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Of Worm Bins & Cleanliness
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Hugh Wang, M.D. e-mails

How to make your own vermicular bin.... and why ? 
What follows here is a subject brought up by Dr. Hugh Wang who tells us of the benefits of worm bins
 in growing our own food and the lessons that worm bins teach us and our grandchildren about cleanliness.
And in addition we also hear from our other friend to all who come by "The York '52 Weight Room" ---
Dr. Mal Ing with his own personal observations on what we can do to avoid the germs that we typically come
in contact with every day as we go about our business. 
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jeannine and Hugh Wang"
To: "H. Bruce Downey"
Sent: Monday, April 19, 2010 7:34 PM
Subject: Water

> Hi, Bruce:
> I probably won't be back on the coconut wireless until the weekend
> because I have a busy few days ahead.  Miss me?  Already?
> While it's on my mind, I'm going to discuss one more water related
> item.  Worms.
> If any of the Weight Room gang grows a garden, and you should, think
> about developing a worm bin.  My son told me to start one, and it was
> two years before I got over the squeamishness and actually did.  Do
> it sooner than I did, please.  Use red worms.  They are more prolific
> and eat faster than the cousin earthworms which are  larger.  Unless
> you have a friend who has RW, you may have to buy some for starters.
> Why grow a garden?  You control the quality and eliminate the use of
> pesticides and sprays.
> Why a worm bin?  The worms eat your green waste and kitchen
> cuttings.  The castings are wonderfully full of nutrients for your
> veggies.  My coffee grounds and wash water (no soap) go into the worm
> bin.  If I boil eggs, the water goes into a bucket.  Vegetable and
> fruit wash water as well.  When I was eating rice, the wash water and
> left over coffee or tea also.
> My wife's concession to my bucket is I must take it out to the garden
> before it gets smelly and it must not breed anything objectionable.
> A worm bin sits on top of a drainage pan so the bin doesn't get too
> wet, drown the worms.  Worms like to be damp.  I started with a few
> worms, which are now thousands.  I used to ignore the bin for
> weeks.  It has become fun for me to open the bin every few days, stir
> the worms up, look at the clusters of worms intertwining with each
> other like miniature snakes in a ball larger than my fist.
> My gkids (two of them) love to play w/ them.  It's like asking me to
> take them to the park.  When we are done, they know the drill.  Go to
> the sink, scrub their hands w/ soap and a brush, under the nails and
> b/t the fingers.  It's excellent practice for before eating even if
> they are not playing w/worms.  The other gkids?  Echh!  and Yuckkk!
> I can't believe I'm talking about this subject w/ complete strangers, Hugh

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Jeannine and Hugh Wang"

> To: <Bruce
> Cc: <Mal
> Sent: Monday, May 03, 2010 5:03 AM
> Subject: Health matters
>> Hi, Bruce:
>> I keep thinking I'm going to run out of things to say,  but I guess you
>> never know when you're going to run out until you do.
>> Today's topic is cleanliness.
>> Cleanliness is next to Godliness, I've heard it said, and you may have as
>> well.  You may not have heard that it is also next to healthiness.
>> I have four grandchildren.  Three of them love to play with the worms in
>> my worm bin.  The third goes "yeckkkk!"  The condition for worm play is a
>> thorough scrub of the hands afterward with soap, warm water, and a brush.
>> Not quite a surgical scrub, but better than a kiss and a promise.  They
>> learn that there are four sides to each finger.  They learn that the
>> creases in the hands harbor things that will make them ill.  They learn
>> that these things cannot be seen with the naked eye (sorry, Mal, for the
>> nudity, but the language is not foul), but if there is dirt in the
>> creases, it is really dirty.  They carried these lessons into the before
>> eating ritual.  The rock will skip into their gkids lives.
>> There is talk about using antibacterial soaps which are popular in the
>> workplace, but may cause resistance to develop in your bacteria.  Soap
>> and a brush will not do that.  If it is not convenient, you won't do it.
>> I would say, "trust me", but I hate that phrase because my reaction is
>> "why?"  Are you trustworthy?  Trust is earned not ordered.  So I will
>> say, it you don't have a brush and soap at every sink, see how often you
>> do it.
>> You may not have been playing in my worm bin, but your hands are not
>> clean as soon as you touch something, "trust me" (whoops!).  So before
>> you prepare food, scrub.  I am fortunate to have a wife who is
>> fastidious.  I don't get sick from home cooked food.  Veggies and salads
>> are washed with a brush twice even though the bag says, "washed".  Trust
>> no one.  The silicon cutting board has one side for meat, the other for
>> veggies.  After washing the board with a brush, it resides in the
>> dishwasher.  We left wood and plastic years ago because cuts in the
>> surface harbor bugs.
>> While I'm at it, I might as well talk about habits, clean habits.  At the
>> hospital, I gave a lecture that was the talk of the staff.  I started by
>> saying, "You don't have to ever wash your hands except before touching a
>> patient or eating."  I went on to say, the caveat is that you cannot put
>> non-food items in your mouth.  No fingers, fingernails, earpieces of
>> glasses, pens, envelope flaps.  Don't lick your fingers to count money,
>> turn pages, throw footballs.  If you have these habits, they may be hard
>> to break, but they can be the cause of your infections.
>> MRSA, methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus, can kill you.  It is
>> becoming more prevalent, and it killed my cousin, because the emergency
>> physician didn't recognize it.  He was sent home twice with different
>> antibiotics.  It takes intravenous triple antibiotics to kill it these
>> days.  If it is on the skin and has not invaded the body, it will not
>> survive my soap and brush attack.  Even viruses cannot survive.  I don't
>> get seasonal flu or swine flu vaccine or the infections.  I don't catch
>> colds or get strep throats.  How about you?  I don't get ill from food
>> unless we eat out, so we eat out much less often, because we notice that
>> the food preparers are often from third world countries where cleanliness
>> is not understood.
>> Understand?
>> Regards, Hugh
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jeannine and Hugh Wang"

To: <Bruce
Sent: Monday, May 03, 2010 2:09 PM
Subject: Health does matter

> Hi, Crow:
> Caw!  Caw!
> While running a few errands, I thought about cooking utensils in
> connection with health.
> Some 25 years ago, I bought a glass cooktop for our electric stove.
> Induction coils required iron or steel pots and pans in order to cook.
> About that time Alzheimer's was connected with high levels of aluminum in
> the brain.  I thought, good time to get rid of our aluminum stuff and look
> around for more sources of aluminum (which there are).  We switched to
> stainless steel.  Now Dr. Mercola recommends ceramic cookware as even
> better.
> I don't like the idea of using Pam or Teflon for anti-stick.  After a few
> years, you are eating teflon.  Eating Pam is not good either.  A dash of
> virgin olive oil will do on stainless if you need it.
> It's hard to find ceramic cookware, so I'd settle for stainless.  An
> entire set is rather pricey, but you can buy one piece at a time.  By the
> time you complete the set, you've spent more, so if you can do without,
> two sizes of pot w/tops and a medium size pan will do for most people.
> Whatever you use the most.
> Microwave cooking is questionable.  I wrote Litton's research department a
> few years ago, and I asked them what happens to food at the molecular
> level when microwaved.  They did not know.  Even now, I cannot find
> information on the internet about it.  Someone more sophisticated in the
> vagaries of the ether of cyberspace has to help me.  I have no idea if
> anyone is looking at the possible problem(s).  I use our microwave to heat
> water or to warm left overs, but not to cook.  For sure, do not cover your
> food with plastic wrap.  We are finding out that even hard plastic (BP-A)
> leaches into water in water bottles.  Concerned athletes are rapidly
> switching to stainless steel bottles.
> I did wander a little afield from utensils, didn't I?  That's sorta how I
> am.  One thread leads to another as I do a random walk through the park.
> To your health, Hugh

----- Original Message -----
From: "Malcolm Ing"

To: "Jeannine and Hugh Wang"

Cc: <Bruce
Sent: Monday, May 03, 2010 1:54 PM
Subject: Re: Health matters

> Hi Hugh and Bruce,
> More of my "two cents": What Hugh has to say about avoiding infection is
> true. Since viruses, such as H1N1 ,live on hard smooth surfaces longer
> than on cloth etc, I advise you to use  your own  pen ,whenever you can,
> when signing a credit card slip in a store. The pens that they offer you
> have been touched by many hundreds of persons during the day, many of
> whom have just wiped their noses or mouths before handling the pen. I
> carry my own pen for this  activity every day.

> Also, ever since I developed a nasty  bacterial conjunctivitis following a
> long reception line when I was inducted into the honor society of
> U.S.ophthalmologists in this country (The American Ophthalmological
> Society), I wipe my hands off with a pledgett of 70% isopropyl alcohol
> following going through any reception line or party these days. It would
> greatly lesson the incidence of transmission of germs etc. in this country
> if we would adopt the Oriental mode of greeting (a slight bow with our own
> two hands touching one another, rather than the traditional handshake. We
> could also adopt the greeting, "Namaste," which  translated means: "I
> salute the spirit in you that is in me."

> About the study linking dietary excessive refined carbos in women raising
> the CHD rate in women but not in men. I have not read that study,  but one
> explanation would be that the rate in men was already so high that there
> was little difference in men who  indulged, and the difference showed up
> in women because their incidence is traditionally low to begin with.
Hugh , I have a project for you: What were the  overall rates of CHD  in
> these groups or what was the rate in  women compared to men? Did the
> women's incidence approach the men's when  they indulged in refined
> carbos? Presumably, these were post-menopausal women and how many were
> taking hormones etc.?

> Aloha,Mal
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jeannine and Hugh Wang"

To: "Malcolm Ing"

Cc: <Bruce
Sent: Monday, May 03, 2010 3:01 PM
Subject: Health matters

> Hi, Mal:
> How great it is that your comments complement mine!  I was hoping that you
> would have something to add.  Your two cents is worth more.  A whole lot
> more.
> At malls and other places where escalators and stairways have handrails,
> you will (should) hold on to keep from falling (safety).  Hundreds of
> hands have touched these surfaces in a day.  So-ooo, you are in danger
> until you clean your hands.  Hotels, motels, restaurants, and other public
> places are great collection agencies for microbes (which outnumber animals
> by far on the planet).  When you move into a public place (hotel room),
> wipe down the phone(s), door knobs to the bathroom (inside & out), the
> door, the remote control, the knobs on the TV cabinet, the arms on the
> chair, and even the table (desk top) before you do anything else.  If you
> want to be super compulsive ask for a clean bedspread as well.  At the
> very least turn it down so it isn't near your face.  Pull down the sheets
> and look for bedbugs.  Occasionally, you will find a spider.  In HI, you
> may find a cockroach (or two).  Yuckkkk!
> 70% is great without causing resistance, because it weakens the cell walls
> and causes the buggers to explode.  You can get these in pad form at drug
> stores or at medical supply  stores.  They fit nicely in your pocket or
> purse.  One microbiologist recommends two spray bottles, one with 70%
> isopropyl alcohol and the other with hydrogen peroxide.  Spray in that
> order.  Then wipe.  Forget the expensive germicides and sprays.  For
> travel, airlines will let you carry small bottles of liquid.  If you empty
> a small spray bottle of something, instead of tossing it, rinse it out and
> fill it with these two for travel.  Put them in a plastic bag, and double
> bag it so it won't leak (ziplock) into your clothing.
> Here's the article, Mal:  Can you believe a study with 47K subjects?
> Aloha, Hugh
> p.s. You cannot believe how much I look forward to our exchanges, hhw
> Arch Intern Med. 2010 Apr 12;170(7):640-7.
> Dietary glycemic load and index and risk of coronary heart disease in a
> large italian cohort: the EPICOR study.
> <
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> S.
> Nutritional Epidemiology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS (Istituto di Ricovero e
> Cura a Carattere Scientifico) Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Milan, Italy.
> Abstract
> BACKGROUND: Dietary glycemic load (GL) and glycemic index (GI) in relation
> to cardiovascular disease have been investigated in a few prospective
> studies with inconsistent results, particularly in men. The present EPICOR
> study investigated the association of GI and GL with coronary heart
> disease (CHD) in a large and heterogeneous cohort of Italian men and women
> originally recruited to the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer
> and Nutrition study. METHODS: We studied 47 749 volunteers (15 171 men and
> 32 578 women) who completed a dietary questionnaire. Multivariate Cox
> proportional hazards modeling estimated adjusted relative risks (RRs) of
> CHD and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). RESULTS: During a median of 7.9
> years of follow-up, 463 CHD cases (158 women and 305 men) were identified.
> Women in the highest carbohydrate intake quartile had a significantly
> greater risk of CHD than did those in the lowest quartile (RR, 2.00; 95%
> CI, 1.16-3.43), with no association found in men (P = .04 for
> interaction). Increasing carbohydrate intake from high-GI foods was also
> significantly associated with greater risk of CHD in women (RR, 1.68; 95%
> CI, 1.02-2.75), whereas increasing the intake of low-GI carbohydrates was
> not. Women in the highest GL quartile had a significantly greater risk of
> CHD than did those in the lowest quartile (RR, 2.24; 95% CI, 1.26-3.98),
> with no significant association in men (P = .03 for interaction).
> CONCLUSION: In this Italian cohort, high dietary GL and carbohydrate
> intake from high-GI foods increase the overall risk of CHD in women but
> not men.
> PMID: 20386010 [PubMed - in process