Wednesday, June 13, 2018

"Food, Glorious (or not) Food....."

Since diagnosis of early stage breast cancer back in early March, and subsequent surgery, I've been paying more attention to my diet, with special attention to any foods which can encourage the production of estrogen in the body - which I would do well to avoid. The first article I read warned strongly against soy - any kind of soy, in any quantity. Soy was the definite top of the list 'no-no'...said the author. I knew nothing at all about soy, except that I do not like the flavour of soy sauce. I began busily reading every ingredients list in the supermarket, and being dismayed at the amount of soy to be found hiding just about everywhere. Later, upon searching further, I found a different story: soy isn't dangerous for breast cancer survivors who had estrogen positive markers in their pathology. What to believe?

The 'no danger' pieces were by medical people who had carried out statistical studies - I'd have thought these to be most reliable. Anyway, from now on I shall avoid soy when I can, but remain unperturbed if there's a smidgen of it in something I enjoy. Might as well play it down the middle, rather than become unduly obsessive. Same applies to dairy products - use 1% or 2% milk (I do anyway), low fat or no fat yogurt, and preferably cheeses from Europe where stricter regulations are in force. English, Irish, Italian, Canadian or Australian cheeses are my choice in any case - I have disliked all American cheeses from my first weeks here.

I've taken to eating some blueberries daily now - a fruit I'd ignored until reading how many good things are encased in that wee dark berry (low in calories, loaded with antioxidants, fiber, vitamin K, manganese and vitamin C, along with many other important micronutrients); and more carrots, and carrot juice. Wholemeal bread, too- not just bread that is called "wheat", as against "white". I'm trying for more cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, garden cress, (I so wish I could find some water cress - used to love it in England), broccoli, Brussels sprouts and similar green leaf vegetables. I'm not impressed by the standard of freshness of some of these in our local supermarkets though. The Brussels sprouts we ate last evening tasted nothing like the sprouts I used to eat back in England.

I eat little meat, will probably eat even less now. A little rotisserie chicken from time to time and the occasional pot roast perhaps.

On the topic of food, in general, a question on Quora sparked my interest the other day.
What are some mind-blowing facts about food?

Lots of answers appear there, some of them cause one to say "Ew, ew, ew - never eating THAT again!", others are simply interesting. Below is a neatly enumerated answer from Yuvraj Singh, who quotes his source as Google: a list of 60 facts. Any notes/additions in italics come from your friendly neighbourhood Blogger.)

1. The oldest evidence for soup is from 6,000 B.C. and calls for hippopotamus and sparrow meat.

2. Pringles once had a lawsuit trying to prove that they weren't really potato chips.

3. Pound cake got its name from its original recipe, which called for a pound each of butter, eggs, sugar, and flour.

4. Ripe cranberries will bounce like rubber balls.

5. An average ear of corn has an even number of rows, usually 16.

6. Consuming dairy may cause acne.

7. Most wasabi consumed is not real wasabi, but colored horseradish.

8. Central Appalachia's tooth decay problem is referred to as Mountain Dew mouth, due to the beverage's popularity in the region.

9. Apples belong to the rose family, as do pears and plums.

10. Oklahoma's state vegetable is the watermelon. (Note from me: It's delish too!)

11. One of the most popular pizza toppings in Brazil is green peas.

12. About 70% of olive oil being sold is not actually pure olive oil.

13. Real aged balsamic vinegar actually costs anywhere from $75 to $400 or more.

14. Store bought 100% "real" orange juice is 100% artificially flavoured. (Note: Surely not my favourite and only choice - Florida's Natural brand? Cartons say 100% pure Florida orange juice, not from concentrate.)

15. The most expensive pizza in the world costs $12,000 and takes 72 hours to make.

16. The winner of the 2013 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest consumed 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

17. The Dunkin' donuts in South Korea offer doughnut flavors such as Kimchi Croquette and Glazed Garlic.

18. Chocolate was once used as currency

19. There is an amusement park in Tokyo that offers RAW horse flesh flavored ice cream. (EW!!!)

20. The tea bag was created by accident, as tea bags were originally sent as samples. (Pretty bad accident too!)

21. A Cinnabon classic has less sugar than a 20-oz. Bottle of Pepsi.

22. Castoreum, which is used as vanilla flavoring in candies, baked goods, etc., is actually a secretion from the anal glands of beavers. (EW!!)

23. Humans are born craving sugar.

24. Radishes are members of the same family as cabbages.

25. The red food-coloring carmine — used in skittles and other candies — is made from boiled cochineal bugs, a type of beetle.

26. Casu Marzu is a cheese found in Sardinia that is purposely infested with maggots.

27. The softening agent L-cysteine — used in some bread — is made from human hair and duck feathers.

28. The potentially fatal brain mushroom is considered a delicacy in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and the upper Great Lakes region of North America.

29. If improperly prepared, fugu, or puffer fish, can kill you since it contains a toxin 1200 times deadlier than cyanide.

30. It is almost impossible to find out what all the ingredients are that Papa John's uses in its pizzas.

31. Coconut water can be used as blood plasma.

32. Milt, which is a delicacy around the world, is fish sperm.

33. McDonald's sells 75 hamburgers every second of every day.

34. Ranch dressing contains titanium dioxide, which is used to make it appear whiter. The same ingredient is used in sunscreen and paint for the same effect. (That accounts for the universally nasty taste of Ranch dressing! Only Heinz Salad Cream for me, even when I have to ship it in from the net.)

35. Three plates of food at a Chinese buffet will net you about 3,000 calories.

36. To make jelly beans shiny, shellac is used, which is made from Kerria lacca insect excretions. (EW!!)

37. One fast food hamburger may contain meat from 100 different cows.

38. Ketchup was used as a medicine in the 1800s to treat diarrhea, among other things.

39. Fruit-flavored snacks are made with the same wax used on cars.

40. Peanuts aren't nuts, they're legumes.

41. No matter what color Fruit Loop you eat, they all taste the same

42. The most expensive fruit in the world is the Japanese Yubari cantaloupe, and two melons once sold at auction for $23,500.

43. Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.

44. When taken in large doses nutmeg works as a hallucinogen.

45. Eating bananas can help fight depression.

46. Canola oil was originally called rapeseed oil, but rechristened by the Canadian oil industry in 1978 to avoid negative connotations. "Canola" is short for "Canadian oil."

47. Honey is made from nectar and bee vomit.

48. Yams and sweet potatoes are not the same thing.

49. Chuck E. Cheese pizza restaurants were created by the inventor of the Atari video game system, Nolan Bushnell.

50. The twists in pretzels are meant to look like arms crossed in prayer.

51. "SPAM" is short for spiced ham .

52. To add nutrition, a lot of milk, juice and yogurts enrich the food with EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. In other words, your OJ contains fish oil.

53. There's an enzyme in pineapple called bromelain that helps to break down proteins and can also ruin your tastebuds.

54. Apples float in water, because 25% of their volume is made of air.

55. The popsicle was invented by an 11 year old in 1905.

56. Crackers, like Saltines, have small holes in them to prevent air bubbles from ruining the baking process.

57. The reason why peppers taste hot is because of a chemical compound called capsaicin, which bonds to your sensory nerves and tricks them into thinking your mouth is actually being burned.

58. One of the most hydrating foods to eat is the cucumber, which is 96% water.

59. There are 7,500 varieties of apples grown throughout the world, and if you tried a new variety each day, it would take you 20 years to try them all.

60. The most popular carrots used to be purple.


R J Adams said...

20. The tea bag was created by accident, as tea bags were originally sent as samples. (Pretty bad accident too!)

What's wrong with the teabag, then? I import my Yorkshire teabags from the British Corner Shop ( and love 'em. None of those nasty tea leaves at the bottom of the cup!

34. Ranch dressing contains titanium dioxide, which is used to make it appear whiter. The same ingredient is used in sunscreen and paint for the same effect. (That accounts for the universally nasty taste of Ranch dressing! Only Heinz Salad Cream for me, even when I have to ship it in from the net.)

No wonder I found Ranch dressing abominable! Mrs R J loved it and I could never understand why. I guess she was weaned on it like most Americans. I was always fond of the good old Heinz Salad Cream but have to admit, since living in France, the good quality French mayonnaise leaves it standing. I could eat it by the spoonful.

43. Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.

I always thought it was fear of swallowing a spider!

Good to hear you're eating wisely.

Twilight said...

Re tea bags - I haven't found any yet that taste 'right' - Twinings English or Irish Breakfast Tea is the best I can do, so far, made with actual boiling water - but it's still pretty anaemic. Anyjazz thinks tea can be made in the microwave - what blasphemy! And if one asks for 'hot tea' in a restaurant...YIKES! They bring a pot of so-called hot water - possibly just above luke warm, and a tea bag of some ilk, the resulting liquid is nothing more than warm water with a beige tinge. Ask for milk and you're liable to get either pot of cream or half and half - they don't seem to know about hot tea with ordinary milk. Everything here is about iced tea, in a glass half full of often nasty tasting (in Oklahoma) ice which plays havoc with my tum.

Grumble rumble!

Twilight said...

Comment received by e-mail from the UK, from "JD"

Yes, [Yorkshire Tea] that's the best tea. Can you get it in Oklahoma? And there is nothing wrong with their T-bag version of the beverage. Now here is a tip for when you are dining out. When you want a proper cuppa ask them to make it using their espresso machine. Most of them have a small nozzle at the side which delivers steam. Put the tea bag in a cup, place the cup beneath the nozzle and blast away. Result - one cuppa boiling hot char!! The bar/cafe staff may need some help to understand the process :)

Now then, I can add another 'food fact' to your list. Roadside service station in Chile serving hot dogs. The hot dog stand/stall whatever had the usual squirty nozzles for mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise plus a fourth which delivered guacamole. Yes, really. There are a lot of avocados in Chile which they call palta for some reason (aguacate is the Spanish word)

And a cancer dietary tale which you might find interesting.

Twilight said...

JD ~ Oh many thanks for the suggestions, information and link, JD. I shall look to buy Yorkshire Tea online - no chance of finding any here in semi-rural south-west Oklahoma!

Sadly most restaurants in these parts don't run to espresso machines - but even if they did, I doubt I could persuade staff to perform the operation described! They don't even understand me when I ask for a bottle of water - husband has to translate 9 times out of 10. I cannot bring myself to mimic the accent and ask for "a baddle of wadder".

Guacamole sounds like a tasty addition to a hot dog. :)