IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date: May 1, 2012
Wrap your fingersaround this BLT
According to foodtimeline.org, bacon and lettuce recipes can be traced all the way
back to the Roman Empire. Tomatoes that complete the BLT were introduced
to Europe in the 16th century and sandwiches in the 18th century.
Since the 19th century, the BLT, in one form or another, has been a
staple on menus from sandwich counters to haute cuisine tea rooms.
Traditionally, the ingredients appear as flat slices of toasted white
sandwich bread laden with bacon, lettuce and tomato. Add a slice of
cheese and it becomes a BLT Club.
According to foodtimeline.org, foods are not invented but they evolve.
With this recipe, we have another take on the BLT, but it's far from
being the final wrap.
Heart Healthy BLT wrap.
1 pound light or turkey bacon
4 large whole wheat flour tortillas
2 cups diced and drained tomatoes (may be canned)
1 bag shredded lettuce
1/2 cup light mayonnaise or Miracle Whip.
Lightly brown tortillas in oven or a skillet sprayed with non-stick
cooking oil. Set aside. Microwave 16 strips of bacon until crisp.
Spread mayo on the tortillas, then space the strips of bacon on the
coated tortillas and evenly sprinkle the diced tomatoes and shredded
lettuce on top. Roll tightly, like a burrito.
Also, you can create variations of the basic sandwich, by adding
horseradish or substituting mustard, Dijon mustard, Russian or Thousand
Island dressing in place of the mayonnaise.
South of the border zip can be added by substituting the diced tomatoes
with fresh, drained Pico De Gallo or try pushing the thermal envelope
even higher with a sprinkling of your favorite hot peppers.
Make a lunch complete with a large, cold glass of milk and a cup of your
favorite light soup.
How to avoid freezing up at small meetings, social gatherings
You're ready for the meeting with suggestions to give and data to back them up.
But when the big talkers start, you don't say anything. It's hard for
you to speak up.
Something similar happens at barbeque parties and
social events. You were invited, you know everyone, but don't join into
the vivacious conversations.
Researchers at Virginia Tech Carilion Research
Institute discovered that many people become, in effect, less
intelligent in small group settings. If people sound smart, they feel
dumb and less interested in problem solving.
The phenomenon is more common in people with higher
IQs. Those who are introverted tendencies collect their thoughts before
speaking. They aren't shy but can be overwhelmed in a group of
Extroverts can also choke in group settings. If they
are comfortable, they talk a lot. But if the big boss is present or
others they feel are more successful, they can freeze and their brain
Advice from Virginia Tech:
Attend with someone who is more outgoing or has a higher position. You'll be pulled into the conversation.
Talk to the person running the meeting beforehand and mention points you want to bring up. Ask for the opportunity to do it and explain why.
Be prepared and know what you want to say. Practice your delivery.
Take a break from an uncomfortable situation. Get some water or take a walk. It's like resetting your computer.
Realize that others in the room likely feel the same way you do.
Weight loss surgery has long-term benefits
A new 15-year study at Sweden's University of
Gothenburg shows that the benefits of surgical procedures to shrink the
stomach have a variety of long range benefits, many of which are
independent of weight loss.
Surgery is one of the few effective remedies for
Though the goal of most patients, in addition to
losing weight, is to avoid a heart attack, the absolute benefit in this
area was small.
Reports on the same patient group, however, found the
surgery was associated with a reduction in death from any cause and more
favorable outcomes for cancer, diabetes and other conditions.
The findings challenge the practice of using body
mass index as the key criterion for the procedure. U.S. guidelines say
candidates should have a body mass index of 40 or more, or 35, if they
have obesity-related diabetes. For the less-invasive bariatric banding,
the FDA recommends a BMI between 30 and 40 for those with at least one
Patients in the study were 37 to 60 years old. Their
average weight loss ranged between 16 percent and 23 percent of body
weight up to 20 years of follow-up.
Weight loss in control subjects, who attempted to lose weight by their
own means, was about zero.
At the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric
Surgery, they say recent research shows the biological effects of
surgery, including lower levels of the hormone leptin, which is involved
in appetite control and metabolism.
What to do about night leg cramps
If you occasionally get cramps in your legs at night,
you know how painful they can be. Cramping usually occurs in the calf
muscles. Cramping in the thighs or feet is less common.
Doctors at the Mayo Clinic say these actions help
prevent night leg cramps.
Be sure you are adequately hydrated. Drink water and other liquids throughout the day, especially if you have engaged in physical activity. Continue drinking fluids after being active. It helps muscles contract and relax.
Stretch before bed, especially muscles that have cramped before. For a calf stretch, step forward on the offending leg and slightly bend your knee. Hold for several seconds.
Wear shoes that have proper support to help prevent leg cramps.
Do some light exercise for a few minutes before retiring. Ride a stationary bike, for example.
Loosen the bed covers and bed sheets at the foot of the bed. Treatment. Pain from leg cramps can last from a few seconds to 15 minutes or more.
Stretch the leg out to relieve a sudden spasm. Or hold the top of your foot up toward your head to relieve a calf spasm. Gently massage the area.
Use cold or heat. Apply a cold pack, a warm towel or a heating pad. Taking a hot bath or shower can help.
If frequent cramping interferes with your sleep, see
Nurses top list of largest job growth
Nearly 3 million nurses work in the U.S. today, but
this year more than 1 million new nurses will be needed, according to
the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Even that number might not be enough to meet hiring
RNs top the list of the 10 occupations with the
largest projected job growth. The total job openings, which include the
replacement of retiring nurses, will be more than 1.1 million in this
year, but this could still lead to a shortage of more than a million
nurses by the end of the decade.
With National Nurses Week occurring May 6-12 in both
Canada and the U.S., it's a good time to remember that nursing is a
career of the future.
The theme for National Nurses Week in 2012 is "Nurses: Advocating,
Nurses have consistently ranked first since 1999, on
a Gallop Poll, for their honesty and integrity.
The nursing profession is described as an art as much
as a science, because it embraces so many varied interests and
strengths. Nurses work in emergency rooms, school-based clinics,
long-term care and correctional facilities, research institutions, state
legislatures, Congress, and homeless shelters. They work as staff
nurses, educators, nurse practitioners in medical offices, and nurse
Registered nurses comprise the largest health care
Activities during National Nurses Week include
recognition dinners, state and city proclamations, continuing education
seminars, and other community events. Individual nurses are often
honored by friends and family members, coworkers, such as doctors and
administrators, and patients who want to show their appreciation with
flowers, gifts or dinners.
Some foods fight arthritis pain
You probably know that omega-3 fatty acids are good for your heart, but
they are also good for reducing arthritis pain. These essential fatty
acids are found in foods including coldwater fish, like salmon, tuna and
halibut, flaxseeds and walnuts. They decrease inflammation in the body.
Olive oil contains a natural compound called oleocanthal, which blocks
the same inflammatory pathways as ibuprofen and aspirin.
Green tea contains a natural antioxidant called EGCG that works to stop
the production of certain inflammatory chemicals involved in arthritis.
Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit, contain vitamin C, one of the
nutrients most responsible for the health of collagen. Other C-rich
foods are bell peppers, strawberries, pineapple, broccoli, kidney beans,
Cherries, all berries, red and black grapes and plums all contain a
powerful antioxidant. It can defuse the dangerous free radicals that
irritate body tissues and cause the inflammation that is typical in
FDA may approve a new diet drug
An advisory panel for the Food and Drug
Administration overwhelmingly recommends that the drug Qnexa be
approved. The prescription drug would be the first approved for weight
loss in more than a decade.
Qnexa, made by Vivus, Inc., of California, was
approved by a panel of non-FDA medical experts who were convinced that
the drug's benefits outweighed any safety risks. They were impressed by
the amount of weight study subjects lost, an average of 10 percent of
It would be prescribed for patients who are obese or
who have weight-related conditions.
Relief for nickel allergy
About 10 to 15 percent of people in the United States
have a nickel allergy. It causes contact dermatitis with its
inflammation, rash and itch. Jewelry is a common offender, including
rings, ear rings, bracelets and chains.
Now there may be a solution. It involves particles
smaller than the width of a human hair. In a study published in Nature
Nanotechnology, Harvard researchers show that a cream containing
nanoparticles of calcium carbonate can protect a nickel-allergic person.
The cream is applied to nickel, then washed off along with the nickel
ions people are allergic to.
Nickel allergy is becoming a bigger problem, since
nickel is used in watches, cell phones and other technologies, not to
mention coins and tools, says Jeffrey Karp, study co-author and expert
at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital. The allergy can be a hazard
if your job involves touching nickel.
Karp and colleagues tested a cream and showed that
even pure nickel can be coated with this substance to capture nickel
ions, then the ions wash off before they can hit the skin.
Liver disease seen as growing health threat
Your liver performs many tasks, including processing what you eat and drink
into energy and nutrients. The liver also filters harmful substances out
of your blood.
Excessive alcohol use is the most common cause of
liver disease, but a fatty diet can also cause problems.
If your alcohol consumption is low, but a routine
checkup shows you have elevated levels of certain enzymes, your doctor
will wonder if you have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
The condition often goes unnoticed because it usually
causes few symptoms, though fatigue and pain in the right abdomen might
occur, according to the Mayo Clinic. But a buildup of fat in the liver
can lead to inflammation and scarring.
This more serious form of the disease is called
nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH. It can cause liver failure or
liver cancer in a small percentage of people.
Cases of NASH are growing in the U.S. It is the third
leading cause of cirrhosis, and is becoming a common reason for liver
Those with higher risks for NAFLD are people who are
obese, have high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes or take medications, such
If you already have NAFLD (there is no cure), your
focus should be treating the risk factors. Here's what to do:
Slowly lose weight, not more than two pounds a week.
Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and limit consumption of saturated fats. Skip fast food, which has been linked to inflammation.
Increase physical activity. Get at least 150 minutes of exercise, such as walking, or 75 minutes of more vigorous physical activity.
Manage other health conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Avoid alcohol and any unnecessary medications. Always
follow instructions on over-the-counter medications.
To lose more weight, join a support program
A study recently reported in the New England Journal
of Medicine shows that people have the best chance of losing weight with
Researchers found that patients with at least one
cardiovascular risk lost more weight when participating in a program
that included a weight-loss coach. The study offered two programs, one
that provided support by phone, email and website, and one that provided
group and individual sessions.
Over a two-year period, those with face-to-face
support lost an average of 13 pounds. Those in the remote-support group
lost 10 pounds, and those who dieted without support lost less than 2
Get up, lace up, show up for fitness
It's time to check your tennis racket, shine up your golf clubs, and unpack
your roller skates and swim fins.
Those active pastimes can be healthy and fun. If you
aren't much into sports, you can walk, splash around in a pool, play
badminton, go camping, carry picnic baskets or play catch with a
softball. The key to greater fitness is to do any of these things more
Or you can stay inside where it never rains. Try a
yoga class. It's a deceptively simple practice that includes holding a
variety of positions designed to increase strength and flexibility.
Belly dancing has become increasingly popular with no
bellies showing. Depending on the level of the class, it can be a highly
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