Thursday, March 06, 2008

Eastern Phoebe - our early bird

We saw our Phoebe this morning. According to the Smithsonian Zoological Park web site, "it is one of the first migratory birds to arrive in the spring." I am officially saying winter is history and spring is here, thanks to our Phoebe.

Why do I say "our" Phoebe? Because we think it is the same one that comes back each year to use her nest under our deck. The Smithsonian site affirms they are loyal to their nests.

We enjoy the Phoebes because they like to sit on the clothesline near the deck, dip their tails and sing their familiar "fee-bee" in greeting.

Welcome home Mrs. Phoebe. We are most happy to see you.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Knock Knock I have not been sick

I am feeling a bit anxious about this statement thus the knocking on wood. Given that I usually get what is going around, this is an important and interesting declaration.

One of my coworkers has been home two days with the flu so those pesky germs are still around. True, working in fresh air five to six hours a day helps; however, I am wondering if it is the change in my diet.

Here is my morning ritual. Using a large plastic cup, I add three heaping tablespoons of yogurt. On top of that I dump about 1/3 cup Grape Nuts. Then I grind three heaping tablespoons of flax seed in a coffee grinder and dump on top of the cereal. Stir it up and let it sit for ten minutes or so. I eat the result on the way to work.

Flax seed is one of the newer health food wonders, although it has been around for centuries. My sister-in-law, Jean, urged me to try flax seed when she found she felt better after eating it. The taste is palatable and it is easy to eat when mixing with another cereal. Ask Dr. Sears.com is a health web site. I am listing what they say are 7 health promoting factors of flax seed. I will admit it sounds too good to be true, but on the other hand…..


1. Flax promotes cardiovascular health. The ultra-high levels of omega-3 fatty acids lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Fish oils and algae are also good sources of essential fatty acids.

2. Flax promotes colon health. It hasanti-cancer properties and, as a natural lubricant and a rich fiber source, it lowers the risk of constipation.

3. Flax supplements can boost immunity. One study showed that school children supplemented with less than a teaspoon of flax
oil a day had fewer and less severe respiratory infections than children not supplemented with flax oil.

4. Flax provides fats that are precursors for brain building. This is especially important at the stage of life when a child's
brain grows the fastest, in utero and during infancy. A prudent mom should consider supplementing her diet with a daily tablespoon of flax oil during her pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

5. Flax promotes healthy skin. I have used flax oil as a dietary supplement in my patients who seem to have dry skin or eczema, or whose skin is particularly sun-sensitive.

6. Flax may lessenthe severity of diabetes by stabilizing blood-sugar levels.

7. Flax fat can be slimming. Fats high in essential fatty acids, such as flax, increase the body's metabolic rate, helping to burn the excess, unhealthy fats in the body.
Eating the right kind of fat gives you a better fighting chance of your body storing the right amount of fats. This is called thermogenesis , a process in which specialized fat cells throughout the body (called brown fat) click into high gear and burn more fat when activated by essential fatty acids, especially
gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). I have personally noticed that I crave less fat overall when I get enough of the healthy fats. A daily supplement of omega 3 fatty acids may be an important part of weight control programs.

    Sunday, March 02, 2008

    The Ultimate Sandwich

    A recent blog entry in the Lawrence Journal World both amazed and bewildered me. Jjsuede wrote about the Luther Burger.

    The Luther is basically bacon, egg, and hamburger. The kicker is it is between Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Can you image that! It is named after Luther Vandross who reportedly likes the sandwich.

    This Krispy Kreme delight, got me thinking of sandwiches I enjoy now or have enjoyed in the past. Here we go:

    Grilled Portabella at Wheatfields Bakery in Lawrence. Of course, I would enjoy a butter sandwich with any of their delicious breads.

    Planet Veggie with among other things, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, and tangy olive spread at Yello or Planet Sub

    Hot beef sandwich at the Downtowner just east of 6th and Kansas Ave in Topeka. Worth the trip just for the retro cafe atmosphere.

    The Reubenstein at Classic Bean, also downtown Topeka. Really, any of their sandwiches named after famous composers are good

    Homemade bierocks at Made from Scratch in Wilson, Kansas. It is a good half way lunch stop on the way to Colorado. Before re entering I70, stop at the Flint Hills Winery tasting room.

    The Hot Brown first invented at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. Although the hotel restaurant was closed when we were there, we sampled the hot open faced sandwich at a restaurant recommended by a security guard at Churchill Downs. It was delicious but very rich.

    A Lobster Roll is easy to find in Maine. Small locally owned walk up places are frequent in the coastal cities. They are good, but quite honestly, I would prefer a fried walleye shore lunch sandwich.

    Hot Dog. It has to be either cooked a certain way or purchased at a special place. The one my friend Carole and I purchased in Chicago was wonderful. Is there a better one than at a football game? Yes, there was one better at the Art Fair in Breckenridge Colorado. Probably the ultimate is a hot dog cooked over a bonfire.

    I know there are many I am forgetting. If you, like me, are suddenly interested in sandwiches, check out the article, Best Sandwiches in America. Another gathering of lists of sandwiches is at Roadfood. The book, American Sandwich looks like a traveler’s sandwich requirement.