Monday, February 28, 2011

Why You Can Never Trust McDonalds

Probably the best piece of advice I can give anyone trying to lose weight is to always, always, always, check actual calorie counts in foods, and don't assume that just because something sounds healthy, it's actually good for you.

Case in point, McDonalds' new oatmeal offering. Mark Bittman has a fantastic piece about it which you can read here:

Bittman did a little exploring and here's what he found:

Incredibly, the McDonald’s product contains more sugar than a Snickers bar and only 10 fewer calories than a McDonald’s cheeseburger or Egg McMuffin. (Even without the brown sugar it has more calories than a McDonald’s hamburger.)

Get that??? If you order this new "healthy" Micky D's offering, you're really not much better off then if you had gotten an Egg McMuffin or a cheeseburger. BTW, here's the nutritional info from the McDonald's website:

Here's the reality, you won't lose any weight or keep it off if you head into McDonalds for your food, even if you order their "healthy" offerings. McDonalds is a big corporate giant which has made boatloads of money marketing unhealthy, cheap foods.

Faced with what it sees as a rising tide of people looking for healthy options, what does McDonalds do? Rather than actually offering healthy alternatives, it offers unhealthy foods marketed as being healthy.

A corporate tiger does not change it's stripes too easily when those stripes have proven in the past to be wildly profitable. McDonalds isn't interesting in actually offering you healthy foods that will help you lose weight. McDonalds just wants to sell you cheap calories loaded with sugar and fat so that they can make money.

So if you're trying to lose weight, and keep it off, bypass McDonalds. Make your oatmeal at home, or bring it with you to microwave at the office.

I Think I'll take mine Black

Below is a list of five of the highest calorie coffee drinks from the five largest coffee shop chains in the U.S., and their fast food item equivalents in terms of calories. The information was sourced from, which compiled the data from the coffee shops themselves:

1. Krispy Kreme's Mocha Dream Chiller, 20oz: 1,050 calories, 41g total fat

EQUAL TO: 6.17 White Castle cheese burgers

2. Dunkin' Donuts Vanilla Bean Coolatta, 32oz: 860 calories, 12g of total fat

EQUAL TO: 3.44 McDonald's Hamburgers

3. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Caramel Ice Blended, 24oz: 790 calories, 13g of fat

EQUAL TO: 4.16 Taco Bell Chicken Soft Tacos

4. Starbucks White Chocolate Crème Frappuccino w/whip, 24oz: 760 calories, 13g of fat

EQUAL TO: 2.23 Burger King Fries (small)

5. Peet's Coffee & Tea Hot White mocha w/whip, 20oz: 547 calories, 25g total of fat

EQUAL TO: 1.95 Subway 6" Turkey Breast Sandwiches

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I'm Back!!!

From vacation that is, although I hated to leave New Hampshire. The skiing was fabulous, and my kids are now both skiing to the point that they'll go anywhere I want to go--which is virtually anywhere on the mountain. We skied hard all week, and cross-country skied two days as well.

Back to reality, and work.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Why You Have to Take Charge

Because as Marion Nestle explains, government is now owned by big corporations and will never take the steps to protect us. Read it here:

Here's the nut of what she had to say:

We live in an era when corporations run government. You don’t believe this? Take a look at the appalling events in Wisconsin. Consider the implications of last year’s Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, allowing corporations virtually unlimited funding of congressional election campaigns.

Election campaign funding is the root source of corruption in American government. If corporations were not allowed to fund election campaigns, we might be able to elect legislators who are more interested in public health than corporate health.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mental Health Break

A full Ashtanga Yoga practice in less then 4 minutes:

In case you're wondering about the dearth of posts this week, I'm in New Hampshire skiing with the kids this week. I've been either alpine or Nordic skiing pretty hard all week, and haven't had a chance to do much posting.

I'm very proud of my kids, both are really learning to ski very well, including my 16-year autistic son. Today I introduced both to a bunch of black diamond trails that neither had skied before, and both skied them like pros. Black diamonds, if you don't know, are the second toughest kinds of alpine ski trails.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tai Chi Aides in Weight Loss

I was happy to see this:

Here's what the article had to say:

The University of Queensland, Australia has released an exciting study for anyone looking to lose weight. Researchers found that the gentle, yet powerful, exercise known as tai chi helps with obesity and excess weight, in a number of ways. The scientists discovered that tai chi:

Improves body mass index (BMI–an indicator for healthy weight);
Reduces the amount of abdominal fat and overall waist measurements;
Improves blood sugar balance–a critical element for maintaining a healthy weight or to lose weight;

Reduces high blood pressure;

Significantly reduces depression; and

Improves the body’s use of insulin (insulin resistance)–a significant factor for weight gain and diabetes, among other serious health conditions.

Read more:

In addition to Yoga, I started practicing Tai Chi about eighteen months ago. I love it. It's slow moving and thoughtful, but it's a perfect set of easy exercises to learn. What's so great about it, is because they're so easy, you wind up practicing them all the time (which you're supposed to do).

Here's how it works, at every class you little bit more of various "forms" (essentially a series of movements), and you're supposed to practice what you've learned in-between classes. The first form I learned took over a year to master (and it still needs a lot of fine tuning). I'm now working on learning my second form which involves a sword.

The dictate to practice (becuase the more you practice the faster you progress), means that you get a lot of extra movement in during the week. As I mentioned, it's pretty easy. You don't sweat, etc., so it's a perfect little "breather" when you're working. I like to practice ten or fifteen minutes prior to going to sleep.

So, I guess one of the main reasons why it helps in weight loss is YOU MOVE MORE, and anything that gets you moving is a good thing.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Why We Need to be Skeptical

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about Wal-Mart's announcement that they will work to make the processed foods they market "healthier" and take other steps to improve health. I was skeptical. I found a really good critique of just why we should be skeptical which is well worth the read.

Read it here:

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Yogic Room of One's Own

In my college days of more then twenty years ago, I was quite enamored by Virginia Woolf. One of my favorites was her A Room of One's Own, a feminist text in which she expounded on the conception that "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."

I've been thinking of Woolf and her idea of having "a room" in the last few months, but not in terms of writing fiction (I guess I already have that room if you consider my office.) Instead, I have been considering Woolf's dictum in relation to my yogic practice.

As those of you who have been following my blog know, I made a commitment to try to practice yoga every day two years ago. Many days I'm only doing the Ashtanga "minimum" of 3 Surya Namaskara A & B and the three seated closing postures which takes only ten minutes, but many days do have longer practices.

Of course, a daily yoga commitment pretty much means I can't get to the Shala every day. For quite a while I was simply rolling out my mat in either my bedroom or living room and practicing.

I found this, however, to be distracting. Instead of focusing on my breath or bandhas I was usually obsessing about things such as the laundry sitting on my bed that needed to be folded, or the ashes in the fireplace that needed to be cleaned out.

Another problem was that I was usually interrupted by my husband or kids--particularly if I was trying to do a longer practice. I also had to wait until a room was empty to practice, which limited the times when I could practice. The end result was that while I'd from time to time stick with the daily practice routine, daily practice was more of a goal then a reality.

Last summer, however, the clean-up bug hit me. We had a basement playroom, which in recent years had become nothing more than an abandoned toy repository and holiday decoration storage. The kids hadn't gone down there in years, and it slowly but surely filled up with junk.

So one day I decided that enough was enough, and started sorting and lugging stuff out of there. In between trips out to the car to load up for a trek to Good Will, it hit me--the old play room would be a perfect at home yoga practice studio.

Suddenly my cleaning had a purpose, and I found myself even more willing to part with Thomas the Tank Engine and Barbie paraphernalia in my quest to create yogic space.

At first I practiced with the room as is--a child-friendly primary paint color scheme and open shelving displaying boxes of Christmas ornaments, fabric pumpkins and an odd assortment of games which my family actually still plays from time to time.

This worked for a few months, and I found that just by having a dedicated space, my incidence of practicing at home went up. I didn't have to wait for someone to clear out of the bedroom or living room to practice, but could just roll out my mat whenever the mood struck and go. Plus, because it was out of the way, it was less likely that I was interrupted by husband or kids (although there's really no getting away from them is there?

Soon, however, I found I wanted a more "yogic" contemplative atmosphere. Bright red and white walls with giant Stop and other traffic signs for some reason just wasn't setting the right tone.

So a couple of weeks ago, I got out the paint brushes, and, after some color experimentation, repainted the room in two shades of plum. To hide the various holiday decorations, games, etc. on the open shelving (and to create a calmer atmosphere) I installed a curtain rod with ivory shower curtains which slide easily in front of the open shelves.

I've posted a picture of my personal yogic room above so that you can see the results. It still needs some artwork, and maybe a nicer bench to hold the candle, but what do you think?

Here's what I've found about creating my personal yoga studio:

First, I'm practicing more. Once I had the dedicated space, I came much closer to my goal of daily practice, and once I "yogified" the room, the lengths of my home practices increased as well.

Second, I'm less distracted and focused in my practice. When I was in my bedroom or living room, I was always glancing around and noticing stuff that had to get done.

The room has been particularly beneficial with all the snow, kids being sick etc. this year. If I can't get to the Shala, I just head to my yoga room, roll out my mat. Today my daughter was home sick, so I couldn't get to my usual Friday Ashtanga Primary series class, but I did practice for a full hour at home.

Plus, as I tell myself, if I ever sell the house, the space no longer looks like a giant junk storage room, but an actual usable space. Home gym anyone?

And, since I'm close to getting my teacher certification from the Yoga Alliance, I know have a space in the house that I can use if I want to teach private yoga instruction.

It's not perfect. For one thing, since it's a basement, it's a bit colder then I'd like for yoga. I've brought down a space heater, but in the future, I may want to explore options for providing more heating.

Most of us live in homes with limited space, so carving out dedicated space for our work-outs is tough. But I think if we are creative, we can find space for ourselves, and by finding space for ourselves, our willingness and desire to work-out can go up.

This basement space was sitting there in my house for years, basically unused and collecting clutter. A little cleaning out, painting and effort created a home yoga studio.

So look around and see what you can find.

Thought for the Day

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Carbs are Not Your Enemy

Something to read and think about:

Just Not Gaining Weight is a Bitch

Every so often I like to repeat themes. Two important ones being that you shouldn't get discouraged when you don't get "instant" weight loss for your efforts in exercising and eating less, and that slow and steady wins the race.

Here's my story. Several years ago, I resolved that I was going to lose 35 pounds I had put on over the previous 3 1/2 years. I determined to increase my exercise regime and eat less, and stick with it no matter how long it took.

To that end, I cut back on the calories, and spent a great deal of money on a treadmill along with a new TV to put in front of the treadmill. I had been power walking when the weather was nice and time allowed, but I resolved to walk every day no matter what the weather. The treadmill also opened up opportunities to walk since I could do it early in the morning before sunrise, and after school when the kids were home.

The treadmill was delivered and I dutifully walked every day for 45 minutes at a 2 incline at 2.5 miles an hour. I also cut back entirely on processed snacks (only fruit and veggie snacks) and cut back on my portion sizes at all meals.

And, for all that effort, after two months I lost a grand total of one pound.

That sounds awfully discouraging, but the good news is that I lost weight and didn't gain any additional weight. I had been steadily gaining weight for three years, so losing one pound after two months, as opposed to gaining a pound, was a major triumph.

Let me explain. If you want to lose one pound you have to burn an excess of 3,500 calories. Conversely, to gain a pound you have to ingest an extra 3,500 calories over the calories your body otherwise burns.

So if over the last two years you gained 12 pounds (half a pound a month), it means you have to either cut 1,750 calories from your diet a month, or add activities which burn 1,750 a month (or a combination of the two) just to maintain your current weight. In other words, you can be eating less and exercising more, and not lose a single pound, but the good news is that you do not gain any additional weight.

So my initial reduction in calories and increase in physical activity merely stopped the weight increase (with a small overall decrease in weight). To really lose weight I had to cut far more calories from my diet and really increase my physical activity.

And that's the same for everyone. Too many people get discouraged because their initial efforts result in little or no weight loss. But the reality is, that too many people already have excess calorie intake and not enough exercise, so it's a triumph that they haven't actually gained any more.

It's discouraging, but its a start, and despite what the diet gurus tell you, to really lose weight and to keep it off, you have to start slowly and steadily decrease your caloric intake and increase your exercise.

After my initial efforts, I slowly increased my exercise levels (increasing both the speed and elevation of the walks, doing more yoga and just trying to move more), and further refined my diet to cut my caloric intake.

Eventually I started to lose a pound or two a week.

So, by sticking with my initial efforts, and not abandoning them because they didn't produce quick enough results, I eventually reached my goal.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why Aren't GMO Foods Labeled?

It's a question Mark Bittman asks and I ask as well:

Bittman has the issue down cold--it's a matter of choice. By not labeling GMO containing foods, my choice is taken away. I want to avoid GMOs, but can't because they're not labeled (although avoiding processed foods is a good way to go, it's not perfect and GMOs can still creep in).

Here's what Bittman has to say on the matter:

"Even more than questionable approvals, it’s the unwillingness to label these products as such — even the G.E. salmon will be sold without distinction — that is demeaning and undemocratic, and the real reason is clear: producers and producer-friendly agencies correctly suspect that consumers will steer clear of G.E. products if they can identify them. Which may make them unprofitable. Where is the free market when we need it?

A majority of our food already contains G.M.O.’s, and there’s little reason to think more isn’t on the way. It seems our “regulators” are using us and the environment as guinea pigs, rather than demanding conclusive tests. And without labeling, we have no say in the matter whatsoever."

The entire opinion, however, is worth the read.


Monday, February 14, 2011

The 1953 Kitchen

I thought this was a very interesting post over at the Atlantic. While it discusses the technological differences of kitchens in the 1950's from today's kitchens, it also goes into the economies a bit. Read it here:

This part was intriguing:

And what was available was much more expensive. "Food prepared in the home" consumes less than 10% of the average family budget; in 1950, that figure was almost 30%. It shows in the cookbooks. The Betty Crocker is full of economizing tips: ways to stretch ground beef by adding Wheaties; noodle and rice rings that artfully disguise the fact that there isn't much protein to go around; "one egg" cakes praised for being economical. This was not a handout for welfare recipients; it was expected that the average housewife would be anxiously counting the cost of the eggs and milk used in her baked goods, and looking for ways to stretch out even cheap cuts of meat at the end of the month. Now, I'm sure there are still people in this country who worry about the price of adding an extra egg to their cakes--but they are not the average, or even close to the average. Cooking is both much better, and much easier for those who choose to do it, than it was when my kitchen was built.

The difference between what percentage of our budgets food consumes, is pretty dramatic. It used to be that food consumed over a third of our overall spending, now it's less then ten percent. Wow!!

And, what that extra cost represented, was a frugality with food. It was served on smaller plates (ever notice the difference in size?), in smaller portions, and when you did get a whole piece of meat (like a roast), it was usually a special occasion.

One of Michael Pollan's Food Rules is to eat less and eat better. He directs you to spend more on your food to eat better quality food.

That eat less, eat better meme has been a constant theme of mine. Eschew the junk for the truly great. If I'm going to indulge in dessert, then it's not some Hostess cake, it's some incredibly delectible confection at a great restaurant or a wonderful home-made dessert whipped up by a dear friend or myself. Instead of filling up on hamburger, I save my red meat splurges for a welled-cooked, medium rare rack of lamb.

So pretend like its 1953 and eat less, but eat better.

Get Active!! You Can Do it!!~

I've been posting quite a bit about learning to enjoy the cold weather, exercise wise, and this morning I read this blog post by the CEO of Weight Watchers International. Read it here:

Dave, the Weight Watchers CEO, writes about learning to ski after the age of 40, and even jokes about not being too good at it.

But the point is, he does it. You shouldn't let your fear of not being Olympic grade material stop you from moving. Instead of taking the "easy" Winter-time vacation route of heading somewhere warm where he could lounge by a pool with a big (calorie laden) drink, Dave is out there moving and improving his skiing skills.

And, as for kids being better skiers, Dave let me tell you this. I started to ski when I was three. I'm now 49. I actually skied competitively for a while, and have probably, in my past, skied some of the most challenging runs in this country (including Mary Jane in Winter Park).

My ten year old daughter is now on the way to being a much better skier then me. It has to do with age, Dave. When you get to a certain age, you learn that your legs can just no longer take the punishment of the slopes (and icy moguls). You trade in your longer skis for shorter ones, and learn to only ski moguls when there's a good layer of fresh snow on them.

So stop worrying that your kids ski better, and just enjoy the ride.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Yet Another Reason to Avoid Diet Soda

In addition to being a chemical laden brew with no nutritional value, new studies show that diet soda drinkers are at a higher risk for strokes and heart attack.

Read about it here:

Just because it's "zero" calories, doesn't mean it's any good for you. Try to stick with water instead.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Just Eat Real Food

A truly thought provoking column by the Mark Bittman of the New York Times:

I hope that everyone takes the time to read Bittman's column because he does a great job pointing out what exactly is wrong with the USDA's new food recommendations ( attempts to avoid offending the food lobby led to a "contorted message" and "imprecision").

He also notes that Wal-Mart's new "healthy" initiative still relies too heavily on processed foods.

Here's Bittman's bottom line:

"The truly healthy alternative to that chip is not a fake chip; it’s a carrot. Likewise, the alternative to sausage is not vegan sausage; it’s less sausage. This is really all pretty simple, and pretty clear. But the messages we’ve heard recently are as clear as . . . well, a SOFA.

You want an acronym? Let’s try ERF: Eat Real Food."

I am 100% with Bittman. In my weight-loss/road to healthy eating journey, I have left behind ultra-processed foods. I did not replace one set of junk processed foods with a supposedly "healthier" set of junk processed foods.

There is nothing "healthier" about a food that's been processed to the point that it's barely food, no matter what the claims are on the package of being "organic," "natural" or "vegan." Junk food is still junk food even if the box it comes in is made of recycled paper.

If I go vegan for a week, I'm eating an exclusively plant based diet of fruits and vegetables. I'm not going to a store and getting boxes of processed"vegan" treats.

In fact, it's my determination to stay away from processed foods that keeps me on an omnivore diet. I think that eating less meat, dairy, fish, eggs, refined carbs is the goal, but to eliminate any of these would lead to me seeking substitutes and those substitutes would probably be more processed, and thus more unhealthy, then just eating smaller quantities of the real thing.

Here's my bottom line. It's always better to eat the real thing in limited quantities, then any fake processed stuff trying to imitate it. If you want sausage, eat a sausage. Just limit yourself to one, and make eating it a special occasion. Real butter is better for you then any supposedly unnatural "healthier" version, and learning to snack on nuts, dried fruit or fresh fruit is better then any 100 calorie, organic vegan "health" bar.

Eating real foods and learning to control frequency and portions is a diet that's sustainable in the long run, because, you don't deprive myself of anything. You just can't eat everything you want, in huge quantities all of the time.

Eating real foods is the road to losing weight for real and keeping it off. You won't, however, lose anything for real by switching from one set of processed junk food to another set of processed junk food that's just marketed to be better for you.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Got Eggs?

After years of being told that eggs are bad for your cholesterol, it turns out that eggs are actually healthy for you. Read about it here:

It makes sense, eggs are a natural product and an excellent source of protein, so of course eating eggs, in moderation, has got to be better for you then some over processed crap. Here's what the author had to say:

"What we don't eat has implications for what we do, and I think it very likely that general advice to avoid eggs actually served to lower overall diet quality -- by increasing intake of refined starches and added sugars. We have a study protocol currently under review that will examine the question: do you wind up with better overall diet quality and health with advice to exclude, or include, eggs? You know which way I'm betting.

I hasten to add that a diet can certainly be optimal without including eggs. (If people swapped out egg breakfasts for mixed berries, walnuts, and oatmeal -- I would have no objection; but I have not seen much of that!) A balanced vegan diet, for example, is a powerful force for good health.

But well-informed and dedicated vegans are a vanishingly small part of the population. Most Americans, and much of the world's population, eat mixed diets in which eggs are not taboo. Eggs have been avoided by members of these groups not because of cultural prohibitions, but in an attempt to avoid a concentrated source of dietary cholesterol, and its potential harms".

In other words, by avoiding eating a natural product, eggs, we ate stuff that was actually worse for us.

Of course, eating too much of anything is bad. You don't want to be eating a dozen eggs a day, but having eggs for breakfast, lunch or dinner a few times a week is probably a good way to lower your overall calorie count, but still get the protein you need.

You can also do what I do, either make your eggs with just egg whites, or mix it up. Have one whole egg and 2 egg whites, etc.

Mental Health Break

Remember to always dance like no one is watching.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Yet Another Reason Why Ashtanga Yoga Rocks

It's a great Ab work-out:<

According to this article, doing plank is a better ab work-out then doing crunches. If you've ever done an Ashtanga practice, you'd know that in the course of the practice we do a lot of Chaturanga Dandasanas (i.e., planks).

Monday, February 7, 2011

When Life Throws you Tons of Snow, Make Snowmen

Today it looks like we're finally catching a break from the onslaught of snow and frigid temperatures. It's actually in the upper 30's and sunny right now, and it's supposed to get up into the 40s this afternoon here in Weston, CT. Considering that temperatures have been mostly hovering around the teens and 20s since mid-December, today is going to be down-right balmy.

But, even this brief respite won't be enough to make any real dent in the huge accumulations of snow we've had since the end of December. Right now, I still have over two feet of snow in my yard.

The snow, and the cold weather, has really set people off to bitching here in the Northeast.

But I say, why bitch about the snow when you can enjoy it?

Instead of sitting inside and complaining about the weather, get outside and make a snowman with your kids (or grand-kids). Go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Grab a sled and head for the nearest hill.

Book a trip to a ski resort, or just head to one for a day trip. It's the best skiing the Northeast has seen in years.

I know, I skied this weekend with my son in New Hampshire. I had a girlfriend along with me for the weekend with her kids as well. Saturday, it was dry and cold, and there was plenty of fresh snow. Sunday there was more fresh snow, although it was a bit damper and colder.

We all had a great time (other than my girlfriend's 13 year old daughter, but that's another story).

If all you do is sit in the house and complain about the weather, you've missed the opportunity to get outside and burn off calories and weight. But, if you learn to love winter sports, you may just find yourself pining for snow, as I do in less then stellar winters.

So, stop the bitching, and get moving.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Carbs Can Help you Lose Weight?

I guess Atkins had it wrong. As always, I take these things with a grain of salt. New research is showing that some types of carbs can help you lose weight.

Read about it here:">

In short: If you stick to the resistant form of starch, you may feel full much longer...and be less inclined to eat between meals. Recommended sources of resistant starch carbs include sweet potatoes, beans, whole grain pasta, artichokes, yams, and quinoa. These carbs are only minimally digested, but the "full" feeling they deliver can go a long way toward helping you push away the plate.

According to Health magazine, the study of involved 4,451 participants. Participants who ate the most carbs (from whole grains, fruits and vegetables), remained slim throughout the duration, while the heaviest participants ate less starch resistant carbs.

I'm having a kind of "WELL DUH" moment here. Let's get this straight, people who ate whole grains and real vegetables lost weight. Am I missing something here???

I would imagine if people weren't eating whole grains and vegetables, they'd be eating white bread, white pasta and lot's of non-vegetables.

So isn't the lesson here just EAT MORE WHOLE GRAINS AND VEGETABLES?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I've Hit 100!!!

100 followers that is. I checked my blog and discovered I've hit the big 1-0-0 this afternoon.

I'm so excited.

Thanks all for taking the time to read my blog.

You Tell 'Em Marion

Marion Nestle is an NYU Professor of nutrition, the author of Food Politics and a great commentator on the state of nutrition policy in this country.

So naturally I wanted to read her views on the new US Dietary Guidelines. I knew she would be the one to find any faults, as well giving any kudos where kudos are due.

True to form, Marion had not one, but two good posts on the topic (and I'm sure more are to follow).

Essentially, she finds it great that the US is now instructing people to "eat less" through reduced portion sizes, and great that the government recommending less sugar and fats in our diets.

What's not so good, she says, is that there is still evidence that politics had a hand in drafting the guidelines.

For example, she points out, there is no directive to just "eat less meat." Why? Well the meat industry is still a powerful lobby. As it is, they're not happy about the guidelines, and fear they will lead to people eating more seafood.

Here's what she had to say:

They still talk about foods (fruits, vegetables, seafood, beans, nuts) when they say “eat more.” But they switch to nutrient euphemisms (sodium, solid fats and added sugars) when they mean “eat less.”

They say, for example: “limit the consumption of foods that contain refined grains, especially refined grain foods that contain solid fats, added sugars, and sodium.”

This requires translation: eat less meat, cake, cookies, sodas, juice drinks, and salty snacks.

Nestle also finds it problematic that the guidelines place all responsibility on the consumers, and take no steps to address the "toxic" food environment.

You can read both of Marion Nestle's excellent summations here: and here:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

US Government to the People: Eat Less

I had to re-post this video from the Onion News Network, because now it's official. The US Government is now recommending that Americans just eat less. Read about it here:

I think the advice to cover half your plate with vegetables is a good one, and I'd go further, try to at least 50% of your diet over a week consist of fruits and vegetables and have at least 25% consist of whole grains and nuts.

The other recommendation, to just eat less is a good one.

And, I would really, really, really like to see at least the option for smaller portions at restaurants. Yes, I understand that the bulk of the population thinks they are getting gypped if they don't get enough food on their plate in a restaurant to feed a small village in India for a week. But, there are some of us who don't want that much food, and really resent having to pay for it.

Can't they just offer two different sized portions of entrees with separate prices? That way if people insist they need enough food and calories to put on 20 pounds in a year, they can get it, while those of us who prefer to not gain weight can get right sized portions.

And, its not just sit down restaurants that are problematic. Why is it when you go in a bakery in America that croissants are literally twice the size of the ones you get in France? I would actually like to indulge in a Pain au Chocolat from time to time, as I do when I'm in France, but don't because I know I'll wipe out half my allowable calories with just one pastry.

Or how about making muffins muffin sized, and not the size of a small cake? Sometimes when I'm travelling, I would actually like to buy a nice bran muffin, but the only available ones are so big, that I'd have to be in close proximity to a toilet all day. I can, and often do, only eat half and throw away the rest, but that's a waste of money, and resources. Again, when I'm in Europe, pastries are smaller, and I appreciate it. If you really feel that you need more, you can always buy two, which is fun, because then you can buy two different kinds and taste both.

So, my fellow Americans, let's stand up to the food industry and demand less.