Thursday, 14 January 2010


*After I wrote this post, a huge earthquake hit Haiti, taking many lives and devastating the country where a reported 80% of the population lives below the poverty line.


Photo credit: Getty Images

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Day 1 of my oncology rotation began at 7:30 am Tuesday morning. Naturally, some caffeine was necessary.

How many of you start your day with a cup of coffee {or tea}? Personal faves include Trader Joe’s Gingerbread coffee and a Traverse City Cherry brew at my fave place in Michigan. And in the winter, I’m a big tea fan, too.


Kath asked about caffeine intake recommendations, so I thought I’d do a little research on the topic.


  • may help improve performance when sleep is lacking BUT
  • can interfere with sleep
  • takes about 3-4 hours to be completely eliminated by the body
  • can lead to disturbed sleeping patterns, anxiety and nervousness, upset stomach, headaches and difficulty concentrating
  • recommendations (University of IL, University of Washington School of Medicine): < 250-300 mg or ~ 3 cups of coffee

:: caffeine comparison* ::

caffeine chart

*Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2007

Bottom line: caffeine is ok to consume in moderation, but it shouldn’t be a substitute for getting adequate sleep, since we know important processes occur while you're getting your beauty rest. You should also ensure that you’re staying adequately hydrated and not substituting caffeinated beverages for water.

Caffeine dependency is controversial. The amount of caffeine to cause withdrawal symptoms (headache, fatigue, irritability, etc) differs depending on a person’s size and metabolism. I think it’s fair to say that even the recommended amount of caffeine may lead to symptoms of withdrawal in some people.

This is a good prelude for an upcoming post featuring an organization that buys coffee through a 40 family cooperative in Honduras. If you’re confused about fair trade, shade grown, etc., you won’t want to miss this post!

Off to save lives through nutrition. :-)


Thursday, 7 January 2010

peanuts vs. almonds

Hi Everyone [and welcome new readers!]-

It officially snowed in St. Louis last night. And when I say snow, I mean more than 1” [because that usually gets everyone all riled up around here]. No snow day, though…SLU is too hardcore for that business.


After I posted about roasting almonds, Matt asked if they were nutritionally superior to peanuts. After doing a little research, here’s what I came up with:

 arial 16 point

sources: almonds, peanuts, nutrition facts

:: takeaway points ::

  • both types of nuts offer nutritional benefits and have very similar macronutrient profiles
  • although sources I looked at linked both almonds and peanuts to food allergies, I think peanut allergies are more common
  • almond butter vs peanut butter: consider added sugars & oils
  • there is some concern that peanut butter contains levels of aflatoxin, which is linked to cancer, and I’m doing some more research to find out specifically about levels
  • also, I’ve read some conflicting information about the best temperature and time for roasting nuts to prevent oxidation and free radical formation…more info to come

Do you tend to choose almonds/almond butter or peanuts/peanut butter?

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for guru salve {especially all of you athletes; it will be your best friend} before Saturday, January 9th at midnight [CST].