Food For Thought: Wrapup

Saturday, September 05, 2009

I hope the food-related topics information & ideas covered during this series have been revealing, thought-provoking, or maybe at least sparked some discussion.   Some of these topics have certainly dominated our dinner table conversations this week!

As promised, I’ve had an impartial participant draw the names of two people who’ve posted comments this past week to award the free books.   And here are the results:

book drawing winners


     Brian T.Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser.

     Mark & SinzianaThe Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

So please send me your mailing addresses and I’ll USPS ship ’em right out to you!   A big "Thank you!" goes out to all of you who left comments and helped make this blog series more interesting!Food For Thought

Articles in this Food For Thought series:Of course, I’d like to encourage you to take a few minutes to peruse through some of our previous food-related blog posts too!
 

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Food For Thought: Loco For Locavore

Friday, September 04, 2009

One of the focal points in The Omnivore’s Dilemma is the value of eating locally-grown food and although I don’t believe the term is specifically used in the book, author Michael Pollan clearly supports the principles of the "locavore" movement.

What is a locavore?   Well, much like a carnivore is someone who eats meat and a herbivore is someone who eats plants, a locavore is a person who eats locally-sourced food.   The locavore movement has sprouted in the past few years to encourage people to consume more food from regional farms, area farmers’ markets, at stores which carry local products, or even to produce some of their own food.

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There are several reasons in makes sense to favor locally-grown food:
  • Regarding food quality, even if local products aren’t formally certified as "organic," chances are still very good that they’ve been grown or raised using much healthier methods.   The result is better quality, fresher flavor, and more nutritious food.

  • Locally-sourced food is "greener" or more environmentally-friendly.   It has a smaller carbon footprint due to the lower "food miles" — or how far food has to travel from the farm to the fork.   Importing non-regional and international foods can sometimes require vast amounts of fossil fuels & non-renewable resources.

  • Locally-grown and/or produced food is often likely to be the result of more Earth-friendly & sustainable practices.   This translates to fewer unwanted chemicals making their way into your family’s plates.

  • There’s also the satisfaction of knowing that you’re supporting your local economy when you purchase from regional farmers & growers.
Green Blog Diaries offers a bushel-load of great locavore-themed blogs to chew on.   The blogs featured in that roundup are an excellent starting point to discover lots more about the local food movement.   There’s also a great new group blog called Civil Eats that strives to promote critical thought about sustainable agriculture & food systems.

Of course, there has to be a balance struck between lofty ideals versus what’s practical — buying local is far easier in fertile regions than in other, more agriculturally-barren areas.   Some people will be discouraged by the radical narrow-focus surrounding the locavore "movement" and its 100-mile limit.   And there’ll even be the wacky few who drive gas-guzzling SUVs all the way across town to buy locally-grown tomatoes because they’re more environmentally-friendly.

So, what do you think?   Have you already been focusing more on local food?   Do you believe efforts to be more local-minded can make a difference or do you dismiss this as just another pointless yuppie fad?

Remember to post a comment by midnight (P.S.T.) so your name will be entered for a chance at one of the two food-related books I’m giving away to commemorate this Food For Thought series.
 

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Food For Thought: Kids Cuisine

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Inspiring & passionate, Chef Ann Cooper (a.k.a. the Renegade Lunch Lady) has spearheaded a dramatic overhaul in the school lunch programs in Berkley, CA.   She’s on a mission to change the way children eat and transform cafeterias into culinary classrooms.   Don’t be put off by her intensity — she’s just very outraged and committed to getting the word out about how our childrens’ nutritional needs are being so poorly addressed in school.


Check out Ann Cooper’s blog and also follow Ann Cooper on Twitter to keep up with all of her latest happenings.

Of course, some of Ann’s ideas may not work universally.   Sure, fresh regional veggies & fruits are abundant in California, but locally-grown, organic produce isn’t necessarily so readily available in other parts of the country.   Still, consider the benefits for children of applying even a few of Ann’s progressive changes.

What’re your thoughts on school lunches and kids’s nutritional needs?   Do you believe schools are doing enough already?   To be entered in the book drawing at the end of this Food For Thought week, just leave a comment!
 

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Food For Thought: Fast Food Nation

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Fast Food Nation book coverFast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser is an in-depth look at how the fast food industry has revolutionized the landscape, culture, & health of America — and ultimately the entire world.

Not quite what you’d expect, Schlosser’s book doesn’t demonize fast food as it pertains to health — in fact, the author plainly states that his family still does eat some fast food — but rather, it’s more of an indictment of the corporate entities behind the drive-thrus.

This is a revealing look at sanitation & food safety that’s very often far from the primary concern of the big fast food chains.   It’s also a disturbing investigation into some of the deplorable ways in which these companies commonly, almost criminally, (mis)treat their employees.

But as much as slam many of the major fast food companies for their unethical practices, but I’ve got to commend Schlosser for also making a point to highlight the few that do it right, like In-N-Out Burger, for example.

This book is also packed with details and loads of interesting backstory, so it’s not an quick & easy weekend read.   As broad a topic as fast food cultural is, Schlosser’s points wander appropriately across a very wide range.   But "Fast Food Nation" is definitely well worth the time!   Just a few of the persuasive nuggets:
  • The fast food industry has aggressively lobbied against improved health and safety practices in the meat-packing industry, while pushing for lower product costs, faster production and more uniform product.   One result of this is that any single hamburger patty may be comprised of ground bits from hundreds, sometimes thousands, of cattle rather than a single cow.

  • The meatpacking industry has become totally industrialized.   Cattle are fed a continuous diet of corn — something which cows would not naturally eat in volume — laced with massive amounts of antibiotics to counteract the devastating effects that solely eating grain has upon the bovine digestive system (resulting in ever more resistant pathogens).   In addition to being unhealthy for the cows, corn-fed beef is comparably higher in unhealthy saturated fats than that of grass-fed.

  • To comply with international standards, the quality of meat being processed for shipment to non-American locations of the big fast food chains is several times higher than that of the meat used domestically.   That means that a Big Mac in Dubai has better & safer meat than the same burger at a McDonald’s in Dallas.

  • Fast food has infiltrated every corner of American society and is now served at restaurants & drive-throughs, at stadiums, airports, zoos, public schools & universities, on cruise ships, trains, and airplanes, at retail stores, gas stations, and even in some hospital cafeterias.   In 1970, Americans spent about $6 billion on fast food; in 2000, they spent more than $110 billion.

  • To make a strawberry milkshake at home, you’d probably use ice cream, strawberries, milk, and maybe a touch of vanilla.   But the ingredients in a typical fast-food version include milkfat & nonfat milk, sweet whey, high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, guar gum, monoglycerides & diglycerides, cellulose gum, sodium phosphate, carrageenan, citric acid, E129, and artificial strawberry flavor.   That elusive "strawberry flavor" isn’t even derived from actual fruit, but rather an elaborate laboratory where "flavorists" perform wizardry with chemicals such as amyl acetate, butyric acid, dipropyl ketone, methyl heptine carbonate, and undecalactone.
This book has certainly changed the way I look at the food I’m putting on my family’s table.   And it’s the second of the two books I’ll be drawing a name for at the end of this Food For Thought week, so be sure to leave a comment so that you’re entered to win!

Has there been anything that’s changed your opinions about fast food?   Do you still eat fast food as often?   Do you ever veer away from the big chain restaurants and instead get burgers & such from "Mom & Pop" fast food places?
 

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Food For Thought: Smorgasbord

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

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Today’s entry in the week-long Food For Thought series is a veritable smorgasbord of assorted food-related topics:
  • Finding locally-produced foods can sometimes be a bit difficult, especially if you don’t live in an agriculturally-diverse area.   Two websites that can make locating local farmers & growers much easier are Local Harvest and Eat Well Guide.   Both are online directories of sustainable food suppliers, searchable by location, where you can just enter your Zip Code and get a list for your area.

  • Did you know that the crust is the best part of bread?   It not only contains 8 times more antixodants, but is also rich in dietary fiber, which can help prevent colon cancer.   So, don’t trim the crusts off of your kids’ sandwiches!

  • The typical American breakfast of cereal, lowfat milk, & orange juice — often recommended by dietitians & doctors alike — is a nightmare!   According to some, the processing involved with the manufacture of much of our food riddles it with oxidants known to cause degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, brain dysfunction, and cataracts.

    For example, naturally-occurring cholesterol in fresh dairy products is used by your body to build & strengthen cell membranes, muscles, brain & nerve tissue.   But the drying process in making powdered milk — which is commonly used as a thickener in skim & lowfat milk — oxidizes the cholesterol which, once oxidized, can longer be used but instead collects along the walls of arteries.

  • If you cook, you’ll want to bookmark the Cook’s Thesaurus right now!   It’s a kitchen encyclopedia that covers thousands of ingredients & tools with pictures, descriptions, synonyms, and pronunciations of each.   But what’ll bring you back — and just may save a holiday meal — are the suggested substitutions.

    (Who knew you could substitute 3 tbsp. mayonnaise, ¼ cup of applesauce, or half a mashed ripe banana plus ¼ tsp. baking powder for each egg in a recipe?)

  • Honey can be a surprisingly effective, easy, & inexpensive solution for some allergy sufferers.   Ingesting small amounts of the airborne pollens that are also contained in the honey helps your body to build up a natural resistance to the allergens.   So adding a couple of teaspoons of local, pure, wildflower honey into your daily diet can decrease (and possibly even prevent) seasonal allergies.

    However, this is typically not what’s found in the cute little bear-shaped jars in the supermarket because mass-produced honey is stripped of its medicinal value via processing & heat sterilization.   And commercial bees are often fed corn syrup rather than their own honey, which diminishes the health of the hive as in addition to decreasing the nutritive benefits of the honey.   So look for locally-harvested (try within a 50 mile radius of your house), unpasteurized, unfiltered, 100% pure wildflower honey — the kind that you commonly find at farmers’ markets or produce stands.

  • For complete nutritional data on honey and a whole host of other health-promoting foods, visit the World’s Healthiest Foods.   This website, run by The George Mateljan Foundation (a not-for-profit foundation with no commercial interests) aims to discover, develop, and share scientifically-proven information about the benefits of healthy eating.

  • Foster Farms, a California poultry company, created the Say No To Plumping campaign.   Plumping is the practice of needlessly injecting chickens with saltwater, stock, seaweed extract, or other fluids to radically increase sodium content, weight, and price — which the USDA estimates costs Americans up to $2 billion annually!

  • High fructose corn syrup has become so abundant & incredibly cheap that manufacturers sneak it into practically everything.   HFCS is used liberally even in foods that have no need for any sweetener in them.

    But if it isn’t bad enough that so much of our foods are secretly loaded with the stuff, we now we find out that HFCS is contaminated with mercury.   Two studies recently found significant traces of the toxic metal in 30-50% of sampled foods containing HFCS.   So if you weren’t sufficiently convinced of the evils of HFCS before, it’s high time to reconsider!
Do you have some interesting morsel of food-related goodness to share?   Be sure to leave a comment to be entered in the book giveaway at the end of this Food For Thought week!
 

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Food For Thought: The Omnivore’s Dilemma

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Omnivore’s Dilemma book coverTo start this Food For Thought series off I’d like to highlight one of the best, most compelling books I’ve read about the food we eat & its origins.

Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma is a fascinating exploration of the origins of modern food and the implications that our choices have for the health of us — and our planet.   Pollan’s account of his stay at Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farms was especially fascinating.

This is a bit of a dense read, because it’s so packed with information, but it’s an incredibly eye-opening & thought-provoking book.   A few takeaway points that stuck with me:
  • If we are what we eat, then we are corn.   Corn is in everything, from frozen vegetables to sandwich meat to yogurt to pasta sauce to bread to grape juice and even cough syrup, most often in the form of high fructose corn syrup or modified corn starch — or both.

  • Corn fields have become little more than a very inefficient means of converting petroleum (in the form of fuel, fertilizer, & pesticides) into food.   And corn seems "cheap" at the consumer end because we’ve already paid for it once via tax subsidies that support the Farm Bill.

  • Industrial farms often use sketchy loopholes to qualify for using the "organic" label on their produce.   When buying produce, it’s far better to shop for locally-grown or regional items first, organic or otherwise.

  • It’s worth understanding the distinctions between organic, free range, hormone-free, etc.   Some of these terms are used more loosely than others.   For instance, "free range" animals are often provided only the opportunity to roam in a small open area but not necessarily given any incentive to do so.   They typically live no differently than non-free range animals.

  • If farms were to switch from monoculture (only one crop grown) back to growing many different crops and raising a variety of animals as well, not only would the farmers benefit, but so would the livestock, environment, and community as a whole.
Pollan’s "The Omnivore’s Dilemma" is one of the two books I’ll be drawing a name for at the end of this Food For Thought week, so be sure to leave a comment so you’re entered to win!   I’d love to hear from others who’ve read this book or if you’ve read another book that made a real impact upon how you view food, please share that!
 

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Food For Thought

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Food For ThoughtOver the past few years, I’ve become very intrigued by food and much more mindful about the quality of what we eat, where it comes from, and how it affects us.

Having never written a consecutive blog series before, I’ve been eager to try.   So each day this week, I’ll be featuring a food-related article in the hope that sharing these nuggets may inform, inspire, incite, or at least interest you as much as they have me.

I’ll post the first in the series tomorrow, but until then please browse through some of our past food-related blog entrées.

And there’s more...

To commemorate this blog series, I’ll be doing a giveaway of two of my favorite food-related books.   Simply leave a comment on any blog post here on 2Dolphins this week to enter the random drawing.   On Saturday, I’ll select the names at random and promptly ship the books to the two lucky winners!

Articles in this Food For Thought series:

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A Tough Nut To Crack

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Even in spite of March being Nation Peanut Month, it’s not always easy being a goober booster these days.   Times are a little tough for the lowly peanut.   Pro-legume president Jimmy Carter is long since gone from the White House.   Peanut sales have stalled somewhat in recent years.   The poor peanut has taken quite a beating lately...

Assaulted Peanut


Food Poisoning

Peanuts have taken a big hit over the past 2-3 months because of the latest wave of much-publicized recalls prompted by Salmonella Typhimurium concerns.   Nearly 300 brands of peanut-based products have announced recalls due to fears of salmonella contamination since Feb. 1st, and dozens more were announced in January.   Affected items include jars of peanut butter, energy bars, cookies, candies, baked goods, processed foods, dog treats & more.   Yet, it’s important to note that this problem was caused by a single processor (the Peanut Corporation of America based in Lynchburg, Virginia) and the unsafe practices at two of their processing plants (in Blakely, Georgia & Plainview, Texas) not the peanut itself.

Peanut Allergies

Peanuts have also taken a beating due to the feverish frenzy over potential food allergies.   While it certainly is a legitimate concern for some, many scientists & food researchers suggest that the fear about peanut allergies is dramatically overblown.   A few overzealous schools & airlines have even banned the snack outright for fear of potentially-fatal peanut allergies.   Nicholas A Christakis, professor of medical sociology at Harvard Medical School, lends a healthy dose of common sense on the topic:
About 3.3 million Americans are allergic to nuts, and even more - 6.9 million - are allergic to seafood.   However, all told, serious allergic reactions to foods cause just 2,000 hospitalizations a year (out of more than 30 million hospitalizations nationwide).   And only 150 people (children and adults) die each year from all food allergies combined.   Compare that number with the 50 people who die each year from bee stings, the 100 who die from lightning strikes, and the 45,000 who die in motor vehicle collisions.   Or compare it with the 10,000 hospitalizations of children each year for traumatic brain injuries acquired during sports or the 2,000 who drown or the roughly 1,300 who die from gun accidents.   We do not see calls to end athletics.   There are no doubt thousands of parents who rid their [homes] of peanut butter but not of guns.
Obviously, those with legitimate food allergies are dealing with a very real issue that can be life-threatening and may be life-long.   But more often, the problem may be more a case of hysteria-fueled worries than true allergies.   Many believe that, by overreacting to the threat of potential allergies thus avoiding peanuts altogether, we may actually be contributing to the problem of more children being sensitized.

And the heightened anxiety over food allergies tends to also make it harder for parents to determine what constitutes a true allergic reaction.   If a child has an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea after eating food containing peanuts, that’s more likely to be a minor case of food poisoning or other simple non-immunological reaction rather than a true food allergy.   But the hysteria surrounding peanut allergies can make it difficult for even the most level-headed parent to avoid jumping to conclusions.   Yet conversely, there’s mounting evidence that early introduction to nuts actually lowers the likelihood of peanut sensitization in young children.

But even for true peanut allergy sufferers, there are some glimmers of hope...   Recent results from clinical trials suggest that gradual, medically-supervised exposure to small amounts of peanut flour can increase tolerance and help children overcome peanut allergies.   Food researchers have also begun to unlock the secrets of what makes people prone to develop allergic reactions to food, focusing on the certain types of immune cells that react to peanuts and trigger antibodies to be produced.

Loving Peanuts Isn’t So Nuts

Despite the recent health & allergy scares, peanuts remain a reliable & affordable source of protein and a host of other healthful nutrients for most children & adults.

Now while it’s true that peanuts do contain a lot of fat, more than half of the fat in peanuts is monounsaturated.   Unsaturated fats can help lower LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) levels in the blood without affecting the HDL cholesterol ("good" cholesterol).   And peanuts are loaded with resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant that’s been linked with fighting cancer, preventing certain brain disorders, and reduced cardiovascular disease.   To raise the heart-healthy stats even higher, each ounce of roasted peanuts provides 10% of the daily recommended amount of folic acid, which works along with vitamin B12 & vitamin C to help the body break down, use, and create new proteins, build tissue, form red blood cells, and helps produce DNA.

So exercise caution —: and a little moderation — but if at all possible, go nuts with peanuts!
 

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31 Days of Nuttiness

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

March is a great month to go nuts!   Y’see, it’s the 35th anniversary of National Peanut Month!   So in honor of this, here are a few lesser-known nuggets about one of our favorite treats:

Interesting Peanut Facts:

  • Peanuts have been found in pre-Columbian sites in Zhejiang province in China dating from between 2100-1811 B.C.

  • The Incans of Peru used peanuts as sacrificial offerings and entombed them with their mummies to aid in the spirit life.

  • The first major use of peanut crops in America was as feed for pigs but in the hard times during the Civil War, both Northern & Southern troops began to rely upon the peanut as a food source.

  • Using only his nose, mountaineer Tom Miller pushed a peanut 14,100 feet to the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado in just 4 days, 23 hours, and 47 minutes.

  • Peanut butter’s high protein content draws moisture, often causing it to stick to the roof of your mouth.   And the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth is called arachibutyrophobia.

  • "Mr. Peanut," the Planters Nut mascot, is based upon a sketch submitted by a schoolboy for the company’s logo contest.   His drawing won 13-year-old Antonio Gentile a $5 prize in 1916.

  • Although China & India are by far the biggest peanut-growing countries of the world, peanut butter is a distinctly American food product and most other countries never had it prior to the 1960s.

Be sure to check out the other food-related posts here on 2Dolphins.
 

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What a Crock!

Monday, September 22, 2008

As Rob mentioned a few days ago, the cooler weather we’ve had over the past few weeks has kicked us into "domestic mode" and we’ve been doing more cooking & baking.   Even I’m getting into the swing of things and, thanks to a recommendation from Ryan, we replaced our battered old crock pot just in time for some Fall cooking.

The Hamilton Beach Stay or Go 6 Quart Slow Cooker we bought at (dare I say it?) Wal-Mart is awesome!   Dede cooksThis crock pot was really made with traveling in mind with a glass lid that has canister-style clips to keep it secured, large grippy handles that keep your hands away from the hot stuff, and it even comes with a serving spoon that clips onto the lid handle.   And of course, the crock removes for easy cleanup.

But what makes cleanup even more of a breeze are the ingenious Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners that Ryan also tipped us off about.   These are very similar to the heat-resistant baking bags you use for turkey on Thanksgiving.   You just line your crock, add ingredients, & cook as you normally would, but when you’re done, you simply toss the liner!   No muss, no fuss.   Genius.   (Did Steve Jobs have something to do with this too?)

And as if it couldn’t get any easier, here’s one of our favorite, oh-so-simple crock pot recipes:

Dede’s Taco Soup


   1 lb. ground beef
   2 15 oz. cans beef broth
   1 15 oz. can Mexican-style (a.k.a. Rotel) stewed tomatoes
   1 15 oz. can black beans, drained
   1 15 oz. can whole kernel corn with sweet peppers, drained
   1 pkg. taco seasoning mix

Brown & drain the ground beef, toss everything into the crock pot, & you’re set.   You can dress this up with all sorts of extras like diced onion, shredded cheese, or sour cream, but we usually just serve with some corn tortilla chips.
 

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September 2008 Blogtipping

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Blogtipping iconLately, our West Texas weather has been unseasonably mild and we’ve had much more rain in the past several weeks than we normally get all Summer.   These cool & overcast days have made it feel like Fall is arriving early and there’s just something about that which makes you feel like firing up the oven.   Plus, as new parents, we’re trying to cook more at home anyway...

So this month’s Blogtipping is focused on cooking & recipe sites.

Now, these sites don’t have recipes for, as The Curmudgeon would put it:   "Teeny, tiny portions of pigeon meat, set atop a brillo pad and covered by a contrasting caramelized ooze, resting next to a little dollop of white turnips or a slice of some vegetable you’ve never heard of."   No, these blogs offer easy-to-make dishes that real people would enjoy containing common ingredients you’ll be able to readily track down — or may even already have on-hand.

As you may recall, "Blogtipping" is an chance for us to share 3 things we like — and offer a tip or constructive comment — about 3 blogs each month.   So here are our picks for September:

Kalyn’s Kitchen by Kalyn Denny is a great blog that combines a love for cooking with a commitment to healthy, lower-glycemic food that fits within the South Beach plan.   It’s definitely worth a look because of:
  1. The site is a great resource for all sorts of low-carbohydrate info & practical tips to help keep on track with that style of dietary goal.
  2. Lots of great low-carb recipes that are anything but lacking in flavor or variety.
  3. Simple & clean site layout makes it easy to navigate around.
  • Tip: There’s so much content on the main page, it can be a little overwhelming, but it’s well worth taking the time to explore the sidebars.
The Pioneer Woman Cooks is just one section of an impressive & diverse website by Ree, a.k.a. Pioneer Woman, a transplanted Californian in dusty Oklahoma.   Why do you need to check out her site?
  1. Step-by-step instructions with detailed photos makes even more involved dishes easy.
  2. The very active community of readers means there’s always other ideas & tips related to Ree’s articles.
  3. The recipes offered are tried & true, using mostly common, simple ingredients.
  • Tip: There’s so much going right on this site, I can’t think of a single thing to add!
The Peanut Butter Blog is a fun, fairly new blog dedicated to peanut butter!
  1. Loads of great, easy recipes!
  2. Links to all sorts of fun & funky peanut & peanut butter -related food & accessories.
  3. You can subscribe via RSS feed to stay up on the latest stuff.

Do you have a favorite food-related blog or website?   Post a comment and share it with us!
 

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Wrap It Up!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I read a post on Melissa’s Sarcomical blog about an article by Neil Kramer who decided to seek immortality by coining his own deli specialty, a.k.a. "The Neilochka."   I wondered, could it be that designing a signature sandwich really is the recipe for fame & fortune?   Well heck, I can do that!

Anyone who’s tried ’em can attest that our 2Dolphins Tuna Wraps are awesome — although admittedly, I was a bit off the mark when I made this for Karen P. last month.   (I was experimenting with chipotle mayo and got a little carried away!)   So here’s the high protein, high fiber, kick-butt wrap that laughs heartily at other, lesser excuses for sammiches:

  2Dolphins Tuna Wrap

2Dolphins Tuna Wrap sandwich   1 pkg Albacore tuna (in the pouch, not canned!)
   2-3 dollops of real mayo
   2 spoonfuls of dill relish
   1 finely chopped celery stick
   Several liberal pinches of finely chopped
       parsley and/or chives (green onion)
   Coupla sprinkles of red pepper flakes
   Splash (or two) of Tabasco sauce

Serve with shredded sharp Cheddar cheese and
shredded Romaine or Green Leaf lettuce on a 10"
Mission Carb Balance Whole Wheat Tortilla.

So, what would be the ingredients of your signature sandwich and what would you call it?
 

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Peanut Power

Monday, March 31, 2008

Capping off the coverage of March as National Peanut Month, it seemed only fitting to mention Project Peanut Butter, a non-profit organization created by Dr. Mark Manary which has done extensive field trials in Malawi from 2001-2007 on fighting severe malnutrition using Plumpy’nut.

Plumpy’nut, Nutriset’s amazing Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) product, is based on a fortified peanut paste and offers an incredible 95% recovery rate for severely malnourished children.   Project Peanut Butter operates the first local Plumpy’nut Plumpynut wrapperproduction facility in Africa and distributes this therapeutic food to malnourished Malawian children in more than 20 nutritional rehabilitation centers.   Last year, the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition, the World Health Organization, & UNICEF issued a joint statement that recognized Project Peanut Butter’s treatment protocols, in conjunction with Plumpy’nut, as the most effective method by which to treat severely malnourished children globally.

It’s estimated that half of all child deaths worldwide are caused by malnutrition.   In fact, Joe Stirt’s recent Memo to Nick Negroponte notes that only 3% of the world’s 20 million malnourished children have access to ready-to-use food.   While Joe’s post unintentionally connects with one of my main concerns about MIT’s zealous One Laptop Per Child project (that being, do starving children really need a $100 laptop?), I believe his main point is that the cost of providing critically-needed nourishment for 3rd world children is practically trivial.

Yup, just $15 (a tax-deductible donation) allows Project Peanut Butter to offer a Plumpy’nut-based 4-week nutritional recovery protocol to bring a critically-malnourished child back from the brink.

$15 worth of peanut paste to save a child’s life?   Peanut power, indeed!
 

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Peanut Butter Jelly Time

I just realized that no coverage of National Peanut Month could be anywhere near complete without mentioning Peanut Butter Jelly Time.

Peanut Butter Jelly Time dancing bananaIt’s beyond me how dancing fruit became synonymous with the Buckwheat Boyz’s crazy song about PB&J, but once you’ve seen this silly little video, you’re gonna have that lodged in your brain permanently!

Check out the Peanut Butter Jelly Time video!
 

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Nutty Uses for Peanut Butter

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Empty Jar of Peanut ButterKeeping the ball rolling on my coverage of National Peanut Month, I thought it might be fun to toss out a few unexpected or downright wacky uses for peanut butter that I’ve come across recently.

If you thought slathering an apple wedge or celery stick with peanut butter for an afternoon snack was living on the edge, well, just hold on for some really far-out ideas:

  • Let a tablespoon of peanut butter slowly dissolve in your mouth to cure hiccups!

  • Having trouble getting your pet to take some medication?   Most cats & dogs love the taste of peanut butter, so hide the pill in peanut butter and you should have no trouble getting them to swallow it!

  • Remove stubborn wax stains on your car’s rubber or non-painted plastic surfaces by applying a little creamy peanut butter to the stain with a soft toothbrush.   Peanut butter’s oils dissolve the wax and it’s just sticky & abrasive enough to lift the stain.

  • Likewise, gently rub peanut butter in a circular motion on road tar or tree sap that’s gotten on your car then wash with sudsy water to rinse off any residue.

  • Create a cheap & simple outdoor bird feeder by spreading peanut butter into the nooks & crannies of a pine cone, then coating with birdseed.

  • To get chewing gum out of hair, clothing, or carpet, scrape up what you can, rub with an ice cube to stiffen, then rub a small glob of creamy peanut butter into the gum and wipe up the whole mess with a clean cloth.

  • Make Chocolate & Peanut Butter Playdough for your kids to play with!

  • You can even shave with creamy peanut butter!   Reportedly, former senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona once did this while on a camping trip.

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Posted by Rob at 6:55 AM 3 comments links to this post

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Nutty Nuggets

Monday, March 17, 2008

Continuing with the celebration of Nat’l Peanut Month, I thought I’d offer up some interesting peanut info.   If any of this helps settle a bar bet, well, ya owe me a brew...

Historically Nuts

The peanut is a South American legume with an ancient history.   Peanut shells have been found in archaeological digs that date back to 2500 BC but it’s likely that they were being consumed even before then.   Interestingly, none of the 4 main varieties of peanut (Peruvian, Spanish, Valencia, & Virginia) prevalent in the U.S. came here directly.   Instead, the peanut took the slow boat, migrating either through Africa or the Orient to North America as a result of Spanish and/or Portuguese traders.

Historically, the largest grower of peanuts in the world had been India, but China began dominating production in the 1990s.   By 2000, China was yielding almost 40% of the world crop, and India almost 25%, with the U.S. in 3rd place with only 6% of worldwide peanut production.

Peanut Trivia

  • About 2/3rds of the worldwide peanut crop is processed for oil and peanut oil accounts for 8% of the worlds edible oil production.

  • There are about 1,218 peanuts in a 28-ounce jar of peanut butter.

  • An average of 2,860 pounds of peanuts are harvested from each acre of peanut plants and an acre of peanuts will make 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches.

  • Roasted peanuts were first sold at a P.T. Barnum circus in the late-1800s.

  • The term "peanut gallery" was popularized in the late 19th century because those in the cheapest, uppermost seats in a theater could throw peanuts at people in the more expensive seats below.

  • Alabama, Florida, New Mexico, & South Carolina all contribute, but the predominant peanut-growers in the U.S. are Georgia & Texas.

  • The official state crop of Georgia is the peanut and that state produces almost ½ of the total U.S. peanut crop.

  • About ½ of all of the peanuts grown in the U.S. for food use ends up in a jar of peanut butter.

  • On average, Americans each eat 3 lbs of peanut butter per year.   That’s about 700 million pounds, or enough to coat the floor of the Grand Canyon!

  • Peanut butter’s high protein content draws moisture from your mouth.   That’s why it sticks to the roof of your mouth.

  • On May 15, 1963, U.S. astronaut Gordon "Gordo" Cooper ate bite-sized peanut butter sandwiches during the last Mercury space flight mission.

 

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Go Nuts in March

Thursday, March 13, 2008

National Peanut Month is upon us!   What began as National Peanut Week in 1941, expanded to a month-long celebration in 1974.   And it’s probably no coincidence that March is also National Nutrition Month because the lowly peanut is quite the nutritional powerhouse!

peanut graphicWhile peanuts aren’t actually nuts — they’re legumes, related to peas, lentils, chickpeas & other beans — they’re loaded with healthful goodness, with almost 8 grams of protein per serving and feature lots of dietary fiber, vitamin E, niacin, folate, & manganese.   They’re also a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and two high-powered antioxidants: p-Coumaric acid & resveratrol, the highly-touted component found in red grapes & wine.   In fact, peanuts pack in more antioxidants than either apples or carrots!

And you can easily get your fill of those healthful morsels by indulging often in what Lindsey Knerl calls The Poor Man’s Protein or what chef & writer Florence Fabricant refers to as "The pâté of childhood."
Yup, good ol’ peanut butter!

So, grab up a PBJ and lift a cheer for National Peanut Month!
 

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November ’07 Blogtipping

Monday, November 05, 2007

Blogtipping iconAs you may have noted from our past Blogtipping posts, the concept behind this series is simple:   On the 1st Monday of each month, we link to three unsuspecting blogs with three compliments & one helpful comment or idea for each author.   Although most months these "tipped" blogs are grouped by topic or theme, my picks for November are a random mix of blogs that have nothing in common - except that they’re each well worth checking out:

AppScout by the folks at PC Magazine is a relatively new weblog that offers up new websites & applications.   Mark B. intro’d me to this blog and I keep going back because of:
  1. Tons of sites & web-based apps to suit nearly any need!
  2. Frequently-updated content means there’s always something interesting.
  3. Subscribe via RSS to keep up with the latest posts.
  • Tip: I’d like to see more free downloadable apps featured.
Future Designs by Tuvie is a new blog launched back in July ’07 that I like because of:
  1. Features innovative and often very-futuristic product concepts & designs.
  2. Very clear product photos make it easy to see the eye-popping gadgets & design ideas.
  3. RSS feed option lets you easily keep up with the frequently-updated content.
  • Tip: The site’s design fits the topic nicely except that the logo graphic seems oddly very un-futuristic.
Mark’s Daily Apple from Mark Sisson serves up daily health & fitness insights with a side of irreverence.   Mark’s tough but positive view encourages people to discuss, learn, & rethink assumptions.   There’s plenty to like on his blog:
  1. Full-content feeds & newsletter subscription options make it easy to keep up-to-date any way you’d like.
  2. Practical & relevant tips to get more out of life.
  3. Newly-formed discussion forums allow you to share questions & insights with others.
  • Tip: I can’t think of anything to add - this is a great blog that needs to be a part of your regular read list.

Now it’s your turn!   Have a favorite blog site you’d like to share?
 

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Corny Considerations

Saturday, August 25, 2007

photo of a corn man sculpture in claySeems that corn, in one form or another, is a dominant subject in much of the news these days.   Between the very justified villainization of high-fructose corn syrup that’s infiltrating nearly every otherwise healthful food product to the demand for corn-based biofuel causing a rise in the cost of meats to stories about how corn crops are edging out other crops, corn is making headlines.

With that in mind, several themes that revolve around this common topic - corn - have been swirling around in my brain lately...

Are We Children of the Corn?

I’ve just begun reading Michael Pollan’s
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: a Natural History of Four Meals in which he traces, step by step, the journey our food takes from the soil to the plate.   I’m not far into the book and already it’s some very thought-provoking stuff.   Pollan contends that we are indeed what we eat — and what we eat remakes the world.   And what we eat, by and large, is corn:
Corn is what feeds the steer that becomes the steak.   Corn feeds the chicken and the pig, the turkey and the lamb, the catfish and the tilapia and, increasingly, even the salmon, a carnivore by nature that the fish farmers are reengineering to tolerate corn.   The eggs are made of corn.   The milk and cheese and yogurt, which once came from dairy cows that grazed on grass, now typically come from Holsteins that spend their working lives indoors tethered to machines, eating corn.
Pollan goes to to make the corn connection to a vast array of many of the other foods we purchase & consume - 1 in every 4 items for sale in the average American supermarket contains corn.   A staggering number of even the non-consumable items in your local stores are derivatives of Zea mays, the giant tropical grass we know as corn.   In fact, the Ontario Corn Producers Association insists that there are A Zillion Uses for Corn!   Given how most of the corn grown in this country is processed into unrecognizable bits & pieces, you may never look at a cornfield - or the food in your shopping cart - the same way again...

The Bitter Taste of Corn Sweeteners

In 2006 alone, more than 700 million bushels of corn were refined into corn sweeteners - primarily High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).   Read the labels on beverages & foods and you’ll find HFCS has insidiously wormed its way into all kinds of foods you might never suspect - lunch meats, whole-wheat breads, crackers, salad dressings, soups, cheese, milk, yogurt, vitamins, and even medicines.   Perhaps worse yet, many of the foods laced with this nasty stuff are promoted as being suitable for a healthy lifestyle or weight loss!

Despite the considerable processing required to create HFCS, it’s considerably cheaper, easier to transport, and much sweeter than sugar.   In part, this is because our government artificially fixes sugar prices while heavily subsidizing corn.   But the net result is that this translates into lower costs and higher profits for food producers, so there’ a tremendous economics incentive for them to use corn-based sweeteners.   Since HFCS comes from corn, products that feature it can be billed as "natural" foods but this couldn’t be further from the truth.   In fact, the process of breaking down cornstarch into syrup requires 3 different enzymes - the first of which, alpha-amylase, is industrially produced by a bacterium.

Studies have linked a number of health issues with the use of HFCS.   Some suggest that HFCS may alter intracellular metabolism, which in turn facilitates accelerated aging through oxidative damage.   There’s also connections with HFCS contributing to obesity & diabetes.   So why are these health risks tolerated and the use of HFCS continuing to escalate?   Consumer apathy.   There are simply too few people thinking about the ingredients or nutritional value of the foods they ingest.   We’ve got to let our dollars do the talking - if enough consumers stop buying foods made with corn sweeteners, the producers will have little choice but to abandon the use of HFCS.

Biofuel Causing Corn Shortages?

Not enough that we use innumerable amounts of corn to fuel our bodies, we’ve now been snookered into using it to fuel our cars too.   But the use of corn-based biofuel seems to be coming at the expense of corn as a food crop.

I recently read about a surprising situation in David Bollier’s article on the Mexican corn crisis and although it isn’t quite the same, I couldn’t help but draw a comparison to the Irish Potato Famine of 1845.

Like Ireland’s potato, corn is a food that defines Mexico.   There’s evidence that corn was domesticated in central Mexico more than 7000 years ago and as early as 1500 BC, corn was a primary staple food for most South American and much of the North American cultures.   Corn, in the form of tortillas, is a critical mainstay of their diet & culture but tortilla prices have tripled or quadrupled in some parts of Mexico since last summer.   Why?   Biofuel.

Now it’s true that yellow corn earmarked (rimshot!) for fuel production is not the same variety used for food, but with the increased demand for biofuels, the corn destined for ethanol is fetching a significantly higher price.   So farmers in Mexico are enticed to grow that crop instead of corn for human and/or livestock consumption and instead import cheaper, food-grade white corn from us to offset.   Farmers here in the U.S. are failling prey to similar economic pressures.   Sounds simple, no?   It gets worse...

Not much more than a year ago, Mexico was exporting more than 137,000 tons of its annual corn crop.   Yet at the same time, Mexico is facing a corn shortage and is set to import more than 800,000 tons of corn for its people from the U.S. & other countries.   The price of tortillas has risen so dramatically that Mexicans have taken to mass protests in the streets.

Now it gets really interesting — statistically, the U.S. grew 42% of the world’s total corn crop last year but ethanol production is projected to consume half of our annual corn harvest by 2008.   So, the demand for biofuels is about to chew up 20% of the world’s corn harvest.

Despite the fact that there are other, potentially far more efficient non-food crop sources that can produce ethanol, the push for corn-based biofuel continues.   And this is accompanied by a score of problems:   it requires vast amounts of energy (including fossil fuel) & water to produce, it does nothing to encourage us to reduce our use of fossil fuel, it burns less efficiently than straight gasoline, & overall doesn’t have a net effect of reducing global-warming-causing pollution.   And since corn is heavily subsidized by the government, as the demand for corn-based ethanol to run our cars increases, so too do our taxes — those government subsidies have to come from somewhere, right?

Although I haven’t seen anything documenting this, it’s a safe bet that corn-based biofuel benefits "Big Oil" significantly.   It’s probably also a safe bet that those companies are already snapping up the farms that grow corn.   Once again, seems like a win-win scenario for "Big Oil."

Anybody else find this whole thing frustrating and/or "cornfusing?"
 

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Posted by Rob at 6:06 PM 1 comments links to this post

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A Starfish That Makes a Difference

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Peppridge Farm Goldfish Starfish CrackersPepperidge Farm Goldfish-brand crackers, a National Leadership Sponsor of City Year, has announced a new "starfish" design Goldfish cracker, as part of the "Making a Difference for Kids" campaign.

The starfish is a symbol of hope in City Year’s effort to make the world a better place by reminding us that each of us has the power to make a difference:
The Starfish Story

A young girl was walking along a beach that was covered with thousands of starfish left dying in the sun by the receding tide.   Seeking to help, she picked up a starfish and tossed it back into the ocean.

A man, amused by her action, said to her, "Little girl, there are too many starfish.   You will never make a difference."   Discouraged, she began to walk away.   Suddenly, she turned around, picked up another starfish, and tossed it as far as she could back into the sea.   Turning to the man, she smiled and said, "I made a difference to that one!"

The man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had said and done.   Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing the starfish back into the sea.   Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.

— Inspired by an adaptation of Loren Eisley’s "The Star Thrower."

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Subway Wrap Rap

Thursday, March 29, 2007

How disappointing — just when Dede & I got thoroughly hooked on Subway tuna wraps, the powers that be foolishly opted to get rid of their chewy, whole-grain, low-carb wraps!   Yup, according to Jimmy Moore over at The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Blog, a Subway representative has confirmed that the "Carb Conscious Wraps" have been discontinued earlier this month and replaced with a white flour tortilla wrap at all North American Subway franchises.

What a travesty!   The "Carb Conscious Wraps" had only 5 net carbs yet featured 8 grams of fiber & a whopping 14 grams of protein!   The crummy replacement wraps have over 20 net carbs but less than 1 gram of fiber — and no flavor!   Ack!

What will we do now?   Are we without recourse?   Well, maybe not.   For starters, when visiting your local Subway franchise restaurant, tell the owner you want the old-style Atkins-friendly, low-carb, goodness back!   You can also fill in the Subway Customer Service Form to send a signal, loud & clear, that we all want the "Carb Conscious Wraps" back!   So get with it, people!   Let’s make this happen!

Update:  David Turner, owner of the MCH Subway franchise we frequent, added that Subway made this change without franchisee input.   He recommends calling Subway at (800) 888-4848 and telling them that you prefer the original "Carb Conscious Wraps."

Update #2:  Subway must be listening.   Only days after Dede & I sent website feedback and emails, the MCH franchise brought back the chewy, whole-grain, low-carb wraps that we love!   Power to the people!
 

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Get Nutty in March

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Despite a recent setback, it’s worth mentioning (again) that March is National Peanut Month.

While peanuts are very common today, ancient Peruvians held them in such high esteem that they buried pots of peanuts with their mummified dead to nourish them during their long journey to the hereafter.

Although a nut in the culinary sense, in the botanical sense the fruit of the peanut is a woody, indehiscent legume. However you categorize them, peanuts are a nutritional knockout, having pound for pound more protein, minerals, & vitamins than some cuts of beef. They provide protection against cardiovascular disease due to high levels of monounsaturated fats and powerful antioxidants Resveratrol & p-Coumaric acid.

Peanut butter is the leading use of peanuts in the U.S. but the incredibly versatile peanut also has a wide variety of non-food uses too. Peanut oil and its derivatives are used in paint, varnish, lubricating oil, leather dressing, furniture polish, insecticide, nitroglycerin, soap, & cosmetics. Peanut shells and other parts of the plant are often used in the manufacture of plastic, wallboard, abrasives, adhesives, textiles, paper, soil fertilizer, & animal feed.

So grab up a fistfull of peanuts and enjoy!
 

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Product Code 2111 = Bad Peanut Butter

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Thanks to one of the blogs we read, we’ve just discovered that we own 3 jars of recalled Peter Pan peanut butter. It seems that they may be contaminated with salmonella. Peter Pan & Great Value are the only brands being recalled and the affected jars begin with the product code "2111" stamped on top of the lid.

With all the other junk that hits my email box, I’m not sure why this kind of news never gets to me! You can read more about the recall at the FDA website.
 

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Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Monday, October 02, 2006

And now a nugget of nutrition news from Mom: Besides being wasteful, there's another really good reason to not trim the crusts off of your kids' bread — according to a news item over on Ben Sullivan's Science Blog, German researchers have discovered that the crust is a rich source of antioxidants and may provide a much stronger health benefit than the rest of the bread.

A recent study has identified an antioxidant called pronyl-lysine that's 8 times more abundant in the bread's crust. Interestly, this compound is not present in the original flour. It is created during the complex chemical reaction of the protein-bound amino acid L-lysine and starch as well as reducing sugars in the presence of heat — or something we amateurs call "baking." What's more, darker breads not only tend to have more dietary fiber but also higher amounts of this cancer-fighting antioxidant goodness too!

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Shopping the Perimeter

Saturday, September 16, 2006

We caught an episode of Queer Eye a couple of weeks ago where a nutritionist met the "straight guy" & Ted at a grocery store to help them learn how to shop for more healthful food. Nothing particularly new about that. And they started shopping in the produce section. Nothing new about that either. But then she dropped a line that was simplicity at it finest...
Always shop the perimeter of the grocery store first.
Nothing earthshattering there, but still, as I was doing some shopping this morning, I was recalled and was impressed with that simple notion. The perimeter of the grocery store is where you find fresh veggies & fruit, bins of raw nuts, the bakery, seafood counter, meat market, dairy cabinets, etc. In other words, it's where you find the freshest, least-processed, healthiest foods. Genius!

An added bonus: along the perimeter of the market is also where you usually will find an inexpensive, freshly-cut bundle of flowers to take home to your sweetie...

Roses for my sweetie!

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Feasting on Asphalt

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Alton Brown sinks his teeth into road food!
Did you catch the funky new "Feasting on Asphalt" mini-series on the Food Network recently? If not, you're in luck — all 4 episodes are being re-aired back-to-back this Saturday, August 19th.

Foodie Alton Brown and a camera crew hop on motorcycles and set out across the country to discover how and where we eat when we’re on the road. Highlighted by archival photos & film, the series also serves as a history lesson as Alton journies down back roads exploring every aspect of eating on the go, from foraging for grub, to camp cooking, to the evolution of "road food" icons — the diners, cafes, and truck stops that once flourished beside America’s highways. And along the way, he often reflects on how changes in eating on the road have influenced today's culture.

Click here to see Wikipedia's page on the show and for a link of a cool pushpin map of the series' route.

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Steve, Don't Eat It!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sometimes you stumble innocently across something that strikes a chord with you so deeply that you'e just gotta share it. I geuss that's what this whole "blogging" thing is about, huh? Well, this morning, I staggered, bleary-eyed and not yet fully awake, across The Sneeze, a website that bills itself as "Half zine, Half blog. Half not good with fractions." Well, I'm about 127.5% sure that this site is hilarious.

(Supreme bonus points for anyone who caught that obscure reference to Ted, the software developer who had no concept of mathematics from Survivor: Thailand.)

Do ya remember how when you were a kid you'd sometimes laugh so hard that milk would come out your nose? If you've been aching to relive that childhood memory, you have only but to peruse the insanely funny rantings (and occasional ravings) in the Steve, Don't Eat It section where a fellow (presumably named "Steve") reviews funky and disgusting food products that no rational person would consider eating. For example:
"First off, I would like to say to Dolores, I am sorry. I don't know what it is I did to you, but you have gotten me back and we're even."
How do I find these things? Don't ask. Just enjoy!

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More Love For Schlosser

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I've blogged a number of times about this in the past and there's just no end in sight to the Schlosser love-fest over here. "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser is definitely one of my favorite books and just earlier this week, I blogged about the newly-released trailer for the upcoming movie based upon the book.

Just this morning there was a post at ParentHacks about Schlosser's new book, "Chew On This: Everything You Don't Want to Know About Fast Food" that was just released this month. Continuing on the theme of his earlier works, this is aimed at educating kids on the fast food & soda industries, the realities of meat production, junk food additives, and the poor treatment of fast food restaurant employees. His goal is to provide kids an inside look at the history of the fast food industry, and enough information to start making wiser food choices.

The arrival of this new book sharply struck a nerve with the fast food industry. More than a dozen trade groups representing producers of beef, potatoes, dairy, and snacks, along with restaurant groups, are fighting back with websites, PR campaigns, and coordinated attacks unleashed on Schlosser earlier this month. Lobbyists even protested at some of his book signings spouting baseless and absurd claims about the author such as:
"[Schlosser is] tricking young people [...] to lead them away from capitalism into his failed socialist ideology."
Oh, I'm just loving this — rather than silence the ruckus, the fast food industry's overt attacks are more likely to concentrate attention on their bad practises. And while the fast food flacks refuted Morgan Spurlock's great documentary "Super Size Me" as sensationalistic, Schlosser's books are based on hard data rather than observations, so they're not nearly so easily dismissed.

By the way, I also came across an interesting interview with Eric Schlosser over at Powells.com in which the author revealed that he's working on another investigative book — this time focusing on the federal prison system.

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Nutty Billboard

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Continuing our promotion of National Peanut Month, we just happened to spot this huge Texas Peanut Producers Board banner on the side of the Birdsong Shelling Facility between Wellman & Brownfield on the way to Lubbock yesterday:

TPPB's "Friendly Reminder" billboard — Peanuts are nature's multivitamin
 

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Plumpy'nut to the Rescue

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Plumpynut to the rescue!


Given that March is National Peanut Month, I can think of no better tribute to the lovable legume than to tell you about Plumpy'nut, a remarkable product I originally read about at bookofjoe.com.   Plumpy’nut, which comes in a silvery foil package the size of two grasping baby-size hands, is 500 calories of fortified peanut butter with a consistency similar to mashed potatoes.

What’s so amazing about Plumpy’nut is that this simple beige paste is saving lives!

According to info found on the worldchanging website, Plumpy’nut overcomes most of the obstacles other aid food products have encountered since it doesn’t require preparation and is therefore not dependent upon a clean water source.   The World Health Organization formally recognized the incredible utility of this therapeutic food product for famine relief in third-world countries.   Plumpy’nut has been used in several regions of Africa and during recent tsunami relief efforts.   A 4-week supply (costing only about $20) can literally bring a malnourished child back from the brink of death.

Nutriset, the commendable developer of Plumpy’nut, is a French company whose products are only available to aid organizations & relief agencies.   The company is 100% dedicated to specific food products for humanitarian relief and all profits go to further research & development.
 

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Posted by Rob at 5:45 PM 1 comments links to this post

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Its National Peanut Month!

March is National Peanut Month, a time to celebrate one of America's favorite foods! National Peanut Month had its beginnings as National Peanut Week in 1941, then expanded to a month-long celebration in 1974.

Coincidentally, March is also National Nutrition Month, making this an ideal time to recognize the nutritional value of peanuts. Peanuts are a cholesterol-free source of protein, magnesium, vitamin E, and an array of other heart-friendly nutrients. What's more, peanuts rival the antioxidant content of many vegetables & fruits. And they're a good source of folate, which reduces the risk of certain birth defects in the brain & spinal cord.

For even more scoop on this lovable legume, including recipes, allergy facts, and nutritional info, you can visit the website of the National Peanut Board, a research and advocacy committee that works on behalf of the 25,000 USA peanut farmers, or Planter's NutNutrition.com site.

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Instant Oatmeal, Remixed

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Quaker Oatmeal Weight Control cerealAs mentioned in my Breakfast as a Crime Deterrent post, I’m all about breakfast.   As a kid, I was raised on hot cereals (especially oatmeal) for the morning meal and it’s a tradition that’s carried over into adulthood (and now with my own son too).   For the longest time I was something of a purist, only making oatmeal from scratch with the 5-minute "old fashioned" variety because I considered all instant oatmeal to be just a mushy, over-sugared, nutritionally-devoid poor substitute for the "real" thing.   Well, no more...

The Quaker Oat Company (sadly, a subsidiary of the PepsiCo empire) recently introduced a new quick-to-prepare oatmeal that’s specifically tailored for people like me who are focused on high protein, high fiber, & low sugar diets — and hey, that’s a pretty smart way to go for just about anyone.   Quaker Weight Control Oatmeal offers 7g of protein, 6g of fiber, & a scant 1g of sugar.   Prepare with skim milk instead of water and you’ll kickstart your day with nearly 15g of protein!
 

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Breakfast - A Crime Deterrent?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

I’m all about breakfast.   Always have been.   I have my Mom to thank for that, since she knew the value of starting the day off with something healthy (she was into healthy food way before it was fashionable) and almost always made time to whip up a hot breakfast for us when we were kids.   Thanks, Mom!

It seems that Eddy Chavey, a.k.a. "Mr. Breakfast" agrees that Mom was really onto something.   He arrives at a surprising theory after some creative analysis of statistics on prison inmates:

A study of 281 death row inmates executed since 1986 revealed that only 7.5% chose breakfast as their final meal.   Of all women executed since 1970, none chose breakfast.   By deduction, we realize that as a society, breakfast lovers are 93% less likely to commit serious crimes.
Thus breakfast may even be more vital to your physical & mental well-being than previously imagined.   In fact, he suggests that breakfast may actually serve as a crime deterrent.   He goes on to theorize that, among the several factors that cause breakfast-lovers less prone to fatal crimes, people who wake up early enough to have breakfast tend to lead more organized lives which results in more organized mindset and that it is the appreciation of the meal itself that’s indicative of an appreciation for life.

In another article, he theorizes that simply adding breakfast (or improving your breakfast meal choices) can alleviate mild depression.

Mr. Breakfast - a graduate of the Los Angeles New School of Cooking, writer, and television food authority - is on a commendable mission: (1) To instill the importance of eating breakfast; (2) to show how multi-faceted and fantastic the most important meal of the day can be and (3) to help provide breakfast to those in need through the promotion of school breakfast programs and food charities.

The Mr. Breakfast.com website features more info on this all-too-important first meal of the day than you can shake a yogurt smoothie at, so go check it out!
 

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