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Antibiotics in animal farms: a risk for humans health

This is the new report  about antibiotic resistance in the US. As you can read, the antibiotics used in farm animals can increase humans antibiotic’s resistance, making the medicines, we all take, no longer effective.  In the U.S, antibiotics are used as promotor of growth and as preventive and curative medical treatments, while in the EU are used only as curative treatment.

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It must be taken into account that if antibiotics are used as curative care the animal cannot be ‘processed’ for a defined period of time. In this way, the antibiotic should not be present in the meat anymore.

However, as you can read in this report (I’m sorry but it is in Italian), traces of antibiotics were found in chicken meat sold in numerous european supermarkets.

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So, how can we be sure of what we eat? Do we need to stop or decrease the amount of meat we eat in order to be safe? And how the different governments aim to resolve this situation?

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Insects: here we come!!

The FAO has published an interesting report about insects’ consumption as source of food for humans. Indeed, not only do insects contain great nutritional values, but they have also proven to be more environmentally friendly than raising some livestock.

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Are insects the food of the future?

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Food Around the World

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New country you go, new foods and packages you find! These are only some of the products with a different label or taste that intrigued me this week….

Philadelphia Spread Cheeses

Still, Philadelphia with Green Olives remains my favorite one, but it is not sold in the Netherlands.

This is another spread cheese that I did not have the “courage” to try but I liked the package, and you never know..I might try it in the future!

Dutch Fanta

Ready to Eat Pancakes

Dutch Maple Syrup (I hope!)

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What I have learned during these past weeks?

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I learned that Salmonella could also infect fishes, that we all have residient and transient microorganisms in our hands, no matter how many times we wash them. I learned that if the meat remains pink all through cooking, despite being heated at high temperatures, it has been exposed to nitrites. I learned that the sarcinae sickness is a type of beer spoilage, meaning that the beer has a honey like odor. I leaned that friends sometimes lie, occasionally of course. I learned that soy sauce has a two stages fermentation process and it ages at least one year.

I learned that sous-vide is a preservation method, which consists in vacuum, mild heat treatment and cold storage. I learned that ground meat needs to be cooked well done, always no matter what, because “the surface contaminants” that are on the product (and believe me there are!), will be mixed into the middle of it. Conversely, bloody steak lovers, you can eat your piece of meat safely even if the interior is undercooked because the contamination is only on the surface. I learned that sometimes people prefer to postpone the inevitable because they do not feel ready, but they are.

I learned that Listeria can be found in deli meats, soft cheeses, pate’ and smoked fish. I learned that, in an airplane, crew members and  passengers eat different meals in order to reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses and the diffusion among the whole plane. I learned that spores are ubiquitous (love this word!). I learned that even the strongest friends, the ones with a constant smile on their lips, have bad days.

I learned that Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Norovirus are the most diffuse food-borne infections. I learned to make “educated guess”. I learned that the large round “eyes” (holes) in the semi-hard cheeses of the Maasdam type (Emmental) derive from the amount of CO2 formed during the propionic fermentation. I learned that autumn’s foliage here is really beautiful. I learned that food-freezing processes are designed not to maximize microbial lethality, but to minimize loss of product quality.

I learned that they  do not sell round trip train tickets here and that you only need to buy numerous single ways. I learned that Bacillus cereus is responsible for the Chinese restaurant syndrome. I learned that “success” in Dutch means luck. I learned that the wetness and the presence of food debris on the kitchen table could cause transmission of pathogens because microorganisms use food residues and water as nutrients. I learned how to detect Salmonella and Listeria. I learned that my lab coat needs to be ironed very very well after being washed. I learned how to count the D, F and z values of microorganisms. Finally, and most importantly, I learned that no matter how well you prepare or train yourself, life always manages to surprise you in weird and wonderful ways.

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My Blog is CO2 Neutral

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Ogni nota musicale che scarichi, ogni  fotografia che salvi e tutti i post che scrivi raccontano di te, accendono i ricordi, diffondono informazioni, esprimono sentimenti….E occupano spazio, inquinano, contribuiscono a surriscaldare il pianeta!

E’ difficile da immaginare ma le attività on line hanno conseguenze per nulla virtuali, non solo perché i pc sono fatti di componenti elettrici difficili da smaltire e si alimentano dalla presa di corrente domestica. Il problema maggiore infatti è rappresentato dai data center, enormi dispositivi che immagazzinano dati e spesso vengono alimentati a carbone, producendo CO2 in grande quantità. Greenpeace ha recentemente calcolato che nel 2020 Internet consumerà più energia di Francia, Germania, Canada e Brasile messi assieme ed ha perciò intitolato il suo ultimo rapporto:  “Quanto sono sporchi i tuoi dati”.

Per dare un’idea, una mail produce dai 4 ai 19 grammi di Co2 e la gestione di un blog arriva a rilasciarne nell’atmosfera 3,6 kg in media all’anno, cifra destinata a salire in proporzione al numero dei visitatori…

Cosa possiamo farci? Possiamo chiedere alle grandi aziende del web, così potenti ed innovative, di avere comportamenti responsabili e diventare CO2UNFRIEND, per esempio investendo sulle energie rinnovabili e su strategie sostenibili nella gestione dei loro data center. Ad esempio,  Google ha recentemente rinunciato a sistemi di condizionameno tradizionali per la sua server farm di St. Ghislain (Belgio), preferendo immissioni d’aria dall’esterno e sfruttando l’aria calda prodotta dai macchinari per riscaldare gli uffici e le case in prossimità.

Cosa possiamo farci, ancora? Seguire individualmente semplici regole ecologiche come preferire gli web hosting sostenibili, non lasciare i nostri pc in standby per ore ed ore, acquistare alimentatori a risparmio energetico, evitare di stampare i file e soprattutto usare il web come strumento di  informazione per aumentare la nostra consapevolezza sulle problematiche ambientali.

Oltre alle attenzioni quotidiane contro gli sprechi, infatti, possiamo tutti compensare la CO2 prodotta dalle attività on line in una maniera semplice ed efficace: piantando un albero.

Un albero assorbe in media, secondo un calcolo prudente, 5 kg di Co2 all’anno, trasformandola in ossigeno. L’albero piantato per me da DoveConviene può vivere fino a 50 anni e compensare il mio blog per…. mezzo secolo!

Inoltre, grazie alla partnership con Iplantatree, DoveConviene mi assicura che l’albero sia piantato nel rispetto della biodiversità, in luoghi adatti (rimboschimento dopo eventi climatici gravi o dopo interventi umani scorretti) e con garanzie di trasparenza. Posso anche vedere le foto dell’area che ho contribuito a riforestare!

Infine, DoveConviene.it è a sua volta un mezzo per la mia responsabilizzazione ambientale: l’azienda ripropone on-line i volantini pubblicitari che normalmente riempiono le nostre cassette della posta e permette di consultare cataloghi e offerte con un click sul pc, sul tablet, sul telefonino indicando i negozi più vicini a casa mia, risparmiando carta e carburante.

Direi che iniziative come questa meritano di essere diffuse! Se vuoi informarti e aderire visita CO2NEUTRAL e diventa anche tu CO2neutral.

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WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME

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Do you know that sentence “you understand the importance of someone you love only when you do no longer have him” (or something similar)? I know, this sounds so corny, but it is also so true and, unfortunately, I’m just realizing it now. Now that I have lost you, now that I’m not able to find you at every corner, now that I desperately need you, you are no longer here. I didn’t know that we would have lived apart from each other. I assumed we would have been together forever. I assumed you would have followed me, or, that I would have found you here, waiting for me as an old friend does.

Now, I’m thinking at all the times I refused you, the times where you annoyed me, the times I took you for granted, the times I snubbed you, the times where I postponed our dates because I had other “better alternatives”. I thought we would have been inseparable, I thought we would have lived together forever. I assumed you would have been with me when I needed you the most and now, only now, I realize it’s too late because I’ve lost you.

Please, come back. Just give me another chance. I promise I will behave properly. I’ll respect you and I’ll never deride you again. Never, I swear! I’ll enjoy your company because I like you and not because I have to. I promise I’ll never complain about you, your smell, taste, consistency, or appearance. I’ll accept you as you are, without any further judgement.

 

Please, I cannot live without you. I have been so arrogant, so overconfident, so bullish. But, now, I know. I know that my life without you does not make any sense. I know I cannot resist without you any longer. I know that we are meant to be together. I know that I would give everything up just to have you.

I know what is important now. I made mistakes, unforgivable mistakes. But now I understand. I understand that you make my life better. I don’t care if you don’t feel the same as I do because I can stand it. I’m strong enough to survive a rejection, but I’m not that strong to live my whole life without you. I need you to be part of my life, now!

Please, just give me another chance. I know I will not disappoint you again. I’ll not let you down, I swear! Please, please, please will you come back? I miss you so much.

One more thing, if you do come back, consider that I do not have an oven…and if you are really coming back, dear beloved PIZZA, keep in mind my unfortunate situation!

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It would be the same life without apples?

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Finally the “Apples Season” has begun! I don’t know about you, but I love apples. Every type of apples! When I lived in NY, during this season, there was a small market on Wednesday morning near City Hall, with delicious and appealing apples and, obviously, since it was on my way I always stopped by.

We all know the famous sentence: “Eating an apple a day, keeps the doctor away” and I guess it’s true! Apples have many positive characteristics: they contain soluble fiber which reduces intestinal disorders, they are rich of flavonoids, potassium, vitamin A and C, apples pectin helps reducing cholesterol level, and they only have 50-80 calories with no fat. In addition if this was not enough, they are also tasty, crispy, sweet and give you the impression of eating a lot without doing it (because you have to chew them for a while).

Do you know how many varieties of apples there are in the world? More or less around 7.500 types. In fact, there are so many types of apples that you could easily eat a different one each day of the week. Three years ago, my favorite apple was the Pink Lady and then I had a short but intense crush on the Honey Crisp one. Two years ago, I met the love of my life: the Fuji apple…very reliable and it will never disappoint you! This year, I’ve already tried the Ingrid Marie (very popular here) and Garden Royale apples. I did not find yet my perfect match, but I have many hopes since the season just started!

I don’t know if it’s the same where you live, but here in the Netherlands (and also in the U.S), there are plenty of products made with apples. Apples purée, my usual breakfast, sold in large glass bottles or in small plastic cups, yogurts with apple and cinnamon, apple jelly, apple butter (a more concentrated types of apple sauce), apple juices, apple ciders (non-alcoholic and alcoholic ones), apple vinegar, apple chips, dried apples, toffee apples, candy and caramel apples, apples cookies and muffins, apple pies, apple crumble and much more. Seriously, if you love the combination apple and cinnamon in general you just have to move to the Netherlands!

However, even though these products contain apples as the main ingredient, some of them are not the healthier choice we can make. Nowadays, we do not only have to think about what to eat, which food/ingredients we are going to use, but also about how to eat it. Do you prefer ready to eat, frozen, fresh, dried, lyophilized foods? Which option best suits you?

Indeed, eating a small cup of apple puree it is not the same as eating a fresh apple, especially if the puree has sugars added. The majority of these products contain sugars, caramel, corn syrup or honey, and other added ingredients, which increase the calories and fat counts. So, we believe that we are making a healthy choice, but in the end we aren’t. Just read the label and the list of the ingredients before buying it!

And probably the proverb should be changed into: “eating an organic (or from a farmers market), well cleaned (or peeled) fresh apple a day, keeps the doctor away!”