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Columns

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Q. I'm 68 and thinking of taking testosterone. Will it help me to feel younger?

There is some controversy about whether testosterone therapy should be used in men who have naturally lower testosterone levels because of aging. It remains unclear whether restoring earlier testosterone levels benefits older men.

For example, studies found that healthy men who took testosterone medications got bigger muscles, but in most studies the men weren't stronger. And, if you suffer from erectile dysfunction, taking testosterone may not relieve your condition.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Roasted Garlic Onion Jam Pizza

Whenever we go to Maine I usually make a pilgrimage to a number of favorite places, such as the Portland Head Light (my favorite place) and L.L. Bean's in Freeport.

I also make an annual pilgrimage to the Old Port in downtown Portland, where I always visit the Stonewall Kitchen Company Store.

I make a lot of my own jams and jellies, but there are some that they offer that I just can't reproduce.

They also have delicious salsas and sauces, not to mention a host of kitchen and cooking-related items.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Q. What is sundown syndrome and who does it affect?

Sundown syndrome, which is also called sundowning, is a symptom that affects people with dementia. Those with the syndrome become confused and anxious as the sun sets. People with sundowning often have trouble sleeping.

The cause of the syndrome isn't known yet. Some research suggests that sundowning may be related to changes to the brain's circadian pacemaker. That's a cluster of nerve cells that keeps the body on a 24-hour clock.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS  This Turkey BBQ is packed with flavor.

Where I grew up the word "barbecue," as in barbecued beef or barbecued chicken, implied the use of a sweetened, tomato-based sauce, and I was all in.

Fast forward to 1998 when I came to work at the Times News. Each day my friend Debbie and I would take a walk to pick up lunch.

One day, she seemed excited to see that one of the nearby establishments had turkey barbecue on the menu. I'd never had it, but as a barbecue sauce aficionado, I thought I would probably like it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Q. I don't seem to enjoy spicy foods the way I used to. Does aging have anything to do with this?

As we age, our sense of taste may change, but this loss of zing in some foods might be caused by medicines you're taking. Drugs can change your sense of taste, and some can also make you feel less hungry.

So, the aging process and the medicines we're taking can affect our enjoyment of food and, therefore, our nutrition, because we may not eat all we need.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Jim's Homemade Guacamole (with bacon).

When my husband first made his version of guacamole, I was surprised to see that he added bacon.

"That's not guacamole," I insisted.

He likewise insisted it came from a long-ago friend, who was Mexican. Over the years, when we'd eat in a Mexican restaurant, or have guacamole in other places, I would be quick to point out: "See. No bacon."

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Q. How common is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue. This condition creates an increased risk of fractures.

Our bodies remove old bone and replace it with new bone. During our growth stage, new bone is added faster than old bone is removed. We hit peak bone mass around age 30. After that age, we lose more bone than we form.

Who is at risk of

getting osteoporosis?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS  This cake is ready for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. Use your imagination and colored sanding sugar to create your own masterpiece.

This week's recipe isn't a recipe at all, but it is fun.

What you see in the photo is actually a birthday cake my daughter made, but the star and the red, silver and blue sanding sugar made me think it would be perfect for a July Fourth celebration.

You can use any size or shape cake, and any flavor. This was a chocolate cake with white icing in the center (a few spoonfuls of red and blue sanding sugar was mixed in to keep it festive). The icing is Chocolate Mocha.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Q. A friend of mine is lactose intolerant. What exactly does that mean?

People who are lactose intolerant have trouble digesting dairy products. Lactose intolerance usually is not dangerous.

Lactase is an enzyme made in the small intestine. You need lactase to digest lactose, the sugar in milk. People who are lactose intolerant don't make enough lactase; after consuming lactose, they suffer from bloating, nausea, stomach cramps and diarrhea. These symptoms usually begin a half-hour to two hours after ingesting lactose.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Chicken Murphy

Although my dad had been a professional chef when he and my mother married, he didn't work in that field while we were growing up. He cooked at home sometimes, but not as much as my mother, so we grew up thinking she was the real talent in the kitchen.

Truth is, they were both terrific cooks. The recipe I'm sharing here today comes from my dad, and it's one I first had when he put it on the menu at a restaurant where he worked before he retired. I loved it and I've made it ever since.