Pomegranates and Leaping Kittens

Peekaboo, leaping kittenLife has been relatively easy until now. This morning, as I was preparing breakfast for my four hungry cats, I looked up with unfocused eyes (before coffee!) and noticed something amiss: a pair of inquisitive blue eyes staring back at me and a flash of white. A second, more focused look confirmed that my five-month-old kitten has finally learned how to jump up onto the ledge overlooking the kitchen counter. Until this morning, only the other cats have been able to make that jump. She looked as surprised as I was, so this must have been her very FIRST jump! A major jump toward adultcathood, I would add. I darted upstairs as excited as a squirrel with a nut to tell Stefano about it. I walked into our bedroom as he was getting ready to go to work and said, as gravely as I could: Life as we have known it is over. Things will never be the same again. I didn’t fool him. He replied, grinning She jumped onto the ledge, right? I married a very smart guy (how the heck did he guess?)

Of course, this means that we may have kitten-prints all over my Xmas cookies! Drat. 😉

Second important event. The company where I teach English is conveniently located near a farm cooperative that has wonderfully fresh organic vegetables. I frequently shop there before returning home. Well, yesterday I saw some pomegranates for sale. I had never eaten a pomegranate, imagine that!, so I bought one, which we ate after dinner last night. We really liked it, and I can see that the seeds would taste fabulous in a salad. Pomegranates, by the way, are full of ellagic acid. Good stuff!

Okay, I am working on a couple of research posts so I will get back to them now, but I just thought I would share two rather significant moments of my life with you: my kitten’s first big leap and eating my first pomegranate

Oh, wait, one more thing. A few more interesting comments have been added to my November 1st post, so please have a look at them if you are interested in the issue of curcumin bioavailability. The lecithin idea is compelling, but I still have to have a closer look at it. One thing: I will not eat uncooked egg yolks. I also went to and read the transdermal link that Art provided. Hmmm, also interesting. I think JHope already brought up the patch possibility. Well, thanks, everyone!


Sleeping beautyI tried to do some research and answer e-mails when I got home from teaching this afternoon, but my brain is fried. I can’t put two thoughts together. So I decided to get off the computer for what’s left of the afternoon. No point in pushing it. But first, I wanted to post this recent photo of my second youngest kitty, Priscilla. Since she is my parents’ favourite, the apple of their eye, this photo is for you, Mom and Dad! And, to be honest, right now I feel exactly like my sleeping green-eyed darling! Zzzzzzzzzzz! Well, tomorrow is another day…research can wait. Ok, time for my curculate!

Oh, before I go, though, I received a Google Alert for Scutellaria baicalensis (see my Scutellaria baicalensis page on the right for more info) that might be of interest to anyone suffering from gastrointestinal distress caused by ritonavir: http://tinyurl.com/3adof8


Curcumin and quercetin powders and extra virgin olive oilI have invented a new dish called “curcustrone.” 😉 Background of the “invention”: the other day I made a huge pot of minestrone, a very rich Italian vegetable soup with beans. Yummy, if I do say so myself. I use all sorts of vegetables, a few herbs and two kinds of beans (Italian cannellini and bortolotti).

Stefano and I like our minestrone mixed up in a blender because the tastes become more homogeneous, which explains why you cannot see any bits of carrot or potatoes or rosemary or spinach or sage floating on the top (photo on the bottom right). So what does minestrone have to do with curcustrone? Well, today, since I had to have a late lunch and Adding the minestrone to the oil/curcumin/quercetin mixdidn’t have enough time to make my curculate (chocolate and curcumin) mixture, plus, to be honest, I was starving, I went ahead and mixed my curcumin and quercetin powders in a bit of olive oil (top left photo, before mixing), heated up a bowl of minestrone, and mixed it all together (bottom photo, showing the minestrone on top of the curcumin oil and beginning to turn orange). This time, I did remember to take a few photos. Not the best photos I have ever taken, but they give an idea of what this concoction looked like. I admit that it tasted a bit odd, but it was still very palatable, and it was a nice change from curculate. A good solution (I hope!) for when I don’t have much time to spare.

Walking in Our Neighbourhood

View of an olive grove, with Florence in the backgroundWell, I have been a bit lazy this long holiday weekend. Lazy in terms of doing my research and answering e-mails (sorry!), mainly. But today was such a glorious day that Stefano and I went on a nice walk up through the hills behind our street. The last time we walked up there was when it snowed in Florence…two years ago! Shameful. At any rate, we finally had to turn back and go home because of the icy slippery roads. I confess that I am one of those odd creatures that adores cold weather and simply goes bonkers over snow…

A road behind our houseWe live in a very nice neighbourhood of row houses built in the late 1920s and surrounded by hills, cypresses and trees of all sorts, olive groves and fields. It feels as though we live in the country, but we are just a few minutes away from a main busline that takes us downtown in about 20 minutes. It’s a wonderful area. Here are a couple of the photos I took earlier today. The top one shows a view of an olive grove and, if you look very closely, you can make out a bit of Florence in the background. The second photo is a view of the road we…climbed. Here we were about halfway up, or halfway down, depending on which way your back was turned. 😉

Blog reader notes. For my UK readers: please reply here or to me privately if you have an answer to Dora’s question (see my Curcumin Curcumin Curcumin! post). Thank you! And Val, I think he recommends curcumin with bioperine capsules, but am not 100% sure. I will ask him and let you know.

Curcumin Curcumin Curcumin!

My MMA list friend left for Sorrento this morning. From there, she will visit Naples, the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. She will be back in Florence on Tuesday. She planned this short trip, I think, in order to leave Stefano and yours truly alone for the long weekend. Very thoughtful of her! We don’t have anything romantic planned YET, but we will definitely do SOMETHING! After all, it is not too hard to be romantic in Tuscany…!

Back to my post title. I finally had the time to read, carefully, the comments on my October 28th post. WOW! Thank you, everyone. The comments were so out of the ordinary that I decided to write an entire post about them. Proceeding in order, more or less:

Eileen. Interesting abstract on the transfollicular delivery system, thank you. Well, well. Food for thought. Yes, the problem is how to avoid looking like a circus clown. Some time ago, I tried dabbing curcumin on my rosacea, which made me look as though someone had thrown bright orange paint in my face (the Sabinsa curcumin has an orange hue). This effect lasted for a few days, no matter how much I scrubbed my face. So I gave up on that plan, even though my rosacea did improve somewhat.

A perhaps (perhaps not!) related matter is that I have noticed that my tongue turns bright orange after I drink my curcumin powder mixture. I feel certain that my tongue delivers at least some curcumin to my malignant cells (even if that is not the case, I will continue to believe it until someone tells me otherwise). Not that I am an expert of Ayurveda or Chinese traditional medicine, but I do know that the tongue is very important and, after all, many conventional and alternative remedies have to be dissolved on or under the tongue. Ok, that’s beyond the point, here.

JHope’s comment: I have no idea! Anyone else?

Snezhi’s suggestion that we could make our own nasal sprays is also very interesting. I confess I do not have the know-how, but I would have no problem spraying curcumin up my nose, and I say this seriously, even though it might sound facetious. And hey, how about the nose hair follicles (see Eileen’s comment)? There you go, more food for thought…

Don: thirty-four GRAMS of curcumin??? At times I have gone up to almost 10 grams. Never beyond that. I cannot imagine taking more than 12, which is the most that, as far as I know, has been tested in Phase I clinical trials on healthy subjects. Perhaps there is more recent info on that, though. One word of caution: we do not know the long-term effects of such high doses (as the lab rats in Eileen’s household are taking). If I were on such a high dose, I would have all sorts of tests run every couple of months, perhaps even once a month, if possible. Speaking of taking massive amounts of curcumin, please read Wally’s brilliant comment carefully. If we can manage to make curcumin more bioavailable, we don’t have to take huge doses. Makes a lot of sense to me.

The matter of doses brings me to my friend Ana’s comment. She has just begun taking curcumin (e vai!!! 🙂 ), and has decided to take it in one large dose instead of two or three. Well, until quite recently, that’s precisely how I took it, whether it was powder mixed with a fat or curcumin with bioperine capsules. My counts remained stable and even decreased. So I say, whatever works for you, your markers and your daily routine…go for it!

Speaking of Ana, she and I have already discussed the idea of offering ourselves as lab rats to a doctor here in Tuscany who is doing a lot of research on curcumin, which he is using (successfully) with his prostate cancer patients. I haven’t talked about it here because I don’t know if it’s even feasible. But it’s well worth a try, perhaps two. I am going to get in touch with this doctor soon, perhaps even this weekend, to ask if he has access to a laboratory, and, if so, if he would be willing to set up a tiny trial testing Ana and me as well as our willing husbands (two healthy subjects). I may be able to get another Florentine friend with MGUS involved, too. I can provide the necessary curcumin powder or capsules, since I have plenty of both. My idea is that we could ingest different amounts of curcumin in different ways and at different times of the day, and then have our blood tested, obviously at different intervals etc. I will also approach my haematologist in Florence about this. Fingers crossed.

Wally is so right: we need this data. Soon. Now.