The word ‘inflammation’ doesn’t really evoke much concern, does it? Actually, many people associate inflammation with swelling, which, is true to some extent. However, inflammation can actually be a very dangerous thing. Inflammation is a necessary defense mechanism of the body. It is the body’s attempt at self-protection; the aim being to remove harmful stimuli, including damaged cells, irritants, or pathogens, and begin the healing process. However, inflammation of the chronic variety can be very harmful. Studies suggest that chronic inflammation could have serious roles in a wide variety of age-related diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases. Not so surprisingly, our diets affect the inflammatory response in the body. In America this is bad news; as our shelves are stocked with heavily-processed foods and ingredients. These are the foods that you need to avoid because they cause inflammation in the body.
Anything fried – Pretty much everything that is fried has a thick layer of fat, also known as batter, around it. As unhealthy as this unnecessary fat is, it is actually the temperatures that fried food is prepared in that primarily causes inflammation. Fried foods are prepared at temperatures between 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit. At this range, the food forms glycation end-products that are very unhealthy. Actually, the body perceives these byproducts as threats and initiates the inflammation response.
Foods containing trans fats – The reason is that trans fats damage the cells that line our blood vessels; of course, this stimulates inflammation. In the past, processed foods were notorious for containing excessive levels of trans fats. Due to damning medical research and consumer backlash, companies slowly but surely began eliminating them. It is still wise to check the ingredients label for hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, and leave them alone.
White bread – White breads and pastas are quickly broken down into sugars and are absorbed by the body. These products also cause inflammation. The refinement process that many of these foods undergo irritates our body as a result. A study links refined grains with higher concentrations of inflammatory proteins in the blood. Meanwhile, the same study attributes whole-grain consumption with lower levels of these proteins. The lesson? Whole grain breads are much healthier, and white bread is even more unhealthy that we originally thought.
Alcohol – Granted alcohol is not a food, but the dangers it poses on human health cannot be ignored; specifically, the potentially hazardous inflammation responses induced by heavy consumption. In theory, alcohol shouldn’t lead to any lasting damage unless it is overdone. Heavy consumption, however, can allow bacteria to penetrate through the intestinal wall. Of course, the presence of bacteria initiates an autoimmune response that involves irritation and inflammation.
MSG foods – Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is thought to be an inflammation starter, although the exact mechanisms behind the response aren’t well-known, consumption of MSG is thought to cause inflammation of the blood vessels. Simply put, MSG is not an element that the human body is adapted to. When this is the case, it becomes very difficult to hypothesize the potential effects from consuming it. What is known about MSG is that the chemical can exacerbate weight gain, cause headaches, raise blood pressure, and is potentially damaging to the liver.
Gluten – There is perhaps no food additive that’s come under such intense scrutiny in recent years. Gluten, a substance in cereal grains and wheat, is known for causing bloating and digestive problems. These and other findings are persuading more and more individuals to stop consuming the substance. The side effects experienced from gluten are thought to surface from an inflammatory response to the chemical. Those that have abstained from gluten report feeling much healthier too.
Tabitha Brown and Other Black Personalities Focus On Joy Despite Crisis
Happiness is an essential aspect of survival. For many Black influencers, promoting positivity among fans and followers, mainly during crises, is a must—that so-called reminder that there is still light at the end of the darkest tunnel.
Amid the ill effects of the present COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing debates regarding equality and racism, numerous Black celebrities and creators are offering the community a chance to laugh, reconnect, and heal. Tabitha Brown delights her audience with cooking expertise; Kerry Washington showcases yoga as a calming and reflective activity, and Rickey Thompson entrances followers with his dancing moves.
Brown and Her Cooking
The vegan actress provides both her Instagram and TikTok fans with motivational clips. She combines her southern cooking with inspirational narratives. She guides her millions of followers as she demonstrates how to cook a variety of dishes as she simultaneously calms her audience with her trademark expressions, including “’cause that’s our business” and “like so, like that.”
After her 2-year battle with chronic fatigue and pain, the actress turned to the web, posting motivational videos for fans. “I want to help people,” Brown shares in a recent interview. “I think my content has a responsibility to bring light every day, whether it’s in laughter, whether it’s in inspiration, whether it’s through food,” she adds.
Thompson and His Dancing Moves
Like Brown, Thompson has millions of followers on social media. He dazzles his fans with various dance clips coupled with relatable rants regarding relevant issues. His videos are bursts of color and gaiety, encouraging everyone to believe that things will soon be okay.
He shares that, after the terrible losses that he and his family encountered, he realized that he could use his voice to influence others. Nowadays, he provides his fans with comic relief through dancing, walking, and self-expression. “As a Black person, our whole journey is trying to keep all our emotions within because we’re supposed to be strong, we’re supposed to be these tough people,” Thompson explains. “But we’re also human… What’s important is letting other people know you’re not in this alone,” he continues.
Staying Positive amid Problems
Despite the current difficulties encountered by various Black and colored communities in the country, it is highly important to remain calm and steady. Laughter helps relieve the accumulated stress and pain brought on by the pandemic and increased racism, while motivational talks provide positive guidance on how to make the best of the situation.
Numerous Black influencers and personalities offer various stress relief options online, encouraging others in the community to hold on to each other, although virtually, as we all await the eventual cure to this present pandemic. “So that even if it’s for one minute, it’s an escape for whatever they have going on in life. They can laugh a little bit or cry if they need to, but they just feel like they have somebody at that moment,” Brown asserts.
Indeed, we may all be grappling with various issues at the moment, but hope must spring eternal as survival can only be possible for those who remain steadfast, strong, and happy.
How To Determine A Food-Friendly Wine
The language of wine can be romantic, mystifying, or nonsensical — sometimes all at once. Experts share their experience and research for some wines and winery in answering the question: “What makes a wine food-friendly?”. Some people are dependent on wine names and might seem self-evident, but frequently, they get deceived.
“Food-friendly” is a common description that should seem obvious, but what does it mean?
Most people would say that wine is meant to be consumed with food. However, we usually drink wines as cocktails, or on their own, without thinking about what we eat to match the wine mood. Sometimes, people also enjoy them as trophies, for the experience of tasting a rare, expensive wine. In these contexts, food doesn’t matter. Wine is the highlight.
The concept of a “food wine” became a derogatory — a wine that didn’t taste good on its own and needed food as a counterbalance for its flaws. That’s not what we mean today by describing a wine as “food-friendly.”
- Every good wine will be friendly with at least some food. A positively food-friendly wine plays nicely with a broad category of foods, from sweet to savory to spicy, from meat to fish to veggies.
“I’ve had A-plus perfect pairings, where every note in the wine and dish sync and amplify each other, but those are rare experiences, and I don’t think they are the point most of the time,” says Matt Stamp, a master sommelier who used to try to orchestrate such pairings at the French Laundry in Yountville, in Napa Valley.
- Along with Rosé, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Barbera are wines noted for their acidity and versatility with food. This can result in surprising pairings. Beef braised in Riesling is a traditional German dish, and pinot noir makes an exciting partner to sushi, roast chicken, pork, or grilled salmon.
- When in doubt at home or in a restaurant, look for these types of wines for challenging food pairings or find some bubbles, the second characteristic that defines food-friendly wines. Bubbles go with everything. The sparkling wine’s enthusiasm effectively cleanses your mouth and prepares you for the next bite of food or a sip of wine. Sparkling wines also manage to be refreshingly acidic. We do ourselves an offense by relegating champagne and other bubblies drinks, such as Italian prosecco or Spanish cava.
“Champagne can be had throughout a meal, even with the right steak,” says Nadine Brown, former sommelier at Charlie Palmer Steak in D.C. “Fried chicken and potato chips with grower champagne is hot right now,” Brown says, pointing to the ultimate combo of extravagant wine and poor vittles.
I usually don’t agree with the “drink the wine you like with the food you like” school of view because it can be lazy. But if you pay attention to the wines you drink and the foods you pair them with, you’ll develop your group of wine styles to draw on when wondering, “What on earth should I drink with this?”
And as Brown advises, “Stay curious.” You might find something unique and surprising.
Turn Your Extra Rice Into Something More
Rice is best paired with any of the viands you can think of, whether it’s vegetables or meat. It goes so well with anything. Without rice, sometimes, we feel unsatisfied; thus, we still feel hungry. However, you can turn rice into something you want it to be! Fried rice, for example, yet, it is not the basic ones; you can add something into it to make it more delicious and mouth-watering.
Depending on your position, leftover takeout rice can be the bane of your existence or a blessing. For most of us, it’s the latter. Extras such as these are the foundation for a superb reinvented supper, namely fried rice.
Fried rice is an excellent weeknight feed, whether you want to extemporize with what’s already in your kitchen or have a specific project. Here are some recipes from our archives, which are great as written and easy enough to achieve. They’re so great; you might find yourself ending up ordering more rice just to make them.
Fried rice with broccoli and mustard greens
A vegetable-loaded version uses a sharp technique that has you cook the ingredients in steps, which is especially helpful if you don’t have a wok or large skillet.
Better than takeout fried rice
Sometimes, there are similarities between what you might get if you ordered fried rice, but we prefer the freshness and crunch of homemade. The ginger and red pepper flakes are making it sound, too.
Sesame fried rice with spring vegetables and egg
Brown rice binds more nourishment into the stir-fry, and fried eggs mean you can mix in a runny yolk for an extra-luxurious texture.
Garlic fried rice (Chahan)
This is for garlic lovers; celebrate because you’ll fry a few cloves for this recipe. It calls for short-grain Japanese rice, so here’s an ideal recipe for making a cut in any sushi rice you may get.
Vegetable fried rice
This recipe helps you with extra brown rice. Other than that, it will also get you to reinvent those broccoli stems instead of throwing them away or doing the same recipe over and over again.
Quick ham-fried rice with lavender
This is clearly off the hidden path, but the floral flavor plays well with the pork, ginger, and raisins.
Spicy basil tofu fried rice
A stir-fry for one that recommends making a baked marinated tofu for extra flavor and thick texture. You can also swap in plain extra-firm tofu.
African soul fried rice.
Food writer and culinary historian Michael Twitty is the source of this vivid dish that includes traditional or indigenous ingredients to West and Central Africa.
Those are just some of the recipes you may use for converting your plain rice into something more tasty. Avoid food waste, get what you can consume. If we can’t avoid leftover foods, let’s not leave it. Let’s transform it.
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