When Fancy, Expensive Salts Are Worth Using

European chefs like Ferran Adrià and Jamie Oliver have said that when it comes to salt, there is one to rule them all. It’s called Maldon.

Source: When to cook with fancy salt—and when cheap salt will do

I’ve had very good experiences with smoked salts.

The Surprising Health Benefits of Hot Springs and Mineral Baths

In Japan, soaking in natural hot springs is a treasured pastime that’s steeped in thousands of years of tradition, and during my stay there, I visited a few. The experience opened my eyes (and pores) to a world of good-feeling benefits, many of which (but not all) are backed by a plethora of research.

Source: The Surprising Health Benefits of Hot Springs and Mineral Baths

I think heat is part of the stress relief.  It doesn’t have to be a hot spring – a warm blanket/etc can do wonders.  Wrapping up in one, insulating ourselves from what’s around – it’s a physical barrier.

You Can and Should Be Eating Banana Peels

That’s right, you can eat banana peels. And not only are they edible — they’re also good for you.

Source: People around the world are eating banana peels because they know something that Westerners do not

I think the question of what’s on those skins ought to addressed before we start munching down.  Wash them before you eat, like a lot of things.

Here’s What Really Happens When You Force-Feed Someone

The American Medical Association and the Red Cross both condemn force-feeding as a form of torture. And yet, the U.S. government and the United Nations have both force-fed hunger-striking prisoners. The real problem? Most people probably don’t realize how complicated force-feeding is, and how much can go wrong.

Source: Here’s What Really Happens When You Force-Feed Someone

The article doesn’t cover ethics, just the physical aspects that get dealt with.  Still, there’s a reason major medical organizations condemn the practice.

Vegemite, Marmite: Do They Have Vitamin K?

This took a little digging, but in a 1 teaspoon (6 grams) serving there is either no vitamin K, or it is so small it does not warrant mention.  So you can eat a fair amount of it without concern, but I would still not recommend consuming an entire container to yourself in a single sitting unless you already do that regularly, and your INR has been relatively stable.

To those unaware, both vegemite and marmite are made with brewer’s yeast extract.  Vegemite is Australian/New Zealand, while marmite is British/UK.  Either is a spread you’d apply to toast. As I remember, either tastes like sadness but I digress…

Marmite/vegemite is an acquired taste for most, but it is incredibly healthy.  Very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and calories (9 calories per serving). And a good source of protein, iron and selenium, and a very good source of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium and potassium.  The warning about sodium is outdated – there’s no relationship between sodium and heart disease.

Vegemite/marmite is also vegetarian, and vegan.  However some of the key ingredients of vegemite/marmite are malt extract derived from barley and yeast extract, from yeast grown on barley and wheat.  Therefore either is not gluten free.

Vegemite/marmite contains MSG, which is not the health risk myth that still persists.  But if you have an allergy to yeast, or are prone to yeast infections (IE: thrush) – consuming vegemite/marmite is not a good idea.  Allergic reactions to baker’s yeast may include a congested/runny nose and inflammation/itching of the skin.

Is this the new iron deficiency?

If you’re lacking energy, easily annoyed, and generally feel sort of off, look to your diet. While iron deficiencies may get all the ink, it’s not the only mineral that could be missing from your meals. Lack of magnesium — a common, but silent, deficiency — impacts about half of the population, data suggests.

Source: Is this the new iron deficiency?

Sources for magnesium?  Pumpkin seeds have the most, but there’s lots of calories in nuts so spinach is the next best source (which is a concern for us on blood thinners).  Sesame seeds, black beans, sunflower seeds, navy beans are safer for us.  You can read more about magnesium here.

Salt, potassium and magnesium are three major things I try to incorporate more than I used to.  I use a Nuun tablet in my water if I’m to be doing something for longer than an hour.

Maple Syrup: Good for You?

In addition to its natural caramel-y sweetness, there’s one more reason to pour on the maple syrup: it’s actually good for you. Yes, pure maple syrup is not only high in antioxidants, but every spoonful offers nutrients like riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium. According to Helen Thomas of the New York State Maple Association, maple syrup has a higher concentration of minerals and antioxidants, yet fewer calories than honey.

Source: Pour it On! Maple Syrup is Good For You

Sadly, the article is short and shorter on details about why maple syrup is good for you.  It’s basically a fluff piece for the maple syrup industry…

But it reminded me of Untapped, a competitor gel product based on maple syrup.

Coconut Water: Facts & Fiction

It is true that some companies selling coconut water have vastly overstated the benefits of the drink. It will not make you younger. It will not fight kidney disease or osteoporosis. It is not an ideal choice of fluid for people doing extremely strenuous exercise. The New York Times debunked some of those claims this summer, as they should have.

Source: Coconut Water Is Great, Shut Up

Related: What’s In It | Coconut Water (1:33 minutes)

The Surprising Health Benefits of Beans

Beans are a super healthy, super versatile and super affordable food. Beans are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Eating beans regularly may decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, colorectal cancer, and helps with weight management. Beans are hearty, helping you feel full so you will tend to eat less.

As we get older, we need fewer calories and beans are a great way to boost the nutrition power of your meal without boosting the calories. A half-cup of beans has only about 100 calories.

Source: After-40 Nutrition: The Surprising Health Benefits of Beans

They missed something you can do with beans – make vegan brownies (recipe).  I’m conflicted about eating them – it’s way too healthy for a brownie.  I also like to add salsa to my navy beans.

Fall Foods that Benefit Your Skin and Hair

You may want to pause before gulping down that pumpkin spice latte. While everyone from Starbucks to Oreo wants you craving all pumpkin everything, there’s actually a healthy way to utilize the seasonal orange squash—the real stuff, not the sugar-high inducing, cinnamon spiked puree in a can.

You may have noticed pumpkin face masks and cranberry hair treatments flooding the beauty aisles, and while some are gimmicks capitalizing on your fall nostalgia, dermatologist Marnie Nussbaum says there are a few fall foods that can truly help your hair and skin when applied topically.

Source: Fall Foods that Benefit Your Skin and Hair