On Nutrition by Ed Blonz


DEAR DR. BLONZ: I recently had a blackout when I stood up after dinner. It is doubtful that it could be from dehydration, as I was drinking at the meal. Perhaps not enough salt?

I was working in the garden before dinner, and had been getting dizzy when I got up from sitting earlier in the day. Then after the meal, I stood for a minute and next thing I knew, I was on the floor. I think I was only out for a few seconds. I am active, often biking and running, and have had problems with heat exhaustion in the past. Any help/thoughts? -- S.T., Waukesha, Wisconsin

DEAR S.T.: There can be many explanations for an unexpected loss of consciousness; you have mentioned a few. It could have been a freak intersection of factors that ended up leading to a rapid drop in blood pressure (vasovagal episode). Staying hydrated is important, and if you tend to perspire heavily, it is reasonable to replenish lost electrolytes along with fluids when exercising or doing physical work. Anemia is also a possibility.

But -- and this is key -- I am not a physician and I have no real handle on other health issues in your life. You asked for my advice, so here it is: Make note of all the circumstances and share them with your health provider at your next opportunity. If anything like this has happened in the past, make the appointment now. If this type of weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness occurs again, make an immediate phone call to be seen and checked out by your physician. This may be nothing, but why take a chance?

DEAR DR. BLONZ: I buy special milk in bulk, usually a six-carton case at a time. The cartons usually have an expiration date two to three weeks in the future. If I freeze a couple of cartons as soon as I bring them home, then open them after the date on the carton, are they safe to use, and for how long? I'm not concerned about the taste because I blend the milk with protein powder and fresh fruit. I usually finish a carton within five to six days. -- B.S., Sun City, Arizona

DEAR B.S.: Assuming that the packages are appropriate for freezing, and there is sufficient air space to allow for normal expansion during the freezing process, I see no problem here from a food-safety standpoint. The clock stops during freezing. Any days left before the expiration date at the time of freezing transfer over to the time after the milk returns to its liquid state.

Also, blending the milk after it thaws, as you do, helps counter the fact that freezing tends to undo homogenization, meaning that milk fat tends to float on the surface in containers of defrosted milk. Even so, be sure to give the carton a good shake before pouring.

Send questions to: "On Nutrition," Ed Blonz, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO, 64106. Send email inquiries to questions@blonz.com. Due to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.