A: Get your hands on some watermelon.
Yesterday we had a severe heat warning in Indiana. Boy, was it hot – my dwarf lime tree started wilting.
There is one fruit, however, that is uniquely suited for this type of hot weather and that is the watermelon. Slightly sweet and full of juice, watermelon is super refreshing on a hot day. Watermelons are a staple for picnics, backyard BBQs, and summer gatherings; however, I rarely buy watermelon when I’m not having a group of people over. I think this is because I don’t know what to do with such a large amount of watermelon. As least I didn’t until I read this piece from Fine Cooking.
Here they provide recipes for watermelon cocktails like the Watermelon Blush made with Prosecco and the Watermelon Mule made with vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer. Appetizers might include Grilled Watermelon Salsa or Grilled Watermelon Gazpacho. For a main course or a second course, you could make this Watermelon, Grapefruit, and Scallop Ceviche, Watermelon and Cress Salad with Grilled Shrimp and Hearts of Palm, or a Coffee-rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Watermelon Rind Relish (that’s right, you can even use the rind!). Lastly, you could finish off the meal with a Watermelon and Tea Granita for dessert.
Enjoy (and stay cool).
Over the years, the life expectancy of an adult in the US has increased dramatically. It is almost a law of nature that with advances in medicine, nutrition, and public health (vaccinations, etc.) life expectancy increases over time. A decrease in life expectancy is a sign of something going seriously wrong.
The figure above is from a recently published paper titled, “Falling behind: life expectancy in US counties from 2000 to 2007 in an international context.” It shows changes in life expectancy for women from 1987 to 2007. You will note from the figure legend that the red on this map depicts counties in which the change was less than zero. That means that the life expectancy of women in those counties has decreased over the past two decades.
This comes on the heels of a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation titled, “F as in fat: How obesity threatens America’s future.” Here are a few tidbits:
- Colorado is the only state with an obesity rate below 20% (coming in at 19.8%)
- A state at 19.8% obesity would have had the highest rate in 1995
- No state has had a decline in the rate of obesity
- Over the past 15 years, rates of obesity have doubled in seven states and rates of diabetes have doubled in 10 states
We are experiencing a crisis – and we need to make some changes. There will be no single solution, rather we will have to change our behaviors, policies, environments, practices, etc.
What are you going to change today?
If you’ve ever prepared a meal or packed a lunch for someone you care about, you might have tried to make the meal extra tasty with a little additional butter or packed an extra cookie in that lunch. Folks over at the Nudge blog highlight a recently published study showing that people tend to choose a variety of healthy and less healthy foods for themselves, but more unhealthy foods for a friend. The lessons here? 1) Do your friends a favor and serve them good, healthy food and 2) Don’t allow yourself to be (over)served food that you would not otherwise serve yourself.
This study also reminds me of a 2006 paper by Brian Wansink in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. In it, he described how the majority of “nutritional gatekeepers” or people who are primarily responsible for purchasing and preparing most of the food in a household believed that other people in the household (e.g., children and husbands) held most of the influence in terms of what foods were consumed by the family. Interestingly, non-gatekeepers responded that they would pretty much eat whatever was prepared and that the gatekeeper held most of the power. The lesson here? A home’s nutritional gatekeeper is biggest food influence in the lives of his or her family members.