Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gee, I never Would Have Guessed

That kids might not like healthy food.

Marion Nestle posted this: . It's a study showing that 77% of the kids at the school Oliver is working out "hate" the lunches, participation rates have gone down 9% and milk consumption down 25%.

Gee, kids would prefer eating sugar laden junk food to healthy, nutritious food. What a surprise (rolling eyes). Of course kids would prefer to eat junk. Junk is fun to eat, and "tastes better."

The question should not be what kids prefer to eat, but what they should be eating. Kids should not have the option of drinking HFCS laden milk at school, home, or anywhere else. They also should be presented with the same kind of food Jamie serves at school at home, and told 'EAT OR STARVE."

Believe me, no kid will choose starve. It's time we stop catering to kids and feeding them what they want and giving them what they should be eating at both school and at home.

I am so sick of people saying "but Johnny won't eat that." Johnny won't eat that because he knows damn well that if he doesn't eat the grilled chicken now, he'll get a processed chicken nugget later. If Johnny knew that there was no processed chicken nugget in his future, you can bet for damn sure that grilled chicken would be devoured.

What really gets me is the drop in participation rates from the lunch program at the school Oliver was at. That essentially means the parents are complicit in their kids' bad eating habits. These parents should be telling their children "you have to eat what served," not "what dear, you don't like the food, don't worry, I'll pack you a Pop Tart."

Like losing weight, getting kids to eat right is not easy. There is no magic formula that will get them to choose to eat steamed corn over Doritos. It is hard difficult work, and you, as a parent, have to make a lot of hard choices. Kids saying that they think food is "yucky" is no excuse to not serving that food to them and making them realize that they have no other choices if they don't eat that food.

The "Nanny" state?

As I wrote yesterday, I really appreciate what Jamie Oliver is trying to do on his new show. But of course, there are critics. I really do not understand what so-called "conservatives" and libertarians find so repulsive about trying to get people to eat healthy. Just a few months ago, I blogged about Glenn Beck getting worked up just because a Maryland school district decided to have meatless Mondays, and Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity sneer at any meal that doesn't include a copious amount of beef (I wonder what kind of payments these guys get from the beef board?)

So, it goes without saying that the Conservative voices that be are outraged by Food Revolution. One piece I found intriguing is from Reason the mouthpiece of the "libertarian" movement. You can read it here:

OK, here's what I don't get. School lunches are already heavily regulated. They're probably the most heavily regulated food service industry in the country. So why pull a conniption fit just because people want to change those regulations to make the food healthier? Second, these are kids, and adults should be in charge of what they eat, so if adults are making decisions to change what is being done, how does that make us a "Nanny" state? Do these people really believe that reworking school lunches so that they include more fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods will really put us on the path of being some kind of a totalitarian state?

Even more telling is that the tone of the article seems to suggest that Reason is actually afraid of Oliver because of his popularity. This isn't just some crazy, tree hugging hippy that people will ignore. Horrors, people may actually LISTEN and do what Oliver says.

Now I did find some of the discussion as to how Oliver has tripped up in his mission (the suggested school lunches with excess calories and fat was particularly intriguing). Hey, if the guy is advocating something just as bad he should be made aware of it. But, curiously, the article seems to be more annoyed that Oliver is even suggesting that we all eat better. That somehow or another, it's an affront to freedom to try to get people to seriously think about what they are eating.

I find this argument curious coming from a Libertarian mouthpiece since Libertarians are supposed to be so concerned about taxes, etc. In fact, in the video above, the main objection the Reason people seem to have to improving school lunches is that they don't want to spend the money on it (Does that woman really believe that a Healthy Choice microwave meal is really healthy?)

If they're so concerned about money then why don't they realize that in the end we all pay for each others bad eating habits. One study projects that obesity related diseases cost Americans upwards of $150 billion a year. That's BILLION with a "B." That translates to higher health insurance premiums, and higher taxes to cover Medicare and Medicaid.

Since the author of this Reason article claimed that most healthy adults couldn't identify a beet, cauliflower or an eggplant, I have to chalk up a lot the hullabaloo to just plain ignorance. Being ignorant has somehow gotten to be a badge of honor in this country. It's amazing that a country founded by some of the greatest thinkers of all time, who were willing to open themselves up to being educated and thinking of things so differently, is now so willing wrap itself up and its ignorance and curse at anyone trying to educate.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

You're More Likely to get Killed by Your Food than Homicide

A truly inspiring and educational speech by Jamie Oliver as he accepts a TED prize.

Junk Food is Like Cocaine

Another, more detailed, story on that study showing how eating highly processed food is addicting:

I found the comparison to cocaine fascinating. Coca leaves have been around for centuries, but it was only once they were purified into cocaine, that it became addictive. In the same way, purifying corn into substances like high fructose corn syrup makes food addictive.

I think the lesson here is that we have to view our own junk food urges in the same way we've treated addictions like nicotine in the past. It's an addiction, and addictions are not easy to get over. It takes more than just willpower, and once the addiction is finely kicked, we can never go back.

More importantly, we have to think apply this research to our children's diets. We may all be addicted to processed foods, but there's still hope for our children.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Losing Weight is a Bitch

Because, junk food is addictive:

Making the change from eating highly processed food to healthier, real food is not easy. I'll be the first to admit that. As the article above discussed, junk food is addictive. Our brains are wired so that we crave it. What's more, our brains don't get the same "high" from eating a salad as it does a Whopper.

But, like a drug addict or an alcoholic, we have to break our addiction to junk foods. Just as drugs and excessive alcohol is bad for our health, and bad for society, so is excessive consumption of unhealthy foods.

We have to learn to replace that processed bag of cookies we snack on with healthier alternatives like a handful of nuts or raisins, and learn to make ourselves a salad for lunch instead of running to McDonald's for a burger and fries.

We need to do it for ourselves, and we need to do it for our families.

And, because fast food is addictive, we have to just say "no" to our children when they ask for it. We can not perpetuate the addiction. We have to take charge of our children's health and their diets so that they grow up knowing how to eat to remain a healthy weight.

Now this Is Really Sad

I DVRed Jamie Oliver's new show on ABC Food Revolution and watched it this weekend. This part of the show really struck me. These children couldn't identify any vegetables. I'm not talking about anything exotic like arugula. The children in this classroom didn't know what a real tomato or potato looked like.

You have to ask what the parents of these children are not only cooking for their kids (if they cook), but what they eat themselves. My daughter won't touch a tomato, but she sure as hell knows what one is. She's even helped me to pick them in the garden.

It's no wonder that half the adults in this town are obese. If their children can't identify basic fruits and vegetables, it shows an appalling lack of these foods in their own homes.

By not eating these fruits and vegetables themselves, and not exposing their children to them, the parents in this community are not only damaging their own health, but the health of their children.

Getting healthy and slim means taking ownership of your food. Taking ownership means preparing your own food, from scratch, with real ingredients. It can be done, and takes no more time then running out to a fast food joint to pick it up.

Friday, March 26, 2010

OK, It's Now a Fact

High Fructose Corn Syrup makes you fat. According to a Princeton study, rats fed HFCS gained significantly more weight and became fatter than rats fed regular old sugar. Both sets of rats were fed the EXACT SAME NUMBER OF CALORIES.

You can read about it here: . It's a fascinating study, and I highly recommend reading the press release.

Additionally, the rats fed HFCS had abnormal increases of body fat, and long term consumption of HFCS led to the rats becoming obese.

So the bottom line is, if it contains HFCS, just step away. You don't want to eat or drink it. Of course, anything containing HFCS is highly processed, and that alone should be enough for you to avoid consuming it.

Improving School Lunch

There's a bill in the Senate that would require the Agriculture Department to improve the standards of school lunches. You can read about it here:

If passed, the food they feed our children in school will be healthier, and, hopefully, lead to better eating habits so they don't have to deal with the weight problems their parents do. It won't be a massive turn-around--they'll be no seaweed, crusted tofu rolls-- but kids might see their pizza made with whole-wheat crust and low fat mozzarella.

I'm all for improvement. I'm sure critics will say the proposed legislation does not go far enough, but I say any step in the right direction is a step in the right direction.

On the same note, Jamie Oliver's show "Food Revolution" premiers tonight on ABC. I plan on setting my DVR. On the show, he tries to improve school lunches in one town.

Just Dance

Now that its Spring, I've been gradually working on getting my diet in order again. It's seems to have become a cycle of sorts these last few years. In the late Autumn and Winter I crave cooked foods, so the proportion of raw fruits and vegetables I eat goes down, and I gain some weight (and let's not forget the holidays).

Then Spring comes and I start eating less cooked food and more raw food and do a few gentle cleanses, and the weight comes back off again. In the last few weeks I've moved from mostly having oatmeal or eggs in the morning back to fruit and fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. My lunch time salads have more vegetables, and dinner is becoming more centered around raw ingredients again.

But just as importantly, I'm moving around more again. With the sunshine beckoning, I head outside and putter around in the yard for an hour or two. Instead of a one hour work-out on the treadmill, I'll take a two or three hour hike with a girlfriend. Instead of huddling inside with a cup of tea, I'll venture outside in the yard just to see what blooms are popping up in the garden.

I think we tend to focus too much on "work-out" when we're trying to lose weight, and forget that just moving around in general is probably even important then scheduling time at the gym. Getting into the habit of taking a short stroll to the sandwich shop to get your lunch instead of driving there, or walking out to your mailbox to get the mail instead of waiting until you drive by your mailbox will probably do more to jump start your weight loss/maintenance then any high octane gym work-out you won't stick with. If you make a concerted effort to just move more you could easily burn an additional 200 calories a day which can add up to close to an additional 1 to 1 1/2 pounds lost monthly.

Even just dancing can help. If you go to that wedding or Bar Mitzvah, get out on the dance floor and just dance. Or put on some music you like and just dance around the house. Dancing can burn 300 to 500 calories an hour depending on how vigorously you do it.

Just dance, and don't think about how uncoordinated you look to the rest of the world, but think about how much trimmer you'll be for getting out on the dance floor.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Another Reason to Get Out in the Garden More

Rev Up the Treadmill Ladies

Because you need to do at least an hour of exercise a day to fend off flab:

An hour a day of exercise does sound daunting, which is why you have to work it in whenever you can. That's why I LOVE my treadmill. I parked it in front of a flat-screen TV, and that's where I now do most of my TV watching. If I can watch TV I can exercise. With on-demand programing and DVR, whenever I can find the time I jump on and catch up on Mad Men, True Blood, movies and whatever else I want to watch. So much better than sitting on a sofa with a bag of chips.

Cooking from the Garden

Unbelievably, despite the cold winter and past few weeks of torrential rains, the daffodils have started blooming in my garden. Yesterday I strolled down to the herb garden to see how things are faring and found both chives and scallions ready to pick.
I wanted to incorporate these harbingers of Spring into dinner last night so I whipped up a batch of Creamy Avocado Dressing With Herbs. This is a great dressing that satisfies that urge for a creamy salad dressing without having to resort to sour cream or mayonnaise. In fact, the only fat in the dressing is the avocado itself (butter milk is fat free). I don't even use any other oil. The buttermilk also adds a bit of "tang" to the dressing which I love. The squeeze of lemon juice helps to retain the color, so if you don't use it right away it can keep for a few days in the fridge (and never seems to last longer than that). I sat down one day to figure out the calories in the dressing (based on the ingredients) and figured out that 1/4 of a cup (which is a big helping) has about 70 calories in it, which is great when you compare it to other creamy dressings' calorie counts.
Best of all. the Avocado and fresh herbs in the dressing help to up my raw percentage for the week. It's not a completely raw dressing, but it's more than half raw.
I also love this dressing because it makes a great "sauce" to use on poached fish or grilled meats. Last night I made a simple dinner of poached salmon and a salad of romaine leaves and grape tomatoes (you know my motto, "have a little raw with every meal"). I then used my Creamy Avocado Dressing with Herbs over both the fish and the salad. I also love to use this dressing on grilled chicken breasts. If you serve the meat cold, it's a great summer meal.
Creamy AvocadoDressing with Herbs
1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
2 scallions, both green and white parts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh chives
1/2 cup fresh parsley
3 tablespoons white wine, champagne or White balsamic vinegar
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 cup buttermilk
salt and pepper
Put everything in a blender and puree until smooth.
Note: if you reduce the buttermilk to 1/2 cup, this also makes a great vegetable dip for crudities.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shout-Out to a Great New Blog

Whenever I find a great new blog I just love to give it a shout out. As any regular reader knows, I'm obsessed with how our kids eat, and how school lunch plays into that role.

Well, a self-proclaimed "next generation" lunch lady is on a mission to change school lunch and is blogging about it here:

I've added her to my following list and am anticipating future blogs.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Calorie Labeling will Go National

Thanks to the new Health Care Reform legislation, national chains will be required to list calories on the food they serve. Marion Nestle writes about it on her blog which you can read here:

You can also read about it here:

Because of my actual work, I've been following the HCR legislation pretty closely, and mostly liked what I saw. Several years ago, I found out my family couldn't get an individual health insurance policy at any price because of pre-existing conditions within our family (my son has autism, my husband has been on anti-depressants and I've had skin cancer).

In other words, prior to this legislation, my husband had to have a job with benefits. He could not be self employed (like myself), and if he was to lose his job and COBRA benefits ran out, then we would be left without insurance.

So needless to say, when I found out that they wanted to tax things like self-tanning salons and soda to pay for universal health insurance, I was all for it. I'm more then willing to pay a little extra for a soda or to lie on a tanning bed so that I know my family can always get health insurance.

What has amazed me is the flurry of mis-information that has surrounded this bill. It's indeed shameful the state to which our political system has devolved. We will essentially have EXACTLY the same system of health insurance we had before. Employers will be the primary system for delivering insurance to the employed, Medicare will still provide for the elderly and Medicaid for the poor and disabled.

What will change is that their will be a system of "exchanges" set up in states to provide for people who can't get insurance through their employers, and employers with more than 50 employees will pay a fine if they don't provide basic health insurance to employees. Insurance companies will be more closely regulated so they can't deny you insurance for pre-existing conditions nor drop you once you become sick.

It is not a socialized system of medicine (which BTW we already have since Medicare and Medicaid are actually the two biggest providers of HC benefits in the country). And, the legislation is currently scored to actually reduce the deficit, not increase it.

Throw in the national calorie counts, and I'm feeling pretty good about all this.

Monday, March 22, 2010

How to Lose Weight Using Raw Foods

Good article:

I think the advise to start slowly is sane. It's always better to take the tortoise, rather than the hare, approach to weight loss. Take small steps that you'll stick with for the rest of your life and then over time ramp them up.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Accepting Reality

On Tuesday I went to look at a school for my 15 year old autistic son. My son is one of the loves of my life. I adore him, and can't stand to be parted from him.

But the school I looked at on Tuesday was a residential program. If he goes there, he'll be living there most of the time.

This has been a new journey for me. After 12 years in the public school system here in town (he started when he was three), I have come to the realization that the local school system can no longer meet his needs. He still can't dress himself independently or tie a shoe-lace. I have to shower him, and he has no social life. He goes to school and then comes home and is entertained whenever my husband or I have the time. He spends his down time mostly engaging in autistic behaviors, or, doing that thing that teen-age boys are apt to do.

Last summer my son went to a sleep away camp for special needs kids, and he loved it. He had friends, and the staff kept him engaged 24/7. Whenever we spoke with him on the phone, you couldn't help but notice how happy he was. For once he was just one of the crowd, not the "weird" kid.

So here I was on Tuesday looking at a school that would send my baby away. It's a hard realization, and a far cry from were I was 12 years ago when I originally got his diagnosis.

Back then, I thought I'd eventually find some "cure" and that in the end, everything would be all right. He'd go to college, get married, have kids yada, yada, yada. But after years of chasing various miracle diets, therapies and spending tons of money, he was were we started: an adorable loving boy, with an IQ below 80 and severe communications delays.

So now I have to face reality. My son will need life-long care, and although I want to now keep him with me, I can't. I'd be placing my own needs before his own. He needs to be somewhere they can really teach daily living skills and a vocation and provide him with a social life on his level.

Losing weight and maintaining it is a lot like that as well. We've all tried the fad diets, the miracle therapies that were supposed to shed pounds, but in the long run nothing works. The only thing that does work is hard work. You have to eat less and exercise more.

Facing reality is hard, but in the end, we all have to face it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Do Antibiotics Make Us Fat?

A compelling post:

I had no idea that ranchers gave antibiotics to cattle to make them gain weight quicker.

However, while the author of this piece focused on medical antibiotics, if excess antibiotics are a reason for excessive weight gain in humans, I'd focus more on the antibiotics given to animals as a cause for the problem.

It's probably true that antibiotics are somewhat over-prescribed. When I was a teenager, a dermatologist put me on antibiotics for two years to clear up acne. It did clear up my skin, but it has caused a host of other health issues. I'm now resistant to antibiotics so when I do get sick and need antibiotics now I need extraordinary doses. I've had pneumonia twice and being resistant to antibiotics was a major stumbling block in both recoveries.

My teen-age antibiotic use also led to years of constant yeast infections, including two bouts with systemic yeast infections. I did manage to clear up that problem once I started my cleansing regimes. Yeast infections no longer plague me like they once did, but they were pretty constant for over thirty years.

I also have abnormally yellow teeth which my dentist told me is from my previous anti-biotic use.

So, needless to say, I'm always looking for meat which is raised without antibiotics. Given my previous history, I think avoiding it now is imperative. If it could lead to excessive weight gain later on, avoiding it for my children's sake is even more of a reason to avoid it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

You're Fat because

I found this picture on another blog. You can find it here:

I love it because it speaks the truth. There actually is no other reason for being overweight other than you eat to much.

Now, I understand that people have different metabolisms, and that for some it is a real struggle to lose weight. But the reality is that while you may have been cursed with the metabolism of a slug, the only reason why you may not be as thin as you'd like to be is that for your metabolism, you simply EAT TOO MUCH. If you want to lose weight then the one and only way to do it is to eat less and exercise more.

So, in your weight loss journey you have to accept the fact that you, yourself, are the only determinant of what your ultimate weight will be. Don't blame anyone or anything else.

If giving up chocolate are ice cream to have a 28 inch waist is more than you can stand, then just accept the fact that you'll have a 32 inch waist, and that no magic pill or combination of foods will slim you down further.

The Best Way to Cook your Veggies?

An interesting post by Marion Nestle:

While eating veggies raw is definitely best, that can get boring. What I found interesting, however, is that the microwave is one of the best ways to cook vegetables if you are going to cook them. I always thought otherwise, although I still did it because of time constraints. I guess I don't have to feel as guilty about it as I have been.

However, I would still recommend microwaving in glass and not plastic.

Is the Universe Conspiring Against Me?

I'm still working on losing my Winter/Holiday weight gain, or at least not gain any more weight. The one area were I have always excelled is exercise. I actually love to be physically active, so exercising for a couple of hours a day or more is not a chore.

This week, however, everything in the universe seems to be conspiring against me. First of all this weekend, we had torrential rainfall, winds and flooding here in New England meaning that doing anything outside had to be scratched. I also couldn't go to yoga. The News Reports advised people to stay home because power lines were down and trees were blocking many roads.

"No problem" I said to myself, "that's why I have the treadmill." But when I hopped on my treadmill on Saturday afternoon and tried to get a work-out in while watching an episode from the first season of Mad Men I got an "error" message on the screen. My treadmill would not work.

Making matters worse, the storm knocked out power and telephone lines across the whole New York and New England region. I have yet to be able to make an appointment to get my treadmill serviced because power and phone lines are still out at the company I bought it from.

Thank God the weather finally improved and I started walking out-doors, going to yoga etc. But now I've been hit with a monster cold. It is virtually impossible for me to breathe through my nose and despite taking anti-histamines, using my neti pot, rubbing my chest with vapor rub etc., I barely slept last night because of the congestion. Normally I go to yoga on Wednesday but I feel so miserable I think I have to just stay home and rest.

I don't know what I did to anger the exercise gods, but I do hope they get over it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What's Your BMI???

This site tells you how to calculate it:

Essentially, you divide your weight by your height squared then multiply that by 703.

For me it's 131 divided by 62 inches squared or 131 divided by 3844 multiplied by 703 which gets me to a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 23.9. That puts me in the "normal" range neither underweight or overweight.

I'm still a bit heavier then I like to be (extra holiday weight that's still refusing to come off). If I can get back down to my new "normal" weight of 128 my BMI drops to 23.4 and if I can get back down to 124 pounds (where I flirted briefly last summer) my BMI drops to 22.6 pounds.

Another Reason to Avoid Processed Foods

It can kill you:

As Michael Pollan says, if you can't pronounce it, don't eat it.

I Hate Daylight Savings Time

I absolutely loathe Daylight Savings Time. Since I have to get out of bed between 5:15 and 6 to get the kids ready for school, exercise etc. it means I have to wake up for a big chunk of the year in the dark, which is miserable. It was finally getting to the point when there was some light in the morning when BANG, DST starts and its pitch black again.

My poor kids don't want to get out of bed either. "Mommy it's still dark outside!!" My daughter argues. "Yes, I know sweetheart," I tell her, "but the government thinks that somehow this saves energy."

When my son's bus comes at 6:50 it's still dark.

I've been in a fog for the last two days because I'm losing sleep in the morning, and my work-outs have not been as vigorous because I want a nap.

I hate Daylight Savings Time. Could we at least go back to the old schedule where it didn't start until May?

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Raw Food Diet and Detox

I found this article about Steve Pavlina very interesting:

I actually followed Steve's blog back in 2008 when he went completely raw and it was one of the reasons why I moved towards raw foodism as well. I'm not completely raw, although I have gone through 1 to 4 week periods of doing so to detox. I generally stick to a 50% rule--more than 50% of my weekly diet has to be raw, vegan foods, and I usually aim to have at least 66% of my diet raw/vegan.

Pavlina, however, has gone another route, and is a full-time raw vegan. That's just a bit too intense for me. I do admit, however, that I always feel great when I go completely raw, even if just for a few days, but I can't imagine living that way for the rest of my life. It's just too extreme for me, and I just enjoy food too much. I also don't relish the thought of being the biggest food pain in the ass whenever I go out.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Want to Avoid Gaining 10 or 20 pounds???

You are what you drink.

Did you realize that drinking one bottle of Snapple's Agave Melon Antioxidant water is the equivalent of eating three bowls of Honeycomb, and that to work off the calories you'll have to shovel snow for 20 minutes?

Drinking a bottle of Snapple's Lemon Iced tea is the equivalent of eating six Fudgsicle bars, and drinking a 16 oz bottle of SunnyD is the equivalent of eating 8 Eggo Choco-nilla waffles.

And a drinking a bottle of Minute Maid lemonade is the equivalent of eating six Good Humor Ice Cream sandwiches. 0

And, if you think you're being healthy by drinking a Naked Protein Zone Banana, well you might as well have eaten five Breyer's Oreo Ice Cream sandwiches.

What you drink influences what you weight more than what you eat does. If your drinking habits regularly include any of these drinks, you may want to rethink the habit.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Beware of Big Corporations Bearing Gifts

Because it is in their economic interests to keep us fat and watching TV. Marion Nestle reports on a disturbing new trend, big corporations essentially silencing their critics with money. Read about it here:

It's doesn't take a dummy to figure out that if Weight Watchers is getting compensated by McDonalds to have Weight Watchers' "approved" meals on their menus, Weight Watchers is unlikely to recommend to its dieters to stop eating fast food (which they should).

Additionally, if Pepsi is funding a fellowship at Yale for doctoral work in nutrition science, you can bet dollars to doorknobs that new "science" isn't going to be critical of sugary soft drinks.

And, it is indeed disturbing that a big corporation like Disney can arm twist Harvard into evicting an organization that proved that its advertising was false.

People, while going to the polls is extremely important (and you should vote every chance you get), its more important to consider how and were you spend your money. You vote with your money, and if big corporations don't get yours, they can't use it to undermine your efforts to keep yourself and your family at healthy weight.

Book Review

A friend recently lent me Superfoods by David Wolfe. The premise of the book is that certain foods are nutritionally rich and by consuming them you'll get a dietary and healing leg up.

The book was interesting, but I was less then impressed by the "science" backing up the claims of the author. And, while some of the foods listed are probably readily available at a local health food store, others seemed to be harder to seek out.

The "Superfoods" Wolfe promotes are: goji berries, cacao, maca, bee products including honey, bee pollen, royal jelly and propolis, spirulina, AFA Blue-green algae, marine phytoplankton, aloe vera, hempseed, and coconuts.

There are also seven "honorable mentions" which are: Acai; camu camu berry, chlorella, Incan berries, kelp, noni and yacon.

Oh, and by the way, Wolfe says that to get the benefits of these foods you have to eat them raw.

Overall, Wolfe's book is an interesting quick read, but I'm glad I borrowed it and didn't have to buy it myself.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chart of the Day

Read about it here: The politics behind the policy is fascinating.
Even if you are against taxing unhealthy food, why does so much of the taxes we already pay go to subsidizing food that is unhealthy?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Want to Lose 5 Pounds a Year?

Push for an 18% tax on soda and pizza:

According to research an 18% tax on soda and pizza can lower adults' intake enough to lower their weight by an average of 5 pounds a year.

Makes sense to me.

I Need a Nap

I don't know why but I have really been dragging for the last few days. I don't know why, I slept in both Saturday and Sunday, and overall it was a pretty relaxing weekend. Yesterday I was so tired in the afternoon, I actually took a nap and then conked out around 9 pm last night.

But here it is at 8 am in the morning, and I'm ready for another nap. Maybe I'm fighting off something? I don't know, but I've got some work to do so I'm going to make myself a cup of tea and get that done.

Then I might head back upstairs for a while and get some more sleep.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Fresh is Best, but . . . .

The rhyming continues!! As all of you know I am a huge advocate of eating fresh fruits and vegetables. But, we all know that sometimes fresh fruits and vegetables are just not easily available.

The good news is that frozen vegetables are a good substitute:

This time of year I always keep my freezer stocked with frozen, organic vegetables so that I can whip up a meal in a pinch. In Summer and Fall there's so much good local produce around that I don't have to eat frozen vegetables, but this time of year I find that a bag of frozen, organic peas is better than no veggies at all.

A Bowl of Oatmeal a Day Sheds the Pounds Away

Sorry for the rhyming, but I can't help myself. One of my favorite breakfasts gets the thumbs up:

Note what it says further down in the article. To get the benefits of oatmeal, you have to eat the real thing. You're not doing yourself any favors by eating that flavored stuff in the packets. Besides, with a microwave, whipping up some real old-fashioned, rolled oats only takes a couple of minutes.

A Tipple A Day Keeps the Pounds at Bay

As if I needed an excuse to have a glass of wine?

Friday, March 5, 2010

You Might Want to Skip the Salad

The Cheesecake Factory's Caesar salad has 1,513 calories. California Pizza Kitchen's Waldorf Chicken salad has a whopping 1,570 calories.

Those are just two of the unhealthiest salads you can get. Find out about the others here:

I can't tell you how many times I've been to restaurants, ordered a "salad" to start only to be served some caloric disaster containing copious amounts of cheese, croutons etc and very little actual vegetables (I always get the dressing on the side). Lately I just send it back, asking that the offending ingredients be removed.

Why are America's restaurants working so hard to make us fat? If someone orders a "salad" they are no doubt trying to watch their weight. So why make it harder for us?

These calorie bomb salads are just proof that we need legislation requiring calorie counts on menus. Something tells me that once people see that the "salad" they were thinking of ordering contains close to their entire calorie allotment for the day, I'm sure they wouldn't order it.

Now this is just plain lazy

I'm speechless:

Big Weight Loss Requires Big Changes

But sometimes to get to big changes, you may need to start out one small step at a time:

Better a series of small steps that you stick with, then one big one that you can't.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Monty Python--Back in the Day

Yesterday, I caught an old episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus on IFC. The episode opened up with the camera focusing in on a number of women in bikinis before panning over to John Cleese sprawled out on a desk also wearing a bikini.

Now, I had seen this episode before a number of times, but this time I was struck by the women. Although taped as being the ultimate in desirable women, I don't think a single one of them would make it on camera today. These women all had hips and thighs, and some even had rolls on their tummies. What's more, they didn't have gargantuan breasts. In fact, in relation to the size of their hips and thighs, their breasts were rather small.

I tried to find the clip on Youtube, but all I could find was a similar scene from the movie And Now for Something Completely Different. Apparently in the time period between the filming of the original show and the movie standards had already begun to change. The women in the movie scene were all much thinner than the ones in the old TV show (although none of them had the huge breasts you see today).

Even though they were heavy by today's standards, the girls in the original TV cliplooked real. And, although thinner the girls in the movie still looked real. They didn't look like the distorted women we see today who've been liposuctioned and augmented to the point that they look like cartoons and not real women.

It Happens Every Noon

This is a truly fascinating piece to watch. It's a government film from 1966 promoting the school lunch program.

If the embedded player isn't working, you can also view the film here:

It's fascinating for a number of reasons. The cultural attitudes forty years ago, particularly towards girls and women, is interesting, and the conditions of some of the rural schools back then was appalling.

But, what I found most interesting, is that not a single one of the kids in this film is overweight or obese. Even the one described towards the end of the film as possibly needing to skip a meal or two is not all that heavy by today's standards.

While the food in this government film needs some improvement, e.g., fresh vegetables for canned, it still looks vastly superior to what's on the plate today as detailed by Mrs. Q in the School Lunch Project. Check out her blog here:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

We Don't Have the Science, But We're Going to Make the Claim Anyway

Kellogg is petitioning the European Union to allow it to claim that its cereals help with weight loss. Read about it here:

Apparently, Kellogg's doesn't have to prove scientifically that their cereals promote weight loss, but it's interesting that they can't just throw the claim on the box as they do here. It doesn't sound like a perfect process, but at least it is a process.

As to the claims, they're dubious at best, as you can read here:

That doesn't stop Kellogg's, of course, they enthusiastically promote their diet and even have an entire website devoted to it. See it here:

Of course you'll lose weight if you eat fewer calories, so if you substitute a bowl of Special K, for a Cheeseburger and fries, you will lose weight in the short term.

The problem is, of course, that you won't keep that weight off. As soon as you return to eating the cheeseburger and fries instead of the cereal, you will regain the weight.

Real long-term weight loss comes from making real changes to your diet that you'll stick with for the rest of your life, not replacing meals with a bowl of cereal for a few weeks.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Constant Eating

The "snack culture" has led to childhood obesity rates increasing by 16%:

We're making our kids sick by feeding them a consistent diet of junk. They get heart disease at younger ages ( and they're more prone to broken bones (

What is it going to take for our culture to stop damaging our children with food? Kids do not need to eat constantly, they need more exercise, and the only result of not eating a healthy nutritious dinner should be that they have to wait until the next healthy, nutritious meal is put in front of them.

Our children are our responsibility. No body else is putting junk food in their mouths.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Smaller You are the Harder it Is

As you may already know if you want to lose weight you have to burn off 3500 calories above and beyond what your caloric need. How many calories you need to maintain your current weight and how many calories you burn in any given exercise depends on your current weight. But, whether you weigh 140 pounds or 250 pounds you still have to burn off those extra 3500 calories to lose a pound.

I was reminded how much easier it is to lose weight when you're heavier this evening when I jumped on the treadmill for a quick work-out. My husband had used the treadmill this weekend and entered his weight into the calorie meter.

I forgot to reset it and was initially shocked to see how fast I seemed to be burning calories compared to normal. Then I remembered that I forgot to set the calorie meter.

I decided to continue my work-out just to see the difference. In the time it took me to burn 250 calories, according to the calorie meter, my husband would have burned 435 calories.

That's a significant different. If the two of us were to eat exactly how many calories we needed to maintain our current weights and did the exact same work-out on the treadmill it would take him 8 days to burn off a pound, whereas it would take me 14 days.

Unhealthy Kids' Foods

Worth a read: