IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  January 1, 2013

A new twist on the traditional New Year’s Day menu

If are expecting guests for Rose Bowl viewing or a New Year's gathering, go easy on yourself with a ready-when-you-are buffet suitable for brunch, late lunch or early dinner.

Use shortcuts. Prepare some dishes a couple days ahead then heat and serve over time.

Set up a choice of desserts on your sideboard, including a coffee cake.

Have a beverage table and have plenty of bottled water, and place appetizer assortments near the TV.

Showcase platters of spiral-sliced baked ham or thinly sliced beef tenderloin and a poached cold salmon on your dining room table. Provide an assortment of small rolls, pumpernickel or rye triangles and a variety of mustards and spreads. Include a green salad and a winter potato salad to serve at room temperature.

In many cultures, greens of any kind symbolize folding money; pork signifies prosperity and abundance.

You’ll feel like a winner serving another New Year’s tradition that ensures good luck.

Texas Caviar Dip

1 (14oz) can black-eyed peas, drained
1 (14oz) can black beans, drained
1 cup corn (thawed)
3 green onions, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium (or larger) jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
5 tablespoon Italian dressing
1 medium plum tomato, diced or 1 can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Toss gently to mix and ensure dressing coats well. Cover and marinate at least 2 hours in the refrigerator; best if left overnight.

Before serving, drain excess liquid. Serve this salsa-like dip with tortilla chips or Tostitos or Fritos Scoops. Double, triple or quadruple recipe, depending upon the number of guests.


Antioxidants pancreatic cancer.

Researchers have found a striking relationship between antioxidant-rich food and a lower risk of pancreatic cancer.

The 2011 study, recently reported in the journal Gut, analyzed the 10-year food diaries of 49 pancreatic cancer sufferers (who were part of another large research effort) and compared them with healthy study participants.

The analysis found that people with high levels of vitamins C and E, selenium, and antioxidants were less likely to develop pancreatic cancer, an especially deadly cancer since it is rarely diagnosed early.

The findings suggest that there might be a causal relationship between antioxidants and pancreatic cancer and researchers say antioxidants should be measured in future studies of pancreatic cancer.


Chuckles Corner

The food of the Pharaohs now greener, juicier

It all started in 20 years ago at a bazaar in a small Turkish town located along on the ancient Silk Road.

Bill Waycott purchased some promising romaine seeds that he took home to California, according to the New Times of San Luis Obispo.

The seeds had noble origins. Lettuce has been grown in the middle east for at least 10,000 years, and is even pictured on the tombs of Pharaohs.

Starting with the descendants of these ancient seeds, Waycott, one of 50 of lettuce breeders in the world, embarked on a decades-long crossbreeding project to come up with a new lettuce.

Many plants were used in developing the new lettuce. A spiny wild lettuce that, looks much like a dandelion, gave his new plant disease resistance, for example. But he bred for other qualities as well. For farmers, the lettuce will be easier to grow, with a larger root mass that doesn't require irrigation and an upright head that is quick to pick.

For consumers, it is as crunchy and juicy as iceberg, but greener, with more nutrition than romaine. According to the Wall Street Journal, the new lettuce has higher levels of vitamin C and folate. Monsanto, the food developers, bought Waycott's patent and is marketing the new lettuce as "Frescada," available at Sam's Club.

No Genetically Modified Organisms were used in the development.

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Is it bursitis? Be sure to get a correct diagnosis

Housemaids, clergymen and coal miners, according to medical folklore, all spend so much time on their knees they have their own disease.

What was once called clergyman's knee is known today as bursitis.

The condition, often mistaken by laymen for arthritis, is actually an inflamation of the bursae, which are little sacs of fluid that snuggle in between the bones and tendons.

Bursae provide a smooth, frictionless surface that makes moving painless.

Problem is that extreme repetitive movement and pressure, or an injury can cause the bursae to be inflamed. Once that happens, you can get the sort of intense pain that makes you not want to mine coal or clean floors or, worse, move the affected joint in any way.

Dr. James V. Luck of UCLA Orthopaedic Hospital, quoted in Bottom Line Personal, says treatment is important, because if you stop moving the joint scar tissue could develop, leading to chronic inflammation, stiffness or a condition called "frozen shoulder."

Orthopaedic doctors at the Arthritis Foundation say people often assume they have arthritis when the cause of their pain is actually bursitis.

Your doctor can usually distinguish bursitis from arthritis, but sometimes an x-ray is taken to help distinguish between the two.

Preliminary home treatment

If you have an aching joint, you can apply a cold pack to reduce swelling to the area once or twice an hour for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Do that as often as you can for 48 hours and then alternate with heat. Take an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)

If you have more pain, a doctor can inject the bursa with cortisone, to reduce swelling and pain, and an anesthetic that stops the pain instantly.

If you have an infected bursa, you'll need antibiotics or steroid treatment.


TAKE A LOAD OFF - Some aches and pains can be relieved by simply losing weight. Walking puts three times your body weight on your feet with every step, according to the Institute for Preventative Foot Health. Even if you don't have to lose weight, address foot pain immediately. Experts say it will only get worse.

DON'T GO CHEAP - Good shoes will save your feet. Look for a wide toe box and a firm grip on your heel. Cheap shoe construction often leaves arches and the foot pad unsupported.

What you should know about gallstones

Gallstones are common. But pain attacks shouldn't be taken lightly. These days physicians recommend surgery.

Gallstones occur in 10 to 15 percent of people in the United States. If you are like 75 percent of people with gallstones you won't experience symptoms.


But for the remaining 25 percent, gallstone attacks start with an unexpected pain in the upper right abdomen. These pain attacks subside in a couple hours, but, if you have had them once, they will be back, probably with a little nausea, too. Then it is time to see your doctor. (If you have fever, jaundice or dark colored stools, it's time to go to the emergency room.)

You will probably need gallbladder removal surgery. It's one of the most common surgical procedures.

The gallbladder is a small sac under your liver. Bile, which helps break down fats and pass waste, is produced in your liver and drained through your gallbladder. When the gallbladder is removed, bile drains directly into the small intestine.

Types of surgery

Gallbladder removal is considered the best choice since gallstones usually reappear if removed.

Laparoscopic surgery offers a fast recovery. It's performed through several small incisions in your abdomen through which a tiny camera and surgical instruments are passed. It's outpatient surgery.

Open surgery requires larger incisions and cutting through abdominal muscles. It's the best choice if the gallbladder is severely inflamed or infected. And it requires several days in the hospital and a few weeks of recovery.


Osteoporosis and green tea

In a trial that included 171 women with low bone mass, researchers at Texas Tech University found that one 500 mg polyphenol green tea capsule each day improved bone formation and helped to prevent osteoporosis.


Fat cells need sleep to perk up their metabolism

You know that getting too little sleep can leave you sluggish and irritable but did you know it can make you fat?

Too little sleep increases levels of hormones that make you hungry. If that isn't bad enough, it also decreases hormones that make you full. According to new research, lack of sleep reduces your fat cells' ability to respond properly to insulin, which is pivotal in regulating how your body uses and stores calories.

Quoted in USA Today, University of Chicago researcher Matthew Brady, said, "Our fat cells need sleep to function properly. If you don't get enough sleep, you may feel groggy, and it turns out that your fat cells will be metabolically groggy too."

The findings are from a laboratory study that included seven young volunteers whose diet and sleep were monitored in a sleep laboratory for four days on two separate occasions.

The results, reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, show that four nights of inadequate sleep reduce the body's ability to respond to insulin by 16 percent.

Fat cells were even more sleepy, with their ability to use insulin dropping by 30 percent. Insulin helps in the release of the hormone leptin, which makes you feel full. Without sleep, less leptin is released, telling your body it is hungry, increasing your appetite and, bingo, making you gain weight.

All because you pulled an all-nighter.


New diet snacks trade some calories for taste

Snack brands like Edy's ice cream, Hershey's chocolate and Lay's potato chips are trying to solve the big problem of making low-calorie foods that still taste good.

They are offering mid-calorie products that have more fat and calories than their previous diet foods, but fewer than the original versions.

Sales of reduced-calorie and fat foods and drinks have risen since 2006 as consumers eager for taste but wary of calories search for alternatives.

Fatty, sugary snacks have been blamed for obesity in the U.S.