Sunday, 29 December 2019

Oatmeal and the Reinventing of Breakfast

"If you look upon ham and eggs and lust, you have already committed breakfast in your heart."
C.S. Lewis

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It has been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Unfortunately for many, breakfast has also become the most boring meal of the day. How sad!

Has breakfast become boring? Are you tired of the same standard quick go-to breakfast option of a box of cold cereal? Yea; glorified dog food kibbles on our breakfast tables! Yummy … Not! (Yes, I am being facetious). Yet grocery stores have entire aisles devoted to these breakfast pseudo-foods. Am I the only one who thinks that strange? Hmm.

A common argument I hear from people to not eat breakfast is that they don't have the time in the morning. I would argue that they're then just getting out of bed too late. In other areas of life we always make time for things that matter and are important to us. Why not for breakfast too? Perhaps a good wholesome breakfast just doesn't matter to some folks. Well, to each their own; I'll not judge.

I have been experimenting with breakfast alternatives lately. You may recall seeing this recent post  in which I recreated poached eggs. I had them again yesterday. Yes, they were amazingly awesome!

While growing up a regular breakfast fare was oatmeal, or porridge as it was often called. It wasn't a microwaved version as one often sees today, but an old school stove top concoction. Sometimes immediately prior to serving some variety of fruit was placed on top; berries, sliced banana, or whatever we happened to have available at the time. To this a little brown sugar was sprinkled and a little milk added. It was a good wholesome breakfast that actually filled you up for a while and gave you the energy you needed to kick-start your day.

My latest experiment with breakfast was recreating that oatmeal breakfast of yesteryear. The oatmeal is still prepared old-school style on the stove. Once it's virtually done, I take the pot off the heat, stir in some frozen berries, cover and set aside. If the berries are too large, I cut them up first into smaller pieces (while still frozen). The hot oatmeal thaws the berries as it thickens in the covered pot. Then, immediately before serving, I added a couple heaping tablespoons of blueberry yogurt. Other yogurt flavours also work, but I'm partial to blueberry. Absent from my newly recreated oatmeal was the brown sugar and milk of yesteryear. The combination of berries and yogurt made it sweet enough. Another difference is that the oatmeal is now served cold as opposed to to its predecessor's hot version.

Who says that breakfast has to be boring? It doesn't have to be. The most important meal of the day can be nutritious and enjoyable if we want it to be and if we allow just a little extra time in our mornings to make it happen. Peace, and may your breakfasts be awesome.

"Our food should be our medicine
and our medicine should be our food."
Hippocrates

Photo sources: First is my own; second is unknown.

Friday, 27 December 2019

Breakfast: The Third Most Important Pre-Lunch Meal?

I love breakfast!

I love them so much that I sometimes even have two, and yes, that's before lunch. Maybe I'm part Hobbit. Though Hobbits are small creatures (unlike me), they are famous for their two breakfasts. Last I counted, they actually have seven meals per day: breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper (some would argue that it's only six meals per day, but, whatever; point has been made. They eat often).

Actually, I typically don't eat that often.

I do, however, calorie up in the mornings, start tapering off at lunch, and typically only graze in the evening. Unless, of course, someone has an awesome non-vegan friendly rack of something (real meat) on the grill or in the smoker that I get invited to. In that case, all bets are off.

But we were talking about breakfast, that early-morning feast some have called "the most important meal of the day." I would have to agree with that sentiment. Fact is, I cannot understand people who don't eat breakfast, but that's OK; to each their own. I'll not judge.

One of my favourite new-found discoveries is poached eggs.

I think I finally learned the trick to a perfect poached egg. It starts with a frying pan partly filled with water. Once the water comes to a full boil, turn off the burner and immediately crack into it two (or however many you want) extra-large eggs. Cover the fry pan and count off exactly five minutes (no peeking).

While that's happening, I like to fry up a few slices of thick bacon. Everything is better with bacon, including poached eggs! As a lover of old Canadian cheddar cheese, you'd have to believe that a few slices of that awesome aged cheddar is also in order. Finally, a nice rye or light rye buttered toast (real butter, not that imitation pseudo-food, margarine stuff). Add a little salt, black pepper and crushed chilies, and you're good to go.

Note: If the yolk doesn't start running all over your cheese, bacon and toast when you put your fork to them, you cooked your eggs too long. You may need to adjust your poaching times a little.

Well there you have it: Poached Eggs, a la The Other Side of Will. Suitable for breakfast, second breakfast and elevensies. Oh, never mind; these poached eggs are so awesome, they're even worthy of a Hobbit's luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper too. Enjoy.

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Sunday, 15 December 2019

Is Living Hazardous to Your Health?

Someone shared an article on social media recently of how a popular diabetes medication is being investigated for possibly containing a cancer-causing contaminant. Why am I not surprised? The good news is, that your diabetes is under control. The bad news is, you may get cancer because of it. A person could go nuts trying to stay on top of all these things that could potentially harm you, and even cause ones premature demise. Sigh!

I suspect that most people are probably reasonably concerned with their health. They go for regular medical check ups, get a variety of regular tests done, and follow the prescribed medications where needed. The doctor notices a case of borderline diabetes, and prescribes a common standard treatment. I am for the most part, not a conspiracy theorist; the doctor is not out to get us in any malicious way, and I don't think they are in cahoots with the big pharmaceuticals either.

Fact is, a lot of things could potentially cause cancer. In this case, if you were to read beyond just the headline, the contaminate being investigated is also the same contaminate found in water and other foods. Does that mean that we should quit drinking water and eating certain foods too?

Granted, some people may have had adverse reactions to the medication in question. Maybe for some it is a horrible drug. Then again, for others it's a life-saver. Some people also have adverse reactions to Tylenol, but that doesn't mean that Tylenol doesn't work wonders for many other folks. Bottom line is, in conjunction with my doctor, we'll find the right medication that works for me. It may not work for someone else, but if it works for me, then all is good.

Yes, there is always a chance that there may be a negative side effect from the foods that we eat and the medications that we take, but there is also probably the greater potential side effect of getting hit by a truck on our morning commute to the workplace. There is probably a greater risk that authorities will one day knock on our door and inform our significant other that we will not be coming home due to an unfortunate accident. Does that mean that we should all move into bubble-wrapped homes? Does that mean that we should no longer go to work? Nice thought, but, Hmm …

… would that really be living life to the full?

Of course we should all try and take care of ourselves and not overly abuse our bodies. Yes, eat right. Yes, get the proper rest. Yes, exercise some every day. Yes, take medications only as prescribed by your family physician. However, at the risk of sounding somewhat morbid, the healthy and the sick, the young and the old, the rich and the poor, will all alike one day … die. If I were to constantly fret over every little thing that I eat or drink, if I were to constantly second-guess the doctor's orders with regards to my prescribed medications, what kind of life is that?

I guess, as the old quip goes, it would really suck to one day die of … absolutely nothing.

I love the image of the elderly lady celebrating her 100th birthday, by lighting a cigar off one of the candles on her birthday cake. Though I personally quit smoking many years ago, I remember mentioning to my wife that, if I too live to see my 100th birthday, I fully intend to celebrate it with a big-old Cuban cigar and a glass of old single-malt scotch whiskey. And why not?!

The bottom line is, as I've often mused, that …

… living is hazardous to your health.

Maybe it is. Maybe longevity has more to do with the proverbial luck of the draw and/or the plan of Almighty God. Who am I to say? Some die at twenty, some at one hundred and ten, and others somewhere in between. But worrying about every little thing that may or may not happen, is also not healthy, and is also not really … living. It's kind of sad, actually.

Just my two-cents worth. Peace, and may you live life to the full. Cheers!

Read source diabetes medication article here

Drugs Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons
Granny's 100th Birthday Photo Source: Unknown

Thursday, 12 December 2019

The Male Urine Test

Kafka Museum: Statue rotates and pees.
Well now that I am getting older, I've begun to notice some weird new tests that the doctor has ordered for me. Welcome to being old enough to be able to call yourself a … pensioner. How the hell did that happen?! Wasn't it only yesterday that I lied about my age with a phoney ID card so that I could go into a pub with my older buds and enjoy a few brews?

So here I am, waiting anxiously for the latest weird new medical procedure; my first colonoscopy appointment. Yea, lucky me. Once again it occurs to me that I am, in fact, getting older and that my biological clock is starting to tick down. Isn't it just old people who get this procedure done? Didn't even think of this test thirty years ago! Ah, the circle of life! *sigh*

So here I am, a North American male, suddenly finding himself somewhere north of 60-years of age, and toying with the concept of retirement (or at least semi-retirement). When it may or may not actually happen, remains to be seen. What are the minimum conditions necessary to survive retirement? Well, aside from the obvious financial considerations, another key element is apparently health, and thus the plethora of doctor-ordered weird and new tests. And so, hello colonoscopy.

Reflecting still further on some of these weird tests, I recently came across an interpretation of male urine test results which I found interesting, and even a little amusing (as if peeing in a cup isn't already amusing enough in its own twisted way). The way the test works is that we men need to take our urine test outside to the garden (forget the cup), and there among the wife's favourite shrubs, or the neighbour's fish pond, let nature take its course, and do what comes naturally … pee.

Ah, what a relief it is! Nothing like the world being your outhouse!

Interpreting the Results
  • if ants gather, you may have diabetes
  • if you pee on your foot, there may be a prostate issue
  • if your pee smells like a barbecue, there may be a cholesterol issue
  • if when you shake it afterwards, your wrist hurts, it may be a sign of osteoarthritis 
  • if you return to the house with your penis still outside your pants, it may be a sign of Alzheimers
Well there you have it; the male urine test simplified. You're welcome.

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Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons
Test Results Source: Unknown