Saturday, August 29, 2015

31 Foods That Fight Prostate Cancer

Hey! Hey! Wonderful to see you on this bright Saturday! What’cha up to? As usual, we were up at 4:30 to get Nong ready for work at 6:00. When I pick her up at 1:00, we’ll likely do our grocery shopping. Exciting day, huh? Fill your mug with some robust Arabica coffee then wrap your mitt around a virtual doughnut or muffin, why don’t’cha. I recommend a carrot muffin as it ties in with today’s topic. 

Prostate cancer has been on my mind lately as I was recently diagnosed with it (though doctors don’t seem too worried about it at this stage). But lots of orange and other veggies and fruit are apparently very beneficial so read on...

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men (next to skin cancer), so it’s no surprise that an increasing number of men are worried about this serious condition. But a new study published in the medical journal Cancer Epidemiology brings some good news for sufferers of the disease and those trying to prevent it.

Researchers assessed men suffering from prostate cancer in South Carolina who had already undergone surgery or radiation to treat the disease but still had a recurrence of prostate cancer. Because approximately 25 to 40 percent of men who receive these treatments still experience a recurrence in prostate cancer, the researchers attempted to determine whether specific nutrients might help.

The scientists assessed levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA)—a common blood test that is used to screen for prostate cancer. High PSA levels are often an indicator for the disease. This test is used to assess for prostate cancer in men with no symptoms or in those with symptoms of the disease, which can include: slow or weak urination, needing to urinate frequently (especially at night), blood in the urine, erectile dysfunction, pain in the hips or back, weakness or numbness of the legs or feet, or loss of bladder control. Healthy men typically have PSA counts that are lower than 4 nanograms/liter of blood. A higher number is frequently associated with an increased cancer risk.

Researchers found a link between higher blood levels of certain nutrients and decreased PSA levels in the men, indicating that diets higher in these nutrients may reduce the risk of prostate cancer and even help reverse cancer in men suffering from the disease, like those men who participated in the study. Both carotenoids and tocopherols were higher in men with lower PSA levels.

Carotenoids are a group of yellow-orange-red pigments known as phytonutrients (plant nutrients) found in foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, mangoes, pumpkin, tomatoes, papaya, peaches, squash and other similarly-colored foods. They include: beta carotene, lutein and lycopene. There are about 60 different types of carotenoids, but the study specifically assessed beta carotene, lycopene, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin. Researchers found that the higher levels of these nutrients resulted in a reduction in PSA in the men assessed.

Beta carotene is found in apricots, broccoli, carrots, collards, leafy greens, kale, mangoes, papayas, peaches, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, squash and tomatoes.

Lycopene is primarily found in guavas, pink grapefruit, papayas, rosehips, strawberries, tomatoes and watermelon.

Cryptoxanthin is found in oranges, papayas, peaches and tangerines.

Zeaxanthin is found in apricots, broccoli, carrots, collards, leafy greens, kale, mangoes, papayas, peaches, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, squash and tomatoes.

Tocopherols is another name for vitamin E. The study specifically assessed levels of alpha-tocopherol and found higher levels of the nutrient were linked to a lower PSA count. Excellent sources of alpha-tocopherol include: almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, mung bean sprouts, leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin, olive and sunflower oils.

We’ll load the shopping cart this afternoon with many of the above which are already a good part of our diet. I am also drinking my dandelion root tea, which is supposedly good for prostate cancer and I enjoy it as well (the tea...not the cancer). At the moment, though, I am taking a break from it as you are only supposed to drink it for two weeks at a time. Next spring, I’ll be out harvesting and pestering neighbours for their little yellow Italian wine flowers which I am sure they will be happy for me to take. I need to get my research assistant scouring the Internet to find out how to make the tea (so I don't have to spend $12 for a box of 20 teabags when they root of the solution is all around me).

See ya, eh!


Friday, August 28, 2015

Dapper Gentleman in His 70’s Becomes Online Fashion Icon

Guten tag! Thanks for clicking by. Got time for a coffee and a virtual doughnut, muffin or Blätterteig (German style puff pastry)? Of course you do...und you vill love it! Speaking of German style, here’s a fellow who is having fun with style in his senior years. 

Most people tend to lose interest in fashion as they age, but an elderly gentleman from Germany is stunning the world with his sartorial elegance. Through his impeccable sense of style, Gunther Krabbenhoft is proving that fashion and charm are not limited to the young. 

Gunther was recently photographed in Berlin, near the Kottbusser Tor station, and his pictures have created quite a stir online. 

His choice of clothes is simple, yet artistic, with clean lines and clever use of color. He regularly dons turned up jeans, corduroy jackets, classic bowties, waistcoats, brogues, hats, and braces – effortlessly nailing the look that modern day hipsters try so hard to emulate.

“I find that I dress pretty normal,” he told interviewers. “I’ve always dressed like this. When I went to work, when I go to exercise, I want to look at myself with joy. It’s always a reflection of my inner self.”

A few online reports suggest that Gunther is 104 years old, but he laughed it off as a rumour. He hasn’t revealed his real age, but he is assumed to be in his 70’s. But age is just a number, and as Gunter rightly proves, it has nothing to do with presenting yourself at your best!

As you can imagine, an impeccable style like Gunther’s doesn’t go unnoticed, so it comes as no surprise that he actually does some work as a model under contract with Berlin-based We Are Unlike You, a model agency “for unique characters”.

Das ist wunderschön, Gunther!

Maybe that is what I need to do as an artist...develop a style of dress of my own. Hmmmm...I may do some testing...let’s start with a three-piece suit, braces (already have two) boots, bow tie and hat at a jaunty angle...or perhaps a French Beret, jeans and sneakers would be more appropriate. Reckon I’d have to grow my moustache or beard back as well. What do you think?

Maybe I'll try something out at my Focus Art meeting on Wednesday evening...and/or the Garlic Festival here on Sunday. Looks as though a trip to Value Village is imminent.

See ya, eh!


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Artist in Residence during Cornwall Foodfest!

Hi there! Good to see you. What'cha been up to? Me? Well, as soon as you fill your coffee mug and grab a virtual treat, I'll tell you about my day as a Cornwall FoodFest volunteer this past Saturday!

I was an 'Artist in Residence' at Schulman's Mens & Ladies Wear on Pitt St. Steve and Patty were very gracious hosts. They set me up in the store in an area just behind one of the front windows and were kind enough to provide a dropsheet (artists have been known to slop paint around), two easels to display a couple of my recent creations and a table on which I ran a slide show of some of my 900 + digital images. I brought my own easel on which to do some creating.

They also set up a table for me to display some of my art cards (based on my paintings). I was all set up and ready to go in time for the 11:00 am opening.

Lots of people came through and Steve and Patty were on the run right from the start. During the day, I talked with lots of people including our lawyer and a Thai friend who happened to drop in (without knowing that I was there). 

Here is the painting I did in the morning... though actually there is no paint involved. Instead, I used Gesso, which is a primer. I had already prepared the canvas, covering it completely with black Gesso and letting it dry. I then used white Gesso and a paper towel to create the white focus areas. Once that dried, I went back to the black Gesso to add the Great Tree...and if you look closely, you can see a couple of gray trees on either side. These were done by mixing black and white Gesso. 

I got people involved by asking them if they thought I should leave it in black and white or add colour. Everyone suggested I leave it as I did. However, out of artistic curiosity, I may do a similar one and see what it looks like in colour...
perhaps a purple wash. We'll see... and I'll keep you posted, of course.

In the afternoon, I went to acrylics. This started out to be something entirely different but I wasn't happy with the way it was turning out so I completely reworked it. As Bob Ross was fond of saying, "Artists don't make mistakes. They have 'happy accidents!' and that is what I had. Here is the finished work. 

I showed it to one of the staff and asked her what she might call the picture. She suggested Burbot (a fish I had not heard of before). I said I was thinking of calling it Flying Fish and she said well how about Flying that's what it is named. I looked up Burbot and, in case you are as unfamiliar with the fish species as I was, here's a picture - long and sleek...and does kind of look like the one in my painting.

Although I didn't sell anything, it was an opportunity to introduce a lot more people to my art and I was happy to be able to add two more paintings to my growing portfolio.

I am in the process of outfitting part of our new basement as my "Art Cave". More on that later...

See ya, eh!


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

An Everyday Activity That Boosts Brain Size And Flexible Thinking

G’day to you! Oops! Almost got tangled in your cyberchute as you spiralled down to the virtual café. Good to see you out and about and getting some exercise! Fill your mug with some choice Arabica coffee and latch onto a virtual doughnut or muffin, why don’t’cha? Speaking of exercise, here’s a new study that shows a correlation between brain activity and exercise...

Adults who are more physically active have greater mental flexibility, new research reports.
On top of this, those who do more exercise have larger brain volumes and more intact white matter.

The new research found that moderate or vigorous physical activity was linked to more variable brain activity in older adults.
It’s known that variable brain activity is linked to performing better on complex cognitive tasks.
Professor Agnieszka Burzynska, who led the research said:
“We looked at 100 adults between the ages of 60 and 80, and we used accelerometers to objectively measure their physical activity over a week.
We found that spontaneous brain activity showed more moment-to-moment fluctuations in the more-active adults.
In a previous study, we showed that in some of the same regions of the brain, those people who have higher brain variability also performed better on complex cognitive tasks, especially on intelligence tasks and memory.”

Participants had their brains scanned and the amount of exercise they’d done over a week recorded.
The microscopic integrity of the brain’s white-matter fibres was also examined.
The white matter is the brain’s cabling: it transmits signals between different areas.
Professor Art Kramer, also a study author, said:
“Our study, when viewed in the context of previous studies that have examined behavioral variability in cognitive tasks, suggests that more-fit older adults are more flexible, both cognitively and in terms of brain function, than their less-fit peers.”

Not only does the study underline the mental benefits of exercise, it also provides another way to assess brain health in aging.

Professor Burzynska said:
“We want to know how the brain relates to the body, and how physical health influences mental and brain health in aging.
Here, instead of a structural measure, we are taking a functional measure of brain health.
And we are finding that tracking changes in blood-oxygenation levels over time is useful for predicting cognitive functioning and physical health in aging.”

One day it may be possible to tell how physically fit a person is by imaging the brain.
So get out there and exercise...walk, swim, do Tai-Chi, whatever. It results in increased bloodflow and this has to be beneficial for your brain.
See ya, eh!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Couple Eats a Piece of their Wedding Cake every Year

Hey there ! How are you doing? Coffee's ready for you . So are the VTs so dig in! Hey... do you remember your wedding cake? Ann and Ken Fredericks sure do...they have some every year!

For the past 60 years, this Florida couple have been celebrating their anniversary by eating a piece out of their wedding cake – not a replica, the original one! 

Ann and Ken Fredericks were married on 19 August, 1955 and Ann’s grandmother had baked a three-layer fruitcake for the occasion. The top layer of that cake, baked six decades ago, still exists in a metal Maxwell Coffee House can. “Every year, we unwrap it, pour brandy over it – because you need to moisten it – and we break off a piece,” Ann said. 

“Everybody just looks at us with amazed looks when they hear about it,” she added. “Our children are appalled that we would be eating something that’s 60 years old. But believe me, it’s quite tasty, as long as it’s got enough brandy on it. And it’s never made us sick.”

Back in the ’50s, it was rather fashionable to have a fruitcake as a wedding cake. Ann’s grandmother used the fruit that Ann’s grandfather brought home from the docks in New York to bake a three-layer dark fruitcake for the wedding. It was baked a couple of months in advance, so it would have enough time to age and settle. A local bakery even covered it with a hard shell, to stop the fruit from bleeding through. A layer of buttercream frosting was added on the day of the wedding. 

“When you looked at it, it looked like a three-layer white wedding cake,” Ann recalled. After the wedding, the couple saved whatever was left of the cake, and have savoured it every year since.

Ann and Ken met as students at Syracuse University, and they lived in New York during the first few years of their marriage. But in 1968, they decided to follow Ken’s parents to Florida. “Even though we were both from the Northeast, neither one of us liked the cold,” Ann said. “So after those two visits to the in-laws, we said we were going to move to Florida. And we never regretted it.”

Ken, now 85, worked as a music teacher before he retired, while Ann, 81, was a nurse for 27 years. They’ve lived in their Satellite Beach home since 1971. Because their diamond anniversary happened to be on a weekday, they celebrated it with family and friends over the weekend. They were joined by their daughter Jean, and sons Ken Jr. and David. Nine of their grandchildren and two of Ann’s bridesmaids attended the celebrations as well.

The couple like teasing their children about it. Over the years, their kids and grandkids have always refused to take a bite of the ageing cake. “They won’t taste it,” Ken said. 

“And we tell them, it tastes fine,” said Ann. “They always say, ‘Oh, there’s not that much. You two keep it for yourself.’ I don’t know, we may have to be buried with it.”

The cake is now just a 4×3 inch block. After the annual bite, it is always carefully wrapped in clingfilm and placed in the coffee can again. Along with it is a yellowed piece of paper that reads: “Top tier, Ann’s wedding cake.” According to Ann, dark fruitcake, if treated properly, will keep forever. “We’re hoping to do it again next year,” Ken said. 

“It has lasted us 60 years and so has the marriage,” Ann added. “That is much more important than the wedding cake.”

Now there's a delightful slice of life for you!

See ya, eh!


Monday, August 24, 2015

"The Lion Speaks Tonight!"

Jambo! How's it going? Thanks for clicking by today. It must be difficult to hold onto your computer while spiralling down out of cyberspace, no? Well, help yourself to a mug of coffee and a virtual treat while I bring you up to date on the latest fallout from Cecil the Lion...

The distress across the Western world in July over the big-game killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe was apparently misdirected, according to veteran "animal communicator" Karen Anderson of Elk, Washington, who told Facebook and Internet visitors ( that Cecil and she had discussed his demise and that he was over it. 

Also, Cecil apparently speaks in formal, graceful English, as Anderson quoted him (according to London's The Independent): "Let not the actions of these few men defeat us," said Cecil, "or allow darkness to enter our hearts." 

"I am," he added, "grander than before as no one can take our purity, our truth or our soul." 

(Anderson's usual fee to speak with deceased pets is $75 for 15 minutes, but she did not disclose whether she had a client for Cecil's tab.) [The Independent, 7-31-2015] 

Now you know I am somewhat of a skeptic, visionary, mystic, realist, parallel world enthusiast and what have you so I am open to people talking to the dead among other things so I take the above with a grain of salt (and a little hot sauce). I have no doubt that "animal communicator" Karen Anderson believes she has talked with Cecil and I also believe it would be difficult for anybody to disprove it.

All I will say is that there are many mysteries out there we have yet to understand.

BTW...Karen Anderson has a book out entitled 'Hear All Creatures'. 

If you are interested, the book is available through Amazon:

See ya, eh!