Why is Middle Eastern za'atar called the universal brain food? See the Pos-It Science article, "Is Za'atar the newest brain food?" It's the compound carvacrol in spices such as oregano and thyme that affect serotonin and dopamine in the brain. But the latest studies have been done with the spices used to increase the memories of mice.
Check out the June 11, 2013 NPR article, by Steve Innskeep and Maria Godoy, "Za'atar: A Spice Mix With Biblical Roots And Brain Food Reputation." Or see the Q and A from NPR about the Middle Eastern spice mixture known as za’atar. The thyme and oregano in za'atar contain a compound called carvacrol that's called brain food because of how those spices affect the brain's serotonin and dopamine.
To make za'atar, just blend equal parts of sesame seeds, sumac, and oregano, thyme, or marjoram. There are some pretty good health benefits when used in moderation as a condiment to spice up your savory foods.
The NPR reports that it's the thyme and oregano in za'atar that contain a compound called carvacrol, which in mice, can affect dopamine and serotonin levels. In addition, sesame sees have health benefits also for the brain. Sesame seeds contain lipophilic antioxidants, which may help prevent age-related diseases, at least in theory as more animal studies with sesame seeds are being done. Also, sesame seed oil has been studied to help reduce the risk of hypertension, when used in cooking. Check out the article, "Sesame oil: Powerful anti-oxidant, lowers blood pressure."
People in Sacramento interested in Middle Eastern and Asian spices and foods, can visit the Middle East restaurants and food markets along Fulton Avenue in Sacramento and in other areas of the city to celebrate a day of lunching or dining Middle Eastern.
Anthropological nutrition and culinary geography
In Sacramento's Mediterranean and Middle Eastern communities, there's a lot of spicy food available along Fulton Avenue's Middle Eastern, Armenian, Georgian, Balkan, and Greek restaurant row. The spices also are eaten in Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Iran, Central Asia, Lebanon/Syria, Egypt, N. Africa, and the Caucasus Mountains.
Here are some recipes on how to make Mediterranean and Middle Eastern spice mixtures. If you want to buy Middle Eastern spices in Sacramento, try the Mediterranean Market on Fulton Avenue.
Dukkah is an Egyptian spice mixture
Serve dukkah with Middle Eastern-style flat bread that you dip in cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. Dukkah also is sprinkled on fish, meats, rice, or other savory vegetables. To make Dukkah, just mix a cup of sesame seeds with 1/2 cup of cooked garbanzo beans/chick peas. To make it Egyptian style, roast the chickpeas/garbanzo beans. To make it Lebanese style, cook the soaked chick peas first in boiling water.
Then you add 1/4 cup of nuts. Use either lightly browned pine nuts or hazelnuts. Then you add 1/2 cup of whole coriander seeds. Add one or two tablespoons of cumin seeds, and finish off the spice with 1/4 teaspoon of black peppercorns. This is what Egyptians put on their savory foods or bread.
They also can sprinkle dukkah spices on a breakfast bowl of mashed beans over a hard boiled egg which is eaten with flat bread in the morning and over basmati rice for lunch.
To make zaatar, another Egyptian spice, also used as well all over the Levant and most of the Eastern Mediterranean areas, you can blend this spice and use it on anything savory from vegetables and grains to breads, fish, and meats. It only takes a few minutes to mix together. You can buy the sumac spice at most any of Sacramento's Middle Eastern or Mediterranean food stores.
Begin by mixing 1/4 cup of sumac (the red, crushed berry used as a spice) with two or three tablespoons of thyme. Then add one or two tablespoons of roasted or lightly browned sesame seeds that you first have ground up in a coffee grinder or dry grinder.
In Egypt and Lebanon, for example, people used a mortar and pestle to pound the sesame seeds. If you have a Vita-Mix dry grinder, then use that to grind up the sesame seeds. But an inexpensive coffee grinder also works.
Use white or black sesame seeds, ground up, as you prefer
Then add 2 tablespoons of marjoram, 2 tablespoons of oregano, and a pinch of salt, if you use salt. If not, substitute another spice such as garlic or onion powder for the salt.
After you've ground up all those za'atar spices, store in a jar with a cover in a cool, dark place. You can store dry za'atar for a few months if you keep out the air and light.
Where can you buy za'atar in Sacramento?
Try the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean groceries along Fulton Avenue. Sacramento area near Arden Way has numerous Arabic food stores, Halal groceries and meat markets, Arabic-style restaurants, and community centers. Some stores along Fulton Avenue have Arabic signs in the windows. There also are Greek restaurants across the street from the Arabic restaurants. Also Sacramento, CA is home to numerous Iraqi refugees.
And for decades, the Lebanese restaurants have enjoyed visitors from all over the world with traditional Middle Eastern food fare. For example try Malouf's Lebanese restaurant. Check out the dozens of best-rated food reviews of this restaurant. See, Maalouf's Taste of Lebanon - Sacramento, CA. Also check out the website, Edible Sacramento. And try the Global Soups class at the Sacramento Natural Foods Coop. Try the Lebanese "all in one soup."
Looking for Middle Eastern spices? Sacramento chefs shop at the Mediterranean Market. For example, visit the Mediterranean Market which offers Greek, Persian, Arabic, Turkish, and Armenian food and products. It's located at 1547 Fulton Avenue, Sacramento. The market is one of the most exciting gourmet grocery stores in Sacramento.
Za'atar or the spice, sumac?
What foods would you like to buy? According to Sacramento Magazine, top chefs in Sacramento enjoy foods from this Arabic market such as the Turkish red pepper paste, halloumi cheese, bastirma (dried beef), sumac and yogurt. The Supper Club’s Matt Woolston shops there for spices, olives and feta.
Taste test: Date Maamoul, cookies from Saudi Arabia “with selected Saudi dates.” These soft, round cookies, dense with a date filling, are buttery good. Try a 320-gram (3/4 pound) box. Brand: Alkaramah. They've been reviewed and highly recommended in the Global Groceries article in Sacramento magazine.
It’s one of the most beautiful markets around, stocked with gorgeously packaged foods that you won’t want to stash behind closed cupboard doors. Best of all, it’s a source of peace and unity for the Mediterranean-American communities of Sacramento.
It's the best gourmet grocery store for the cultured consumer Mediterranean Market. You can look a the pyramid stack of giant, bright green Turkish pickle cans. Try the olives from Jordan, Turkey, Greece or Lebanon.
You can even buy a hookah with etched crystal bases from the Czech Republic, Lebanon or other lands. If you want Halaal meats or specialty olive oils from across the Mediterranean, you'll find it there. You can also buy detailed dishware.
Mediterranean Market is excellent for educating yourself about food as you shop. The market is clean with a vibrant interior. Each food item is packaged so beautifully and on display. Try the many varieties of grape vine leaves. They come as leaves or already stuffed in a wide variety of jars or cans. If you buy the grape leaves alone, stuff them with brown rice and tomato juice for a vegan treat.
People enjoy gathering around plates of ethnic foods, even when they discuss refugee resettlement issues. And there are numerous people in Sacramento who would like to learn Arabic that are not in that ethnic group. Food stores, chefs, and restaurants bring peoples together. One example is the Arabic-American Learning Center on Fulton Avenue. As more Arabic grocery stores and restaurants blossom and thrive in Sacramento, especially along Fulton Avenue, a large-space Arabic community center is situated next to Malouf's Taste of Lebanon restaurant.
Cook like an Etruscan
Want to show kids what the ancients knew about delicately spicing bland foods? Well, here's how to cook like an ancient Etruscan--in the style of before the Etruscans left the Smyrna/Izmir/Bosphorus area for Tuscany around 1,600 BCE.
Show kids how to cook as you present them with formerly 'bland' foods now curried. One example might be savory meat or fish dishes and also egg salad with lemony sumac spice or zesty za'atar, a blend of Middle Eastern-style spices.
Eastern Mediterranean cooking
The cooking style also is Levantine, similar to Phoenecian (ancient Lebanese) in the use of some spices (liked a delicate, not hot spice mixture called zatar), but without the raisins and pine nuts added to meat and rice dishes. Instead, you might use an ancient Etruscan spin on hard boiled eggs with sumac and zatar spices.
Tired of the usual hard boiled eggs mashed with mayonnaise? Try curried egg salad in a style found since medieval times along the Silk Road from the Bosporus to the Indus. Marco Polo may have dined on this cracker spread the day after Easter Sunday with all those hard boiled eggs to consume. Here’s how to start. Begin with a dozen hard boiled eggs that are cooled and peeled.
Where do you buy sumac or za'atar? Try some of these Middle Eastern grocery stores. Or buy zatar online.
Other places to try are ethnic markets. For example, Mediterranean Market, Shan Market and Red Sea Food Market. Most larger cities have Mediterranean-style markets and Middle Eastern-style ethnic food markets. Buy zatar and sumac online at Dean & Deluca's sumac at the Shopzilla site. Or buy from My Spice Sage.
Thinly slice and dice the eggs in a bowl. Add a pinch of cumin, ¼ teaspoon of mustard, ¼ teaspoon of turmeric, ¼ teaspoon of coriander (chopped or seed), ¼ teaspoon of curry powder, ¼ teaspoon of chili powder, juice of one lemon or lime, ¼ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, ¼ cup diced red onions, ¼ cup of diced celery, ¼ cup of diced roasted or raw red bell pepper, ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley, ¼ cup chopped cilantro, ¼ cup of chopped mint, ¼ cup shredded raw carrots, ¼ cup of tahini (sesame seed paste).
You can make your own tahini by blending hulled sesame seeds with a ¼ cup of olive oil, ¼ cup of lemon juice, and a little water in a blender to the consistency of a thin paste. Or buy the tahini (sesame seed paste) already made from your supermarket or health food store.
Mix all ingredients and sliced eggs together. Spread on Ryvita rye crackers, toast, or any type of crackers and top with shaved Parmesan cheese, a pinch of chopped cilantro or Italian parsley. You can melt the cheese under the broiler or on your stovetop in a covered frying pan greased with a bit of olive oil. Heat only until the cheese melts. Or serve this egg salad on a bed of baby spinach or arugula. Serve warm. Sprinkle with dulse.
Dulse on hard boiled eggs
An alternative way of presenting Hedef egg salad Silk Road style would be to spoon the salad over a bed of cold cooked whole grains, such as quinoa or cooked barley that has been tossed with vinegar and oil and chopped carrots, celery, red bell pepper, and parsley. Sprinkle top with sesame or sunflower seeds and dulse. Serve cold.
In winter, this salad would be served with pomegranate juice on the side. In spring, serve with a glass of chilled cherry juice. It's perfect for picnics. Instead of eggs, you can use the same ingredients for variety another time to mix with canned fish. If you're not salt-sensitive, salt to taste with mineral or sea salt, or sprinkle with pepper. If you're salt-sensitive, sprinkle with dulse and add more lemon juice or chopped red onions. For further information, see more egg salad recipes from places along the Silk road at the Tulumba site. Or see Recipe Zaar. Or Diet Recipes Blog.
Cooking with Sumac Spice for a bright red lemony taste
Sumac, a condiment and berry about the same color as bricks, is used instead of salt or mixed with thyme in many parts of the Middle East and southeast Europe. Sicilian sumac is sold in European groceries and found all over the Mediterranean. It has been eaten as a dried spice since Biblical times. Add sumac to water and you have a drink that tastes like lemonade. Zatar, sumac and thyme with added salt, is sprinkled over food sold at open vendor stands found all over Jerusalem...and Beirut, in Istanbul, and in Sicily and Greece. Grow your own Sumac shrubs and plant next to thyme.
The sumac dried berry is not the poison sumac tree leaf, of course, but instead is a berry on a shrub that has grown wild in the Middle East since Neolithic times. It's sold as a reddish dried fruit that found in many Middle Eastern and Greek groceries in the form of a brick.
Sumac is used like a spice, ground up, or the dried berry is eaten
It tastes tart, rather lemony, and is used to make food taste sour. In Biblical times, sumac decorated comfort food puddings or was smeared on flat bread and used to calm children’s upset stomachs. It's for savory foods. If you want sweet, dried red berries, try Tibetan-style goji berries.
Did you ever visit the zatar vendor outdoor stands in Jerusalem? In the Middle East, especially in Greece, Sicily, the Balkans, the Levant, and the rest of the eastern Mediterranean area, it is served in small wooden dishes and passed around to each guest the same as you’d pass around a dish of pickles in central Europe. You can buy sumac in most Middle Eastern or Mediterranean-style grocery stores.
Decorate cooked eggs, fish, or meat with sumac
Whip it into egg salad, or sprinkle it on rice instead of salt or other seasonings. See Penzey's Spices catalog. To make egg salad tart, take your usual egg salad or a dozen sliced hard boiled eggs mixed with two teaspoons of grape seed oil mayonnaise and add a tablespoon of diced onions with a teaspoon of dried sumac. According to Penzey's Spices catalog, the site suggests you season sliced onions with two teaspoons of sumac. But I like sumac sprinkled on cooked lentils and green beans and served over steamed brown rice, barley, or quinoa.
Sumac is frequently served on sliced raw vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, red bell pepper, or cucumbers topped with unsweetened Greek-style yogurt. Also you can serve this type of salad surrounded with sliced hard-boiled eggs and warm flat bread. The best type of flat bread to serve with egg salad or sliced vegetables topped with tahini or yogurt is flat or pocket bread you bake yourself using garbanzo bean flour, water, and sprouted lentils.
Since a fifth of the population of America is estimated to be salt-sensitive, using crushed, dried sumac berries instead of salt works well. I mix turmeric and sumac, about a half teaspoon of both and cook it with my lentils or sprinkle it over any cooked beans. It works well in rice also mixed with saffron or turmeric. Yellow rice with sumac tastes just tart enough to complement other foods such as baked salmon. But sumac in egg salad gives it a slight tart taste, something like apple cider vinegar.
To make Biblical egg salad, you start with your usual egg salad. To serve about four people, take a dozen shelled, cooled hard boiled eggs and slice them thin. Mix with two tablespoons of grape seed mayonnaise, or if you don’t like mayonnaise, use two tablespoons or more as needed of tahini sauce, made from crushed sesame seed paste. You buy it in most health food and grocery stores or make your own by putting hulled sesame seeds in a blender with a little olive oil, lemon juice, and water.
Biblical-style egg salad with za'atar
If you want to make egg salad in the Biblical sense, that is in a fashion that is consumed today as well as was served up two to three thousand years ago in the ancient Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, add zatar to your egg salad. You make za'atar using sumac. To begin, blend dried, crushed sumac berries with sesame seeds, thyme, and either sea/mineral salt or cumin and turmeric (if you’re salt-sensitive).
Sumac is the main ingredient in making the spice condiment called zatar, which is eaten today all over the Middle East. You can buy zatar already mixed as well as dried sumac in most Middle Eastern groceries or order it online. It's famous all over the Levant in well, Biblical proportions.
Mix your usual egg salad with za'atar or sumac, putting about a teaspoon of za'atar in the eggs, if you’re using a dozen hard boiled eggs. To make egg salad using less eggs, just add a pinch of za'atar or sumac to your egg salad. Za'atar is sumac and thyme combined. Sumac alone gives the eggs a tart flavor. Serve cooked or soaked and sprouted garbanzos (chick peas) as a side dish next to the egg salad. It's customary to serve each side dish in small wooden or porcelain salad bowls.
Top the eggs with sumac -- the crushed red berries, and tahini (sesame seed paste)
Serve the Biblical style egg salad on flat bread made with garbanzo (chick pea) flour topped with thinly sliced tomatoes or red bell peppers and sliced cucumbers. Top with tahini sauce or Greek-style nonfat yogurt and sprinkle with chopped cilantro or Italian parsley.
You now have a pan-Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, even Biblical egg salad with zatar and sumac. Both zatar and sumac are tasty, tart condiments for egg salads as well as for most salads, sandwiches, or baked fish.
Serves four if you figure three eggs per person. If you buy sumac in a Greek grocer, it’s called Σουμ?κι, pronounced souMAKI. If you go to a Middle Eastern grocer, it’s pronounced SOO-mack and is the most popular spice all over the Levant today. For more information on cooking with sumac, see the All About Sumac site. Browse the Greek Food site. See the sumac, the shrub at the landscaping site. Want a novel set in medieval Alania? Check out my time-travel novel of the Caucasus.
Do too many carbohydrates raise the risk of the most common degenerative diseases that contribute to premature aging?
According to the US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, in a July 2005 news report titled, "High Carbs May Boost Cataract Risk," High carbohydrate diets were linked with a greater risk of cataracts in a study of 417 women age 53 to 73. New details about the association between high carbohydrates and cataract risk have emerged from a study reported in the June 2005 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (volume 81, pages 1411-1416).
Some studies say high protein diets may increase the risk of heart disease in women, whereas other studies report high carbohydrate diets may be linked with cataracts, dementia, and insulin resistance-metabolic syndrome-high blood glucose-type issues.
So who can the average patient believe when some healthcare professionals in integrative, restorative, or functional medicine recommend high-fat diets and others of equal professionalism recommend low-fat diets? Which would work best for you, depending upon your genetic risk factors, physical exam and test results, and family history?
In one study, women who ate an average of 200 to 268 grams of carbohydrates each day were more than twice as likely to develop cortical cataracts, than women whose meals provided between 101 and 185 grams by day's end, according to the ARS-funded scientists at the ARS Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA.
The recommended daily allowance for carbohydrates for adults and children is 130 grams: Could the big picture of health issues be related to increased exposure to glucose?
In the the nationwide Nurses' Health Study, researchers analyzed eye exam results and 14 years' worth of food records collected from 417 women, aged 53 to 73. You can read the entire July 2005 news report, High Carbs May Boost Cataract Risk, at the US Department of Agriculture’s Food & Nutrition Research Briefs site.
The women, participants in the nationwide Nurses' Health Study, did not have a history of cataracts but were recently diagnosed with the disease. Cataracts are a major cause of blindness worldwide and afflict an estimated 20 million Americans. Scientists don't know what links high-carbohydrate intake to increased cataract risk.
One possibility is that increased exposure to glucose, a breakdown product of carbohydrates, might damage our eyes' lenses
In another recent study by different researchers, scientists in Australia are saying eating junk food for even a short amount of time can cause irreversible memory loss. The conclusions from tests with mice who ate a diet full of sugar and fat show the mice were unable to recognize places as well as the controls.
And in another study with different researchers, results of this ongoing study by a researcher from the University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging suggests a correlation between self-reported incidence of memory loss and development of cognitive memory impairment later in life. Could gluten-stimulating zonulin be involved in any way when the issue is self-described memory loss?
Self-reported memory loss and cognitive impairment later in life
Could it be that certain types of high-carbohydrate diets stimulate so many blood sugar surges followed by high insulin spikes in the bloodstream that the arteries and brain eventually get aged out prematurely?
On one hand, there's the self-reported memory loss issue. And on the other hand, people may ask can prematurely aging brains be influenced by too much sugar in the bloodstream from high carb diets, especially diets containing wheat and gluten, in some instances?
A recent study suggests that self-reported memory complaints might predict clinical memory impairment later in life
Erin Abner, an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, asked 3,701 men aged 60 and higher a simple question: "Have you noticed any change in your memory since you last came in?" That question led to some interesting results.
"It seems that subjective memory complaint can be predictive of clinical memory impairment," Abner said, according to the February 21, 2014 news release, If you think you have Alzheimer's, you just might be right, study suggests. "Other epidemiologists have seen similar results, which is encouraging, since it means we might really be on to something."
The results are meaningful because it might help identify people who are at risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease sooner
"If the memory and thinking lapses people notice themselves could be early markers of risk for Alzheimer’s disease, we might eventually be able to intervene earlier in the aging process to postpone and/or reduce the effects of cognitive memory impairment." Abner, who is also a member of the faculty in the UK Department of Epidemiology, took pains to emphasize that her work shouldn’t necessarily worry everyone who’s ever forgotten where they left their keys.
"I don't want to alarm people," she said, according to the news release. "It’s important to distinguish between normal memory lapses and significant memory problems, which usually change over time and affect multiple aspects of daily life."
Established in 1979, the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky is nationally recognized for its research, education and outreach, and clinical programs on healthy brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders. In 1985, the SBCoA was named as an Alzheimer’s Disease Center, one of the original ten centers funded by the National Institute on Aging. You also can check out the abstracts site of the Clinical Trials Conference on Alzheimer's Disease (after February 27, 2014).
In another study by different researchers, scientists found that an important health issue is preventing constant high blood sugar surges after eating carbohydrates
They cause insulin spikes that age-out your arteries, brain, and other organs. You may wish to check out an interview with David Perlmutter, MD, "Rethinking Dietary Approaches for Brain Health," on the topic of whether a diet high in carbohydrates increases your risk of dementia. Studies in the past have focused on a diet high in simple carbs as contributing to cataracts and other health conditions. The issue is the rise in blood sugar from foods. Will a diet for brain health also clog the coronary arteries if it's high fat in the case where dietary fat is clogging the arteries?
There's the issue with gluten-stimulating zonulin in increasing the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. So why does this diet recommend high fat, which is opposite the low-fat except for ground flax seed diets of numerous doctors trying to help unclog and reverse clogged arteries by focusing on plant sterols and stanols instead of the high-fat diet that clogs the carotids?
The issue is preventing surges in blood sugar caused by eating a high carb diet
People wonder what happens when a person is told to go on a mostly vegan diet to reverse the clogged arteries caused by genetic predisposition where the same condition to clogged arteries runs in the family and those family members ate high fat diets? Even small increases in blood sugar caused by a diet high in carbohydrates can be detrimental to brain health.
Recent reports in medical literature link carbohydrate calorie-rich diets to a greater risk for brain shrinkage, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, impaired cognition, and other disorders. David Perlmutter, MD, best-selling author of Grain Brain, explores this important topic in a provocative interview in the journal Alternative and Complementary Therapies from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Alternative and Complementary Therapies website.
Dr. Perlmutter, a board-certified neurologist and fellow of the American College of Nutrition, has just been appointed Editor-in-Chief of a new peer-reviewed journal, Brain and Gut, that will debut in the summer 2014. The journal will publish leading-edge research dedicated to exploring a whole systems approach to health and disease from the intimate relationship between the brain and the digestive systems.
In the interview “Rethinking Dietary Approaches for Brain Health,” Dr. Perlmutter says, according to the February 21 news release, Does a diet high in carbohydrates increase your risk of dementia? “We live with this notion that a calorie is a calorie, but at least in terms of brain health, and I believe for the rest of the body as well, there are very big differences between our sources of calories in terms of the impact on our health. Carbohydrate calories, which elevate blood glucose, are dramatically more detrimental to human physiology, and specifically to human health, than are calories derived from healthful sources of fat.”
Dr. Perlmutter will explore how brain health and cognitive function are linked to nutrition in his presentation, “The Care and Feeding of Your Brain,” to be delivered at the Integrative Health Care Symposium 2014 taking place this week in New York City. The 2014 Integrative Healthcare Symposium where forward thinking practitioners and like-minded professionals gather seeking a multi-disciplinary approach to patient care. Healthcare professionals are invited to join the integrative healthcare community to hear from nationally recognized practitioners and experts.
The 2014 symposium's focused tracks include: Nutrition, Cardiovascular, Musculoskeletal/Sports Medicine, Integrative Nursing, Mind Body Spirit and Integrative Approaches (to include: Oncology, Hormone, Pediatrics, and more. CME credit certified by Beth Israel Medical Center and St. Luke’s & Roosevelt Hospitals. Also, check out the Free Webinar: Cranberries and Their Bioactive Constituents in Human Health presented by Dr. Amy Howell which will be offered on March 13, 2014. Or take a look at the March 14 to March 16, 2014 event, Mind, Mood & Food: Optimal Nutrition for the Brain.
Upcoming events this month include the Free Microbiome Webinar: The Microbiome in Clinical Practice on February 27, 2014. Also upcoming in May 2014 is the 11th Annual Nutrition & Health Conference and the 8th Congress International Society of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics. See the Events Calendar for more meetings. For example, today, February 22, 2014 is the Integrative Health Care Symposium 2014. Also, see, "Does a diet high in carbohydrates increase your risk of dementia?"