Caffeinating the 60 Blog

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Louisa May Alcott:  I’d rather take coffee than compliments just now. 

JOE is one of my favorite words to play at Words with Friends.  It’s worth at least twelve points and it always makes me want to drink another cup of coffee.

Did you hear the news?  Coffee could actually be good for you!  Don’t feel bad about pouring yourself that extra cup of joe tomorrow morning.  A study out this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that people who drank a cup of coffee a day were 12 percent less likely to die from cancer, stroke and diabetes as well as heart, kidney and respiratory disease than non-drinkers. And the more java, the better: People who had up to three cups a day were 18 percent less likely to perish from those conditions, according to the study.

The research, conducted by the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute, looked specifically at about 186,000 people who were black, Native Hawaiian, white, Japanese American and Latino. And at least one researcher suggested the findings could apply to other demographics as well.

The study used data from the Multiethnic Cohort (MEC), a large research program funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted by researchers at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. Between 1993 and 1996, the MEC study enrolled more than 215,000 people aged 45 to 75. A questionnaire upon enrollment gathered information about lifestyle, diet, health history and other personal details.

According to the report, MEC enrollees who drank more coffee, “were more likely to be younger, male and white and to drink more alcohol.” Also, the more coffee people drank, the more they smoked: among those who drank four cups or more per day, just 26 percent had never smoked.

“We cannot say drinking coffee will prolong your life, but we see an association,” author Veronica W. Setiawan, of USC, said in a statement. “If you like to drink coffee, drink up! If you’re not a coffee drinker, then you need to consider if you should start.”

Coffee is more than an obsession—it’s responsible for a roughly $48 billion market in the U.S., where 64 percent of people say they drink one or more cups a day, according to a Gallup poll.  Americans older than 55 are the biggest coffee consumers, drinking an average of four cups a day, but only 10 percent of people consider themselves to be addicted to the beverage.

Research from 2014 found that drinking large quantities of coffee doesn’t increase your cardiovascular disease risk, and a 2007 report revealed that coffee consumption could reduce your chances of developing liver cancer. Even the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2015-2020 dietary guidelines say that drinking three to five eight-ounce cups a day “can be incorporated into healthy eating patterns” given “strong and consistent evidence showing that, in healthy adults, moderate coffee consumption is not associated with an increased risk of major chronic diseases (e.g., cancer) or premature death.”

Although some advantages are linked to the caffeine coffee contains, the USC study found its subjects benefited even if they had decaf coffee. That discovery is one echoed in a 2015 analysis from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“Although this study does not show causation or point to what chemicals in coffee may have this ‘elixir effect,’ it is clear that coffee can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle,” Setiawan added in the release.

So, bottom line?  If you drink coffee, keep drinking coffee.  It can’t hurt you…unless you also eat half an Entenmann’s cheesecake at the same time.

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Delivering the 60 Blog

torta-tiramasu

Max Theriot:  I don’t like going to dinner by myself; I’ll call for delivery before I do that.  It’s awkward if you’re at a table all alone.  I’m sure nobody even notices, but there’s something about it.

Do you have your groceries delivered?  What about meals, like pizza or sandwiches?  I recently read that Uber is now making food deliveries from McDonald’s, which means you can call someone and have a Big Mac delivered.  First, why not just drive-through McDonald’s?  It’ll be quicker, and there’s one close to everyone.  Second, how hungry are you really to sit and wait for the Big Mac to be delivered?

As a kid, my mother usually took one night off a week and didn’t prepare dinner.  Dad would pick something up on the way home from work or, more likely, we’d call and have something delivered.  Remember “Don’t cook tonight, call Chicken Delight!”?   I remember that we could get chicken (no duh!) and pizza delivered from there and it was quite the treat.  We might have also had Chinese food delivered.

When you watch TV shows taking place in New York, at least once during the season, someone in a beautiful NY apartment (how could they afford it?) always orders dim sum from the local Chinese restaurant to be delivered.  Neatly packaged, the characters always use chop sticks because, of course, celebrities.  I never could learn the fine art of using chop sticks.

My friend Mark owns Specific Pacific Foods, a local business in Los Angeles that delivers gourmet food to your door.  One specialty is the wagyu steaks, which come in a box of about ten, with instructions on how to cook this beefy delicacy.  Mark’s company sells desserts, burgers, appetizers, seafood, gluten-free and organic items, veal, and kabobs, to name just a few things on the menu.

If you’re in Los Angeles, Mark will deliver a box (or lots of boxes) to your house.  All you have to do is invite your friends over for dinner, turn on the oven, and serve them great food.  You don’t even have to tell them the food came in a box.

That picture at the top?  It’s a torta tiramisu with kahlua.  It has creamy mascarpone filling, dewy with zabaglione, and saucy with Marsala and pillows of sponge cake with rich coffee liqueur, and it’s to die for!  You just thaw and serve 13 other people and they’ll thank you for it!

Mark’s food is so much better than what we ordered from Chicken Delight, and I couldn’t be more delighted!  If you’re interested in trying some of his foods, let me know.  You’ll be glad you did!

 

 

Thriving the 60 Blog

Paleo Blueberry Pie Recipe

Ella Fitzgerald:  A strawberry moon, blueberry sky.  Polka dot stars shining on high.  Everything’s right.  Oh, what a night for love.

Thrive + Tuesday = day to shop!

Over the weekend, we placed another Thrive Market order.  Coffee, aromatherapy, cat food, pine nuts.  All the essentials, right?

This week, you can get 25% off your order and free shipping when you click here 25% off and free shipping and shop from your couch.  Here’s a delicious recipe you can make for the upcoming long holiday weekend.

It’s berry season! When sweet, juicy blueberries are overflowing at the market, we can think of nothing better than baking them up in a decadent pie. A trio of gluten-free flours (almond, coconut, and tapioca), plus a scoop of lard from EPIC makes this a Paleo-friendly summertime treat for all those picnics, barbecues, and parties.  All the ingredients, except for the fresh blueberries and lemons, can be purchased from Thrive!

PALEO BLUEBERRY PIE

Yield: 7 to 9 servings
Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours and 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

For the crust
1 cup superfine almond flour
1 cup coconut flour
½ cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup lard, chilled in freezer for 30 minutes
4 to 6 tablespoons cold water

For the filling
4 ½ to 5 cups blueberries, washed and drained
½ cup coconut sugar
3 tablespoons tapioca flour
Zest 1 lemon
Juice of half a lemon

INSTRUCTIONS

Add the almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour, and salt to a food processor; pulse a few times to combine. Add chilled lard and pulse until mixture is slightly crumbly. Add 3 tablespoons water and pulse, adding more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together by squeezing it between your fingers.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and form into a disk. Halve the disk (make one piece slightly larger than the other) and shape into rounds. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Remove larger disk from refrigerator and crumble it into a greased, 9-inch pie pan. Using your fingers, shape a crust by pressing dough onto bottom and sides of pan. Crimp edge of dough along the top of crust; refrigerate. Remove smaller disk of dough from refrigerator and place it between 2 slices of parchment paper. Roll out the dough to a 10-inch circle, about ¼-inch thick. Using a star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out shapes and place on a sheet tray, 1-inch apart; refrigerate 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, add all ingredients for the filling; stir until blueberries are well-coated. Remove pie pan from the refrigerator and pour in the blueberry filling.

Cover edges of pie crust with foil, to protect it from burning. Bake pie for 50 to 55 minutes. During the last 8 to 10 minutes of baking, place sheet tray of cut out stars into the oven with the pie. Remove both the pie and stars and let cool 30 minutes. Place stars on top of pie before slicing.

Almond FlourOrganic Coconut FlourTapioca Flour

What time should I be at your house for dessert?

 

 

 

Frying the 60 Blog

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Jean Kerr:  If you have formed the habit of checking on every new diet that comes along, you will find that, mercifully, they all blur together, leaving you with only one piece of definite piece of information:  french-fried potatoes are out.

How do you like your potatoes?  I’ll eat them in any form, especially if they have cheese on them.

I read a little blurb about eating French fries and how they can increase your mortality risk.  An eight-year study of 4,400 older people in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those who ate fried potatoes, such as hash browns or French fries, more than two times per week were at least twice as likely to die prematurely as those who did not.  Unfried versions like baked or mashed potatoes were not linked with increased mortality.

Will this change your view of fried potatoes?  Breakfast potatoes.  Tater tots.  Potato pancakes.  “Those” potatoes.  What is your favorite splurge food?  Can you live without coffee?  Or pizza?  Or chicken?  Or potatoes?

Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD recently wrote in Shape about how it would be tough to give up potatoes because “they’re just so darn satisfying.”  She outlined the good and the bad and came up with a mixed review.

The Good:  New research indicates that potatoes help lower blood pressure.  Study volunteers ate six to eight purple potatoes, each about the size of a golf ball (with skins, microwaved without oil) twice daily for a month.  Their blood pressure decreased after the test period and none of the volunteers gained weight. The news isn’t too surprising because other studies have identified natural substances in potatoes that act similar to those in blood pressure medications, and potatoes are a great source of potassium, a nutrient known to keep blood pressure under control. The study used purple potatoes, because the pigment that gives them their pretty hue is rich in beneficial oxidants. Also, besides providing fiber, vitamins C and B, once you cook and then cool them, potatoes become loaded with resistant starch, a unique kind of carbohydrate that’s been shown to naturally rev up your body’s fat-burning furnace.  Like fiber, you can’t digest or absorb resistant starch, so your body ferments it when it reaches the large instestine, which triggers your body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates.

The Bad:

Despite its accolades, another study made big headlines earlier this year when the scientists found that potatoes–in any form–were linked to weight gain. Scientists tracked the diet and lifestyle choices of more than 120,000 participants for at least 12 years. They found that over four-year spans, those who ate an extra serving of French fries daily gained an average of 3.4 pounds, those who munched an extra serving of potato chips daily gained an average of 1.7 pounds, and an additional serving of potatoes prepared in any form was linked to an average of 1.3 pounds of extra padding.

The Bottom Line:

Ms. Sass thinks the good outweighs the bad, especially if potatoes are one of your favorite foods.  But, as we all agree, moderation is key.  In Sass’s recent book, she doesn’t include potatoes as a key part of the weight loss plan.  Instead, she emphasizes whole grains because of the vast research regarding their importance for both weight control and optimal health.

However, she thinks it’s okay to trade whole grain portions for skin-on potatoes a few times per week. Pick any kind you like: fingerling, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, blue, Yukon Gold, Russet. The trick is to prepare them healthfully and watch your portion size. Stick to about a half-cup (the size of half of a tennis ball) prepared in healthy ways.

Purple potatoes will be in my next shopping cart at the grocery store!