Tag Archives: Dallas

IT’s OFFICIAL: Processed Red Meats Cause Cancer

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This article appeared on NPR this morning.   It is an empirical finding by the World Health Organization.

The World Health Organization has put bacon, hot dogs and sausages in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco smoking.

The World Health Organization has put bacon, hot dogs and sausages in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco smoking.

The World Health Organization has deemed that processed meats — such as bacon, sausages and hot dogs — cause cancer.

In addition, the WHO says red meats including beef, pork, veal and lamb are “probably carcinogenic” to people.

A group of 22 scientists reviewed the evidence linking red meat and processed meat consumption to cancer, and concluded that eating processed meats regularly increases the risk of colorectal cancer. Their evidence review is explained in an article published in The Lancet.

The conclusion puts processed meats in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco smoking and asbestos. This does not mean that they are equally dangerous, says the International Agency for Research on Cancer — the agency within the WHO that sets the classifications. And it’s important to note that even things such as aloe vera are on the list of possible carcinogens.

In a Q & A released by the IARC, the agency says that “eating meat has known health benefits,” but it also points out that the cancer risk increases with the amount of meat consumed. As we’ve reported, studies show that the heaviest meat eaters tend to have the highest risk.

The IARC says high-temperature cooking methods (such as cooking meat in direct contact with a flame) produce more carcinogenic compounds. However, the group says there were not enough data “to reach a conclusion about whether the way meat is cooked affects the risk of cancer.”

Susan Gapstur of the American Cancer Society says the society recommends “consuming a healthy diet with an emphasis on plant foods and limiting consumption of processed meat and red meat,” she told us in a written statement.

The recommendation, Gapstur tells The Salt, is based on research. For instance, a systematic literature review on colorectal cancer published in 2011 by the World Cancer Research Fund found a statistically significant, 16 percent increased risk of colorectal cancer associated with each 100 grams of red and processed meat consumed. As the ACS points out, this is an amount of meat roughly equivalent in size to a deck of cards.

The Lancet paper points out that red meat also contains “high biological-value proteins and important micronutrients such as B vitamins, iron and zinc.” And the North American Meat Institute says lots of research points to the benefits of red meat consumption.

“Scientific evidence shows cancer is a complex disease not caused by single foods and that a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle choices are essential to good health,” writes Barry Carpenter, president of the North American Meat Institute, in a statement on the new WHO classification.

Carpenter says it’s important to put this new classification in context. “IARC’s panel was given the basic task of looking at hazards that meat could pose at some level, under circumstance, but was not asked to consider any off-setting benefits, like the nutrition that meat delivers or the implications of drastically reducing or removing meat from the diet altogether,” the statement concludes.

Are you Depressed?

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In my opinion,  psychiatrists should first test their patients for nutritional deficiencies before writing prescriptions for Zoloftor for  antipsychotics, like Zyprexa.  Conscientious doctors send patients to get lab work done prior to prescribing drugs or increasing dosages.  There are times when people do need antidepressants.   However,  other times  spinach would go far to eliminate the symptoms of depression.   Think Popeye.

If you haven’t ever tested your nutrition levels, you might inquire with either your psychiatrist or primary-care physician. Supplements can be expensive, but you can make it back  by not having to see your psychiatrist as often. You should talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you’re on prescription drugs.

 

Vitamin D

According to my doctor, Vitamin D deficiency is a major epidemic that doctors and public health officials are just beginning to realize. This deficiency has been linked to depression, dementia, and autism. Most of our levels drop off during the fall and winter months, since sunlight is the richest source.   My doctor believes that we should be getting from 5,000 to 10,000 IU  a day.  However, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends most healthy adults get only about 600 IUs daily.  Hence, the widespread deficiency and increases in depression.

Magnesium

I am forever extolling the virtues of Magnesium, because this, like Vitamin D, is deficient in most American adults, according to my doctor, and the symptoms are not pretty.  They can, in fact, set off a chain reaction of unpleasant symptoms. Our lifestyles decrease our levels of Magnesium.  Some of the things that contribute are excess alcohol, salt, coffee, sugar, phosphoric acid (in soda), chronic stress, antibiotics, and diuretics (water pills). Magnesium is sometimes referred to as the stress antidote, the “most powerful relaxation mineral that exists,” according to Hyman. It is found in seaweed, greens, and beans. The NIH recommends a daily intake of about 400 to 420 milligrams (mg) of magnesium for adult men and 310 to 320 mg for adult women.  Magnesium Citrate can also act as a laxative, so buy your Magnesium accordingly….and time it well.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

I was surprised when my results showed an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency because I eat plenty of salmon and take fish oil supplements every day. That shows you just how much fish — salmon, tuna, halibut — or flaxseeds and walnuts we need to consume to be at an optimal level. These essential minerals reduce inflammation and play a critical role in brain function, especially memory and mood. The body can’t make them, so you need to either eat them or take supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are just one of the supplements I take every day for depression

Vitamin B Complex

B vitamins like vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12 can provide some incredible health benefits, including reduced stroke risk and healthy skin and nails. On the other hand, a vitamin B deficiency may impact your mental health. More than a quarter of severely depressed older women were deficient in B-12, according to one 2009 study.

The best sources of vitamin B-6 are poultry, seafood, bananas, and leafy green vegetables. For vitamin B-6, the NIH recommends a daily intake of 1.7 mg for adult men, and 1.5 mg for adult women. Vitamin B-12 is found in animal foods (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk) and shellfish, such as clams, mussels, and crab. Most adults should need to consume 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B-12 daily, according to the NIH.

Folate

People with a low folate level have only a 7 percent response to treatment with antidepressants. Those with high folate levels have a response of 44 percent, according to Hyman. That is why many psychiatrists are now prescribing a folate called Deplin to treat depression and improve the effectiveness of an antidepressant. I tried it and it didn’t seem to make that much of a difference; however, I have several friends who have had very positive responses to Deplin. You need not try the prescription form of Deplin. You could just start taking a folate supplement and see if you get any results. Your daily recommended folate intake depends on your gender, whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, and age. However, most adults need at least 400 mcg daily. You can also get your daily folate requirements by consuming foods high in folate, including dark leafy greens, beans and legumes, and citrus fruits and juices.

 Amino Acids

Amino acids — the building blocks of protein — help your brain properly function. A deficiency in amino acids may cause you to feel sluggish, foggy, unfocused, and depressed. Good sources of amino acids include beef, eggs, fish, beans, seeds, and nuts.

 Iron

Iron deficiency is pretty common in women. About 20 percent of women, and 50 percent of pregnant women, are in the club. Only three percent of men are iron deficient. The most common form of anemia — an insufficient number of red blood cells — is caused by iron deficiency. Its symptoms are similar to depression: fatigue, irritability, brain fog. Most adults should consume 8 to 18 mg of iron daily, depending on age, gender, and diet, according to the NIH. Good sources of iron include red meat, fish, and poultry. If you really want to get more red blood cells, eat liver. Yuck.

 Zinc

This one is SO important!  Zinc is used by more enzymes (and we have over 300) than any other mineral. It is crucial to many of our systems. It activates our digestive enzymes so that we can break down our food, and works to prevent food allergies (which, in turn, averts depression in some people, since some of our mood disruptions are triggered by food allergies). It also helps our DNA to repair and produce proteins. Finally, zinc helps control inflammation and boosts our immune system. The NIH recommends a daily intake of 11 mg of zinc for adult men and 8 mg for adult women.

 Selenium

Like iodine, selenium is important for good thyroid function. It assists the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone T4 to the active thyroid hormone, T3. It also helps one of our important antioxidants (glutathione peroxidase) keep polyunsaturated acids in our cell membranes from getting oxidized (rancid). Most adults need about 55 mcg of selenium daily. The best food source of selenium is Brazil nuts, which contains about 544 mcg of selenium per ounce.

Iodine

Iodine deficiency can be a big problem because iodine is critical for the thyroid to work as it should, and the thyroid affects more than you think: your energy, metabolism, body temperature, growth, immune function, and brain performance (concentration, memory, and more). When it’s not functioning properly, you can feel very depressed, among other things. You can get iodine by using an iodine-enriched salt, or by eating dried seaweed, shrimp, or cod. I take a kelp supplement every morning because I have hypothyroidism. The daily recommend amount of iodine for most adults is about 150 mcg.

Oatmeal, anyone? An Evening with Ottmar Liebert

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When my daughter was small, she would refer to Flamenco guitarist, Ottmar Liebert as “Oatmeal”.  “Listening to Oatmeal again, Mom?”  she would ask.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.36.40 AM© Stacy Alexander – 2015

Last night, we were treated to two hours of this graceful guitarist’s skilled execution of some of the most incredible music I have ever heard.  Liebert was joined by bassist, Jon Gagon and percussionist, Chris Steele.  They had definite chemistry, and put on an ideal show in an intimate Portland venue in the Alberta Arts District.

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© Stacy Alexander

Ottmar Liebert is what guitar playing is all about.  He is in tune with his craft to the point that it seemed, at times, that he and the guitar were one instrument.  He was graceful, and seemed comfortable in his own skin, playing, most of the time, barefoot, with his eyes closed, seemingly oblivious to his surroundings, riding the waves of his own creations.   I believe he was playing a small DeVoe guitar, but it didn’t have any markings on it that I could see, so I’m not certain that is what it was.

Since 1986 Liebert has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1992 he purchased an “alt-ranchette” just outside the city, with an adobe guesthouse he built as a recording studio.  In May 2006 Liebert was ordained as a Zen monk by Dennis Genpo Merzel at the Kanzeon Zen Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He had a very strong presence….one of peace and goodness.  Both John and I sensed this immediately as we watched him.

(I couldn’t get the video of Luna Negra to embed.  This video (above) is an earlier performance.)

I have been unable to find a video of Jon Gagnon, his bassist, but will post one here, if i do later.  He  was simply put, rock solid in every way.  Jon had a huge presence and voice on a 4 string fretless which sang like an baritone opera singer…or, at times, a French horn.  I couldn’t figure out what one of his bass instruments was at all it.  The one shown here was huge, and had a EB-like headstock and a body shape of something like a JP and a morsh.   Its  tone was full of mwah, but soulful and crying. The  fretboard was  coated with something shiny. I’d not seen anything like it before.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.54.47 AMThe drummer, Chris Steele, was not to be believed.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.57.15 AMI did find a video of Chris playing, and I encourage you to watch it.  He is truly a unique player, and fantastically talented.

There is a video on YouTube that I couldn’t manage to embed here.  Please look it up.  It is called “Good Drums, Bad Turtleneck” by Chris Steele.  This is the video to watch to really see this man’s talent.  You can find it here:

The Alberta Rose Theater is a sweet little venue….very small and intimate, which was the perfect place to hear a trio such as this.  John and I ate the venue’s delicious  hand pies and sipped Perrier as we basked in the warmth and beauty that these musicians presented to us. We had such a nice evening.   These guys are  true professionals…plain and simple.  They were tight, knew exactly what they were doing, and provided the audience with an amazing show.  ’nuff said.  Well…no….NOT enough said, actually.

As I was sitting there watching these incredible musicians, I though about my dear friend, another musician, and felt so sad that his life has taken the path that it has.  It could have been him up there on that stage last night….but as they say…”When you lie with pigs….”  He has made some not-so-wise choices.   I’ll leave it at that.

Redbird Moonshiner

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My lovely daughter-in-law has the best taste in music.  I am forever learning about new musicians with whom I was not previously acquainted.  She posted this one on her Facebook this morning and I just had to share.  I told her I thought the style was like Eddie Vedder with a soda chaser.

Enjoy Redbird Moonshiner.

Counting the Countless – A Good Day in Texas

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Magdalena Abakanowicz is one of my favorite artists.  She makes art about the “countless”… those countless people and animals that are so easily grouped together in life…..the homeless, the Holocaust Jews and Gypsies, the poor, the unemployed, minority women, stray dogs, bees….living creatures in groups that lose their individuality because they amass in such huge numbers that society stops viewing them as individuals and sees them blindly as one entity….the group…..the countless.  There are too many of them to count, yet each one is still an individual.  Abakanowicz is on of this world’s most important artists and one that I wholly appreciate for the depth and breadth of her remarkable creations.

 She says: “I feel overwhelmed by quantity where counting no longer makes sense. By unrepeatability within such quantity. A crowd of people or birds, insect or leaves, is a mysterious assemblage of variants of a certain prototype, a riddle of nature abhorrent to exact repetition or inability to produce it, just as a human hand can not repeat its own gesture”.                        

 

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This is me, standing in front of one of Magdalena Abakanowicz’s most famous installations, “Bronze Crowd” in Dallas, at the Nasher Sculpture Center.  The light scrolls are Photoshopped in, simply because I liked the affect.  We had just dined inside, and were strolling around the grounds together, thrilled, as always, by the outstanding works of art that surrounded us.  That was a particularly wonderful day.  When it isn’t crowded, Nasher is the perfect place to meditate.  It is peaceful there.  Beautiful.  Hard to believe it is even in Texas at all.

I was thrilled to be standing in front of the Abakanowicz piece.  Each statue is headless…and slightly different from the next.  The installation signifies a statement about lost individuality.  In addition to victims of atrocities, I look at this work and  think of those that try so hard to fit in with what they are “supposed” to do, and, in the process, lose who they really are.  They forget to smile.  They forget to love.  They forget to have fun  They lose their voices in the fray.  This installation is a reminder that each person on this earth is an individual with unique qualities worth paying attention to.

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Nasher has a fantastic gift shop.  In the picture above, I was wearing my new SAAKO infinity scarf  that I had received as a gift from their shop. It has flecks of gold in it and is truly beautiful! I have been addicted to these scarves since then, and have now amassed quite the collection of them.

The Nasher Sculpture Center is located in the heart of Dallas’ thriving downtown Arts District.  Going there is my second favorite activity when I visit the Dallas area. 🙂   It is located at 2001 Flora Street.  If you ever find yourself in close proximity, do go there.  It is an art oasis that you will never forget.

 

Talk About Your Awesome Musician from the Dallas Area….

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Ok….This guy needs to work on his guitar playing….and the first half of this song is yawnable….but …..BUT…..please listen to the second half. He brings it. Oh. My. God.  Does he ever bring it!

Blood Moon

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 blood moon

 

Dallas was one of the lucky cities that had a front row seat last night as the blood moon began to change from its silvery shade into a beautiful rose color.  We had about 10 minutes of clarity here in Portland, when the heavy cloud cover slid aside to afford us photographers a moment of glory.   The phenomenon  would have been more aptly named “Rose Moon” but that wouldn’t have been as dramatic. Right?  Just goes to show you how powerful words are.

 Just before the moon began to slide into the shadow of the earth, my friend and I were talking on the phone, half way across the USA from one another.  We both  looked at the moon at the same time.  “In stereo…” he said, and that was nice.   He “gets it”.

 Some Christians attribute prophetic significance to the Blood Moon of April 15, because it was the first of a lunar “tetrad” — four total lunar eclipses in a row, that will occur in 2014 and 2015 — and because each of those eclipses falls on an important Jewish holiday, Passover or Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles). The phenomenon will repeat itself three more times in six-month intervals ending in September 2015.  Miss those, and you’ll have to wait until 2032–33.  What caused this beautiful phenomenon? In a total lunar eclipse, the moon gets a red sheen as it passes behind the Earth into its umbra (shadow).

“Since Earth’s umbral shadow is darker in the center than at the edge, the moon’s appearance will likely change dramatically with time as the total phase progresses,” NASA said in a statement.

Could this be a sign of the Apocalypse?  Most Blood Moon prophecy advocates — Texas megachurch Pastor John Hagee, for one — won’t commit to specifics, preferring instead to speak in terms of a “world-shaking event” or “the end of an age.” Other Christians aren’t so sure the Blood Moon tetrad has any biblical significance at all.  I just thought it was pretty.  I’m shallow that way.   🙂

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DAY #22 – A ROOM

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Photo a Day – AUGUST

Day #22- A ROOM

© Stacy Alexander – 2013

This is part of the floor mural in (I think) Terminal D …a big room….at the Dallas-FT. Worth Airport (DFW). When I fly in and out of there, I always try to see as much of the art as possible.  That is about the only good thing in this airport for a liberal vegetarian.  🙂  (well…almost….)    I have searched and searched for the name of this mosaic  artist so I could give due credit, but my attempts to find his or her name were unsuccessful.  If any of you know who made this piece, will you please let me know?

Big T (trouble) in the Big D (Dallas) Art World

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When I attended University of Houston, I took a remarkable Pre-Columbian Art course.  I  recall  the professor’s  lecture, and noted at the time,  how in  Pre-Columbian architecture, the relationships between proposed buildings  and the already-existing structures in the area were always taken into consideration pre-construction .  In other words, architecture was much like life itself.  All buildings related, one to the other, just as human beings do.  Sage considerations for fully operational civilizations.     _______Weyl _______ Madison, CT.

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For some reason, that particular point stuck with me.  When I travel, I find myself considering how  one building relates to its surrounding structures….whether it blends in, stands out, or somehow interferes with what surrounds it….and that’s what leads me to this…..

Situated in downtown Dallas, the magnificent Nasher Sculpture Center is a tribute to  Raymond D. Nasher’s vision to create an outdoor “roof-less” museum that could serve as a peaceful retreat for reflection of art and nature and  to be a public home for his sculpture collection.  The 5,000-square-foot building is divided into five equal-sized, parallel pavilions to provide art lovers with an inner-city art retreat.  Magnificent….in theory.

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 If I lived in the Dallas area, I would probably be there every day of the week…at least I would have, until Dallas property developers decided to make something big and garish to overshadow it.  Now, I’m not so sure.

Recently, the  owner of a 42 story condominium tower near the sculpture garden took out a full page apologetic ad in the Dallas Morning News, to express his regrets to the folks at Nasher for the glare that is being reflected off the windows of the newly constructed tower.  It appears the glare is screwing up all kinds of things at the sculpture garden.  Nice.

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The brash light that is being reflected from the condo tower is going through the glass ceiling at the sculpture center and has the potential to fade any art that is hanging on the walls there, so it all has to be moved to protect it from damage.

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Most tragically affected of all,  is a site-specific sculpture installation by James Turrell that was constructed by the artist with the goal of exposing a good deal of the sky to viewers who go underneath it and look up through the rectangular or circular openings.

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 The sculptures are enclosed spaces, either rooms or free-standing structures,   that are open to the sky through apertures in the roof.  The multi-million dollar spaces exist for the sole purpose of creating  light effects and perceptual events that change with atmospheric conditions.  The idea was that the ‘picture’ created by the opening in the top of each sculpture, look different every time one views it… because of the clouds or other atmospheric features.  Brilliant idea, yes?

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Additionally, Turrell  coordinated a unique system of lights that ingeniously run in concert with the natural cycles of sunrise and sunset, as they respond to the constantly changing atmospheric conditions.  Spectacular, in theory…..

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Now,  however,  viewers go into these structures, look up through the circular or rectangular apetures and instead of seeing wide expanses of the sky over Dallas, they see condo!  It will cost $1.5 million to change the position of the sculptures to compensate for the location of the building!

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Originally, the condo was supposed to be 21 stories, which would have been fine.  However, as things turned out, it is now 42 stories tall and is constructed of a surface material that, in addition to ruining Terrell’s sculpture,  has the potential to cause real harm to the other art hanging inside the art building.  One of the interesting things is that the tower is called, “The Museum Tower” I suppose, to encourage art lovers to invest in it.  sigh….  The shadows that it casts over the art collection are distracting and not, at all, what the architects who created Nasher had in mind, I’m sure.

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The stars are not the only thing that are big and bright in Texas.  It appears that the noxious condos are equally so .

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sigh…