All posts by philrobb

Are Gorillas Really Stronger Than Humans?

Yes. Yes they are … very much so.

In addition to being extremely intelligent, gorillas are closely related to humans by sharing 95% to 99% of human DNA. With two pairs of arms and legs, five fingers, five toes and faces with similar features, gorillas and humans are both members of Hominidae – one of the two living families of the ape superfamily Hominoidea (the other being the Hylobatidae – gibbons). Hominidae includes the great apes:

  • Orangutans (genus Pongo)
  • Gorillas (genus Gorilla)
  • Chimpanzees and Bonobos (genus Pan)
  • Humans (genus Homo)

Formerly, humans alone were placed in Hominidae, and the great apes were placed in a different family, Pongidae. However, morphological and molecular studies now indicate that humans are very closely related to chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. Since classification schemes aim to depict relationships, it is logical to consider humans and great apes as hominids, that is, members of the same zoological family, Hominidae.

Within this family there are considered to be two subfamilies. One (called Ponginae) contains only the orangutans, and the other (Homininae) contains humans and the African great apes. Subfamily Homininae in turn is divided into two “tribes”: Gorillini, for the African great apes and their evolutionary ancestors, and Hominini, for human beings and their ancestors. Following this classification, members of the human tribe, that is, modern human beings and their extinct forebears (e.g., the Neanderthals, Homo erectus,Homo habilis, and various species of Australopithecus), are frequently referred to as hominins.

Like humans, great apes can laugh, show affection, grieve, have rich emotional lives, develop strong family bonds, have spiritual feelings or religious sentiments, make and use tools, have cultures in different areas revolving around different methods of food preparation, show individual color preferences, and think about the past and future.

Now that all having been said, there is really no comparison between gorilla strength and human strength. Adult gorillas are more than nine times stronger than the average adult human and are one of the strongest animals on the planet. According to the Guinness Book of Records, a mature silverback gorilla can easily lift 1800 pounds (815 kilograms) of deadweight repeatedly. The average human male can squat 125 pounds, bench press 135 pounds and deadlift 155 pounds. Showcasing the incredible strength in their arms, adult gorillas can throw with almost 990 pounds (450 kilograms) of force, while an average human can only manage a maximum of 220 pounds (100 kilograms) – almost five times less than a gorilla. Gorillas can run at speeds of 25 to 30 miles per hour, tear down full-grown banana trees, easily break mature bamboo stalks, quickly climb to the top of massive trees, and gracefully travel through the forest by swinging or jumping from one tree to another. Humans aren’t good at any of those feats.

The lack of similarities continues when we look at physical characteristics. Silverbacks are very large. When a male stands upright, they easily surpass 6 feet tall and can weigh as much as 500 pounds. Females average around 5 feet and weigh upwards of 250 pounds. The average human male stands 5 feet 9 inches in height and carries a bodyweight of190 pounds. Human females average 5 feet 4 inches in height and weigh in at 164 pounds.

There are a number of reasons for the significant difference in strength levels between gorillas and humans.

  • Gorilla muscles are much larger than humans in absolute terms.
  • They have a much higher proportion of fast-twitch, type II muscle fibers – especially on their back muscles and arms.
  • Gorilla muscles process lactic acid much faster and more efficiently than humans.
  • Gorilla muscles attach in the tendons in positions that maximize leverage (especially for pulling), whereas human muscles attach to the bones in positions that maximize fine motor coordination.
  • Gorilla tendons are four times thicker and several times denser than a human, which allows them to lift and move significantly larger weights than humans.
  • Gorillas lack the strong neurological inhibition that humans have when it comes to exerting strength. Their brains are primed for generating extreme exertions of strength.
  • Gorilla adrenaline levels reach several times that of humans when they are enraged; adrenaline increases the mobilization of muscle fibers.
  • Gorilla bones are 10 X denser which results in less skeletal stress than compared to a human. For example, a gorilla’s wrist is so thick and dense that it can hoist 800 pounds by itself. It would take a human’s entire skeleton to lift that same amount.

These and other physical differences emerged over the course of the past seven to eight million years, as humans migrated away from forests and towards bipedal life on the ground. The resultant losses in maximum force and power output were offset by gains in endurance and the ability to perform repetitious, low-energy movements – such as fashioning stones into tools. Additionally, as humans transitioned into a hunter-gatherer mode of existence, selection pressures for cognitive skills emerged, resulting in bigger brains and a decreased reliance on physical strength.

Phil’s Super Healthy & Delicious Loaded Chicken Sweet Potato Nachos

This delicious and healthy recipe contains over 50 grams of protein and almost 10 grams of fiber!

  • Prep Time – 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time – 30 Minutes
  • Total Time – 60 Minutes
  • Serves – 4


  • 2 Large Sweet Potatoes
  • Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • 2 Large Organic Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Nacho Seasoning*
  • 1 Avocado
  • 2 Cups Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Cups Chives
  • Fresh Salsa**

Preparation Instructions

  1. Wash and cut the two sweet potatoes into ¼ inch thick rounds.
  2. Place your sweet potato rounds on a baking sheet that has been lightly misted with cooking spray and sprinkle each round with salt.
  3. Bake one side of the rounds for 15 minutes at 400 degrees F. Flip the rounds over and continue baking for another 15 minutes.
  4. While the sweet potato rounds bake, prepare your fresh nacho seasoning*.
  5. Next, prepare your fresh salsa**.
  6. Slice one avocado and dice two cups of chives.
  7. Slice the chicken breasts and bell peppers into strips. In a mixing bowl, toss both with the fresh nacho seasoning.
  8. Heat a large sauté pan over medium. Once warm, add 2 teaspoons of oil. After letting the oil warm for about 1 minute, add your seasoned chicken and bell peppers. Stir fry for about 10 minutes – stirring often – until the chicken is cooked completely through. If necessary, add 1-2 tablespoons of water should you notice any sticking.
  9. Plate your sweet potato rounds and top with the seasoned chicken and bell pepper slices.
  10. Drizzle your fresh salsa over the rolls, chicken and pepper slices.
  11. Boarder the rounds with the sliced avocado and place a generous dollop of Greek yogurt in the center of the plate.
  12. Finish by sprinkling a handful of chives on top of everything!
  13. Hmmmmmm … loaded nachos. Enjoyyyyyyyy!

*Fresh Nacho Seasoning: 1 tablespoon of cumin, ½ tablespoon of garlic powder, ½ tablespoon of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of chili powder, 1 teaspoon of paprika, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and a dash of pepper. Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl until thoroughly combined.

** Fresh Salsa: 4 large diced tomatoes, ½ large minced onion, 3 chopped garlic cloves, ½ cup of chopped coriander, 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, 1 seeded and minced jalapeño chili, and salt to taste. Using a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, coriander, lime juice and salt. Add minced chili to desired heat level.

The Kettlebell Swing & Lower Cross Syndrome

Vladimir Janda was one of the most influential physical medicine physicians in the world in the late 20th century.

A pioneer in the field of “low tech” rehabilitation, he honed his non-surgical skills in Czechoslovakia; consistently producing outstanding results using wobble boards, sticks, exercise balls, kettlebells, dumbbells, and most importantly, his hands. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the formation of the Czech Republic, the work of Janda and his colleagues became more widespread and accessible. In the early nineties, progressive physicians, chiropractors and physical therapists began teaching Janda’s techniques in the West – forever changing the way most of us looked at physical medicine.

One of the more basic (but essential) Janda concepts is the Lower Cross Syndrome. Lower Cross Syndrome is considered an epidemic in western society because most people spend a large percentage of their time sitting. Extended periods of sitting can cause tightness and hyperactivity in the hip flexor group. Through a process known as reciprocal inhibition (defined as the contraction or activity of one muscle group inhibiting the contraction or activity of the antagonist muscle group) the hyperactive hip flexor group can actually inhibit the hip extensor group, most importantly, the gluteus maximus. This imbalance then produces a secondary effect during walking. Since these people are unable to produce hip flexion with the gluteus maximus, they begin to substitute their low back extensors. The extensors become tight and hypertonic and, through reciprocal inhibition, inhibit the abdominal muscles. Lifting and walking using primarily the low back extensors causes an increase in biomechanical stress in the lumbar spine which produces chronic pain, osteoarthritic degeneration, and disc herniation.

A key challenge to working with anyone with low back pain is how to permanently correct this dysfunctional pattern. In years past, I have used a variety of training solutions that, for the most part, tended to be complicated and always required the use of more than one tool. But when I started utilizing kettlebells, I was excited to see how simple movements such as the swing, clean, press and snatch are exceptionally effective cardiovascular and strength conditioning exercises that actually correct many movement pattern disorders – including Lower Cross Syndrome. In fact, it seems as if the kettlebell swing was specifically designed to correct this pattern.

Proper swing technique involves lowering the kettlebell via lumbar spine neutral hip flexion and then producing power via lumbar spine neutral hip extension (the hip snap). This simultaneously stretches and relaxes the hip flexors, activates and strengthens the hip extensors (particularly the gluteus maximus) and teaches lumbar spine control. Additionally, the secondary part of the swing (abdominal contraction at the apex of the swing) acilitates and strengthens the abdominals and relaxes and stretches the lumbar paraspinal musculature; an amazing win/win against one of the most common dysfunctional lifestyle patterns of the western world!

Foam Rollers

At first glance, the foam roller is a seemingly harmless piece of equipment. Not heavy and daunting like a kettle ball or complicated like a Pilates reformer. You might wonder what this soft, comfortable-looking bolt of foam could do for a fitness routine. Here’s a quick look:

Self-myofascial release Injuries, repetitive motion, or even prolonged inactivity can degrade the function of your muscles and fascia (the network of connective tissue that surrounds and supports your muscles). This results in localized areas with compromised function, commonly referred to as knots or trigger points. Trigger points are usually hypertonic and tender to the touch, and restrict movement of the surrounding muscle.

The health of this dysfunctional tissue can often be restored through deep-tissue myofascial release. By applying firm pressure to a trigger point for several seconds, tension can be released and recovery encouraged.


Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release (SMR) technique that is used by trainers and physical therapists to inhibit overactive muscles. This form of stretching utilizes the concept of autogenic inhibition to improve soft tissue extensibility, thus relaxing the muscle and allowing the activation of the antagonist muscle.

This technique can be effective for many muscles, including: gastrocnemius, latissimus dorsi, piriformis, adductors, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, thoracic spine (trapezius and rhomboids), and TFL. It is accomplished by rolling the foam roller under each muscle group until a tender area is found, and maintaining pressure on the tender area for 30–60 seconds.

The equipment that is used for foam rolling usually consists of a foam cylinder of various sizes; commonly 12 inches long, 6 inches in diameter. However, longer foam rolls up to 36 inches in length are produced for rolling over certain muscles in the back.

A variety of foam roll densities also exist. People who are new to foam rolling, or those who have particularly tight muscles or severe trigger points should start with a softer foam roll. Often the color can help to distinguish the density. White rolls are typically softer, while blue and black rolls tend to be harder.


The kinetic chain is made up of the soft tissue system (muscle, tendon, ligament, and fascia), neural system (nerves and CNS), and articular system (joints).  The kinetic chain works as an integrated functional unit.  All components of the kinetic chain exist interdependently.  If one segment is not functioning efficiently, then the other components must compensate, leading to tissue overload, fatigue, faulty movement patterns, and finally initiates the Cumulative Injury Cycle.  For example, muscle tightness restricts the range of motion that a joint may be moved.  Because of muscle restriction (tightness, soft tissue adhesions, and neural-hyperactivity), joint motion is altered, thus changing normal neural feedback to the CNS (central nervous system).  Ultimately, neuromuscular efficiency is compromised, which leads to poor movement patterns, inducing premature fatigue and causing injury.  An effective SMFR (Self-Myofascial Release) Program helps improve muscular balance and performance.


A simple review of neuromuscular anatomy is required to apply the neurophysiological concepts.  Two basic neural receptors are located in skeletal muscle tissue.  These receptors are the muscle spindle and the golgi tendon organ.  Muscle Spindles are located parallel to the muscle fibers.  They record changes in fiber length, and rate of change to the CNS.  This triggers the myotatic stretch reflex, which reflexively shortens muscle tissue, alters the normal length-tension relationship, and often induces pain.  Golgi Tendon Organs (GTO) are located at the musculotendinous junction.  They are sensitive to change in tension and rate of tension change.  Stimulation of the GTO’s past a certain threshold inhibits the muscle spindle activity, and decreases muscular tension.  This phenomenon is referred to as autogenic inhibition.  It is said to be “autogenic” because the contracting agonist is inhibited by its’ own receptors.  Reduction in soft-tissue tension decreases pain, restores normal muscle length-tension relationships, and improves function.


  • Focus on relaxing your muscles, not flexing them. Rolling is best done very slowly and deliberately, and is the way that you scan your body for trigger points.
  • Hold each position 1-2 minutes for each side (when applicable).
  • As you roll, note any areas that feel unusually dense or tender. If pain is felt, stop rolling and pause on the painful areas for 30-45 seconds – allowing the roller to sink in deeply. Continuing to roll when pain is present activates the muscle spindles, causing increased tightness and pain.
  • Resting 30-45 seconds on painful areas will stimulate the GTO and autogenically inhibit the muscle spindles; reducing muscular tension and will help regulate fascial receptors. In other words, gradually the muscle will begin to loosen and the pain will begin to dissipate.
  • Maintain proper Draw-In Position, which provides stability to the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex during rolling.
  • Perform SMFR Program 1-2 x daily.


When selecting foam rolls, product density is very important.  If the foam is too soft, less than adequate tissue massage is applied.  On the other hand, if the foam is too hard, bruising and more advanced soft-tissue trauma may occur, leading to further restriction, initiation of the inflammatory process, decreased range of motion, pain, and decreased performance.


Fugu is the Japanese name for pufferfish – a member of the Tetraodontidae family of fish that contains more than 120 species worldwide including Balloonfish, Blowfish, Blowies, Bubblefish, Globefish, Swellfish, Toadfish, Toadies, Honey Toads, Sugar Toads, and Sea Squab.

Pufferfish are morphologically similar to the closely related Porcupinefish; they have no scales, but their long, taped bodies are covered in rough to spiky skin. Some have wild markings and colors to advertise their toxicity, while others have more muted or cryptic coloring to blend in with their environment.

Their scientific name refers to their four large teeth that are fused into upper and lower plates in their mouths. These unusual front chompers are used for crushing or cracking open the hard shells of crustaceans and mollusks, their natural prey. Poisonous Puffers are believed to synthesize their deadly toxin from the bacteria in the animals they eat.

Most Pufferfish are found in tropical and subtropical ocean waters, but some species live in brackish and even freshwater. They range in size from the 1-inch-long Dwarf or Pygmy Puffer to the Giant Puffer, which can grow to more than 2 feet in length.

Biologists think that Pufferfish developed their famous ability to inflate because their slow, somewhat clumsy swimming style makes them vulnerable to predators. In lieu of escape, Pufferfish use their highly elastic stomachs and the ability to quickly ingest huge amounts of water (and even air when necessary) to turn themselves into a virtually inedible ball several times their normal size. Some species also have spines on their skin to make them even less palatable.

A predator that manages to snag a Puffer before it inflates won’t feel lucky for long. Almost all Pufferfish contain tetrodotoxin in their skin, intestines, ovaries, gonads and liver. This foul tasting and exceptionally potent neurotoxin is often lethal to fish and usually deadly to humans. Up to 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide, there is enough tetrodotoxin in one Pufferfish to kill 30 adult humans – though a lethal dose is smaller than the head of a pin. There is no known antidote.

Pufferfish poisoning symptoms typically develop within 30 minutes of ingestion, but may be delayed by up to four hours. Fatal dose symptoms usually present within 17 minutes of ingestion. Paresthesia of the lips and tongue is followed by developing paresthesia in the extremities along with hypersalivation, sweating, headache, weakness, lethargy, incoordination, tremors, paralysis, cyanosis, aphonia, dysphagia, and seizures. The gastrointestinal symptoms are often severe and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain; death is usually secondary to respiratory failure. There is increasing respiratory distress, speech is affected, and the victim usually exhibits dyspnea, cyanosis, mydriasis, and hypotension. Paralysis increases, and convulsions, mental impairment, and cardiac arrhythmia may occur. The victim, although completely paralyzed, may be conscious and in some cases completely lucid until shortly before death, which generally occurs within 4 to 6 hours. However, some victims do enter a coma.

Should a poisoning victim survive 24 hours, a full recovery without any residual effects usually occurs over the course of a few days.

Amazingly, the meat of some Pufferfish is considered a delicacy. Illegal in the United States, Fugu has become one of the most celebrated and notorious dishes in Japanese cuisine. Its restaurant preparation into paper-thin translucent slices is strictly controlled by law in Japan and only chefs who have qualified after four or more years of rigorous training are allowed to prepare the fish. More than 20,000 tons of Fugu is consumed in Japan each year – though domestic preparation occasionally leads to accidental deaths.

A single plate of the simple, light tasting fish can cost well over $200.

Surimi – Imitation Crab

Imitation crab is a seafood product made from surimi (a Japanese word that literally means ground meat) or Asian fish paste, and is known as Krab in the United States.

Krab is sold in chunks or sticks and is usually found in the fresh seafood section of most grocery stores. It can be used in a variety of dishes, from salads and stir-fries to dips and appetizers.

The process for making surimi was developed in Eastern Asia over several centuries though the exact history and origins of this product are unclear. Industrial technology developed by Japan in the early 1960s promoted the growth of the surimi industry, and its industrialized production was refined in 1969 by Nishitani Yōsuke of Japan’s Hokkaidō Fisheries Experiment Institute to revitalize Japan’s growing fish industry by improving processing efficiency and better utilize fodder fish.

The United States and Japan are the world’s top two producers of this popular fish alternative. Thailand and China have also become important producers, and Lithuania, Vietnam, Chile, the Faroe Islands, France, and Malaysia are emerging as industry newcomers.

Three to four million tons of fish from around the world are used for the production of surimi and surimi-based products each year. The traditional fish of choice is Alaskan Pollock. However, as the availability of Alaskan Pollock has declined over the years, other species including  Walleye Pollock, Atlantic Cod, Big-Head Pennah, Croaker, Bigeyes, Golden Threadfin Bream, Milkfish, Pacific Whiting, Shark, Swordfish, Tilapia, Florida Black Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass and New Zealand Hoki now supplement global surimi production. These specific species are used because of their plentiful numbers, and because they each have relatively little flavor. This allows the meat to be effectively influenced by flavoring agents and aromas.

The production and refining process of surimi:

  • The fish are sorted by size and species.
  • After sorting, the fish are filleted – a step in which the head, tail, fins, bones and scales are removed.
  • The fillets are then minced, or cut into very small pieces and thoroughly rinsed with cold water to remove small unwanted parts, any remaining scales, fat and inorganic salt.
  • The refining process continues by dividing the fish into two groups: white, softer meat and dark, harder meat.
  • The separated meat is pressed to remove superfluous water after which sugar and sorbitol are added to make sure that the proteins of the fish are not damaged when frozen. The additives also ensure that the finished product will have a good flavor and a longer storage life.
  • After mixing, the surimi is packed in large polyethylene bags and fast frozen to a temperature of 20°C below zero. This fast freezing process damages the fish meat less than slow freezing because it creates small internal ice crystals as opposed to large ones. The fish is kept at this temperature until it can be further processed in a few days or a few weeks.
  • When the processing continues, the surimi is heated to a temperature of 4°C below zero. This temperature is high enough to obtain good cutting surfaces, but it is low enough to avoid the growth of microorganisms.
  • The pieces of surimi are then mixed with an assortment of additives that usually includes egg whites, oils, salt, starches, and spices, along with various artificial flavorings, sodium and monosodium glutamate, or MSG.
  • The mixture is shaped into chunks or tubes and cut into long blocks or sticks called bars. The bars are cooked for a few minutes to set the shape and to give them a texture closer to real crab meat.
  • The bars are then rapidly cooled down to a temperature of 3°C below zero.
  • The cold bars are cut into small pieces that are coated with a reddish food coloring to give them a pink tint like real crab.
  • The cut and colored bars are vacuum-packed in bags and pasteurized by steam to kill vegetative microorganisms thereby increasing storage life.
  • With a stocking temperature of 3°C, the bars have a storage life of one to two weeks.

Nutritionally, imitation crab has a number of plusses and minuses:

  • Imitation crab is relatively low in calories — even a generous 6-ounce portion contains just 162 calories – with almost two-thirds of those calories coming from its carbohydrate content of 25.5 grams per serving. Consuming 6 ounces of imitation crab will boost your protein intake by 13 grams but drop your fiber intake to only 0.8 of a gram.
  • That same 6-ounce portion of imitation crab offers 0.22 milligrams of vitamin B-6 and 0.97 micrograms of vitamin B-12.
  • Your serving of imitation crab also contains two essential minerals: 479 milligrams of phosphorus and 38 micrograms of selenium.
  • Imitation crab has two major nutritional drawbacks — its sugar and salt content. Each serving of imitation crab contains 10.6 grams of sugar (which improves its flavor, but increases your calorie intake) and 899 milligrams of sodium.

In Asian cultures, fried, steamed and boiled surimi is eaten as a food in its own right and seldom used to imitate other foods. In Japan, fish cakes (kamaboko) and fish sausages, as well as other extruded fish products, are commonly sold as cured surimi. In Chinese cuisine, fish surimi, often called “fish paste”, is used directly as stuffing or made into balls. In the West, surimi products are usually imitation seafood products, such as crab, abalone, shrimp, calamari, and scallops. Surimi is also used to make kosher imitation shrimp and crabmeat, using only kosher fish such as Pollock.

25 Ways To Eat Your Water

Over the years, I’ve often used the phrase “eat your water” to help explain to people that staying sufficiently hydrated for whole body health isn’t restricted to drinking glass after glass of water.

But what does “eat your water” really mean?

Water is one of the most basic elements of life and everything in your body relies on hydration for proper functioning.  Water helps move oxygen and nutrients through the blood to your cells; it helps maintain energy levels, regulate body temperature, metabolism, and breathing; lowers stress on your heart; prevents muscle cramping; lubricates joints; flushes toxins from your body; keeps you regular; and helps prevent kidney stones.

Dehydration occurs when too much water lost, not enough water is taken in, or most commonly, a combination of the two. The body’s initial responses to dehydration are thirst (to increase water intake), and decreased urine output (to try to reduce water loss). As the level of water loss increases, more symptoms can become apparent including dry mouth, muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting, heart palpitations, lightheadedness, and general weakness.

This is why drinking substantial amounts water has been so strongly recommended by healthcare professionals for decades. Most of us grew up thinking that, to be healthy, we needed to drink eight (eight ounce) glasses of water each day. But the latest recommendations say that we no longer need to worry about drinking specific amounts of water. As it turns out, there really was no scientific evidence for the 64-ounce daily recommendation.

Of course, drinking a clean, refreshing, calorie-free glass of water is a great way to hydrate; and I’m certainly not saying that you should stop drinking water altogether.  But recent studies have shown that consuming too much water can actually cause a loss of vitamins and minerals as they get flushed out as the body voids excess fluids. The key is to strategically hydrate by eating your water throughout the day so that your body has a steady stream of hydration and nutrients to keep it energized and working optimally. By eating more water-rich foods, we absorb water more slowly because it is trapped in the structure of these foods. That slow absorption means that water in food stays in our bodies longer, with a multitude of additional benefits.

A cucumber is a great example of this. Because cucumbers are 96% water, eating a three-ounce cucumber is almost the same as drinking three ounces of water, but better. Besides being full of hydrating H2O, raw fruits, vegetables and other key water-rich foods contain nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber that can improve your health, develop your immune system, strengthen your muscles and boost your athletic performance.

Here’s my list of 25 foods that clock in with a high water content and will effectively work in tandem with your water bottle to help you stay hydrated and nourished. These fruits and vegetables must be eaten raw in order to get their full water content.

  • Iceberg Lettuce: 96% water
  • Cucumber: 96% water
  • Zucchini: 95% water
  • Celery: 95% water
  • Radish: 95% water
  • Red Tomato: 95% water
  • Green Cabbage: 93% water
  • Grape: 92% water
  • Sweet Pepper: 92% water
  • Cauliflower: 92% water
  • Spinach: 92% water
  • Strawberry – Raspberry – Blueberry: 92% water
  • Watermelon: 92% water
  • Grapefruit: 91% water
  • Broccoli: 91% water
  • Carrot: 90% water
  • Cantaloupe: 90% water
  • Jicama: 90% water
  • Eggplant: 89% water
  • Peach: 88% water
  • Pineapple: 87% water
  • Cranberry: 87% water
  • Orange: 87% water
  • Kiwi: 85% water
  • Red Potato: 80% water

The Dangerous Dragon’s Breath Pepper

There’s a new weapons-grade pepper in town and its one that you should absolutely, positively avoid at all costs. You don’t want this nightmare of a pepper in your kitchen, and you absolutely, positively don’t want this creature in your mouth.

Developed for medicinal purposes as a topical anesthetic – and not human consumption – the “Dragon’s Breath” pepper has such a high level of concentrated capsaicin that once ingested, it could trigger the immune system of the human body to go into overdrive.

To put heat like this into perspective, we must look at the Scoville scale. This scale measures the “hotness” of different peppers, more specifically the amount of capsaicin in each pepper. Police and military-grade pepper spray register as a solid 2 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU) on the scale, the Caroline Reaper pepper comes in at an incredible 2.2 million SHUs, and the Dragon’s Breath comes in at a frightening 2.48 million SHUs.

Whenever you eat a reasonably spicy pepper, the capsaicin contained inside activates the proteins found on nerve endings in your mouth. Receptors send a signal to your brain. In response, your brain produces endorphins to block (numb) that pain. But, were you to eat a Dragon’s Breath pepper – with such an insanely high level of capsaicin – those protein activations can mistakenly be interpreted by the brain as a signal of extreme heat entering the body – such as getting burnt in a fire. Your body will step up its defense mechanisms by instantaneously inflating liquid-filled blisters inside your oral cavity. By putting these high-heat-capacity cushions under the top layer of your skin, your body is attempting to absorb the heat entering through that layer. It begins to kill layer after layer of cells to prevent the heat from getting further into the body. But because these peppers contain so much capsaicin, the chemical continues to permeate the blisters, keeping the nerve ending receptors underneath activated, and causing a ferocious cycle of burning sensations for 30 minutes or more.

Reactions like anaphylactic shock, severe burns, airways closure and death are all possible with this very extreme pepper.

Capsicum & Capsaicin

Capsicumalso known as red or green pepper, Chili pepper, or just pepper in Britain and the US – is a genus of flowering plants in the nightshade family Solanaceae. The fruit of most species of Capsicum contains capsaicin. Capsaicin is an active chemical component that can produce a strong burning sensation in any tissue with which it comes into contact.

Capsaicin and several related compounds are called capsaicinoids and are produced as secondary metabolites by peppers, probably as deterrents against certain mammals and fungi. Pure capsaicin is a hydrophobic, colorless, highly pungent, and crystalline to waxy compound.

Capsaicin is present in large quantities in the placental tissue (which holds the seeds), the internal membranes and, to a lesser extent, the other fleshy parts of the fruits. The seeds themselves do not produce any capsaicin, although the highest concentration of capsaicin can be found in the white pith of the inner wall, where the seeds are attached.

Primarily because of the burning sensation caused when it comes into contact with mucous membranes, capsaicin is commonly used in food products to provide added spice or “heat” – usually in the form of spices such as chili powder, curry and paprika.

Phil’s Egg-Splanations: Boiled Eggs

Soft-boiled, medium-boiled and hard-boiled eggs are cooked in their shells in boiling water.

Soft-Boiled Eggs cook for 4 to 6 minutes with the finished product offering firmly set whites (solidified albumen) and soft, runny yolks.

Medium-Boiled Eggs cook for 8 to 10 minutes and result in a firm egg white and a slightly firm yolk.  Medium-boiled eggs look exactly like their hard-boiled counterparts from the outside – tender, cooked whites that hold their shape. But inside are creamy golden yolks that are neither liquid nor completely solid.

Hard-Boiled Eggs cook in about 12 to 14 minutes and have both a firm white and a firm yolk.

Making these versatile Gallus Gallus Domesticus (domestic hen eggs) is pretty simple:

  • Carefully place a single layer of uncooked cold eggs in a stockpot. Add cold water until the eggs are submerged under about two inches of water. Eggs that aren’t completely covered by water will cook unevenly.
  • Place your uncovered pot on the stove and bring the water to a full boil.
  • Once the water reaches a full boil, immediately turn off the heat; remove the pot from the burner and cover.
  • Set a timer and allow the eggs to cook for 4 to 14 minutes. Timing begins once the pot of eggs is removed from the heat source.

Cooking Times:

  • 04 minutes: eat it with a spoon out-of-the-shell – firm white, runny yolk
  • 05 minutes: firm white, runny yolk
  • 06 minutes: firm white, soupy yolk
  • 08 minutes: firm white, fully set golden yolk, slightly soupy
  • 10 minutes: firm white, a firmer pale yolk, slightly soft in the middle
  • 12 minutes: firm white, almost completely hard-boiled yolk
  • 14 minutes: firm white, completely hard-boiled crumbly dry pale yolk

  • When the timer goes off, use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs from the hot water to a bowl full of ice water. The ice bath will stop the eggs from cooking further and assist with easier peeling.
  • Once your eggs are cool enough to handle, remove them from the ice water, gently tap them on a hard surface and begin peeling them under cool, running water. The water will help you get a clean peel by gently separating the thin egg shell membrane away from the egg white.
  • Soft-boiled eggs require a much gentler touch than do hard-boiled when peeling. For a very soft egg, you can also place it in an egg cup (or hold it in your hand) and tap the top with a spoon until the shell is easy to remove.
  • Eat and enjoy!

Soft-boiled eggs are best eaten fresh, but can be stored in the shell in the refrigerator for up to two days. But do keep in mind that soft-boiled eggs are not freezer friendly. It is not safe to reheat a soft-boiled egg in the microwave, but you can reheat them by blanching (which is scalding in boiling water for a brief interval and then plunging the eggs into ice water to shock or refresh) or coddling them (cooking in water below boiling point) quickly in boiling water.

Hard-boiled eggs can be stored in the shell in the refrigerator and last up to four days. The whites of hard-boiled eggs get rubbery when frozen, but you can freeze the yolks for later use if you like.