Wednesday, June 3, 2009

OMG, I'm screwed...

My "two scoops won't hurt and neither will these french fries" approach to eating doesn't lend itself well to swimsuit season. Although the beach treks may have begun, there is time to make change. So, let me have it. What's that ice cream going to cost me in workout minutes? To tell us is Charles Stuart Platkin, also known as the Diet Detective. He is the author of five books and and host of WE TV's I Want To Save Your Life. Here is his report on what some of our chain-food favorites should cost us in time spent doing common exercises...

Note: Calorie content of foods are based on official website information at the time of publication. Minutes of exercise are averages based on a 155-pound person. The greater the weight of the person the more calories burned per minute.

Dunkin Donuts Chocolate Frosted Donut (230 calories)
59 minutes of walking (3 mph).

McDonald's Egg McMuffin (300 calories)
32 minutes of running (5 mph).

Panera Chocolate Chipper (440 calories)
62 minutes of biking (10-11.9 mph).

Pizza Hut Large Hand-Tossed Style Cheese Pizza (1 slice; 320 calories)
39 minutes of swimming (slow to moderate laps).

Starbucks Cinnamon Roll (500 calories, varies by location)
85 minutes of dancing.

Burger King Original Whopper With Cheese (770 calories)
94 minutes of swimming (slow to moderate laps).

Au Bon Pain Chocolate Chip Brownie (380 calories).
129 minutes of yoga (Hatha style).

Wendy's Large French Fries (540 calories)
77 minutes of biking (10-11.9 mph).

Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Ice Cream (0.5 cup; 270 calories)
29 minutes of running (5 mph).

Taco Bell Burrito Supreme, Beef (410 calories)
70 minutes of dancing.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Worst Drive-Thru Foods in America

Time and money are two things Americans can't afford to waste. So it's not surprising (though slightly disappointing) that the drive-thru is considered one of the greatest inventions of all time. There's even a study to prove it. In 2005 and 2006, researchers asked 600 adults and teens why they eat so much fast food. Three of the top four responses? It's quick, easy, and affordable. Taste came in third, with only 69 percent of respondents listing flavor as a factor in their fast-food love.

Drive-thru foods may be convenient and easy on the wallet, but they're loaded with unhealthy fats, added sugars, carbohydrates, and sodium. Translation: They're no bargain at all when it comes to your health. But jam-packed schedules and a dismal economy make the occasional drive-thru meal a part of life. That's why Eat This, Not That! studied the open-air menu boards and compiled a list of the worst items out there, plus better alternatives. Avoid these dietary land mines and save more than a few minutes and a couple of bucks—how does up to 20 pounds in a year sound?

McDonald's Large Triple Thick Chocolate Milkshake
1160 calories
27 g fat (16 g saturated fat)
168 g sugar
510 mg sodium

You'd be better off eating two Quarter Pounders than sucking down one of these belt-breaking shakes. Steer clear of milkshakes at the golden arches. If you have to have a frozen dessert, order a vanilla ice cream cone to save more than 1,000 calories. Make swaps like that every week and watch the pounds melt off!

Eat This Instead!
Vanilla Reduced-Fat Ice Cream Cone
150 calories
3.5 g fat (2 g saturated fat)
18 g sugars
60 mg sodium

Burger King Spicy Chick'n Crisp Sandwich
450 calories
30 g fat (5 g saturated fat)
810 mg sodium

Lean economic times make the value menu more appealing than ever. And that's fine—most dollar menus have a few sensible items. But if you eat this sandwich often, saving a few bucks will quickly result in a surplus around your waistline.

Eat This Instead!
Whopper Jr. without mayo
290 calories
12 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat)
500 mg sodium

Taco Bell Grilled Stuft Beef Burrito
680 calories
30 g fat (10 g saturated fat)
2120 mg sodium

Ditch this and order two grilled steak soft tacos (or any menu item) "fresco" style, and the Bell boys will replace cheese and sauces with a chunky tomato salsa, helping to cut calories in half and fat by at least 25 percent.

Eat This Instead!
Two Grilled Steak Soft Tacos, Fresco Style
320 calories
9 g fat (3 g saturated fat)
1100 mg sodium

Sonic Chicken Club TOASTER Sandwich
742 calories
46 g fat (11 g saturated, 0.5 g trans)
1,742 mg sodium

How can a chicken sandwich pack so much fat? Start with a fried chicken breast, add bacon, cheese, and mayo, and you're there. Add to that the sodium equivalent of 53 saltine crackers, and you're looking at a serious dietary disaster. Ditch the chicken for beef and save 10 grams of fat.

Eat This Instead!
Sonic Burger with Mustard
540 calories
25 g fat (9 g saturated fat)
730 mg sodium

Hardee's Big Chicken Fillet Sandwich
800 calories
37 g fat (6 g saturated fat)
1890 mg sodium

A general rule: Avoid sandwiches with words like "big" and "monster" in the name. Hardee's Monster Thickburger is another example—it comes in at 1,420 calories, 108 grams of fat, and more saturated fat than you want in 2 days.

Eat This Instead!
Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich
415 calories
5 g fat (1 g saturated fat)
1175 mg sodium

Arby's Roast Beef and Swiss Market Fresh Sandwich
810 calories
42 g fat (13 g saturated fat)
1780 mg sodium

The unwholesome trinity of mayo, Italian sub sauce, and processed Swiss cheese make this sandwich the clear loser in the battle of the beef. The Super Roast Beef replaces mayo with a low-cal spicy pepper sauce and totals 370 fewer calories.

Eat This Instead!
Super Roast Beef
440 calories
19 g fat (7 g saturated fat)
1061 mg sodium

Burger King Kids Double Cheeseburger and Kids Fries with Small Coke
950 calories
42 g fat (17 g saturated fat, 4.5 g trans fats)
1,410 mg sodium

BK's dubious double burger earns the distinction of being the fattiest meal for an on-the-go kid, with nearly a day's worth of saturated fat for the average 8-year-old.

Eat This Instead!
4-piece Chicken Tenders with Strawberry-Flavored Applesauce and unlimited water
280 calories
11 g fat (3 g saturated fat)
440 mg sodium

Dairy Queen 6-Piece Chicken Strip Basket
1,270 calories
67 g fat (11 g saturated fat)
2,910 mg sodium

These strips deliver more grams of fat than four DQ Homestyle Burgers, and nearly 300 more calories than a Large Strawberry CheeseQuake Blizzard.

Eat This Instead!
Grilled Chicken Salad with Fat-Free Italian Dressing
280 calories
11 g fat (5 g saturated)
1,550 mg sodium

Jack in the Box Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit
740 calories
55 g fat (17 g saturated fat)
1430 mg sodium

Skip biscuits at all costs. This one contains nearly a full day's worth of saturated fat (check out the 12 worst breakfast foods in the supermarket for other must-have tips on starting your morning right--rather than with a rude awakening!). Instead try the Bacon Breakfast Jack--16 grams of protein makes it a surprisingly good way to start your day.

Eat This Instead!
Bacon Breakfast Jack
300 calories
14 g fat (5 g saturated fat)
730 mg sodium

Arby's Large Mozzarella Sticks
849 calories
56 g fat (26 g saturated fat)
2730 mg sodium

Anything with as much saturated fat as a Triple Whopper should not be called a side. If it's cheese you crave, order the French Dip ‘N Swiss or Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwich instead to save more than 500 calories.

Eat This Instead!
Martha's Vineyard Salad with Light Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
389 calories
14 g fat (5 g saturated)
923 mg sodium

Jack in the Box Bacon Cheddar Potato Wedges
720 calories
48 g fat (15 g saturated fat, 12 g trans fats)
1,360 mg sodium
48 g carbohydrates

You probably don't need us to tell you that bacon, cheese, and fried potatoes are not a healthful trio. What's worse, though, is that Jack in the Box cooks in trans-fatty vegetable shortening, which has been linked to heart disease. It's no secret that French fries can ruin an otherwise sensible meal, but these things take destruction to another level entirely.

Eat This Instead!
Mozzarella Cheese Sticks (3)
240 calories
12 g fat (5 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fats)
420 mg sodium

Chick-fil-A Chick-n-Strips Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
800 calories
60 g fat (12 g saturated fat)
1745 mg sodium

With 17 more grams of fat than Taco Bell's Fiesta Taco Salad, this is the worst salad from any drive-thru. The dressing alone sets you back 42.5 grams of fat.

Eat This Instead!
Chick-fil-A Southwest Chargrilled Salad with Fat-Free Honey Mustard Dressing
360 calories
8 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat)
1170 mg sodium

Dairy Queen Large Strawberry CheeseQuake Blizzard
990 calories
39 g fat (24 g saturated fat)
114 g sugars

This creation combines ice cream, strawberry syrup, and hunks of cheesecake for a high-fat dairy dessert. If you're set on a Blizzard, go bananas. A small Banana Split Blizzard has 7 fewer fat grams than the small Oreo, Cookie Dough, Peanut Butter Cup, or Strawberry Cheesequake flavors. Or stray from the Blizzard and satisfy your sweet tooth with a small chocolate sundae instead to save major calories and fat.

Eat This Instead!
Small Chocolate Sundae
280 calories
7 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat)
42 g sugars

Burger King BIG FISH Sandwich with Tartar Sauce
640 calories
32 g fat (5 g saturated fat)
1540 mg sodium

Fish is only healthy when it's not breaded and fried in partially hydrogenated oil. Here, the fry treatment translates into a bunch of unhealthy fat and 108 grams of carbohydrates.

Eat This Instead!
Whopper Jr. without mayo and Garden Salad
365 calories
12 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat)
1230 mg sodium

Hardee's Monster Thickburger
1,420 calories
108 g fat (43 g saturated fat)
2,770 mg sodium
230 mg cholesterol

This burger is called "Monster" for a reason. It's got the caloric equivalent of almost six McDonald's hamburgers, the saturated fat equivalent of 43 strips of Oscar Mayer bacon, and the sodium equivalent of 84 saltine crackers. You'll almost satisfy your entire day's worth of calories in one sitting, so opt for the significantly less monstrous Low-Carb Thickburger, instead, and save 1,000 calories that you can allocate to more deserving and nutritious fare.

Eat This Instead!
Low Carb Thickburger
420 calories
32 g fat (12 g saturated fat)
1.010 mg sodium

Arby's Roast Turkey and Swiss Market Fresh Sandwich
708 calories
29 g fat (8 g saturated fat)
1,676 mg sodium

Avoid any sandwich made on honey wheat bread: Two slices contain a staggering 361 calories and 68 grams of carbs. Cut those in half by sticking to a sesame bun.

Eat This Instead!
Chicken Cordon Blue Sandwich (grilled)
488 calories
18 g fat (4 g saturated fat)
1,560 mg sodium

Jack in the Box Chipotle Chicken Ciabatta
690 calories
28 g fat (9 g saturated fat)
1850 mg sodium

Unlike many other fast food restaurants that have made the shift away from trans fats, Jack in the Box's menu has a number of items with more than 5 grams of the stuff—and some with up to 13 grams of it! There's no"safe" level of trans fats, but the recommendation is that you don't eat more than 2 grams of the heart-harming junk per day. Add fries to this sandwich, and you'll take in three and a half times your daily limit.

Eat This Instead!
Chicken Fajita Pita
300 calories
9 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat)
1090 mg sodium

Carl's Jr. Double Six Dollar Burger
with Medium Natural cut Fries and 32 oz Coke
2,618 Calories
144 g fat (51.5 g saturated fat)
2892 mg sodium

Of all the gut-growing, heart-stopping, life-threatening burgers in the fast food world, there is none whose damage to your general well-being is as catastrophic as this. Consider these heart-stopping comparisons: This meal has the caloric equivalent of 13 Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Donuts; the saturated fat equivalent of 52 strips of bacon; and the salt equivalent of seven and a half large orders of McDonald's French fries!

Eat This Instead!
Famous Star with Side Salad with Low Fat Balsamic Dressing and 32 oz Iced Tea
685 calories
38 g fat (10.5 g saturated fat)
1520 mg sodium


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ceci est Pourquoi Vous Etes Gros

Thank you to my friend Mark Dawursk.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

What you want in the worst way...

20 Worst Foods in America, 2009

By David Zinczenko, with Matt Goulding

Can an appetizer with the caloric equivalent of 13 Krispy Kreme doughnuts be justified? No. The 2,710-calorie Awesome Blossom has been purged from Chili's menu--maybe the fat-drenched appetizer couldn't withstand the scrutiny of being named to the Eat This, Not That! list of the Worst Foods in America last year. No matter the reason, we applaud this waist-expanding starter's retirement.

The deep-fried onion wasn't the only thing to withdraw from last year's race--more than 10 other items from 2008's lineup have been removed from menus (or mysteriously had their calorie counts lowered). That's a step in the right direction, and it's good news for your waistline.

The bad news? There are plenty of frightening foods still at large across the country. After another year of menu investigation, we’ve come up with this year's list of the most calorie-laden, fat-riddled, sodium-swaddled, sugar-spiked dishes in America. Eat at your own risk.

Worst "Healthy" Sandwich
Blimpie Veggie Supreme (12")
1,106 calories
56 g fat (33 g saturated fat)
2,831 mg sodium
96 g carbohydrates

Sure, a Veggie Supreme sandwich sounds healthy, but this foot-long comes with three different kinds of cheese, and it’s drenched in oil. After Blimpie gets done with this vegetarian nightmare, you’d be better off consuming two Big Macs than sitting down with this sandwich.

Don't be fooled by "healthy" foods—replace these 14 imposters with delicious alternatives that satisfy without expanding your waistline.

Worst Kids' Meal
Chili’s Pepper Pals Country-Fried Chicken Crispers with Ranch Dressing and Homestyle Fries
1,110 calories
82 g fat (15 g saturated)
1,980 mg sodium
56 g carbohydrates

Most kids, if given the choice, would live on chicken fingers for the duration of their adolescent lives. If those chicken fingers happened to come from Chili’s, it might be a shorter one. A moderately active 8-year-old boy should eat around 1,600 calories a day. This single meal plows through 75 percent of that allotment. So unless he plans to eat carrots and celery sticks for the rest of the day (and we know he doesn’t), find a healthier chicken alternative.

See our rankings of kids' restaurants so you can help your children pick the best options every time.

Worst Dessert
Romano’s Macaroni Grill Dessert Ravioli
1,630 calories
74 g fat
33 g saturated fat
1,150 mg sodium
223 g carbohydrates

Would you eat a Quarter Pounder for dessert? How about four? That’s how many it takes to match the calorie-load of this decadent dish. It’s the quickest way to ruin what may have been a sensible dinner. (Then again, if dinner was at Macaroni Grill, chances are it was anything but sensible.)

Worst Burger
Chili’s Smokehouse Bacon Triple-The-Cheese Big Mouth Burger with Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
2,040 calories
150 g fat (53 g saturated)
110 g protein
4,900 mg sodium

You know this burger's in trouble when it takes more than 20 syllables just to identify it. If you think the name’s a mouthful, just wait until the burger hits the table. You’ll be face-to-face with two-and-a-half days' worth of fat—a full third of which is saturated. To do that much damage with roasted sirloin, you’d have to eat about eight 6-ounce steaks. (It’s nearly three days’ worth of saturated fat.)

Not all burgers are created equal. See if your favorite is a healthy indulgence or a grease slab on a bun.

Worst Starter
Uno Chicago Grill Pizza Skins (full order)
2,400 calories
155 g fat (50 g saturated)
3,600 mg sodium

This appetizer is like eating a Large Domino’s Hand-Tossed Sausage Pizza! Would you ever think of saying to a waiter: “Why don’t you start me off with a large meat pizza?” If you’re ordering for a party of more than five, it might be OK, but for smaller groups, it's tilting toward gluttony gone wild. Order the Thai Vegetable Pot Stickers instead—the only item carrying fewer than 800 calories.

If you want to eat a little something before your meal, be sure to avoid the worst appetizers in America.

The Worst Food of 2009
Baskin Robbins Large Chocolate Oreo Shake
2,600 calories
135 g fat (59 g saturated fat, 2.5 g trans fats)
263 g sugars
1,700 mg sodium

We didn’t think anything could be worse than Baskin Robbins' 2008 bombshell, the Heath Bar Shake. After all, it had more sugar (266 grams) than 20 bowls of Froot Loops, more calories (2,310) than 11 actual Heath Bars, and more ingredients (73) than you’ll find in most chemist labs. Rather than coming to their senses and removing it from the menu, they did themselves one worse and introduced this caloric catastrophe. It’s soiled with more than a day’s worth of calories and three days worth of saturated fat, and, worst of all, usually takes less than 10 minutes to sip through a straw.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Filth and the Fury

The 5 dirtiest foods

by Sarah Jio

How would you rate your food-safety IQ? I know someone who never washes their fruits and vegetables after bringing them home from the market because he believes that they're washed at the store. Um, no. Read on to learn about what some call the "5 dirtiest foods" and for a food safety wake-up call...

The dirty food list, according to this fascinating piece I found over at AOL Health include the following:

Eggs: While most eggs aren't going to make anyone sick, experts estimate that more than 2 million germy eggs (as in Salmonella infected) get into circulation each year, sickening 660,000 people each year and killing as many as 300. Um, maybe we should think twice about eating that cookie dough (or, judging by our conversation on Vitamin G, perhaps you'd rather take your chances?). How to buy cleaner eggs? Make sure the carton says they're pasteurized and never buy a dozen that contains any obvious cracks or leaks.

Peaches: They're pretty, but that's just skin-deep. Health experts warn that peach skins are doused in pesticides before they make it to grocery store to prevent blemishes. On average, a peach can contain as many as nine different pesticides, according to the USDA. This is one fruit you might want to buy organic (which may have blemishes, but won't have pesticides). (Here's How Peaches Can Help You Build Muscle.)

Pre-packaged salad mixes: Surprise! "Triple washed" doesn't mean germ-free say experts. Pathogens may still be lurking so be sure to wash your greens before tossing in your salad bowl. (Don't make these salad mistakes!)

Melons: Get ready to be grossed out. According to the article, "when the FDA sampled domestically grown cantaloupe, it found that 3.5 percent of the melons carried Salmonella and Shigella, the latter a bacteria normally passed person-to-person. Among imported cantaloupe, 7 percent tested positive for both bugs." Ewww. Your best bet: Scrub your melons with a little mild dish soap and warm water before slicing. (Stay healthy with these delicious winter fruits!)

Scallions: Blamed for several recent outbreaks of Hepatitis A, and other bugs like the parasite Cryptosporidium, Shigella and Salmonella, scallions present a food safety problem because of the way they grow (in the dirt) and lack of proper washing. While you can't control what happens in restaurant kitchens, you can give them a super-duper washing at home before cooking with.

Other dirty foods in the article include chicken, ground beef and turkey, raw oysters, and cold cuts. Click here to read 5 more.

The bottom line: Don't be afraid to eat these foods, just be aware of the precautions you need to take before enjoying them. Most food-borne illnesses are the result of hygiene carelessness somewhere in the food chain. Protect yourself!

(((03))) (photo by Luky, Luke)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Portion Distortion

By Serena Gordon, HealthDay Reporter - Sun Dec 7, 8:47 PM PST

SUNDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- All-you-can-eat buffets, super-sized meals and cavernous drinks may help keep your wallet full, but they're also helping to expand your waistline.

Nutrition experts say portion control is one of the biggest factors in successfully losing weight. But Americans aren't very good at recognizing reasonable portion sizes anymore.

"If people could cut down on their portion sizes, this would be the single greatest way to combat the creeping obesity epidemic," said Madelyn Fernstrom, founding director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Weight Management Center. "It's such a simple concept, but it's hard to do. There's so much hidden fat in food, it's hard to know what a serving size is."

And, if you think consuming more food than you should at one meal isn't a big concern, consider that just "100 calories a day more than you need adds up to 10 pounds in one year," said Miriam Pappo, clinical nutrition manager at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "That's only one or two tablespoons of salad dressing," she added.

A recent study of 120 healthy adults found that when people were given the right size portions, their weight loss efforts were much more successful. Men in the study were told to eat about 1,700 calories daily, while the women were advised to eat 1,365 calories. Both groups were also told that their diet should consist of 55 percent carbohydrates, 25 percent protein and 20 percent fat.

In addition, 30 men and 30 women were given prepackaged entrees of meat and rice and were told to add two large salads, fruit and two glasses of skim milk a day. The remaining men and women were coached on making healthy choices but were allowed to select their own portions.

In two months, the women given prepackaged portions lost 12 pounds, while those who selected their own portions only lost eight pounds. The men eating prepackaged portions lost 16 pounds, versus 11 pounds for those who controlled their own portions.

Fernstrom said she thinks prepackaged frozen meals can be a good option, especially when people are trying to re-learn proper portions. But if you don't want to eat a lot of frozen food, she suggests saving the containers from those meals, so you have a guide as to what a serving size should be.

Fernstrom also said that today's dinner plates are simply too big. She recommends eating from salad plates all the time. You can always go back for more food if you're still hungry, she said.

Pappo said using the "plate method" can also be helpful. Half of your plate should be vegetables, one-quarter should be protein, and the remaining quarter set aside for a starchy food.

"People don't like to measure their food, but you need to do it every three or four months to see if you're on target," said Pappo, who periodically measures her food to make sure she's not overeating.

When it comes to eating out, both Pappo and Fernstrom said challenges abound.

"Always assume it's more than one serving," said Fernstrom, who recommends sharing an entree with a friend or ordering an appetizer for dinner.

"People don't want to waste food. If it's on your plate, you'll probably eat it. If you went by your appetite, you'd probably only eat half of your entree," she said. "You have to change your mindset, eat slower, and get some tools to help you with portion control, like smaller plates."

If you need any more motivation to cut back on your portion sizes, Pappo pointed out that if you're a 130-pound woman who eats an extra 500 calories -- something that's easy to do at a restaurant -- you'd need to bicycle for an hour and a half to burn off those extra calories.

More information

To learn more about portion sizes, visit the U.S. government's Weight-control Information Network.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Worst 'Healthy' Drinks - And What You Should Drink Instead

Staying hydrated can be great for your body. Drink enough of the right liquids and your mood will improve, your focus will sharpen, your heart will beat stronger, and you’ll be less likely to suffer from headaches and fatigue. All that, plus if you pick the right potions, you’ll receive beneficial nutrients, antioxidants and protein as a chaser.

Bottoms up, right? Not so fast. Some bottles are better than others, as you’re about to learn. Too many Americans are problem drinkers — and I’m not talking about bourbon for breakfast. As a nation, we love high-sugar, high-calorie drinks like sodas and smoothies; a whopping 21 percent of American’s calorie intake comes from drinks, and that’s an increase of 150 calories since 1977. The big-bottom line: Half of that caloric payload comes from sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, fruit punch, and other sweet drinks.

The sad part is: Nobody actually needs any of those calories. Water — by the glass and in the foods you eat — should be plenty to top your tank. But if you find it kind of bland, we hear you. That’s why we’re slapping warning labels on the big-calorie guzzlers, and pointing you toward the thirst-quenchers that won’t make you fat.

Iced Coffee

Drink This
Dunkin’ Donuts Caramel Crème Iced Latte (16 oz)
260 calories
9 g fat
40 g sugars

Not That
Starbucks 2% Iced Dulce de Leche Latte (16 oz)
420 calories
16 g fat
52 g sugars

In the hierarchy of espresso drinks, lattes sit squarely at the bottom. That's because they're more milk than java, and are susceptible to huge pumps of sugar syrup from eager-to-please baristas. A macchiato gives the same caffeine kick for a tiny fraction of the caloric cost by swapping out the excess steamed milk for a crown of frothed milk. It's a simple but meaningful switch for caffeine junkies looking for a healthier fix. For other easy foods swaps for effortless weight loss — without ever having to diet again — try these fabulous fifteen.

Protein Shakes

Drink This
Slim Fast High Protein Extra Creamy Strawberry (11.5 oz can)
190 calories
5g fat
13 g sugars

Not That!
Boost Plus High Protein Strawberry (8 oz bottle)
240 calories
6 g fat
16 g sugars

Besides having fewer calories and sugar than the smaller Boost shake, the Slim Fast drink also has more protein and five extra grams of fiber, which means it will work harder at keeping your belly full in the hours after you sip it.

Yogurt Smoothie

Drink This
Dannon Light & Fit Strawberry Banana Smoothie
70 calories
12 g sugars

Not That!
Stonyfield Farm Organic Wild Berry Smoothie
150 calories
25 g sugars

The Stonyfield smoothie is smaller but more than doubles up on the calories and sugar in the Dannon Light. Don't be fooled by the "organic" name — this yogurt smoothie is thick with added sugars, which spikes your blood sugar and tells your body to start storing fat — not the best way to start your day.
The Dannon Light shake jumpstarts your morning metabolism with a nice protein kick, but spares you the sickly Stonyfield sweetness. Watch out wherever, whenever for added sugars by avoiding this great list of the most sugar-packed foods in America!

Functional Beverage

Drink This
Dasani Plus Orange Tangerine Vitamin Enhanced Water (20-oz bottle)
0 calories
0 g sugars

Not That!
Snapple Agave Melon Antioxidant Water (20-oz bottle)
140 calories
33 g sugars

If you were fooled by the words “agave” and “antioxidant,” don’t be embarrassed — for a product that’s supposedly water, it’s totally shocking how many calories and grams of sugar are packed into this fraudulent “health” beverage. But that doesn’t mean you should run the other way when you see an enhanced water; in fact, adding a little flavor (such as the orange tangerine in the Dasani water) can make staying hydrated easier and more pleasant — without adding calories or sugar.

Bottled Beverage

Drink This
Sobe Lean Blackberry Currant (20-oz bottle)
15 calories
2 g sugars

Not That!
Sobe Lizard Lava (20-oz bottle)
310 calories
77 g sugars

To glance at these two mysterious containers, you might think they contained exactly the same liquid — they’re both pink, they both come in a chunky glass bottle, they’ve both got some kind of creature on the label — but once you take a closer look at the nutrition facts, an entirely different story becomes clear. The Lizard Lava bottle contains about half a meal’s worth of calories and as much sugar as 11 popsicles.
That doesn’t exactly spell refreshment, does it? Instead try the other pink bottle, with Sobe’s Lean Blackberry Currant. With only 15 calories and 2 grams of sugar in a bottle, it just goes to show you that you can’t judge a drink by its bottle. In fact, make sure you’re always on the lookout for things like these sneaky "health" foods that aren’t! You’ll be shocked.

Energy Drink

Drink This
Monster Lo-Ball Java Monster Coffee + Energy (16-oz can)
100 calories
8 g sugars

Not That!
Rockstar Original (16-oz can)
280 calories
62 g sugars

I’ll put it all out on the table here: I’m not a big fan of energy drinks. It’s much healthier to boost energy by exercising, eating healthy foods, and getting enough sleep. But let’s face it — sometimes you’re desperate for a pick-me-up, and it’s easy to reach for one of those shiny cans of liquid fuel.
However, if you guzzle down a can of Rockstar Original, I’m pretty sure you’re just going to end up with a jittery buzz instead of the boost you’re seeking — with 62 grams of sugars, you’re looking at a major sugar crash not too far down the road. Better to stick with a low-sugar, low-calorie option like Java Monster Coffee + Energy.

Juice Imposter

Drink This
Fuze Slenderize Strawberry Melon (18.5-oz bottle)
23 calories
4.5 g sugars

Not That!
Arizona Kiwi Strawberry (23.5-oz can)
360 calories
84 g sugars

Unfortunately, most of the drinks that come in flashy containers and purport themselves to be juice quite simply aren’t. That goes for both our “Drink This” and our “Not That” option here — even the healthier Fuze drink is only about 5 percent juice. That said, it’s also a low-carb, low-sugar drink that provides nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins, so it’s not all bad — unlike Arizona’s “juice.” Bottom line: These days, if you want juice, you probably need to squeeze it yourself.

Kids' Juice

Drink This
Minute Maid Kids Multi-Vitamin Orange Juice
120 calories
24 g sugars

Not That!
Welch's Grape Juice
170 calories
40 g sugars

Kids love grape juice for one reason: It's loaded with sugar. That also means it's loaded with calories. Grape just ain’t so great. On the other extreme, Minute Maid’s enhanced orange juice is mother nature's multi-vitamin, providing your kids with monster doses of calcium and vitamin D for bone growth and protection, plus a host of powerful antioxidants. To make the best choices for your kids when eating out, check out this great comprehensive listing of the Best and Worst Restaurants for Kids!

Kids’ Drink

Drink This
Capri Sun Tropical Fruit Roarin’ Waters (6.8-oz pouch)
35 calories
9 g sugars

Not That!
Sunny D with Calcium (8-oz serving)
140 calories
31 g sugars

If you believe the commercials, stocking your fridge with Sunny D will make you the coolest mom (or dad) in the neighborhood, and your kids will be smiling and thanking you, and you’ll be wearing a cashmere sweater, and your whole house will be bathed in soft, buttery sunlight. Right. Well, believe it or not, if you’re interested in giving your kids a fun drink that’s actually reasonably healthy, hand them one of those silver Capri Sun pouches — OK, so they’re not exactly a health drink, but they’re better than Sunny D — cashmere or no cashmere.

(DZ,wMG) (photo by Matthew Kim Amyx via his crappy phone camera)

Friday, October 10, 2008

6 Heat-and-Eat Pizzas That Won't Pack on Pounds

If you're craving pizza, the best thing you can do (aside from making one yourself!) is swing by the freezer section of your local supermarket. After all, even a slice of thin-crust, all-veggie delivery pizza can be loaded with fat and calories! We've got the frozen pizza lowdown...

South Beach Living Frozen Microwavable Pizzas

PER SERVING (1 pizza): 330 - 350 calories, 10 - 13g fat, 33 - 37g carbs, 8 - 10g fiber, 29 - 31g protein

Not only is the serving size an ENTIRE PIE (a small one, but an entire pie nonetheless!), but these things come in GREAT flavors -- Four Cheese, Pepperoni, Deluxe, Grilled Chicken & Vegetable, Spinach and Mushroom, and... wait for it... Buffalo-Style Chicken! And check out the protein these things are packing. Nice job, SBL!

Amy's Cheese Pizza Toaster Pops

PER SERVING (1 Toaster Pop): 160 calories, 6g fat, 21g carbs, 1g fiber, 5g protein

Is it a pizza, or is it a Pop-Tart? We don't know, and we don't care. It ROCKS! Slightly sweet tomato sauce + melty mozzarella + a doughy pocket = extreme and utter awesomeness! And with so few calories, you can even snack on one of these between meals (we won't tell!).

Kashi All Natural Orginal Crust Frozen Pizzas

PER SERVING (1/3rd of an approx. 13-oz. pizza): 290 - 300 calories, 9g fat, 37 - 39g carbs, 4 - 5g fiber, 14 - 16g protein

Oh Kashi, what can't you do?! We love your cereals and snack bars, and we love your frozen pizzas, too! These come in Five Cheese Tomato, Mediterranean, and Roasted Garlic Chicken. Yowza! All natural and ALL GOOD!

Amy's Spinach Pizza in a Pocket Sandwich

PER SERVING (1 Pocket Sandwich): 280 calories, 9g fat, 37g carbs, 3g fiber, 13g protein

Mmmm, it's another fun interpretation of classic pizza from our pals at Amy's. This one's large and oozing with two types of cheese: mozzarella and feta! And so much spinach, Popeye would be jealous...

Amy's Roasted Vegetable Pizza

PER SERVING (1/3rd of an approx. 13-oz. pizza): 270 calories, 9g fat, 42g carbs, 2g fiber, 6g protein

Wowowowow. Restaurant-quality pizza that's heat 'n' eat? It's true! With marinated mushrooms, roasted red peppers, sweet onions, AND artichoke hearts, you won't even miss the cheese. That's right, this one's cheese-free and proud of it. Share one with some pals, or slice it up into minis and serve as a fun appetizer!

Lean Pockets Made with Whole Grain Supreme Pizza

PER SERVING (One 4-oz. sandwich): 220 calories, 7g fat, 30g carbs, 3g fiber, 10g protein

Supreme pizza with only 7g fat?!? YES!!! This pocket is stuffed with sausage, pepperoni, green peppers, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese! Plus it's packed with whole grains -- 16g per serving. We're supremely grateful for this thing when pizza cravings attack!

HG Hot Pizza Tip: DIY Portion Control!!!

A couple of our favorite frozen pizzas are GIGANTIC. To avoid devouring the whole thing, have a big salad beforehand or enlist the help of two hungry buddies, OR just wrap up the extra servings right away, and put 'em in the fridge immediately. Crisis averted.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

5 Essential Weight Loss Foods

There are many fad diets that promise to help you lose weight in almost no time at all. After two or three weeks on the diet you find yourself losing enough to be able to brag to your family and friends about it, and you're so optimistic that this new lifestyle will be your ticket to a smaller waistline that you start to browse the stores for new clothes.

You continue to lose weight for another couple of weeks, and then something happens: you start to feel sluggish, you begin craving something that your diet absolutely forbids you to have, or the general sense of optimism begins to transform itself into a feeling of constriction, frustration, and even dietary imprisonment.

You decide to have just one snack, or spend just one day eating whatever you want with the intention of going back to the diet the following day. What happens then, is that you feel such satisfaction from that treat that the entire effort falls apart and you put the weight back on in practically no time at all.

Does this scenario sound at all familiar?

Diets are very hard, as is the feeling of being overweight. Many of these fad diets may promise instant and significant weight loss results, but most of them rely on depriving your body of certain nutrients and disrupting the natural function of your body's metabolism. Chinese medicine considers obesity to be partly the result of declining function of the metabolic fire of the kidney network and a diet that provides a well-balanced array of nutrients is the key to losing weight in a healthy way. What follows are five foods that will help you restore your body's ability to use energy and help you become your healthy weight.

1. Millet: A well-balanced diet should consist of whole grains instead of refined grains like white rice and pasta, and millet is a beneficial and delicious staple of this category of food. This non-glutinous grain is over 10-percent protein, has high amounts of fiber and B-complex vitamins, and because it isn't an acid forming food, is easy to digest.

2. Asparagus: When losing weight, it's important to favor chlorophyll-rich foods, including asparagus. Asparagus is a nutrient-rich vegetable packed with folate, vitamins A, C, and K, and fiber. Asparagus also contains a carbohydrate known as inulin (not to be confused with insulin) that promotes healthy bacteria in the large intestine - which in turn promotes a healthier digestive function.

3. Pomegranates: Eating a balanced diet to lose weight should include eating fresh fruits, and pomegranates are a wonderful example of a healthy, nutritious fruit that has antioxidant properties and will help prevent cancer. While the benefits of drinking pomegranate juice have gained a lot of attention recently, you will be more likely to lose weight by eating the fruit fresh to increase your fiber intake and keep the calories down.

4. Pine Nuts: Pine nuts are the edible seeds of pine trees and are considered an essential ingredient in the tasty Italian mixture pesto. Chinese medicine uses pine nuts to improve gastrointestinal tract and digestive functions, and pine nut oil is even used for appetite suppression. Pine nuts and other nuts are a tasty part of a well-balanced diet intended for weight loss.

5. Green Tea: It has been found that consuming large amounts of coffee and caffeine can lead to food cravings, increase one's appetite, and induce stress-related eating. Green tea is a wonderful alternative to coffee in that it does provide a little caffeine but also contains beneficial antioxidants. So drink up!

A healthy diet also includes lean proteins like chicken breast, legumes such as lentils, and other whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. While fad diets may promise a large amount of weight loss in a short period of time, there's almost a guarantee that you will put that weight back on-and then some!

Eat five smaller meals a day, avoid processed foods, chew more slowly, and incorporate more healthy foods into your diet-starting with these five. Also, click here to learn more about the Tao of Wellness B-Slim dietary supplement, which will help you lose weight naturally.

I hope this article helps you find foods that can aid in your weight loss goals! I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

(Dr. Mao)

Friday, August 1, 2008

America's Best - and Worst! - Restaurants

Eating out invariably raises a number of tricky questions: sit-down or drive-thru? Burgers or pizza? Thin or stuffed crust? And if you're dining with your family, add the biggest question of all: Will the food we eat today bring a fatter tomorrow for our kids? And fewer tomorrows for the rest of us?

So the choice between McDonald’s and Burger King shouldn’t be based solely on whether you're more terrified by the scary clown Ronald McDonald or that creepy masked Burger King. Choosing one over the other could be the difference of hundreds of calories in a meal, more than 10 unnecessary pounds over the course of a year, and countless health woes over the course of a lifetime.

During more than a year of research, my coauthor and I discovered vast dietary discrepancies between many of the places Americans love to eat most. So to help you separate the commendable from the deplorable, we put 43 major chain restaurants under the nutritional microscope — both for your benefit, and that of your family.

How did we judge the restaurants? We started by calculating the average number of calories per kid entrée, then rewarded restaurants for having healthy adult options that would appeal to the young palette, and for providing healthy vegetable sides and non-soda drink options. Finally, we docked points for those restaurants still harboring nasty trans fats.

The result is a Restaurant Report Card that holds each eating establishment fully accountable for the fare they’re serving up to all of us — moms, dads, kids, teens, and twentysomethings — along with a survival strategy for making it through any meal unscathed.

Did your favorite restaurant make the grade?


Chick-fil-A excels in every category we tested for. With a slew of low-calorie sandwiches, the country’s “healthiest” chicken nugget, a variety of solid sides like fresh fruit and soup that can be substituted into any meal, and nutritional brochures readily available for perusing at each location, Chick-fil-A earns the award for America’s Healthiest Chain Restaurant (for kids, for the adults who drive them there, plus anybody else wise enough to make it their fast food choice).

Your Survival Strategy: Even the smartest kid in the class can still fail a test, so be on your toes at all times, even at Chik-fil-A. Skip salads with ranch or Caesar dressings, any sandwich with bacon, and avoid milkshakes at all costs.


A menu based on lean protein and vegetables is always going to score well in our book. With more than half a dozen sandwiches under 300 calories, plus a slew of soups and healthy sides to boot, Subway can satisfy even the pickiest eater without breaking the caloric bank.

But, despite what Jared may want you to believe, Subway is not nutritionally infallible: Those rosy calorie counts posted on the menu boards include neither cheese nor mayo (add 160 calories per 6-inch sub) and some of the toasted subs, like the Meatball Marinara, contain hefty doses of calories, saturated fat, and sodium.

Your Survival Strategy: Cornell researchers have discovered a “health halo” at Subway, which refers to the tendency to reward yourself or your kid with chips, cookies, and large soft drinks because the entrée is healthy. Avoid the halo, and all will be well.

Boston Market

With more than a dozen healthy vegetable sides and lean meats like turkey and roast sirloin on the menu, the low-cal, high-nutrient possibilities at Boston Market are endless. But with nearly a dozen calorie-packed sides and fatty meats like dark meat chicken and meat loaf, it’s almost as easy to construct a lousy meal.

Your Survival Strategy: There are three simple steps to nutritional salvation: 1) Start with turkey, sirloin, or rotisserie chicken. 2) Add two noncreamy, nonstarchy vegetable sides. 3) Ignore all special items, such as pot pie and nearly all of the sandwiches.


Though not blessed with an abundance of healthy options, Mickey D’s isn’t burdened with any major calorie bombs, either. Kid standards like McNuggets and cheeseburgers are both in the acceptable 300-calorie range.

Your Survival Strategy: Apple Dippers and 2% milk with a small entrée makes for a pretty decent meal-on-the-go. McDonald’s quintessential Happy Meal® makes this possible — just beware the usual French fries and soda pitfalls. Adults should go for a Quarter Pounder without cheese.


Domino’s suffers the same pitfalls of any other pizza purveyor: too much cheese, bread, and greasy toppings. If you don’t order carefully, you might bag your child a pizza with more than 350 calories per slice. To its credit, Domino’s does keep the trans fat off the pizza, and it also offers the lowest-calorie thin crust option out there.

Your Survival Strategy: Stick with the Crunchy Thin Crust pizzas sans sausage and pepperoni. If your must order meat, make sure it's ham. And whenever possible, try to sneak on a vegetable or two per pie.

Burger King

BK has only four legitimate kids’ entrées on the menu, and none of them — French Toast Sticks, hamburger, mac and cheese, chicken tenders — are particularly healthy. And while the recent addition of Apple Fries provides a much-needed healthy side alternative for kids, the menu is still sullied with trans fats.

BK pledged to follow in the wake of nearly every other chain restaurant and remove trans fats from the menu by the end of 2008, but so far, we’ve seen little action.

Your Survival Strategy: Adults can sign on for the Whopper Junior and a Garden Salad, and escape with only 365 calories. The best kids’ meal? A 4-piece Chicken Tenders®, applesauce or Apple Fries, and water or milk. Beyond that, there is little hope of escaping unscathed.


We applaud Chipotle’s commitment to high-quality produce and fresh meats, but even the most pristine ingredients can’t dampen the damage wrought by the massive portion sizes served up here. The lack of options for kids means young eaters are forced to tussle with one of Chipotle’s massive burritos or taco platters, which can easily top 1,000 calories.

Your Survival Strategy: Stick to the crispy tacos or burrito bowls, or saw a burrito in half.

Applebee’s, IHOP, Olive Garden, Outback, Red Lobster, T.G.I. Friday’s

These titans of the restaurant industry are among the last national chains to not provide nutritional information on their dishes. Even after years of communication with their representatives, we still here the same old excuses: it’s too pricey, it’s too time-consuming, it’s impossible to do accurately because their food is so fresh. Our response is simple: If every other chain restaurant in the country can do it, then why can’t they?

Your Survival Strategy: Write letters, make phone calls, beg, scream, and plead for these restaurants to provide nutritional information on all of their products. Here are the phone numbers for each of the restaurants that refuse to tell us the truth!

Applebees: email, 888-59APPLE; IHOP: email, 888-240-6055 (press 1 for Guest Visit issues); Olive Garden: email, 800-331-2729; Outback: email, 757-493-7662; Red Lobster: email, 800-LOBSTER; T.G.I. Friday's: email, 800-FRIDAYS

(DZwMG) (photo by steakbutter)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Most Important Calorie Bomb of the Day

Attack of the 1,210-Calorie Veggie Omelette!

At IHOP, you might think ordering the spinach and mushroom omelette is a good idea -- but this egg disaster has a shocking 1,210 calories (eeeks!). Instead, try HG's Ginormous Oven-Baked Omelette -- you can have a giant piece of our protein-packed omelette for just 140 calories and 3g fat! An added bonus? You can make it the night before and then simply heat 'n' eat in the AM!

79-Grams-of-Fat French Toast!

Even if you're DYING for French toast, avoid Denny's Fabulous French Toast Platter at all costs. This freaky breakfast plate will cost you 1,261 calories and 79g fat! Instead of feasting on this diet dud, try HG's Cinnamonlicious French Toast. It has just 170 calories and 1g fat. And if you crave the sausage links and bacon slices this platter comes with, go for Morningstar Farms' Sausage Links (2 links = 80 calories and 3g fat) and Jennie-O's Extra Lean Turkey Bacon (2 slices = 40 calories and 1g fat). Then finish it off with sugar-free pancake syrup!

Morning Muffin Mayhem!

McDonald's regular Egg McMuffin has 300 calories and 12g fat. For a tiny little muffin? And if you slip up and order the one with sausage, you'll be gobbling up 450 calories and 27g fat. YIKES!! Try HG's Egga Muffin instead, for only 165 calories and 1.5g fat.

600-Calorie B-Fast Sandwich Alert!

Subway may be known for its low-fat sub menu, but think twice before grabbing the sandwich chain's 6-inch Chipotle Steak and Cheese Breakfast Omelet Sandwich. That meaty monstrosity has 600 calories and 32 grams of fat! If you wanna go Southwestern, you'd be way better off with HG's Bueno Breakfast Burrito, with only 170 calories and 5g fat.

Slam Don't! (Denny's 1,040-Calorie Dud!)

So you're starving ... and you order up Denny's Lumberjack Slam with hash browns. (The thing already includes pancakes, ham, bacon, sausage, AND eggs!) How can we say this politely -- BAD IDEA!!! This massive morning mistake is loaded with 1,040 calories and 53g fat! If you crave a little bit of everything, why not whip up our Super Duper Veggie Scramble (only 150 calories and 5g fat), HG's Very Blueberry Pancakes (201 calories and 2g fat), and our Butternut Hash Browns (85 calories and 1g fat)? ALL of that would cost you only 436 calories and 8g fat -- that's less than HALF the calories and EIGHTY FIVE percent less fat than Denny's Lumberjack disaster!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Another cup o' joe, Jack

No higher death risk in long-term coffee drinking

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Long-term coffee drinking does not appear to increase a person's risk of early death and may cut a person's chances of dying from heart disease, according to a study published on Monday.

Previous studies have given a mixed picture of health effects from coffee, finding a variety of benefits and some drawbacks from the popular drink. The new study looked at people who drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee.

Researchers led by Esther Lopez-Garcia of Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain followed 84,214 U.S. women from 1980 to 2004 and 41,736 U.S. men from 1986 to 2004.

They found that regular coffee drinking -- up to six cups a day -- was not associated with increased deaths among the study's middle-aged participants. In fact, the coffee drinkers, particularly the women, experienced a small decline in death rates from heart disease.

The study found no association between coffee consumption and cancer deaths.

"Our study indicates that coffee consumption does not have a detrimental effect," Lopez-Garcia, whose research appears in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, said in a telephone interview. "It seems like long-term coffee consumption may have some beneficial effects."

There has been a debate among scientists about the health effects of drinking coffee, which typically contains the stimulant caffeine and a number of other important compounds.

The people who took part in the research completed questionnaires on how frequently they drank coffee, other diet habits, smoking and medical conditions. The researchers then studied the mortality risk over the period of the study among people with different coffee-drinking habits.

The study found that women who reported drinking two to three cups of caffeinated coffee per day had a 25 percent lower risk of death from heart disease than women who did not drink coffee. The researchers saw a smaller decreased risk for men but it was not statistically significant.

Drinking decaffeinated coffee was associated with a small reduction in overall mortality risk, the researchers said.

The people in the study had no history of cardiovascular disease or cancer when they entered it. The women were nurses and the men doctors, dentists and other health professionals.

Some studies have indicated coffee is a great source of antioxidants, substances that may protect against the effects of molecules called free radicals that can damage cells and may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other ailments.

Recent studies have offered a mixed picture on the health effects of coffee.

A study that came out in January found that pregnant women who drink two or more cups of coffee a day had twice the risk of miscarriage as those who avoid caffeine. Another study appearing in January found that drinking caffeinated coffee lowered a woman's risk of ovarian cancer.

(Editing by Julie Steenhuysen and Bill Trott)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Pastèque noir

A black jumbo watermelon produced in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido is on sale for 630,000 yen (US$ 5,945) at Tokyo's Isetan department store Friday, June 6, 2008 shortly after being flown into Tokyo, some 500 miles south of Hokkaido, following its bidding earlier in the day. The 24-pounder (11 kilograms) premium Densuke is the biggest among the first of 65 sold as part of the season's initial harvest and another Densuke that weighs 17-pound (8-kilogram) has fetched a record 650,000 yen ($6,100), making it the most expensive watermelon ever sold in the country — and possibly the world.

(((03))) (TOMOKO A. HOSAKA, Associated Press)

For the Sake of Sanity

I've not written in a while and for that I am sorry. But, as with anything I do it is not without reason. I've had terrible heartburn as of late, and it's something I'm sure I should see a Dr. about but I don't and probably won't as I have a Dr.-phobia that's quite gripping.

So, short story short, I'm not eating well, (yes I know better). I've not cooked anything of note in a long time, I've not eaten out in a long time and have for the most part been home-bound in my agoraphobic cocoon watching TV, fighting with Laura and complaining about EVERYTHING.

I'll be out of this funk soon (I hope) and will start blogging again. This is my least read blog and I hope to change that...

(((03))) (photo by jellybeanlupin)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Chicken Spaghetti Mediocrity

Last night I attempted to make Chicken Spaghetti and the results were mediocre at best.

I used Tyson Chicken which I've found to be hit or miss in terms of the cut and excess fat. Your better bet is store brand from somewhere like Target or Wal-Mart.

The name of the dry spaghetti I used slips my mind for some reason, but I have no complaints about it really as it's pretty hard to mess that up...unless you just try to over-cook it.

The spaghetti sauce was "Garlic and Herb" by Hunt's. Not an overly sophisticated sauce, but also not horrible by any means.

I cooked my chicken first in a pan with a little butter, sea salt and multi-color pepper corns. This turned out well despite the fact that pan-fried chicken isn't easy on such a limited budget and limited spices and herbs.

I then set the spaghetti on for 8-9 minutes and prepared the sauce to put on the heat. After everything was done, I put the spaghetti down, then salt and peppered it, added sauce and then put on the chicken.

The result wasn't was just dull...maybe I didn't use enough salt or pepper...maybe I should have seasoned the chicken better...or even made more chicken to put in. I'm not sure, but one this is for sure, the next time I make spaghetti, I'll be using good old fashioned meat balls.

Bon Apitité, as long as you're not eating with me on this streak...

(((03))) (photo by Quan Nguyen)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Calorie Bombs

Article from Men's Health by David Zincenko

What does the restaurant industry have to hide? One of the true issues behind obesity is the fact that many chain restaurants — which provide one-third of all restaurant meals, according to the New York Department of Health — obfuscate the fat and calorie counts of their menu items, and fight any attempt to shed light on what, exactly, is going on between their buns and inside their taco shells.

Through scientific testing, consultations with nutrition experts, and good old-fashioned snooping, we uncovered some of the secrets these mega-restaurateurs have been keeping.

It's no wonder . . .

1) T.G.I. Friday’s

. . . doesn’t want you to know the nutritional impact of any of its dishes, which they have made a policy of not revealing to customers for years, despite the fact that major competitors such as Chili’s and Ruby Tuesday’s do just that. Thankfully, new legislation in New York City forces restaurants with 15 or more branches nationwide to provide calorie counts for all dishes and drinks on their menus.

We popped by T.G.I. Friday’s the day the law went into effect and saw some real shockers: 2,270 calories for Potato Skins, 1,670 calories for Double-Stack Quesadillas, and, most appalling of all, a Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad with 1,360 calories! Now we see why they worked so hard to keep these numbers hidden.

2) Burger King

. . . doesn't want you to know that its French Toast Sticks (which deliver more than 4 grams of fat per stick) share a deep fryer with the pork sausage, pork fritters, Chicken Tenders, Chicken Fries, Big Fish patties, hash browns, onion rings, and Cheesy Tots — and that all of those items contain harmful trans fats.

But there is hope: After the company was sued by the Center for Science in the Public Interest for moving too slowly to remove trans fats from its menu, Burger King promised to phase them out by the end of this year.

3) Red Robin

. . . doesn't want you to know the nutritional impact of its gourmet burgers. "A gourmet burger starts by being an honest burger," Red Robin's Web site declares — but not, apparently, a burger that will come clean about its nutrition facts.

When contacted, Red Robin's senior vice president responded that nutritional information for the menu would be available in October 2007. As of May 2008, however, nutrition facts were still not posted on the site.

4 ) Maggiano's Little Italy

. . . doesn't want you to know just how many calories and carbs you're consuming in those massive pasta portions. (As the menu puts it, "Family-style service or individual entrees are available . . . Whichever you choose, you'll have plenty to share or take home.")

In Italy, a standard pasta serving means 4 ounces of noodles with a few tablespoons of sauce. At Maggiano's, a large order of pasta translates into 2 pounds of noodles piled high on a hubcap-size dinner plate (15 1/2 inches in diameter). A Maggiano's PR rep responded to our request for nutritional information a week later: "Sorry for the delay. I had to wait for corporate's approval. Unfortunately, they have declined to participate."

5) Sit-down chains

. . . don't want you to know that their food is actually considerably worse for you than the often-maligned fast-food fare. In fact, our menu analysis of 24 national chains revealed that the average entree at a sit-down restaurant contains 867 calories, compared with 522 calories in the average fast-food entree. And that's before appetizers, sides, or desserts — selections that can easily double your total calorie intake.

For more reasons to insist on nutritional transparency from the food industry, check out these shocking secrets they don’t want you to know.

(DZ) (photo by ClayTaurus)

Monday, May 5, 2008

When is calling something 'fatty' not bad..?

by Christine McKinney,
M.S., R.D., C.D.E. Johns Hopkins Medicine

Just the other day, I was reading the label on a loaf of bread I bought and noticed it was fortified with omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat.

You can now find eggs, cereal, waffles, milk, margarine spreads, and even orange juice fortified with omega-3s. But do you know what these fatty acids can do for you and how much you are supposed to consume?

Researchers have identified a number of benefits from consuming omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Improving inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and asthma
  • Lowering blood pressure and triglycerides
  • Increasing HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Reducing depression, as well as the symptoms of bipolar disorder and Alzheimer's disease
The American Heart Association recommends we consume the following amounts of omega-3s:
  • for people without heart disease, at least two servings each week of a fatty fish such as salmon
  • for people with heart disease, 1 gram each of DHA and EPA (types of omega-3s) daily
  • for people with elevated triglycerides, 2 to 4 grams each of DHA and EPA daily, in capsule form

This supplementation should be done under your doctor's supervision.

Foods that naturally contain omega-3s include fish (salmon, tuna, white fish), flaxseed, walnuts, pinto beans, and broccoli, as well as canola, soybean, and flaxseed oils. To find out how much omega-3s are in some of the foods you eat, look up particular foods in Nutrition Data.

(CMc) (photo by Amanda Rudkin)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

it's a what now..?

That's right, Burrito Pie. I came across this on Yahoo and thought it just looked too good not to re-post. Submitted by Kathi J. McClaren.

Prep Time 30 min. Cook Time 30 min. Serves 16

2 pounds ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 (2 ounce) can black olives, sliced
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chili peppers
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers
1 (16 ounce) jar taco sauce
2 (16 ounce) cans refried beans
12 (8 inch) flour tortillas
9 ounces shredded Colby cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the ground beef for 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic, and saute for 5 more minutes. Drain any excess fat, if desired. Mix in the olives, green chile peppers, tomatoes with green chile peppers, taco sauce and refried beans. Stir mixture thoroughly, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Spread a thin layer of the meat mixture in the bottom of a 4 quart casserole dish. Cover with a layer of tortillas followed by more meat mixture, then a layer of cheese. Repeat tortilla, meat, cheese pattern until all the tortillas are used, topping off with a layer of meat mixture and cheese.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is slightly brown and bubbly.

Yield: 16 servings

Nutrition info Per Serving:

Calories: 431 kcal
Carbohydrates: 33 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Fat: 23 g
Protein: 19 g
Sugars: 2 g

Take your taste buds south of the border! Happy Experimenting!


Monday, April 28, 2008

Updates and More Gordon Worship

I've not made any new posts here for a while for one reason and one reason only. I have acute cervical lymphadenitis and have been in rough shape for about a week or so. Lymphadenitis is the inflammation of a lymph node and let me tell you is by far the most painful thing I've had to endure in my life...seriously. Anyway, I'll be back up and running hopefully in a week or two and then we can get back to the food.

In the meantime, a few tips:

This season of Hell's Kitchen is by far not the best (thus far I am rooting for no one to win, but have SEVERAL people I would prefer to lose).

The version of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares on the BBC is better than Kitchen Nightmares on Fox in my opinion.

It appears that Totino's frozen pizza's can no longer kill you (unless you eat 12 of them in one day).

I tried to make tilapia and noodles the other day and you can't pan fry fish without some kind of non-stick agent (butter, spray...etc.)

You're better off buying the store brand of frozen chicken breasts than you are buying the Tyson kind.

That's it for now...happy eating...and happy viewing of other people eating,


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Easiest Chicken Burritos and the first (and definitely not last) post about Ranch Style Beans

For the record, I like easy...VERY easy. So when I got hungry last night I pulled out two moderately sized frozen chicken breasts to thaw and started to wonder how I would prepare them. I wandered over to my pantry and looked for a side and spotted 2 cans I had left of Ranch Style Beans. I buy 2-6 cans every time I get groceries as they are versatile, cheap and they taste amazing.

When I was a child, my Uncle Matt drove a truck for Ranch Style for like a million years and I grew up on them. We didn't have a lot of money then either so out of necessity we ate them a lot, but I still never got tired of them. On the contrary, I eat a can at least once a week and don't see myself ever growing out of them.

Back to dinner. I'd made my burritos (recipe upcoming) many times but always with beef, would it work with chicken? It was time to find out.

I pan fried the 2 breasts with some butter, sea salt and pepper corn and that's it. While those cooked, I set the beans up on low heat and warmed my tortillas. After the chicken was cooked, I cut them into planks, loaded them on the tortillas, covered with the beans and sprinkled with cheese.

I have to admit they looked really good! I wish I had a camera to show how well they turned out. I sat down with a can of Diet Sprite, turned on The Last Mimzy and took my first bite. HOLY COW (eh...hmm, chicken), these were DELICIOUS!!! Cheap, fast AND REALLY GOOD?!?! You bet, and it was actually the first time I'd done up chicken so well with so little resources too.

2 small chicken breasts
1 can Ranch Style beans
4 flour tortillas
1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
(pepper sauce optional, but really not needed)

All in all, I give this meal a 7 out of 10 as it was really tasty, really fast and really cheap! Try it yourself. It's good for bachelors, broke people and moms in need of something quick and easy.

(((03))) (photo by alaskaVeg*n)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Experto crede

"Experto crede's" literal Latin translation is, "believe one who has had experience". In the case of this blog, I hold that to be true in every sense as I will be writing about what I experience regarding food.

As a writer, I find myself in constant need of typing and I sometimes write e-mails never sent, and blogs never posted just so I can be writing. One thing that's often puzzled me (as well as people that really know me) is that I watch an absorbent amount of The Food Network which brought about the question, "Why should I not blog about food?"

The reason I hadn't yet was simple... I don't cook. Sure I bake the occasional batch of cookies, but the fact is that I have no patience for ultra complex menus and I most definitely don't have the money for them.

Why then do I watch so many shows about cooking and the subjects of food? The answer is simple, there is no drama in food (except for maybe your Ramsay element) and I could watch all day long, and often times do just that.

This blog will talk about places I go and have been, it will talk about what I actually try and succeed or fail at and it will be about shows I enjoy on the subject of food and cooking. Don't worry that I'm a critical snob. I have no training in the culinary arts, nor do I claim to have an extensive pallet. What I do have is taste buds, and this is my blog, my opinion and my chance to share some of what I think and feel about food.

More importantly though, it's yet another excuse for me to write. My request is that you not totally trust me as I mentioned in the beginning. Your pallet is your pallet and should be trusted above all others. You can trust that I'll tell you what works and doesn't work for me, but just as with any food critic, opinions that try to distract from individuality are nothing short of juvenile and ignorant when it comes to food. But then, that's my opinion...