Got gas? Get the Gum Out!

Gumming up our food. Updated March 1, 2015

I confess, I like ice cream, and I used to indulge quite regularly, but not anymore.

My taste buds prefer to be subtly stimulated rather than blasted with combinations of flavors that leave them confused and reeling with cloying sweetness. Many speak disparagingly of “plain vanilla,” but to me vanilla is one of the most delicious (and natural) flavors ever discovered. What other flavor can better complement the taste of warm homemade apple pie, or luscious berries, or fresh tree-ripened fruits like peaches.

Another feature of ice cream that adds to its delight is its texture. What makes ice cream creamy? Well, uh, could it be cream?

If you are not in the habit of reading the ingredient lists on packaged foods you may not have noticed that within the past couple years every commercial brand of ice cream has added one kind or another of GUM—guar gum, carob bean gum, xanthan gum, tara gum, locust bean gum, cellulose gum—are a few of the various kind of gum you will find in familiar brands, even premium brands like Ben and Jerry’s and Haagen Dazs. Breyers, which I used to count on to avoid artificial ingredients and additives has also slipped.

Sacrilege! I say.

I don’t know what has given impetus to this gummy bandwagon, but I can venture an educated guess. First of all, I would expect that gum is a lot cheaper than cream and thus producers are inclined to use it to simulate the texture of the real thing. Secondly, I suspect that it may have something to do with the anti-fat madness that has for many years been hyped by the media. Women especially seem to have been susceptible to the argument that if they don’t EAT fat they won’t GET fat. Hogwash, I say to that, and to artificial sweeteners, too.

A few months ago, I experienced a sudden onset of severe gastritis that has taken many months and a great deal of effort and expense to resolve. I made some drastic changes to my diet, including avoidance of ice cream, though I still consume large amounts of yogurt and cheese, and I use moderate amounts of butter.

I’ve always been careful about what I eat, avoiding foods containing preservatives and other artificial ingredients, yet my suspicions are that the underlying cause of my problem had to do with something in my diet.

Now, a new study that has just been published has heightened my suspicions. A Los Angeles Times report dated February 25, 2015 says “Consumption of emulsifiers, additives widely used in the production of processed foods, promotes inflammatory bowel disease and a cluster of obesity-related diseases known as metabolic syndrome, and may have contributed to the sharp rise in these conditions over the last three decades, says a new study conducted on rats.”

That study, published in the journal, Nature, reports specifically on the effects of two commonly used emulsifiers, carboxymethylcellulose (also called cellulose gum) and polysorbate-80 (also known as Tween 80). The study using mice showed that these additives “induced low-grade inflammation and obesity/metabolic syndrome in wild-type hosts and promoted robust colitis in mice predisposed to this disorder. Emulsifier-induced metabolic syndrome was associated with microbiota encroachment, altered species composition and increased pro-inflammatory potential.”

The study report goes on to say that, “These results support the emerging concept that perturbed host–microbiota interactions resulting in low-grade inflammation can promote adiposity and its associated metabolic effects. Moreover, they suggest that the broad use of emulsifying agents might be contributing to an increased societal incidence of obesity/metabolic syndrome and other chronic inflammatory diseases.”

That makes me wonder about the other emulsifiers that are commonly used.

Further background on gum additives can be found at the following sites:

Cellulose gum: http://befoodsmart.com/ingredients/cellulose-gum.php

Study Finds Common Food Additive Promotes Inflammatory Bowel Disease And Obesity. http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/common-food-additive-promotes-inflammatory-bowel-disease-and-obesity-mice.

Harmful or Harmless: Xanthan Gum. http://chriskresser.com/harmful-or-harmless-xanthan-gum

The Truth About Guar Gum. http://www.livescience.com/36580-guar-gum-weight-loss-cost.html

In this day of factory farms, mass marketing, and huge supermarkets, I suppose it’s too much to expect to find products that are wholesome, pure, and unadulterated. Even brands that are labeled “organic” cannot always be counted on.

The bottom line:

  • Read the labels.
  • Inform yourself about the health effects of common additives.
  • Try as much as possible to avoid getting your food from the big corporate producers and suppliers.

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More about the gums that are added to our foods. (Addendum of March 1, 2015)

One good source of information about the various types of gum that are used as food additives is the website of Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac According to his website, he “is a globally recognized leader in the fields of ancestral health, Paleo nutrition, and functional and integrative medicine. He is the creator of ChrisKresser.com, one of the top 25 natural health sites in the world, and the author of the New York Times best seller, Your Personal Paleo Code (published in paperback in December 2014 as The Paleo Cure).”

http://chriskresser.com/harmful-or-harmless-guar-gum-locust-bean-gum-and-more.

Here’s a brief summary of his postings on gum additives:

Xanthan gum is a largely indigestible polysaccharide that is produced by bacteria called Xanthomonas Camestris. (1) Manufacturers place the bacteria in a growth medium that contains sugars and other nutrients, and the resulting product of bacterial fermentation is purified, dried, powdered, and sold as xanthan gum. (Makes you wonder who first thought to put it in food, doesn’t it?)

Based on the available evidence, the worst xanthan gum seems to be capable of (in adults) is causing some digestive distress in those who are susceptible by increasing stool bulk, water content, and sugar content. But as I just mentioned, those with severe allergies should also be careful.

I recommend that people with digestive problems generally avoid xanthan gum, not because there’s evidence that it could damage your gut, but because its structural properties make it likely to produce unpleasant gut symptoms

Unlike xanthan gum, which is a product of bacterial fermentation, guar gum is derived from an actual food: the guar bean, or Indian cluster bean, which grows primarily in India and Pakistan. ….Because the animal studies showed no harm even at very high doses, guar gum is now being studied in humans as a therapeutic tool for reducing blood glucose and cholesterol levels.

….even small amounts could cause unpleasant symptoms in those with sensitive digestive systems, and I’ve had patients with gut issues improve after removing guar gum from their diet. With that in mind, I think it makes sense to avoid guar gum if you have gut issues, like small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or IBS, unless you’ve removed it and added it back in without noticing any harmful effects.

Locust bean gum, also known as carob bean gum, is derived from the seeds of the carob tree. During a two-year animal study, rats were given locust bean gum as 5% of their diet, and no carcinogenic or other toxic effects were observed. (12)

I think the same recommendation I gave for guar gum applies here: if you have gut issues, it would probably be best to avoid locust bean gum. Otherwise, I see no indication that it will cause harm.

Based on the available research, gum arabic seems pretty benign, even for those with gut issues. I certainly wouldn’t be concerned about consuming small amounts of it, although as always, be aware of your individual tolerance.

I’m slightly more skeptical of tara gum compared with the other gums because the toxicity results are less conclusive. Also, while all of the other gums have been tested on humans, tara gum has not. That doesn’t mean it’s not safe, because the available evidence indicates it is; it just means we don’t have as much to go on, and it’s always good to be cautious of new food additives.

Gellan gum is similar to xanthan gum in that it is an exopolysaccharide produced by bacterial fermentation. … To test the safety of gellan gum, the diets of ten volunteers were supplemented with gellan gum at approximately 30 times the level of normal dietary exposure for 23 days. (21) Gellan gum acted as a bulking agent similar to xanthan gum, but no adverse effects were reported. However, a rat study with gellan gum supplemented at 5% of the diet for 4 weeks resulted in abnormalities in intestinal microvilli, which is concerning. (22)

I think those with sensitive guts should avoid it just to be on the safe side. For everyone else, I doubt the small amounts found in food will cause a problem, but it might be best to avoid it if possible.

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To or Fro(m): Do you know whether you’re coming or going?

I’m sorry, I just can’t let this go.

“How is this different from that? “How is this different to that?”

Which is the correct way to say it?

I can’t remember ever hearing, until recently, anyone say “different to.” It just sounds wrong and I think it is wrong. I’ve been hearing and seeing it more and more lately. Is that what is being taught in schools these days, or is it a vernacular mutation that is going mainstream?

Surprisingly, a web search of “different to” quickly turned up some useful information on the matter.

Here is what Oxford Dictionaries site has to say about it:

 Different from, than, or to?

Is there any difference between the expressions different from, different than, and different to? Is one of the three ‘more correct’ than the others?

In practice, different from is by far the most common of the three, in both British and American English:

We want to demonstrate that this government is different from previous governments. (British English)

This part is totally different from anything else that he’s done. (American English)

Different than is mainly used in American English:

Teenagers certainly want to look different than their parents.

Different to is much more common in British English than American English:

In this respect the Royal Academy is no different to any other major museum.

Some people criticize different than as incorrect but there’s no real justification for this view. There’s little difference in sense between the three expressions, and all of them are used by respected writers.

But Alt-Usage provides some further information and some statistics on actual usage:

“Different from” is the construction that no one will object to.

“Different to” is fairly common informally in the U.K., but rare in the U.S.

“Different than” is sometimes used to avoid the cumbersome “different from that which”, etc. (e.g., “a very different Pamela than I used to leave all company and pleasure for” – Samuel Richardson).

 Some U.S. speakers use “different than” exclusively. Some people have insisted on “different from” on the grounds that “from” is required after “to differ”. But Fowler points out that there are many other adjectives that do not conform to the construction of their parent verbs (e.g., “accords with”, but “according to”; “derogates from”, but “derogatory to”).

The Collins Cobuild Bank of English shows choice of preposition after “different” to be distributed as follows:

                    “from” “to”   “than”
U.K. writing   87.6   10.8       1.5
U.K. speech     68.8   27.3       3.9
U.S. writing  92.7       0.3     7.0
U.S. speech     69.3     0.6     30.1

So it seems it is the Brits who are to blame.

C’mon you blokes, learn to speak proper English!

911-Need we look again?

This video by David Hooper is the best document I have seen about the events that resulted in the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York on 9-11-2001.

Methodically raising the obvious questions, presenting numerous testimonies, and examining plausible explanations, this video will keep you riveted as much as the best mystery thrillers, and probably lead you, as it did me, to consider the unthinkable about what really happened on that fateful day.

ANATOMY OF A GREAT DECEPTION (New and Updated Sept 2014).

God Bless America–a New Year’s Prayer

I espouse the cause of human unity and am inclined to eschew anything that promotes nationalism, sectarian attitudes and class separation. The 1940s America that I grew up in was a place where children were taught that Americans adhered to a higher standard of humanistic values and tolerance than was the global norm. But the America of my adulthood has been greatly disappointing in that regard. Perhaps that is why I sobbed as I read this story and listened once again to Kate Smith sing this song.

My New Year’s prayer is that America will once again find its way–to set for itself a higher standard of peace and fellowship and lead by example, not by force. –t.h.g.

From an anonymous source:

You may or may not know the history of this song…
A GOOD REMINDER TO  BE THANKFUL FOR AMERICA 
Frank Sinatra considered Kate Smith the best singer of her time and said that when he  and a million other guys first heard her sing “God Bless America” on the radio, they all pretended to have dust in their eyes as they wiped away a tear or two.
Here are the facts… The link at the bottom will take you to a video showing the  very first public singing of “GOD BLESS AMERICA”. But before you watch it, you should also know the story behind the first public showing of the song.
The  time was 1940. America was still in a terrible economic depression. Hitler was  taking over Europe and Americans were afraid we’d have to go to war. It was a  time of hardship and worry for most Americans.
This was the era just  before TV, when radio shows were HUGE, and American families sat around their radios in the evenings, listening to their favorite entertainers, and no  entertainer of that era was bigger than Kate Smith.
Yes, Kate was also large. A “Plus Size: as we now say and the popular phrase still used today is in deference to her.
Kate Smith might not have made it big in the age of TV, but with her voice coming over the radio, she was the biggest star of her time.
Kate was also patriotic. It hurt her to see  Americans so depressed and afraid of what the next day would bring. She had hope for America and faith in her fellow Americans. She wanted to do something  to cheer them up, so she went to the famous American song-writer, Irving Berlin  (who also wrote “White Christmas”) and asked him to write a song that would make  Americans feel good again about their country. When she described what she was looking for, he said he had just the song for her.
He went to his files and found a song that he had written, but never published, 22 years before – way  back in 1917. He gave it to her and she worked on it with her studio orchestra.  She and Irving Berlin were not sure how the song would be received by the  public, but both agreed they would not take any profits from God Bless America. All profits would go to the Boy Scouts of America. Over the years, the  Boy Scouts have received millions of dollars in royalties from this song.
This video starts out with Kate Smith coming into the radio studio with the orchestra and an audience. She introduces the new song for the very first time and starts singing. After the first couple verses, with her voice in the  background still singing, scenes are shown from the 1940 movie, “You’re In The  Army Now.” At the 4:20 mark of the video you see a young actor in the movie, sitting in an office, reading a paper.  It’s Ronald Reagan.
To this day, God Bless America stirs our patriotic feelings and pride in our country. Back in 1940, when Kate went looking for a song to raise the spirits of her fellow Americans, I doubt whether she realized just how successful the results would be  for her fellow Americans during those years of hardship and worry….. and for  many generations of Americans to follow.
Now that you know the story of the song, I hope you’ll enjoy  and treasure it even more.
Many  people don’t know there’s a lead-in to the song since it usually starts with “God Bless America ….” So here’s the entire song as originally sung:

 

Did I read that sign right?

I got this list in an email. I don’t know the origin, but surely good for a few laughs. –t.h.g.
 
Did I read that sign right?
TOILET OUT OF ORDER. PLEASE USE FLOOR BELOW
In a Laundromat:
AUTOMATIC WASHING MACHINES: PLEASE REMOVE ALL YOUR CLOTHES WHEN THE LIGHT GOES OUT

In a London department store:
BARGAIN BASEMENT UPSTAIRS

In an office:
WOULD THE PERSON WHO TOOK THE STEP LADDER YESTERDAY PLEASE BRING IT BACK OR FURTHER STEPS WILL BE TAKEN

In an Office:
AFTER TEA BREAK STAFF SHOULD EMPTY THE TEAPOT AND STAND UPSIDE DOWN ON THE DRAINING BOARD

Outside a second hand shop:
WE EXCHANGE ANYTHING – BICYCLES, WASHING MACHINES, ETC. WHY NOT BRING YOUR WIFE ALONG AND GET A WONDERFUL BARGAIN?

Notice in health food shop window:
CLOSED DUE TO ILLNESS

Spotted in a safari park:(I sure hope so)
ELEPHANTS PLEASE STAY IN YOUR CAR

Seen during a conference:
FOR ANYONE WHO HAS CHILDREN AND DOESN’T KNOW IT, THERE IS A DAY CARE ON THE 1ST FLOOR

Notice in a farmer’s field:
THE FARMER ALLOWS WALKERS TO CROSS THE FIELD FOR FREE, BUT THE BULL CHARGES.

Message on a leaflet:
IF YOU CANNOT READ, THIS LEAFLET WILL TELL YOU HOW TO GET LESSONS

On a repair shop door:
WE CAN REPAIR ANYTHING. (PLEASE KNOCK HARD – THE BELL DOESN’T WORK)

Proofreading is a dying art, wouldn’t you say?

Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter
This one I caught in the SGV Tribune the other day and called the Editorial Room and asked who wrote this. It took two or three readings before the editor realized that what he was reading was impossible!!! They put in a correction the next day.

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
Really?
Ya think?
—————————————————————————-
Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
Now that’s taking things a bit far!
———————————————————–
Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
What a guy!
—————————————————————
Miners Refuse to Work after Death
Good-for-nothing’ lazy so-and-so’s!
——————————————————
Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
See if that works any better than a fair trial!
———————————————————-
War Dims Hope for Peace
I can see where it might have that effect!
—————————————————————-
If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile
Ya think?!
———————————————————————–
Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
Who would have thought!
—————————————————————-
Enfield (London ) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
They may be onto something!
————————————————————————
Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
You mean there’s something stronger than duct tape?
———————————————————-
Man Struck By Lightning Faces Battery Charge
He probably IS the battery charge!
———————————————-
New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
Weren’t they fat enough?!
———————————————–
Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
That’s what he gets for eating those beans!
———————————
Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
Do they taste like chicken?
****************************************
Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
Chainsaw Massacre all over again!
***************************************************
Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors
Boy, are they tall!
*******************************************
And the winner is….
Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
Did I read that right?
***************************************************
Now that you’ve smiled at least once, it’s your turn to spread the
stupidity and send this to someone you want to bring a smile to
…(maybe even a chuckle).
We all need a good laugh, at least once a day!

Online collaboration tools for effective Virtual Communities

I am continually searching for tools and new technologies that I can use to build virtual communities and to more effectively collaborate with colleagues in diverse locations. While email is still a useful tool for communicating, it’s functionality is quite limited. I’ve done a little bit of research to try to discover tools that can extend the range of functions available to me and enable closer more productive working relationships with people in my far-flung networks. Here are some of the results that I have gleaned from various sources.

I have, for some time, been using Skype, Dropbox, and Google Docs, but have not yet tried some others that appear below.

I am eager to have readers contribute by providing comments and suggestions of their favorite tools.

Checklist of Features

  • Action Planning
  • Brainstorming
  • Contact Management
  • Content Management
  • Discussion Board
  • Document Management
  • Email Integration
  • Group Calendars
  • Instant Messaging
  • Project Management
  • Task Management
  • User Access Controls
  • Version Control

_______________________________________________________________________

6 Free Easy-to-Use Online Collaboration Tools – Make Teamwork Simple

From Trendblog: http://trendblog.net/6-easy-to-use-online-collaboration-tools-make-teamwork-simple/

Dropbox

Dropbox is probably one tool that we use most for collaboration. With this little software, we are able to have access to all our documents, files, articles and everything else.

As we are all tech junkies, we own quite a few pieces of technology, including multiple notebooks, tablets and smartphones. And we can access our files from each gadget we own. Dropbox is compatible with all popular computer- and mobile platforms. There are native apps built for Windows, Mac, Ubuntu, Android, iOS and Blackberry. Also, you can access your Dropbox from the internet browser. Check out the Dropbox system requirements.

If you aren’t using Dropbox for teamwork, you should definitely consider doing it immediately. This tool allows you to create so-called “shared folders“, which will appear in every team member’s computer. Any file, which has been uploaded to those folders, can be accessed by every person with access to it.

Make sure to check out our post about unusual ways to use Dropbox and how to get more Dropbox space for free!

Dropbox is a must-have for everyone. Seriously.

Screenhero is one of the best tools for screen-sharing&  voice chat collaboration.

For instance, if you are working on some kind presentation or any other document, you can simply share your screen with your team and work together on your screen. With Screenhero, all participants will have their own cursor on your screen and will be able to edit documents.

Skype

If you happen to be in the same situation as us, Skype is probably an application, which you never close. For me it is the most used application on my computer.

All internal communication within the trendblog.net team happens via Skype, either through IM Messaging or video-calls. In spite of being separated by at least 1.500 miles (2.500 km) from each other it seems like we are sitting together in one office.

Google Docs

Sometimes we need to work on one document together at the same time. With Google Docs you can do that very easily; This tool allows you to create online documents, presentations and spreadsheets. You don’t even need to have any office software installed – everything happens right in your browser or via the mobile app for iOS and Android.

Just create a document and share the link with other people. Now you can edit the document together at the same time in live-mode.

Google Hangouts

With Skype you can only video-chat with 2 people for free. And that’s the reason why we sometimes use Google Hangouts. This tool allows you to have a video-conference with up to 100 people for free.

The new Google Hangouts are great to keep all your communication in one place and synchronized. For the sake of testing the new Hangouts we have ditched all other online communication tools. Make sure to check out our review.

Trello

Over the last few months we have tested pretty much every free team/project collaboration tool out there, including popular ones like Asana and Podio. After trying them we didn’t really feel that these tools were making our lives easier. Instead, managing our projects has become a complicated chore.

But there is one tool out there which is different. Trello uses a card-based system for keeping your project overview as simple as possible. You can create custom columns like “To-Do” or “In Progress” which you will use to organize individual tasks. The tasks will be then added as a small card to the column. For each card you can set a due date, write comments, assign people to it and many more.

Asana, Podio and alike are made for managers. Trello is made for people.

One especially great thing about Trello is the user experience. The interface is very simple to use. For example, you can drag every card from column to column (i.e. after completing a task) and assign people to the card by dragging their profile picture onto the card.

Also, Trello probably has the best mobile and tablet collaboration app out there. The experience is exactly what you would expect from an app, with many features taken from the system it runs on. For example, you can delete tasks on your iPad by swiping them to the left, which will reveal a red “delete” button. This looks very much like the native iOS deleting feature. All of these combined make sure that your learning curve is as smooth as possible and you won’t get a headache while using it.

Check out the video below for a demonstration of how Trello works.

Comments

I will also add http://www.binfire.com which combines most features the above six apps have in one package.

Great list and as owner of a start-up, I would recommend Dooster. It takes care of all my virtual collaboration needs. Check them out www.dooster.net

Thanks for the detailed post . I would like to add iCoordinator Free. You can add read more and register it here. http://www.icoordinator.com/bl…

Also have a look at www.proofhub.com/. It is a great online collaboration and project management tool that makes handling work easier, faster and better.

These are some good tools. But we use Drum (http://thisisdrum.com/) which combines all of the collaboration tools into one easy to use (WebRTC) browser based tool with no downloads. At the moment they allow you to use it for free which is an added bonus!

Thanks for the list. I agree with the usefulness of most of the tools you listed excepted for Trello. Trello is fine but I think it lacks a note taking feature. For people having many meetings like most of white-collar professionals, a good note-taking feature is a must-have. This is why I prefer using Beesy (http://www.beesapps.com/beesy-… ). me, that has a dynamic note-takign feature from which all the To-dos, calendar, project management feature are updated and managed. More generally, I think all-in-one apps like Beesy are the best tools if you want to get more productive.

Some great tools there Daniel! We have been using a tool called Drum (http://thisisdrum.com/) here at CIM with a couple of the additional ones up there. Dropbox has been a good place for us to centrally store reports etc. However we use Drum to host our web meetings and collaborate on documents. There hasn’t been any need to download anything and everyone can join. Its also free which has been an added bonus for our budget!

Just a couple of tools, which we use in our team:

Evernote for knowledge sharing.
https://www.box.com/ instead of Dropbox
http://casual.pm/ instead of trello.

I will also add http://www.binfire.com which combines most features the above six apps have in one package.

Get “vegucated”

I recently had occasion to view the documentary film, Vegucated. I’ve followed a mostly vegetarian diet for several decades but still this film taught me a few things and provided a reminder of a some others that I had forgotten. It did this in a way that was often amusing,  sometimes poignant, and occasionally shocking.

Here’s a  synopsis of the film from the official website:

 Here is a trailer for the film: