Monday, June 30, 2008

Taken from the NYT

By Tara Parker-Pope, NYT Well Blog:

Nutritionist and author Jonny Bowden has created several lists of healthful foods people should be eating but aren’t. But some of his favorites, like purslane, guava and goji berries, aren’t always available at regular grocery stores. I asked Dr. Bowden, author of “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” to update his list with some favorite foods that are easy to find but don’t always find their way into our shopping carts. Here’s his advice.

  1. Beets: Think of beets as red spinach, Dr. Bowden said, because they are a rich source of folate as well as natural red pigments that may be cancer fighters.
    How to eat: Fresh, raw and grated to make a salad. Heating decreases the antioxidant power.
  2. Cabbage: Loaded with nutrients like sulforaphane, a chemical said to boost cancer-fighting enzymes.
    How to eat: Asian-style slaw or as a crunchy topping on burgers and sandwiches.
  3. Swiss chard: A leafy green vegetable packed with carotenoids that protect aging eyes.
    How to eat it: Chop and saute in olive oil.
  4. Cinnamon: Helps control blood sugar and cholesterol.
    How to eat it: Sprinkle on coffee or oatmeal.
  5. Pomegranate juice: Lowers blood pressure and loaded with vitamin C and other antioxidants.
    How to eat: Just drink it.
  6. Dried plums: Okay, so they are really prunes, but packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants.
    How to eat: Wrapped in prosciutto and baked.
  7. Pumpkin seeds: The most nutritious part of the pumpkin and packed with magnesium; high levels of the mineral are associated with lower risk for early death.
    How to eat: Roasted as a snack, or sprinkled on salad.
  8. Sardines: Dr. Bowden calls them “health food in a can.'’ They are high in omega-3’s, contain virtually no mercury and are loaded with calcium. They also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as a full complement of B vitamins.
    How to eat: Choose sardines packed in olive or sardine oil. Eat plain, mixed with salad, on toast, or mashed with dijon mustard and onions as a spread.
  9. Turmeric: The “superstar of spices,'’ it has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
    How to eat: Mix with scrambled eggs or in any vegetable dish.
  10. Frozen blueberries: Even though freezing can degrade some of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables, frozen blueberries are available year-round and don’t spoil; associated with better memory in animal studies.
    How to eat: Blended with yogurt or chocolate soy milk and sprinkled with crushed almonds.
  11. Canned pumpkin: A low-calorie vegetable that is high in fiber and immune-stimulating vitamin A; fills you up on very few calories.
    How to eat: Mix with a little butter, cinnamon and nutmeg.

You can find more details and recipes on the Men’s Health Web site, which published the original version of the list last year.

In my own house, I only have two of these items — pumpkin seeds, which I often roast and put on salads, and frozen blueberries, which I mix with milk, yogurt and other fruits for morning smoothies. How about you? Have any of these foods found their way into your shopping cart?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

On Bags. Again. And Ikea.

My good friend Meghan up in old Beantown recently sent me an email that she received from Target regarding their paper v plastic bag policy. Meghan was, naturally, wondering why Target had eliminated paper bags as a choice. Here's the response she received:

Dear Meghan, I'm sure you'll be pleased to learn that Target shopping bags are made from recycled materials with environmentally friendly soy and water-based ink. Cashiers will use traditional plastic bags unless a guest requests paper or it's a large grocery purchase. Paper bags are available at all SuperTarget locations, and non-SuperTarget stores in Oregon only. We still invite you to recycle or re-use our bags on your own, although we don't encourage guests to bring back previously used bags for new purchases at our stores. Every bag is printed with codes to help you determine how to recycle them. These codes vary based on the size of the bag, ink used and other factors. Because local regulations and services can vary greatly, you might need to do a little checking to find out how and where to recycle the bags in your community. Right now, California is the only state where Target offers a bag recycling service at our stores. Thanks for shopping with us. We'll see you again soon at Target. Sincerely, Garry Target Guest Relations
And this is what Meghan wrote to me in regards to this response which I whole-heartedly agree with:
-- this is an absolutely ludicrous way to say:
1. We don't offer paper bags.
2. We don't encourage you to reuse plastic bags for your target purchases.
3. We don't know how you'll recycle the plastic bags we offer. You ought to contact you city government.
I would have preferred the "I'm sorry but it's too expensive for us to offer paper bags at this time" explanation. It's less insulting.

Ikea is bugging me as well.

Why does it get so much credit for being so green and good? The whole charging people for bags thing is pointless. Does anyone consider for more than five seconds the five cents extra you have to pay for a bag? You're already dropping half a G at that Swedish den of iniquity, what's five more cents?!

I read a particularly astute article about Ikea in ReadyMade magazine. And then I found it online! I, of course, focused in on the consumerist message, most notably when they quote the author John Seabrook (Nobrow: The Culture of Marketing, the Marketing of Culture) when he says, "It's gotten to the point where people go there like they go to the park."

That, my friends, is something to consider. And bags, too!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Food Timeline

This is really cool:

Food Timeline

Did you know that portabello mushrooms just came around/became popular in the 1980's? That's incredible. And Camembert cheese was in the 1500s, mentioned in a Shakespeare book. So cool! You can click on the foods and it gives you a detailed history of their origin. What wonderful person decided to research and come up with this? It's so fun.

This breaks my heart!!!

Luck Runs Out for Pigs Caught in Flood

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hungry Planet

Thanks to my co-worker, Kristen for pointing this out to me. I'm so glad that they finally put some of this online. Hungry Planet: What the World Eats is an amazing coffee table style book that I came across about half a year ago. As the editorial from Amazon states:

"It's a comparative photo-chronicle of their visits to 30 families in 24 countries for 600 meals in all. Their personal-is-political portraits feature pictures of each family with a week's worth of food purchases; weekly food-intake lists with costs noted; typical family recipes; and illuminating essays, such as "Diabesity," on the growing threat of obesity and diabetes. Among the families, we meet the Mellanders, a German household of five who enjoy cinnamon rolls, chocolate croissants, and beef roulades, and whose weekly food expenses amount to $500. We also encounter the Natomos of Mali, a family of one husband, his two wives, and their nine children, whose corn and millet-based diet costs $26.39 weekly."

It is totally fascinating. And you can preview bits and bits of it HERE on Time Magazine's website. Just look at the difference between the Chadian family and the Americans. It will make you reel.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Homeruns and Hotdogs

This is fun. The New York Times did a piece on the best food at ballparks around the US:
Check it out here.

I'm not too happy that for Minneapolis the Dome Dog was not included--it's, hands down, the best ballpark frank I've ever had. And all beef, made in Minnesnowta by Hormel. Who orders a turkey sandwich at a baseball game?!

Monday, June 9, 2008

You Say Tomato

McDonald's has stopped putting tomatoes on...well, anything:
Article Here

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Some Good News for a Change

As the article in the New York Times Well blog states, no one is celebrating yet, but childhood obesity rates seemed to have plateaued for the moment. This is reason to be happy, as it is in the formative years that we create our relationship with food.

Interestingly, many of the comments in response to the blog make claims that there are many kids out there who are undernourished and underweight, or even pudgy because they have been overloaded by fat-phobe parents with carbohydrates and the like. Hmm.

It always comes down the same epistemological questions for me... Where and from whom do we gain our knowledge about what's good and right to put in our bodies? What do people trust that they read? Who do they consider the best authority? How much is simple, sub-conscious inundated information?

I have personally found a researcher whom I trust to listen to about the food I put into my body and my diet (Marion Nestle...and a couple others, I suppose), but I do not know much about children and who is a positive authority in that realm. Something I am thinking of looking into soon. I've often wondered, if I have kids, what will I be feeding them? I'm basically a pescatarian, but will my kids be raised as such? Probably not. Maybe though? Hmm.

Monday, June 2, 2008

From the website, which sends me emails frequently:

"You Can Think Yourself Thin"
Here's a novel weight-loss strategy. Before you take one single bite, think about your last meal -- every detail.

It may sound silly, but there's science behind the idea. People in a study who thought about their last meal before snacking munched less. So before your next nibble, picture your lunch plate.

Mind over Matter
It made no difference how tempting the treat. When people were asked to remember what they had for lunch that day prior to eating a popcorn snack, they ate less of the munchy stuff -- regardless of whether it was seasoned or served plain. All of which suggests that appetite may be linked to food memory cues.