Posts Tagged ‘eating’

Chuck a couple of these in tonight’s chicken curry and you’ll know all about it!

 

Hot chilli peppers have the best names. They sound dangerous and vaguely threatening. A warning for those stupid enough to actually try and eat one, if you will. “It’s not like we didn’t warn you,” they seem to say.

The previous record-holder for hottest chilli in the world, the ominous-sounding Carolina Reaper, has had to officially move aside to make way for the aptly monikered Dragon’s Breath chilli – a chilli so hot no one has actually eaten it yet, for fear it could kill you. How? By literally burning your airways, as if you were breathing fire.

Rather charmingly, the creator of this spicy beast didn’t even set out to break records. Mike Smith, a fruit grower and competitive show-gardener from Denbighshire in Wales, was aiming for an aesthetically pleasing chilli tree to enter into the UK’s famous Chelsea Flower Show, where it is now in the running for Plant of the Year.

“It was a complete accident but I’m chuffed to bits – it’s a lovely looking tree,” Mr Smith told the Telegraph.

The chilli was, however, grown in collaboration with scientists from Nottingham Trent University, who are interested in the medicinal use of chilis as an anaesthetic. It was they who verified that the Dragon’s Breath scored the highest rating ever recorded on the Scoville heat scale, 2.48 million, beating the wimpy rival Reaper, which measures just 2.2 million.

The Scoville scale measures the intensity of heat in units. The 2.48 million Scoville heat units (SHU) means that one drop of oil from this chili can be detected in 2.48 million drops of water, making it basically weapons-grade hot. For comparison, pepper spray used by the US Army is 2 million SHU.

Photo published for St Asaph man develops weapons-grade chili so hot it could KILL

Nasty looking little bugger.

The scientists believe that if you tried to actually eat this chilli, your airways would likely close up from the burn and you’d go into anaphylactic shock and die. Nice. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t maybe a force for good, not evil.

The capsaicin oil from it is so potent it numbs the skin, giving it excellent potential as an anesthetic, especially for those allergic to painkillers, or even for use in developing countries where access to and funding for anesthetics is limited.

Chili peppers actually have a long history of medical value, from calming the gut’s immune system to helping you live longer. Just don’t eat this one.

“I’ve tried it on the tip of my tongue and it just burned and burned,” Smith said. “I spat it out in about 10 seconds. The heat intensity just grows.”

Farmer Mike is currently waiting for the Guinness World Records to verify his world champion, but in the meantime, if anyone offers it to you in the pub for a bet, we’d err on the side of caution and just say no.

OCD-AlphaOrderOnce upon a time, as we have described before, we went down with a bad dose of OCD. That’s the illness caused by f***** up brain chemicals that makes people do things over and over again … tap their feet a certain number of times, never say the letter P, or, most commonly, check that they’ve turned the gas cooker off thirty times or wash their hands repeatedly in very hot water with lots of soap.

We got the germy version. Big time. So we will confess to being 100% more aware of hygiene issues than  the average poor sap, even if that is about 10,000 times less aware of it than we used to be, as we are largely recovered from the illness, thank the Lord.

But being a bit germ aware does actually make some sense in today’s very busy and rushed world. We often take shortcuts with personal hygiene nowadays, or lay ourselves open to risk simply by being unaware, and there are some really nasty bugs around. Anti-biotic resistant staph we know about, and the world is positively swimming in E.coli (literally, often) which can make us very unwell, not to mention salmonella, which can hospitalise or kill you. (We have had members of our family go down with it – mythology it ain’t.)

Er, no thanks,

Er, no thanks,

So here’s today’s list of ten things you really need to think about. Even if you haven’t got OCD.

Unless you/re eating in this toilet-themed restaurant in China you wouldn’t eat off your toilet. But you might be surprised at the items that are dirtier in your world.

So 1. Your cell phone.

Your cellphone is disgusting. Trust me. It is an absolute holiday resort for germs.

If you don’t believe me, go here, where you can actually find out how many germs are living on your trusted companion right now.

germs on cell phoneWe are actually quite careful about our phone’s hygiene level, and we got the result that currently, there are 674,100 germs living on our cell phone: that’s the equivalent of 135 toilet seats!

Not that we’re paranoid, or nuffink. But seriously, who washes their hands after using their cell phone?

No 2. Your BBQ grill

Now we know you would never glance at the BBQ and say “I’ll clean it after”, right? Not even once.

You will always rigorously clean your grill immediately after cooking on it, even if you’re sitting down by the pool with a belly full of Vic Bitter and sausages with the biggest food coma of all time on the horizon.

dirty bbqOr even if you did leave it till next time, just that once, you would never hope for the best and stick a steak on top of the charred leavings of last time, on the basis that all the new fire you’re about to crank up is bound to clean up anything that’s grown there since last time? Eh?

Yeah, We hear you.

Just be aware that any food left on your grill immediately becomes a five star Michelin restaurant for nasty bugs of all kinds just floating around merrily in the sunshine.

Cooking on an unclean grill is seriously risking a tummy upset for you and the crowd, at the very least.

3. Your “clean” laundry

clean laundryNot to put too fine a point on it, crap clings to your underwear, whether you can see it or not. When you throw your undies in tub, you transfer about 500 million E. coli bacteria to the machine.

On top of that, water tends to settle in the bottom of front-loading machines, making it a breeding ground for germs. Then you wash your clothes in that mess.

To make sure your clean clothes come out actually clean, do a load of whites first so you can use chlorine bleach to sanitise the machine.

Or dedicate a cycle to underwear and use the hottest water the undies will bear without shrinking with a color-safe bleach substitute.

Also, run an empty cycle with bleach once every month to keep your washer free of bacteria. Easey-peasey.

4. Your toothbrush

Careful. They bite back.

Careful. They bite back.

When you flush your toilet, it can spray aerosolised droplets over six metres, says Dr Philip Tierno Jr, director of microbiology and immunology at NYU’s Langone Medical Center and the author of The Secret Life of Germs. It’s called a “plume”. Such a pretty name for such a horrid thought.

One option is to put the lid of the loo down before flushing. But it’s only a partial solution because it usually isn’t a perfect seal.

So if you leave your toothbrush out on the bathroom sink, it will almost certainly be showered with tiny drops of whatever you just flushed.

Stowing your toothbrush in a cabinet away from the flying faeces might be a good idea. Running it through the dishwasher will also eliminate germs, according to a 2011 study in the American Journal of Dentistry.

As a minimum, run it under a hot tap before using, or an even easier option would be to soak your toothbrush in a mouthwash that contains cetylpyridinium chloride, like Listerine, for 20 minutes.

5. Your kitchen sponge

Your dish or surface sponge is probably the nastiest thing in your kitchen. It’s just out to get you, we tells ya’allkeep-kitchen-sponges-clean-1!

It’s damp and constantly in contact with bacteria, making it a prime place for germs to proliferate.

Rather terrifyingly, there’s a one in three chance your kitchen sponge has staph just sitting on it, according to a Simmons College study. (That’s twice the contamination rate of your toilet.) And it could be harbouring up 10 million bacteria per square inch.

What can you do? Watch it in very hot soapy water or even in a light solution of disinfectant before using. If that seems a step too far, then vinegar is a natural disinfectant, so try dousing it in that, rinse it out with clean hot water, then do the dishes. Throw old sponges and cloths away more often, and use new ones.

6. The buttons in an elevator

5Going up? That elevator button could be crawling with more bacteria than a toilet, a new study from the University of Toronto found. Up to 40 times more.

And another large study from Saudi Arabia found that 97 per cent of elevator buttons in offices and residential buildings are contaminated. One in 10 had germs that could cause food poisoning or sinus infections.

Using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser after you press the “up” button should kill any bacteria you picked up, the researchers say. And for elevator button read … door handles, stair handrails … etc.

Sure, it’s not healthy to be constantly using hand sanitiser all day long, but before you touch food that you’re going to put in your mouth? That’s actually a smart idea.

7. Your computer

keyboardHow often do you chow down a sandwich at your desk while tapping away at your computer? Those keys, and now your hands, are swarming in potentially harmful bugs. Especially if more than one person use the computer.

Your hands, the keyboard. Your hands, the sandwich. The sandwich, your mouth. Your mouth, your gut. You get the picture.

But it’s not just your keyboard. It’s other people’s keyboards. And their mice. And other people’s tablets. It’s all because too many people don’t wash their hands thoroughly after visiting the loo despite health experts warning that rushed or ignored hand washing can lead to diarrhoea,vomiting, food poisoning, flu and the spread of MRSA.

Stop it already!

Stop it already!

There’s a new problem looming. British media regulator Ofcom suggest that consumers are so addicted to smartphones and tablet computers that over one in ten – 11%, in fact – now view video content on a device such as the iPad in the bathroom. It’s estimated that around 20% of 18-24 year-olds do so on a regular basis.

And if they’re not washing their hands, you can be damn sure they’re not washing their bloody iPhones and iPads.

8. Your ATM

atm-germsSwab tests recently conducted of public surfaces in six major cities revealed that ATMs are among the worst carriers of illness-causing germs. Starting to get the picture? Anything that is touched regularly by lots of people is a potential source of infection. The problem is very simple – bank staff don’t head outside to clean the keypads on their ATM with anti-bacterial or disinfectant wipes.

The tests showed that 41% of automated teller machine keypads carry germs that can cause colds and the flu.

Washing your hands afterwards or a hand sanitiser after using an ATM will help you in only picking up cold hard cash, and not a cold along with it.

9. The petrol pump.

everything bathroomYour hands could actually be germier after washing them than they were before.

That’s no exaggeration: one 2011 study from the University of Arizona found that one in four refillable soap dispensers in public bathrooms was contaminated and pumped out bacteria.

Another study tested whether those potentially disease-causing germs could be left on your hands after washing.

The short answer: yup.

Hot air dryers can also blow up to 45 per cent more bacteria onto your hands, according to a study in the Journal of Applied Microbiology.

If you have a choice, use soap dispensers that have bags of soap in them that are replaced, rather than those that are refilled by pouring more soap into them.

It might sound nuts, but you can wash the taps (faucet) before you use them, and after washing your hands, use paper towels to dry off, and then use them to turn off the taps and open the door as you leave.

Better momentary embarrassment because someone looks at you strangely than a handful of gut-wrenching oooby-goobries.

So, feel better now? Yeah, us too. Remember these simple rules to drastically reduce the risk to yourself and others.

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after going to the toilet.
  • Always wash your hands before eating.

It’s a warzone. Good luck out there.

Sugar under a microscope, in more ways than one ... this is actually sugar cane in its raw form.

Sugar under a microscope, in more ways than one … this is actually sugar cane in its raw form.

It gives you a rush, messes with your mind, and always leaves you wanting more – and now researchers are calling for the government to regulate the sweet stuff like a drug.

1. STRESS EATING

For a pick-me-up, you may feel the urge to inhale a bag of M&M’s or wolf down a box of cookies. But the impulse goes deeper.

To examine the hold sugar can have over us, substance-abuse researchers have performed brain scans on subjects eating something sweet.

And what they’ve seen resembles the mind of a drug addict: when tasting sugar, the brain lights up in the same regions as it would in an alcoholic with a bottle of gin. Dopamine – the so-called reward chemical-spikes and reinforces the desire to have more. (Sugar also fuels the calming hormone serotonin.)

No wonder you reach for the choccies or a slice of mud cake when you’re feeling down.

THE FIX

In times of stress, dieters are more likely to binge, studies conclude. That said, a cookie once in a while (say, twice a week) is fine, but on most days go instead for oatmeal with brown sugar, suggests Jeffrey Fortuna, Ph.D., a health and behavior lecturer at California State University, Fullerton. The whole grains fill you up and the sweetness is just enough to release that useful serotonin.

2. INEXPLICABLE WEIGHT GAIN

You stay away from burgers and drink diet soda. But sugar – both real and artificial – is the secret saboteur. When the pancreas senses sugar, the body releases insulin, which causes cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue to take up glucose from the blood, storing it as glycogen for energy. Eat too much at once, though, and insulin levels spike, then drop.

 The aftermath? You feel tired, then crave more sustenance to perk up. And pretend sugars don’t help.

“Artificial sweeteners travel to the part of the brain associated with desire but not to the part responsible for reward,” says Dr. Gene-Jack Wang, a researcher at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York. Nor do they trigger the release of the satiety hormones that real sugar does, so you’re more likely to consume more calories.

THE FIX

Feed sweet cravings with fruit (the fiber will help keep insulin in check, too), and substitute sparkling water for diet soda. If you must indulge, go for a small snack made with real sugar, and eat it slowly. Add fruit or yogurt to feel fuller and prevent a crash.

3. BRAIN FOG 

Blanking out in the middle of a meeting?

Research out of the University of California, Los Angeles, suggests that sugar forms free radicals in the brain’s membrane and compromises nerve cells’ ability to communicate. This could have repercussions in how well we remember instructions, process ideas, and handle our moods, says Fernando Gómez-Pinilla, Ph.D., author of the UCLA study. 

THE FIX

Stay under the USDA limit of 10 teaspoons (40 grams) of added sugar a day.

Read labels and available nutrition information at the supermarket or fast food outlet: a 16-ounce Starbucks vanilla latte and a typical bagel will max out your day’s allotment of sugar. A wiser choice: black coffee and plain yogurt with antioxidant-rich blueberries and walnuts, sweetened with honey.

4. AGING SKIN

Sugar causes premature aging, just like cigarettes and UV rays do. With young skin (generally under 35), when skin support structures collagen and elastin break down from sun or other free-radical exposure, cells repair themselves. But when sugar travels into the skin, its components cause nearby amino acids to form cross-links. These cross-links jam the repair mechanism and, over time, leave you with premature – permanent – wrinkles.

THE FIX

Once cross-links form, they won’t unhitch, so keep sugar intake to as close to zero as you can. “It’s the enemy,” says Dr. William Danby, a dermatologist with Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire. Avoid fizzy drinks and processed pastries and if you’re scattering sugar on your dessert try cinnamon instead – it slows down cross-linking, as do cloves, oregano, ginger, and garlic.

5. A SLUGGISH WORKOUT

Muscles need sugar for fuel, so carbs (which break up into glucose, a type of simple sugar) can kick-start your morning jog. But fruit or prepackaged snacks touting “natural sweeteners” contain just fructose, which is metabolized in the liver, not the muscles. The result: a bloated tummy, or even the “runs”.

THE FIX

A glucose-packed snack with just 4 to 8 grams of fructose – it’ll help increase glucose absorption, says Dr. Richard Johnson, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado, Denver. Try a sports drink like Gatorade or nuts with dried fruit an hour before your workout.

In short: sugar bad. Bad, bad, bad. Remember that processed foods are jam-packed with the stuff, even foods that are touted as “healthy”.  Like all these things, it’s about being aware, alert, and sensible.

Never eating a chocolate again would be a miserable existence. Eating them all the time is a guarantee of one.

See also: Could you name the signs of diabetes? What everyone should know.

Looks awful good though, dunnit?

Looks awful good though, dunnit?

Meanwhile, on Sunday, the Boston Globe Magazine featured a profile of Harvard professor Walter Willett, calling him the “world’s most influential nutritionist.” Willett’s influence comes as much from his ability to debunk or reframe studies about food and nutrition as it does from his original work.

In the long and very interesting article, Globe writer Neil Swidey mentions a recent study of Willett’s that was released in June: a new look at the 123,000 people involved in a 20-year study ending in 2006 found elevated red-meat consumption to be linked with an increase in diabetes.

According to the study, conducted by Willett and his colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health, participants who ate at least a half serving more red meat over a four-year period were 48 percent more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes in the following four years. Conversely, those who lowered their meat consumption by more than half a serving per day decreased their diabetes risk. The research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Previous studies have connected red meat intake with an increased risk of diabetes, but Willett’s study was the first to show that eating more meat raises a person’s risk — and vice versa.

Not surprisingly, the meat lobby strongly refutes such claims—“nothing to see here, folks!”—and frequently attempts to dismiss studies that are critical of meat. And there’s little doubt that they have skillfully made the case that eating red meat has beneficial effects, too.

To cut or not to cut, that is the question ...

To cut or not to cut, that is the question …

“While some recent studies have generated headlines linking meat to different ailments, it is important to remember that conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes are complex conditions that cannot simply be caused by any one food,” American Meat Institute spokesman Eric Mittenthal told the media.

Fair enough: and on the FAQs page of MeatPoultryNutrition.org, a site run by an industry lobby group called the American Meat Institute, are urgings for readers to not give up their meat: “The wisest course of action is a balanced diet, weight control, plenty of exercise and a healthy degree of skepticism about the ‘study of the week,’ ” the site reads. Well, few people could argue with that.

But Willett’s four decades of research and consistently reliable findings are difficult to dismiss wholesale. And while he admits further study is necessary to account for lifestyle and other health factors, Willett and his colleagues believe the strong connection found between red meat and diabetes warrants people cutting back on their consumption of beef, pork or lamb (giving up meat on Mondays may be a good place to start, depending on your opinion).

Of course, if Willett’s findings hold true, the result of a less meat-centric diet may be a reduction in the instances of diabetes, which has skyrocketed in recent years. And that would be great news indeed.

(From Yahoo and other sources)

The lazy man’s way to blog is, of course, to re-blog other people’s blogs when you agree with them. The page I link to below is short, charming, and thought-provoking. We should all remember this.

The rest of sgmarinova’s blog is good too. Why not look around while you’re there?

http://sgmarinova.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/for-tomorrow/

BBQ Pork Buns 茶居

BBQ Pork Buns – picture stolen unashamedly from internet. Copyright be buggered. Look, it’s Sunday, right? Be nice.

Anyway, personally, I am not putting off going to Taipan for Yum Cha lunch for another Sunday.

Monosodium glutamate overload here I come. I may re-deem myself later by posting a nice photo or two of some food. Celebrating authentic Chinese culture. And, er … eating.

I am not sure the Buddha would agree that chowing down on seemingly endless dishes of squid tentacles, pork buns (see pic) and various non-identifiable masses wrapped in rice paper is noble. Not to mention sticky rice, that amazing invention that sits in your gut like a cannon ball for days. Comfort food for winter. (And winter has arrived in Melbourne with a vengeance … brrrr.)

Well, maybe the little fat smiling Buddha outside my front door would approve. But given the Buddha sat under a tree not eating much for years, where did the fat Buddha come from in world consciousness?

Hmmm. I feel some Google research coming on.

20120603-142514.jpg

Busy, crowded, chaotic, noisy, delicious. Yum Cha at its finest at Tai Pan in Doncaster, Melbourne

Too much is never enough.

Nom, nom, nom …