Thursday, November 08, 2007

Smoking Ruins Your Boobs

So, it isn't breastfeeding. THAT we've known ever since some bright soul decided to line up twins - one who had breastfed and one who hadn't - and found that they more often than not had the same saggy breasts. But you want a real reason to tell your teen girl not to smoke? Try this:

Breastfeeding Study Dispels Sagging Myth

ScienceDaily (Nov. 5, 2007) — Nursing mothers needn't worry. A new study shows that breastfeeding does not increase breast sagging. University of Kentucky plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Rinker and his colleagues conducted the study with patients at UK HealthCare Cosmetic Surgery Associates. The study found that breastfeeding does not adversely affect breast shape.

"A lot of times, if a woman comes in for a breast lift or a breast augmentation, she'll say 'I want to fix what breastfeeding did to my breasts'," Rinker said. As a result, Rinker decided to find out if breast sagging was a direct result of breastfeeding.

Rinker and his colleagues interviewed 132 women who had come to UK for a breast lift or augmentation between 1998 and 2006. The women were, on average, 39 years old; 93 percent had had at least one pregnancy, and most of the mothers--58 percent-- had breastfed at least one child. Additionally, the research team evaluated the patients' medical history, body mass index, pre-pregnancy bra cup size, and smoking status.

The results showed no difference in the degree of breast ptosis (TOE-sis)-- the medical term for sagging of the breast--for those women who breastfed and those who didn't. However, researchers found that several other factors did affect breast sagging, including age, the number of pregnancies, and whether the patient smoked.

"Smoking breaks down a protein in the skin called elastin, which gives youthful skin its elastic appearance and supports the breast... so it would make sense that it would have an adverse effect on the breasts," Rinker concluded.

Rinker presented the findings of the study this week at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons conference in Baltimore.

Adapted from materials provided by University of Kentucky.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Pumpkin Procrastination

In best post-onsite form, I have procrastinated anything and everything having to do with school this weekend.

On the plus side, I've processed pumpkins all weekend and now have approximately 2 gallons of pumpkin butter, 20lbs of pumpkin puree, two pumpkin pies, and three loaves of pumpkin bread. I'd love to link you recipes, but in typical Niki fashion I read a bunch of recipes and just kind of threw shit together, and it worked. Oh, it totally worked. On the downside, I have no idea how to replicate it. Which tends to result in me, a year later, wondering why the hell my baking is coming out shitty and lamenting the fact that I didn't measure or write anything down. So here they are, the recipes as best as I can replicate them:

Pumpkin Puree

Wash pumpkin well. Cut in half-ish. Scoop seeds and strings out. Cut into chunks, roughtly 3x3inches. Place rind-up on baking sheets or dishes, pour a small amount of water into the dish. Bake at 350 degrees f until soft, approximately 45 minutes.

Remove from oven, let cool. Remove rinds, blend the remaining pumpkin to desired smoothness.

Pumpkin Bread

1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup multigrain/flax hot cereal mix
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cup canola oil
3 eggs
just under 2 cups pureed pumpkin
1 cup apple sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine dry ingredients (through nutmeg) in a large bowl and stir with a fork (or have your toddler use her hands); make a well in center of mixture. Combine canola oil, eggs, carrots, apple (if using) and pumpkin in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

3. Spoon batter into 2 (9 x 5-inch) lightly greased loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool loaves in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool loaves completely.

Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Filling

• 1 package (8 ounce) cream cheese, at room temperature
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
• 1 large egg
• 1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel
• 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/4 teaspoon ginger
• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1 cup pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 2 large eggs
• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly grease one 11x5x3-inch loaf pan. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 egg, and the orange peel; beat until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Into another bowl, sift 1 2/3 cup flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg; set aside. Put pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, 2 eggs and 1 1/2 cup sugar in a large mixing bowl; beat well. Stir the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture just until combined.

Pour half of the pumpkin bread batter into the loaf pan. Spoon cream cheese mixture on top of pumpkin batter layer and then pour on the remaining pumpkin batter.

Bake in preheated 325° oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes; remove to a rack to cool completely.

Pumpkin Pie

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
approx. 2c pumpkin puree
1 can (12-13oz) coconut milk
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell

MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in a container. Blend eggs, pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture together. Pour in coconut milk and blend until smooth.

POUR into pie shell.

BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours.

Pumpkin Butter

This one is going to be the hardest to translate into concrete terms. OK, I really can't. Best guess:

In a big 'ole pot, combine a large amount of pumpkin puree with about 1/4 that amount of apple sauce. Add a tablespoon-ish amount of cinnamon and ginger, about a half a tablespoon nutmeg and clove. Throw in a bunch of sugar. A lot-ish, but not as much as the apple sauce. Bring to a "simmer" and keep it that way until the consistency seems right. I think it was about an hour. Holy imprecise! It worked though.