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I enjoy occasionally sharing information that seems relevant in many ways to most of us. The topics range from prescription drugs to overcoming nausea to what we choose to put in our bodies that won't do damage. Today is one of those sharing days.

Turn to kumquats?

I'm hoping someone somewhere in this country, where widespread distrust of virtually everything has become the norm, can tell me what's healthy to eat anymore.

It's reached the point of throwing the endless, often contradictory, food warnings to the wind and following my appetite. After all, something's waiting out there to get all of us someday, right?

I read the other day that two medical doctors reminded us that lunch meats and bacon are bad for health. And to think, I've mistakenly believed for years that a Subway sandwich was a healthier choice than a greasy cheeseburger. Call it denial, I suppose. I thought a turkey sandwich was about as healthy as lunch can be.

A recent Consumer Reports study of uncured meats such as bacon that are legally promoted as containing "no nitrites" actually don't have "no" nitrites at all. It means the nitrites used in flavoring and preserving those meats comes from celery and other natural sources instead of synthetic ones such as sodium nitrite.

After testing 31 packaged deli meats, the magazine found the "nitrite free" ham, chicken, roast beef, turkey and salami contained about the same amount of the ingredient as conventional products.

This matters because nitrites are linked to increased risks for heart disease, cancer and diabetes. More specifically, a study published in JNCI Cancer Spectrum estimated more than 14,500 cancer cases each year could be linked with processed meats.

Maybe the best plan is just to settle for a steady diet of reverse-osmosis bottled water, scrubbed banana peels and celery. But wait, didn't I just write celery is what they use to infuse "natural" nitrites into the meat? How about boiled kumquats? Any health hazards in kumquats?

Beating nausea

Lifelong friend Dan Timbrook has turned me on to a simple remedy for nausea, one of the worst gastrointestinal experiences known to the human animal. Just grab that bottle of alcohol from beneath the cabinet, sprinkle a tablespoonful onto a cloth and slowly draw several deep breaths. "I was at the doctor's office and began feeling really sick to my stomach," he said. "The nurse put a bit of isopropyl alcohol on a page and I did what he told me, and that bad feeling left quickly. It was like magic."

Check 'inactives' too

The Harvard Health Letter says most normal prescription pills contains an average of nine "inactive" ingredients, including the likes of peanut oil, Aspartame, sucrose, saccharin, various dyes, lactose, wheat starch and cornstarch. All can potentially cause adverse reactions to the allergy-prone, most prominently the peanut oil for those with allergic reactions to peanuts. You can check package insets for those ingredients or head to the National Institutes of Health's Pillbox website at

Got milk? Maybe not

Did you see the Associated Press story announcing that Dallas-based Dean Foods, the country's biggest milk processor, has filed for bankruptcy? The company spokesperson said despite that company's best efforts at becoming more cost-effective, it continues to be slammed by a challenging operating environment, including steady declines in how much milk we all drink. U.S. milk consumption per capita has plummeted by 40 percent since 1975.

Seems more of us are choosing teas, juices and sodas, as well as almond and soy milks.

Whoda thunk 50 years ago that something delivered to America's doorsteps would wind up in this shape?

One in a million

Attempting to comprehend the nature of our life can boil down to grasping its larger context. For instance, I never paused to realize until now how the one egg destined to become "me" was already among 1 million in place and waiting at the time my mother was born. Yours too.

Madison nailed it

In the Federalist Paper No. 10 in 1787, James Madison advised: "A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to cooperate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts."

Madison obviously was a soothsayer.

Now go out into the world and treat everyone you meet exactly how you'd like them to treat you.


Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist, was editor of three Arkansas dailies and headed the master's journalism program at Ohio State University. Email him at [email protected]

Editorial on 11/19/2019

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