Q. I realize that getting enough protein is essential to good health, but is there such a thing as getting too much protein?
A. That question hasn't been completely answered. It's been suggested that an excess of protein could, over time, cause deterioration of the kidneys -- a condition commonly associated with aging anyway. That idea is supported by results of some animal studies, but there's no telling how the findings apply to humans. (It's also true that calcium excretion increases when protein intake is elevated, but only if phosphorus intake is held constant. But phosphorus intake rises along with protein in U.S. diets, so calcium excretion is nothing to worry about.)
What do the authors of the most recent edition of the Recommended Dietary Allowances have to say about protein? They suggest that given our present knowledge, it seems prudent to recommend intakes no higher than twice the RDA. For an adult, the RDA is 0.8 grams per kilogram (kg.) of body weight. Thus, if you weigh 160 pounds or 72.2 kg. (a pound is 2.2 kg.), your upper limit of intake would be about 115 grams of protein per day.
To compare that to your usual consumption pattern, record everything you eat for three typical days. Then count 8 grams of protein for each cup of milk or yogurt or each ounce of cheese you eat; 7 grams for each ounce of meat, fish or poultry, and for each egg; 2 grams for each half-cup serving of rice, potatoes, cereal or slice of bread; and 2 grams for each half-cup serving of vegetable. Add the total and divide by three. That will give you an idea of your usual protein intake. If it's more than twice the RDA, you might want to think about depending more heavily on carbohydrates for your calories.
Q. I've been doing a lot of stir-fry cooking. I always buy too much ginger root and wind up throwing it out because it gets moldy in the refrigerator. Is there a better way to store it?
A. If you wrap it tightly in foil, and if it was of good quality when you bought it, it should last two or three weeks in the refrigerator. You can hold it a bit longer in the freezer, slicing off what you need as you go. Eventually it does deteriorate, though, giving off a musty odor.
Another method is to put the root in a jar with a well-fitting lid, cover it with sherry, and let it sit in the refrigerator. You can use the ginger-flavored wine not only for stir-fry dishes but in salad dressings. As you use it, just keep replenishing the sherry. By that method, your ginger root should last six months.