Month: April 2007
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
More healthcare news out today makes it pretty clear that radical changes are in order. (By the way, this is a caduceus.)
News Item Uno: Morbid Obesity Is Up, Way Up
There are kinds of obesity? Yes, that’s right: there’s an entire taxonomy of overweight. Kinda sad that we need that, isn’t it? Obesity in general is up, but morbid obesity is way, way up – dangerously so.
What we can do about this:
1. Fire off a letter to your senator. People do pay attention to letters. They know that for every letter they get, there are 1,000 more who share the sentiment.
2. Write letters to the CEOs of junk food companies (oh yeah, pretty much every food company in America). Ask them if they enjoy sleeping in their 1000-thread count sheets children’s diabetes is paying for.
3. Eat fresh, whole foods, and keep the portions small. Teach your children and friends. Be annoying about it. (But not too annoying.)
News Item Dos: Kids Are Manipulated Like Crazy
The overwhelming majority of kiddie-aimed commercials feature junk food. In a recent study, literally no commercials advertised any fresh food. Theoretically, commercials may not influence adults – certainly up for debate – but children are highly vulnerable to marketing messages. This is the portion of the population that believes in Santa Claus, remember.
What we can do about this:
1. Again with the firing off of letters. How to: Make one good point, be brief, state what action you want them to take, and state what action you will take if they don’t.
2. Shield the commercials – and television in general – that your child is exposed to. Turn the tube off, or invest 5 bucks a month in Tivo.
3. Don’t buy junk – companies sell this garbage because we are buying it.
Taste buds bored to tears? Here are ten unusual food pairings that will wake up your week. Several of my readers have written me lately with really interesting, unusual and fresh food combinations, so if you need to shake up your menu, don’t miss these tips.
As a bonus, they’re all fresh, low-carb and loaded with antioxidants.
10. Tomato “Toast”
Tired of toast? Want to reduce the carbs in your diet? Yes, you do. Slice up beefsteak or large heirloom tomatoes, top with cheese of choice, and pop them into the toaster oven. Not recommended for a vertical toaster.
9. Eggs topped with Cashew Butter
Thanks for the Omega-3-friendly tip, Donna!
8. Sliced Grapefruit, Mango and Avocado
Our editor, Sara, swears by this combo.
Uncommon Muse Flickr Photo
7. Green Olives in Scrambled Eggs
Toss out the salt and try this flavorful mix instead.
6. Strawberries and Asparagus
This was one of the strangest combinations I’d ever heard, but reader Nickie insisted I had to try it. I steamed the asparagus, let it cool, then sliced up the spears and tossed with olive oil and halved berries. Garnish with a little black pepper, and prepare to eat the entire bowl in one sitting.
Maruchan313’s Flickr Photo
5. Goat Cheese and Blueberries
A lot more interesting than yogurt.
4. Sliced Jalapenos and Cottage Cheese
The healthy person’s answer to those awful fried jalapeno poppers. Thanks, Anne.
Thomas Hawk Flickr Photo
3. Mango and Cucumbers
Sliced up and mixed together, this is light and refreshing.
2. Tuna Salad with Green Apples
I buy the Omega-3 mayonnaise and use it sparingly. Add in lots of chunks of green apple and a big dash of nutmeg. Good stuff.
1. What’s your favorite food combination that surprises people?
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Worker Bees’ Daily Bites
Radical thoughts to shake you up…or stir you into action. That’s Bee, Worker Bee.
#1: Feeling Restless?
The news out today is that restless leg syndrome increases the risk of heart disease. Ready for this? We say baloney. Restless leg syndrome is a curiously modern phenomenon that seems suspiciously correlated to obesity and lack of exercise. We’ll lay good honey on the bet that it’s not restless leg syndrome increasing your risk for heart disease; rather, it’s an unhealthy lifestyle that’s causing both health problems. Mightn’t physical discomfort, elevated blood pressure and clogged arteries be symptomatic of a common underlying problem? Say…a completely ridiculous lifestyle? Take one part fast-paced lifestyle, one part processed diet, and garnish with inactivity, and it sounds like the makings of a toxic CHD cocktail to us.
#2: Strange but True
Apparently, tai chi helps prevent shingles, a painful skin virus that makes chicken pox feel like a walk in the park. Scientists aren’t sure why tai chi works, but it does. Tai chi also helps stop bone loss, anxiety, depression, and skin problems. A rather motley assortment of health maladies are cleared up by this gentle Eastern exercise system, leaving us to consider but one conclusion: how much of our current health crisis could be resolved if we were simply less stressed?
#3: Seriously, What Is Going On?
Autism is up. Alzheimer’s is up. Suddenly every child has ADHD, and adults everywhere are feeling the weight of anxiety and depression. Unless someone is just making all this up, we’re beginning to wonder what the common thread is here. There is so much disease and illness, and the powers that be act as though this is a normal part of life. But why should poor health be the status quo? Something is wrong here. Might it be processed foods, which are high in fats that cause oxidative damage, sugars that cause type 2 diabetes and all sorts of related issues, and chemicals for which we don’t yet know the long-term safety? Because all we’re sayin’ is, something is strange about all this, and it’s not okay. Case in point: diabetes causes mental decline. The FDA and mainstream medicine insist that you can get all the nutrients you need from today’s food supply, that we’re healthier than we’ve ever been, and modern medicine and surgery are working super great.
Really? Because we’d like to see that evidence. As fellow Apple Crystal asks, when are we going to put two and two together?
Zucchini Spirals with Fresh Vegetable Sauce Using a Mandoline Slicer
Hi, Apples! Sara here. Mark asked me to write this week’s Smart Fuel column as he is buried in the latest batch of science and medical journals. So, I am here to tell you about the wonderful uses of the mandolin slicer in your steadfast pursuit of healthy meals. Right about now you may be thinking, “Mandolin slicer? That’s not Smart Fuel!” but stick with me. (I follow directions very well, as you can clearly see. This is a habit I have taken great pains to cultivate since childhood. It takes real tenacity to flunk first grade, but I am here to tell you, it can be done.) Thank goodness the Big Apple (Sisson) actually encourages breaking all the rules, or I’d never be able to tell you about the joys of a mandolin slicer! I personally love cooking and look forward to it (my mother tells me to give it a few years). However, I know that when it comes to meals, convenience and speed are not only preferable for a lot of us, these things are downright necessary. There’s a reason restaurants, fast food joints and the frozen food aisles flourish – we’re busy! So, these meals aren’t doing us any healthy favors, but who has time to wash, peel, pit and slice a bunch of vegetables for some casserole that will take longer to bake than the maturation time of your average Barolo? Enter the mandolin slicer. Mark is always extolling the virtues of making vegetables the basis of your diet, and it really is easier than you might think: bagged lettuce, frozen veggies, ready-to-go stir fry mixes. But no family (or boyfriend), no matter how tolerant, is going to put up with three days straight of broccoli florets for dinner when Domino’s is just a phone call away. This is why I love the mandolin slicer. It solves all the usual problems getting in the way of your health and your lean physique: time constraints, boredom, and empty carbs. Problem 1: Time The mandolin slicer makes awfully short work of everything from yams to cucumbers to organic chicken sausages. Beets, parsnips, carrots, brussels sprouts and cabbages don’t stand a chance around this simple, old utensil we all have lurking in a drawer somewhere (usually the same one that houses the gravy syringe…ew…and the egg slicer). Here’s what to do: buy a big batch of fresh veggies of all types, wash them up, and slice away. Toss them individually or in various combinations into 1 or 2 quart plastic storage containers and put them in the fridge. You’ve just prepped a week’s worth of tasty meals in about 45 minutes. You can aim for 30, but your pinky fingertip’s curvature may never look the same. Just a warning. Problem 2: Boredom Frozen veggies can get a little boring, simply because there’s often not much to choose from (broccoli, spinach, peas, carrots, corn…broccoli, spinach, peas, carrots, corn…sigh). There are often stir-fry blends to be found, and there’s always … Continue reading “Wow, Broccoli…Again”
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites: Dieting doesn’t work, “they” tell us. But wait, the Mediterranean diet prevents health problems in the tiny tots! What gives? We’re here to help you sort through the confusion: Want to Gain Weight? Go on a Diet You’ve probably heard that many people gain back any weight lost during dieting. It makes sense: just about any diet will help you drop some poundage, but as soon as you go back to your normal ways, the ‘libs come back like the feisty clingers that they are. It gets worse (don’t worry, then it gets better): Scientists have determined that not only do some dieters gain back weight some of the time, dieting is just about the only surefire way on earth to gain weight. That’s no joke or exaggeration. When the researchers examined over 30 different significant diet studies, the only similarity they could find – the only conclusion that could be reached – was that dieting is the absolute best predictor of excess weight gain. If you want to gain weight, it’s really easy. Simply go on a diet. Okay, here’s the good part. If you want to lose weight, don’t diet! You have science on your side, friends! How can this be, you ask? Unfortunately, “diets really do make you fat almost 100% of the time” does not have an inverse relationship to “eat whatever you want and never diet and you’ll be thin”. Whether you diet or whether you decide that a life of Dunkin Donuts and McRib sandwiches is for you, both extremes will get you plenty of junk in more places than the proverbial trunk. The key is neither dieting or saying “to heck with it, bring on the fettucine!” To maintain a healthy weight, you have to live like a healthy, lean person would. And how is that? 1 – Whole, unprocessed, recognizable foods (bad: french fries; not good: crackers; whole and unprocessed: brown rice) 2 – Fresh, mostly green things (bad: ready-made meals, burritos, pizzas; not good: ready-made vegetarian lasagna; a fresh, mostly green thing: salad or steamed veggie plate) 3 – Not much (bad: a huge burger with a soda and fries; not good: a low-fat pasta dish with a breadstick and sugar-free ice cream; not much: a small plate comprised of mostly vegetables with a little fresh lean protein and a bit of good fat) You can see how the bad things are clearly bad. And the “not good” things are things we often think of as at least partly healthy (this is the category into which many of us fall, and why we often feel so frustrated). But to be healthy, you must do more than add in a few good things – you must live, eat, and breathe 90% good things. Are you up for it? This Yummy Pic Belongs to PurpleCloud Mediterranean Diet: Why It Works Hey! Didn’t we just say diets don’t work? Well, the Mediterranean diet is not really a diet, per se. … Continue reading “The Only Proven Way to Gain Weight: Go on a Diet!”