Who says we have to suffer...to live a healthy happy vibrant life?

Red wine and dark chocolate... might seem decadent...but these guilty pleasures also might help us live longer...and healthier lives. Red wine and dark chocolate definitely improve an evening..but they also contain resveratrol..which lowers blood sugar. Red wine is a great source of catechins..which boost protective HDL cholesterol. Green tea? Protects your brain..helps you live longer..and soothes your spirit.

Red Wine, Green Tea and Dark Chocolate, the blog, is about living the good life...a life we create with our thoughts and our choices...and having fun the whole while!

I say lets make the thoughts good ones..and let the choices be healthy...exciting...and delicious! Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Monsanto. Guess whose executives direct the FDA? Corruption knows no bounds. The evil empire.

Why is a company that produces poisons controlling our food supply? Why are we letting companies like Monsanto control the worlds seed supplies? Why do we sit silent as they corrupt our food policies and make slaves out of farmers?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

High HDL Cholesterol Levels Associated With Reduced Alzheimer’s Risk

High levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as “good” cholesterol, appear to be associated with a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease in older adults.

”Dyslipidemia [high total cholesterol and triglycerides] and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease are highly frequent in western societies,” the authors write as background information in the article. “More than 50 percent of the U.S. adult population has high cholesterol. About 1 percent of people age 65 to 69 years develop Alzheimer’s disease, and the prevalence increases to more than 60 percent for people older than 95 years.”
Christiane Reitz and colleagues studied 1,130 older adults to examine the association of blood lipid (fat) levels with Alzheimer’s disease. The study included a random sampling of Medicare recipients 65 or older residing in northern Manhattan, with no history of dementia or cognitive impairment. The researchers defined higher levels of HDL cholesterol as 55 milligrams per deciliter or more.
To determine this association, data were collected from medical, neurological and neuropsychological evaluations. Additionally, the authors assigned a diagnosis of “probable” Alzheimer’s disease when onset of dementia could not be explained by any other disorder. A diagnosis of “possible” Alzheimer’s disease was made when the most likely cause of dementia was Alzheimer’s disease but there were other disorders that could contribute to the dementia, such as stroke or Parkinson disease.
During the course of follow-up, there were 101 new cases of Alzheimer’s disease, of which 89 were probable and 12 were possible. The mean (average) age of individuals at the onset of probable and possible Alzheimer’s disease was 83 years, and compared with people who were not diagnosed with incident Alzheimer’s disease, those who did develop dementia were more often Hispanic and had a higher prevalence of diabetes at the start of the study. Higher plasma levels of HDL cholesterol were associated with a decreased risk of both probable and possible Alzheimer’s disease, even after adjusting for vascular risk factors and lipid-lowering treatments. Although higher plasma total cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels also were associated with decreased risks of probable and possible Alzheimer’s disease, these associations became non-significant after adjusting for vascular risk factors and lipid-lowering treatments.
“In this study, higher levels of HDL cholesterol were associated with a decreased risk of both probable and possible Alzheimer’s disease,” the authors conclude. “An important consideration in the interpretation of the results is that it was conducted in an urban multiethnic elderly community with a high prevalence of risk factors for mortality and dementia. Thus, our results may not be generalizeable to cohorts with younger individuals or to cohorts with participants with a lower morbidity [disease] burden.”
Arch Neurol. 2010;67(12):1491-1497. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2010.297.

Toxic Compounds You May Be Absorbing

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tylenol use during pregnancy is linked to ADHD and behavior problems.

A study published in the journal Pediatrics finds that Tylenol (acetaminophen) taken by women during their pregnancy may raise the risk of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) and similar disorders in their children up to 40%—and the risk is higher as use increases. The more acetaminophen the mother takes, the higher the risk in her child.

The study’s authors say it is plausible that the drug may interrupt fetal brain development by interfering with maternal hormones or through neurotoxicity. 

This isn’t the first study to note the connection between a mother’s Tylenol use and her child’s reaction to the toxic drug. Last year a troubling study showed that women taking acetaminophen during pregnancy increased the risk of their children having serious behavior problems at age 3 by an overwhelming 70%.

It is simply not worth the risk, to use acetaminophen. Every year, 78,000 people go to the emergency room from intentional or accidental acetaminophen overdose; 33,000 are hospitalized, and about 450 die.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The greatest dietary mistake of the 20th century....was NOT saturated fat.

No it was the wrecked balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 intake. 

Dietary fats have become completely deranged in the last 100 years. Enter trans fats. Enter concentrated animal farming operations and feeding soybeans and corn to fatten up beef, pork and chickens. We've run amok. and it is time to correct things.

We have a tendency to obsess about fat in our culture. We’ve recently seen an about face in recommendations regarding saturated fat. Saturated fat was the dietary bogeyman for the last few decades and now research is suggesting that it may not be as harmful as we thought. Really? So butter is ok now? Yes and it always has been. Margarine was a health scam perpetrated by greedy oil companies. Greed...oil... sound familiar? But in all of this back and forth on fats in our diet one point remains painfully obvious.
Today, people are eating way too many Omega-6 fatty acids. Mostly from corn and soybeans and their oils that dominate the western diet.
At the same time, consumption of animal foods high in Omega-3 is the lowest it has ever been. To make matters worse the animals we eat are no longer roaming free on the range eating omega-3 rich grass, they are raised on feed lots and fattened up with omega-6 loaded (you guessed it) corn and soybeans.
The net effect is we now consume a grossly distorted ratio of these polyunsaturated fatty acids. Setting our sugar insanity aside for the moment, this is arguably one of the most damaging aspects of the modern Western diet.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats are essential components of the human diet. Our bodies don’t have the ability to manufacture them and therefore we must get them from the foods we eat everyday. Allow me to introduce you to the Omegas.

If the Omega-3s and Omega-6s are missing from our diet, we develop a deficiency and become sick. That is why they are termed the “essential” fatty acids.
However, these fatty acids are different than most other fats. They are not simply used for energy or stored in tissue; they are biologically active and play crucial roles in survival events like blood clotting and inflammation, brain cell communication, and even regulation of heart rhythm.
But here is a problem. Omega-6s and Omega-3s don’t have the same effects. Omega-6s are pro-inflammatory, while Omega-3s have an anti-inflammatory effect. Omega-6s promote unhealthy clotting and narrowing of blood vessels while Omega-3s have the opposite effect.

Don’t get me wrong. Omega-6s are not all bad. In the body inflammation is essential for our survival. It helps our bodies fight infection and recover from trauma, but inflammation allowed to go unresolved can also cause severe damage and contribute to disease when the inflammatory response is exaggerated or excessive.
Today we realize that unresolved, chronic inflammation may be setting the biochemical stage allowing the development of the most challenging diseases we face today, including heart disease, obesity and metabolic syndrome, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, asthma and many types of cancer.
Put simply, a diet that is high in Omega-6 but low in Omega-3 increases inflammation, while a diet that includes balanced amounts of these fats governs inflammation appropriately.

So again, the issue is that people who eat a typical Western diet are eating way too many Omega-6s relative to Omega-3s.

A good way to figure out what is healthy for humans, is to look at populations that are healthy and don’t have all these Western diseases.
Good luck finding developed countries that fit that description. The sad truth is, every country that eats an industrial diet gets sick. Our food practices today erode our health and send our health care costs skyrocketing upward. Bully for hospitals and drug companies, but not so great for you and me.
Therefore, to find dietary guidance we must look at non-industrial populations like the most recent hunter-gatherers.
Hunter-gatherers who eat mostly deer, elk, and other land dwelling animals have a. Omega-6 to Omega-3 3 ratio of 2:1 to 4:1, while the Inuit, who ate mostly Omega-3 rich seafoods, had a ratio of 1:4.
All of these populations enjoyed good health. They did not suffer from the chronic diseases we face today.
Keep in mind that none of these populations were eating a lot of Omega-6. We need to consider that we will not fix our own health by continuing to consume high levels of omega-6 and simply adding omega-3. Getting a daily small balanced amount of both is probably best. Emphasis on balanced.
Anthropological evidence also suggests that the ratio of Omegas human beings evolved with is closer to 1:1, while the ratio today is around 22:1 or worse. Meaning 22 times more omega-6 than what we are genetically programmed to handle.

Not only are modern people eating much less Omega-3 from animal sources, they are eating huge amounts of processed seed and vegetable oils which provide ridiculously high levels of Omega-6.
The technology to extract seed and vegetable oils is twentieth century technology.  Evolutionarily speaking we simply have had no time to genetically adapt to these high amounts of Omega-6.
Soy is the major culprit here. Here is a chart that shows the dramatic increase in soybean oil consumption in the USA, from zero to 11 kilograms (24 pounds) per person per year.

Soybean oil is currently the biggest source of Omega-6 fatty acids in the USA, because it is abundant and dirt cheap. Don’t even get me started on government subsidies for soy and corn.  Thus soy oil, and to a slightly lesser extent corn oil are used in all manner of processed foods. Unfortunately processed foods make up an ever-increasing part of daily food intake in developed countries, so we are literally stuffing our cells and tissues with excessive omega-6.
The amount of Omega-6 fatty acids found in body fat stores has increased by more than 200% in the past 50 years alone.

So the unbalanced fats that we are eating are leading to structural changes, in our body fat stores, cell membranes, tissues and organs everywhere in the body. Continuing on this path is suicidal.
A high amount of Omega-6 in cell membranes is strongly associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease, partly due to the pro-inflammatory effects, but also due to lipid imbalances and unwarranted clotting.

There have been several controlled trials where people were directed to replace saturated fats like butter with Omega-6 rich vegetable oils. Instead of having healthier hearts, the dietary changes backfired and they had a significantly increased risk of heart disease.

A high Omega-6 intake is also associated with violence and depression, while Omega-3s improve all sorts of mental disorders like depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Consumption of vegetable oils high in Omega-6, and a precipitous drop in omega-3 levels is simply the reality of food policy and production changes over the past 100 years. There is a tsunami of evidence that this is causing serious harm.

Fortunately, optimizing your intake of the most important Omega-3 fatty acids is relatively simple.

The single most important thing you can do to reduce your Omega-6 intake is to avoid processed seed and vegetable oils high in Omega-6, as well as the processed foods that contain them.
Here is a chart with some common fats and oils. This is why I prefer using olive oil in the kitchen. To reduce your intake of Omega-6 you need to avoid all of these oils that have a high proportion of Omega-6 (blue bars).

You can see that all of these plant oils are much higher in Omega-6, relative to Omega-3. In fact Omega-3 in plant oils is virtually non-existent. Mind you I said to reduce Omega-6 not eliminate it. Omega-6 is essential for health, it is the overconsumption, the loss of balance that is the issue.

Animal foods are the best sources of the preformed Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. And they provide omega-6 too. Think fish and grass fed beef and pork.
The problem is that commercially raised animals are fattened up with grain-based feeds of mainly soy and corn. If those grains fatten up cows what must they be doing to us?
Feeding soy and corn to cows, pigs and chickens reduces the Omega-3 content, so the fats in the meat are mostly Omega-6. Therefore, if you can afford it, grass fed or wild meat is definitely optimal. However, occasional consumption of conventionally raised meat is healthy, as long as it is not processed.

It is also best to buy pastured or omega-3 eggs, which are much healthier than eggs from hens that were fed grain-based feeds.

By far the best and healthiest way to increase your Omega-3 intake is to eat seafood at least twice per week or ideally, even more often. Fatty fish like salmon is a particularly good source. Sardines, mackerel, herring and tuna are good choices too. Wild caught fish is best, but eating farmed fish is much better than eating no fish at all.
If you eat a lot of conventionally raised meats and/or don’t eat much seafood, then I strongly suggest you take a fish oil supplement.

And when you are choosing supplements, please be aware of this. There are some plant sources of Omega-3, like flax and chia seeds. However, these contain a type of Omega-3 called ALA. ALA does not confer the heart, eye and brain benefits of its longer cousins EPA and DHA. And humans are inefficient converters of ALA into the active forms, EPA and DHA. So be sure you either eat fish or take a supplement that provides EPA and DHA. Adults need between 1000 and 4000 mg EPA/DHA daily and children under the age of 10 need 200-1000 mg EPA/DHA daily for best results. Teenagers should be dosed as adults.

And finally for the geeks in the room, here is a nifty chart showing the metabolic pathways of Omega-6 and Omega-3s.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kale Salad with Currants, Balsamic and Parmesan


1 large bunch or 2 small bunches kale, torn into bite size pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice from 2-3 lemons
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup currants or 1/3 cup other dried fruit
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
salt and pepper


Wash the kale well. Those curly leaves can be full of sand. Tear kale pieces off the main fibrous center stem. Add the kale to a large mixing bowl, season with salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Massage with your hands making sure to coat the kale with oil. This will begin to break down the tough kale cell structure.

Grate the zest and squeeze the juice of the lemons over the massaged kale. Add the balsamic vinegar. Add the currants, toasted pine nuts, parmesan and toss to combine. Serve with a pinch of red chili flakes, if desired.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A spicy delicious recipe for roasted vegetables from one of my favorite food blogs.

Chili Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Coconut Sauce

Photo credit to floatingkitchen.net

For the Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 1 cauliflower head, cut into bite sized florets
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 - 2 tablespoons Harissa (North African Chili Paste) Recipe follows.

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh mint, roughly chopped
For the Coconut Sauce
1/2 cup coconut milk (I recommend the full fat version) 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground coriander
Pinch of salt 

For the Coconut Sauce
1/2 cup coconut milk (I recommend the full fat version) 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground coriander
Pinch of salt 

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. On a large rimmed baking sheet toss the cauliflower and chickpeas with the olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin seeds. Roast for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from the oven. Add the harissa and toss gently until everything is evenly coated. Start with 1 tablespoon of the harissa, adding more for your taste preferences (I used almost 2 tablespoons). Set aside.

In a small bowl whisk together all of the ingredients for the coconut sauce.

To serve, drizzle the coconut sauce over the warm harissa-coated cauliflower and chickpeas.
Sprinkle with the fresh mint. Serve immediately.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

Harissa North African Chili Paste

Photo credit to floating kitchen.net

3 ounces dried Mexican chiles 1 tsp. caraway seeds
3/4 tsp. coriander seeds
3/4 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. fresh mint leaves 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
5 garlic cloves
Juice of 1 lemon

3-5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Remove and discard the stems and the seeds from the chiles. The easiest way to do this is with your hands (I recommend wearing disposable gloves). The stems should just snap right off and the seeds will easily shake out. Place the chiles in a medium bowl and cover them with boiling water. Let them soak in the water for about 30 minutes. 

Toast the caraway, coriander and cumin seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat, about 2- 4 minutes or until they become fragrant, stirring frequently to prevent them from burning. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Once cooled, grind the toasted seeds along with the mint in a spice/coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle. 

Drain the soaked chiles. Place them in the bowl of your food processor with the blade attachment along with the ground spices, salt, garlic cloves, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Process until a smooth, thick paste forms, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. It will take a couple minutes, so be patient. You can also add another tablespoon of olive oil to keep things moving. 

Transfer the paste to a small, seal-able jar (I like mason jars). Drizzle a thin layer of olive oil over the surface. Seal the jar and transfer it to your refrigerator. The harissa will keep for up to a month. As you use the harissa, add a fresh layer of olive oil to keep the surface covered. 

Recipe from www.floatingkitchen.net