IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  November 1, 2011

Magnificent colorful pepper pizza

Different colored bell peppers make this pizza a masterpiece. This satisfying project gives you a colorful homemade pizza, designed to your tastes. You can even make your own crust and toss it into the air to suit your theatrical tastes.

Two magnificent pizza pies.

1 large crust or two 12 inch crusts
1 pack pepperoni
1 link of sweet Italian sausage, stripped of skin and cut into small pieces
1 cup ham cut in half inch pieces
1 cup red onion sliced in one-inch pieces
1 cup bell peppers sliced in one-inch pieces, various colors
8 ounce fresh mushroom slices
2 tablespoons olive extra virgin olive oil
16 ounce pack mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes.

Place the large crust on a pizza pan. Spoon olive oil on the crust and spread it out with a spoon or brush until it covers crust from edge to edge. Spread the cheese edge to edge generously.

Place the meat items evenly over the top, then the veggies, and thirdly the mushrooms. Sprinkle the sun dried tomato bits across the top.

Bake at 425 degrees until top browns slightly.

Two 12-inch crusts
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
cornmeal for sprinkling.

Mix a little sugar into the warm water, sprinkle yeast on top, and wait for 10 minutes or until solution is foamy. Pour into a large bowl and combine with flour, salt, olive oil.

Knead for 6-8 minutes until you have a moderately stiff dough, cover and let rest for 20-30 minutes.

Divide in half. Lightly grease two 12-inch pizza pans. Sprinkle with a little bit of cornmeal. Place half the dough on a pizza pan and pat it with your fingers until it stretches entirely.

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Take part in the 10-day quit program with email support

The American Cancer Society wants to help you quit smoking. On Nov. 17, the day of the 36th Great American Smokeout, they encourage you to begin their 10-day plan.

By doing it, you will take an important step to a healthier life. If you want to plan ahead, pick a day to quit in a week or two. Either way, you can get some extra support from the American Cancer Society.

When you download the society's Countdown Clock on a PC, you'll receive daily tips on your desktop that will help you prepare to quit. To find the clock, search for Great American Smokeout Desktop Helpers and download it from the American Cancer Society.

When your quit day arrives, the Countdown Clock will continue to provide practical support tips for your first month as a nonsmoker.

Over 70 percent of adult smokers say they would like to quit, but don't have faith in their ability to stop. But it can be done, and this program can help.

Your circulation will improve right away.

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Chuckles Corner

Ankle sprain's not serious? Maybe it is

If you've sprained your ankle and are writhing in pain, it's time to go to the emergency room. You could have a broken bone or torn ligaments, making the sprain far more than common. A complete tear of one or more ligaments can cause damage to the ankle itself.

With luck, the doctor, after x-rays, will classify your sprain as Grade 1. That means the RICE will work.

Rest the ankle, no walking,
Ice it for 20 minutes at a time,
Compression, use an ace bandage to immobilize it, but not too tightly,
Elevate the ankle for 48 hours.

For a Grade 2 sprain, which is worse than a Grade 1, RICE will work, but the sprain will require more time for healing. The doctor may use a device to immobilize and splint the ankle.

A Grade 3 sprain can cause permanent instability if not properly treated. Surgery is rarely needed, but a short leg cast or cast-brace may be used for two to three weeks.

The Grade 3 sprain calls for rehabilitation to decrease pain and swelling and to prevent chronic problems. Ultrasound and electrical stimulation may be used.

At first, rehabilitation exercise may involve range of motion or controlled movement of the ankle joint without resistance.

Lower extremity exercise and endurance activities are added as tolerated. Proprioception training is very important. Proprioception is defined as the ability to establish a sense of position in space, especially at a joint.

Without proper treatment, the ankle may become permanently unstable, resulting in many ankle sprains in the future.


COPD can be partly caused by an autoimmune disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is largely caused by smoking, breathing secondhand smoke, chemical fumes or other lung offenders.

Emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma and bronchiectasis are the most common conditions associated with COPD.

Now, researchers are targeting another cause of the condition: studies have found two markers of autoimmunity circulating in antinuclear (ANA) and anti-tissue (AT) antibodies. Between a quarter and a third of patients with stable COPD had abnormal levels of circulating antibodies in the blood.

Study results show that 34 percent of COPD patients had abnormally high levels of ANA, 11 times higher than in the control group and seven times higher than in healthy subjects in previous studies.

Other than in COPD patients, the researchers found no association with other patient characteristics.

About 26 percent of patients tested positive for AT at levels 4.5 times higher than the control group and four times higher than in healthy subjects.

Pulmonary experts at Duke University say doctors do not yet understand why some smokers develop lung disease and others do not. They wonder if smoke inhalation results in activation of the immune system, or triggers a form of autoimmunity that causes long-term damage to the lungs.

The study, done at University Hospital Son Dureta in Palma, Mallorca, Spain, was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

The findings could result in new immune response therapies for patients with COPD.

At this time, most doctors aren't sure whether autoimmunity is involved in COPD. They do know that smoking cessation is the key move in preventing or worsening of the disease in smokers.


Nutrients for osteoporosis prevention and treatment

Calcium and vitamin D are the most important nutrients in preventing and treating bone loss. Good sources are dairy products, spinach, kale, black-eyed peas, soybeans, fortified cereals and fortified orange juice.

Supplements can help increase calcium and D levels, but they are not always the answer, particularly for calcium.

New studies reported by Endocrine Practice and others show that calcium supplements can raise a woman's odds of having a heart attack, that is, if the supplements, in addition to calcium from food, exceed the recommended daily intake.

As always, nutrients from food are the best choice.

Tai chi reduces arthritis pain

People who have arthritis know they should exercise, but may not know what type would benefit them the most.

The Arthritis Foundation's Tai Chi program was highly recommended after a large study done by the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. It shows benefits for all types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, and also benefits fybromyalgia and osteoarthritis.

Participants took an eight-week, twice weekly tai chi course. At the end, participants showed moderate improvements in all of these areas in addition to improved reach, balance and sense of well-being. To purchase a DVD showing 12 movements ($29.95) search the Web for Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi Program.

November is American Diabetes Month

It's time to get personally involved in the 'Stop Diabetes' movement.

Nearly 26 million Americans are living with diabetes, but it seems that the rest of us think it's just "someone else's problem."

That's not so for another 79 million Americans who are at risk for developing type 2. Many have diabetes, or pre-diabetes, now and don't know it. Within the next decade, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predict that the number of Americans with diabetes will double or triple.

Risk factors

Being age 45 or older; having a parent, brother or sister with type 2; being overweight; and not being physically active several days a week.

People in certain groups have a higher risk, including African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, and some Asians and Pacific Islanders.

You can't change your age, family history, racial or ethnic group. But working to reduce body weight and increase exercise is even more important if you are in one of these groups.

For everyone, being overweight or obese significantly raises the risk of developing type 2. Even losing seven to 10 pounds can improve your outlook. You can get serious about preventing diabetes by losing weight and starting an exercise program.

Research shows that type 2 can be prevented entirely, or it can at least be delayed for years.

If you already have diabetes

Managing your disease can lower your risk of kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, blindness and amputations.

  • Follow your doctors' orders. Lose weight and take prescribed medications to lower your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Get a flu shot. You are more likely to get pneumonia as a flu complication.
  • Exercise. The CDC recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate activity such as walking or gardening, or 1 hour and 15 minutes each week of vigorous activity such as jogging. Add muscle strengthening activities to your routine.


    Aspirin sales up

    Sales of this century-old painkiller are soaring. The maker of Bayer Aspirin says, above all of its pharmaceuticals so far this year, its top performer is the wonder drug from a bygone era: aspirin.

    Nonprescription aspirin is used to reduce fever and to relieve mild to moderate pain from headaches, arthritis, colds, toothaches, and muscle aches. Nonprescription aspirin is also used to prevent heart attacks in people who have had a heart attack in the past, or who have angina (chest pain when the heart does not get enough oxygen)

    It's used to prevent ischemic strokes that occur when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain, or mini-strokes that occur when the flow of blood to the brain is blocked for a short time, in people who have had this type of stroke or mini-stroke before.

    Note: aspirin will not prevent hemorrhagic strokes that are caused by bleeding in the brain. In fact, they may worsen the results of hemmorrhagic stroke due to increased bleeding.

    Rabies vaccine for kids

    The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends four shots of rabies vaccine for otherwise healthy children who have been bitten by an animal suspected of having rabies.

    Previously, five shots were recommended.

    The academy predicts that the four-shot approach will save $160 million in the U.S. in one year and will mean less discomfort for kids and their parents.

    Five weight-gainers identified

    By studying dietary choices of 120,000 people, a study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine indicts five foods as responsible for the most weight gain over a 20-year period.

    They are: potato chips, other potatoes, sugar-sweetened beverages, unprocessed meats and processed meats.

    The "other potato" category includes French fries, mashed potatoes, fried potatoes and baked potatoes with butter, sour cream and other toppings.


    Fight belly fat, eat vegetables

    The type of fat around the middle that's most harmful is called visceral fat. It's deep fat that surrounds internal organs and leads to diabetes and liver disease.

    Increasing consumption of plant foods that contain soluble fiber can reduce the presence of visceral fat, which is more dangerous than fat just under the skin, according to studies described in the journal Obesity.


    Pump up Your Workout

    Bicycle ride on the beach. The sand adds extra resistance, which improves your muscle development and cardio strength. You can add more resistance by reducing the rear tire air pressure by 20% (not the front tire to preserve steerability). This is NOT good for the bike, but great for your body. So use an older bike for your beach landing.