HAPPY DIA DE LOS MUERTOS
(… a few days late)
Love these artistic takes on the human skull…
(cannot find artist attribution for these… but bravo)!
Grab Bag Pom Pom Pump:
This little planet of ours is truly a miracle. Contained on this speck of the universe, we have been provided numerous medicinal wonders for our healthful benefits. The natural pharmacy around us should usually be our first stop on our quest to cure what ails us.
And so it is for the modest pomegranate. A tough-looking fruit that does not yield its treasures easily, science has been looking more closely over the last few years at what benefits this unusual fruit holds for us.
Lauded for years for its antioxidant properties, more recent studies show some pretty impressive discoveries, as RealAge.com reports:
The latest report: If someone you love (you?) has high blood pressure, heart-threatening high triglycerides (over 100), or low heart-protective HDL cholesterol (under 50), put pomegranate juice on your weekly grocery list. Drinking just 10 ounces of it a week for a year could impressively improve all three. We say this because pomegranate juice did exactly that in people who need all the heart help they can get: kidney dialysis patients, who are intensely vulnerable to cardiac trouble. (Pomegranate juice may also keep your colon cancer-free.)
Grab Bag Supermarket Shop Tips:
More from Dr. Oz….
Doctor O, along with food safety inspector Roy Costa and registered dietitian Frances Largeman-Roth share a list of 5 tips to heed in the supermarket to keep your food sources safer:
1. Look for the cold line
What do you do when you buy eggs? Do you take the carton from the top, open it and check for cracked eggs inside? Not good enough, says Costa. His advice: Buy eggs that are stacked under the cold line. This colored line is painted on the wall of the dairy section cooler. Retailers aren’t supposed to stack eggs above this line, where the temperature isn’t sufficiently cold. According to Dr. Oz, eggs stored there can sweat, facilitating the growth of bacteria. Instead of grabbing the top carton, look for that cold line and grab from underneath it.
2. Never buy meat to freeze
Smart shoppers buy meat or chicken on sale and freeze what they don’t plan to use right away. Or do they? According to Costa, meat that’s shipped to the supermarket is already frozen. It’s then thawed before it’s put on display. When you take that meat home, you have no idea how long it’s been in the display case. That means it could harbor bacteria. The moral of the story: Cook the meat you buy within a day. (Note from LK: You can safely freeze if you can find a source that skips the supermarket, thereby avoiding the freeze-thaw-freeze risk, such as: mail order, ordering from a butcher, or buying direct from the rancher.)
3. Beware the use-by date
The manufacturer stamps that “use-by” date on the package, right? Not always. According to Costa, retailers are responsible for stamping the date on foods that they process and package. That means they can change the date as many times as they want until the product sells. Costa says that retailers will sometimes continue selling the product until it looks green and moldy. Next time you buy food, look at the date, but also make sure the food looks fresh before you add it to your cart.
4. Avoid the manager’s special
Items with these stickers might as well be stamped “old food.” Francis Largeman-Roth says to run—not walk—away from them. They are the items the supermarket is trying to get rid of, which means it’s probably been on the shelf for a while and may not be safe to eat.
5. Shop on Wednesdays
Wednesdays are the days many supermarkets start their sales, so the shelves are fully stocked with fresh product, says Largeman-Roth. Avoid shopping on Mondays. Supermarkets get most of their deliveries on weekdays, not weekends, which means the food in the store on Mondays has likely been there since Friday or earlier.
And here’s a bonus tip on buying spinach:
If you have a choice between bagged spinach that may be stacked up and largely blocked from the (artificial) florescent light, vs. the clear plastic tubs which allow in more of the florescent rays, choose the plastic tubs. In a recent study, researchers discovered that spinach stored in clear plastic tubs under fluorescent lighting actually became more nutrient-rich in a short span of time.
Grab Bag Party Planner:
Gearing up for the holidays.. this is a tip I have used, with great success. Make a beautiful “lotus blossom” looking flower from a napkin, thanks to Martha Stewart. Tip: Soft fabric napkins are a challenge... works best with a stiffer fabric.
1. Fold a dinner napkin in half diagonally both ways, pressing to crease; press all folds as you go. Open the napkin, and fold each of its four corners to the center, creating a square.
2. Fold the four new corners of the napkin to the center of the smaller square.
3. Repeat, folding in the corners to make an even smaller square.
4. Flip the napkin over. Fold the four corners in to meet at the center of the square.
5. With a finger pressing the center of the napkin, reach underneath and tug on the flap at each corner so a cupped edge is formed.
6. Pull the remaining corners from underneath into cupped petal shapes. Place the napkin on a plate, and tuck a roll in the center.
Step-by-step visual how-to can be found here.
Grab Bag Thoughts for the Week:
Grab Bag Brain Boost:
Not a game, but a simple mental exercise to improve memory:
When you’re lying in bed at night ready to fall asleep, you review what you did that day from start to finish. You start with the time you got up out of bed until the time you went back to bed. Do this in as much detail as possible, visualizing in your mind each and every step from beginning to end. At first, you wont recall much detail, and you’ll probably jump very quickly from task to task or think of the day in large blocks of time. But try to slow down and remember as much as possible, in as much detail as possible. Over time, you’ll get better and better at this and you’ll be able to remember more and more detail.
This simple mental exercise has the following benefits:
1) It will improve your memory
2) Your power of observation will improve. In fact, you’ll find yourself during the day performing a mini recall of your day thus far because you know that later than night you will be trying to recall it again.
3) You will be more in the moment throughout the day. Again, because you know you will be recalling your day later, you pay more attention to details throughout the day.
4) Your ability to visualize will improve.
5) You will improve concentration.
6) You will fall asleep faster because your mind will get tired much like counting sheep at night in order to fall asleep.
Grab Bag Funny Stuff: