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Articles from 2000 In March

Delicious Living

April 1, 2000

Vital Signs

Vital Signs
Introduction by Debra Bokur

Lost your mojo? We know where to find it.

Energy: the always mysterious, often elusive force that courses through us; that animation and sense of potency that lend a sense of vitality to our lives. We know when we've got it, and we know when it's missing — a lack of energy can manifest as a vapid, washed-out, old-dog feeling of weariness that takes over, making even the colors around us seem to fade. So we take a nap or reach for yet another cup of coffee in search of a temporary jolt of revival, perhaps not realizing that caffeine intake, exercise habits, diet and other nutritional factors, as well as a host of lifestyle choices, may be contributing to the very loss of energy we seek to remedy.

If you feel as though your mojo's missing, read on. We'll inspire you with essays by two vital, creative women who find their own personal sources of energy in relationships and regular workouts; help you decide if caffeine is a cure; and supply you with a chart of suggestions for supplements, herbs and exercise sure to enhance your own vitality.

Here's the info. The rest is up to you.

Catching an Idea
by Jean Weiss

by Kathryn Winograd

Photograph by Sandra Johnson

University of Texas, US, Finds Tocotrienols at Low Levels, As a potent Natural Vitamin E to Induce Apoptosis (Cell Death) In Human Breast Cancer Cells

March 15th, 2000

In a recent (1999) publication in the prestigious journal of Nutrition and Cancer, researchers at the University of Texas, US, joined four other research institutions worldwide, in confirming that tocotrienols, especially the delta-tocotrienol, are potent inhibitor of human breast cancer cells by inducing cell death (apoptosis)in them.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, excluding non-melanoma skin cancers. The American Cancer Society estimates that in the year 2000, about 182,800 new cases of invasive breast cancer (stage I - IV) will be diagnosed among women in the United States. Breast cancer also occurs in men. An estimated 14,000 cases will be diagnosed among men. The incidence of breast cancer has more than doubled over the past 30 years. In 1964, the lifetime risk was 1 in 20 women. Today, it is 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. It is sad to say that breast cancer is the most common cancer for women in the world.

The usual treatments for breast cancers are surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy and chemo-therapy. The drug, Tamoxifen is the widely used hormone therapy for women who already have breast cancers. The down side of Tamoxifen is that long-term treatment increases a woman¡¦s chance of three rare but serious health problems: endometrial cancer, pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lung) and deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in a major vein).

Tocotrienol's ability to inhibit and induce the apoptosis of breast cancer cells, may be an additional natural way of supplement (in addition to the drug treatment, chemo and radiation therapy recommended by surgeon) for women who have developed breast cancer and for women who have a family history of breast cancer.

In the study carried out at the University of Texas, Austin, the apoptosis-inducing properties of natural RRR-α-, β-, γ-, δ-tocopherols, α-, γ-, δ-tocotrienols, RRR-α-tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E acetate) and RRR-ƒÑ-tocopheryl succinate (vitamin E succinate) were investigated in estrogen-responsive MCF7 and estrogen-nonresponsive MDA-MB-435 human breast cancer cell lines. Vitamin E succinate, a known inducer of apoptosis in several cell lines, including human breast cancer cells, served as a positive control. The results of the study found that estrogen-responsive MCF7 cells were more susceptible than the estrogen-nonresponsive MDA-MB-435 cells. Delta-tocotrienol was found be the most potent inducer of apoptosis in both types of human breast cancer cells and was twice as potent as gamma-tocotrienol in inducing apoptosis.

With the exception of RRR-δ-tocopherol, the tocopherols (alpha, beta and gamma-tocopherol) and RRR-α-tocopheryl acetate were ineffective in induction of apoptosis in both cell lines when tested within the range of their solubility, i.e., 10 - 200μg/ml.

In summary, these studies demonstrate that naturally occurring tocotrienols and delta-tocopherol are effective to induce cell deaths of human breast cancer cells, irrespective of estrogen receptor status. The ability of tocotrienols, especially delta-tocotrienol at low levels, to induce human breast cancer to undergo cell death, makes this compound a promising natural and side-effect free candidate for possible chemotherapeutic use.

Tocotrienol may be a new word to many. It sounds much like the more familiar ¡§tocopherol¡¨. Indeed, tocotrienols are related to tocopherols. Both tocotrienols and tocopherols are Vitamin E. Tocotrienols differ from tocopherols in their molecular structure only by having an unsaturated isoprenoid side chain. Tocopherols have saturated side chain, ie : lacking double bonds. Tocotrienols are widely distributed in the plant kingdom, with the highest concentration found in palm oil. They are also found in grains such as barley, rice bran, oats, etc. In comparison, delta-tocotrienol is found in significantly high level in the fruits of oil palm (highest in nature) but low or absent in other sources.

Possible clues to how tocotrienols inhibit cancer cell proliferation may be attributed to the following mechanisms 1. by reducing of protein kinase C activity in human breast cancer cells (Guthrie et al., 1997), 2. by affecting the tyrosine phosphorylation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (Carroll, et al.), 3. by suppression of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase, the rate limiting enzyme for cholesterol synthesis (Elson & Qureshi et al., 1995). The Palm Oil Research Institute of Malaysia (PORIM) and Carotech have embarked on a double-blind clinical human study to determine possible therapeutic applications.

Individuals who are diagnosed with breast cancer may want to consider supplementing their diet with natural tocotrienols vitamin E as part of a long-term nutritional plan, in addition to the therapeutic treatments recommended by their physicians. Most of the palm tocotrienols supplements in the market contain typically 30 - 50mg of tocotrienols per capsules.

How tea leaves are processed

Green tea leaves, which preserve the green, fresh flavor, are the least processed of teas. They are steamed or pan-fired just long enough to halt active enzymes in the leaf.

Black teas are another story. Here, the leaves are spread out and allowed to wither. They are then rolled, which bruises the leaves and causes them to release their characteristic flavor. The leaves are then allowed to undergo fermentation, changing color from a dull green to a coppery red to a deep brown and then to a nearly black color. The leaves are then fired or dried in hot ovens.

Oolongs are the specialty of mainland China and Taiwan. Always made from whole tea leaves, they're allowed to wither and then ferment. After about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, the leaves are pan-fired to stop enzymatic action.

White tea, a rare variety, is made from very small buds and leaves that are picked in the early spring just before they open. They are withered to allow the natural moisture to evaporate and then dried, yielding a very delicate, pale-colored tea.

Delicious Living

ARCHIVE: Green Tea Poached Asian Pears with Pistachio Cream Sauce

Green Tea Poached Asian Pears with Pistachio Cream Sauce
March, 2000

Makes 4 servings / This refreshing dessert, edged with a hint of mint, works year round and provides a touch of luxury to a simple menu. Its complex taste belies its simple method of preparation. Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes, plus chilling time

4 unblemished Asian pears
1 cup turbinado sugar
2 cups freshly brewed green tea (e.g. Dragonwell)
1 2-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and sliced into thin coins
Peel of half a lemon
1 large sprig of fresh mint
Garnish: fresh mint leaves, if desired

Pistachio Cream Sauce:
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt, well drained
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/2 cup shelled, skinned, coarsely chopped natural pistachio nuts

1. Peel the pears and core with a corer or a small paring knife, being sure to remove the tart center core area of each. Place the sugar, green tea, gingerroot, lemon peel and mint in a medium size saucepan large enough to hold the four pears in a single layer.
2. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to just under a boil, or until the sugar is fully dissolved. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the peeled and cored pears. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. The pears will remain firm. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate, covered. Meanwhile, make the Pistachio Cream Sauce.

Pistachio Cream Sauce:
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, buttermilk and maple syrup. Add nuts and store mixture in refrigerator until your guests are ready to eat.
<2. Assembly: Remove pears from poaching liquid, drain well and place one each in four chilled goblets. Mask with the sauce and serve immediately, garnished with fresh mint leaves, if desired.

Calories 348,Fat 9,Perfat 21,Cholesterol 2,Carbo 66,Protein 7,Fiber N/A,Sodium N/A
Delicious Living

ARCHIVE: Cold Tea Noodles

Cold Tea Noodles
March, 2000

Makes 4 servings / A perfect warm-weather dish. Keep cool by cooking the noodles in tea the night before serving. The next day, assemble the short list of ingredients, and dinner is on the table. Prep Time: About 15 minutes, plus overnight marinating Cooking Time: 5 minutes

1 tablespoon Japanese Genmaicha green tea
1/2 pound Chinese water noodles or Japanese udon noodles
1 package firm tofu, well drained
1 package enoki mushrooms
1 package radish sprouts, washed and dried
1 bunch scallions, sliced into thin rounds
1 small bunch cilantro leaves
Light soy sauce, to taste
Japanese sesame oil, to taste
Shichimi togarashi (Japanese spice mixture, available at Asian markets) or freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Bring two quarts water to 180° and add tea. Steep for 3 minutes and pour through a sieve. Reserve liquid for cooking the noodles.

2. Bring the reserved tea to a boil and add noodles. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until noodles are al dente. Remove from heat and allow the noodles to remain in the liquid until it has cooled. Remove noodles from liquid and place in a bowl, covered, overnight in the refrigerator.

3. The next day, put tofu on a plate and cover it with several layers of paper towels. Press any excess moisture from it by placing a two-pound weight on top of the paper towels.

4. Remove weight and paper toweling after 15 minutes. Carefully slice the tofu into 1-inch cubes and set aside.

5. Place noodles on four plates. Scatter tofu and remaining ingredients over all. Serve with soy sauce, sesame oil and seasoning.

Calories 478,Fat 9,Perfat 16,Cholesterol 0,Carbo 83,Protein 23,Fiber N/A,Sodium N/A
Delicious Living

Roasted Tomato Soup with Seared Tilapia Fillet

Serves 8

2 medium onions, diced
1 head fennel, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 thumb ginger, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon organic tomato paste
1 teaspoon coriander seed, toasted and cracked
2 28-ounce cans organic diced tomatoes
6 cups vegetable stock
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper

8 4-ounce portions tilapia fillets
1 tablespoon coriander seed, toasted and cracked
1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and cracked
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Heat a heavy soup pot over medium heat and lightly caramelize the vegetables, ginger and garlic in olive oil.
2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer until all vegetables are tender, and season with salt and pepper.
3. Roll tilapia fillets in toasted spices, salt and pepper.
4. Heat saute pan over medium-high burner, add oil and cook fish fillets. Cook approximately 1 1/2 minutes each side (or, grill tilapia over medium-high heat).
5. Ladle soup into warm, flat soup plates.
6. "Float" fillet in center and garnish with herb sprigs such as cilantro or basil.

Prepared by Chef Stan Frankenthaler, chef/owner of Salamander, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Calories 253,Fat 7,Perfat 26,Cholesterol 54,Carbo 23,Protein 25,Fiber N/A,Sodium N/A

Delicious Living

Spice-Rubbed Grilled Tilapia with Mango and Red Onion Salsa

Serves 4

1 mango, chopped small
1 red pepper, chopped small
1 red onion, chopped small
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup pineapple juice
6 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh chili pepper, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 pounds tilapia fillets
3 tablespoons olive oil

Spice Rub:
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper

1. For salsa, mix all ingredients together and set aside.
2. Brush olive oil onto the tilapia fillets.
3. For the spice rub, mix all the ingredients together.
4. Rub the spice mixture onto the oil-coated tilapia fillets.
5. Grill the tilapia fillets on medium heat for three to four minutes per side.
6. Top with salsa and serve.

Prepared by Chef Chris Schlesinger, chef/owner of East Coast Grill, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Black Eddy's, Westport, Massachusetts

Calories 389,Fat 14,Perfat 32,Cholesterol 109,Carbo 22,Protein 45,Fiber N/A,Sodium N/A

Delicious Living

Tea-Marinated Grilled Tofu Steaks with Chanterelle Mushrooms

Tea-Marinated Grilled Tofu Steaks with Chanterelle Mushrooms
March, 2000

Makes 6 servings / High in protein and low in cholesterol, this dish marries two staples of the Asian pantry, tea and tofu. Prep Time: 10 minutes, plus 1-1/2 hours for marinating tofu Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes

1 14-ounce package firm tofu, well drained
2 teaspoons Yunnan tea brewed in 1 quart sub-boiling water (if unavailable, substitute Darjeeling or English Breakfast)
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 2-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ounces fresh chanterelles or other mushrooms such as shiitake or oyster, cleaned, dried and sliced

1. Slice tofu horizontally into two rectangles of equal thickness. Wrap tofu in several paper towels. Set a two-pound weight on a sheet pan. Place this pan on the tofu for about a half-hour. Store tofu in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
2. Brew the tea and strain through a sieve. Pour the tea along with the soy, one crushed garlic clove, gingerroot and brown sugar in bowl large enough to accommodate the tofu without crushing it. Gently place the tofu in the liquid and allow to marinate at least one hour at cool room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator.
3. Remove tofu from sauce, reserving the marinade. Dry the tofu well with paper towels. Heat a heavy skillet until hot. Add the olive oil and carefully place the tofu into the pan. (It may spatter, so stand back.) Cook for 5 minutes, turn and cook for another 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and keep warm while you cook the mushrooms.
4. Heat olive oil in heavy skillet, add remaining garlic and cook, stirring, so that the garlic doesn't burn. Add mushrooms and cook, moving the mushrooms gently, until golden brown. Remove from heat and reserve.
5. Reduce marinade in a heavy saucepan until thick enough to lightly coat a spoon. Add mushrooms and toss to coat with sauce. Season to taste.
6. Assembly: Place tofu on warmed plates, top with the sauce and mushrooms and drizzle any sauce remaining in the pan over the entire dish.

Calories 103,Fat 6,Perfat 56,Cholesterol 0,Carbo 4,Protein 8,Fiber N/A,Sodium N/A
Delicious Living

Protein Pummels Heart Disease

Protein Pummels Heart Disease

High protein intake appears to lower the risk of ischemic heart disease, according to a 14-year study of 80,082 women between the ages of 34 and 59. The study noted that both animal and vegetable protein had beneficial effects.

-American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1999; 70