattern intake and nutrient profile, diet quality and health outcomes, is confusion that results when the healthfulness of grain-based foods are characterized in black and white terms, the researchers said.
“While certain grain food products are rich in nutrients to limit in the diet, including added sugar, total and saturated fat, grain foods can contribute positive nutrients to the diet, of which include dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate),” the study says.
The researchers note that of the top 10 sources of energy in the diet, three provide scant nutritional value. The rest — including milk, beef, poultry, cheese and baked foods — are substantial contributors of nutrients of concern.
“Thus, eliminating these foods from food patterns could potentially have inadvertent effects on diet quality in the U.S. population,” the authors write.
While the Dietary Guidelines offer a number of healthy eating patterns and urge increased intake of whole grains and reduced intake of refined grains, the recommendations were offered in the absence of data associating different grain food patterns with nutrient and health outcomes in adults.
In conducting their study, the researchers hypothesized that 1) certain grain food patterns may significantly contribute positive nutrients, while concurrently lowering nutrients to limit in the diet; 2) certain grain food patterns would certainly be associated with improved measures on health parameters, including body weight and overweight or obesity-related outcomes.
To test their hypotheses, the researchers used data that are the basis for what the government recommends as health eating patterns — What We Eat in America, the dietary intake component of NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey), data gathered through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The NHANES data were grouped by the researchers using cluster analysis, a statistical technique that analyzes large data sets to explore different patterns. Grain clusters were developed based on the percentage of calories consumed as the “centroid” of each cluster. Seven different clusters were compared with a no grains group.
The eight clusters were 1) no consumption of main grain groups, 2) crackers and salty snacks, 3) yeast breads and rolls, 4) cakes/cookies/pies, 5) cereals, 6) pasta/cooked cereal/rice 7) quick breads, and 8) mixed grains.
The clusters identify groups in which grains intake tend to be concentrated in a fairly narrow category of grain-based foods. For example, the cereals group captures data on 4.3% of the population who derive about 75% of their grains calories from cereal. The cakes/cookies/pies cluster, 4.6% of the population, consume 88% of their grains as cakes/cookies/pies. For the mixed grains group, 29.7% of the population, half of their grains intake is derived from yeast bread and rolls with substantial percentages coming from cereal; cakes/cookies/pies; and crackers and salty snacks.
In their analysis, nutrient intake was adjusted for energy intake. The principal measure was comparing the different groups with the first — no grains group.
By one key measure, energy intake, the data did not favor the grain clusters. Daily caloric intake was higher in all seven grain clusters, 340 calories to 567 calories, per day than individuals in the no grains cluster. Still, this differential did not translate into higher rates of obesity or body mass index numbers.
Mean BMI for the no grains cluster averaged 28.63, which was not statistically different than any of the clusters. Adults consuming past/cooked cereals/rice had lower body weights and waist circumference than those consuming no grains.
Similarly, by other important measures grains fared well. For instance, in terms of nutrients to limit, the grains patterns generally did as well as the non-grains group and in some cases did significantly better.
Saturated fat intake was lower in all grain patterns examined, except yeast breads and rolls, and crackers and salty snacks, when measured versus those not consuming grain foods. Sodium intake was lower in adults in the cakes/cookies/pies and cereals. Total sugars were lower in several of the categories, but significantly higher (16.5 g/d) in adults predominantly consuming cakes/cookies/pies versus those not consuming grain foods.
Intake of micronutrients was fairly consistently higher in the grains clusters than the no grains group. Except for the cakes/cookies/pies group, iron intake was greater in adults in all grain cluster food pattern. Those consuming yeast breads and rolls; cereals; pasta/cooked cereals/rice and mixed grains had significantly higher intake of thiamin and riboflavin when compared with the no grains group. Folate was higher for all the groups, except the crackers and salty snacks and cakes/cookies/pies.
“Overall, the present data support several grain food patterns as part of a healthy dietary food pattern, that takes into consideration authoritative recommendations to reduce total fat, saturated fat and added sugar consumption, while concurrently increasing 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines’ shortfall nutrients and/or nutrients of concern, including iron, magnesium, dietary fiber, vitamin D, potassium and B vitamins,” the researchers conclude.
The authors acknowledge the well-documented role of whole grains in the prevention of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and with certain cancers. The Dietary Guidelines urge the consumption of at least half of all grains as whole grains and to increase whole grain consumption by replacing refined grains with whole grains.
Of concern, though, is the persistently small percentage of the population consuming large amounts of whole grains, the researchers say.
A recent NHANES analysis showed less than 8% of U.S. adults consumed at least three whole grain ounce equivalents per day, while about 50% of adults consumed between zero and three servings per day. Nearly 42% indicated consuming no whole grains each day, the study says.
The authors cite another study, “What We Eat in America 2007-2010,” showing that 95% of the population (children and adult) consume whole grains at levels lower than recommended.
“Coupled with the under consumption of whole grains, the 2015 DGAC concluded ‘several nutrients are under consumed relative to the Estimated Average Requirement or Adequate Intake levels set by the Institute of Medicine—these shortfall nutrients are vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin C, folate, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium,’” the study says. “The 2015 DGAC also identified iron to be a shortfall nutrient for adolescent and premenopausal females.”
The importance of iron and the risks of inadequate intake also are highlighted in the study. The authors note that grain foods represented the top four food sources for iron in the diets of U.S. children and adolescents, led by ready-to eat cereals, yeast breads, pizza, and cakes/cookies/pies, and crackers, popcorn, pretzels, and chips cumulatively contributing 0.1% of iron to the children and 48.7% to the adolescents.
I know, you keep hearing conflicting reports about saturated fat and health outcomes. So do I.
Most recently, just a few days ago, a colleague circulated this study, purportedly showing no association between saturated fat intake and heart disease in a cohort of Dutch adults. Except, the study also reported, rather as an afterthought, that half of all the saturated fat in question was palmitic acid, a saturated fatty acid found in palm oil, dairy and meat; and that variation in palmitic acid did predict variation in heart disease rates. Honestly, I had trouble making sense of this one, and that’s my job.
It’s also hard to reconcile the gist of this new paper with a recent, rather mammoth study out of Harvard, showing rather decisively that higher intake of saturated fat leads to increased risk of early death, while increased intake of polyunsaturated and/or monounsaturated fat reduces mortality.
Since all of this has something to do with what we all choose to eat everyday, and since diet is long, even anciently, established as the veritable cornerstone of health, then “hard to reconcile” and “trouble making sense” are not a good place to get stuck! We really do need to know the truth, and frankly, I think we do.
We are not actually confused, neither about the basic care and feeding of Homo sapiens in general, nor about the role of saturated fat from the usual sources (i.e., meat, dairy, certain cooking oils, and the parade of processed products incorporating and adulterating these) in our health. What is being propagated is pseudoconfusion, and I have identified five common reasons for it.
1) Inattention to: instead of WHAT?
Most of the academic discourse, and attendant pop-culture chatter over recent years about the potentially unfair indictment of saturated fate for crimes against humanity traces its origins to two widely cited meta-analyses, one published in 2010, the other in 2014. They share a very important blind spot. Both looked at variation in saturated fat intake and variation in cardiovascular disease and mortality, finding no meaningful association. Oddly, though, the first of these papers, four years before the second, noted its blind spot: it had not asked or examined the “instead of what?” question. In other words, the study was completely inattentive to the foods being eaten more often when pepperoni pizza was being eaten less often, or vice versa. It noted that future studies on this topic should certainly ask and answer the critical “instead of what?” question, particularly in a society so prone to move from one kind of junk food to another. For reasons I’ve never entirely understood, the 2014 paper did not do so, again looking at variation in dietary fat and health outcomes, but not at change in overall diet pattern or diet quality.
Fortunately, a still more recent study did just that ― asking: when people eat less saturated fat, or more, what do they eat more (or less) of, instead ― and how does that affect health outcomes? The answer this time was concordant with both the weight of evidence, and just plain sense. When saturated fat calories were replaced by trans fat calories, things went from bad to worse (i.e., heart disease and mortality rates went up). When they were replaced by sugar and refined starch, as has happened so often when people “cut fat” by eating Snackwells, rates of chronic disease and premature death remained comparably high both times. But when saturated fat calories from meat and dairy were displaced by either whole grain calories, or unsaturated fat calories from nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado, and fish ― rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality went down significantly.
The bottom line: we cannot understand the implications of more or less X as a percent of our total calories, without attention to the Y that replaces it.
2) Disregard for the Role of Ranges
Major studies cited to show that saturated fat is “fine” now because its variation does not lead to variation in heart disease suffer from another rather flagrant limitation. They are often conducted within a given country or culture, be it the U.S. or the Netherlands or wherever else, and the range of variation in saturated fat intake is quite narrow. If you are comparing, for instance, the top and bottom quintiles of saturated fat intake here in the U.S., and the vast majority of us consume some version of the typical American diet (and we do, which is why it is “typical”!) ― then the extremes of that range are not very far apart. Yes, you can find exceptionally high and extraordinarily low intake levels here, but those disappear into rounding errors when conducting a population-level study.
How does this matter? Well, consider a study to determine if parachutes can save the lives of people who fall out of planes. Now, imagine one study compares parachutes that are 1sq inch in total surface area to parachutes that are 1.25sq inch in area. Would you expect to see any difference in survival rates? Of course not. But now imagine the headlines: “parachutes useless; size does not matter…”
Conversely, in a comparison of parachutes of 350 sq ft (a realistic surface area) vs. 348 sq ft, other things being equal, would you expect to see a survival difference? Again, almost certainly not. Now the headline is: “parachutes work every time, no matter how small…”
The bottom line: if variation in X is being examined to explain variation in Y, then it matters whether or not X varies much in the first place.
3) Dietary Tunnel Vision
Let’s imagine we hear that saturated fat from, say, butter, may help protect us against type 2 diabetes, at least a bit. But, unfortunately, we also hear it appears to increase the risk of both heart disease and mortality a bit as well. In fact, we recently heard exactly that.
Yes, BUT, the headlines tell us: butter fat protects against type 2 diabetes! And that story goes round and round. Relative to Coca Cola and donuts, it’s probably true. What’s missing?
ANY mention of all the foods long known to protect against diabetes AND against heart disease and premature mortality overall! What foods do that? All the good sources of soluble fiber, like beans, lentils, whole grains, berries, apples, and so on. All the good sources of monounsaturated fat, like nuts, seeds, olives, and avocado.
The problem here is talking about one food or nutrient at a time, as if the rest of the diet, the rest of the food supply, and other options didn’t exist. If you are at high risk for type 2 diabetes and hear enough times that dairy fat may help protect you, at the cost of other risks ― you may feel as if you have no choice, and have to take your chances. Looking at diet and health outside the tunnel of that one study, however, shows choices very clearly. There are dietary patterns, foods, and food combinations repeatedly, and decisively linked not just to less diabetes risk, but better health overall. There is a pretty big difference between “this may help you in some ways and is just as likely to hurt you in others” and “this is almost certain to help you in every way.” But with any given study and any given news cycle, that critical part of understanding routinely fails to make the cut.
The bottom line: the best ways to the best outcomes routinely reside with foods and diets outside the tunnel vision of a study with a single nutrient focus.
4) Conflating Lack of Harm with Good
This item is the cousin of #3 above. Let’s say the evidence showing harms from saturated fat really is much less damning than we thought at the height of the “just cut fat” craze. It is.
The next obvious question, and one routinely neglected, is: does relative lack of overt harm define a “good” food? It hardly pays to dignify so silly a question with an answer, but let’s: hell no! Food is our fuel, construction material and sustenance. It is supposed to be good for us! Lack of harm, let alone relative lack of harm, is an absurdly low place to set the bar.
So, what is the evidence that dietary patterns high in saturated fat from the prevailing sources ― baked goods, processed dairy products, processed meats, and so on ― produce the health outcome that matters most, longevity combined with vitality, anywhere in the world? There is none. The longest-lived, healthiest populations vary widely in their total fat intake, but they all consume diets of mostly wholesome plant foods, which tend to be low in saturated fat. In North Karelia, Finland, heart disease rates were reduced 82% and life expectancy increased by 10 years with a shift FROM higher intake of animal foods and saturated fat, TO a higher intake of plant foods and a significant reduction in saturated fat.
The bottom line: good food should be held to a much higher standard than “maybe not quite as harmful as we once thought…”
5) Neglecting the Link between Planet and Plate
Finally, and emphatically, the day has come and gone when any of us can think about diet for health without factoring in the fate of the planet. There are no healthy people without a viable planet to live on, and prevailing dietary patterns are an even more obvious threat to the world around us than to the biological world within each of us.
My friend and colleague, S. Boyd Eaton, is one of the founding fathers of our modern understanding of the Paleo diet. Anyone who claims to know anything about that diet is effectively obligated to cite the scholarly contributions of Dr. Eaton and his associates. I defer to him on this topic.
Prof. Eaton states emphatically that we need to eat LESS meat, for two reasons, one minor, the other major. The minor reason is that most of the meat most modern people eat is nothing at all like the pure meat of wild game that was the only option in the Paleolithic. There was, as I have noted before, no Paleolithic pastrami ― or bacon, for that matter.
The second, major reason ― and again, this is Prof. Eaton talking, not me ― is that we were isolated, scattered bands in a vast, empty world of seemingly limitless resources during the Stone Age. We are a global, marauding, devouring horde of over 8 billion now. We cannot be hunter-gatherers, and we cannot be substantially carnivorous without annihilating the very biodiversity that sustains us. Dr. Eaton thinks we can learn something from our Stone Age intake of protein, but need to translate it into plant sources- no matter how much we might like meat.
The bottom line: Dorothy, we aren’t in the Stone Age anymore!
If the status quo were harmless, I could look on passively as pseudoconfusion propagates it. But the status quo is anything but. Each new lap we take to nowhere leads to a few fewer intact ecosystems; a few fewer intact fisheries; a few fewer species enriching the biodiversity of this planet; a few fewer glaciers; a few more inches of sea level; a few more days over 90 degrees; a few more droughts, and few more floods. What is threatened, ultimately, is that our home will simply become inhospitable to our kind. We are all just part of the same, single, planetary game of survival ― and will win or lose collectively.
In other words, every lap to nowhere makes the mess down here a bit messier. And yes, of course; hotter, too. The risk is that we relinquish control of the menu entirely until there is just one featured dish: our cooked goose.
Senior Medical Advisor, Verywell.com
Founder, The True Health Initiative
Manicures are great, until they’re not. Constantly painting your nails a brand-new color can suffocate and dry them out, but that’s all about to change. Orly created a breathable nail polish that’s actually healthy for your nails, according to InStyle. How does a breathable nail polish work, you ask? It’s so simple that you’ll wonder why it’s never been done before.
Between gel, normal, and long-wearing polish shades, there aren’t a lot of heathy options for your nails. That’s why Orly’s brand-new formula is so great. Instead of suffocating and drying out your nails, it actually allows them to breath right through the color. How? Well, according to the Orly site, it’s known as “advanced oxygen technology” and it works the same way that contact lenses do.
To make it short and sweet, oxygen and hydration can get to the nail through the polish. That means that your nails can be healthy and colorful all at the same time. There’s even a base and top coat built right in, so all you need is two layers of polish to get a full, professional treatment. Oh and according to the site it’s packed with argan oil, pro vitamin b5, and vitamin c too. It doesn’t get much better than this!
Now for the fun part. On top of the awesome technology, there’s 18 different colors to choose from. Ranging from nudes and light pinks to bright purples and even some deep shades, these colors are absolutely gorgeous.
The best part is that you can shop them right now on the Orly or Ulta site. You can snag these little bottles for $8.99 each. That’s smack dab in the middle of high end and drugstore prices. Check out the video below to recap the details.
Healthy and beautiful nails has actually never been easier.
Image: Orly/YouTube (1)
We live in a society where many people tend to gravitate toward “black and white thinking” and extremes. The health and wellness industries are fraught with examples of extremism in many forms. Everyday a new headline pronounces a certain food as “bad and ruining our health,” while exalting another food and praising it’s “amazing benefits.”
These lists of proclaimed “superfoods” and “harmful foods” seem to change on a weekly basis- leading many people to be confused as to the mixed messages they are receiving. Each year, new studies in nutrition science come out, many of which dispute earlier findings. Additionally, we are sold the lie that if we eat the “correct foods” and follow a set of rigid rules, that we will discover health and happiness.
In light of all of the misinformation out there, the following are some of the biggest nutrition myths, debunked by experts.
MYTH 1: Food is just fuel.
You may have seen some of the popular memes floating around which proclaim that “food is just fuel.” According to Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN and author of the upcoming book, Body Kindness, this is a half-truth, “Yes it is. But it is also joy, pleasure, and fun! Healthy eating is a pattern not a rule.”
Food is a part of so many social and bonding experiences. Food does give your body energy (a calorie is a unit of energy, not something to be feared!). However, you also deserve to be able to enjoy and savor your food.
MYTH 2: Your nutrition is a reflection of your goodness.
We’ve all heard someone gripe, “I ate a brownie. I was so bad today.”
Maria Paredes PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor & Certified Eating Disorders Specialist, explains that one big myth that she sees in her practice is when someone feels that what they eat determines whether they are a “good” or “bad” person. For instance, someone might also say, “I am a good parent if I feed my child this.”
However, food isn’t “good” or “bad.” The reality is that all foods in moderation can fit into a healthy diet. Further, what you choose to eat does not determine your inherent value or worth as a human being. The only reason to feel guilty for eating a brownie is if you stole it from the store.
MYTH 3: You shouldn’t eat after 7 pm.
The idea that you shouldn’t eat later in the evening is a pretty pervasive nutrition myth.
Marci Evans, MS, RD, Nutrition Therapist, debunks this when she explains; “Our metabolism keeps running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Arbitrary rules (like telling yourself when to stop eating) create fear and a sense that you cannot be trusted with food. Consistently fueling your body every few hours-and especially when hungry-will allow you to feel your best and keep you from needing rules like this one! So when your tummy grumbles before heading to bed, eat some cheese and crackers then rest easy.”
MYTH 4: Chocolates/cookies are bad for your health.
We’ve all seen those “foods you should avoid at all costs” lists floating around the Internet. Desserts like chocolates or cookies are often considered to be “off-limits” by dieters or people who want to be “healthy.” However, the idea that you have to avoid desserts and sweets to be “healthy” is another pervasive myth.
Josée Sovinsky, a Registered Non-Diet Dietitian explains, “There is no single food that will improve or worsen your health (unless were talking rotten foods – definitely stay away from that). All foods provide a different nutrient profile and serve a different purpose. There are foods which feed the body, and some which feed the soul-and many which feed both!”
Further, mental health is an important part of one’s overall health. I think we can all agree that being terrified to eat a cookie is not mentally healthy. Rather then focusing on extremes and “food rules,” aim for balance, variety, and flexibility.
MYTH 5: You don’t need to diet you just need to eat clean.
There are some people who agree that diets can be harmful (and don’t result in sustainable weight loss for the vast majority of people), but who promote the idea of “clean eating” as the answer to health and happiness.
Amanda Field, Registered Dietitian, debunks this myth when she says, “Eating clean is a diet, as is any other plan where you cut out food groups, limit foods that you love, or follow any other strict rules. Labeling foods as good (clean) and bad is not helpful and can end up causing harm when we impose these food judgments on ourselves i.e. I am good because I am eating good vs. I am bad because I am eating bad.”
MYTH 6: Cleanses and detoxes are healthy.
Lauren Gasparo Anton, a Registered Dietitian, says that this is one of the myths that really bugs her. Anton explains, “When people STILL believe in cleanses. Really??? It’s called the liver and the kidneys, folks. When people go on those, they are usually trying to restrict after dis-inhibiting around “forbidden” foods (ex: all the cleanses after the holidays). It’s simply another diet that won’t work long-term.”
There is simply no need for “detoxes” or “cleanses,” as the only thing that they effectively get rid of is cash from your wallet.
At this point you might be feeling confused as to how you can work towards feeling great in your body and satisfied/nourished by your food choices. If you are struggling with chronic dieting and food fear, I would recommend that you work to ditch the food rules and reconnect with your body’s innate wisdom. If you are having trouble doing this on your own, it might be helpful to reach out to a registered dietitian (especially one who is knowledgeable about intuitive eating and health at every size).
I am certified in a practice called intuitive eating, which helps you to ditch food rules and learn how to tune into your sense of hunger and fullness, enjoyment around food, and your body’s individualized needs. By reconnecting with your body and ignoring the noise of diet-culture and the nutrition myths that are propagated by the media, you will be on the path towards making peace with food.
After all, life is just too short for food rules, chronic dieting, and self-hate.
Jennifer Rollin, MSW, LGSW is a mental health therapist, intuitive eating counselor, and blogger on The Huffington Post and Psychology Today. She specializes in treating adolescents, survivors of trauma, and individuals with eating disorders and mood disorders. “Like” Jennifer on Facebook at Jennifer Rollin, MSW, LGSW. Or check out her website at http://ift.tt/20UpYDp
FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – She had already made it through one last night alone under the freeway bridge, through the vomiting and shakes of withdrawal, through cravings so intense she’d scraped a bathroom floor searching for leftover traces of heroin. It had now been 12 days since the last time Amanda Wendler used a drug of any kind, her longest stretch in years. “Clear-eyed and sober,” read a report from one drug counselor, and so Amanda, 31, had moved back in with her mother to begin the stage of recovery she feared most.
“Is this everything I have?” she asked, standing with her mother in the garage of their two-bedroom condominium, taking inventory of her things. There were a few garbage bags filled with clothes. There was a banged-up dresser she had put into storage before moving into her first abandoned house.
“Where’s my good makeup?” Amanda asked.
“Maybe you pawned it with the jewelry,” said her mother, Libby Alexander.
“What about all of my shoes?”
“Oh, God. Are you serious?” Libby said. “Do you even know how several pairs of shoes you’ve lost or sold?”
Amanda lit a cigarette and sat in a plastic chair wedged between the cat food and the recycling bins in the garage, the only place where she was allowed to smoke. This was the ninth time she had managed to go at least a week without using. She had spent a full decade trying and failing to get clean, and a therapist had asked her once to make a list of her triggers for relapse. “Boredom, loneliness, anxiety, regret, shame, seeing how I haven’t gone up at all in my life when the drugs aren’t there,” she had written.
She had no job, no high school diploma, no car and no money beyond what her mother gave her for Mountain Dew and cigarettes. A few days earlier, a dentist had pulled all 28 of her teeth, which had decayed from years of neglect. It had been a week since she’d seen her 9-year-old twin sons, who lived in a nearby suburb with their father, and lately the most frequent text messages coming into her phone were from a dealer hoping to lure her back with free samples: “Got testers,” he had just written. “Get at me. They’re going fast.”
In the addicted America of 2016, there are so several ways to take measure of the pain, longing and despair that are said to be driving a historic opiate epidemic: Another 350 people starting on heroin every day, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; another 4,105 emergency-room visits; another 79 people dead. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States – worse than guns, car crashes or suicides. Heroin abuse has quadrupled in the past decade. Most addicts are introduced to heroin through prescription pain pills, and doctors now write more than 200 million opiate prescriptions each year.
But the fact that matters most for a chronic user is what it takes for just one addict to get clean. The relapse rate for heroin has been reported in various studies to be as high as 97 percent. The average active user dies of an overdose in about 10 years, and Amanda’s opiate addiction was going on year 11.
She believed her only chance to stay sober was to take away the possibility of feeling high, so she had decided to pursue one of the newest treatments for heroin. It was a monthly shot of a drug called naltrexone, which blocks the effects of opiates on the brain and makes getting high impossible. But the shot came with dangerous adverse effects if she still had opiates in her system. Doctors had told her that first she needed to pass a drug test, which required staying clean for at least two weeks, which meant her appointment for the shot was still four days away.
“Soon you can breathe. You can start getting your life back,” Libby said. “That’s all just days away.”
“Days are forever,” Amanda said. “Do you even know how hard it is to go for one minute?”
She had been trying to occupy herself with coloring books and cellphone games, anything to keep her hands busy. Now she picked up a hand-held mirror and began reapplying her makeup for the second time that morning, although she hadn’t left the house in a few days. She had worked as a model in high school, but now her gums were swollen and her arms were bruised with needle marks. She tugged down her sleeves and put away the mirror. Shame was a trigger. Regret was a trigger. She grabbed her phone and looked at the dealer’s latest text message. She wondered if her mother was still locking her car keys in a safe. She wondered if she could find a ride into Southwest Detroit for one last $10 bag: the euphoria when the drug entered her bloodstream, the full-body tingling that moved in from her hands to her chest, erasing pain, erasing fear, erasing sadness, erasing anxiety and feelings of failure until finally the tingling stopped and the only thing left to feel was blissful numbness, just hours of nothing.
One minute – she could make it one minute. She watched a video on her cellphone. She sorted her nail polish and lit another cigarette. Libby came back into the garage, setting off the burglar alarm she had installed a few years earlier, after Amanda had helped a boyfriend steal $5,000 worth of guitars from Libby’s husband.
“I hate that sound,” Amanda said. “It brings everything back. It’s a trigger.”
“I’m sorry,” Libby said. “It’s our reality.”
“Yeah, I know,” Amanda said. “And reality’s a trigger.”
Their condo was tucked away in a small development surrounded by pine trees and occupied mostly by retirees: no loud noises, no solicitors, no unauthorized visitors allowed beyond the guard shack after 8 p.m. Libby was usually in the living room with the TV on mute. Amanda’s stepfather was in the study, playing chess online. It was a place so quiet that Amanda could sit in the garage and literally hear the clock tick. Seventy-two hours left until the shot. Seventy-one. Seventy.
“No way I’m going to make it,” she said. She was sweating and picking at her nail beds, and when she said that she might know of a few clinics where she could get the shot right away, Libby agreed to drive her.
They drove out of the exurbs, through the suburbs and into the city. Libby tucked her purse versus the driver’s adverse door, where Amanda wouldn’t be able to reach it. She relocked the doors as she drove and cupped her hands over the car keys, remembering a time when Amanda had grabbed her keys and refused to give them back unless Libby paid her. For most of the last week, she had been requesting time off from her job as a beautician, afraid of what could happen if she left Amanda alone.
Amanda sat in the passenger seat and stared out the window as they came into Southwest Detroit, passing the overgrown lots and decaying houses where she had spent so much of her adult life. Her first opiates had been a prescription for 120 tablets of Vicodin, offered by a doctor to treat a minor snowmobiling injury in high school. The pills chased away that pain and also the anger left over from her parents’ divorce, her depression, ADHD and self-doubt, and soon she was failing out of high school and becoming increasingly dependent on pills. Just one or two to make it through another shift at work, a pawnshop where she stood behind the counter and gave addicts their $25 loans. Just two more to pass the time spent alone watching TV while her husband, a truck driver, was traveling. Just three or four to get going with the twins in the morning, to feed them, to sing to them, to feed them again, to sit and play all day in a lonely trailer out in Macomb. Just five when it started to feel like she was suffocating, 24 years old, divorced and already so stuck. Just a dose every five or six hours throughout the day to quiet the noise in her head, so why wasn’t she numb? Why was 15 pills each day still not enough? If only there was something cheaper, stronger, and so in 2012 a boyfriend had introduced her to heroin, and she had been injecting it into a vein in her forearm twice a day ever since.
Now they drove past the boarded-up trap houses where she’d met dealers and learned how to buy a $10 bag, until her tolerance grew and she needed five or six bags each day. They continued past the corner where she’d panhandled; and the blocks of abandoned houses where she’d learned how to strip out copper wire and sell it for scrap; and the motel where she’d worked from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m., shooting up before and after each shift, the only housekeeper in a 31-room motel where the rooms were rented in three-hour blocks and the best tips were drugs left behind by customers.
They continued past a decaying apartment tower and then a small Victorian with busted windows. It reminded Amanda of a vacant house where she’d squatted for a while with a dozen other users, a rat-infested place without heat or electricity. She’d tried to make it feel like home, scrubbing the floors with Pine-Sol and hanging a poinsettia wreath on the boarded-up bedroom door. She’d met a girl there who had become like a little sister – a young runaway from Tennessee who was always using too much at once and risking an overdose.
“I want to go find Sammy,” Amanda said now, turning to her mother.
“What? Who’s that?” Libby said. “What about finding a clinic?”
“This is more important,” Amanda said, and so she began to explain how Sammy reminded her of herself, and how they had looked out for each other in the abandoned house. “If she sees I’m doing good, maybe I can convince her to go into rehab.”
“This better not be some kind of scheme,” Libby said, but she also remembered this adverse of her daughter from before the addiction – selfless, determined, enterprising, sometimes sneaking extra cash into the loans she handed out to desperate customers at the pawnshop. Maybe helping someone would boost her self-esteem.
“Okay,” Libby said. “Tell me where to go.”
“Up there,” Amanda said, pointing to a two-story building with no windows, no door and trash spilling out from the entryway. Libby pulled over and Amanda jumped out. “How long?” Libby said. “Not long,” Amanda told her and then disappeared into the building. Libby tapped her hand versus the steering wheel and stared out the window. She could see a sleeping bag and a needle near the building’s entrance. She saw something moving on the second floor. “Come on, come on,” she said, until a minute or so later Amanda stepped out.
“She’s not in there,” Amanda said. “Try that next one,” and so Libby pulled up to another decrepit house, where a few people were sitting on the porch and others were pacing outside. One of the men waved to Amanda. “Be back in a minute,” she told Libby, and then she hurried out of the car.
Libby checked the clock on her dashboard and thought about all of the other times she had watched Amanda disappear. Once she had stolen Libby’s car and run off for a week; another time she had gone out to buy a Mountain Dew and then called a few days later from Florida. “Let Go and Let God,” was the advice some other mothers had repeated in Nar-Anon group meetings, but instead Libby had gained weight from stress, developed insomnia and started losing her hair. How several times had she filed a missing persons request? How often had she called the police station, and then the hospitals, and then the morgue to ask again for Jane Doe and to describe Amanda’s birthmarks and her “Wild At Heart” tattoo?
“This was so stupid. This was a mistake,” she said now, banging her fist versus the steering wheel. She checked for her keys. She felt for her wallet. It was all there, but Amanda had been gone for seven minutes. Libby sent her a text message.
“This doesn’t look good at all,” she wrote.
“I’m about to walk back,” Amanda responded.
Libby drove around the block and pulled closer to the house. She saw a man digging into his pockets. She saw other people walking up to that man carrying cash. Twelve minutes Amanda had been gone now. Libby drove around the block again, drumming her hands versus the steering wheel, possibilities racing through her head. Was Amanda using? Where had she gotten the money? What had she done to get it?
She felt again for her wallet. She checked again for her keys.
“This is bullshit,” she texted to Amanda, but there was no response.
“Come on,” she wrote, and still nothing.
“So over this.”
“Come on right now.”
She started to circle the block for a third time, and then suddenly there was Amanda, walking down the sidewalk and opening the passenger door.
“What the hell was that?” Libby said.
“What do you mean?”
“Where the hell were you? Where’s Sammy?”
“I found her, and we called her parents, but she decided she didn’t want help,” Amanda said, and to prove it she handed Libby her phone and showed her a seven-minute call made to a number in Tennessee.
“So that was it?” Libby said, staring at her daughter. Her eyes were clear. Her hands were steady. She looked the same as she had when she’d left the car. Another 79 opiate addicts dying every day, but today her daughter wouldn’t be one. A 97 percent chance to relapse, but at the moment Amanda looked clean.
“Okay,” Libby said. “Let’s get the hell out of here.”
She had been an admitted opiate addict for 11 years, five months and 14 days, and on almost every one of those days she had promised to quit. She had tried therapy and group counseling, inpatient and outpatient. She’d run up thousands of dollars in credit-card debt to pay for a wellness retreat in the woods, and she’d slept on a cot in the hallway of a Medicaid addiction center. She had tried flushing away her supply; and erasing every number in her phone so she couldn’t contact dealers; and waiting again on the long list to get into the city’s free medical detox; and showing up at the hospital psych ward to say that she was suicidal. She’d searched for God at 12-step meetings and instead found brand-new dealers. She’d tried methadone and Suboxone, two synthetic opiates used to treat heroin addiction, but instead wound up abusing those synthetics to get high.
She had even tried an earlier version of the naltrexone shot a few years back, and it had helped her stay clean for five months until she relapsed. Maybe this time it would last. Nineteen hours now until her appointment. She lit a cigarette and sat down in the garage. The air was still and the neighborhood was quiet. A group of retired women walked by in visors and spandex, making their usual morning loop.
She had been warned by a doctor that it was normal in the first year of sobriety to feel “bored, flat, depressed, blah, tired, anxious” – a change in brain chemistry that exacerbated so several of the longings that made heroin appealing in the first place. “I’m not seeing what’s so great about being clean,” Amanda already had told her mother once, and in an effort to feel better she had started thinking back to a time when she was 19, hopeful and sober.
For most of that year she had traveled with her husband as he drove long-haul loads. They had made it to 48 states without ever planning beyond the next week. Maybe they would stay for a while in Texas. Maybe they would move up to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. All that sky. So several possibilities. And then eventually the job had gone away and the road had led them back to Michigan – to the trailer, to the pawnshop, to the pills, to the twins, to a dissolving marriage and a courtroom dispute for custody, and it felt to Amanda like she’d been fighting to hang on ever since.
The walkers circled past the garage on another loop. Amanda stomped out her cigarette and headed inside.
“Seventeen hours,” her mother said, greeting her.
Amanda sat down next to Libby on the couch, where Libby was watching daytime TV and scrolling through Facebook on her phone. Lately, Libby had been spending a few hours each day in a conversation group for addicts’ mothers. It had more than 20,000 members, and Libby came to them for support, advice and most of all for a reminder that the addiction overtaking her house was also ongoing for 1.6 million other chronic heroin users and 8 million abusers of prescription drugs.
“I just got the call,” read the first post of the day. “My son was alone in his hotel room. I can’t breathe.”
“OD #6 but he’s alive,” wrote another mother. “Hospital kept him a couple hours and put him back on the street barefoot in scrubs with a map.”
Libby set down her phone. She looked up at the clock. Still almost 17 hours to go. “These days are like dog years,” she said. She leaned her head versus Amanda’s shoulder and kept scrolling through her phone.
“My addict son and his girlfriend were just found passed out at home with their baby crying. When does this nightmare end?”
“Dead in a walmart parking lot . . .”
“On our way to view her remains . . .”
“My daughter was last seen around midnight . . .”
Libby stood up and walked into the kitchen. How several times had she reworked Amanda’s obituary in her head: a sarcastic sense of humor, a sharp wit, a patient mother of young twins, a woman so disarming that once, when agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration came to confiscate her prescription pills, she wound up dating one of the agents.
“Do you want a Mountain Dew?” Libby called out to Amanda, but when Libby looked into the living room, Amanda was pacing and talking on her phone.
“What do you mean there’s a problem with my appointment?” Amanda was saying now, and Libby started cursing under her breath.
“I really need this to happen tomorrow,” Amanda was saying, and Libby balled her fists and knocked them versus the kitchen counter.
Amanda hung up and told Libby there had been a miscommunication between her Medicaid insurance and the doctor’s office. She said Medicaid needed more time to approve coverage of the shot, and without coverage it would cost more than $1,000. Instead of getting the shot in 16 hours, she would have to wait five more days.
“That’s not possible. Call back,” Libby said, because she wasn’t sure if Amanda was telling the truth or inventing a reason to put it off. Amanda dialed again. Libby stood close so she could listen.
“I’m seriously worried I’m going to relapse,” she heard Amanda say.
“Please, I’m trying to do good here,” she said. “There’s really nothing you can do?”
“Fine. See you next Tuesday,” she said, and then she hung up.
Amanda walked out to the garage to light a cigarette and Libby followed. “If this is all a big lie, just tell me now,” Libby said.
“Jesus. Can’t you ever trust me?” Amanda said. “I want this shot way more than you.”
“How are you going to make it five days?” Libby said, her tone softening. “You need a plan.”
“You’re the one freaking out,” Amanda said. “What about you?”
Four days left to go, three days, two, and as the hours crawled by until the appointment Libby decided she needed to leave the house. She asked her husband to keep an eye on Amanda and went to have dinner with two of the women she’d met in the Facebook group for addicts’ mothers.
For nearly a decade, Libby had avoided talking to anyone about her daughter’s addiction, mostly because Amanda didn’t want people to know. “How’s Amanda doing?” friends and relatives would ask, at every graduation, wedding and baby shower, and what was Libby supposed to tell them? That while everyone else’s life was marching along in neat succession, her daughter was still sleeping late in the basement? That she was giving Amanda an allowance for cigarettes and cleaning up her moldy cereal bowls? “She’s just fine,” was what Libby had always said, until eventually people stopped asking, which felt even worse. So Libby had started spending more time at home, and then more time on Facebook, where she had connected with a group of local addicts’ mothers who had become her closest friends.
“How’s Amanda?” asked one of them, Mary Carr, as they sat down at a restaurant and ordered drinks.
“Who knows?” Libby said. “Clean? Using? You’d think by now I could figure it out, but I honestly have no idea.”
“They’re masters of manipulation,” said another mother, Dana.
“My rule at this point is don’t believe anything,” Mary said. “Otherwise you end up feeling naive. I’m done with that.”
Mary said that she had bumped into her son a few nights earlier in their neighborhood. He was 27, and he had been homeless for parts of the last 12 years, but lately he had been living with a girlfriend. He looked good and it was nice to see him, Mary said, but later that night he had called her a dozen times, harassing her and begging for money.
“Do you know how several times he’s done that?” Mary said. “So I’m finished. For the first time ever, I actually blocked him on my phone.”
“See, that’s the part I’m no good at,” Libby said. “I can’t let go. I always think I can save her.”
Libby had been a mother for only three months the first time Amanda got sick. Doctors had told her it was just a stubborn cold, until one night Libby went to check on her infant daughter and found her wheezing in the crib. The baby was turning blue. She couldn’t breathe. Libby picked her up, blew air into her mouth and rushed her to the emergency room. They stayed in the neonatal unit for the next two months as doctors ran tests to see what was wrong. Finally Amanda had been diagnosed with a severe kind of asthma, treated and sent home, and for the next year Libby had stood over her crib for a little while each night watching her breathe.
Now she had spent 11 more years trapped in that cycle – expecting her daughter to die, sacrificing her sanity to save her, and doing most of it alone. She rarely talked to her ex-husband about Amanda’s addiction; her current husband was patient and supportive, but sometimes, as Amanda’s mother, Libby felt that the responsibility was mostly hers. So Libby had gone by herself to heroin awareness rallies at the state capitol. She had forced Amanda to take monthly drug tests and locked her out of the house. She had gone through the medical records Amanda left lying around and cursed out the doctors, pill mills and pharmacists who continued filling her prescriptions. She had tried, most of all, to be loving and patient with her daughter and to remember what so several experts had told her, that addiction was not a choice but a disease, even as Amanda stole her checks and then her credit cards, running up more than $50,000 of debt.
And then, finally, nine years into her daughter’s addiction, Libby had come up with a plan to be done with all of it. She had put on a bathing suit beneath her beautician uniform one morning and driven out of the city toward Kensington Lake. She had been a competitive swimmer as a teenager, but now she was out of shape. If she could swim out for a mile or so, she would be too exhausted to make it back. Nobody would see her. Nobody would hear her. She sat at a picnic table and stared out at the water. She watched a family shove their canoe into the lake. She watched two kids throwing rocks. She sat for hours until the sun descended over the water and then she got back in her car and drove home, resolved to seek help. She met with a therapist, confided in her husband, consulted with a bankruptcy lawyer and started talking regularly with the mothers she’d met online.
“If I cut the cord with Amanda, would she recover faster?” Libby asked them now. “Would it be easier on both of us?”
“There’s no one right way,” Mary said.
“I worry about enabling,” Libby said. “But what if I kick her out and she dies in some abandoned house? How do I live with myself?”
Nobody answered. They sat in silence for a moment and Mary reached for Libby’s hand. “You’re doing everything you can,” she said.
“I don’t know where to draw the line,” Libby said.
“I need your pee,” Amanda was saying to her mother now, on the last day, just hours before her appointment for the shot. She had come upstairs with darkened eyes, a runny nose and a confession.
“Excuse me? You need what?” Libby said.
“I need your pee. For the drug test. Otherwise I’m not going to pass and I can’t get the shot.”
“What are you even saying?” Libby said, and so Amanda began unwinding the lies she had been telling her mother for the past week. That day she jumped out of the car in Southwest Detroit and then disappeared for 12 minutes? She had been trying to find Sammy, but she had also been trying to buy heroin, and she hadn’t been able to find any. The appointment five days earlier that had been postponed at the last minute because of insurance? She had actually canceled it and then made a series of fake phone calls to confuse her mother. That night earlier in the week when she said she was going to sleep over with her twins? She had stayed with them for a while, played with them and taken them to a movie, but then she had found a babysitter and gone to a motel with a friend, where she had gotten high on $50 worth of methadone, a long-acting opiate that was still running through her body now.
It would be at least two weeks before the methadone was out of her system and she could pass a drug test. In two weeks, Amanda said, “I’ll probably be using and back out on the street.”
Libby started to shake her head and bite her nails, cursing under her breath. “It’s always the same with you, isn’t it?” she said.
“I need the shot now or I’ll never do it,” Amanda said. “I can deal with the sudden withdrawal.”
“I can’t believe you’re even asking me to do this,” Libby said, but she had already decided that she would help Amanda, even if it required going to extremes. Withdrawal might send Amanda to the emergency room, but it was still safer than going back on heroin.
Libby went into the bathroom and came out carrying a small bottle, and they drove together to a clinic wedged between a liquor store and a pharmacy near the Detroit River. Amanda checked in at the main desk and then waited outside the front door, smoking a cigarette until a nurse came out to get her. “There are a few things we need to go over first,” the nurse said, leading her back to a small exam room.
She explained that the shot was an opiate antagonist. She explained that if Amanda still had drugs in her body the shot would cause an immediate and severe reaction: muscle spasms, cold sweats, abdominal cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, impaired breathing.
“When did you last have opiates in your system?” the nurse asked.
“I’m not really sure,” Amanda said, looking down, picking at her nail beds.
“Has it been over 14 days?”
“I think so.”
“No heroin? No Suboxone or methadone?”
Amanda looked across the room at Libby, who stared back at her and nodded. Amanda sat for a minute and thought about telling the truth. Her appointment would be rescheduled. No shot. No muscle spasms or impaired breathing. She would be outside in a few minutes smoking a cigarette, and she could catch a ride to Southwest Detroit and be high within an hour.
“Yes. I’m clean,” Amanda said finally. “It’s probably been, like, 20 days.”
“We’ll need to do a drug test,” the nurse said, handing her a small cup for a urine sample. She said the test was mostly for record keeping.
“Right now?” Amanda said. “I don’t really have to go.”
“That’s fine. You can do it after the shot,” the nurse said.
The nurse left and returned with a long needle. “I’m not ready. I’m not ready,” Amanda said, and then she said to just do it and closed her eyes. The shot was over in 10 seconds. She thanked the nurse, went into the bathroom to leave Libby’s urine sample and then hurried outside. She lit a cigarette. She took a deep breath and wiggled her toes and squeezed her arms and rolled her neck and decided she felt . . . fine. “I think I’m actually okay,” she told Libby.
“You’re great. You’re clean,” Libby said. She looked at Amanda with relief and then reached over to squeeze her shoulders. “Twenty-eight days without having to worry about this nightmare.”
“I can’t believe I actually did it,” Amanda said.
“Pretty damn brave,” Libby said, but now as she looked at her daughter she saw that her face was turning pale and there was sweat on her forehead. Amanda’s right leg began to tremble. Her left leg jolted forward and she almost fell to the curb. She dropped her cigarette and crawled into the back seat of the car. “Take me to the emergency room,” she said, and Libby started driving.
By the time they arrived at the hospital 10 minutes later, Amanda was in full withdrawal because of the methadone that had still been in her system. She couldn’t stand, so Libby got her into a wheelchair. She couldn’t steady her hand to fill out the intake forms, so Libby helped do them for her.
“Heroin?” the receptionist asked, because the hospital had already seen 11 of those cases in the last 24 hours.
“Yes,” Libby said, and then added: “Recovering.”
“Okay. Have a seat and wait to be called,” the receptionist said. They sat in the waiting room for five minutes, then 10, then 30. “I need medicine,” Amanda began to moan. “Put me to sleep. Give me something.” She started to tremble and then convulse. Her arms swung wildly and collided hard versus her legs. Her muscles cramped, and she slumped in the wheelchair and slid toward the floor. “Can I get some help over here?” Libby asked, but nobody answered. Amanda threw up in the bucket, in a trash can, and then all over the bathroom floor.
“How much longer until we get seen?” Libby asked, and finally after about half an hour a nurse came out to check on them.
“Sorry, ma’am,” she said. “We’ll get to you soon.”
“But there’s no one else here,” Libby said, gesturing around the empty waiting room.
“We have to go by priority,” the nurse said. “People who are having chest pain come before other things.”
“And this isn’t a priority?” Libby said, pointing to Amanda, who now was crying and saying that she needed a sedative, that she wanted to be knocked out. She had vomit caked in her hair and welts rising on her legs in the places where she’d been hitting herself.
“She’ll make it,” the nurse said, looking down at Amanda. “We see a lot of addicts in withdrawal.”
“She needs help,” Libby said, her voice rising. “It’s too much. Can’t you see that?”
The nurse walked away and then a few minutes later a doctor came out into the waiting room. He grabbed Amanda’s wheelchair and started rolling her back into triage. He told Amanda the hospital would take good care of her. He said she would be out of withdrawal and feeling better within three or four days. “Congratulations on Day One,” he said, but Amanda didn’t seem to hear him. Every nerve in her body was on fire. She was sick. She was clean. She was scared. She was feeling all of it now, so several sensations rushing in at once. “Please,” she said, reaching up for the doctor’s arm, tugging at it. “Make me feel nothing.”
Published: July 24, 2016 — 8:36 AM EDT