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Archive for June 25, 2012

Classic Cheeseburger


  • 2 pounds ground beef, preferably chuck
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 2 tomatoes (12 ounces), sliced
  • 8 leaves Bibb lettuce (1 small head)
  • 1 small red onion, sliced


  1. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high. Season meat with salt and pepper, mix very lightly, and shape into four patties. Grill hamburgers 4 to 6 minutes per side for rare and 9 to 11 minutes for well done. If making cheeseburgers, lay cheese slices on top of the hamburgers after they have been flipped.
  2. Serve immediately on buns (toasted, if desired), topped with tomatoes, lettuce, and onion slices.


Ceviche Verde

Ceviche Verde


  • 1 pound fresh Pacific halibut or other firm-fleshed fish
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 3/4 cup green olives, sliced
  • 1/2 cup tomatillos, diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, very finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and minced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Tostadas or torilla chips
  • ingredient info

    To ripen avocados more quickly, place them in a sealed paper bag with an apple or a banana for 24 hours.


  • Chop fish into 1/2″ cubes; place in medium bowl. Add kosher salt; toss to coat. Add lime juice; toss to coat. Marinate until the edges of the cubes begin to turn opaque, tossing occasionally, about 30 minutes.
  • Dice avocados; add to bowl along with green olives, tomatillos, onion, cilantro, and jalapeño Add olive oil and season to taste with salt.
  • Serve over tostadas or with tortilla chips for dipping.


Why We Can’t Trust Cereal Companies to Self-Regulate

Breakfast food marketers insist that children won’t eat cereals that aren’t doused in sugar. They’re wrong. frootloops-615.jpgburritoes/Flickr

Breakfast is good. Children who eat breakfast every day are less likely to be obese, and more likely to be well-nourished than those who miss it. Cereals can be an excellent, fairly low-calorie means of delivering needed nutrients like whole grains and fiber. And, of course, there is the milk that goes along with it. On these matters, we and the cereal companies agree.

Where we disagree is how sweet these cereals must be, and which cereals should be marketed to children. The companies have a range of cereals in their portfolios. Why then, do they not market their better cereals — regular Cheerios, Frosted Mini-Wheats, Quaker Oatmeal Squares — to children? These cereals are high in whole grains and much lower in sodium and added sugars. They are hard for nutritionists to object to. But the companies, led by General Mills and Kellogg, claim that children will not eat cereal unless the cereals are highly sweetened. In a piece in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, top nutrition officials from these two companies said, “Food does not become nutrition until it is eaten,” implying that cereals without lots of sugar will not leave the box.

We found in a study that when children are served low-sugar versions of cereals (Corn Flakes vs. Frosted Flakes for example), they eat the amount a child should have for breakfast, and add fruit and a small amount of sugar to do the sweetening. Children served high-sugar cereals consume much more cereal and sugar (from the cereal), and add less fruit. It is no wonder companies want to market the high-sugar versions to children — they eat more cereal. The amount of excess sugar in children’s cereals is depicted in a video using Cheerios vs. Honey Nut Cheerios as examples.

How do the companies navigate the tricky ground they stand on? They are feeling pressure about the scourge of childhood obesity, from the White House to leading medical groups, and hence the threat of government regulation looms large. But the basic business model is to maximize profits. Hence selling products that children overconsume.

One solution the industry itself proposes is self-regulation. The industry can argue that it will police itself — that it will act in the best interests of children, and that government regulation will not be necessary. An example is the participation of General Mills, Kellogg, and Post in the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), which is “designed to shift the mix of foods advertised to children under 12 to encourage healthier dietary choices and healthy lifestyles.”

Industry self-regulation is worth a try. If the companies can develop ways of protecting children from poor nutrition influences and not require government involvement, everyone wins. The question is whether industry promises get fulfilled — and whether they are meaningful promises to begin with. In order to answer these questions, it is important to have objective data on industry sales and marketing practices, and to track these over time to see if changes are occurring.

Our team at Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity is doing just that. Three years ago, we released a comprehensive report on the marketing of breakfast cereals to children. The report documented that cereal companies were speaking to children early, often, and when parents weren’t looking. The least healthy cereals were the ones most aggressively marketed to children. Cereal companies were targeting children not only with television ads but through websites containing “advergames” and other branded activities, and advertising on popular kids’ websites like

The companies have promised to do better, including enhancing the nutritional quality of cereals and expanding CFBAI advertising requirements. Thus, we launched a three-year follow up project using the same methods, to determine whether the children’s cereal landscape has improved. This report, Cereal Facts 2012, is being released today.

Our study examined the nutritional quality of more than 100 brands and nearly 300 individual varieties of cereal marketed to children, families, and adults. There is some good news:

  • General Mills and Kellogg delivered on their promise to improve nutritional quality by reducing sodium. General Mills also reduced the sugar in its child brands, and is halfway toward fulfilling its promise to reduce the sugar per serving to “single digits.”
  • Some brands reduced child-targeted advertising. The most notable change was that General Mills and Post discontinued their and websites.

Sadly, there is more bad news than good:

  • From 2008 to 2011, total media spending to promote child-targeted cereals increased by 34 percent.
  • Companies spend more to advertise child brands than they spend on the healthier adult brands.
  • The discontinuation of popular cereal-company advergame websites and associated banner advertising was partially offset by the introduction of new child-targeted websites and increased banner advertising for individual brands and existing websites. For example, Post replaced with, and General Mills introduced advergame sites for Honey Nut Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
  • Companies are developing yet new ways to target children. Kellogg introduced the first food company advergame for mobile phones and tablets targeted to children for Apple Jacks.
  • Post did not fulfill its nutrition promise to lower the sugar content of Pebbles cereals to 9 grams per serving.
  • Hispanic and black youth exposure to cereal marketing increased from 2008 to 2011.The trend is of particular concern, as these young people face the highest rates of obesity and related diseases.
  • Some new products, such as Kellogg’s Krave cereal, continue the unfortunate tradition of implied health benefits on the package, child-oriented contests, and heavy exposure of children and teens to marketing, despite poor nutrition profiles.

The bottom line? Cereal marketing to children in 2012 looks much the same as it did in 2009. In 2009, it was easy to quantify the degree to which the companies promoted their healthiest cereals to children — there was none. How much is there today? None. Cereal companies continue to push their least nutritious products — Froot Loops, Reese’s Puffs, Fruity Pebbles, Lucky Charms — directly to children. Children also continue to see more advertising for cereals than for any other category of packaged food or beverage.

There is no doubt that children need protection from the masterful and ubiquitous marketing by companies of products known to be unhealthy. Industry’s promises to behave better have an empty ring when they continue the marketing of their least healthy products to children.

The Atlantic

Tumour op in womb saves foetus

Baby scan pic

The “bubble” at the top of the picture is a tumour growing on Leyna’s mouth
Surgeons have removed a tumour from the mouth of a foetus, in what has been described as a “world first” procedure.

After a scan at 17 weeks, mother Tammy Gonzalez said she “could see a bubble” coming out of her baby’s mouth.

Doctors said it was a very rare tumour called an oral teratoma and there was little chance her daughter would survive.

After the pioneering operation, baby Leyna was born five months later.

Doctors at the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida, said this type of tumour was so rare it had been seen only once in 20 years at the hospital.


In the procedure, Mrs Gonzalez was put under a local anaesthetic as a needle was pushed through the protective amniotic sac around the foetus.

Leyna is now a healthy 20-month-old child

A laser was then used to cut the tumour from Leyna’s lips. The operation lasted just over an hour.

Tammy told a press conference in Miami: “When they finally severed the whole thing off and I could see it floating down, it was like this huge weight had been lifted off me and I could finally see her face.”

She described the surgeons as “saviours”.

The doctors said: “To our knowledge, this is the first successful treatment of a foetal oral teratoma in utero.”

Leyna Mykaella Gonzalez was born in October 2010 weighing 8lb 1oz. She is now a healthy 20-month-old child.

The only sign of her life-saving surgery is a tiny scar on her mouth.

The details have only just emerged after the operation was reported in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.


Parents and GPs ‘must recognise’ diabetes symptoms

Sam with his thumbs up

Sam Rowbotham spent five days being treated in hospital when he was diagnosed

When 10-year-old Sam Rowbotham was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, his parents felt awful.

“We thought it was growing pains at the time. He had grown a lot, maybe four or five centimetres. We put them together and thought it was puberty,” says his father Gareth, from South Yorkshire.

In fact, Sam was very ill.

He was showing some of the classic symptoms associated with the condition – constantly going to the toilet, drinking all the time and losing weight.

“His mum would listen at the door of the toilet and wonder what was wrong. He was struggling to walk down stairs because of cramp in his legs from dehydration.

“Then he just went off a cliff,” says Gareth.

Sam is just one of the children featured in an online video produced by two diabetes charities to raise awareness of the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes before they reach a life-threatening stage.

It features parents and children telling their own stories about what they experienced before diagnosis.


  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness

When Sam’s health really began to deteriorate and he started vomiting, his parents rushed him straight to A&E where he stayed for five days as his body adjusted to being given the insulin it so desperately needed.

‘Control freak’

It was a relief to finally know what was wrong with Sam, but his father also remembers feeling angry.

“I felt like someone had poisoned my son. I wanted someone to blame, and of course there isn’t anyone. I am a bit of a control freak. I’m used to sorting problems. This was one problem I couldn’t sort.”

Twenty-five per cent of the 2,000 children diagnosed each year currently end up in hospital before diagnosis, a statistic which Diabetes UK and Type 1 diabetes charity JDRF say is “unacceptable and easily avoidable”.

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, says children and parents can find that experience very distressing.

“It’s not how they should be diagnosed, in a state of collapse. We want to see more awareness of symptoms so families don’t go through that.”
Sam in hospital after his Type 1 diabetes was diagnosed

Sam and his parents manage his insulin intake and analyse the content of everything he eats
Parents, grandparents, GPs, and schools should all be able to recognise the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes, she says.

Sam’s condition improved very quickly once he was in hospital.

Getting used to managing his lifelong condition, however, has proved to be more of a challenge for Sam and his family.

Sam’s fear of injections means he uses an insulin pump, worn on his belt, which drip-feeds his body with insulin throughout the day through a tiny tube.

But he still needs to watch what he eats carefully.

‘Full of sugar’

“Sam has to programme the pump before he eats, so if he has a pizza we have to calculate the carbohydrates he is ingesting and check how much insulin we should deliver,” Gareth explains.

“Chinese food is a challenge because it’s so full of sugar and a lot of fat.”

Sometimes, they get it wrong and give him too much insulin – which causes Sam’s blood sugar levels to drop, making him feel weak and lethargic – or not enough insulin, which can lead to high blood sugar levels, which is equally dangerous.



Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce any insulin.

This leads to increased blood glucose levels, which in turn can cause serious damage to all organ systems in the body.

Nobody knows why these insulin-producing cells have been destroyed. The most likely cause is the body having an abnormal reaction to the cells.

This may be triggered by a virus or another infection.

He plays tennis every week and goes swimming but sport can also have an impact on the amount of insulin he needs.

A continuous glucose monitor, which tests Sam’s blood glucose every five minutes, is an enormous help.

Overall, Gareth feels Sam has coped well.

“Sam gets to eat all he wants, can play with his mates, play video games. He has a well-adjusted childhood.”

But parents themselves can be hit hard by the day-to-day management of diabetes.

“A huge focus is needed by parents to manage the condition. It becomes the overwhelming issue in the family and it’s difficult for siblings too,” says Barbara Young.

“Parents also say they experience a terrible sense of loss. They had a healthy child before and now their child has a very serious condition.

“But kids do adapt remarkably.”


More than half of British women’s waists ‘too big’

An overweight person walks through Glasgow City centre

Larger waists could lead to an increased chance of fertility problems


More than half of British women have waists that are larger than the recommended healthy size, experts say.

Researchers from the charity Nuffield Health say overweight women risk an increased chance of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, infertility and cancer.

The researchers found the average waist measurement for women is 84.9cm (33.43in), compared with the healthy size of 80cm (31.49in).

Nuffield Health’s Dr Davina Deniszczyc said it was a “worrying problem.”

Dr Deniszczyc, professional head of physicians and diagnostics at Nuffield Health, said: “Fat being stored around the waist can contribute to significant health issues, such as breast cancer and infertility.”

Nuffield Health examined data from more than 30,000 women and found 57% had a waist larger than the healthy size.

It said women in the north of England have the largest waists, with an average circumference of 87cm, compared to 81.9cm in London.

Researchers also said 52.5% of the women have a body mass index (BMI) higher than the healthy range, while 16.2% were moderately or morbidly obese.

The BMI is calculated by taking your weight in kilograms and dividing it by your height in metres squared.

A BMI level measured between 25 and 29.9 means a person is regarded as overweight. If your BMI is over 30 then you are clinically obese.

Dr Deniszczyc said: “Whilst waist size may seem like a cosmetic issue, this isn’t about women fitting into their skinny jeans. Rather, it’s an important indicator of overall health and well-being, particularly when taken into account with other health measurements.




「哈芬登郵報」(The Huffington Post)網站報導,研究人員表示,這些打太極拳的受試者腦容量也有所增加,可說是個好現象。失智症發生之前,由於神經連結喪失,實際上腦容量會萎縮。

參與研究的莫迪穆(James Mortimer)博士發表聲明說:「能經由運動和增強心智活動來扭轉這種趨勢,意味有可能藉由從事有益身心健康的活動,來延緩老人失智症的發生。」

莫迪穆是南佛羅里達大學公共衛生學院(University of South Florida College of Public Health)的流行病學教授。


研究人員發現,每週3次參與「熱烈討論」的受試者,不僅腦容量也有所增加,腦功能亦有增進,但程度不及打太極拳的受試者。研究結果刊載在「阿茲海默症期刊」(The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease)。



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