Tisano Tea, based in San Francisco, sells chocolate tea. It was started in 2010 by Patrick Pineda, Leonardo Zambrano, and Lucas Azpurua. I was curious about the company because I like two chocolate tea blends very much: Red Cloud Cacao (a black tea/chocolate tea blend from Peet’s, no longer available but they will bring it back) and CocoMate (from American Tea Room). Read the rest of this entry »
I started drinking lots of tea when I started the Shangri-La Diet. The diet made me crave food with smell, which tea provided. I started chewing gum, too, but that was less enjoyable, maybe because I never became a gum connoisseur.
I recently learned about Teeccino coffee-substitute “tees” (brewed like tea) from Patrick Pineda of Tisano. They resemble Pero but with more flavor and variety. I really liked the first two flavors I tried (Vanilla Nut and French Roast) so I wrote to Teeccino asking for samples of all the flavors. In addition to no caffeine, Teechino drinks are high in inulin, a soluble fiber.
Here are my comments on the samples.
Dandelion Dark Roast. Similar to French Roast (relatively strong coffee taste) but more earthy-tasting. Maybe that’s the dandelion.
French Vanilla. Strong vanilla taste. Too much like vanilla for me, I want something more complicated.
Caramel Nut. Halfway between caramel and burnt caramel, which I like. As complex as French Roast.
Mocha. Excellent. Complexity of coffee plus complexity of chocolate.
Chocolate. Like mocha, except darker coffee flavor.
Original. Excellent. Weaker coffee flavor plus fruity complexity.
Almond Amaretto. Wonderful combination of coffee flavor with nutty almond/amaretto flavor.
Java. Rounded coffee flavor.
Chocolate Mint. Enough mint but not enough chocolate and coffee.
Southern Pecan. Delicious. Pecan and coffee flavors well-balanced. I wonder: What does Northern Pecan taste like?
Maya Chai. Tastes like chai. I would prefer, in addition, a dark coffee taste.
Lassi, you probably know, is an Indian drink made from yogurt. It is rarely sold outside Indian restaurants and supermarkets. However, last week at Whole Foods I saw a product called Pavel’s Pro Sea Salt Lassi Yogurt Drink, so new it is not yet on the company website. I have no idea why Pro is part of the name. I bought a bottle. I was surprised how good it was.
I tried making it myself. I found I could easily make better lassi than Pavel’s by optimizing the amount of salt, adding an optimal amount of sweetener (xylitol – Pavel’s lassi was unsweetened), and flavoring it, for instance with vanilla.
Yogurt companies of the world (except maybe Pavel’s) seem to have failed to notice that lassi is a very unusual food. It provides pleasure in eight ways: (1) satisfies thirst, (2) creamy, (3) frothy (if you shake the bottle before drinking), (4) salty, (5) sour, (6) sweet, (7) complexity (yogurt alone is slightly complex, vanilla increases complexity) and (8) flavor novelty (if you vary the flavor). To a small extent, (9) it satisfies hunger and, if you’re hot, (10) cools you off. It’s also (11) very convenient — easier to take a swig of lassi than a spoonful of yogurt — and (12) very healthy. I can’t think of another food with twelve strengths. My friends’ pizza provided pleasure in ten ways but wasn’t convenient or healthy. There are several similar yogurt drinks in other cultures, such as doogh, perhaps because lassi has such a high benefit/cost ratio.
To make lassi, mix 3 parts yogurt with about 1 part water, add sweetener and salt and flavoring to taste, mix. I’m going to try adding cardamon and maybe replace the water with tea, to increase complexity.
The next meeting of the Make Yourself Healthy Meetup group will be May 23 (Thursday) at the Telegraph Ministry Center (5316 Telegraph, Oakland). Social time will start 6:30 pm, the meeting proper at 7:00 pm. It will last about 2 hours. Admission is $3, payable at the door, to cover the cost of renting the space. The first speaker will be Robin Barooah, who will tell how he cured his RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury). The doctors he saw were no help.
Ten years ago researchers finished the first sequencing of an entire human genome. To mark the anniversary, Eric Green, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health, spoke to an unnamed reporter at the New York Times. Here is the final question of the interview:
What about the naysayers who [say], “Where are the cures for diseases that we were promised?”
I became director of this institute three and a half years ago, and I remember when I first started going around and giving talks. Routinely I would hear: “You are seven years into this. Where are the wins? Where are the successes?”
I don’t hear that as much anymore. I think what’s happening, and it has happened in the last three years in particular, is just the sheer aggregate number of the success stories. The drumbeat of these successes is finally winning people over.
We are understanding cancer and rare genetic diseases. There are incredible stories now where we are able to draw blood from a pregnant woman and analyze the DNA of her unborn child.
Increasingly, we have more informed ways of prescribing medicine because we first do a genetic test. We can use microbial DNA to trace disease outbreaks in a matter of hours.
These are just game changers. It’s a wide field of accomplishment, and there is a logical story to be told.
There you have it. The head of the Human Genome Project, a very big deal, says in an oblique way that the project has had little practical benefit so far. Note the present tense: “We are understanding cancer”. Nothing about decreasing cancer. In a short discussion of benefits, he mentions microbial DNA. In a short discussion of benefits, he says, “We are able to draw blood from a pregnant woman and analyze the DNA of her unborn child.” Genetic tests of fetuses are not new. I think he means that the number of rare genetic diseases that can be detected has increased (by how much?). Well, yes, not surprising. It is an increase of something that was already happening and helps only a tiny number of people. Not a “game-changer”.
- Washington Post covers evidence for the hygiene hypothesis
- Renata Adler answers audience questions (video)
- Mother Jones criticizes probiotics
- Rating prisons on Yelp. Quantified Institutions.
Thanks to Bryan Castañeda.
Because of my finding that butter improved my mental speed, in 2012, Dustin Lee, a programmer in Bozeman, Montana, decided to try eating lots of butter. He thought he’d do it for a month.
He ate a half-stick (2 ounces = 57 grams) every day. Nothing fancy: Kirkland Salted Sweet Cream Butter. At first it was repulsive. He had trouble eating it. He ate it with other foods, such as soup or pancakes. Or he would take lots of tiny slices (without other foods). It felt like more butter than he wanted.
After about two weeks of this, however, he decided this is pretty good. He was enjoying it. He began looking forward to the slices. He made them larger. He prefers the butter hard, straight out of the fridge. He now enjoys eating the fat on meat. He stopped limiting how much animal fat he eats. (His wife still cuts it off meat.) Now he gets lots of fat from lots of sources. Butter is the easiest source.
His children (7 and 9 years old) don’t eat butter directly, but he allows them to eat as much as they want. They eat a lot more butter than other children. At other people’s houses, he jokes about it. Incidentally, he tried taking Vitamin D3 in the morning (around 7 am) but it made him so sleepy in the evening he stopped.
This impressed me. I’d been eating a half-stick of butter per day for a few years (half as much was less effective), but I always ate it with a little bit of meat, e.g., sliced roast beef (Berkeley) or roast pork (Beijing). That was less than ideal because I kept running out of the meat. I started eating it Dustin’s way (straight) and found it’s fine. It’s like dessert, halfway between ice cream and cheese.
Recently I posted that my work resembles the work of the artist Hong Yi. Her work shows that profitable beautiful art can be made from the cheapest materials; my work shows that non-trivial useful science can be done by anyone. A reader named David commented:
Your work and discoveries, just like Hong’s, are very inspirational. . . . They send a message that every individual has the potential to contribute something to society even with no or limited budget.
This hadn’t occurred to me. It should have. I could have made this point in talks, for example. Beyond the obvious point, David was saying that the more your personal science could help others, the more likely you would be to do it. The prospect of helping yourself and others will surely be stronger motivation than the prospect of helping only yourself.
How can one person’s personal science help others? This doesn’t happen automatically, it has to be arranged. My Journal of Personal Science and the Make Yourself Healthy Meetup group are two ways of facilitating this. What about other ways?
David’s comment made me think of another way: Acne Club, that is, a high school club for people with acne. The purpose of the club is to promote personal science about acne. Members of the club try to find the causes of their acne, partly by self-experimentation. They meet to share results and ideas (e.g., treatments to try, how to measure acne) and encourage each other. The discovery of two groups of “primitive” people who have no acne suggests that all acne has environmental causes. If a high school group could identify even one environmental cause, it would be a huge contribution to human well-being — especially the well-being of high-school students. I think this is quite possible.
I had acne as a teenager. If you start such a club, I would be happy to help you however I can. For example, I could give advice about measurement and experimental design and could publicize what you learn.
- Nigerian fermented foods
- I point out that certain results in the BMJ are impossible
- Big increase in ADHD diagnoses
- Preface and Chapter 1 (Abraham Lincoln) of Edward Jay Epstein’s new book, Annals of Unsolved Crime
- How to taste umami (very good)
- No mortality difference between vegetarians and non-vegetarians (2009 study). This is evidence against the new TMAO theory of heart disease (carnitine in meat is converted by bacteria to TMAO, which causes heart disease).
A reader named Nicole, who lives in Washington D.C., writes:
I have been an avid follower of Seth’s blog since Boingboing.net first posted something about or by him. And when I heard that my brother was planning to get my niece’s tonsils removed, I remembered the Boingboing article Seth wrote about tonsils and their important, if not completely understood, role as part of our immune system. So I sent that article along. My brother responded quickly with: “Wow, thanks. I won’t be getting her tonsils out any time soon.”
Nice to hear!