Hello To My Readers: Québec!

  A beautiful café in Montreal, where my mother liked to stop for coffee when she and my dad were living there in 2014

A beautiful café in Montreal, where my mother liked to stop for coffee when she and my dad were living there in 2014

Dear Readers,

My web hosting site, Squarespace, recently started providing me with a big map of the world for analytic purposes, showing me what parts of the globe my readers are accessing Four Cats In The Kitchen from!  I have no idea how Squarespace does this, but it is definitely a cool feature. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to start saying hello to y'all out there in the Big Wide World, and to thank you for reading. 

The very first shout-out goes to my readers in Québec--bonjour!  My parents were sent to Montreal for work a few years back, and wow--GORGEOUS city!  Beautiful cafés, lovely local markets with super-fresh produce...I was ready to move there.  Although it looks like it gets really, really cold in the winter.  From the pictures my folks sent me, Montreal looks like the city stepped right out of France, very European, with delightful architecture and a walkable layout (including lots of public transit and massive underground markets).  

The French influence in Québec is so charming--I love French culture, food, and customs!  My mother found it a little less charming, though, when she realized she'd have to learn French just to be able to read the street signs to get around town.  Nevertheless, learn French she did (and some of the linguistic variety spoken in the province, Québécois, which is practically a language of its own)!   I thought she adapted really well to life in Montreal: Mom's quite the world traveler, and loves exploring new places. And her ability to master new languages is pretty impressive.

My dad tells a funny story of how every time he'd walk to work in the morning during the winter, he would find colorful little doggie booties along his route: you know how those chemicals they put down to melt ice on sidewalks make dogs' paws sting?  Well, the locals solved that problem by putting little canvas booties with velcro straps on their dogs' feet, to protect them from the chemicals, but they would always fall off again while the dogs were out on walks. 

Yours Truly,

Sarah

Delicious Jasmine Tea

Dear Readers,

  Drinking this good stuff can help you live well longer!

Drinking this good stuff can help you live well longer!

Do you want to live to be 100+ years of age? 

I certainly do.

However, I have a serious problem standing in my way: I have a fairly extensive family history of Alzheimer's and heart disease.  Many of us here in North America have similar stories of grandparents and parents who died from these conditions.

The good news is that among cultures that still eat traditional diets, such as the Okinawans (please click here for my review of The Okinawa Program), the scourge of Alzheimer's and heart disease is far less prevalent.  In their extensive research of Okinawa centenarians (elders living on the islands who were 100 years of age and older), the physician-authors of The Okinawa Program found that the overall rates of dementia (including Alzheimer's) were significantly lower than here in the United States.  The same held true for heart disease: 

It’s a well-known fact that most men in North America die from arterial disease, usually from diseased coronary arteries that lead to heart attack death. What is less well known is that coronary heart disease (CHD) is also the leading killer of North American women. Women have about a 50 percent chance of dying from heart disease, about ten times their risk of dying from breast cancer...Okinawans have 80 percent fewer heart attacks than North Americans do. And if Okinawans do suffer a heart attack, they are more than twice as likely to survive.

It would be simplistic to suggest that there's one magic bullet we can use to prevent getting devastating, chronic conditions such as Alzheimer's and heart disease. However, jasmine tea is a mainstay of the Okinawa diet, and I figure that drinking a few cups of tea a day is a pretty good place to start on my journey to enjoying a better health span.  My genetics don't exactly set me up for success, but hey--genetics only account for about one-third of our overall lifetime health, while other factors (like diet and lifestyle) make up the other two-thirds.  Jasmine tea (which The Okinawa Program especially recommends over other teas) contains high levels of flavonoids, which help cleanse the arteries:

Each cup of tea contains between 12 and 16 mg of flavonoids (and lignans), so even one cup a day theoretically should bring you some health benefits. The consumption among Okinawans is about three cups per day.

Furthermore, green tea gets a thumbs-up from the physician who is probably THE leading researcher in Alzheimer's disease today, Dr. Dale Bredesen.  As part of the strict dietary protocol described in his recent book The End of Alzheimer's, he writes:

There are many different types of tea, and these can offer a wonderful way to get your herbs, from turmeric to ashwangandha to bacopa. Also, green tea and black tea are fine while you are on the protocol.

Can I get you a cup of jasmine tea? I just made some in this pretty glass teapot, which is perfect for brewing my favorite brand of jasmine tea--just place about a tablespoon of tea leaves in the little strainer basket that comes with the teapot, pour hot water (heated to 180°F in my favorite hot water kettle) over them to fill the pot, and let steep 3-4 minutes.

Yours Truly,

Sarah

P.S.

As usual, none of the links in this piece are affiliates, and I do not receive any kind of reimbursement for recommending them.