|| 6 March 2022
Caffeine Zaps Iron Absorption? Yes, No, Sometimes
If we are following the news these days, there are enough disturbing reports and images to keep us awake at night without an excess of caffeine. So sometimes we need to cut back — even when caffeinated beverages generally do not bother us.
Scientists have done a better job taking the caffeine out of coffee without destroying good flavor than taking it out of tea. When caffeine is removed from tea, the results are not always tasty. Certainly not as satisfying to my taste buds as regular teas — both black and green. So I look for good decafs.
The decaf I am currently drinking is the decaf version of PG Tips. Even though decaffeinated, it brews a satisfying tea taste. And I like that the teabags are in the pyramid style that allows better penetration of water into the tea leaves.
There are, however, reasons for limiting caffeine (in any beverage) beyond keeping you awake at night. One of the principal reasons it that caffeine is known to reduce the absorption of the important mineral iron. Particularly the version of iron found in plant foods whose protein we are encouraged to eat in place of animal protein.
But caffeine is not the whole problem. There are other substances in coffee and tea in addition to caffeine that can interfere with iron absorption. The research does not always agree. All sorts of circumstances can mitigate how much iron absorption is affected by drinking tea and coffee.
Frankly, I find all this wealth of often conflicting information dizzying. Helpfully an article on Healthline tries to sort out the research and give some guidance on the effect of coffee and tea on iron absorption.
But before you read the article and start making modifications to your tea and coffee drinking, let me say that my grandmother began drinking coffee at an early age (she claimed age 2, but it probably wasn’t until her teens). For the latter part of her adult life was drinking 10 to 15 cups a day. Grandmother was never anemic and was a fireball of energy all her 99 years. That coffee could not have reduced her iron very much. Though she did eat a lot of meat and eggs, both of which contain iron. Also, though extremely opinionated, she never showed any signs of Alzheimer’s — or even dementia. Caffeine has its uses.
|| 24 February 2022
Fennel is one of the herbal teas I enjoy, The brand I have been drinking is Traditional Medicinals. At the end of the string of the teabag is a little tag with a quotation. The quotation today on my teabag’s tag was from the 19th century New England poet Emily Dickinson. She wrote:
How strange that Nature does not knock, and yet does not intrude!
Obviously Emily Dickinson never had much experience with Nature in Texas.
In Texas, Nature not only knocks, it howls, it rips, it tears, it overturns, it topples, it uproots, it floods, it smothers in dust, it blows away, it cooks, it freezes.
Nature in Texas definitely intrudes on people’s property and lives.
Currently we are in another Texas Freeze — though so far I have not lost electrical power. I am calling this one the February Freeze. On Wednesday we had sleet, rain and snow all within a few hours. All three have frozen into a solid sheet of ice across my property. When I take a kettle of boiling water out to thaw the ice in the birdbath, it is almost like skating.
I hope wherever you are the weather is better than it is here at Provence-sur-la-Prairie.
be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone
|| 11 February 2022
Valentine's Food Temptations
Valentine’s temptations are lurking. So what to do to stay slim? More . .
|| 3 February 2022
Inspiration for Chic
But first a word about the weather . . .
Are we in Texas Freeze II here at Provence-sur-la-Prairie? Actually, for the next few days nothing is certain about our weather and the utilities that keep us warm. We had sleet and freezing rain beginning mid-afternoon yesterday Wednesday leaving what appears to be a sheet of ice over yards and streets. (I am not venturing out for a close examination.) This morning snow with a high of 19 F. (-7 C.) expected today Thursday with 9 F. (-13 C.) tonight and 5 F. (-15 C.) Friday night. Our houses and electrical grid were not built for this extreme cold. But after our experience last winter, we are better prepared.
Inspiration for Chic
Recently I received an email with comments about Miss Dior: A Story of Courage and Couture by Justine Picardie. More . . .
|| 30 January 2022
Eye Makeup Tricks for Certain Age
Once, when I was in my late 40s, I was in conversation with a woman of impeccable chic in her early 70s. The one exception to her head-to-toe chic I noticed was her eye makeup. She looked as if she had black rick rack on her upper eyelid and her eye shadow extended out onto her face.
Oh dear, I thought. Did that mean when I was her age, I would have all over the place eye shadow — and that I would have to choose between no eyeliner and a messy, zigzagged line? I need my eyeliner. I have small eyes, and without eyeliner, I look squinty-eyed and shifty.
Unfortunately, as we age, like other parts of us, our eyelids are often not as taut as they were when we were younger. This looser skin makes it more difficult to apply eye makeup precisely. What to do?
Never fear. Our Chic & Slim Special Correspondent Kat to the rescue with some certain age eye makeup advice. More . . .
|| 27 January 2022
Making French Pain Seigle (Rye Bread)
Actually I began the starter on Tuesday. Wednesday progressed to the "sponge." Now today Thursday has been dough and bake day. A long, tiring process. (I understand why those French bakers are such burly men.) But I am hoping when the baking is complete that I will think the bread worth all the work. And all the cleanup !!
I have been photographing the process at the different stages. I will tell you about the experience soon. Right now I am going to wash a LOT of bowls and pans. — Anne
|| 23 January 2022
France-Themed Website To Explore
Recently I received an email with a link to an article about those French baguette vending machines. (Merci, Adele). The article was on a France-themed website with which I was unfamiliar. Well designed and with wonderful photography and interesting articles.
If you have not previously explored A French Connection, you might enjoy doing so.
|| 20 January 2022
Françoise Gilot at 100
So here we are nearing the end of the first month of 2022, coping with the Omicron variant and — some of you, surviving the onslaught on a major winter storm.
But make yourself a cup of tea and read the interview article in The New York Times with Françoise Gilot. The French artist and writer is, at 100, as saucy and opinionated as she has been through the decades.
In Chic & Slim Toujours, Françoise Gilot (with Liliane Bettencourt who died in 2017 ) were, at 92, the oldest of the chic French women of certain age that I profiled. Françoise Gilot seems to have perfected the art of aging as she successfully as she perfected her own artistic style and personal style.
In the NY Times interview, Françoise Gilot says of personal style:
“A sense of style is important,” she said. “It’s like a pane of glass that makes you seem transparent but at the same time is a barrier.”
Barriers can be handy. “You should not make yourself known that much to other people and keep your most intimate thoughts to yourself,” she said. Even with a husband? “Especially with a husband,” she said.
|| 16 January 2022
Susan in Hamilton is a fan of the blog That’s Not My Age created by London-based Alyson Walsh. Recently Susan sent text and a link for an article by a guest writer on the blog encouraging walking. Merci, Susan.
A walk? you say. But it’s so COLD out there!
Properly dressed, you can find a walk in the cold invigorating — not uncomfortable. I like wearing my three-layer Covid masking for cold walks because it keeps my nose warm.
Of course, when you return from your walk in the cold. a mug of steaming tea tastes wonderful.
Why walking is good for you on That’s Not My Age
|| 9 January 2022
News From France
If you are following the current news from France, you know that President Macron has (again) stirred up the protesters.
Some are protesting a new law that those unvaccinated for Covid will not be allowed to attend sporting events and theaters — will not be allowed to enter cafes and restaurants.
Others are protesting the provocative words Macron chose in his announcement.
Out of curiosity, I looked up the offending verb emmerder in my 1962 edition of my New Cassell’s French Dictionary in which it states that the word is very crude. It means: to be a great nuisance, to create trouble. But there are other words that express this meaning that are more proper.
You can read two articles in The Guardian that explain the situation.
|| 6 January 2022
Remembering: Capitol Attack — Last WWII Veteran
Here in the USA today, we are observing the first anniversary of the 6 January attack on the US Capitol. A serious day of remembrance with many who hold differing viewpoints voicing their opinions on the event.
And while we are focused on remembering the Capitol attack, we should not fail to note the passing of the last American World War II veteran Lawrence N. Brooks of New Orleans at age 112.
He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1940 and assigned to the 91st Engineer General Service Regiment stationed in Australia. He completed his service in 1945.
|| 30 December 2021
Believing in Better
This morning, before I had even made my pot of tea, I dropped an uncooked egg on the floor. A mess to clean up — but not as big a mess as the one made a few days previously when my elbow somehow collided with the blender container of kale soup and knocked it off the kitchen counter and into the floor. (Fortunately most of the soup fell on the kitchen mat and I was able to carefully carry the mat out the back door and turn the garden hose on it.)
That is the way the week has gone. Not a good week. And looking further back, it has not been such a great year either. But we are counting down the hours until the end of 2021.
I have been thinking lately of a woman I knew several decades ago. She had been a teenager in Warsaw and was in the first group that the Nazis took off to a concentration camp. Of her family, only she and her brother survived the camp. She said what sustained them through the long incarceration was the belief that if they could survive, when freed, they would go to the United States. Things would be better there.
Whatever the difficulty, whether great or small, we humans seem to be able to survive those difficulties if we believe that they will eventually end and things will be better.
Through difficulties large and small, we must not lose our belief in better days to come.
Onward to 2022 — Anne Barone
|| 19 December 2021
Notre Dame de Paris: historic and evolving
Before the controversy began over the restoration to the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral following the 2019 fire, I was grateful to have been given a copy of Notre-Dame de Paris: The Eternal Cathedral. Now that the cathedral's restoration plans have been approved and we have learned that there will be changes to the interior of Notre Dame that to my taste (and to the taste of many others) will detract from the beauty and dignity of this venerable building, I am especially glad to have the book. More . . .
|| 16 December 2021
Covid & Obesity: The Connection
Early in the pandemic we learned there was a direct connection between obesity and Covid 19. Now a new study helps explain why this is so. Briefly: the coronavirus attacks fat tissue. The more fat tissue you have, the more of you Covid has to attack. Established in the your tissue, Covid can spread.
A New York Times article explains in depth what the study found.
If you cannot access the NYTimes article, there is a shorter, less detailed report on WebMD.
Merci to Susan in Hamilton who sent the link to the New York Times article.
|| 12 December 2021 — UPDATE to 9 December Nouvelles
Kitschy Notre Dame Restoration Plans Approved
It was a disappointment. Notre Dame's controversial 'kitsch' restoration plans were approved in the Thursday committee voting. But the renovation of the historic cathedral is expected to take at least two years. Perhaps some of the ideas for ‘kitschy” changes will be discarded before the reopening.
Note: While you are on the EuroNews website, you might find other articles of French interest in the links.
|| 21 November 2021
Chanel No. 5: new book set
One of the books celebrating the 100 years of Coco Chanel's iconic perfume Chanel No.5 is a pricey 2-volume set by award-winning French novelist Pauline Dreyfus.
You can read more about the books on the publisher Abrams catalog page for the set.
Chic & Slim trivia note: In the early days of Chic & Slim, when I was selling and shipping my own books, I would scent all the packages with Chanel No. 5 — and not a counterfeit or facsimile of the perfume — but with real Chanel No. 5.
|| 15 November 2021
Julia Child Documentary
A new documentary on Julia Child has recently been released. The review in The Guardian is as delicious as one of Julia Child's recipes. The comment by one of the documentary's co-directors Julie Cohen that in one episode of her television series Julia Child held up an artichoke and tells the audience not to be afraid of it reminded me of the lovely photo of French artichokes that our Chic & Slim Special Correspondent Kat sent from France during her late summer visit. I thought Kat's photo was the perfect image to accompany today's Nouvelles.
Bon appétit !
|| 21 October 2021
Translating From French
How is your French? Did you work out the translations of the signs in the market photo our Chic & Slim Special Correspondent Kat provided for the French Ready Meals Nouvelles? More . . .
|| 14 October 2021
French Ready Meals / Fast Food
I still have photos and comments sent by our Chic & Slim Special Correspondent Kat during her recent trip to France that I have not yet shared with you. Today a photo and comment she sent mid-September on "ready meals" — what we in the USA call fast food — that Kat found available when out shopping. More . . .