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Mary’s Memo – September 2nd

PLANT-BASED DIET MAY HELP YOU LIVE LONGER


Vegetarian diets, previously associated with a lower risk for several chronic diseases, also has been linked with lower death rates, according to a report in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers analyzed the diets of 73,308 people and categorized them into five groups: non-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian (includes seafood), lacto-ovo-vegetarian (includes dairy and egg products) and vegan (excludes all animal products). Vegetarians had a 12 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality compared to non-vegetarian, and pesco-vegetarians, vegans and lacto-ovovegetarians also had lower mortality rates.
Source: Weil Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, September 2013.

WINE AND ANTIBIOTICS


Certain antibiotics, including erythromycin, can increase the amount of alcohol that enters your blood stream. They speed up digestion, which leaves less time for alcohol to be broken down in the stomach before it reaches the intestines and blood. And mixing alcohol with metronidazole (Flagyl and generic) or tinidazole (Tindamax) can cause vomiting and flushing. Alcohol generally doesn’t make antibiotics less effective, but it might slow recovery. Since alcohol and most antibiotics are processed by the liver, why not give that organ a break?
Source: Consumer Reports on Health, September 2013.

CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR BETTER


In a small new study in Diabetes Care, sedentary people over 70 with pre-diabetes (mildly elevated fasting blood sugar) either walked for 15 minutes after breakfast, lunch and dinner or else walked 45 minutes in the morning or afternoon. The short, frequent walks were more effective in reducing three-hour post meal blood sugar levels. As an added plus, older adults may feel more comfortable with such a regimen, the researchers noted.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, September 2013.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CUCUMBERS


Because cucumbers are mostly water, they are refreshing and cooling. Once thought to be largely devoid of nutrients, food scientists have found that cucumbers do in fact have significant amounts of nutrients, especially in their skins. For starters, they contain vitamin C and A, folic acid, iron, potassium, manganese and silica. Silica works synergistically with calcium and vitamin D to increase collagen production, promoting healthy skin and connective  tissue, so go ahead and put those cucumber slices on your eyes like they did in the old movies. In addition, cucumbers are a good source of molybdenum which is vital for many brain functions, including memory. Finally, cucumbers are one of the very few vegetables that contain the amino acid tryptophan, which can convert into neurotransmitter serotonin, and may function as a natural mood-lifter and appetite curb. Cucumber skin contains large amounts of caffeic acid, an antioxidant that mops up free radicals and prevents cell damage.
Source: Secrets of a Seasonal Cook, The Land Connection Foundation, 7/29/13.

It should come as no surprise that we’re following with Gazpacho Salsa featuring an English seedless cucumber, home grown tomatoes if you have them, yellow bell pepper and red onion.

GAZPACHO SALSA


• 1 English seedless cucumber, diced
• 2 large homegrown tomatoes, seeded and diced
• 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
• 1/2 cup diced red onion
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon olive oil (I prefer light)
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper (fresh ground if you have a grinder)

In medium bowl, combine tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, onion, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Refrigerate several hours to blend flavors. Serve with tortilla chips.

ENCORE FOR CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BREAD


My sister, Ann, inspired me to repeat this recipe. It was missing an ingredient and no one ever called it to my attention first time around. Unlike a lot of zucchini bread recipes, this one is made with butter instead of oil and semisweet baking chocolate that gives it a rich chocolate taste.

CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BREAD


• 1 cup Land O'Lakes butter (2 sticks)
• 4 (1-ounce) squares semisweet baking chocolate
• 1-1/2 cups sugar
• 1-1/2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini
• 4 large eggs, slightly beaten
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 3-3/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour 2 (8x4-inch) baking pans; set aside. In 2-quart saucepan melt butter and baking chocolate together, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in sugar, zucchini, eggs and vanilla until blended. Combine all remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Stir zucchini mixture into flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon the batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely. Store in gallon freezer bags.
Source: Adapted from Land O'Lakes recipe.

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