Arnold Fitness International Recap

The Arnold Fitness International has come and gone. This has been one of the best experiences I have had at the Arnold to date.

I shot some video on Thursday and Friday however, after the show – I stopped shooting as I was quite tired, and worked the rest of the weekend.

Friday I was able to sleep in a bit until 7am. I got up, ate, and went 2 doors down to get my makeup done by Elaine Goodlad. Oxygen magazine happened to be there to videotape the process. They were doing some video footage for “how to” for competition/stage makeup on the day of the show. Elaine has a long history of doing makeup for shoots, and stage, and knows how the lighting plays on the face. She is able to create effects so that the parts of the face are highlighted, and will not get shadowed out of the photos. The lighting of the stage however is another story.

Here is a quick picture Diane took of me getting dolled up for the day –

Then, I was off to the Expo for the physique round on the main expo stage.

I did not feel nervous before going onstage, however, when I finally stepped onstage, the nerves kicked in. The amount of people watching the event was much larger than in year’s past. It just seemed like a sea of people, that stretched out for hallway through the main part of the expo.

I was in third callout. AKA – ‘the rest’.

With that many very good competitors and bodies, bringing you’re A game is a must.

I was happy with what I had presented.

The round did not last very long – maybe 8-10 minutes and we were done. I decided to walk around the expo but soon, felt that it was time to rest, and headed back to the hotel room to relax for the night show.
Having not slept the night before, a nap was on the horizon.

I started over to the Veterans Memorial around 5:30. To my surprise there was carpet on the stage, and I was glad. I had like the carpet they put on the stage at the Flex Pro, and felt comforted when I was able to practice on the carpeted floor. Usually it is a plastic stage, and since the female bodybuilders were going first, I was more relaxed about doing my routine after them since we had the carpet. It can be a bit slippery after the bodybuilders due to the oil, however, this year, no worries.
All the girls were amazing at their routines. I think the key is the carpet to help pad the flips and tricks we have so we are able to ‘give’ more during the routine.

I was #14 so had a bit of time to wait. I always have a go to song – a song that gives me energy and keeps my spirits high – I listened to that repetitively. When it was my time to go, I felt relaxed, and not scared to be onstage, but inspired and motivated to show the crowd (of which most of them I considered my friends and family) what I can do. I felt the warmth of the crowd as they were already ‘warmed up’ from the previous 13 competitors – they were in it, and so was I. I managed a perfect performance.

I love performing my routine. I am ‘in it’. And it feels really good to be in that space.
I have always feared being great. My goal now when I compete, is to be my best self; the self that I am capable of being. I believe that I self sabotage at times, and don’t always believe that I am worthy of what might be on the other side of being good. Although I have placed much better in the past, I was not consistent in my performances. I am striving for consistency right now.

Here is a replay of the fitness routines – They will be available for about 2 weeks.

The results of the show placed me 14th. Not super sure of my routine placing but it was low. I cannot explain why. Sometimes it is just like that. I am sure where I performed my routine (the order of performance) plays a role, but regardless of the outcome/final result I was a good that day. I was as great as I was supposed to be in that moment. I would not change anything. I liked what I did and I am proud of what I did. I am still on one of the biggest stage’s in the world for fitness, and there are times when the judges get you and others when they don’t.

After the show the only thing I wanted to do was the #1 thing on any competitors mind post show = eating. Tamee Marie (suit designer and sponsor) and I were out quite late, and luckily many of the restaurants are open later during the Arnold weekend. After a large salad, some bread, and water, I was officially in a food coma. Saturday I would find out I forgot my wallet at the restaurant, but I recovered, and did retrieve the wallet after trying to buy coffee with no money.

Saturday came way too early – and I was up and off to get makeup done by J Zubire. She is super gentle with my eyes, and since I had many applications of makeup over the last 3 weeks, this was the girl for me.

Overall Thoughts:

I am very happy with my body onstage and in the off-season. I compete about 3-4 days out of the year, and the other 361 days I am not competing, I love being in my body. Sure, there are moments when I would like to be in first callout, but the trade offs might be a little high for what I want for my family or myself.

Just because I don’t have the genetics, that does not stop me from trying to change my physique. I like trying to find a balance between what I like (which matters most), and what the judges like. I always welcome feedback post show.

I love performing this routine. The shoes – ah, some people don’t get the shoes, but I tried bare feet, and it hurts like hell. My feet are not rough enough to be performing in bare feet. If there was always carpet it is possible to do on carpet in bare feet, however, there is one problem – there is not always carpet on the stage. The shoes don’t exactly go with my costume, but they allow me to do the routine without being too heavy, or killing my feet. They will stay. And I always get questions about the shoes –they are a dance boot by Brian Freidman. They are very hard to find as they are not produced anymore however, I believe many sites from England sell them.

Next up: St. Louis Pro – March 17 in St. Louis.  
I will try to add some more strength to my routine, and work on my posing a bit more. Yes, I do read all the blogs/message boards, and know what is out there. ;)

I really am enjoying competing this year, even though my placings are just maeeh. It makes me work harder, and try to be better.

I am half Irish so maybe I will get ‘lucky’ on St. Paddies Day and get a better placing.

9 days and counting….

Sex Beauty-Sex Appeal

What is sex, really? We can never say, satisfactorily. But we know so much: we know that is a dynamic polarity between human beings, and a circuit of force always flowing. Sex is the fountainhead of our energetic life, a creative flow, a very powerful beneficial and a necessary stimulus in human life. Sex is a dynamic polarity between human beings, the dynamics polarized flow of vitalistic force, far from being only sexual, is something more. It transcends sex as commonly understood. It transcends love also. It is some sort of a mysterious and subtle admixture of sex, love and life. It leads human beings to a great purposive activity without which life would remain incomplete. The purposive activity gives meaning to life and makes it whole the mingling of many with one great impassioned purpose is also a grand consummation for men. But this is not sexual. Sex is always individual.

In individual life sexual consummation is very important. It is the basic essential of successful life. It is the main constituent of a fully integrated life. It is the first step towards the final achievement of a perfect balance and complete harmony in life. And it is the foot-board for a leap into the life of a great purposive activity. But while sexual consummation is so essential, it is not the supreme consummation. It must not be considered to be the whole of life. Sex hold ant two people together.

Sex and beauty is one thing, “like flame and Fire”. They are inssparable, “like life and consciousness”. Sex is the root of which intuition is the foliage and beauty the flower. Beauty is an experience, not a fixed pattern or an arrangement of features and sex appeal is the appeal of beauty. In other words the communicating of a sense of beauty is sex appeal.

The Risks of Eating Sushi

There are many people for whom the idea of eating sushi does not appeal because they don’t like the thought of eating raw fish. Of course, sushi isn’t only raw fish but the very knowledge that there is some raw fish in the dish can be unappetizing. There are others, however, who don’t like the idea of eating sushi because they consider the inherent risks too great. But what are the risks in eating sushi and are they as great as some fear?

As with any food care should be taken in the preparation and cooking process to ensure that food hygiene is strictly adhered too. When serving raw fish it’s even more important because you don’t have the cooking process to fall back on; usually the cooking of food to the appropriate temperature will kill any lingering bacteria that would cause food poisoning if the food was consumed in its raw state.

Many people avoid eating raw fish because they believe it to be infected with viruses, bacteria or parasites. While this is possible, it’s good to know the extent of the risk because it may alter one’s opinion.

There is a condition known as “anisakiasis” which is quite unpleasant and is potentially fatal. It is caused by tiny larval worms that can be found in some sea creatures; as far as ingredients used in sushi is concerned, the most commonly found fish that contain these larvae are cod, herring and mackerel. These are fish that are used less often in sushi restaurants and more by people making sushi at home so choosing to eat sushi in a restaurant is a good move; ordering certain dishes from the menu rather than a set platter of sushi will help you avoid any fish that cause you more concern.

Tapeworms are another worry for some diners but one that shouldn’t really be concerning at all. The truth is that a tapeworm requires at least one freshwater phase in its lifetime and sushi restaurants use only freshwater seafood and fish in their dishes so the chances of being stricken by tapeworms from eating sushi are virtually nil.

The contamination of predatory fish, such as tuna and swordfish, with mercury and other heavy metals is a topic that is grabbing the headlines these days. Pregnant women and people with weak immune systems are advised to avoid such foods and while scientists acknowledge that the risk to healthy people is low, they should limit the amount of these kinds of fish to no more than one or two servings a week. PCBs are another contaminant that is associated with fish used in sushi though again the risks are minimal when average amounts are consumed.

Overall the risks of food poisoning or more serious illness are no greater from eating sushi than any other food. Sushi chefs undergo possibly the most stringent training of any kind of chef and get special training in recognizing fresh fish and identifying possible contaminants. Furthermore, many countries have strict guidelines on what can be defined as “sushi grade” fish which may entail special deep freezing that will kill any bacteria present.

After this it is only the attention to cleanliness of yourself or the person preparing the sushi that can guarantee the safety and freshness of the food you are consuming.

Back Muscle Spasms

Back pain sometimes merges from muscle spasms. Spasms largely start when one or the other nerve or muscle fibers can not act with the other fiber. What happens is that the reactions take involuntary muscles, such as atypical tightening of muscle. The action causes the muscles to restrain its contractions. If contractions Reserved for muscle fibers, nerves, etc., contained also a consequence of the lack of contractions can cause excessive weakness and / or paralysis. If the muscles and nerve fibers are not attached properly to perform the action, ie, muscle fibers are not obtaining adequate contractions, or the creation contractions of the muscles are too, consequently the result causes back pain.

Muscle spasms in back increase as the threats potential is evident to the muscles. Because sensory nerves are not providing the nerve fibers in the muscles, the sustenance it needs to contract properly. The problem can lead to damage of the muscles because muscle, which lacks the power extends, therefore contractors concerning fibers. Sensory nerves failing to send signals to muscles and other areas requiring the support of the sensory nerves, causing back pain.

Such action may cause spasms and nervous tension, joint misalignment, and sprains. Muscle spasms may begin when the muscles are fatigue, or when a person exercises heavily. When the body is dehydrated, it can also cause muscle spasms. Moreover, pregnancy, putting much weight a person may give lead to muscle spasms. Hypothyroidism, deficiency of calcium and magnesium can cause cramping, so. The body has hormones which promote growth and production of metabolism, that if these hormones do not work enough to produce and reproduce the fluids of the muscles required, may affect the metabolism, in turn causes muscle spasms. Excessive consumption, kidney failure, and in particular drugs can cause muscle spasms.

Tip: You can perform chest stretches, groin, thigh, hip, thigh, and triceps extends to minimizing potential muscle spasms.

Muscle spasms are often more defined, since similar cramps occur stress and pain and muscle spasms. The problem lies between the muscles and nerve fibers, muscles, joints, sensory and motor nerves, motor neurons, and so on. However, as noted above, the spasms started when the fibers, nerves, unit, etc., and not working properly. However, the problem moves down to the tendons and ligaments, that when these parts of the body are inflamed or damaged and left the area, may cause spasms muscle damage, in turn causes back pain.

Keep in mind that muscle spasms are abnormal contractions of the muscles that can cause tremor, stitches, seizures, tremors, and extreme. Paroxysmal can cause explosions, seizures, etc, that sometimes when there are spasms, pain is not apparent.

As mentioned, the ligaments and tendons can affect muscles and back pain and get started. Both ligaments and tendons are strong elements that connect the bones, joints and muscles with suspicion. The tendons and ligaments helps muscles by encouraging movement, bending, sitting, walking, standing, etc. However, the main sources of these actions coming from muscles systematically. The muscles that give strength, helping to exert pressure to enforce the motion of bones. These promoters locomotive after discontinuation may cause limited mobility, which in turn begins to damage the joints, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, etc. Since the muscles get a degree of strength of the spinal cord and pain occurs when systematic muscles are not functioning properly. Deficiency muscle affects muscle actions and asymmetric.

Hint: Continue to stretch the muscles with the proper exercises can eliminate or minimize back pain.

The Importance of Tea to the British

The English language has so many words related to tea, tea break, teatime, afternoon tea, high tea, rich tea biscuit, teacup, tea plate tearooms, teapot, tea caddy, tea chest . Tea is important to the nation, Britain runs on tea. The Civil Service and the army could not run without it. Lorry drivers navigate by the transport cafes, that serve huge mugs of the amber liquid. Road menders brew tea on spirit lamps, down holes in the road.

When returning home from a holiday abroad the very first thing all British people do is to brew a decent cup of tea. The British are convinced that other nations cannot make a decent cuppa.

A British ex-pat living in another country will be so grateful for a present of proper English tea. I live in France; there were many lovely things in my Christmas parcel from my mum in England, but the best thing of all was a large packet of tea all wrapped up in Christmas paper. On the supermarket shelves in France there are packets labeled English Breakfast Tea. I have no idea what it is but I do know that it is not English Breakfast Tea.

Tea helped the United Kingdom to fight the Second World War. London survived the blitz because of tea; old newsreel shows Londoners, whose homes were undamaged handing out cups of tea to their neighbours, who had been bombed out. When the fleet of “Little ships” returned British soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, as the soldiers stepped on Untied Kingdom soil, the ladies of the WRVS (Women’s Royal Volunteer Service) greeted each soldier with a welcome cup of tea.

Many people remember Lyon’s corner houses, where real afternoon tea was served by “nippies” in black and white uniforms, and incidentally where working people and women could get a good lunch at a reasonable price. Although Lyon’s Corner houses have disappeared, under the onslaught of plastic coffee bars and fast food outlets, independent tearooms are still around. Tearooms serve proper afternoon tea with tea in a teapot served into china teacups with saucers and delicious sandwiches and cakes.

In households across the United Kingdom, news, joys, sorrows, difficulties and problems are still all debated over a cup of tea. The first thing most British people do in the morning, is put the kettle on for a cup of tea.

A recent BBC television series travelled around the United Kingdom to determine the best drink in the British Isles. On their travels, the two presenters learned about, and sampled mead, beer, wine, stout, whiskey, Perry, cider. At the end of the series of several programmes, the two presenters concluded that the best drink, in the British Isles, was a cup of tea. Tea’s importance to the British cannot be over-stated, The United Kingdom runs on tea.

The right Gift for your Hostess

A large gift basket sounds like an excellent idea for a hostess, especially one that is a very good friend and one you may wish to pamper. (And one you will want to ask you back for another dinner.)

Great gift ideas for the hostess is limited only by your imagination and your lack of knowldege of the hostess. The best way to be sure you give her the right gift is to take some time in finding out her preferences. You can do this by asking around. In this way your gift will say you took the time to choose something she would use. One good way, and a favorite way of pleasing your hard working hostess is filling a decorative baskets with spices, wines, other edible foods, or special little kitchen gadgets.

In this basket you will have a book, not necessarily about cooking but one you know she will like, but it should have some connection to this dinner, or this party, Some little bottles of spice that ordinarily one does have on hand, (saffron, lemon zest,) and other little edibles that she can use in the future. Throw in that apron that you made especially for her, and fill in whatever. Place mats for two with matching napkins that you made and don’t need and have been looking to place them somewhere.

And last, several little bottles of a non-alcoholic drink, a very good ginger-ail will be just right. You happen to remember you two were discussing what to do when you have that slight nausea that sometimes come on with too much stress. These are all suggestions and can be personalized to fit the person. Certainly not all of these at once but they are only ideas that hopefully will lead to other ideas.

Whatever, make the gift one that is not expected. You do not have to follow the accepted custom here. Give this gift because you want her to have these nice little things and not because of the reaction you will get from the other guests. Their gifts may be expensive and you, having less money, will be just as thoughtful.

Thus you have saved money and time. The items, with the exception of the ginger ale are all items you have and have been waiting to pass them on to some one who will love them as much as you do. I believing this is giving from the heart. Whatever, don’t go overboard. In many instances, flowers from your own garden, a jar of homemade pickles decoratively presented will be excellent choice. What I mean here is fit the gift to the ocassion.

Well whatever. These are the gifts I would bring to your house were I invited to dinner. Consider them yours now. What’s the French word for ‘healthy appetite’? Oh yes, I remember, bon’ appetite.

The Difference between Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame

Whether they’re served at a sidewalk cafe or in a narrow cobblestone alley bar, the croque monsieur and croque madame have been on menus throughout France for more than a hundred years. Both sandwiches feature a buttery crunch on the outside and smoky ham, melted cheese and the tangy flavor of Dijon mustard on the inside. The difference is the croque madame adds a fried egg on top. The madame is not necessarily meant for women, but the fried egg may have resembled a woman’s hat when it was first invented.

Essentially, they are grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, perfect pub fair, guy food, a satisfying snack to have with a glass of wine or beer. The classic culinary tome, Larousse Gastronomique, does not mention a topping on the croque monsieur or madame. It refers to this toasty culinary offering as a “€œhot sandwich, made of 2 slices of buttered bread with the crusts removed, filled with thin slices of Gruyere cheese and a slice of lean ham.” And that is exactly what the brief recipe directs. 

Yet, most recipes since then, including those by Julia Child and Jacques Pepin, cover the sandwiches with a bechamel sauce and broil it to a golden, bubbly goodness, often adding more cheese on top. Truly, if creating a croque madame, an egg on top of cheese over the sauce really seems like overkill. They may be a heart attack in the making, but egg or no egg, sauce or no sauce, they are the ultimate ham and cheese sandwich. They will spoil you for any other toasted sandwich on the menu.

The bread should have body, a bit on the chewy side and able to hold the butter, sauce and cheese. This is not the time for fluffy, doughy slices. To remove the crusts or not is really your decision. The classic cheese to melt within the bread is a Gruyere with its slightly sweet and creamy flavor. Generous slices of black forest ham really makes the recipe. Dijon mustard is here to offer balance and acidity to the finished product. Some recipes will even stir a small amount into the bechamel sauce.

The cooking techniques vary depending on taste as well. Toasted to a golden brown on both sides in a frying pan with melted butter is found in Larousse. Some recipes toast the bread before assembling the sandwich and a few even leave it open faced with bechamel drizzled over it like a rarebit. Many chefs opt for pan frying, then topping with the bechamel and finishing briefly under a broiler to brown the sauce. Just before serving is when the egg, white firm, but yellow still runny would be added for the croque madam.

Variations on this basic grilled sandwich are many. Included are, sliced tomato for a Provencale, croque bolognese with a meat sauce and the Norwegian with smoked salmon replacing the ham.  A favorite, sweeter version sure to please the kids is the Hawaiian with a slice of pineapple.

The Rice you Eat

One of the common cereals or the most consumed is rice. About 1/3 of the world population consumes rice. It is an annual crop grown in swamps, dry land depending on variety and mode it is being planted is through spraying in large scale or using the nursery. Some countries have much capitalised on it as it is a source of revenue to the government due to their exportation. Even kids cherish rice to other foods. There was a time when a relative was taking one of these rice varieties and he said it taste like you are eating sponge, why? Because he ate another part of the same ‘rice’. The science inclined refers to rice as Orysa sativa, Orysa glaberrima.

Also there is different rice produced from different parts of the world like the one cultivated majorly in:

Africa

The African Rice is one type of rice cultivated by peasant and commercial farmers. It can’t be milled unlike its Asian counterpart. They are good resistant variety to climatic, soil PH and diseases.

New Rice for Africa looks like a hybrid  or the crossing of the Orysa sativa and Orysa glaberrima and it got the character of both. This rice is just an improvement to boost the production of rice in Africa as there are teeming demands for rice. So, Africa Rice Centre developed a method to supply the masses with enough cereal.

Ofada Rice is very common in South West Africa (Nigeria) . The specie of rice has this commercial importance in this part of the world as it supplements the imported Asian Rice. Apart of that, the Ofada rice is a demand especially among commercial caterers in that part as it swells better when cooked than other species and this increase their profit.

Canada

Indian Rice/Canada Rice/water Oat; they are historically grown by North America and China but it’s almost going into extinction in that part. Grown in small lakes and shallow waters commercially. A source of food as many eat the grains and its stem  as its good vegetable.

Chinese

Forbidden Rice; also known as purple rice or black rice. It has got high nutritional value, with a deep black colour which can turn purple when cooked. The Chinese use this rice to produce some of their foods like noodles, porridge, rice cake or bread 

The Indian varieties

Basmati Rice; traditionally from the Indians and Pakistanis has different varieties. To complement it is its fragrance like that of pop corn

Ambemohar Rice; grown in India, with a  good flavour and has this aroma like that of mango when cooked. It is preferred to others  as when it is prepared, it looks soft and can be chewed easily.

Dubraj Rice; Grown by the Indians available in sizes ranging from short to medium. Having an aromatic taste in cooked.

Joha  Rice; a variety of rice grown in paddy field in India and notably for its aroma, delicate and excellent taste.

Rosematta rice; also known as Matta rice, rich in fibre which takes long time when cooking and takes much of water.

Navara Rice; One of the popular grown rice in India which is said to have mineral and chemical compositions which energises weak muscles. Also used in treatment of neuromuscular disorders such as arthritis, rheumatism and other related problems.

Patna Rice; a good staple food  known for its elongated kernel with large grain greater than 6mm. Possessing a strong aroma  in  relation to Basmati Rice.

Improved Samba Mahsuri;a kind of hybrid from a research institute(Directorate of  Rice Research ) present in India, which made the variety resistant to bacteria blight disease. Fine grain with excellent cooking quality.

Iranian variety

Domsiah Rice; a long grain rice possessing black spot at one end. It is more or equal to the Basmati Rice.  When being cooked, it becomes flaky, fluffy and tasty.

Italian variety

Arborio Rice; a short grain rice that when cooked it has this firm, creamy and chewy nature due to its starch content.

Cornaroli; different from Arborio Rice with higher starch content, firm nature and longer grain.

Variety in Japan

Sasanikishi; produced from Furukawa Agricultural Experiment Station. What is very particular about this rice is its ability to retain its taste even when it is cold and it is good for Sushi.

Thai variety

Glutinous Rice; Also known as sticky, sweet rice or waxy rice grown in the Asian continent which is sticky when cooked. The glutinous rice also has this distinguishable feature like possessing amylase and high amount of Amylopectin responsible for its sticky nature.  The bran can be removed or not removed if it is to be processed.

United States variety

Wehani Rice is an aromatic brown rice slightly resembling Wild Rice. Slightly chewy and when cooked have an aroma similar to hot buttered peanuts.

Calrose Rice is a medium grain variety produced from California Rice Industry accounting for more than 70% of rice consumed in the US. After cooking it the grain holds flavor, soft, stick together making it good for sushi.

The difference between brand name food and store brand food

The concept of store brand food is a recent innovation and has become increasingly popular at supermarkets as a competitor to brand-name products from companies such as Heinz, Coca-Cola or Nestle.

It is clear that store-brand food versus brand-name food has certainly gained a greater place in consumers’ consciousness. Indeed, some studies have even predicted that store-brand foods will represent 20% of sales in the next few years.

There are several reasons for this innovation, which include better margins, a more vertically integrated supply chain and more control over the customer experience and business operations. All of these are relevant factors to consider when comparing store-brand food versus brand-name food.

The history of store brands

Although some brand name companies argue that their products provide better quality than those of store brands, this myth has been widely debunked by companies such as Loblaws.

The company has been actively increasing the presence and credibility of store brand foods through their President’s Choice, which was widely touted as the first premium store brand, an innovation which was widely duplicated in the grocery industry. This is just one example of the prominence of store-brand food versus brand-name food.

A great advantage that President’s Choice and other store-brands had over their brand name competitors from the onset was that the cost of selling their product was always below their brand name counterparts, which created greater incentive to give them more shelf space, flyer space and advertising exposure .

Since the grocer has control over what he or she displays on the shelves, it became easier for store brands to gain prominence in the consumer’s mind.

The argument for brand names

Brand name companies argue that their products are better quality and also contend that the brand names are often the ones driving innovation within the industry, only to be copied by store brand imitations.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to patent or trademark a food recipe so brand names are very susceptible to this type of competition, the ethical implications of which have been debated by many.

However, as store brands gained more exposure, customers began to appreciate that the quality in many cases was in fact comparable or better than the supposedly ‘more premium’ items created by the big multi-national conglomerates.

Nonetheless, brand loyalty has helped large companies like Pepsi maintain their staying power and continue their reach to millions of customers. Especially for products which are difficult to differentiate such as Pepsi, the power of the brand name is even more pronounced than normal.

It is clear that there are arguments to be made in favor of both store-brand food versus brand-name food. While there is debate as to whether the quality of food is superior to brand name providers, there is no doubt that their exposure will decrease as supermarket and grocery chains realize their store brand items are able to earn better profits for their stores.

There is no Danger in using Aluminium Cookware – No

There is a misconception that aluminium cookware is somehow unsafe. The main concern centres on a possible link between aluminium and Alzheimer’s disease and the other on the possible toxic nature of aluminium itself. Both these concerns are unwarranted.

The first suggestion that there was a link between aluminium and Alzheimer’s disease was made in the 1970’s when research from Canada showed that patients suffering from Alzheimer’s had evidence of higher levels of aluminium in their brains than healthy patients. In the intervening years further research has discounted this link. It is possible that Alzheimer’s causes more aluminium to accumulate in the brain, but there is no evidence to suggest that higher consumption of aluminium heightens the risk of contracting the disease.

Of course aluminium is toxic is large concentrations, but we all consume aluminium and for most of us that means about 30 to 50mg every day. Aluminium is one of the most common elements in our environment, drinking water has minute traces of it, and it is present in many foods and many medications. There are relatively high levels of aluminium in antacids, aspirin and in the antiperspirants many of us use everyday. Most of the aluminium consumed passes harmlessly through our digestive systems, only a very tiny fraction is actually absorbed into the body.

Aluminium cookware was singled out as something that should be avoided because certain foods with a high level of acidity, such as tomato sauce and vinegar, can react with aluminium, leaking trace amounts from the cookware into the food. Needless to say, most aluminium cookware is treated so that there can be no reaction to food. However, even an untreated aluminium pot will leak only minute traces of aluminium into the food that is being cooked in it. This is backed up by research, showing for example, that cooking tomato sauce in an aluminium pot will lead to the release of about 3mg of aluminium into the food, a small proportion of normal daily intake.

Therefore aluminium pots and pans pose no risk to users, even if they are old and scratched and pitted. Additionally, as mentioned briefly above, aluminium cookware is almost always treated so it cannot react with foods. When aluminium is anodized it goes through a chemical bath and an electrical current and this binds the metal into the pan, sealed in this way the aluminium cannot leach into food.

Furthermore, most aluminium cookware is coated. The exterior is either porcelain enamel, which has a distinctive gloss finish and is very heat resistant, or it is a PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), the most common non stick coating which most of us know as Teflon. PTFE is not damaged by acid or alkali, and is heat resistant to 400°C. PTFE is approved in the USA, Europe, and in many other countries for use on cookware as it has no reaction to food, water or household cleaners. PTFE is used to coat heart stimulators and has even been injected into patients with serious kidney problems. If this non stick coating does peel or scratch and PTFE particles are accidentally ingested, there is nothing to fear as they are not absorbed and simply pass through the body.

Aluminium cookware represents a substantial part of the cookware market, between 40-50% in total. It has significant advantages over other types of cookware. It is lightweight, it has superb thermal conductivity, 13 times more than stainless steel, and heat diffusion is excellent, making for even cooking results.

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