Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |   Volume 6, Issue 21, Tuesday, May 24, 2011



I think to myself…
what a wonderful world

Have you ever pondered which is the most primitive non-veg food item known to mankind? In all likeliness, you've tasted it yourself -- even in this twenty first century! And the food has gone through only very few changes; it almost escaped evolution, and albeit those few amendments, the same old recipes trickled down generation after generation.

Millions of years ago, when Man created his first weapon and perfected his hunting skills, he set foot to kill an animal for dinner. And that was the start. First it was raw steak -- may be of a deer, or a tiger. With the discovery of fire, came medium rare, rare and what not. His palate told him this food is here to stay!

Today, steak is one of the hot favourites when it comes to food, almost anywhere in the world.

What exactly is a steak? Although the word originated from the word “roast” in another language, a steak basically means a cut of meat. To go further, any meat cut across the muscle into a thick slice which is intended to be cooked quickly is steak.

A cut of meat: that's what steak is all about. And that is a major thing that separates one steak from the other. Where the cut comes from determines the taste, texture and many other things in a steak.

When you see Rib Eye steak or Sirloin steak in the menu, don't assume for a moment these are just fancy names!

They say cooking is related to chemistry. I say, cooking is related to biology. A cow is divided into several complicated parts, commonly known as beef cuts. These beef cuts - or separate areas of the cow - determine the type of steak. Rib eye steak, for example, is a cut of steak from the cow's ribs. The steak is very tender and due to heavy marbling, the steak is more flavourful. Then there's T- bone steak, flat iron steak and what not!

Another thing that determines the type of steak is the degree of cooking. There's raw steak to start with -- which is almost uncooked (yes, some people do eat that). Then we have 'very rare' or 'blue rare', which is basically steak that's hot on the exterior but still quite uncooked on the interior. 'Rare' steak requires more cooking; the outside is grey-brown whilst inside is red and slightly warm. Going down the continuum, you get medium rare, medium, medium well done, well done and finally, overcook.

Picking your favourite is difficult. You'll stumble upon it only after some patience, failures and lots of steaks.

Cooking the perfect steak is even more difficult! Even expert chefs can sometimes find it hard to make a steak perfect. For example, how do you know exactly when a steak is rare or well done? The easiest way is to put a cooking thermometer and see the temperature- each type (in terms of degree of cooking) has a specific temperature range. Another way is to simply cut the steak and observe its interior.

But perhaps the most interesting and challenging way is determining through touch. An expert cook has instincts sharper than his knives. You can gauge the level of cooking by simply pressing the steak.

Let the tips of your thumb and forefinger meet. Feel the piece of muscle just below the thumb. It feels like medium rare steak. Now use the middle finger and the thumb; the muscle tightens up slightly: that's medium. The feel of the next finger and the thumb on that muscle: medium well. Finally, little finger and the thumb give you a feel like steak well done. Practise this if you want to flaunt some cool culinary tricks in front of your friends!

And practising has become more convenient now. Thanks to Wayne Gaskell, CEO of Bengal Meat. Currently operating in Dhali Superstore in North DCC Supermarket, Gulshan-2, he offers you various cuts of steaks you can bring home and make for yourself. Simply put a piece on the frying pan with little oil, and fry it both sides.

There are various price tags on different steaks. For example, a kilogram of rump steak will cost you Tk. 790, striploin steak is Tk. 790 per kilogram and scotch fillet steak is Tk. 900 per kilogram. You can get steaks marinated as well as non-marinated.

Although you may not be very familiar with these names, giving it a try is definitely worthwhile. “We are getting huge response. The simplicity of making steak has motivated men and women alike, who weren't that much into cooking before, are now regularly doing this,” the CEO informed.

But if you just want the final product ready and served at the table, that's okay too. Dhaka has a few places you can find good steak. Floor 6 has a collection of delectable steaks, served with vegetable sauté and a choice between mashed potato and fried rice. Prices range from Tk. 546 to Tk. 646++.

But if you opt more for full-on restaurants rather than a lounge, try out the steaks at Spitfire. Prices of most steaks, not all, range between Tk 900 to 3000.

If you are really in the mood, go for a buffet. Spitfire and Steakhouse, two great places for steak (and more), offer buffet dinner on Thursdays and Fridays, charging Tk. 1250 per person. Enjoy!

By M H Haider


Oral health and diabetes mellitus

DR. Mahfujul Haq Khan
BDS, DDS (BSMMU), PhD (Japan), Associate Professor, Department of Dentistry, BIRDEM
Hospital and Ibrahim Medical College, Shahabag, Dhaka. www.aikodental.com 9885426

This fact sheet is designed to answer questions relating to diabetes mellitus and the effects it has on the oral cavity. Diabetes Mellitus is a condition whereby the sugar (glucose) from food is not used by the body. The reason the body is not able to use the sugar could be due to one of the following:

Type I Diabetes. The body does not produce enough insulin (a hormone that is needed to absorb glucose).

Type II Diabetes. The cells in the body do not interact with the insulin.

Therefore, the type of diabetes an individual has will dictate how it can be controlled. Those people who do not produce enough insulin can receive insulin injections. Individuals whose cells don't react with the insulin can try to control their diet and the types of food they eat (reduce the amount of sugar and fat).

A disease such as diabetes affects the entire body, including the mouth. Here is some information in a question and answer format that may shed some light on how diabetes affects the teeth, gums, and breath.

Are diabetics more at risk of getting cavities (caries) than non-diabetics?
Not necessarily. If the condition is monitored and controlled, the diabetic is at no greater risk of getting cavities than a non-diabetic.

If the condition is not controlled, and the diet consists of foods high in sugar and starch, the diabetic's chance of getting cavities will increase. It is understood that diabetics sometimes eat smaller meals, requiring more meals per day. This means frequent doses of sugar (in various forms) throughout the day. A diabetic needs to ensure he/she brushes their teeth after every meal and flosses daily.

Some diabetics have noted their mouths feel dry. If this is the case, then the risk of cavities is definitely increased. Normally, saliva washes over the teeth collecting some (not all) sugar and is then swallowed. Without enough saliva in the mouth, sugar is allowed to remain on the teeth. This allows the sugar an opportunity to cause decay.

What can gum disease mean for a diabetic?
Diabetics are known to have a decreased dental healing response. Gingivitis is an infection within the gums caused by bacteria found in plaque. A diabetic's body doesn't respond as quickly to fight this type of infection as a non-diabetic's. If the infection persists it can become worse leading to the infection of underlying bone that anchors the teeth in place.

In addition to controlling the condition of diabetes, the importance of maintaining good oral health is essential. Brushing and flossing help to reduce plaque and bacteria that cause infection and thereby decreasing the risk of gum disease.

Will a diabetic lose their teeth sooner than a non-diabetic?
Many factors contribute to the loss of teeth in someone who has diabetes. A poor healing response combined with gum disease and the destruction of bone anchoring the teeth in place may result in teeth that become loose and eventually fall out.

Although diabetics have no control over their response to infection, they can practice good oral hygiene habits (brushing and flossing). Removing plaque will reduce or eliminate infection. Ensuring the diabetes is controlled (taking insulin, altering diet) is also a way of decreasing the risk of tooth loss.

It should be noted that a diabetic may have excellent oral hygiene and still suffer from gum disease and bone loss. If this is the case, additional measures can be taken. Your dentist can recommend a special prescription mouthwash which kills various bacteria in the mouth that contribute to gum disease.

Many diabetics have unpleasant "fruity-sweet" smelling Breath. Is there anything they can do about it?
Unfortunately, no. The "fruity-sweet" breath is caused by the disease itself as a result of the body's natural defense against decreased glucose use. There are some methods of masking the odour, but they are only temporary and do not eliminate the problem. Some things that may help are:

Chewing gum (make sure it's sugarless!)
Using a mint flavoured mouthwash
Brushing frequently

While there are many other concerns that people with diabetes may have, these are the basics pertaining to the oral health. If you have any questions that have not been answered, or would like more details, please don't hesitate to contact with health professionals dealing with diabetes!

How foods affect our dental health

The foods that you eat come in contact with the germs and bacteria that live in the mouth. If you don't brush, plaque will accumulate on the teeth. Plague thrives on the starches and sugars that are found in a great deal of foods. When plaque combines with the sugars and starches, an acid is produced that attacks enamel on the teeth, and eventually causes decay. According to the American Dental Association, the acid attacks the teeth for 20 minutes or more.

Choosing a Healthy Diet
Choosing a healthy diet may sound easy, however, fruits, milk, cereals, bread and some vegetables contain sugars and/or starches. Carbonated sodas, sweet fruit drinks and sugary snack foods should be limited.

You don't have to avoid these foods, just keep in mind that you should eat a balanced diet, brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily.

Healthy Tips
Drink plenty of water
Eat a variety of healthy foods from the five major food groups
Cut down on snacking in between meals

Limit snacks and drinks that are high in sugar
While eating healthy foods and avoiding snacks and drinks that are high in sugar are good ways to prevent cavities, a good dental regime is essential in maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Plaque can be removed by brushing and flossing thoroughly and your dentist can detect any signs of early decay.

One that featured high on the list which may surprise people is potato chips although they do not contain a significant amount of sugar, the high level of starch present causes the enzymes in saliva to break the food into simple sugars which in turn can help fuel tooth decay.
In order to maintain good dental health, you should maintain a healthy diet and good nutrition. It is important to eat from all of the food groups, including grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, meats/beans and eat some extras sparingly, like oils and fats. A balanced diet is very important in helping to prevent cavities. Cavities are a result of what we eat and how often those foods are eaten. Eating apples, celery and carrots can help remove plaque.

Foods, such as bread, cereals, pasta, crackers, and potato chips, if left in the mouth for long periods of time can cause tooth decay. If you do not brush your teeth after eating these types of things, the bacteria that live in your mouth breaks the food down into sugars and then the sugars create cavities and tooth decay.

How to brush -- teeth brushing techniques

What Is the Right Way to Brush?
Proper brushing takes at least two minutes that's right, 120 seconds! Most adults do not come close to brushing that long. To get a feel for the time involved, try using a stopwatch. To properly brush your teeth, use short, gentle strokes, paying extra attention to the gumline, hard-to-reach back teeth and areas around fillings, crowns or other restoration. Concentrate on thoroughly cleaning each section as follows:

Clean the outer surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
Clean the inner surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth

Clean the chewing surfaces
For fresher breath, be sure to brush your tongue, too

What Type of Toothbrush Should I Use?
Most dental professionals agree that a soft-bristled brush is best for removing plaque and debris from your teeth.

How Important is the Toothpaste I Use?
It is important that you use a toothpaste that's right for you. Today there is a wide variety of toothpaste designed for many conditions, including cavities, gingivitis, tartar, stained teeth and sensitivity.

How Often Should I Replace My Toothbrush?
You should replace your toothbrush when it begins to show wear, or every three months, whichever comes first. It is also very important to change toothbrushes after you've had a cold, since the bristles can collect germs that can lead to reinfection.


Charged minerals and their imbalance

An imbalance in electrolytes can be caused by reduced elimination of water or excessive intake of electrolytes. This is most often tied to dehydration or excessive hydration. When the level of sodium, potassium, or calcium in the body is too high or too low, electrolysis imbalance occurs. Drink more fluids, take supplements or intravenous absorption of certain electrolytes or fluids are used for treatment.

Electrolytes play an important role in the natural homeostasis of the body by maintaining a stable internal environment. They help coordinate muscle contractions, heart function and the conductivity of electric signals in the nervous system. These tasks are accomplished by maintaining electrical impulses across cell membranes. They are essentially like chemical messengers in the body.

An electrolyte imbalance is caused by a change in the amount of electrolytes in your body. There are many reasons why these levels might change, including a poor diet, medicines, kidney problems or diseases, the last of which can cause electrolytes to be excreted through vomit or diarrhoea.

Athletes and who exercises on a regular basis must aware of an electrolyte imbalance because of the minerals that may escape from sweat, especially during hot days.

Women are especially at risk of electrolyte imbalance because the high level of oestrogen in a woman's brain makes it less adaptive to upward or downward shifts in the body's amount of electrolytes.

The common symptoms are extreme fatigue, belly bloat, headaches, dizziness, problems focusing, mental confusion, poor memory, irritability, constipation and/or chronic indigestion, achy joints, bones and muscles, excessive muscle twitching and high blood pressure, heart rhythm irregularities etc.

The prevention is as follows:
1. Eat at least five 1-cup servings of various water-laden fruit (like watermelon pineapple, apple) to restore energy. All fruit and vegetables contain electrolytes. Tomatoes and bananas contain the most replenishing balance of electrolytes.

2. Cool down before drinking water. When the body is already hot, more water and electrolytes are lost via sweat. Wait at least five minutes in the shade or air-conditioning before drinking so the body has had a chance to cool down. Thus less electrolyte-containing fluid is lost and the water is actually used for hydration.

3. An Epsom salt soak. A warm bath with magnesium sulfate-better known as Epsom salt-allows the mineral to flow directly into the skin's pores, increasing magnesium levels by up to 33 percent. Once a week, soak in warm water containing two cups of Epsom salt for no more than 20 minutes.

4. If you exercise for more than an hour, it's a good idea to take sports drinks and sip every 15 to 20 minutes. Select one with up to 85 g of potassium and 45 g of sodium. Make your own sports drink by adding a dash of salt to 8 oz. of water.

5. Severe hydration can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea, which actually leads to a greater electrolyte imbalance.

8. Avoid excessive exercise or taking laxatives for dieting purposes.

9. Treat common electrolyte imbalances by increasing your intake of certain foods. Eat more potatoes, bananas or avocados to get more potassium.

Eat more leafy green vegetables to increase your magnesium levels. Eat celery to increase sodium levels in a healthy way. Boost calcium levels with yoghurt and low-fat cottage cheese.

--LS Desk

Ionic toothbrush in Bangladesh

Best Source Limited has brought the revolutionary hyG Ionic toothbrush to Bangladesh. This Japanese brand of toothbrush temporarily reverses polarity of the tooth surface from negative (-) to positive (+), drawing plaque towards the negatively charged hyG toothbrush head. The ionic toothbrush requires no toothpaste. The hyG Ionic toothbrush can be found in most retail stores in Dhaka.



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