Commissary Kitchen, a prison cookbook by a Mobb Deep rapper

mobb deep, prison chef
Source: Teddy Wolff/Infamous Books

A new cookbook is on the market about which its prison chef author Prodigy Johnson of the rap group Mobb Deep writes, “This book won’t make you a better cook, but it might make you a better person.”

Knowing what to eat and how to make it is evidently such an important part of prison life that there’s an entire cottage industry of cookbooks written on the subject. Inmate survival guides often have a section on food and how to use the commissary to augment prison diets. Commissary Kitchen: My Infamous Prison Cookbook, which will be published this month, is written by Prodigy and journalist Kathy Iandoli.

In the book, Prodigy describes how his lifelong battle with sickle cell made him hyper-conscious of what he ate while incarcerated.

“I couldn’t afford to get sick in prison,” he writes. “My sickle cell is no joke, so I couldn’t eat poorly or not exercise. And everything in jail is designed to do the exact opposite.” This is just a hint of what sets Commissary Kitchen apart from other books in the genre — it’s about Prodigy’s experience of prison as much, if not more than, about the food itself… read more

What if industrialized food has made us fat and we’ll be slender if we eat wholesome foods?

Cake v. salad
Source: HealthCastle.com

Paul Tappenden believe that food choices – not gluttony or a predisposition to being fat – are why so many Americans are overweight these days. And he offers some pretty good ideas on simple changes we can build into our eating habits that will significantly change our fat quotient.

OBESITY

Why are there so many over weight people in America? I have many well intentioned friends who are 30 to 40 pounds over-weight. For the most part they don’t want to be that way, and in many cases they put themselves on diets to no avail. They are not vast over eaters, yet the pounds keep creeping on

What saddens me most is that they don’t need to be that way. You see, it isn’t about calories or gluttony, it is about food choices. The disturbing fact is that the majority of industrialized foods are filled with toxins that disrupt our endocrine systems causing weight gain, chronic disease, infertility and cancer.

Even so called lite and diet foods contain these toxins, ensuring that no matter how fastidiously one diets, the results will be temporary at best.

If you think this situation will improve any time soon think again. There are entire industries built on the fact that you will be sick and obese.

So long as you eat pre-made, packaged foods, you are adding to your health and weight problems. In order to give these “foods” long shelf life and to make them palatable, companies add chemical preservatives, flavor enhancers, artificial colors and flavorings, conditioners and, to make up for the lack of nutrients, synthetic vitamins (most of which are useless at best),

The ingredients in these cheap foods are sub-standard and often toxic in their own right.

FATS

For simplicity sake I’m dividing fats into good fats and bad fats. Canola oil, corn oil, soy oil, cottonseed oil and the vast majority of oils used in industrial food preparation are bad for you, and when they are hydrogenated, as in the case with butter substitutes, Crisco etc they are even worse

The fats you should eat are butter, egg yolks (yes folks, they are both good for you and your heart), olive oil, coconut oil, avocado and even lard. Of course, these should be obtained from good organic sources, to avoid any added toxins.

SUGARS

There are even good and bad sugars. High Fructose corn syrup and refined white sugar are among the worst. Organic, unfiltered honey and coconut palm sugar are both low glycemic and filled with nutrients.

Most sugar substitutes are as bad for you as the sugars. In fact it has been demonstrated that Aspartame causes you to gain weight, so what good is it?

STARCH

Starch turns into sugar in your system. Sugar feed diabetes and cancer, So limit the amount of starch you consume. Even whole grains can be problematic.

GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS

The other big concern is the presence of GMO’s (mostly concealed from the consumer by law). The industry claims are that GMO’s are safe. However, even if they were (which overwhelming evidence disproves), they come heavily dosed with highly toxic pesticides, that also disrupt hormones and may cause cancer.

MEAT

Limit the amount of meat you eat. Rather than eat a pound of industrial beef, eat half a pound of organic, grass fed beef. It will give you all the goodness without, growth hormones, antibiotics and GMOs (all of which make you fat). Meats also acidify the body, making it a good breeding ground for cancer cells.

The bottom line is to eat organic, fresh whole foods. If you are over weight, you will begin to see those pounds drop away and your health improve.

Hat tip to José German-Gomez for directing my attention to Paul’s post.

Drowning prevention: learn to swim, practice water safety & know what drowning really looks like

Signs of drowning pic
GLSRP.org

The first steps to preventing drowning are learning how to swim and practicing safe swimming habits – in a pool, a lake, a river or in the ocean. To save the life of person who is drowning, though, you need to know what drowning really looks like. Drowning is silent, fast and doesn’t look anything like it is depicted on TV. Slate explains:
There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the No. 2 cause of accidental death in children, ages 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents)—of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. According to the CDC, in 10 percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch the child do it, having no idea it is happening. Drowning does not look like drowning—Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene magazine, described the Instinctive Drowning Response like this:

  • “Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs.
  • Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  • Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
    Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  • From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.”
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    Why the 20 week abortion ban is unconstitutional, unjust and dangerous

    keep abortion safe & legalRoe v. Wade established women’s constitutional rights to decide whether we will carry pregnancies to term. It is unconstitutional to impose any ban on abortions. Yet on Wednesday May 13, Congress voted 242 to 184 to ban abortions after 20 weeks of gestation. The ban will make it impossible for women to abort babies that are seriously ill, fail to develop properly or when a pregnancy threatens the mom’s life.

    Don’t get me wrong – I hate the idea of aborting a fetus this far advanced in term. But this is an important point: doctors who could perform an abortion of this type probably hate it more, so it will always be difficult to find a doctor willing to perform a late term abortion. Except when there is clear medical need.

    The person who will suffer most in a 20 week abortion is the mom: the person who will carry for her entire life the memory of the termination decision, the procedure and the loss of her baby’s life. There’s no way this can be anything but difficult.

    These are the reasons we need to make sure that Roe v. Wade is upheld and that a woman can choose to terminate an advanced pregnancy if she feels that it threatens her own life or the welfare of her unborn child.

    Planned Parenthood shares testimony from mothers who have needed this type of abortion, along with thought provoking information about the issue.

    be a clinic defenderYou can also sign their petition to be a Clinic Defender.

    Thriving local economies means more health & resilience

    walmart never respectsWalmart and Target say they help communities overcome health issues and the ill effects of poverty but the reverse is true.Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Stacey Mitchell writes about the difference between communities with thriving local economies and those dominated by Big Box retail giants:

    study found that counties dominated by a few big firms have … less engaged citizens than those in which economic activity is dispersed across many locally owned businesses. “We find that residents of communities with highly concentrated economies (ed note: where big box stores predominate) tend to vote less and are less likely to keep up with local affairs, participate in associations, engage in reform efforts or participate in protest activities at the same levels as their counterparts in economically dispersed environments (ed note: where small businesses proliferate)…”.

    Sociologists Stephan Goetz and Anil Rupasingha have linked this decline in civic participation to Walmart specifically. With each Walmart store that opens, social capital erodes, their research finds. Communities with more Walmart stores have lower voter turnout and fewer active nonprofit organizations. In their latest study, published in June, they’ve documented a correlation between Walmart and the presence of hate groups.

    Still other research has linked the regional market share of large retail chains with higher rates of poverty, infant mortality, and crime.

    Why is local ownership so nourishing to the social and civic fabric of communities? One (reason is) local business owners themselves. Their personal and financial interests are tied to the community’s well-being and, as a result, they are often active in various civic endeavors. While small business owners gain prestige and influence by contributing to community improvement, corporate managers garner status by advancing the company’s interest, even at the expense of the community.

    Another reason is that cities with a strong entrepreneurial culture and local control of economic resources have more capacity to solve problems on their own and are more resilient and adaptable in times of distress. Those that are dependent on outside corporations have little ability to marshal resources to overcome challenges. read more

    How-to safely enjoy drinking on Purim

    Be wellOnce a year on Purim, Jews celebrate our deliverance from annihilation in Persia and just for this holiday, it’s OK for Jews to drink enough to become tipsy. Comedian Sol Auerbach shares good advice on how to enjoy the pleasant effects of an alcohol buzz without causing bodily harm to yourself – tips that are good for any occasion when people are imbibing spirits. Thanks Sol!

    In a nutshell: drink a lot of water to stay hydrated, eat and stop if you begin to feel woozy. Here’s Saul’s complete list:

    Enjoy alcohol drinks on Purim without getting sick, hungover, or worse

  • Water: Follow every drink (or every two drinks) with at least one full cup of water.
    This will keep your body hydrated and seriously reduce your chances of passing out, getting sick/hungover, or G-d forbid ending up in a hospital.

    Dehydration is one of the main causes of hangover symptoms and drinking water along with any alcoholic beverage can prevent those symptoms. Drinking a cup of water before you start drinking alcohol, and after every drink (or every two drinks) will go a long way towards relieving hangover discomfort.

    DON’T drink a whole lot of alcohol and wait until you need to throw up until you finally drink some water. Wherever you go, bring at least 2 bottles of water with you and follow every 1 or 2 drinks with at least 5 ounces of water.

  • ONLY drink on a full stomach or after eating a substantial amount of food.
    Drinking on an empty stomach is simply dangerous. Most people don’t realize that drinking alcohol on an empty stomach should be avoided because it leads more quickly to intoxication. Neither do they realize what a big difference drinking with food in the stomach can really make. For example, Swedish researchers had a group of people consume a few drinks after an overnight fast. The next day they had the group consume the same amount of alcohol in the same amount of time after eating a modest breakfast. After having breakfast, the group had a much lower average blood alcohol level — only 75% of the BAC reached when drinking on an empty stomach.

    Eating food – especially proteins, fats and dense carbohydrates – slows down the intoxication rate, as does drinking slowly.

    Don’t drink too fast, too much at once, and don’t chug. Chugging is very dangerous because it leads to faster intoxication as the alcohol is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and neutralizes the body’s ability to reject the toxin by vomiting.

    If youre fasting on Taanis Esther then avoid getting drunk Purim night. Save it for Purim day time.

  • Drink Moderately! This bears repeating.
    If you do not drink to the point of total intoxication, your chances of vomiting or getting sick/hungover is very slim. Although there are exceptions, generally only people who drink to excess will experience sickness.

    DON’T play the game of, “I know what I could handle.” Play the game of, “I know when to stop.”

    Some days our bodies are not able to handle the same amount of alcohol as it has on prior days. Just because you were able to handle X amount of drinks at previous parties and situations, this IN NO WAY indicates you will be able to handle that same amount of alcohol.

    The number one reason people end up hospitalized for drinking too much is because they had previously drank the same amount of alcohol without having any problems and so did it again. The same way you can’t handle the same amount of food or soda every day, you can’t handle the same amount of alcohol each time you drink. Regardless of how much or little you drank, as soon as you feel any symptoms of drunkenness (slight head-aches, dizziness, nausea, needing to vomit etc), stop drinking alcohol IMMEDIATELY and drink some water.

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    Penn & Teller knock down myth that vaccines are bad

    Penn & Teller on vaccinesIn an info-video Penn Jillete tells us, “You may have heard vaccination causes autism in 1 out of 110 children. Fuck that. Total bullshit.”

    Like Salon tells it, “It’s still way more dangerous not to be vaccinated, they convincingly argue.”

    Try UCLA’s free guided meditations

    Mindful awareness research ctr - UCLA
    The UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center has free guided meditations you can download from iTunes or play on your computer.

    A Business Insider article on how to sleep better and why you should, points out, “Studies show that mindfulness meditation lowers stress and promotes psychological well-being.” As a newly minted practitioner, I’m learning that even a five minute meditation session is a good investment for my attention and energy levels, and my outlook.

    Don’t let GOP lies confuse you – Obamacare is a good thing

    medicare-obamacare
    Twitter trolls are spreading lies about Obamacare and its relationship to Medicare and Seniors. You can combat their lies by getting the real facts and sharing them. Obamacare (aka Affordable Care Act) is a good thing, especially for seniors.

    #1 Troll says “Egregious example f Obamacare Medicare cuts-hospital refusing 2 ADMIT seniors & OBSERVING them instead”
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    Can you limit sleeping & sitting to 23 1/2 hours/day?

    best health ROI

    best health ROI
    Dr. Mike Evans is a preventive medicine researcher. He found the single biggest and important health investment you can make is: be active between 20 and 30 minutes a day. Evans says, walking is a great way to get it done so take the dog out, get off your bus a stop early, get out with some friends or #walkwithmike. But you can also ride a bike (stationary or mobile), do yoga, Pilates, garden or take an aerobics class. The important thing, is just move!

    In this clip Evans calls 23 1/2 hours, the doctor shows you why this is true.

    America is grateful for Obamacare

    Stephanie-Miller-Ohio-hugs obama

    Daily Kos reports on the raving success of Obamacare across the nation and shows photographs of people lined up for blocks to get live help at on-site signup stations. We see one lady hugging Obama tearfully. Her sister died – needlessly – of colon cancer: a life that could have been saved easily if Sis had had health insurance to pay for treatments.
    Stephanie-Miller-Ohio-hugs obama

    President Obama received a hug from a tearful Stephanie Miller whose sister, Kelly Hines, died of colon cancer at the age of 37. “I thanked him for the getting the Affordable Health Act passed,” she said. “The President replied he would keep on fighting for us and that our fight is not over.”

    Miller said her sister, Kelly Hines, died from colon cancer four years ago because she could not afford proper health insurance. She had no employer-provided coverage.

    Hines soon began a new job where she was given employer-sponsored health care coverage, but as a new employee she needed to be present in the workplace, which ultimately interfered with her cancer treatment.

    Hines clocked anywhere from 40 to 80 hours a week, despite her weakening condition. “She worked until she couldn’t anymore so that she could provide for her kids,” said Miller.

    Following a 15-month struggle, Hines succumbed to the disease – leaving behind her sons, 10 and 15, at the time.

    “We needed that desperately,” Miller continued. “I know what it’s like to watch somebody that you love die from a disease that had they been able to have health care [coverage], they could still be here. Nobody should ever have to go through that. Her sons should not have to suffer without their mother.” read more

    Cycler proves NYC bike lanes not always safe

    NYC cop gives cycler ticket for leaving the bike lane. But there are dangers in the bike lane . .

    The cycler is Casey Neistat and this great footage proves his case brilliantly. I’m convinced that NYC should give him back his $50 fine.

    Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with these hand exercises

    Tendon Gliding Exercise

    A few years back I had a painful bout of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Several occupational therapy sessions plus using two types of gliding exercises the therapist provided helped to reduce pain and restore strength in my hand: the exercises are shown in the pictures below, along with instructions. The CTS gradually faded away as I used the exercises, kept my wrist straight at night by resting my hand and forearm on a pillow while sleeping, and shed quite a few pounds (I had given up smoking and become enormously fat afterwards).

    But, I learned recently that one of the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is difficulty grasping bottles and jars tightly. I still don’t have the strong grip I used to, so I pulled out the gliding exercises again and gee – they produced an immediate improvement to my grip. I think I should try them out again for a while. If you try them too, let me know what they do for you.