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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Wheat Allergy

     Wheat allergy is most often seen in young children and is usually outgrown by about the age of 12, however, some individuals remain allergic to wheat throughout their lives. 
     An allergic reaction may occur within minutes or hours of either consuming or inhaling wheat. A good way of detecting when one has eaten something that causes the allergy is to take your pulse. Years ago when I suddenly developed a severe allergy doctors were unable to pinpoint the cause. There was an article in Prevention magazine that suggested that within minutes after consuming the offending substance one's pulse would become elevated. It was true and that's how I figured out what the doctors couldn't...it was a wheat allergy.
     A person with a wheat allergy has developed a specific antibody to one or several wheat proteins. When a person with a wheat allergy is exposed to wheat, proteins in the wheat bind to certain antibodies in the person’s immune system which then triggers the person’s immune defenses, leading to reaction symptoms that can range from mild, such as hives, to severe, such as anaphylaxis. 
     Allergic reactions can be unpredictable, and even very small amounts of wheat can cause one. The most common symptoms of a wheat allergy include: nasal congestion, asthma, atopic dermatitis, hives, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting, irritation and possible swelling in the mouth, throat, or both, watery, itchy eyes and a bloated stomach. 
     To prevent a reaction, it is very important to avoid wheat and so it is very important to read food labels. In the United States wheat is the most common grain product and it is one of the eight major allergens that must be listed on packaged foods sold in the US, as required by federal law. 
     One can still eat foods made with other grains such as amaranth, barley, corn, oat, quinoa, rice, rye and tapioca. Buckwheat is not related to wheat and is considered safe to eat. Wheat is sometimes found in unexpected places such as: glucose syrup, soy sauce, gelatinized starch, modified starch, modified food starch, vegetable starch, ale and Asian dishes which can feature wheat flour flavored and shaped to look like beef, pork and shrimp. 
     Other items to avoid include: baked goods, batter-fried foods, beer, breakfast cereals, candy, hot dogs, ice cream, marinara sauce, potato chips, processed meats, rice cakes, salad dressings, sauces, soups and turkey patties 
     Allergens are not always present in these foods and products, but wheat can appear in them so always read food labels. If one accidentally eats a food containing wheat and the symptoms are not severe antihistamines may reduce symptoms of minor wheat allergy. These drugs can be taken after exposure to wheat to control your reaction and help relieve discomfort. An over-the-counter allergy drug such as Benadryl, is appropriate. 
     Emergency medical care is essential for anyone who has an anaphylactic reaction to wheat, even after receiving an injection of epinephrine. Call 911 or your local emergency number as soon as possible. 
Symptoms of Celiac Disease, Wheat Allergy, and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: Which Is It? Read more...

Saturday, November 21, 2020

This explains a lot...

     These days we are seeing a lot of strange and seemingly irrational behavior from our President and many of his supporters and much of it can be explained by the following article. 
     In a recent review paper published in the Journal of Social and Political Psychology, Psychologist and UC Santa Cruz professor Thomas Pettigrew argues that five major psychological phenomena can help explain ascent and self-proclaimed invincibility of President Donald Trump. Here is the gist of a Psychology Today article on the subject. 
1. Authoritarian Personality Syndrome 
This refers to the advocacy or enforcement of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom, and is commonly associated with a lack of concern for the opinions or needs of others.
     It's a well-studied and globally-prevalent condition that consists of a state of mind that is characterized by belief in total and complete obedience to one’s authority. Those with the syndrome often display aggression toward those not in their group, submissiveness to authority, resistance to new experiences and a rigid hierarchical view of society. 
     The syndrome is often triggered by fear, making it easy for leaders who exaggerate threat or fear monger to gain their allegiance. President Trump’s speeches are laced with terms like “losers” and “complete disasters” are naturally appealing to those with the syndrome. What You Can Expect From an Authoritarian - Recognizing the 30 traits and behaviors of the authoritarian personality. ARTICLE
2. Social dominance orientation 
This is related to authoritarian personality syndrome and refers to people who have a preference for the hierarchy of groups, specifically with a structure in which the high-status groups have dominance over the low-status ones. 
     They are people who are dominant, tough-minded and driven by self-interest. President Trump repeatedly makes a clear distinction between groups that have a higher status in society and those that some think of as belonging to a lower status; people like immigrants and minorities. Read more...
3. Prejudice 
It would be inaccurate to say that all of President Trump’s supporters are prejudiced, but many are. And, he plays on those prejudices by calling all Muslims dangerous and all Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers. 
4. Intergroup contact 
This term refers to contact with members of groups outside one’s own, which has been shown to reduce prejudice. 
     The claim is that there is evidence that President Trump’s white supporters have experienced less contact with minorities than other Americans. 
5. Relative deprivation 
Relative deprivation is the experience of being deprived of something to which one believes they are entitled. It is the discontent felt when one compares their position in life to others who they feel are equal or inferior but have unfairly had more success than them.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Yam or Sweetpotato...what’s the difference?

North Carolina SweetPotato Commission 
     What a lot of people call yams are actually sweetpotatoes. In fact, it’s likely most Americans have never tasted a yam. And, yes, it’s sweetpotato, not sweet potato...that’s the way the North Carolina SweetPotato Commission spells it and they should know. North Carolina has led the US in sweetpotato production since 1971. The state produces nearly three times as many sweet potatoes as California, the second highest producing state. 
     Sweetpotatoes are sweet, orange-colored root vegetables and, in fact, all so-called “yams” are sweetpotatoes. Most people think that long, red-skinned sweetpotatoes are yams, but they really are just one of many varieties of sweetpotatoes. 
     A true yam is a starchy edible root and is generally imported to America from the Caribbean. It is rough and scaly and very low in beta carotene. Depending on the variety, sweetpotato flesh can vary from white to orange and even purple. 
     The orange-fleshed variety was introduced to the United States several decades ago. In order to distinguish it from the white variety everyone was accustomed to, producers and shippers chose the English form of the African word “nyami” and labeled them “yams.” Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires labels with the term “yam” to be accompanied by the term “sweetpotato.” Even so, most people still think of sweetpotatoes as yams regardless of their true identity. 
     Sweetpotatoes are almost always sweeter than yams which are starchier and more potato-like and usually not very sweet. In the US most sweetpotatoes are one of four appearances: 

* Rose color skin with orange flesh 
* Pale copper/tan skin with white flesh 
* Red skin, dry white flesh 
* Purple skin and flesh 

     All are more slender than a potato and have tapered ends; however each of these does have a different flavor. Some yams are the size and shape of small potatoes while others can grow up to five feet in length and weigh over 100 pounds! Skins may be dark brown or light pink and the insides white, yellow, purple or pink. 
     Sweetpotaotes are very nutritious and have more sugar, protein, calcium, iron, sodium, vitamin A, beta-carotene, and water than yams do. 
     Yams are also very nutritious and they have more fat, carbs, fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin E than sweetpotatoes. Today, yams are grown around the world, but West Africa grows 95 percent of them.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

USS Nautilas Sails Under the North Pole

     Unlike the South Pole, there is no land beneath the North Pole. The world's northernmost town is Longyearbyen located in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. It is about 650 miles from the North Pole, making it the nearest town to the pole. 
     The temperature of the surface water of the Arctic Ocean is fairly constant at approximately 28.8 degress F which is near the freezing point of seawater. The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceans and is also the coldest of all the oceans. It is mostly covered by sea ice throughout the year and almost completely in winter.  
     An underwater ridge divides the North Polar Basin which is 13,100 to 14,800 feet deep and the Amerasian Basin (or the North American, or Hyperborean Basin) which is about 13,000 feet deep, but the average depth of the Arctic Ocean is 3,406 feet. The deepest point is Molloy Hole at about 18,210 feet.
     In the summer of 1958 Operation Sunshine was a scientific expedition conducted by the US Navy where the USS Nautilus, the first nuclear submarine built for the US armed forces, with a crew of just over 100 sailors navigated under the North Pole. The Nautilus was chosen because its nuclear reactor allowed it to remain submerged longer than a conventional submarine. The mission was completed successfully on August 3, 1958, when the submarine passed under the North Pole.
     Nautilus was not designed to be a warship but rather as a symbol for peaceful nuclear energy and the point of the trip was to show how much more advanced the technology was. The trip was suggested by William Anderson, the Captain of Nautilus. 
     Nautilus departed from Groton, Connecticut on August 19, 1957, for her first attempt at sailing under the Pole but it was unsuccessful because of the ice being too deep. Another attempt was not made until the next summer. On July 23, 1958, Nautilus left the Pearl Harbor and headed for the Bering Straight. The boat crossed under the pole at 11:15pm on August 3 and continued on for four more days until exiting from under the polar ice where Captain Anderson radioed to the President “Nautilus 90 North”. 
     The second attempt did not go without issues. They ran into large amounts of ice blockage as well as mechanical failures. It was hoped the mission was timed when the ice levels in the Arctic would be at their lowest making it easier to navigate without hitting the bottom or the top with the periscope. The expedition was also an opportunity for the Navy to experiment with different types of navigational equipment.
     For a lot more information about submarines scroll down the left column of this blog to All About Submarines.