IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  March 1, 2012

Big tastes come in small filo packages

Many restaurant diners are experiencing the trend to small desserts.

At home, they may offer your guests individual ones or a variety of selections. Whether you are planning a dinner party or a buffet for relatives and friends, taste-filled filo cups might be just the thing.

Start with packages of ready-to- bake filo dough cups from the grocery store. The shells are tiny versions of pies.

Then think about tastes that complement each other. Be mindful that if you are making a variety of these treats, and are not prepared to freeze a large batch, most fillings come in large quantities and either will need to be stored or used entirely.

Tiny filo desserts.

1 bottle maraschino cherries
1 package coconut
1 bunch mint sprigs
1 package pecans or walnuts
1 can almond paste
1 can blueberry pie filling
1 can cherry pie filling
1 package pitted dates
1 bottle lemon curd jelly
1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of evaporated milk whisked together for a cream filling.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the pastry shells on a cookie sheet.

Carefully spoon portions of the almond paste, lemon curd, cream mixture, and the blueberry or cherry fillings into the small tarts.

Use the other ingredients (nuts, half Maraschino cherries, coconut, mint springs and diced dates) for garnishes.

Bake about 10 minutes or until the shells turn a light brown.

These miniatures freeze very well, so if you have the energy buy a large quantity of the filo shells and use up the fillings, you'll have desserts for a later party or dinner.

If garnishes are left, most are kitchen staples and store easy.

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What is Bruxism and what can be done about it?

Bruxism is a condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth. Sometimes people unconsciously clench their teeth together during the day or grind them at night. It's called sleep bruxism, say doctors at the Mayo Clinic.

Bruxism may be mild or it can be frequent and severe enough to lead to jaw disorders, headaches, earaches, and damage to the teeth and tongue. If you have sleep bruxism, you may be unaware of it until symptoms develop. Causes of bruxism include:

  • Anxiety, stress or tension, including suppressed anger or frustration.
  • Having an aggressive, competitive or hyperactive personality type.
  • An abnormal alignment of the upper and lower teeth.
  • A side effect of psychiatric medications or antidepressants.

    A complication can develop in the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) in front of your ears. You feel it when opening and closing your mouth.
    Your dentist may find other disorders that can cause jaw or ear pain, such an ear infection.

    Medications aren't very effective for bruxism, except for a muscle relaxant that can be taken before bedtime.

    Stress management works better. Mouth guards help and are available at pharmacies or can be custom made by your dentist.

    Behavioral therapy includes practicing proper mouth and jaw position. Rest your tongue upward with your teeth apart and your lips closed. This should keep your teeth from grinding and your jaws from clenching.


    Chuckles Corner

  • This wonderful food will help you live longer

    Wouldn't it be nice to discover a food that reduces your risk of death from heart disease, infectious and respiratory diseases and, in fact, reduces your risk of death from all causes?

    This wonder food exists, and the good news is that you don't have to wait for it to be produced. It's available to everyone and available right now.

    It's called fiber, but not just any fiber. The fiber from grains is what offers the magic of a longer life. That's a proven fact.

    The National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study shows that fiber from grains has the strongest association with reduced mortality. The fiber in vegetables and beans was far less effective, and the fiber from fruit had no life lengthening qualities.

    This was just one of the studies in 35 to 40 years of research on grain fibers. The largest study, by The National Cancer Institute, compared the fiber intake of 219,123 men and 168,999 women ages 50 to 71

    Over a 9-year period, those in the highest grain fiber group were 22 percent less likely to die of any cause.

    All of this simply means that eating whole-grain bread, cereals and crackers will help you avoid conditions that could shorten your life!


    Body data

  • Your nose can remember 50,000 scents.
  • Like fingerprints, tongue prints are unique.
  • A new baby has 350 bones. Because bones fuse together during growth, an adult has only 206 bones
  • A pair of feet has 500,000 sweat glands. They could produce more than a pint of sweat a day, according to Discovery Fit and Health Facts.


    Telcare device sends diabetes tests to the Web or iphone

    Diabetics now use a glucometer to test a blood drop drawn from a fingertip, then they record the results in a notebook. It can be weeks or months before the doctor sees the list of results.

    Telcare of Bethesda, Md., will soon offer an FDA approved wireless device that instantly sends a patient's readings to a private online database, which can be accessed, with permission, by a doctor, caregiver or family member.

    The system charts the results to highlight trends and spot problems. It can be accessed anytime by a Web browser or by an iPhone app.

    The meter is somewhat larger than others, but it has colored displays and can receive messages from the doctor.

    Telcare comes with a wall recharging unit, but if you turn the unit off after use, the charge lasts for 300 tests.

    It costs $150 for a starter kit, but the price drops to $100 if you subscribe to a one-year supply of test strips.


    Top 15 causes of death in the United States

    According to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, an analysis of deaths in 2010 shows that heart disease ranked number one, followed by cancer, lower respiratory diseases, strokes, and accidents.

    In positions six through 10 are Alzheimer's, diabetes, kidney disease, influenza and suicide.

    The remaining five are blood poisoning, liver disease and cirrhosis, hypertension, Parkinson's and pneumonitis (inflammation of the lungs)

    In previous years, murder was in 15th place, but in 2010 it moved down a slot.

    Between 1990 and 2010, homicides in New York dropped by 76 percent; in Los Angeles, 70 percent, and in Chicago they were down 49 percent.

    Carnegie Mellon University criminologists say the homicide decline may be due to a shift from the violent drug trade of the 1980s and 1990s to less violent illegal prescription-drug trade.


    Quitting ... again and again

    A new Harvard University study shows that smokers who quit using over-the-counter medications (like nicotine gum and patches) are just as likely to relapse as those going "cold turkey."

    Today, more people are eligible for cessation services under the new health reform law. The government says tobacco is linked to 443,000 deaths and $96 billion in medical costs each year.

    About 19.3 percent of Americans smoked cigarettes in 2010, compared with 20.9 percent in 2004, which is some improvement. But quitting isn't easy. Only 6.2 percent of U.S. smokers in a 2010 government survey said they were able to quit.

    GlaxoSmithKline PLC, the leading seller of nicotine replacement products says their 20-year study shows that cessation products, along with counseling, can double the success rate.

    So far, however, the main reason people quit is the high taxes on cigarettes, which make them very expensive.


  • Coming: a breakthrough procedure for hypertension

    Medication and lifestyle changes have always been the treatment for the 25 percent of Americans who have high blood pressure. Some patients benefit more than others, and some don't improve much at all.

    Reporting in Time, Dr. Mehmet Oz says that could change in a dramatic way with a new procedure now approved for use in Europe. It's now in an important U.S. trial and will probably be available here in about two years.

    The procedure involves threading in a catheter equipped with radio-frequency energy to zap and disable a few select nerves in the kidneys. It has been shown to reduce blood pressure by an average of 32/12 mm Hg, while keeping the surrounding tissue healthy and intact.


    Adjusting to dentures for the first time

    Experts at the Cosmetic Dentistry Center say you may have a harder time adjusting to dentures than you expect, especially if you are new to them.

  • It usually takes longer to adjust to lower dentures than it does for uppers. They cause more problems because they may feel lose. A denture adhesive can be used, but check with your dentist.
  • With an upper denture, you may feel like gagging, because it creates a feeling of fullness in the mouth.
  • Sore spots can form even if a denture is a perfect fit, because the tissues it rests upon vary in thickness. Consult your dentist as soon as possible when a sore develops so an adjustment can be made. Buy an ointment to numb the area until you get to the dentist.
  • If you suffer from dry mouth, adjusting to dentures is more difficult, because you have less saliva to hold them in place. Treat dry mouth with products made for this purpose so your dentures will be more comfortable.
  • In the first two days, drink fluids and eat foods that don't require chewing, such as thin oatmeal, blended drinks and shakes. Carnation Instant Breakfast and Ensure are good choices.

    After that, slowly increase the consistency of the food. Include soft pastas, well-cooked vegetables, soups, canned fruits, eggs, and hamburger.

  • Cut food into small pieces. At first, bite food off at the corners of the mouth rather than with the front teeth.
  • For speaking problems, read out loud in private to retrain your mouth.


    Calories build body fat, not the foods they come from

    Some dieters think they lose weight by not eating bread. Others skip high-fat foods like ice cream, and some dieters don't eat meat.

    Now, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that dieting by limiting certain types of foods is pointless. New studies show it's the number of calories you consume, not where they come from, that determines the amount of body fat you lose or gain.

    In the study, young, healthy men and women were deliberately fed about 1,000 excess calories a day for 56 days. Their diets varied in the amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat.

    While participants on a low-protein diet lost a few more pounds than those on a normal or low-fat diet, body fat in all three groups was about the same at the end of the study.

    The study suggests that it doesn't matter very much whether a diet is high or low in fat, carbohydrates or protein, it's calories that build body fat.

    Doctors say this is an important finding: weight gain depends primarily on excess calories, regardless of the composition of a meal.

    Study subjects on low-protein diets had a detrimental effect from the study. They had a reduction in levels of lean body mass, which is not healthful. Typical U.S. protein consumption is 15 percent. The government says it should be 17 to 21 percent of total daily calories.

    Study subjects whose diets included 15 percent to 25 percent protein had an increase in lean body mass.

    During the study, they all lived at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. Physical activity was controlled and participants were monitored to make sure they ate all the food they were given.

    Researchers at UCLA Center for Human Nutrition urge doctors to focus on fat reduction rather than on weight loss when treating patients with obesity.

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    March is National Women's History Month

    In 1981, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Rep. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) cosponsored the first Joint Congressional Resolution proclaiming a "Women's History Week." It became a month-long, national observance in 1987, with bipartisan support and by the proclamations of five presidents.

    Each year, a unifying theme is chosen.

    This year's theme is Women's Education. Women's Empowerment. Women now outnumber men in our colleges and universities. The accomplishment took the efforts of thousands of women of every culture through many decades.

    For centuries experts argued against women's education. In America, Radcliffe opened in 1879 for female students, but it took Harvard two centuries before they admitted women students.

    During the last 35 years, women have transformed both the educational and business landscapes of our nation. The more they achieve, the more effective they become. They encourage girls and other women to think bigger and bolder and to leave their mark on our future social and economic worlds.