Thursday, May 31, 2012

Forget the Gatorade, Grab a Banana

Proving once again that natural is better.    A new study shows that bananas are just as beneficial as sports drinks during intense work-outs.  

And, with the banana you don't get all the nasty chemicals, added sugars, and dyes.

And, with the banana you get that handy little carrying package which you can throw on the ground that will decompose naturally.

And, bananas are packed with real nutrients and antioxidants.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Good News for Java Junkies (Like Me)

Drinking coffee helps you to live longer.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Climb Every Mountain . . . . .

Cue the singing nun.   I'm thrilled to be climbing Mount Washington again this summer.   Mount Washington, in New Hampshire, is the highest mountain in the Northeast.

Two years ago, my sister and I climbed Mount Washington.  It took close to six hours to reach the peak.   Although it was a hard climb, and we were cursing ourselves towards the end, once we reached the top we were ecstatic.  

The only problem was that after six hours of climbing, we were too exhausted to climb back down, so we took a bus back to the base.   Lot's of  people do manage the climb and descent in one day, but we had to admit to ourselves we weren't up for it.

We swore then and there that we'd attempt the climb again, and next time, we'd book the hut at the top of the mountain, stay overnight and climb back down the next day.  

When others heard about our adventure and desire to go back, they asked to join us.   So next July a group of four of us are climbing, staying overnight at the top and climbing back down.

All of us are ladies and we're all either over or close to 50.  

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pink Slime meet Tuna Scrape

Pink Slime meet Tuna Scrape.    

I'm going to be a lot more cautious about where I buy my Sushi in the future, and be sure to make sure they're not using tuna scrape.

As always, when I look into my food, I discovered that things are not as they seemed. 

I assumed (bad thing to do), that if I was eating raw fish, that 1) the fish was never frozen, and 2) the sushi chef was actually cutting up the fish himself (I have to admit that I've never seen a female sushi chef).

The proponents for tuna scrape argue that sushi chef will often do the scraping themselves.

But there's a world of difference between my local sushi chef getting a piece of tuna and scraping it himself, and another who gets a pre-formed, frozen block of tuna from India.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tax My Soda!!!!

A new report came out stating that simply telling people to "eat less," isn't helping the US's obesity epidemic and steps have to be taken, like taxing soda. 

In an ambitious 478-page report, the IOM refutes the idea that obesity is largely the result of a lack of willpower on the part of individuals. Instead, it embraces policy proposals that have met with stiff resistance from the food industry and lawmakers, arguing that multiple strategies will be needed to make the U.S. environment less "obesogenic."
I couldn't agree more. We need public policies to correct what is going on in America with respect to weight gain. Michelle Obama started the process, but so much more needs to be done. "Personal responsibility" is just not working:
"People have heard the advice to eat less and move more for years, and during that time a large number of Americans have become obese," IOM committee member Shiriki Kumanyika of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine told Reuters. "That advice will never be out of date. But when you see the increase in obesity you ask, what changed? And the answer is, the environment. The average person cannot maintain a healthy weight in this obesity-promoting environment."
Of course, you know that the food industry came out with both barrels shooting:
Shortly after the report was released, the Center for Consumer Freedom, which is funded by restaurant, food and other industries, condemned the IOM as joining forces with the nation's "food nannies." The Center said the IOM recommendations would "actively reduce the number of choices Americans have when they sit down to eat" and emphasized that "personal responsibility" alone was to blame for the obesity epidemic.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Eating Well While Losing Weight

Make every calorie count taste-wise.   Apparently a veteran food writer discovered the same thing that I did on my weight loss journey.   If you eat higher quality, better tasting food, you naturally eat less.

Now, I've ranted against eating ultra-processed, mass-manufactured foods for a number of reasons in the past, but one thing I realized very early on is that it really doesn't taste that great either.   Oh, we're fooled by sugar and salt into thinking that packaged food tastes good, but once you get used to eating "real" food, you really can never go back to eating processed foods.  

And by eating real food you eat less.   Since you're cravings are never really satisfied by eating crap, you naturally eat more. 

For example, if, instead of a box or bag of mass-produced processed cookies you went to a really good bakery and bought just a couple cookies, I can guarantee you that you would feel like you got your sugar fix with fewer calories.  

Not to mention that a good walk to and from the bakery is a good way to walk off a few of those aforementioned calories.  

Michael Pollan in his Food Rules wrote that you should eat less but better.

I agree.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

You're Fat Because You Eat Processed Carbs

Which is basically the message of this Newsweek piece.   I'm not sure if I agree.   

I do agree that WHAT we eat is a big part of why we're getting fatter.    However, the author makes the argument that calories and exercise play no part.   I most definitely do believe that calories in/calories out plays a part in the obesity epidemic. 

I'm always mystified by the either/or approach.    Couldn't it be that it's a combination of both factors--calories in/calories out and what we eat--that's causing the problem??????? 

We're exercising less AND we're eating more refined carbs and sugars and less unprocessed "natural" foods like raw fruits and vegetables.    So doesn't it make sense that both play a part?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fat Cat Dies

Seems that obesity isn't healthy for cats either.   A morbidly obese cat dies at the age of 2.   It kind of reminds me of the Heart Attack Grill's 575 pound spokesperson dying at age 29.

Just goes to show.  Fat kills, even if you're a fat cat.

Friday, May 4, 2012

What Did You Do To My Pants????

It's been a weird Spring here in New England.  We've had May weather in April, and April weather in May.  

It's been cold and damp for the last two weeks, and there's no sign of truly Spring weather on the horizon.

I, of course, have pretty much run through my cold weather Spring clothing options.   I have a number of events and dinner outing coming up.   The kind of events where you're not exactly dressed up, but you don't show up in jeans and a sweat-shirt either.   I usually call these "pants" events because all the women generally show up with nice trousers, tops and heels when the weather is cool.  

Since my pants have been getting a bit of a work-out and there's no end in sight (once it warms up you can switch to a skirt or a dress) I thought that I should pick myself another set of pants to get me through the next few weeks.

Now, buying pants for me has never been easy.   I'm short, have a fairly small waist, but a large butt and thighs.    I can't wear most pants, even jeans, without a fair amount of reconstructive work.

A few years ago, however, I discovered that Brooks Brother's size 4 petite pants fit me perfectly.  I could go into the store, pick a size 4 petite pant off the rack, and bring it home with me the same day.

So naturally when I realized I needed another set of pants to get me through the next couple of weeks I headed to Brooks Brother's, and they had the perfect pant--a black cotton capri.    

I happily pulled the size 4 petite off the rack and headed to the dressing room.  

There was only one problem.   I couldn't get the pants up over my thighs.   I tried on progressively larger sizes until I finally fit in a size 10 petite, but even then the fit wasn't right.  They sagged in the crotch, and even though they fit over my rear end and thighs, there was a big gap at the waist.

When I queried the saleswoman she reported that Brooks Brother's changed it's "fit."   Apparently, the new "fit" for their petite line is a 12-year old boy with no hips or butt.   My old stand-by for pants is no longer making pants that fit me.

I was, as you can imagine, upset, and the saleswoman informed me that I am not the only long-time Brooks Brothers customer to feel that way.  

Just to make sure I went home and pulled an old set of Brooks Brothers petite size 4s out of the closet.   They fit perfectly.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Heart Attack Grill---The Name Says it All

Yet another customer collapses at The Heart Attack Grill.    In brief, this is what happened:
No one can accuse The Heart Attack Grill of false advertising.  
A woman collapsed into unconsciousness at the Las Vegas restaurant while eating a "double bypass burger," drinking a margarita and smoking a cigarette.The unnamed customer was the second in just over two months to collapse at the restaurant while eating one of the famed burgers named after various forms of cardiac arrest. Back in February, another customer was caught on video being carted out by paramedics after suffering a heart attack while eating a "quadruple bypass" burger.

I know the name is supposed to be amusing, but just how funny is the name "Heart Attack Grill" when your obese spokesperson drops dead from eating your food and two of your customers have collapse in your restaurant while eating your food?

Monday, April 30, 2012

Cooking with the Kids

A few weeks ago I took my daughter to a local organic bakery in Ridgefield.   While I sipped a cappuccino with skim, she had a cinnamon/butterscotch scone and fell in love.   I tasted a corner, and I would have to agree that it was very, very yummy.   We bought two more scones to bring home with us, and by the weekend, my daughter was asking to go back to the bakery to get more.

I had some problems with just going back to the bakery and buying more.   For one thing, although they're really, really delicious, a cinnamon/butterscotch scone is best as an occasional breakfast treat and not a breakfast staple for a growing 11 year old girl.

Another thing, I kind of adhere to Michael Pollan's philosophy that it's OK to eat goodies, as long as you make them yourself.   Buying scones, even at an organic bakery, side-steps that rule.   Did I also mention that buying scones at an organic bakery is somewhat pricey???

So instead of just buying more of my daughter's favorite new treat, we could try making them ourselves.  I thought it would be a good lesson in baking, and following a recipe.   I proposed the idea to my daughter and she enthusiastically agreed.

I Googled "Cinnamon butterscotch scone" and came up with nadda.   I next tried "cinnamon scone" and came up with several recipes although none seemed to match the basic scone that we had gotten at the bakery.  

I realized that I'd have to start with a base recipe and adapt.   I explained this to my daughter, and thought that this would be another good baking lesson--you don't have to just slavishly follow a recipe.  

So here's the base recipe we decided to use.   The organic bakery scones had a sugar/cinnamon topping, so we thought this would be a good start.   We followed the recipe with two changes.   First we added 2 teaspoons of cinnamon to the flour mixture.  Second, we swapped out butterscotch chips for the cinnamon chips (which we couldn't find anyway).

The end result?   Not quite what we were looking for.   The overall product just wasn't as "yummy," my daughter told me.  

My own feeling was that the scones where too "caky" as opposed to "flaky."  Probably due to two things--the heavy cream and the egg.   Generally, I usually like to use buttermilk as opposed to cream in my scones and the next version of this recipe will definitely swap out the cream for buttermilk (and eliminate a lot of the fat as well).  

The cakiness was also likely do to the egg in the recipe.   I thought the egg an odd addition for a scone recipe.   I've made scones plenty of times in the past and I never added egg.   So prior to our next try, I'll do some more research again and try to find an eggless cinnamon scone recipe.

The cinnamon/sugar topping and the butterscotch chips, however, were definite keepers.  

So, my daughter and I are now on a baking mission to replicate her scones.   It's a good lesson for her to learn.   Not everything has to come out of a packaged box or be purchased.   And, if you try a recipe and it doesn't come out as planned, adapt, and try again.

Friday, April 27, 2012

All Natural--REALLY?????

It turns out that Kellogg's Kashi cereal contains GMOs.    The above photo was put on the shelves of a very ethical natural food market.   When it discovered that Kashi, which claims to be "natural" contained GMOs and pesticides, it heaved it's sorry "unnatural" ass from the market's shelves.  

I've written before that you can't trust the "natural" label on food.  It's meaningless.   But then, "organic" is pretty meaningless as well.   

I guess the only thing you really can do is arm yourself with information.  

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Burger King is pledging to source it's pork and eggs from cage-free facilities.

I call this progress because it represents a step back from the factory-farmed, processed foods, that have predominated our food supply for too long now.

Don't get me wrong.  I still think that actually eating at Burger King should be avoided.   The food is still too processed to be either healthy or low-cal.  

However, by treating animals humanely, it will hopefully mean that fewer antibiotics will be needed--a good thing.   If we "de-factory" the methods of creating meat, maybe that will mean that we'll eventually "de-factory" our food production down the line until we are once again eating natural, un-manufactured food.

It's a dream.   I know it, but then, I'm a dreamer.