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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘health’

Court De-Fizzes Mayor Bloomberg’s Soda Ban

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

A New York state judge ruled that the New York City “big soda can” ban promoted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg is illegal. It was slated to take effect Tuesday morning.

“It is arbitrary and capricious because it applies to some but not all food establishments in the city, it excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and/or calories on suspect grounds, and the loopholes inherent in the rule … serve to gut the purpose of the rule,” wrote Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling.

The mayor said he will appeal the decision.

Bloomberg previously has passed legislation to prohibit smoking in restaurants and parks and to require restaurants show the calorie count of meals. The ban of soda drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces was aimed at fighting obesity.

Israel Start-Up’s Anti-Obesity Pill Set to Go Big Time

Monday, March 11th, 2013

The Israeli start-up Gelesis is in advanced talks with a large pharmaceutical company to develop its pill that makes fat people feel their stomachs are full, resulting in less food intake and a loss in weight.

The pharma company was not identified by Israel’s Globes business newspaper, which said that Gelesis soon will publish results of a recent clinical trial of the pill.

Instead of asking the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider the product as a nutritional supplement or medical device, the Israeli company wants to offer it is a medicine to increase its market appeal.

The value of the deal with the foreign pharmaceutical company could reach hundreds of millions of dollars. The unidentified company will invest millions of dollars for developing the pill and will pay royalties on sales, Globes added.

The slim-down pill is made from indigestible edible fiber taken before a meal. The pills, after coming in contact with water, inflate and  make food more viscous, keeping it in the stomach longer, and creating the sense of being sated.

A study of the pill’s effects several years ago showed a high rate of those who said they felt they had enough to eat, while only 16 percent reported they suffered side effects of discomfort, which Gelesis may be able to reduce by changing the dosage for certain individuals.

Obesity is a leading cause of death, and the leading treatment for obesity is through surgery.

The obesity treatment market currently includes various appetite suppressants, but the leading solution for morbid obesity is stomach bypass or reduction surgery. Although other products for filling the stomach are under development, Gelesis’ edge is that its product works with food.

A small number of diet drugs are on the market or are being studied by the FDA, but their success has been limited.

Besides Gelesis, at least one other company, EntroMedics, has developed a system to limit the expansion of the stomach and control hunger sensations. However, clinical trials last month were disappointing.

Canadian Doctors to Drop Anti-Circumcision Stance

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Canadian pediatricians are preparing to reverse a 17-year-old policy that recommends against circumcision and instead will adopt a more balanced view that in effect suggests that the parents decide.

Recent Canadian research shows that approximately half of Canadian parents would consider circumcising their sons, and the most important single factor is whether the father is circumcised, according to a University of Saskatchewan study that was reported by the Vancouver Sun.

The Canadian Pediatric Society in 1996 adopted a clear policy against circumcisions, which is practiced by Muslims as well as Jews, and declared that circumcision is medically unnecessary for the “well-being of the child.”

Many anti-circumcision activists consider the procedure “genital mutilation” and insist that it takes away the human right of a person, even a baby, to decide for himself whether to undergo the procedure.

The new policy puts a bit of sanity back into society by actually implying that parents can decide what is best for their children, at least in terms of circumcision.

“There isn’t going to be a ‘prescription’ for Canadian males in terms of circumcision,” society president Dr. Richard Stanwick, chief medical health officer for the Vancouver Island Health Authority, told Postmedia News.

He said the pediatricians are trying to adopt a policy, to be announced in June, which will consider the risks and benefits of circumcision and also will respect personal references as well as religious issues.”

The pediatricians have been discussing a new policy for three years, an indication to the controversy that will follow whatever policy it adopts.

“There are very strong opinions on both sides of this issue,” Stanwick said. “We know that we’re wading into something that, no matter what we write, will not be strong enough for probably either side.”

American Academy of Pediatrics last year angered anti-circumcision activists by stating that the health benefits of circumcising newborn baby boys outweigh the risks.

Many African countries have adopted circumcision to prevent diseases, especially HIV, and a recent study by American doctors concluded that circumcision provides protection against urinary tract infections, penile cancer and the transmission of some sexually transmitted infections.

“The organization isn’t recommending universal circumcision. Instead, it says the final decision should be left to parents,” the Sun reported.

Stanwick said that despite the benefits of circumcision, the procedure is a surgery and therefore
not without risk,” such as bleeding and hemorrhage, infection, inflammation and tightening at the end of the penis.

US Orthodox Jews Find Bugs in Nutrition Agenda

Monday, February 25th, 2013

The federal government says spinach is so healthy that schools will lose their eligibility for funding if the Popeye favorite is not served, but some orthodox schools say the rule is full of bugs – literally.

Several orthodox Jewish groups have asked the US Dept. of Agriculture to choose substitutes for leafy green vegetables that are difficult if not impossible to be cleaned of tiny insects that are forbidden under Jewish dietary laws, the Forward reported.

“The problem of insect infestation has been confirmed by numerous rabbinical authorities and kosher certification agencies, and many schools have raised this problem,” Rabbi Abba Cohen, Agudath Israel’s Washington director, said in a statement.

Another complaint about the federal program is that it wants t limit the amount of grain-based foods, a diet that would not allow for any other grainy foods except for the one slice of bread that is required in order to recite the Grace after Meals.

Recipe: Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Cooking a dish that both meat eaters and vegetarians will compromise on can be difficult.  I was once in a predicament where I hosted someone who neglected to mention that she was a celiac and a vegetarian. Normally, I would prepare something extra for my vegetarian guests but I was only informed about this at the least minute. Suffice to say, this poor girl did not have many options. I tried convincing her to eat some chicken so she wouldn’t starve throughout the entire meal but no avail. A guest leaving hungry is every hosts nightmare.

Most meat eaters I know are reluctant to try vegan dishes, especially those that require tofu. Tofu is persona non gratta  in my household.   We tend to eat vegetarian dishes during the week and save meat/chicken for the weekends, holidays and special occasions. I generally prefer Shephard’s pie made from ground meat. I once ate a vegetarian version using ground soy beef. It didn’t work for me. I came across another version that even the meat-and-potato- types will appreciate. Like any other Shepherd’s pie, this vegetarian rendition is just as filling and plentiful. I made  a sweet potato puree for the topping.  I know people (some of whom are related to me) who have an aversion to sweet potatoes. I like the contrast of sweet and savory flavors combined. If you don’t, however, feel free to use red potatoes, Idaho potatoes, or rustic potatoes. Just omit the cinnamon and ground cloves factor. I used lentils in lieu of tofu.  While lentils need 45 minutes to cook, I suggest that you grant yourself some time to prepare for this dish.

As a professed red blood male and a carniverous meat-eater (that bit was exaggerated although he does like his meat), my husband gave this recipe a thumbs up. In fact, we had to refrain from eating this entire dish.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 3-4 large sweet potatoes peeled and diced
  2. 1/2  cup of soy,almond, rice or unsweetened coconut milk
  3. 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  4. 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  5. 1 cup of cooked brown or green lentils
  6. 1 cup of diced carrots
  7. 1 cup of diced celery
  8. 1 cup of chopped mushrooms
  9. 1 large onion chopped
  10. 2 cloves or garlic minced
  11. 1 cup of dry red wine
  12. 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  13. 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  14. 1 teaspoon of cumin
  15. 1 teaspoon of dried parsley
  16. Salt and pepper for taste

Instructions 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Place potatoes in a pot with water.   Bring to a boil on the stove top  then reduce heat to medium to the potatoes continue to simmer. Let the potatoes cooks for about 20 minutes till fork tender. Once the potatoes have been cooked, drain them and add the non dairy milk, cinnamon, and cloves. Using a masher or a hand blender, puree till smooth.  The puree should be a little watery. Set aside.  In a cast iron skillet  over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of  olive oil. Add in onions and saute until translucent.  Add the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, and mushrooms and cook for about 4 minutes util vegetables are fragrant and tender .  Season with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, and parsley.  Add the lentils and stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Then pour in the wine.  Cook for another 10 minutes until liquid is reduced. Transfer vegetables to a 9 inch greased baking dish. Spread evenly sweet potato puree over vegetables.  Place the dish in the oven and let it bake for about 40 minutes till the tips of the potatoes turn golden brown. Increase heat at the end of cooking for more browning, if desired. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tbsp of chopped parsley on top of the pie to garnish. Serve hot.

Visit Challah Maidel.

Guess What? High Cholesterol Helps Elderly Live Longer

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

A new Israeli study suggests that people in their 80s should throw away the low cholesterol diet and go for the French Fries and steak.

Researchers at the Belinson Medical Center in Petach Tikvah, located adjacent to Tel Aviv, tested 500 elderly patients over a period five years and reported that those with higher cholesterol live longer. The average age of the patients was 82.

Dr. Abraham Weiss, deputy director of the Department of Geriatrics, said that cholesterol, long thought to be risk to good health and a contributing cause to heart disease and brain damage, is actually good for people once they reach the Golden Age.

The Maariv newspaper reported the researchers’ conclusions Thursday and pointed out that the patients were not given any drugs to reduce cholesterol during the study.

Every person is different, but Dr. Weiss estimates that the surprising findings indicate that cholesterol has a reverse effect for the elderly and actually helps soften the arteries.

He warned that the study should not be accepted as conclusive but that doctors should think twice before assuming that it is advisable to give the elderly drugs that lower cholesterol.

Those under the age of 80 should continue to keep their cholesterol levels low.

February is American Heart Month in the United States, and the U.S.-based Home Access Health Corporation advised this week, “We all know people who have suffered a heart attack or stroke unexpectedly; that’s why it’s important for people to manage their cholesterol levels as part of an overall approach to good health.”

But once you get to the 80s, you might be able to healthily go back to eating chicken liver, b utter, whipped cream and lots of puddings.

RCA Statement on Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

In the years since the Rabbinical Council of America’s first comment about JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality), “the only Jewish based organization dedicated to assisting individuals with unwanted same sex attractions move from gay to straight” in January, 2004, in which we suggested that rabbis might refer congregants to them for reparative therapy, many concerns about JONAH and reparative therapy have been raised.

As rabbis trained in Jewish law and values, we base our religious positions regarding medical matters on the best research and advice of experts and scholars in those areas, along with concern for the religious, emotional, and physical welfare of those impacted by our decisions. Our responsibility is to apply halakhic (Jewish legal) values to those opinions.

Based on consultation with a wide range of mental health experts and therapists who informed us of the lack of scientifically rigorous studies that support the effectiveness of therapies to change sexual orientation, a review of literature written by experts and major medical and mental health organizations, and based upon reports of the negative and, at times, deleterious consequences to clients of some of the interventions endorsed by JONAH, the Rabbinical Council of America decided in 2011, as part of an overall statement on the Jewish attitude towards homosexuality, to withdraw its original letter referencing JONAH. Despite numerous attempts by the RCA to have mention of that original letter removed from the JONAH website, our calls, letters, and emails remain unanswered. As Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, president of the RCA, stated in 2011, “We want it taken down. JONAH said it was a letter of support, but if you read the letter it is not. They took an informational statement and reprinted it, and the use of that as an endorsement is an error.”

We believe that properly trained mental health professionals who abide by the values and ethics of their professions can and do make a difference in the lives of their patients and clients. The RCA believes that responsible therapists, in partnership with amenable clients, should be able to work on whatever issues those clients voluntarily bring to their session. Allegations made against JONAH lead us to question whether JONAH meets those standards.

Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, Chancellor of Yeshiva University and author of the 1974 Encyclopedia Judaica Year Book article, “Judaism and the Modern Attitude to Homosexuality,” the first contemporary article to address the issue from the perspective of Jewish law and philosophy, had originally commended the work of JONAH. In response to the negative reports about JONAH’s activities and concerns expressed to him by respected mental health professionals, Dr. Lamm withdrew his endorsement of JONAH.

About the RCA:

The Rabbinical Council of America, with national headquarters in New York City, is a professional organization serving more than 1000 Orthodox Rabbis in the United States of America, Canada, Israel, and around the world. Membership is comprised of duly ordained Orthodox Rabbis who serve in positions of the congregational rabbinate, Jewish education, chaplaincies, and other allied fields of Jewish communal work

For further information about this statement, you may contact:

Rabbi Mark Dratch Executive Vice President

Rabbi Shmuel Goldin
President

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rca-statement-on-jews-offering-new-alternatives-to-homosexuality/2012/12/06/

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