Category Archives: Health Issues

Gluten-Free Products

We’ve talked about gluten before. More and more gluten-free products seem to be appearing on the grocery shelves.

We’ve seen pasta made from quinoa, rice, potato, brown rice, corn and rice, red lentils, buckwheat, sweet potato, chick peas, pumpkin, green peas, black beans, mixtures that include some of the above along with amaranth and corn flours. Soba noodles are gluten-free as they are made from buckwheat – a seed not a grain.

We’ve added red lentil penne to hearty bean soups for a nice changeup. You don’t want to overcook gluten-free pastas as they will be limp and may lose their flavor. Follow cooking directions on the packaging for the best. Gluten-free pasta has come a long way from the first attempts.

You can also find a lot of gluten-free breads on the market as well. Looking at various types they use rice flour, tapioca flour, sorghum flour, potato starch as part of the ingredients.

How do so many people get addicted?

You’ve seen the commercials for opioid addiction. Why are so many addicted? What are opioids anyway? What do they do in your body? Let’s try to find answers to these questions.

First opioids are painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl, and heroin (illegal). All except heroin can be obtained legally through a prescription.

Opioids work by blocking that pain and release dopamine. Dopamine gives you good feeling, but doesn’t last. It is kind of like giving your brain a temporary reward. Other things can cause this temporary rush like doing something daring like a sky-diving trip, or something like hugging a loved one.

As people take opioids, they build a tolerance to them and have to take more and more to get that feeling of the rush of dopamine. Addiction occurs when you become dependent on the opioids due to repeated use. Withdrawal symptoms can mimic having the flu. Only harder…because you know there is one thing that can take it away quickly.

Doctors often prescribe them after surgery, or an accident. Many times they will only prescribe about 10 pills to get through a few days to try to lessen the chance of addiction.

If you try to obtain some of these drugs illegally, they can be cut with contaminants simply so they can make more pills with less of the product to make more money.

If you become addicted, seek help from a doctor. Many states have hotlines that will get you the help you need. Awareness is key.

Where to find help

Chewing Gum

Let’s find out about chewing gum. Can it help you lose weight? Does it make you gain weight? Is it nutritious or not? What happens if you swallow it? Let’s find some answers…

So chewing gum will burn about 11 calories per hour. So about 9 hours of chewing gum will burn about 100 calories. Insignificant. But maybe if you chew gum for 9 hours, you aren’t eating?

Chewing gum increases saliva flow. Chewing sugarless gum after eating can help wash away acids from your teeth. The ADA says that chewing gum for 20 minutes after a meal can help prevent tooth decay. It is not a substitute for brushing and flossing. For the sake of your teeth, look for the ADA Seal on the gum. You will only find it on sugarless gums.

In some people, the ingredients in gum may cause bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and other gut issues. So you may not be one who could chew gum for 9 hours.

If you remember chewing gum as a kid, you might remember swallowing your gum to fool the teacher into thinking you weren’t really chewing. Here’s what happens:

List of ADA approved products.

Interesting Question

Are you heavier or shorter than the average American?

A new government report looked at average weight, height, waist circumference, and body mass index (BMI) of adults 1999-2000 through 2015-2016.

In 1999-2000, men averaged 189 pounds and women averaged just over 163 pounds. By 2015-2016, men averaged just under 198 while women averaged just over 170.

In 1999-2000, men averaged 69.2 inches and women averaged 63.8 inches. In 2015-2016 men avearaged 69.0 inches and women averaged 63.6 inches.

Waist Circumference:
In 1999-2000 men averaged 38.8 inches around the waist while women averaged 36.3 inches. In 2015-2016 men averaged 40.2 while women averaged 38.7 inches.

In 1999-2000 men averaged a BMI of 27.7; women averaged 28.2. In 2015-2016 men averaged 29.1 while women went to 29.6. For reference, underweight BMI is less than 18.5; normal ranges from 18.5-24.9; overweight is 25-29.9; obese is 30 or more.

So the question is where do you fall in all this? Are you concerned enough to do something about it?

Read the full study here
More about BMI

Holiday Season Precaution

Now that people are in the midst of holiday season, the CDC has put out a warning about eating raw cookie dough. People are making their holiday cookies and we already know it’s bad to dough made with raw eggs because of Salmonella, but even egg-less cookie dough should not be eaten raw.

The reason is that the flour can contain E. coli. Other germs may be found in raw flour. Raw flour made over fifty people sick in 2016. It was even a big name brand flour: Gold Medal. Make sure to throw away any recalled flour or flour products.

Further more, there were four varieties of Duncan Hines cake mix recalled last month finding they contained Salmonella. No licking the beaters!