Welcome to the second edition of my roundup of news, views and recipes that I usually share on social media — hope you’ll find something in here that will be of interest!
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LATEST HEALTH AND NUTRITION NEWS
The biggest health news this week was the WHO’s decision to declare processed meats as carcinogenic and red meat as potentially so. Depending on where you get your health news, you may have gotten a version of this story that is more or less nuanced. I thought this article provides a good take, explaining the weaknesses in the research (as usual epidemiological studies are famously problematic) and the risk factors that are blown out of proportion. And, if I may add, nowhere do they make the distinction between factory-farmed, hormone-pumped meat and its grass-fed, Earth-loving cousin, with their corresponding differences in nutrient profile. I am not suggesting that eating the former kind of meat does any health favors to anyone – but to paint with such a broad brush is a huge disservice to those who are striving to revolutionize our food system and grow animals in a holistic manner.
Bottom line: as with most official blanket nutrition advice there isn’t necessarily much room for concern if you’re a real foodie and make it a habit to avoid processed, chemical-laden products.
Summer Tomato is a favorite of mine because she’s a real smart cookie, is right on the money regarding nutrition advice and, perhaps most importantly, also goes into the psychological aspects of eating and healthy habit-forming. This is a pretty thorough (and mouth-watering) list of foods and food categories that I for one strive to include more of in my life.
In case you’re still going for low or no-fat dairy products (despite being a reader of this blog!) please do take a look at this article to better understand why that’s just not a good idea, whether you’re in it for the health benefits, weight loss or both.
I thought this article by Dr. Mark Hyman was a welcome addition to the discussion about infertility since it often lacks the lifestyle factors — which are very often at the cause. I think his emphasis on the effects too much sugar and insulin regulation problems is quite important, even if I am not in agreement with everything he suggests (I would always advocate for including more real nutrient-dense foods in the diet rather than resorting to multivitamins for example).
This is a thought-provoking piece about the increasing number of routine ultrasound scans even during a low-risk pregnancy. Here in France the norm is 3 scans, one for each trimester, but the number can go up at private hospitals and if the baby’s becoming post-term. But I know that in many other parts of the world the number of routine scans can be much much higher than this, especially in private hospital settings. There’s research suggesting that more scans do not improve health outcomes for baby and that they may even cause some harm.
As with many things regarding pregnancy, it’s best to do your research!
You have probably heard about this phenomenon over the last few decades, as well as the various theories that have attempted to explain it. Here’s a really simple and straightforward one that made lots of sense to me.
You didn’t think a roundup by me would be complete without more news on the microbiome did you? Here’s some more stuff that’s continuing to come out from the fascinating world of “gut bug” research.
Scientists have been looking into the role of the vaginal microbiome to better understand why some women contract sexually transmitted infections during unprotected sex while others in the same situation do not. As amazing as the microbiome research has been, I had never heard of this angle before where researchers are considering whether certain women’s bacteria provide them with a protective effect. Is that just not the coolest possibility you’ve ever heard??
Researchers have discovered links between antibiotic use early in life and infectious as well as chronic diseases like autoimmune conditions and even obesity later in life. Scary stuff when you consider how often these drugs are prescribed for children and how, by some measures, a third of these prescriptions are unnecessary. Antibiotics indiscriminately kill so-called good and bad bacteria, causing imbalances in the gut microbiome and by extension the immune system.
On a related note, researchers have actually identified certain species of bacteria that seem to be instrumental in preventing asthma IF they happen to be present in the guts of children when they are only months old. Having been born by C-section and not having been breastfed contribute to the associated risks.
We did get around to making that chicken from the last roundup. It was delicious and turned out crispier than anything else we’d tried before so I’m suspecting it will become a regular around here.
Speaking of whole chicken, it’s the season to make this amazing Minty Moroccan Chicken Soup again – which was every bit as good as I remembered.
I also tried my hand at rabbit for the first time and this Slow Cooker Braised Rabbit was a real success. I will just cook it a little less next time (so 5 hours on low) and remove the lid during the last hour or so to let the sauce thicken.
OMG these Tahini Almond Cookies were so good! My son currently needs to be egg-white (as well as gluten) free and let me tell you, it ain’t easy finding delicious sweets recipes that don’t include egg whites. They are just so damn good at binding. So these were just the ticket, and were really easy to put together. Make them as soon as you can, and while you’re at it, double the recipe!