Juice & Bladder, Breast & Brain

Grape Juice Helps Prevent UTIs
Most of us have heard that cranberry juice is good for cystitis or UTIs –urinary tract infections. UTIs occur when bacteria, usually e. coli, work their way up from the urethra into the bladder where they adhere to the bladder wall causing a painful infection. Cranberries contain a substance that prevents these bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall so they can be flushed out with the urine. Researchers have found that as little as seven ounces of cranberry juice each day can reduce the incidence of UTIs in some women. However, pure cranberry juice is not palatable because it is so acidic. Luckily researchers discovered that blueberries can prevent bladder infections too.  In fact, all berries in the vaccinium species –cranberries, blueberries, lingonberries and bilberries are effective.
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Why You Should Juice

Fads come and go in the field of nutrition and I am happy to see the back of most of them. With one exception. There is one fad I wish had stayed around a lot longer—juicing.

It was close to twenty years ago when several infomercials fueled the juicing fad (today’s ubiquitous infomercial was a new form of advertisement back then). Before long “juicing” infomercials were everywhere on TV. Day and night we were barraged with stories of health returned at a cost of only a few glasses of juice. Eventually even the skeptical among us capitulated and millions and millions of machines were sold.

These commercials followed a blueprint. Usually the company owner was presented to be a physically fit older gentleman who spoke about juicing with a religious fervor. He was on a mission to save your health he said and he had a moving story of healing to spread. Of course, the “company owner” was just a spokesperson cum salesman working on commission. Some of these spokespersons were so charismatic you forgot all that and swallowed not only the juice but everything they said. Which could be dangerous because none of these “juice preachers” were nutritionists or even knew much about the topic. According to them carrot juice could cure just about everything that ailed you, if only you drank enough. When it didn’t or when those who bought juicers got tired of making the quarts of juice a day the infomercials recommended, the machine was parked in the appliance garage and forgotten about.

Today I want you to go find it.
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Traditional Irish Soda Bread Do’s and Don’ts

Last Saturday here in Seattle we had the annual Irish Soda Bread Contest. The weekend before, a workshop was held on how to bake traditional soda bread and I was privileged to be asked back again to speak to the novice bakers. Mary Shriane, who has won and placed in the Seattle contest so often she hasn’t kept score, was the master baker. At the end of the afternoon each participant brought home at least one loaf of fresh bread and great fun was had by all.

Since St. Patrick’s day is coming up (and here in Seattle we celebrate with a whole week of Irish activities), I thought I might talk a bit about how to bake a good loaf of traditional Irish soda bread so you can try it yourself and surprise your family on March 17th.

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