Saturday, May 16, 2009

Benefits of Ginger

From the Los Angeles Times,0,3500051,print.story

Studies find two new methods for curbing nausea of chemotherapy
Ginger, a home remedy for helping an upset stomach, and a cocktail of anti-nausea drugs both reduced vomiting and sickness in cancer patients.By Shari Roan

May 15, 2009

Chemotherapy could soon become less grueling.

Simply adding about half a teaspoon of ginger to food in the days before, during and after chemotherapy can reduce the often-debilitating side effects of nausea and vomiting, a large, randomized clinical trial has found. And a newer type of anti-nausea drug, when added to standard medications, can help prevent such side effects as well.

The ginger results will be presented this month at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting; the drug study was published this week in the Lancet Oncology journal.

The findings are significant, cancer experts say, because about 70% of chemotherapy patients experience nausea and vomiting -- often severe -- during treatment.

"Chemotherapy has come to be the thing cancer patients fear the most," said Dr. Steven Grunberg, a professor of medicine at the University of Vermont and lead author of the study in the Lancet Oncology. "We've made a huge amount of progress, but we haven't completely solved the problem."

In the ginger study, 644 patients, most of them female, from 23 oncology practices nationwide received two standard anti-emetic medications at the time of chemotherapy. They also were given a capsule containing either 0.5 gram, 1 gram or 1.5 grams of ginger, or a placebo capsule. The patients took the capsules containing the placebo or ginger for three days before chemotherapy and three days after the treatment.

All of the patients receiving ginger experienced less nausea for four days after chemotherapy, said lead study author Julie L. Ryan of the University of Rochester Medical Center. Doses of 0.5 gram and 1 gram were most effective, reducing nausea by 40% compared with the patients on the placebo.

The study is the largest to examine the effect of ginger, already widely used as a home remedy for an upset stomach. One gram of ground ginger is equivalent to about 1/2 teaspoon. Ryan cautioned that some foods labeled as ginger, such as ginger ale or ginger cookies, may contain only ginger flavoring.

Researchers don't know why ginger seems to help, Ryan said. But, she added: "There is other research showing it has a potent anti-inflammatory effect in the gut."

In the study led by Grunberg, 810 patients were given two standard anti-nausea drugs, dexamethasone and ondansetron, that work by blocking a neural pathway in the brain that controls nausea. This two-drug regimen is most effective in preventing nausea and vomiting in the first 24 hours after chemotherapy.

One-third of the patients also received a one-day dose of the new drug, casopitant mesylate, while one-third received a three-day dose and one-third received a placebo.

Adding casopitant mesylate, the authors found, helped control symptoms in the so-called delayed phase of nausea that occurs beyond the first day after chemotherapy. Of patients receiving the standard two-drug regimen, 66% experienced no nausea or vomiting in the five days after chemotherapy, compared with 86% of patients taking a single dose of casopitant mesylate.

Casopitant mesylate probably adds extra relief from nausea because it acts on different nerve systems than the standard drugs, Grunberg said. Dexamethasone and ondansetron are in a class of drugs known as serotonin receptor antagonists; casopitant mesylate blocks the so-called NK1 pathway in the brain.

"NK1 antagonists work better for that later period," Grunberg said. "This study reinforces the value of this family of anti-nausea agents."

It also appears that the three-drug combination can be given on the day of chemotherapy without the need for additional doses, he said.

"That is a huge convenience for the patient, if we can give them all the drugs they will need for this period on the day they come to the clinic for chemotherapy," Grunberg said. "Our whole goal is maintain the highest quality of life during chemotherapy."

Pizzaiolo:The Italian Word For a Male Pizza Chef

DIGGING IN: Ferran Adrià samples the pizza in Turin, Italy. His goal: an honest interpretation of the Italian dish.

I liked this quote from this article in 15 May 2009 LA Times. Ever sionce I saw Big Night (the movie) I realized how passionate Italians are about their food.

"You don't become pizzaiolo, you are born pizzaiolo."

El Bulli chef wants a piece of the pizza pie,0,3804512.story
Ferran Adrià's plan to learn pizza making and open a pizzeria in Barcelona isn't going down too well with Italians. It is their dish, after all.

By Phil Gallo and Linda Di Franco
May 13, 2009

Ferran Adrià, the internationally acclaimed chef whose El Bulli in Spain is revered as the world's premier outpost of gastronomic inventiveness, has ventured to Italy to learn a more humble art, pizza making. And perhaps not surprisingly, some Italians have a problem with that.

Ferran and his brother Alberto, the pastry chef at cutting-edge El Bulli, plan to open a straightforward pizzeria in Barcelona, apparently one that will be gimmick-free. They insist their goal is to create an honest interpretation of the Italian specialty, not to wheel out chemicals, liquid nitrogen and other experimental cooking methods to alter toppings, the sauce or dough.
In order to do that, they are scouring Italy to unearth secrets. "We'll learn to make it well, this national dish of yours," Alberto told La Stampa, the daily newspaper in Turin, during his recent visit to the city in the northwestern region of Piedmont.

He had earlier visited Italy to learn how to make panettone, the light Christmas sweet bread, but says he had too much respect for the original to go into competition. But pizza, Alberto Adrià said, is another thing. "Ferran likes it too much. So we asked ourselves: 'Why can't we have a decent one in Barcelona? We should be the one to try.' "

Vincenzo Mansi, a world-champion pizza maker from Capri, is skeptical. Despite the successes that Mario Batali and Wolfgang Puck have had in the U.S., in Italy the idea of a fine-dining chef suddenly turning into a pizza maker is not just foreign -- it's preposterous.

"The secret of the pizza is inside the blood," Mansi said. "You don't wake up one morning and improvise yourself as a pizzaiolo. I've been doing this for over 18 years, and I still don't feel like I've mastered it. You need to know how to touch the dough. You need to know how to deal with the ingredients. You don't become pizzaiolo, you are born pizzaiolo."

The Adrià brothers have not announced whose pizza-making advice they are soliciting, but they have been photographed enjoying slices in Turin and Padua. They have neither a date nor a specific location for the Barcelona pizzeria.

The first inkling that Ferran Adrià was looking into pizza came in October during the Salone Internazionale Del Gusto food exhibition in Turin. He requested authentic pizza and was sent to Pizzeria La Cozza, where one of the pizzaioli is Aldo Brandi, a descendant of the inventor of the Margherita pizza 120 years ago.

Hold the foam

Giulio Ferrari, owner of Pizzeria La Cozza, said he was thrown by the news of Adrià wanting to get into pizza. "I hope he's not going to deconstruct it too much and turn it into a foam," he said.

La Stampa broke the news that the brothers had begun their great pizza hunt. It also exposed the likely reasoning: profit. The 50-seat El Bulli, located in Roses, Spain, overlooking a bay in Catalonia, is widely reputed to be a money-loser. Famous for being open only six months of the year, it employs 70 people and serves 8,000 diners, but rumors of its closure have been swirling in the restaurant world.

"We are able to continue because El Bulli is a strong brand," Alberto told students at the Istituto d'Arte Applicata in Turin. "But I don't want to cook for just a few people. And what's simpler than a disk on which one lays the ingredients of a pizza?"

Still, the idea that the Adriàs could bring pizza into the haute cuisine world sent the Italian food blogosphere reeling. While some took pride in Ferran Adrià turning his attention to Italy's cuisine, most posting on La Stampa's website, Massimo Bernardi's well-respected Dissapore and Paolo Massobrio's blog Bar Babietola responded with resentment over a foreign celebrity chef trying to redo an Italian classic.

Another champion pizza maker, Claudio Paduano of Pizzeria Madison in Nocera Inferiore near Salerno, has a more positive outlook, noting it is an honor to pizzaioli that a great chef would consider kneading and tossing dough, making sauce and creating pies.

"There is a lot to learn," Paduano said. "Nature is not constant, you need knowledge and experience in how to deal with the ingredients."

Fueling the antipathy toward Ferran Adrià was a recent weeklong series about molecular cuisine on "Striscia la Notizia," or "Slither the News," Italy's equivalent of " The Daily Show." Max Laudadio, host of the satirical program, ambushed Adrià at an April book signing in Milan and grilled him about his use of chemicals and funding he has received from chemical companies.

Adrià acknowledged he received 25,000 euros from Inicon, a project financed by the European Union to promote additives for the kitchen.

Food journalist Jörg Zipprick was on the show, contending that food additives must be labeled in packaged foods but not in restaurants that clearly use them, such as El Bulli.

Veniero Gambaro, a professor of chemical analysis in Milan, also appeared on the show and, after examining the ingredients of one dish from El Bulli , said, "Not all, but some of the ingredients found in this composition could be considered synthetic products. These are chemical additives that are used in certain processed foods and are usually regulated."

On the other hand, maybe converting the Spanish to pizza isn't such a great idea after all. Shortly after the Adriàs made their Italian tour, the American chain Pizza Hut announced it would soon close 100 of its 134 outlets in Spain.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A 2 Pound Grapefruit

I bought about a dozen of these giant (pink fleshed grapefruit) from a place called Clark's Nutrition center in Loma Linda ...a most awesome store..huge...with the most amazing food products, books, health and beauty department, etc....

These picture do not do justice to the actual appearance and heft of these big babies. Whta a pleasure it has been to eat these...