IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  July 1, 2013

Use up those summer vegetables in this bits-and-pieces pie

This egg pie will suit the palate of even the least adventurous eaters.

You can tailor it to the tastes of your loved ones while using up those garden vegetables and bits and pieces from the fridge.

Just about anything can go in this pie but there are some must-have ingredients. You must have at least 5 or 6 eggs for a 9 inch pie. But, if you have oven-ready custard cups, even 2 eggs will do. You must have some cheese. Your favorite will do. You must have some stuff to put into the pie mixture.

You do not need a crust, if you want to go low carb or even if you don't. You do not need fancy ingredients.

You can go with all vegetables if you like, cutting up squash and beans and adding some peas.

Most people like to mix up a combination of meat and veggies.

Here is an example of a bits and pieces breakfast pie, made with stuff thrown together from the fridge.


5 to 6 eggs
1 small zucchini diced
5 pieces of bacon, cooked and diced
1 cup diced sandwich ham
1/2 cup onions
Three fresh green onions, diced.
4 ounces cut up polish sausage.
3 cups of Mozzarella cheese, diced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese diced
1/4 cup cottage cheese.

From this list, substitute almost anything you have on hand. You'll need a lot of your favorite cheese (at least 3 to 4 cups). Use as much or little onion as you would like. Instead of cottage cheese, you can use milk. Use diced beef, chicken, or any other meat. Sweeten the mixture with a splash of nutmeg, if you want. Tomatoes can be mixed in but they are pretty on the top.

How to make:

Spray vegetable oil on pie pan. Preheat oven to 350. Mix up the eggs first, then add milk or cottage cheese. Next add the rest of your ingredients. Pour the whole thing into a your pie pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until the center is set. Cut like a pie.

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The Lighter Side ...

Dusty Housekeeping

My mom is a less than fastidious housekeeper. One evening my dad walked into the kitchen and teased her, "You know, dear, I can write my name in the dust on the mantel."

Mom turned to him and sweetly replied, "Yes, darling, I know. That's why I married a college graduate."

The big bank

A young college boy came running in tears to his father. "Dad, you gave me some terrible financial advice! You told me to put my money in that big bank, and now that big bank is in trouble."

"What are you talking about? That's one of the largest banks in the state." "I don't think so," he sniffed. "They just returned one of my checks with a note saying, 'Insufficient Funds'."


Pearls of Wisdom

What can be added to the happiness of a person who is in health, out of debt and has a clear conscience.

Adam Smith, Scottish philosopher, pioneer of political economy.

Chuckles Corner

It's best to avoid NSAIDs before exercise

Some athletes take ibuprofen (Advil) before exercising. They think it will help them work out more intensely and will decrease later muscle soreness.

Several new studies now show that taking ibuprofen before working out, or racing, not only didn't increase performance, but it didn't decrease or prevent muscle soreness either.

What the studies did show: taking ibuprofen (and probably other NSAIDS, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) increased the athletes' risk of stomach bleeding and ulcers.

Strenuous exercise in itself can be harmful to the stomach lining, but adding ibuprofen to it amplifies the damage. Here are some things for exercisers to keep in mind.

  • There's no good reason to take an NSAID before exercise unless you have a painful condition like arthritis, which would otherwise prevent you from exercising.
  • If you have to take something, try acetaminophen first. It doesn't pose the same risk to the digestive tract that other NSAIDS do. Talk to your doctor if you need more than that for pain.
  • If you have muscle pain after exercising, taking an NSAID would pose less risk than taking it before exercise, but wait until you actually have pain. Then take the lowest effective dose.


    How to avoid ticks, bees, scorpions and mosquitoes

    Ticks. They may be the most dangerous insect of summer because they can carry Lyme disease. If you'll be in a wooded area, wear long pants tucked into your socks and long-sleeved shirts. Before heading out, apply an insect repellent containing DEET. Spray it according to the instructions.

    Stay on the trails and avoid dense foliage, though a tick can drop from any tree it happens to be on. After a stint in the woods, use a buddy system to check each other for ticks. If you find one, use tweezers to pull it up and out.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, advise washing the area with soap and water. See a doctor if a fever or rash develops within a few weeks.

    Bees. They're looking for wild flowers, so don't wear bright floral clothes that make you look like one. Skip the scented lotions so you don't smell like one either. Usually, bees won't bother you if you don't bother them. If one comes near you, just walk away.

    Always wear shoes when walking on grass. Many stings occur when people step on a bee. If you do get stung, wash the area with soap and water. Remove the stinger by wiping with gauze or scraping gently with a credit card.

    Mosquitoes. Summer's most prolific pests do bite, but generally a bite just causes an itchy welt. You can prevent a bite by using mosquito repellent spray. If you do get a bite or two, washing the area with warm soapy water soon afterward may prevent the welt and the itch. Keep mosquitoes away by removing their breeding grounds: standing water.

    On a vacation or trip

    In unfamiliar territory, check with the locals to see what indigenous creatures could present a problem and how you could avoid them.

    Scorpions. If you're camping in the Southwest, for instance, watch for scorpions. Check your boots and shoes for insects and shake them out before putting your shoes back on.


    How to keep your energy level high all day

    If your energy level varies from high to low during the day, making adjustments to your diet can help.

    According to Weill Cornell Medical Center, food increases energy in three ways. It provides enough calories for your body to run; it delivers stimulants like caffeine; and it pushes your metabolism to burn fuel more efficiently.

    Complex carbs

    Foods that are high in complex carbohydrates and low in fats are ideal to promote, increase and level out energy. They are found in whole grains, peas, beans and vegetables like carrots, broccoli, green peppers and tomatoes.

    These foods also contain fiber, which slows digestion, providing you with a steady supply of energy throughout the day. Fiber is found in beans, whole fruits, vegetables and whole grain bread and cereal.

    One caution: Never go more than three or four hours without eating something, because that will bring a big drop in energy. Always eat breakfast. To save time, try a whole wheat bagel or toast with peanut butter, a hard-boiled egg or whole grain cereal.

    Simple carbs

    Foods that are high in simple carbohydrates make your energy spike, then plunge soon thereafter. They include candy, foods made with refined flour, such as bread, crackers, cookies, and some cereals and deserts.

    Animal and dairy products that are high in fats can slow you down and make you feel sluggish.


  • Finding drugs that lift depression within hours

    The problems with depression drugs like Prozac and Celexa: they can take a month or more to provide relief, and they don't work for everyone.

    New, fast-acting drugs work in an entirely different way and can provide relief in hours or days.

    The fast-acting treatments being studied include ketamine or scopolamine, using the existing medications in a new way. They all work on the brain's NMDA receptors, which are involved in learning and memory. They also interact with the neurotransmitter glutamate, the levels of which are out of balance in depression.

    Several drug companies are developing new drugs that are based on ketamine. It will be at least a couple of years before the new drugs hit the market, but some doctors are already using ketamine off label for depressed patients.


    Vasectomy facts

    A form of permanent birth control, vasectomy is chosen by men who want to limit their family size. In many cases, however, the procedure can be reversed if a man again wants to father a child.

  • In a doctor's office or clinic, the tubes that carry sperm are severed. There are no serious side effects.
  • It doesn't cause a decrease in desire, difficulty maintaining an erection, or problems with orgasm.
  • Most men report having more sexual satisfaction after the procedure. It decreases anxiety about unwanted pregnancy, and other means of contraception are no longer needed.
  • Birth control should be used for a couple of weeks after the procedure because sperm is still in the system.
  • Vasectomy does not increase the risk for diseases of any kind, says the American Urological Association.
  • The procedure doesn't protect against sexually transmitted infections. Use a condom if you aren't sure of your partner's status, advise doctors at the University of California, Berkeley.


    New ones are hard to get

    It's not that hard to protect your kidneys, but 26 million Americans didn't do it

    Here's the long and short of it. You can prevent chronic kidney disease by keeping your blood pressure under control and avoiding diabetes. That's the short of it.

    Here's the long. About one in nine Americans has chronic kidney disease (CKD), but most of them don't realize they have it. Unless it's diagnosed and treated, in the future, they could experience kidney failure, years of dialysis, a kidney transplant, or death.

    That sounds dramatic, but it's true. CKD mostly affects people at mid-life and beyond. The main causes of the big rise in kidney disease are high blood pressure and diabetes, which were brought on by the obesity epidemic.

    One problem with CKD: it has no symptoms until kidney function is seriously impaired. Even then, symptoms are difficult to recognize. If you are constantly tired, bruise easily, suffer dizziness, or are anemic, you might have kidney disease.

    The best diagnosis is from a blood or urine test ordered by your doctor.

    Diabetes and hypertension are responsible for two-thirds of all cases of CKD. That's why preventing or controlling high blood pressure and high blood sugar are the keys to preventing kidney disease.

    Once diagnosed, a health care provider will prescribe a diet that typically greatly reduces the consumption of protein from meat, phosphorus from fish, nuts, and cola drinks, and potassium from foods like dates, raisins, bananas, and strawberries.

    Patients are advised to avoid many medications including common pain relievers (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen), antacids, and phosphate-containing laxatives.

    As part of preventing kidney disease, it's critical to lose weight if you're overweight, especially if you have hypertension or diabetes. Just losing 10 pounds can help.


    What you should know about your allergies

    The spring tree and grass allergies are just about gone, but the real hay fever season is coming up.

    Normally, you wouldn't look to CNNMoney.com for medical advice, but they have analyzed how allergies can affect your pocketbook and have come up with interesting observations.

  • Employees who didn't get treatment lost more than two hours a day of productivity on their jobs.
  • If you regularly take over-the-counter pills, get a skin-prick test to pinpoint allergens and fine-tune your treatment.
  • A prescription will pay in two ways. First, it will be more effective. Even if an OTC drug like Claritin or Zyrtec works for you, get a prescription anyway. You can pay for the pills with the pretax dollars in your flexible spending account.
  • Shots. If your doctor suggests immunotherapy, weekly shots for up to eight months (tapering down to monthly), the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reports that patients saw 38 percent lower costs over time for doctors and drugs.
  • The best air cleaner is an air conditioner. Or a $50 HEPA air purifier will work, especially for smaller rooms.