IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  June 1, 2013

Dinner for two: glazed cornish hen

Oscar Hammerstein wrote that "June is bustin' out all over." For most, June's a busy month, with school graduations, weddings, gardening and sports.

How about taking time out to enjoy a dinner for two, perhaps on the patio. A special meal doesn't have to be time-consuming. It's easy to roast a pint-size Cornish hen and serve it with a medley of colorful mini-fingerlings.

Roasted Cornish Hen for Two

1 Cornish game hen, 1 1/2 pounds, thawed and halved lengthwise
1 tbs. olive oil or cooking spray
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 tsp. lime or lemon juice
1 tbs. butter
1 pound assorted potatoes and mini- fingerlings, cut lengthwise
Olive oil, enough to coat potatoes
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Set the top rack in the center of oven and preheat to 450. In a medium bowl, place cleaned, sliced fingerlings, enough olive oil to coat them, sea salt and pepper to taste. Arrange cut sides down on one rimmed sheet pan sprayed with cooking oil. Place the butter and marmalade in a small bowl and microwave at medium until melted; stir in lime juice.

Arrange the washed and dried hen halves skin side up on a second rimmed cookie sheet topped with a wire rack sprayed with cooking oil. Brush the skin with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the two pans side by side on the oven rack.

Roast until the hens are almost cooked through (insert an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh for a 165F reading), about 25 minutes. Brush them with the marmalade glaze.

Loosen the fingerlings with a spatula. Continue the roasting until the hen glaze has browned and the fingerlings are crisp and golden brown on the bottoms, another 5 to 7 minutes.

Arrange artfully on two plates. Serve with crisp jicama slices rimmed with lime juice and dipped into chili powder for a tantalizing flavor treat.

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The Lighter Side ...

Start at the very beginning ...

When the new patient was settled comfortably on the couch, the psychiatrist began his therapy session.

"I'm not aware of your problem," the doctor said. "So perhaps, you should start at the very beginning."

"Of course," replied the patient. "In the beginning, I created the heavens and the earth..."

Man on a desert Island

A man of many vices, stranded on a deserted island for over 10 years, sees a speck on the horizon. "It's not a ship," he thinks to himself and as it gets closer, he sees it's not a small boat or a raft.

Suddenly, emerging from the surf comes a beautiful woman in a wet suit and scuba gear.

She asks how long it's been since he had a cigarette, and he says, "Ten years." She opens a waterproof pocket on her left sleeve and pulls out a pack. He lights one up and says, "Great!"

"And how long has it been since you've had a sip of good whiskey?" she asks. Trembling, he says it has been 10 years. She unzips her right sleeve and pulls out a flask. He takes a long swig and says, "Absolutely fantastic!"

At this point she starts to unzip the front of her wet suit, and asks, "How long has it been since you've played around?"

With tears in his eyes, the man falls to his knees and sobs, "Oh, heavens! Don't tell me you've got golf clubs in there too."

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Pearls of Wisdom

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.

-- Henry Ford, early 20th century industrialist

Chuckles Corner

How to treat your posterior tendon dysfunction

There's help for the pain of fallen arches. If you have pain along the inside of your foot when you put weight on it, and it doesn't seem to be improving, better see your doctor.

He'll do an exam that calls for you to stand on one leg and rise up to your tiptoes. A healthy posterior tendon allows you to do it, but if you can't, the doctor will check for flatfoot deformity. Tests may include X-rays, ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Conservative steps include:

  • Decreasing activities that give you foot pain.
  • Applying cold packs to the area three or four times a day for up to 20 minutes.
  • Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines for pain.
  • You may be advised to lose weight.

    If these steps don't help, you will be sent to a foot care specialist, who may fit you with a short leg cast or walking boot to be worn for four to eight weeks. It immobilizes the tendon and reduces pain.

    Custom orthotics may be necessary if you have moderate to severe changes in the shape of your foot.

    Sometimes, an ankle brace is used to support the joints at the back of the foot and alleviate tension in the tendon.

    If you think you have fallen arches, get treatment sooner, not later.

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    An active lifestyle may fill exercise requirement

    Research on exercise science at Oregon State University shows that small increments of daily activities, even of one-to-two-minute duration, can have positive health benefits. They help to prevent high blood pressure, high cholesterol and metabolic syndrome.

    The study of more than 6,000 adults showed that 43 percent of those who participated in short bouts of exercise met the federally recommended physical activity guidelines of 30 minutes a day. It's like using a rake or broom instead of leaf blower.

    Less than 10 percent of those in structured exercise sessions met the minimum guidelines because they were more sedentary the rest of the day.

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    Taking care of your eyes

    Doctors call it allergic conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the conjunctiva (the membrane covering the white part of the eye) due to allergy. It causes red, itchy, watery eyes.

    The rest of us call it spring hay fever or rose fever. It's caused by pollen released by the spring flowering of trees, grasses and plants.

    When the pollen comes in contact with an allergic person's eyes, it causes cells known as mast cells to release histamine, which causes swelling and wateriness, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

    The first step in treatment is the avoidance of trees and grasses that cause the symptoms. Not everyone can stay indoors, but you can avoid activities that keep you outdoors for any length of time.

    Treatment with antihistamines is generally effective. Using over-the-counter medications, such as Claritin or Zyrtec, will usually clear up your symptoms.

    Antihistamines also are in nasal spray and eye drop form.

    If you have asthma, or if over-the-counter medications don't work well enough for you, see your doctor for a prescription.

    Dry eye syndrome

    It can occur any time during the year when you don't produce enough tears to lubricate your eyes. Sometimes dry eye is caused by working long hours at a computer without blinking occasionally. If you do this type of work, purposely blink your eyes so they will remain lubricated.

    You can also treat dry eyes with over-the-counter preservative-free artificial tear solutions. Some people find that taking an omega-3 fish oil capsule each day prevents dry eyes.

    Some medications, like antidepressants, antihistamines and decongestants can also dry out your eyes.

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    Diet drinks linked to depression

    Researchers say cutting back on sweetened diet drinks is probably a good idea after one study linked diet drinks to depression.

    The results are not conclusive, however. Researchers for the National Institutes of Health say the higher reported depression rates could be caused by people who were prone to it.

    Still, the study of 263,923 adults ages 50-70 is suggestive. They followed participants for 10 years. After that time, 11,311 reported having been diagnosed with depression between 2000 and 2006. Those drinking four or more of these beverages per day had a 31 percent increase in depression.

    Diet iced tea caused a 25 percent increase, while ice tea sweetened with sugar slightly decreased the risk of depression. Diet fruit punch caused a 51 percent greater risk, but sugar-sweetened punch had no effect.

    Only unsweetened coffee produced a lower risk for depression.

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  • Being a little overweight might not cut lifespan

    Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , and other sources, pooled data from 97 studies in a dozen countries, data on more than 3 million people.

    Adjusted for age, gender and smoking, their figures showed that somewhat overweight people had a 6 percent lower overall death rate during the study than those of normal weight.

    Obese people, however, were found to be 29 percent more likely to die during the study period. The mildly obese were at no greater risk than normal-weight people. For those over 65, the benefit of carrying some extra pounds was most notable, as reported by the University of California, Berkeley.

    Longevity was based on the body mass index. Some researchers remind us that before it was released in 1998, the cutoffs for weight categories were higher. BMI figures may be too low.

    Doctors say overweight people are living longer because they now take medications to prevent heart attacks and strokes and to control diabetes.

    Even at grade 1 obesity (210-245 pounds for 5' 10" person), disorders caused or worsened by obesity, like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and osteoarthritis of the knees and hips, will impair quality of life and increase disability.

    Researchers say the main problem for many people with being simply overweight or slightly obese is that they continue to gain more weight.

    Obesity is an epidemic in the United States, even affecting children.

    Fortunately, thanks to medical advances, we are better at treating obese people and prolonging their lives.

    But the cost in health care dollars and quality of life is great.

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    FDA okays groundbreaking diabetes drug

    A drug from Johnson & Johnson uses a new method to lower blood sugar. It flushes sugar out in patients' urine.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared J&J's Invokana tablets for adults with type 2 diabetes. The once-a-day medication works by blocking the kidneys from reabsorbing sugar, which occurs at higher levels in patients with diabetes than in healthy patients.

    Regulators highlighted the drug as the first in a new class of medications that could help address the growing epidemic of diabetes in the United States.

    People with type 2 diabetes aren't able to properly break down carbohydrates, either because their bodies don't produce enough insulin or they have become insulin resistant. That places them at a higher risk for heart problems, kidney problems, blindness and other serious complications.

    Diabetics often require multiple drugs with different mechanisms to control their blood-sugar levels, according to reports in the Associated Press.
    Invokana shrinks the amount of sugar absorbed from food and stored in the liver. The most common side effects are yeast infections and urinary tract infections.

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    New drug coming for those who can't take statins

    Reducing bad cholesterol is the most important goal. Doctors and researchers are rethinking their advice on cholesterol management. Lowering LDL, the bad kind, is once again their goal, since their previous advice of raising HDL, the good kind, failed to make much difference.

    For high LDL patients who can't take statins, an antibody called AMG 145 is in phase two testing and showing good results. But it won't be available for another year or more.

    In the meantime, doctors are considering no longer prescribing drugs that increase good cholesterol. Clinical trials now show that raising HDL produces little or no cardiovascular benefit and the drugs used may have side effects.

    How to lower LDL without medications:

  • A high body mass index (BMI) places you at risk for heart disease and is correlated with high LDL levels. Avoid high-fat goods like bacon, cheeseburgers, fatty cheeses, high-fat ice cream, fatty meats and fried foods.
  • Exercise in moderate amounts may help lower your cholesterol. Aerobic exercise can lower LDL by 5% to 10%.
  • Quit smoking. It's linked to higher LDL levels.
  • One or two alcoholic drinks per day may lower LDL by 4 to 8 percent, but if you don't drink, don't start.

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    Smaller-sized snacks satisfied just as much

    Now, it's a proven fact: small portions of various snacks are just as satisfying as larger ones.

    Reported in Food Quality and Preference, two groups of people were served different potion sizes of chocolate, apple pie and potato chips to eat over a 15 minute period. The larger portion group consumed 1,370 calories, and the smaller-portion group took in far fewer calories, according to Duke Medicine.

    When taking a survey after the test, both groups reported about the same feelings of fullness. The study suggests that you need less than half a normal sized serving of snacks in order to feel satisfied.

    Try it yourself. Eat half a piece of pie instead of whole one, a couple of squares of chocolate instead of a larger number. You could be surprised to discover you didn't need the larger portion.

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