Friday, April 27, 2007

Why the news makes us dumb...

There is a book by this name. My husband read this book several years ago and I really should read it myself (although my husband told me the Cliff Notes version). Still, I am more and more frustrated by the way media reports nutrition information. For a good case in point, the Lactivist has written a great post.

The bottom line is that it can be hard to think critically about every issue when there is so much else that needs to be done (especially if you're waking up four times at night, like I am). Anyway, several of the food and nutrition blogs I link to provide a good perspective on some of the media reports. Although I don't always agree with everything that is posted on these blogs, they think through what they are saying and they provide a refreshingly different perspective.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Some life...

Does life end at having children?

That was a question my friend Drea addressed today. Apparently she was talking to someone who said he thought having children must "suck" and most people have "no life" once children came along. Here's my response to that question:

I agree that having children will make you lose your "life". Having children forces me to think beyond myself and to put them before me. It may not be the "life" I expected, but it draws me closer to Jesus, the Lord of true life (John 14:6).
Does it suck? Mostly no, sometimes yes. But the "life" I had before wasn't anything as good as what I have now. It's definitely different, but definitely better.

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. "I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain." Galatians 2:20-21

What does God want from us anyway?

Jesus said to him, " 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' "This is the first and great commandment. Matthew 22:37-38

It occured to me today when I was talking to a friend that God doesn't want our giftedness. It's simply not enough. He wants our whole heart -- our life. He wants to take the things we are good at to glorify Him. He wants to take what we are lousy at and use it in spite of us -- again for His glory.

"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down...

Last night I watched Mary Poppins for the very first time! I have always been familiar with supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, but I've never seen the movie. If you think that's bad, it's only been a year since I watched the Wizard of Oz for the first time. The Sound of Music is next on my list.

Well, my 4 year old caught the virus the rest of the kids had last week, so I figured we'd borrow the movie since he loves the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious song. It was definitely a spoonful of sugar last night. This last round of viruses has hardly been serious, and we have been spared from the really bad viruses (flu & stomach bugs) this year. Still, I am weary from so much illness in the past year. They say that infants catch somewhere around 6 to 8 viruses in their first year, well my first two didn't get sick in their first year (this is my daughter's 5th), so I am having a hard time writing this off as "normal". But it does appear to be a year with more viruses going around. Anyway, I know it could be much worse, but it's still hard. So, I'm going to try and take Ms. Poppins advice...

Thursday, April 5, 2007

One a penny, two a penny...

... hot cross buns.

I was searching for a variation of my hot cross bun recipe. I have one I like for the bread machine, but I don't have a bread machine anymore so I was just checking to see if I had the same recipe written for mixers so I wouldn't have to do the adaptation myself.

Anyway, I came across this story from the New Zealand Herald criticizing the warning Diabetes New Zealand gave about Hot Cross Buns. Pretty much, DNZ stated that the bun is "equivalent to two to three slices of bread. It advised readers of its magazine to chose a smaller bun or just eat half a bun." (Emphasis mine) So, the Herald has gotten carried away and took this warning as a call to parliament to ban the seasonal hot cross bun.

Now, I understand that people don't want to be told how much they should eat, especially of a seasonal treat. And their probably tired of people blaming everything as a cause of obesity.

Anyway, a person called Anthony made the following comment that caught my attention:

"It is like the anti-smacking bill. Smart people will not overindulge so they dont need a warning. Those who do overindulge will not heed the warning.,"

A very good point, but what about those "not so smart" people? Just cause you ain't smart doesn't mean you can't make good choices for yourself. It just means that you could benefit from a bit of useful information. A fool is the one who doesn't ever want to learn. Even smart people can be fools.

Now, I understand that the tizzy was probably not over the part that the bun equals two or more bread servings, but more due to the suggestion to eat a smaller bun or half of one. But the suggestion was made in a magazine from the own organization, not in a press release or a draft bill to parliament.

As a dietitian, I want to help people make better choices for themselves, not choose for them. That's why I don't like diets (I also don't like the focus on weight either but I'll have to save that for another post). But if someone with high blood pressure comes to me and is asks me what they can do to lower the sodium in their diet, then should I just teach them how to read the food label and leave it at that? Or should I offer other alternatives as well?

I acknowledge that dietitians and other health professionals and organizations have often failed in the message they send out to the public. But, in the case of the NZ Herald, who is making a mountain out of a molehill here? But, apparently, it is only the health professional/organization that is ever to blame.

Anyway, to celebrate Good Friday, here is my Hot Cross Bun recipe. If you want just the recipe, (without all this rambling from this post), highlight the recipe and then go to file, print (or ctrl-p) and "print selection". If that doesn't work, let me know and i'll post it seperately. By the way, I found out I had both the bread machine version and the hand mixed version on my computer. Well, it made for an interesting blog post, I hope :-)

Hot Cross Buns (Bread Machine)

Recipe By : Rosie's Easter Basket
Serving Size : 15 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Bread (Machine)

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1/2 cup milk*
1/4 cup water*
3 Tablespoons butter -- cut in small pieces
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon bread machine yeast
1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup raisins
----- Egg Glaze -----
2 Tablespoons water
1 egg yolk
----- Icing -----
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
2 teaspoons milk or cream
dash salt
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

*3/4 cup skim milk may be used in place of the milk and water listed
for rolls above.

Place first ten ingredients in bread machine in order suggested by manufacturer. Set machine for dough or manual program. The dough should be soft but check during the kneading cycle and add a little flour or milk as necessary. Add the currants and raisins ten minutes before the end of the kneading cycle.

When program has finished, turn risen dough out on to a very lightly floured surface. Shape into 15 balls. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled (about 30 minutes).

Using a sharp knife, cut a cross (or X) on the top of each roll.
Beat the water and egg yolk together and brush over rolls. (You will probably have more than you need, discard the unused egg glaze.)

Bake at 375° F. for 12 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make icing by combining the last four ingredients. Stir
until smooth, adjusting sugar and milk to make a mixture that flows easily.

When rolls are baked, cool on wire racks. Drizzle icing over the top of each roll following the lines of the cut cross.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Nutritional information according to MasterCook, per roll:
189 calories, 3.8g fat (1.9g sat. 18.2% CFF ), 4.7g protein, 34.1g
carbohydrates, 46mg cholesterol, 250mg sodium

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


What happens when you infuse an apple with concord grape flavor? You get a grāpple. According to their website, a grāpple (pronounced grape-l) is THE hot new promising product to fight the "childhood obesity war":

"With childhood obesity increasing at alarming rates, Grāpple® brand apples could go a long way to improving the eating habits of children and introducing them to more produce. "

Is it just me, or is there something wrong about this statement? I admit, I'm not good at logic and critical thinking, but this doesn't make any sense. What is it that a grāpple will do that an apple or grape can't or hasn't done already? Where is the connection? I don't think it will go far at all to improving kids' eating habits. It will, however, quickly put a hole in your pocket at a whopping $1.25 per apple! Furthermore, I think more damage can be done to the child when we start obsessing over their weight and appearance.

Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't eat one. If you want to eat a grape flavored apple, then fine, eat it. If you don't mind spending $1.25 for an apple, then why not? Just don't do it to save your child's life.

If anything, it has added to another existing problem, and that is of food allergies. This past February's issue of the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, addressed two case studies of allergic reactions to the fruit.

So here's my take on the grāpple:

I don't get it.
I won't get it.