IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  April 1, 2013

Try this spinach fettuccine with Belgian endive and bacon

The Belgian endive is an oblong cluster of leaves, popular raw in salads or sauteed.

The Belgian botanist developed the endive from chickory around 1846

Endive is unique in that the it does not grow from seed. It is the second, forced growth from a chickory root and is grown in darkness. The mild-tasting white part of the leaf is the part that grew underground.

It is often paired with pasta and used in salads.

Pasta, of course, is a family favorite. It's easy to prepare, easy to digest, and a cup of cooked product has only 210 calories.

Here's a recipe that's fitting for an appetizer, a sit-down dinner's first course or a family supper.

Spinach fettuccine with endive and bacon

1 9-ounce package refrigerated spinach fettuccine (like Buitoni)
4-5 strips of lean bacon cut into half-inch pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 large Belgian endives (about 2/3 lb.)
Salt and freshly ground pepper.

Begin heating the salted water for the pasta. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally.

Remove pan from heat and transfer the bacon pieces to a paper towel to drain. Pour off bacon fat, saving about 2 tablespoons; return to heat and add the olive oil. Cut out the core of the endive and add the leaves; saute about 2 minutes stirring frequently and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.

Prepare fettuccine according to package directions while the endive cooks. Then drain the pasta and add it to the endive in the skillet. Add the bacon pieces and drippings.

Toss well and serve the fettuccine immediately. It can be garnished with thin strips of fresh lemon peel or grated lemon peel.

Preparation time: 30 minutes.

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Study finds adult brain changes with learning

You can't use the excuse now that you are too old to learn to use a computer or learn a language.

A new study suggests that old dogs can indeed learn new tricks.

Scientists using new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have offered the first evidence that the brain is malleable or plastic and will change with learning over a lifetime, not just when it's young.

The study was published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. It showed that, with learning, there is an increase of myelin, a fatty, white insulator that surrounds brain pathways. Reporting to Duke University, study co-author Alex Schlegel said, "This was the first study looking at a really complex, long-term learning process over time, actually looking at changes in individuals as they learn a task."

The brain is often thought of as an organ that develops rapidly and extensively when we are young, but becomes less capable of learning and processing information as we age. But this new study suggests that all brain changes over time are not negative ones.

The study could have implications for treatment and analysis of stroke, brain damage and new learning models.

It also takes away a variety of excuses.


Chuckles Corner

Doctors says removing earwax is unnecessary

Mother Nature did something nifty when she designed the ears. They are made to be self-cleaning.

Earwax is just part of the ear's automatic system of hygiene. It traps dust and dirt from getting deeper into the ear and even stops gnats and the like.

Earwax is supposed to dry up, flake off and fall without being noticed.
So why do millions of North Americans spend money to have it removed?
There are some legitimate reasons.

Some people may need professional help when wax builds up in people who wear hearing aids or ear plugs for long periods. It can even happen with ear-bud headphones.

Impacted earwax afflicts 5 percent of kids, 10 percent of adults and 57 percent of older patients in nursing homes.

For everyone else, if you feel the need, removing it at home is an option if you can do it safely. That doesn't mean poking cotton swabs or any implement into the ear, all of which may pierce the eardrum or pack wax farther back into the ear canal.

Cotton swabs should only be used to remove wax at the ear opening or around the outer ear. Frequent swabbing can strip protective wax from the ear canal lining, leaving it vulnerable to infection.

Doctors recommend softening earwax with a few drops of mineral oil, baby oil, ear drops or hydrogen peroxide. Then allow the loosened wax to work its way out naturally. If it needs help, try irrigation with a bulb syringe and warm water. Or tilt your head in the shower for a few minutes, then let the water run out. Water works as well as a bottle of ear drops.

Health-care professionals use devices to remove impacted earwax, but devices should never be tried at home. Over-the counter earwax vacuums are too weak to be effective.

Using a candle to soften earwax doesn't work very well and can set fire to the hair or drip hot candle wax on the face.


Eating an early lunch burns more calories

Neuroscientists say meal timing seems to affect weight loss.

One study compares those eating lunch before 3 p.m. to those who had lunch after 3 p.m. Early lunchers lost an average of 22 pounds in 20 weeks.

Those who ate lunch later lost about 17 pounds.

Neuroscientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School say the study suggests both calories and timing have an impact on weight loss.

The research included 420 overweight and obese people who participated in a 20-week weight-loss program in Spain.

Overall, participants consumed about 1,400 calories a day. There was no significant difference in caloric intake or energy expenditure between the early lunchers and the late lunchers.

The findings were reported in the International Journal of Obesity.


Psych: v. to mentally prepare

If you've ever seen someone "fly off the handle," you know it solved nothing and made the situation worse for both parties. Maybe you've done it yourself.

Researchers at Duke University looked at why small things caused people to melt down. Their findings suggest that you may react strongly to violations of the fundamental rules of fairness.

These unwritten rules say we're not supposed to be rude or inconsiderate. We're supposed to be polite, fair and honest. That is: don't cut in front of someone in a line; drive safety; clean up after yourself; and don't get irritated at customer service reps who are trying to help you.

Because an angry outburst often makes the person who exploded feel worse, neuroscientists at Duke give this advice.

When someone explodes at you

  • Apologize if you should
  • Don't respond or argue, move on.
  • Empathize and say you understand how they feel about it.
  • Share the story later. Customer service reps are encouraged to gather, share their horror stories and laugh.
  • Don't take it personally. Other people's bad behavior is about them, not you. If you are cut off in traffic, the offender is likely to cut off others as well.
  • When you explode at someone else
  • Prevent it by thinking of scenarios that will make you angry, then imagine having a calm response.
  • If you are prone to outbursts, ask your significant other to help you calm down. Use a password, a funny look or a hand on your arm.
  • Empathize. Remember when you inconvenienced someone else.
  • Talk yourself down. It's really not a catastrophe.
  • Don't react to rude behavior. If someone cuts in front of you, it's about them, not about you.


  • Insulin shots now advised for kids with type 2 diabetes

    Childhood type 2 diabetes used to be rare before obesity rates began to rise. Now type 2 diabetes is more common, and pediatricians are alarmed.

    The failure of oral medications in some cases has them recommending insulin shots for many diagnosed with type 2.

    The recommendation was made by the American Academy of Pediatricians in its first-ever guidelines for type 2 diabetes in children.

    The guidelines also recommended that kids improve their diets and get more exercise. But children may now have to begin often temporary insulin shots.

    Those shots are used to treat type 1 diabetes. This autoimmune disorder requires injections for life.

    Those who don't get the injections should be started on the diabetes drug metformin, according to the recommendations.

    Today, one in three new diabetes cases is type 2 in a child.

    Since 1980, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity in children has almost tripled.


    Healthy life reduces risk of Alzheimer's disease

    Doctors at the Memory Disorders Clinic at UCLA Health System say the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease is reduced with better medical care and healthier living.

    That includes:

  • control of elevated blood pressure,
  • control of cholesterol,
  • maintaining a healthy body weight,
  • having an active lifestyle and exercising,
  • eating a healthy diet,
  • and taking an omega-3 fatty acids.


    Here's how to get twofers or more from the most nutritious foods

    You've seen lists of the healthiest foods but may wonder how you can eat them all and how to use up the whole package once you buy it. Here are a few ideas that can help.

    Blueberries. They are believed to improve short-term memory and promote healthy aging. Put them on breakfast food or ice cream. Eat a few for a snack, and put the rest into a package of muffin mix.

    Almonds. Packed with vitamins, minerals and lots of calcium, almonds are a great snack food. Put some in snack mixes. Chop some and put them on your salad. If you have any left, put them on store-bought cupcakes or cookies.

    Apples. They can lower your cholesterol and glucose levels: have vitamin C and substances that keep blood vessels healthy. They're a great evening snack or afternoon pick-me-up, and they're also good in salads. Or microwave a cored apple with brown sugar inside for a dessert treat.

    Bananas. Good anytime, they have potassium, phytonutrients and make you feel full. Eat whole, put them on ice cream or in a Jello salad. Any left over can go into banana bread.

    Broccoli. The famous source of many things healthy, cook broccoli as a side dish, put it in a casserole, eat it raw with veggie dip, or in with greens.

    Beans. High in minerals and protein, they can be a side dish or a main dish. Make a bean dip for crackers, eat bean soup. Add beans to soups.

    Spinach. Eat it fresh in a salad, cook it for a side dish or make a spinach-and-egg casserole. It has vitamins, minerals and compounds that help the immune system.

    Sweet Potatoes. They're fat free and low in calories. A small one has only 54 calories, according to UCLA School of Medicine, and they're loaded with vitamins C and E. Peel and bake with a touch of brown sugar and butter on top, or boil and mash them up.

    Wheat Germ. A highly concentrated source of vitamins and minerals. Eat it as a cereal, mix with other cereals, or toss it into other dishes you make. It has a nutty taste.

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    What is moderate exercise?

    According to exercise experts at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, the answer depends on you.

    What feels moderate to you is different from what it feels like to someone else. Base your exercise on how you feel. Moderate exercise feels like this:

  • You breathe a little harder, but you don't feel out of breath.
  • You can talk to a friend but might have trouble singing a song.
  • You sweat a little bit, but aren't soaked with sweat.
  • Your muscles feel a little tired, but they don't hurt.

    Any duration of physical activity counts over the course of the day. The total amount of routine activity can easily add up to 10 minutes or more and you can add minutes to it if you think about it. Try parking as far as you can from the entrance to your workplace or the grocery store; pacing or doing jumping jacks in the living room during TV commercials; taking the stairs whenever possible, and gardening or mowing the lawn with a push-mower.