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A Small Tweak For The New Year

January 12th, 2014

As you flip the calendar on another year, perhaps you’re embarking on some of the standard New Year’s resolutions, e.g., weight loss, fitness, etc.. Of course, all noble pursuits. Here’s another you might consider that will take no more effort than being mindful of your posture. Not the straight-backed kind, though that’s a good idea too, but rather your body language in general and power positions in particular.

It turns out just two minutes holding such a pose can increase your testosterone and lower your cortisol levels, making you feel more confident and less stressed, more comfortable. In this TED talk, Amy Cuddy, a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School, shares these findings and recommends sneaking in those two minutes prior to evaluative situations like an interview, a review at work, public speaking, etc..

I hope you enjoy the talk, as I did, and that you have a very Happy New Year! :)

Vegan Debate

December 14th, 2013

Last week, I caught this great live debate on veganism. The online viewership was so large that buffering issues were a problem. The good news is, it was recorded!

What I really liked about this debate was its formality, in that it followed standard rules of discourse and didn’t devolve into a shouting match. It also seemed each side had plenty of time to make their points and counterpoints.

The audience was polled before and after the discussion to determine whether they were for or against the motion “Don’t Eat Anything With A Face.” The pre-debate results were 24% for, 51% against, and 25% undecided. (See below for the after.)


Don’t Eat Anything With A Face (Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates)

Panelists Arguing For The Motion:

Panelists Arguing Against The Motion:

  • Chris Masterjohn – Nutritional Sciences Researcher and Blogger at The Daily Lipid (where he has since started a series of posts reflecting on the debate)
  • Joel Salatin – Farmer & Author

Post-debate Poll Results: 45% for, 43% against, and 12% undecided. Bravo! A pretty impressive change of heart. :)

For more information, including links to research papers, detailed biographies, and audio downloads, click the link under the video.

I also wanted to point out there is analysis by Animal Visuals debunking the claim of the panelists on the Against side that fewer animals would be killed by humans consuming grass-fed cattle than a vegan diet supplied via mechanized crop harvesting.

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Pumpkin Balls

November 29th, 2013

I was on dessert “duty” (oh no, twist my arm, lol) again this year for Thanksgiving. Here’s what I came up with. I’m happy to report it was well received. :)


(No Bake) Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Pumpkin Balls

As requested, the recipe follows with apologies for the gram measurements; the digital kitchen scale is my friend as it ensures consistency versus volume measurements and allows for more accurate calorie calculations. I’ve tried to approximate standard measurements in parentheses.

• 240g oatmeal (3 cups)
• 300g pumpkin puree (1 cup)
• 130g peanut butter (1/2 cup)
• 140g maple syrup (1/2 cup)
• 10oz bag chocolate chips
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp nutmeg
• dash ground cloves

  1. Process oatmeal in a food processor or blender to rough flour texture and empty into a large bowl.

  2. In a smaller bowl, stir together pumpkin puree, peanut butter (I use chunky), maple syrup, and spices (adjust to taste).
  3. Combine wet into dry and mix well until no dry spots remain.
  4. Roll mixture into balls and place on tinfoil or parchment and freeze for an hour or two. (The ones pictured were made using 2 Tb worth of mixture and resulted in 18 treats.) After the freezing time, we can move onto giving them a luscious chocolate coating or eat as is.
  5. Using the double-boiler method, melt 2/3 of the chocolate chips.
  6. Remove the chocolate from the steam and stir in the remaining chips until melted.


A smaller batch of melted chocolate

  1. Dip the pumpkin peanut butter balls into the chocolate and set back on the tinfoil, chocolate side up.

  2. Now dip the bottoms, place back on the tinfoil, and return to the freezer.
  3. After an hour, you can move them to the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Enjoy!


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