Month: April 2007

Why I’m Never Eating Another Salad

I’m feeling a little lost, Apples. My readers know that for over 20 years now, I’ve enjoyed a massive veggie-packed salad for lunch. At this point, the daily Sisson salad is just part of my identity.
So imagine the sense of betrayal – nay, dear readers, bereavement – when I learned that it. has. all. been. for. naught.

The reason I am never eating another salad is because Flat Earth Baked Veggie Crisps are the healthiest thing to come along since, well, plants. These “veggie” and “berry” crisps are just like eating real vegetables!

Only not.

The brand marketing concept is so extended, it feels like homework: people used to think the earth was flat, just like people used to think that chips couldn’t be healthy. Get it? To help the message hit home, Flat Earth’s logo is a flying pig. Because people used to think chips couldn’t be healthy, because pigs would have to fly first, and…my head hurts. Read the fine print: “Beliefs can change!” says Flat Earth. I find this particularly amusing. A belief certainly can change, if you throw enough money and marketing at it. But beliefs aren’t facts – yet again and again, we act as if they are. Marketers know this.

Pigs don’t fly. Almost the real thing is nothing much at all. My politically incorrect opinion is that there is nothing admirable at all about the desire to create a “healthy” chip. In fact, I think it’s a big, fat ethical cop-out.

I know what some will say: at least it’s better than a regular old potato chip. We all need a few healthy indulgences. Their hearts were in the right place (psst…no they weren’t. Flat Earth is owned by Frito-Lay). Baloney. This is marketing, not health.

I’m so disgusted with this trend of making bad foods kinda-sorta healthy, as if mediocrity is an admirable quality. Compromise might feel nice, but how’s that health philosophy workin’ for us? Uncle Sam says “just try to make half your grains whole”. Wow, thanks for the vote of confidence in humans’ capacity for excellence, guys.

Flat Earth’s Baked Veggie Crisps may not be as ridiculous as 7Up Plus (known formerly as corn syrup and chemicals) or vitamin-enriched children’s “milk ‘n cereal” bars (known formerly as candy and sugary goo). But Flat Earth is not a “one serving exchange” of “real!” fruits or vegetables. A chip is not a vegetable, period. You can add in all the dehydrated stale carrots and tomatoes and berries that you want, but until I see Veggie Crisps growing on trees, I’m afraid I have to agree with their slogan: “Impossibly good”. It is impossible – hey, at least they’re honest!

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Guide to the Care & Feeding of Organicans, Part 1

A self-described starving student recently wrote to me asking if it’s more important to focus on organic produce or organic meat & dairy at the grocery store. I get asked this question fairly often, so let’s talk about it.

Organic food costs can easily rival student loan payments – so, if you’re young or simply on a tight budget and you have to make a choice, what do you buy? Does organic food of any kind even make a difference (aside from the dent in your bank account)? The answer, my would-be organicans, is yes.

Organic produce is grown without the use of harmful pesticides and chemicals and is environmentally-sustainable. Organic meat and dairy is raised and produced according to similar regulations. The animals can’t be mistreated (a matter of course for regular meat) and they must be fed the food that nature intended. Hormones, antibiotics and fillers are big no-no’s. Organic products of any kind, as a rule, are ostensibly good for the environment. Though there is a fair amount of weaseling and hype in the organic industry (as with any industry) that’s a topic for another time.

Don’t listen to the naysayers. Eating organic food is a healthy habit. Local and organic is even better. But, if you’re on a budget thanks to Sallie Mae, I recommend focusing on organic animal products and buying the cheaper conventional chemical-bathed produce. Just invest two bucks in a really aggressive scrub brush.

This Photo Belongs to Raraavis619

Here’s why:

A lot of people get excited about organic produce and forget all about the animal products. But what’s the use in eating a bowl of organic salad greens topped with grilled meat that is loaded up with hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals and was fed on greens loaded with hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals? When you eat conventional animal products, not only are you ingesting your very own pharmacological experiment, but you’re supporting (and eating) the non-organic feed that fattened up that hoofed friend.

Like I always say, you can wash the chemicals off a cucumber. I’m not sure how to do that with milk (although this little one has it all figured out).

Apples: If you have to make budget-friendly choices at the market, what do you choose? What are your tips for eating organic without breaking the bank? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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[tags]organicans, organic food, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, scrub brush[/tags]

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News Worth Clicking

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

Here’s the roundup!

Stress and Baby

Stress is perhaps the single most important factor in your health – and your baby’s. Be sure to read up on what the latest study has to say about stress, depression and healthy pregnancies.

More important pregnancy tips.

Want to Quit Smoking?

Don’t let Big Puff get the best of you! Eat these.

It’s So Humid in Here!

Facts and fiction about proper use of humidifiers.

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Controversy? Us?

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

Okay, okay, we admit it. We think health is fun and worth arguing, talking and laughing about endlessly.

Everyone’s Favorite Superbug

The flu (actually an umbrella nickname of sorts for several variant influenza viruses) is developing resistance to drugs. Though no natural method can completely prevent your risk of flu, there are plenty of preventive measures that do help:

– fresh garlic daily

– plenty of vitamin C

– practicing good hygiene (wash those hands!)

– echinacea and zinc in flu season

– a daily tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in flu season

What are your suggestions, Apples? How do you avoid the flu? Talk it up!

This Is Stublog’s Flickr Photo

Mammograms: A Good Idea?

The debate is rekindled: are mammograms more harmful than helpful? Be sure to catch the latest research out today.

News flash: Life Is Really, Really Hard!

Is your doctor telling you you’re depressed? Maybe life is just hard and it’s okay to feel down about it! Check out this provocative news piece to see what we’re talking about.

Note: while we are not psychologists around here (and if you are, we’d love your perspective about why we may be buzzing up the wrong orchid), we think one could make a compelling argument that the personal fix-it movement is itself stressful for many people. Where do you draw the line between dealing with past issues and being convinced you need “fixing”? How do we draw the line between genuine depression or unresolved issues and simply feeling a normal response to life’s hardships? What do you all think? Are we depressed, or is life just tough?

Between a rock and a hard place…

This is Abenafe’s Flickr Photo

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The Busy Person’s Guide to Losing Weight

The Tuesday 10: Lose Weight Even If You’re Busy And who isn’t busy? We’ve been talking quite a bit so far this week about how fast-paced and hectic our lifestyles are (especially in April, it seems). The idea of losing weight typically generates rather glamorous images: personal trainers, hours in the gym on complicated equipment, expensive groceries and making a veritable career out of cooking dinner. Statistically, we’re both the busiest and fattest bunch of people on earth, so it’s not hard to see why the thought of weight loss carries such impossibly glamorous, time-sucking connotations. Fortunately, our idea of what’s required is not really accurate – whether you want to lose ten pounds or fifty. Of course, diet pills and exercise gadgets you see on infomercials don’t work – it’s not quite that easy. But losing weight is surprisingly simple if you apply a few tips consistently. Here are ten of my favorite ways to get started today: 10. No More Frivolous Bread What’s the harm of one roll at dinner, right? A lot more than you think. Bread baskets are ubiquitous, and they’re also worthless. Make it a habit to avoid these freebie wasteful calories, period. After a few weeks you will notice a difference. It’s too easy! This Is Elan’s Flickr Photo 9. Don’t Eat Until You’re Stuffed This seems obvious, but many of us are guilty of over-eating. I was surprised to learn recently that liver disease is an alarming new problem (truly an epidemic), but not because of excessive alcohol consumption. It’s because of excessive food consumption! It’s really true that restaurant portions are two to three times more than you need – and that’s standard. Here’s how to deal: eat until that point where your stomach is no longer growling, but you could still eat a bit more. From now on, simply stop when you get to that point. It only takes one or two times to realize how incredible this feels. The busiest person can eat less. 8. Get It To Go I’m not talking about take-out. Anytime you dine out, get half the meal into a doggy bag before you even start. You don’t have to cook all your meals to lose weight; just eat less when you are out. Hey, you’ll save cash, too! This Is Dyxie’s Flickr Photo 7. Don’t Drink Calories Many of us consume several hundred empty, sugary calories daily without realizing it – lattes, sodas, “energy” drinks, sports drinks, smoothies and so on. Unless these drinks are replacing a meal or supplementing a really small meal, don’t drink them. I like to have frequent protein and fiber smoothies, but they typically replace a meal, or I make sure to get in a really intense workout session. What to do: stick with water and the occasional glass of wine or a light beer. Make calorie-rich drinks a treat, because they really are more like dessert and should be viewed as such. That daily latte is packing on as … Continue reading “The Busy Person’s Guide to Losing Weight”

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Blogging on the Beach…

…something I could definitely get used to!

I was in Thailand last week at one of my favorite spots in the world – a little beach resort area in Phuket. They had been hit pretty hard by the ’04 tsunami, some 700 people having been lost in flooding in the town of Patong beach alone. Yet, other than a small memorial there was almost no remaining evidence that this devastating event had ever occurred. The Thai are very resilient people, and very appreciative of what they have, which, in most cases, isn’t much compared to what we have. I am reminded of the longevity studies that show that the single most important trait in living a longer, healthier life is the ability to “move on” from life’s major setbacks. The Thai people seem to me to be a shining example of this trait.

The other thing you notice in Thailand (and in many Asian countries) is that there are very few overweight people. Wait a minute, you say, don’t they eat a lot of rice and isn’t rice on your list of no-no’s? Well, the truth is, they do not really eat a lot of rice. They may have a small amount at many meals, but virtually every meal we ate during our time in Thailand contained a comparatively greater amount of protein and vegetables and a tiny amount of rice. And the portions at each meal were fairly minimalist. No super-sizing here. The result was that after each meal, we felt very satisfied, but never full. That is the key to eating healthy (or, as my eighth grade English teacher would have me say, healthily. But it just sounds wrong!).

Between the great food, the beach, and the relaxing pace, my wife, Carrie, and I had a great time together just getting away from it all.

A few pictures:

A relaxing evening together after a day in the sun…

I’m very serious about this frisbee business.

(I’ll post a couple more pictures on the Pictures page later today.)

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[tags]beach blog, Thailand, portions[/tags]

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