Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Yeast Pancakes Recipe

I started making yeast pancakes in an effort to reduce my sodium consumption while still enjoying my most favorite breakfast dish, which is pancakes. Sodium is reduced by eliminating the baking powder and soda from the recipe.

I use a one-half buckwheat flour and one-half whole wheat flour mixture for my batter. However, you can use either all whole wheat or an all-purpose flour for this recipe. Using yeast also gives the pancakes a sour dough type of taste. I usually sweeten the batter with Stevia, but you can use sugar, maple syrup or honey, or use no sweetener at all to get the full sour dough type of taste in your pancakes.

I started using buckwheat flour because buckwheat is a good source of selenium. It also contains all eight essential amino acids. Additional nutritional on buckwheat can be found at the Whole Foods web site titled "Buckwheat."

Ground Flax Seed is a good source of plant based omega-3 essential fatty acids, lignans and fiber.

This recipe makes two large pancakes or three to four small pancakes.


1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon light salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 teaspoons Stevia (optional) - or other sweetener to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil or other vegetable oil
1 tablespoon "No Sugar Added" apple sauce
1/4 chopped banana - remainder of banana will be pancake topping
1 teaspoon dry yeast
1 egg
1/2 cup milk

Place milk in blender and blend at medium to high speed. Add egg and blend until mixture is a little frothy. Pour frothy milk and egg mixture in a microwave bowl and heat on high for 40 seconds. Pour heated mixture back into blender and start blending on medium.

Add yeast to milk and egg mixture while blending. Add the cinnamon, salt, vanilla, Stevia, oil, apple sauce and banana into blender and blend. When well mixed, add the flours and ground flax seed and blend until batter is smooth and well blender.

Pour pancake batter into a bowl and let sit for about 30-minutes. I usually let the mixture sit in the oven covered with a cloth. After 30 minutes, the mixture is ready. The batter typically thickens. You can add a little more milk to help it pour better onto the frying pan or grill.

Make the pancakes like you normally do. You will find that this batter browns quickly. So turn the pancake as soon as you can get the spatula under it.

I top my yeast pancakes with the remainder of the chopped banana and a handful of raisins. You will be surprised at how fluffy this recipe makes the pancakes.



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Men With Higher Than Normal Blood Pressure Have a Higher Risks of Atrial fibrillation

In a press release from the American Heart Association, titled: "Middle-aged men with upper-normal blood pressure at risk for AF," it stated that upper-normal blood pressure in healthy, middle-aged men is an early predictor of atrial fibrillation. The study concluded that
  • Men with a systolic blood pressure over 140 mm Hg had a 60% increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation or AF.
  • Men with a systolic blood pressure between 128 and 138 mm Hg had a 50% increased risk of developing AF.
  • Men with a diastolic blood pressure of 80 mm Hg or higher had a 79% increased risks of developing AF.
What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial Fibrillation is the rapid and disorganized electrical signals that cause the heart's two upper chambers to contract irregularly and very fast. AF doesn't always cause symptoms. Some may experience chest pain. AF increases the risks of stroke.

One important step to prevent AF is to keep your blood pressure low. Ten things that can help you keep your blood pressure low are:
  1. Lose extra weight
  2. Regularly exercise
  3. Maintain a healthy diet
  4. Use less sodium
  5. Limit your alcohol consumption
  6. Stay away from tobacco and second hand smoke
  7. Reduce your caffeine
  8. Reduce stress
  9. Check your blood pressure often
  10. Be more social with family and friends
A great resource to help you keep your blood pressure low is Your Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure by the US Department of Health and Human Services. You may also find interesting the Natural Remedies for High Blood Pressure.

For treatment options of atrial fibrillation see Atrial Fibrillation Treatments and Drugs by the Mayo Clinic.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), Dairy Products and Safflower Oil

Here is a review of some articles on conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), health aspects of dairy consumption and safflower oil benefits.

What is conjugated linoleic acid(CLA)?

Conjugated linoleic acids or CLA is a family of linoleic acids or unsaturated n-6 fatty acids. Fatty acids are acids that come from fats that are broken down, and are considered "good fats." They are used for energy by the cells in our bodies, and are water soluble. These fatty acids help the body process cholesterol, clean up our veins and arteries of cholesterol build up, and help regulate weight.

The primary source of CLA are dairy products and beef.

CLA Side Effects

Some of the CLA Side Effects are:
  • Stomach upset
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • May worsen diabetes
  • May cause diabetes if you have metabolic syndrome
CLA: The Modern Food Chain's Weak Link by Lynnette Harris

This article from USU states that some of the benefits of CLA are to "slow the process of some types of cancer and heart disease, and appears to actually help reduce body fat and increase lean muscle mass."

Interestingly, the researchers at USU have found that "CLA content of milk is as much as five times higher when cows graze green, growing pastures than when they eat diets consisting of 50 percent conserved forage, such as alfalfa and corn silage and 50 percent grain." Basically, we have engineered out the healthy benefits of dairy by feeding our cows the wrong diet. More emphasis needs to be placed on how our dairy food supply can be made healthier by increasing the CLA content.

Is Milk From Grass-Fed Cows More Heart-Healthy? by Lynne Peeples

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health have determined that people with the highest levels of CLA have a 36% lower risk of heart attack compared with people with the lowest levels of CLA. This may be more evidence that CLA more than offsets the risks of saturated fat in milk.

Study: Dairy Consumption Does Not Elevate Heart Attack Risk from Brown University

Researchers from Brown University analyzed health data from 3,630 middle aged Costa Rican men and women from an epidemiological study between 1994 and 2004.

"What they found is that the dairy intake of people who had heart attacks was not statistically different than the intake of people who did not. After breaking people into quintiles, based on their dairy consumption amount, there was no significant linear relationship between consumption and heart risk, even among the most voracious consumers."

Two Dietary Oils, Two Sets of Benefits For Older Women With Diabetes by Martha Belury of OSU

This study compared the health effects of safflower oil with CLA.

A result of the 16-week study showed that a small amount of safflower oil, which was a little less than two teaspoons each day, reduced fat in the trunk area (visceral fat), lowered blood sugar and increased muscle tissue.

The same amount of CLA supplements reduced total body fat and lowered the participant's body mass index.

"Among the most surprising findings: that in 16 weeks, these women could lose between about two pounds and four pounds of trunk fat simply by taking safflower oil supplements.

'I never would have imagined such a finding. This study is the first to show that such a modest amount of a linoleic acid-rich oil may have a profound effect on body composition in women,' Belury said. The dose of either oil taken each day was approximately 1 2/3 teaspoons."

A good article by Dr. Russell H. Greenfield titled "Safflower Oil: Use a Fat to Lose Fat?", however, questions the results of this study. Dr. Greenfield's recommendation for now is to not use Safflower Oil.

Organic Dairies and Milk Products Ratings

Here are two organic dairy scorecards and ratings:

The Cornucopia Institute

According to the above organic milk rankings, the best organic milk brands are Whole Foods Markets, Organic Valley and Stonyfield. The lowest ranked brands are Aurora and Horizon.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bone Health and Silicon

Most people know that calcium, vitamin D and exercise are important for strong bones. Few, however, may realize that silicon is also an essential mineral for bone health.

In the article, Silicon and Bone Health, by R. Jugdaohsingh, research is discovering that adequate levels of silicon in the body is needed for healthy bone density, and for bone formation and bone health.

Research also shows that the best way to maintain adequate levels of silicon in the body is through nutritional sources. Long term exposure to high levels of silicon compounds, such as in antacids with magnesium trisilicates, can possibly cause kidney damage.

Food Sources of Silicon

Foods with the highest levels of silicon are whole grains. Grains that have been processed the least are the best, which includes hulled barley, oat bran, brown rice and whole wheat products.

Fruits are also a good source with the best being bananas and pineapples.

Beans, spinach and tofu are also good sources.

Tap and mineral water are good sources of silicon, along with tea and coffee. Better sources, however, are wine and beer.

Silicon in Beer

Silicon in Beer and Brewing by Troy Casey and Charles Bamforth, has determined that the best beers for silicon supply are the pale ales that contain large amounts of barley and hops. Wheat based beers that are brewed with small amounts of hops have the lowest amount of silicon.

Beer can be good for your health if you use it in moderation, according to the article Truth About Beer. Moderate use of beer may reduce the risk of a heart attack by 30%. There is also some evidence that moderate use of beer may also reduce the risk of diabetes, bladder cancer and kidney stones.

Moderation is defined by the medical community as one 12 ounce serving of beer each day for women, and two 12 ounce servings each day for men.

Abuse of alcohol, however, can lead to medical problems, such as an unhealthy buildup of visceral or belly fat and fatty liver disease. So, moderation is the key to the health benefits of beer.


Monday, January 9, 2012

ACSM Releases First Strength and Conditioning Textbook

ACSM’s Foundations of Strength Training and Conditioning bridges gap between science and practice

INDIANAPOLIS – While the strength and conditioning field has traditionally been unchartered territory for the American College of Sports Medicine, their recent release of the ACSM’s Foundations of Strength Training and Conditioning textbook puts the College on the map in this growing field.

“The field of strength training and conditioning has grown immensely over the past 20 years,” said Nicholas Ratamess, Jr., Ph.D., CSCS, FNSCA, author of ACSM’s Foundations of Strength Training and Conditioning. “The growing field needs to see a renewed emphasis on science, and ACSM is one of the best organizations to help with that. This book bridges the gap between scientific study and professional practice, and it is aimed at coaches, athletes, personal trainers, fitness instructors and students preparing for a career in strength training and conditioning."

Based on the latest research in the field, the textbook offers a comprehensive introduction to the foundations, physiological responses and adaptations, program design, and assessment in strength training and conditioning. Chapters cover everything from stretching to plyometric training, and the book is written in a clear, straightforward style to help readers grasp new concepts.

Highlights of the book include:

  • Video exercise demonstrations to teach proper form and technique.
  • Myths and misconceptions in each chapter to clear up common misunderstandings.
  • Sidebar content to outline important concepts presented in the text.
  • Interpreting research boxes draw attention to important research findings, explaining their application to strength and conditioning practice.
  • Case studies present real-world scenarios and allow students to evaluate issues and devise effective solutions.

“This book will better prepare faculty to teach their strength training and conditioning courses, students to learn human physiology and program design, and coaches to develop training programs that optimize performance,” said Ratamess.

ACSM’s Foundations of Strength Training and Conditioning is available for $89 through the Lippincott Williams & Wilkins website or by calling (800) 638-3030. Members of the media interested in ordering a review copy of the book or requesting an excerpt may contact Sarah Schuessler, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, at (215) 521-8010 or Members of the media interested in scheduling an author interview may contact Ashley Crockett-Lohr, American College of Sports Medicine, at (317) 637-9200 ext. 133 or