What Does 4,000 Calories a Day Look Like?

The average American consumes almost 4,000 calories every day and counting! That’s anywhere from 1500 to 2500 more calories than the average man or woman really needs (children and athletes have different needs). Translation: 3500 calories is equivalent to one pound. If you’re an “average American”, you could be eating anywhere from 12 to 15 excess pounds every month, adding fat to your body, increasing the pressure on your heart, and stressing your organs (not to mention the environmental impact of all this gluttony). But why are we eating so much? I decided to see what it would be like to eat the way the average American supposedly eats. Breakfast: How about McDonald’s? That’s a typical choice for millions of Americans every day. To be an average American, you need to eat at least 700 calories and up to 1300 calories at each setting. McDonald’s can help you with that. Another tip: it helps to drink your calories, so remember to wash it all down with a big slosh of soda or juice! Or a nice venti mocha will do the trick. Lunch: I know Burger King is bad. I’ll go for Subway. Subway is fresh, so I’m sure whatever I eat there is going to be good, right? Well, maybe if you get a 6″ whole-grain sandwich with vegetables or a salad. But according to Subway, the most popular Subway item in the world is the toasted steak and cheese sandwich. This will give you a very generous 400 calories per 6″ section. Don’t forget the chips and soda (an extra 300 calories!), and you’re easily on your way to 4,000 calories today! It’s nice that convenience chains are offering slightly more healthy options these days, but it’s still disingenuous counter-marketing to offer it along side the regular high-calorie fare. Eat fresh, indeed. Dinner: Pizza and burgers are beloved American foods. Sign me up! Carl’s Jr. says there’s only one thing that can “slay the hunger of a young guy on the move”. Hey, that’s me! I can even get their burger for breakfast. But wait, am I really that starving that I need to be slaying my stomach? The six-dollar burger with a large Coke and a side of fries will round out my day with an additional 1,200 calories (give or take a few). (Honestly, I’ve always thought it’s sort of sad that the most famous American foods – pie, burgers, pizza, hot dogs, French fries – are all junk foods. The French get cheese, wine and sauces, and Asia’s got vegetables down cold, but when it comes to cuisines of the world, we can sure be proud of our corn, salt, sugar and trans fat, all right.) Conclusion: I thought it would be a little bit of a challenge to eat 4,000 calories, but thanks to the vast majority of what’s available at every restaurant these days, it’s actually pretty hard not to consume twice as many calories as you need – and that’s the whole … Continue reading “What Does 4,000 Calories a Day Look Like?”

Read More

How to Eat More Chocolate and Drink More Wine Every Day

How can you turn this down? Health, in my view, is really about enjoyment and quality of life. It’s not all celery sticks and cardio – far from it. Dark chocolate and red wine shouldn’t be consumed with the reckless abandon I sincerely hope you reserve for vegetables, but they are reasonably healthy indulgences. Here’s how to indulge a little more (am I looking out for you or what?). 10. Drunk Marinara My editor, Sara, shares this tip: wash and chop up 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes. (Don’t bother with that canned stuff if you want the healthiest possible sauce. This is easy.) Add in half your normal amount of water or broth (you’ll see why in a second). Next add several fresh garlic cloves and any other spices or herbs you fancy in your tomato sauce. The antioxidant boost: after the tomatoes have simmered and stewed for a while, pour in 1 cup of red wine. Between the cooked tomatoes, garlic and wine, you’ll have a sauce so good, you’ll want to drink it and forget about whatever you were going to pour it on (better not be pasta). 9. Chocolate, Meet Meat Buy the darkest, most bitter, pure chocolate you can find. Even mass chocolate manufacturers like Hershey’s are pushing darker and darker chocolates. You can find upwards of 70% these days without breaking a sweat. Melt a bar in a saucepan with a big dash of cayenne pepper, a generous pinch of oregano or marjoram, a touch of olive oil, and a decent sprinkle of sea salt. You now have a very interesting and incredible reduction to drizzle over your pork chops. Just trust me. 8. Drink Wine at Lunch A necessary word of caution: I am not recommending a future career as a lush here. But you might enjoy splitting up that nightly glass of red into two small glasses (emphasis on small) and having a splash of wine at lunch. Many cultures around the world enjoy a little swill at noon. Obviously, this won’t work for everyone depending on schedules and workplace expectations. And, if alcohol is something that you tend to indulge too much in, then skip this tip (matter of fact, skip this post). 7. Goodbye Coffee, Hello Chocolate Chocolate for breakfast? Sure. This tip is for the morning vice crowd. If you want whiter teeth and you never seem to eat anything for breakfast, tackle both issues by eating a piece of dark chocolate instead of coffee. You’ll get some fat and caffeine to nourish your brain, quell your starving stomach and stimulate your nerves. I think some sliced tomatoes or scrambled eggs are both obviously better ideas for your mornings, but if you’re a coffee junkie and you have trouble ingesting a morning dose of calories, hey, I say work with the problem instead of fighting it. Dark chocolate still has some sugar, so if you’re trying to lose weight or if you need to watch your blood sugar, stick to … Continue reading “How to Eat More Chocolate and Drink More Wine Every Day”

Read More

More Juice; Coke Hearts Stevia

A brief update: we’re juicing this apple (so to speak). The blog is going to be down later this afternoon for a spell so we can install some new plug-ins that will improve the blog tremendously and add to your experience. No worries, we’ll be back up later in the day.

Be sure to stop in tomorrow for the always-popular Tuesday 10 and a discussion of everyone’s favorite topic: chocolate.

In the meantime, I recommend the following links for your daily health dose:

The biodegradable heart stent.

What will they come up with next? You all know I’m going to be grumbling about prevention on this one, but I do agree that this is a promising turn for problematic stents.

Stevia is fine – now that Coke wants to use it.

I’ve used stevia for years, which is saying something, as it can be tougher to get hold of than a real human when calling any customer service number. You can stop using it for “skin care” – with big soda lobbies on your side, that is. This doesn’t make soda healthy for you, though.

More problems with food from China.

Yet another unfortunate consequence of the global food web (this time, toothpaste).

All the toothpaste you need – this is Toasty Ken’s Flickr photo.

[tags] stevia, Coke, biodegradable heart stent, China, toothpaste [/tags]

Last week’s Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

My Most Popular Articles

Read More

How to Eat More Fat

Sara here. Alert the press, for I am going to share with you the best ways to eat a lot more fat. That’s right (whew…you can stop stressing now). Your weekly health challenge: eat more fat. I want you to get greasy with it. But this isn’t a license to hit up the candy aisle or to stop in at McDonald’s. I want you to eat more healthy fats this week. Here are some tips and types. Try them out and then give all your fellow apples a hand by talking about your favorite fats in the forum (we narrowly missed a tongue-twister there, didn’t we?). Fats to eat: – Cream, eggs, butter That’s right – I’m recommending saturated fat. Irresponsible of me, I know. Actually, provided you’re eating organic dairy and eggs, and you’re not getting crazy with the portions, saturated fat is not the monster it’s made out to be. I personally am more concerned about triglycerides and inflammation than I am about cholesterol, and refined fat and sugar have the most impact on these two health wreaking balls. I’m not saying cholesterol doesn’t matter; it does. It just doesn’t matter as much as you think. You can enjoy a little saturated fat. – Nuts, avocados, fish Omega 3’s, people! – Coconut oil, walnut oil, avocado oil, olive oil Put down the corn, soybean and canola oil. These may be unsaturated, but that doesn’t make them healthy (they are still refined, and contain some undesirable fatty acid chains). Liven up your meals, give your tastebuds something to live for, and try out new, omega-3-rich oils. Go and drench thyself. Stat. Fats you’re too good for: – fried anything, breaded anything, processed anything, packaged anything, not-natural anything. Keep these junk fats away from your precious body! I mean it! Why eat fat: Well, for starters, fat doesn’t make you fat. Fat also helps with stress management, cognition, mood, sleep, energy, weight management, healthy tissues, skin and hair – even digestion and nutrient absorption. Why I know what I’m talking about: I’m not a scientist and I’m not a doctor, so while I hope you consider my thoughts to be helpful, just remember that if you tell your doctor “But my homegirl Sara told me…” you might not have her immediately convinced of the glories of your newfound decadent fat consumption. I have spent the last several years reading endless studies and articles, so in my own defense I am pretty darn educated on the subject. Please don’t let all those nights your editor spent reading go to waste. 😉 But what probably matters most and is ultimately most insightful is my own health story. For several years there, I was quite the little frumpalump, and I wasn’t very healthy, either. Thanks to what I’ve learned from Mark, I dropped 20 pounds of literally depressing and unattractive grad-school pudge (the impossible “last 20” stubborn clinger kind), and got rid of my horrendous migraines and “adventures” with mood imbalances. That was … Continue reading “How to Eat More Fat”

Read More

Art and Mark on Doping, Endurance and Health

A few months back I exchanged a series of interesting letters with Art De Vany on fitness, doping, cardiovascular health and other issues related to health and to endurance athletes in particular. Here’s the complete set: I have followed with great interest your discussion and analysis of purported steroid use and home-run distributions. In a recent post, you asked about the incidence of false positives in sports drug-testing and you wondered how that might factor into the equation. I’ve given great deal of thought to that and related issues over the past 15 years and now feel compelled to add my two cents to your discussion – but on a much grander scale. At the risk of sounding a bit brazen, I would suggest to you and your audience that sport would be better off allowing athletes to make their own personal decisions regarding the use of so-called “banned substances” and leaving the federations and the IOC out of it entirely. (Even the term “banned substance” has a negative connotation, since most of these substances are actually drugs that were developed to enhance health in the general population). Bottom line: the whole notion of drug-testing in sports is far more complex than even the media make it out to be. First, I should tell you that I was the Anti-doping Commissioner of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) – a relatively new sport within the Olympic Family – for nearly 13 years. I had to act as “prosecutor” on many doping cases (doping = drugs in sport). Prior to that, I helped write the first set of “anti-doping” rules for triathlon in 1988. Before that, I was an elite marathoner (2:18) and triathlete (4th Place Ironman Hawaii) in the ‘70s and ‘80s, so I have accumulated a fair amount of “inside information” regarding drugs in sport at the Olympic level. I also own a supplement company and have done extensive research on performance enhancement in pursuit of natural, legal alternatives. There are three main points I want to make here: first, that it is impossible to fairly police and adjudicate drugs in sport; second, that the notion of a “level playing field” is a farce and, finally, that the performance requirements set by the federations at the elite level of sport almost demand access to certain “banned substances” in order to assure the health and vitality of the athlete throughout his or her career and – more importantly – into his or her life after competition. Impossible to fairly police and adjudicate. Most people think that a positive test is conclusive proof of guilt, but the reality is that almost all these tests are nothing more than GC/MS (http://www.scientific.org/tutorials/articles/gcms.html for a good description) quantitative analyses that look for parts per billion of certain metabolites in the urine. They are not black and white indicators of guilt. They are wavy lines on a graph subject to interpretation by scientists with varying degrees of expertise. In many cases a “threshold level” is established … Continue reading “Art and Mark on Doping, Endurance and Health”

Read More

Healthy Tastes Great!

Marinated Tri-Tip Roast with Mushrooms and Garlic

Read More