Tart: An Acquired Taste

I had a little problem  a few weeks ago and a friend recommended that I drink Cranberry  Juice.  I do not drink juices but went to the supermarket.  The cranberry juices were in different varieties.  Finally, I chose one but after drinking some of it, decided that it was too sweet for my taste.  I went to the health food store and picked up  the same size but it cost three times the price.  The recommended serving was three ounces, which I poured into a glass added four cubes of ice.  On my way back to the living room I took a mouthful and instantly was spitting it all over the place.  Tart!! Sharp!!Acidic!! Hold on a minute.  Who drinks this stuff?  I swear it is going to burn a hole in my stomach.

I was visiting my daughter and took  it with me.  So my teenage grandson wanted to try it.  I told him how acid it tasted, but he still wanted to try.  I watched in amazement as he drank about three ounces of the juice.  What? Is his stomach lined with lead or something? “It is an acquired taste, grandma,” he tells me.

So then I started to think.  As I grow older I cannot tolerate any food or drink that is too acidic.  I remember my school days when  I could eat fruit such as gooseberries, golden apples, tamarinds, lemons, all I needed was some salt sprinkled on the top.  I cannot do this anymore.  With age the stomach acids begin to decrease and the lining is easily irritated.  Back to my cranberry juice, over several days I manage to tolerate it better.  The problem cleared up so I guess that it was worth it after all.

 

Food Adventure: Bugs Anyone? Harriette Barker, Ph. D, RN

Free Stock Photo: Close-up of Mexican fruit flies on a grapefruit

 

I do not like creepy-crawly things and cannot stand bugs of any kind.  Growing up in the Caribbean with its wide variety of insects and crawlies, I could never think of any insect or worm as food.  Culturally we are a meat and fish-eating people.  I am not adventurous with food.  I prefer to stick to things that I know.

Many years ago, visiting the island of Tobago, I was encouraged to try some of their meat delicacies such as Agouti, Manicou, Armadillo, and Iguana.  I passed.  I could not imagine them going down my throat.  I am also picky about fish.  I only like those with scales and cannot tolerate shark, or shellfish (allergic).  No shrimp, conch, sea eggs or lobster for me.

With my limited food choices in meat and fish, my eye caught an article in a science magazine about eating bugs.   Apparently, insects like grasshoppers are nutritious, iron rich, and comparable to the nutrients in beef.  They could become an alternative source of inexpensive protein that is good for everyone.  Instead of cattle farms, we would now have insect farms that are more sustainable and friendly to the environment.

Entomophagy is the correct name for eating insects.  There are many countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe where this practice is an important part of their diet.  Many westerners are not keen on eating these bizarre foods.  However, they are specialty restaurants who are enjoying a new interest in these foods from their patrons.

Image result for free pictures of insect meals

http://www.phuket.com/magazine/eating-insects.htm

I think of the bugs that grow in the Caribbean, roaches, centipedes, lizards, beetles, butterflies, caterpillars, millipedes, and none of them begin to make my taste buds water.  In fact, most of them I cannot tolerate.  I am a fan of bizarre foods, but sometimes I cannot watch the host eating his delicious choices of insects.  I remember one episode where he had a large Louisiana centipede on a plate.  I just ran from the room.

The best eight bugs recommended in an article in the National Geographic are beetles, butterflies, moths, bees, wasp, flies, mosquitoes, water boatmen, backswimmers and stink bugs.  The online magazine alternate daily.com narrowed these down to the three best bugs.  How nutritious are bugs?   They are high in protein, fatty acids such as omega-3s, calcium, and B 12.

Rich in protein and low in fat, Insect Burgers on sale at Jumbo supermarkets in 400 stores across the Netherlands, Stock Photo

Are insects good for your health?  Yes, per the United Nations.  They can help to alleviate world hunger, reduce the risks of anemia, stimulate metabolism, boost the immune system, and are handy in emergency situations.

I do not plan to eat any insects, so I felt good about myself until I came across this information.  Apparently, a lot of our foods have in insect parts.  Peanut butter, tomato ketchup, coffee, packaged food, some red food dyes and chocolate to name a few.  Now I am feeling squeamish.

We have been eating insects since birth.  Before you start gagging, the FDA knows all about it.  They accept that a certain level of bugs in our food is good.  Okay, so what shall I do?  I am thinking of a way to quieten my stomach which is beginning to feel queasy.

I am still curious wanting to find out if there are any entomophagy cookbooks.  I found eat-a-bug and bug-a licious and more.  Such recipes  as Cabbage, Peas ‘n’ Crickets and Bee-LT Sandwich,  may tempt your appetite.  If you are adventurous and looking for food excitement, then you may want to venture into the world of bugs. “If it looks good, eat it,” the host of Bizarre foods encourages us.  Maybe the day is coming when we take his advice seriously.

Interested in bugs cookery you can get a free cookbook at http://cookbook.pestaurant.com/

 

 

A Childhood Song

As a child in primary school after lunch was song time.  We sang all kinds of songs.  One of my favorites was Waltzing Matilda.   I have always been intrigued by this song but I had no idea what the words meant. “Once a jolly swagman walked into a billabong.  Under the shade of a coolibah tree. ” Who or what was a swagman?  what on earth was a billabong or a coolibah tree?   Living on a Caribbean island, I had no clue what the song was talking about.   Here was this man  singing and waiting for his billy to boil – you come -a waltzing-Matilda with me.  I loved the tune.   It was jumpy.

I checked my Miriam-Webster dictionary, but could not find those terms. Then hooray for the internet and Google.  So let me share it with you.  I learned that it is an Australian Bush Ballad that was written in 1895.  The song is about a tramp who wanders from place to place looking for work.  One day he found a sheep that belonged to a rich cattle rancher. He killed it, ate some of it and put the rest in his bag.  Unfortunately, the rancher came by and he had three policemen with him.  The swagman did not want to be arrested so he jumped into the water hole and drowned.  After his death people said that they could hear him singing the chorus waltzing Matilda as they passed by.

Now, my favorite song makes a lot of sense.

By Unknown – New South Wales Government Printer, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1221739

 

 

 

Positive Thinking and Aging-Harriette Barker, Ph. D, RN

Free Stock Photo: An African-American woman looking out a window

Have you ever been accused of not thinking positively about a situation?  It hurt when someone says, “you are always thinking negatively.”  Your first reaction is to defend yourself and try to convince the person that you are positive in your outlook and approach.  As we age, remaining positive may become stressful.   Many years ago, as a young staff nurse working in a geriatric facility, one of my patients said to me, “growing older is a bitch.”  At that time bouncing with youth and fairy dreams, I could not relate to her sentiment.

Positive thinking (feel good approach) is promoted as being healthy for aging hearts.  It helps to reduce the risk of inflammation and heart disease.  It can also boost your self-esteem, increase your ability to make decisions, and improve personal relationships.  Focusing on the positive and minimizing negatives thoughts and attitudes add years to life, increases resiliency, decreases stress levels and gives you greater insight.

Positive thinking is a healthy behavior that can help add years to our lives. We are encouraged to let go of negativity.  To view the older years as opportunities and challenges, that keep us engaged and in touch with the world around us.

Positive thinking from a religious perspective was healthy, and necessary for spiritual development according to the late Rev. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, and Rev. Dr. Robert Schuller.  Their ideas that focusing on the positive eliminated the negative, has been the hallmark of their books, sermons, and letters. Such thinking is very beneficial to older persons as they explore and enhance their spirituality.

However, there are some newer thoughts on positive thinking that reinforce the idea that positivity alone does not necessarily result in successful outcomes.  The Obama Presidential campaign touted the positive slogan of “Yes, we can.”  It was a message of optimism and hope that energized the nation and moved it forward.   Although his message was one of hope, in hindsight we can see the obstacles that presented every step of the way.

 Oettingen, a psychologist, agrees that positive thinking is a strategy that enables persons to take a positive approach on striving for goals.  However, she acknowledges that positive thinking alone does not eliminate obstacles that may get in the way.  Assessing these and developing a plan to overcome them in a realistic way is important if you want to achieve your goals.

 Oettingen, developed a four-step, wish, outcome, obstacles,  plan (WOOP). This strategy helps you  put your old dreams into action or develop new ones.  The steps to this program are:

Wish: Be specific

Outcome: Think about the results

Obstacles: Identify anything that may set you back

Plan:  determine where or when setbacks may occur and how to overcome them.