Update: Mad Cow, Coffee Craziness, Mom’s Health

by Claudius J West

Meat Madness

newsboyWhile reading over an FDA document the other day, I came across a surprising item I had missed in my post on BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy). Turns out that BSE usually only expresses itself in a cow as old as five years in a way you, or, more likely, a highly paid and terrrifically vigilant slaughter house worker, might notice—-that is, symptoms expressed as the cow being unable to walk up a ramp or remain standing.

(For a four-legged animal to have trouble standing mean things have to be really bad, don’t you think? Imagine if tables could get drunk: how drunk would they have to be before they fell down? I’m guessing pretty darn drunk.)

Here’s the fun part. From what I recall growing up on a farm, we sent our cattle to market when they reached two years of age. With the massive amounts of antibiotics cattle receive these days (meant to accelerate growth), cattle are sent to slaughter after a mere eighteen months.

You see the problem as far as detecting BSE goes. If cows typically only show symptoms of BSE around five years, then at two years there won’t be any “downer” cows signaling “Houston, we have a problem.”

Maxing Out My New Coffee Habit

coffee teaAfter stopping my soda habit a few years ago, I was happy that I was allowing my brain to get back to operating sans caffeine in a way it hadn’t for several decades.

My new coffee consumption was undertaken as a medicinal action—a quick gulp and a grimace—so on the good side, my caffeine intake was a lot less than the typical coffee devotee.

But then, yesterday, I discovered a way to nearly double my caffeine load. As I was researching vitamin C, I came across the news that green tea is chockablock with a useful flavonoid called quercetin, useful because it is may be a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.

Hey, I had green tea packets in the cupboard. Why not boil up the tea and use the tea to pour over the coffee grounds? I’d get the BDNF-boosting advantages of the coffee, plus its own antioxidants, plus the quercetin from the tea.

It had to be done.

The lemon flavoring in the tea made the coffee taste strangely sweet.

The other trick up my sleeve: two tablespoons of Sprinkle Fiber whisked into my cup.

That’s a whopping 10 grams of fiber first thing in the morning. Ten grams doesn’t sound like a lot, but it isn’t easy to get all of the fiber we need without a little help. An entire cup of raw spinach has just 1 measly gram of fiber. You’d think spinach would be nothing but fiber, but, no.The goal is 35 grams of fiber per day, 30 at a minimum, so, as you can see, 10 grams is a much welcomed addition.

Sprinkle Fiber gets its fiber from acacia, and that makes it okay with me.

Mom’s Heart Problems

Margaret and ChrisMy mother’s appointment with the cardiologist was inconclusive; she will be returning for more tests before a definite course of action is contemplated.

In the meantime, hooray, she is joining the ranks of statin-gobblers. He doctor wrote her a prescription for a $200 drug, but, after a helpful hint from the pharmacist, she switched to the $4 version.

What she does know that she didn’t know before is that she may have a heart murmur, or a blockage, or both, or neither.

Also, she knows she definitely has stiffening of the arteries.

Coincidentally, I had been reading about the vital importance of vitamin C. I’m not talking about vitamin C preventing the sniffles. Vitamin C is a cofactor in many enzymatic reactions, including reactions needed to properly synthesize collagen.

Collagen? Isn’t that something people inject into their skin to smooth out wrinkles?

If collagen were a primate, it would be King Kong’s bigger brother.

Collagen is not only the most abundant protein in the human body but it is the main component of our connective tissues.

Ninety percent of the matrix proteins in our bones are composed of collagen.

Cartilage: fifty percent collagen.

There are twenty-four types of collagen. You need it for your gums, the lenses of your eyes, your skin, your bones, for holding yourself together with tendons and ligaments, and more. Let’s just say you need it for everything.

Where vitamin C may intersect with my mother’s stiff arteries lies in the collagen of the arterial walls. Collagen is there, at least in part, to provide elasticity. It seems to me, speaking as a medical non-professional, that the sensible place to start when treating stiff arteries is to make sure the collagen factory is getting all of the vitamin C it needs to carry out synthesis properly.

In most modern people, it isn’t likely that a vitamin C deficiency would rise to the level of scurvy and become life threatening. Still, why even get close to crossing that line when it is so easy to erase it altogether?

Oranges contain 163% DV (daily value) for vitamin C.

It’s important to eat the orange rather than drink it. Orange juice imparts a high glycemic load, which may do you more harm than good. If you’re going to drink orange juice, opt for the juice with pulp. The fiber, along with being healthful in its own right, will slow down absorption of fruit sugar. The difference is four-fold (400%), from a glycemic load of 3 for a whole orange to 12 for orange juice. If you are, God forbid, tested for diabetes, you will be handed a glass of orange juice to get the test started, so that should tell you something.

half orange sliceOrange Eating Tips

When I was practicing martial arts on a daily basis, oranges were a favorite food of mine. I peeled them and ate them, taking pains to remove as much of the white stuff under the peel as possible.

These days, I don’t have the patience for the careful-peeling approach. If, instead, I cut the orange into wedges, I knew that I would only bite the juice out and leave the pulp behind. What to do?

My solution is to cut the orange along the central axis, stem to stern, into slices, or, if you prefer, disks. Then, I cut them in half, like you have probably seen them served as garnishes on your restaurant breakfast plate.That way, I can pull the ends of the disk apart, causing them to separate and present themselves as individual triangles, easily and neatly nibbled. The pulp goes in my mouth, leaving only the peel.


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