IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  ARCHIVE

Easy pulled pork for great after-holiday dining

For two months, you've been shopping, wrapping, cooling, baking, and partying. Now you want to pull in the purse strings, but still provide your family with meals they'll love. Pulled pork is easy on the budget and requires only 15 minutes of prep time. Max. And leftovers can become your new favorites.

Crock pot slow-cooking is perfect for pulled pork and can make the ingredients sing.

Simple Slow Cook Pulled Pork

1 4-5 pound boneless pork shoulder or butt, trimmed of excess fat
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 can of beer or root beer, not diet, (acts as a meat tenderizer), or, 1 cup regular or low-sodium chicken stock.

Pork Rub

1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 half teaspoon cinnamon
1 half teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
barbecue sauce.

Combine the chili powder, salt, cumin, and cinnamon in a small bowl with the brown sugar. Pat the pork dry with paper towels and rub well with the spice mixture.

Layer the sliced onions and garlic in the slow cooker and pour in the liquid (beer, root beer or chicken stock)

Place the meat on the onions and garlic. Cover and cook 5 to 6 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low, until the pork is fork tender.

Turn off the slow cooker and remove the pork to a cutting board. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding any remaining fat.

Pour the onion mixture from the slow cooker through a strainer into a bowl; return the solids to the slow cooker. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker and mix to combine.

Now, remove the amount of meat that will be used in later meals. It refrigerates or freezes well. If you're serving on hamburger buns, add enough barbecue sauce to the remaining meat to thoroughly moisten. Serve with barbecue beans, corn and coleslaw.

Makes 10-15 servings. Try pulled pork in tacos, hash, a pot of chili, lettuce wraps, soup, or on a baked potato.

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The Lighter Side ...


A lady welcomes the New Year and dutifully makes her top resolution to lose weight. To do that, she decides she will be completely honest about what size she is now.

So she goes into her closet and, with the help of her 7-year-old niece, she begins throwing things out that do not fit.

Her niece find a beautiful pair of slacks that, unfortunately, are way too small for her aunt.

"Wow," the lady says, "I must have worn these when I was 90."

Her niece looks puzzled, then asks, "How old are you now?"

Pearls of Wisdom

The time to stop talking is when the other person nods his head affirmatively, but says nothing.

          Henry S. Haskins: stockbroker, author

It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.

          Ann Landers, was a famous personal advisor

Chuckles Corner

Latest reason to put more movement into your life

It seems that no matter what aspect of health you're reading about, medical authorities will mention, or caution you, that you will need to exercise or be active to get all the benefits. After a while, you may no longer be listening.

But you will now.

It's the vision of yourself suffering with Alzheimer's disease (AD): no longer able to run your own life, at the mercy of caregivers, and the subject of pity as you become unable to speak.

The number of Alzheimer's patients in the United States could reach 13.8 million by 2050. But that number, and your own risk, could be significantly reduced among those who get moving.

People who are fit in middle age are less likely to develop any kind of dementia in later years, according to DukeMedicine newsletter. It's a good time to walk or do aerobics.

Keeping cholesterol under control also helps you avoid AD.

All types of activity can help.

Physical activity is strongly connected to improved blood flow to the brain, to the development of new brain cells, and to better brain activity.

A study at Rush University Medical Center shows that all physical activities are associated with a reduced risk of AD, including exercise and things like yard work, cooking and cleaning.

Adults who are not physically able to do traditional exercises can keep fit with ordinary activities. But they have to get off the sofa to do them.


Say the dog did it?

A team of physicians studying flatulence write that one of the most common places to pass gas is on airplanes.

Gas expands at higher altitudes, and that is just when you are elbow to elbow with 300 strangers.

You can hold gas, doctors say. If it's for a short time. It will give you time to move to a restroom or a more convenient place where there are fewer people.

Holding gas over a longer time can cause bloating, indigestion, heartburn and even pain.

Gas is a part of digestion and everyone releases a half to 2 pints a day on average. Whether you are aware of it or not, this gas will exit the body as you sleep or even cough or sneeze. If you have a serious flatulence issue, talk it over with your health care provider. Excessive gassiness can be a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome and lactose intolerance. And it often results from eating foods like beans and cruciferous vegetables.

You can buy charcoal-lined underwear at under-tec.com and seat cushions at smellbegone.com.


Smokers, ex-smokers: Should you be screened for lung cancer?

Annual low-dose CT scans are being recommended for high-risk current and former smokers, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

At the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, they say the goal of computed tomography (CT) is to detect cancer early enough so it can be cured.

The Task Force finds that, today, 75 percent of lung cancer cases are diagnosed only after the disease has reached an advanced stage or spread to other parts of the body. The five-year survival rate ranges from 4 to 24 percent for people in these stages.

The five-year survival rate for people whose lung cancer was caught early was 77 percent.

You're at high risk for lung cancer and should be screened if you:

  • Are a present or past smoker who's quit within the past 15 years, and
  • Have a smoking history of at least a pack a day for 30 years, two packs a day for 15 years or three packs a day for 10 years.
  • Are 55 to 79 years old.

    Age is a factor. The National Lung Screening Trial, using CT, enrolled more than 53,400 men and women between ages 55 and 74. All were current or former smokers. Former smokers included only those who quit less than 15 years before the start of the study. Subjects received either a chest X-ray or a CT scan every year for three years.

    At the eight-year mark, the study was stopped when it was discovered that 20 percent fewer people in the CT group died of lung cancer than those in the chest X-ray group.

    The CT lung scans clearly saved lives in the study population.

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  • Try a smile

    Researchers found smiling can reduce stress levels and lower the heart rate while performing difficult tasks.

    Writing in Psychological Science, the authors tell how they studied the effects of different types of smiling in difficult situations.

    Tara Kraft, of the University of Kansas, said: "Age old adages, such as 'grin and bear it' suggest that smiling is an important nonverbal indicator of happiness. Those who smiled after stressful tasks showed a decline in heart rate and faster recovery from stress."


    Using exercise to treat Parkinson's disease

    There is increasing evidence that regular exercise is important when it comes to maintaining health and independence in those who have with Parkinson's.

    A Mayo Clinic review of research shows that exercise can reduce the risk of developing Parkinson's by 35 percent. For those who already have it, the protective effect of exercise appears to improve cognitive and motor skills, as well as increasing longevity.

    Additionally, exercise reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, and it may improve cognition in people who already have dementia.

    The Mayo Clinic experts advocate stretching, exercise and physical fitness as key for Parkinson's management. Parkinson's develops slowly, meaning that the patient could develop other diseases during its progression, such as heart disease, diabetes and depression, all of which are problems that regular exercise can prevent or treat.

    For best results, exercise 30 minutes a day, five days per week.


    Hep C screening advised for baby boomers

    Only a minority of people born between 1945 and 1964 are thought to be affected by hepatitis C, but momentum is building to have those 60 million people screened. It can be diagnosed with a blood test.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say 3.2 million people in the United States are affected, but half of them don't realize it. There are no symptoms until serious complications occur, such as cirrhosis of the liver or cancer. These conditions can be avoided if hepatitis C is treated earlier.

    The CDC says boomers are more likely to be infected because of experimental drug use in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as lack of oversight in the blood supply used for transfusions before 1992. Boomers who are now in their 40s to late 60s may not realize they were exposed to infected blood.
    "Surprisingly enough, many people may not know if they had a blood transfusion even if they know they had a car accident and went to the hospital decades ago," said Dr. Michael LeFevre, professor of family medicine at the University of Missouri. He is quoted in The Wall Street Journal.

    Under the Affordable Care Act, most private health insurers will now pay the cost of screening with no out-of-pocket cost to patients. The initial hepatitis C testing ranges up to $200

    Recently, New York became the first state to enact a law requiring that boomers be offered the screening when they see a doctor or enter a hospital.

    Don't be shocked or insulted if your doctor wants to test you for hepatitis C!


    Laser method may improve cataract surgery

    A newly approved laser system will improve precision and safety in cataract surgery, say doctors at Duke University.

    About 3 million cataract procedures are done each year in the U.S., making it one of the most common surgeries.

    "Laser-assisted surgery will introduce a level of consistency, precision, and safety to cataract surgery we have never been able to accomplish with our manual methods," says Robin Raul Vann, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology Service at Duke University.

    Using computer technology, the new laser system uses a 3-D image of the eye to create a precise surgical plan. It uses a high-energy pulse to make bladeless incisions.


    Moderate activity is called better than intense exercise

    Researchers at the University of Copenhagen looked for new ways to battle the obesity epidemic. They found that moderate exercising is more motivating than hard training. The study was reported in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health in September 2013

    During a 13-week period, they discovered that 30 minutes of daily exercise was just as beneficial as a full hour of hard fitness training. The shorter period delivered more energy and more motivation to pursue a healthy lifestyle.

    The subjects who exercised 30 minutes a day lost an average of eight pounds, while those who exercised for 60 minutes lost only six pounds.

    The study authors concluded that the energy produced by a moderate amount of exercise can significantly impact the subjects' daily activities.