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Archive for February, 2011

8 Cooking Oil Facts Everyone Must Know

Over the past few weeks, I have received an increasing number of questions about cooking oils.  Given the apparent confusion and misinformation out there, I’ve constructed this list of facts, FYIs, and tidbits I consider absolutely crucial.

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New Frosted Mini-Wheats: A “Touch Of Fruit”… And A Whole Lot More!

Whenever I feel the need for some blogging inspiration, I head over to the closest supermarket’s cereal aisle to see what new nutritional aberrations have popped up on shelves since my last excursion.  Yesterday proved to be quite a fortuitous day, for I met eyes with a box of New! “Touch of Fruit In the Middle” Frosted Mini-Wheats.

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Trix = Twizzlers + Flintstone Multivitamin + Corn Dust. Really.

I often joke that many “kids’ cereals” (an euphemism for neon-colored sugar puffs) are the nutritional equivalent of candy and a multivitamin.

Upon sharing that observation on Twitter and Facebook earlier today, one of my followers expressed a curiosity to see a side-by-side nutritional comparison of these two foods.  What a wonderful idea!   I gladly accepted the request and, well, turns out my snarkiness is very based in reality.

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Phew! The Fashion Industry Approves of Diet Pepsi

1_Diet_Pepsi_Skinny_Can.sff_300Excellent news, dear readers: that pinnacle of health known as the fashion industry embraces Diet Pepsi and its new “skinny can”.  Raise your glass of sugar-free Red Bull  — and an appetite-curbing cancer stick — to that!

No, really.  Here are some recent tweets written — or ReTweeted — by @dietpepsi in the last 48 hours during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York City:

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Quick & Healthy Recipe: Sweet Potato & Kale Hash

yamsA few days ago, Lisa Suriano (AKA @Veggiecation on Twitter) mentioned a recipe she had for a potato and kale hash.  My tastebuds perked up and I immediately asked her if she could e-mail me the recipe so I could showcase it here.  Within minutes, Lisa graciously granted my request!

So as to not lazily cut and paste someone else’s recipe on here, I decided to use Lisa’s delightful original recipe as inspiration and make a few small tweaks (mainly using sweet potatoes in place of potatoes, and playing around with different spices and condiments).

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World Premiere of my Animated Short: “Drinking The Kool-Aid”

d65fee70-30e9-11e0-95de-003048d69c21_55A rainy Saturday in Seattle (a rarity, I know) led to this – a 5-minute short that I think reflects the dangers of drinking “the dietary Kool-Aid”, so to speak.

From Big Food cereals and protein-obsessed personal trainers to fat phobia and diet pills, what we have here is the confusion so many Americans develop due to the sheer number of conflicting and often erroneous messages about nutrition.

And, of course, I couldn’t help but sling a few sarcastic arrows at some pop culture faves.  Enjoy!

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“Restrict Sodium” Advice: A Boost to Big Food, Half the Puzzle for Consumers

spamLesssodiumThis past Monday, the nutrition and public health world had its equivalent of the Oscar nominations.  After what seemed like endless waiting, dietitians, public health  experts, and food policy watchdogs tuned in — at least on the web — to the live announcement of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines (published every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services).  The post-event tweeting, blogging, dissecting, and analyzing is far from over.

Like the Oscars, the Dietary Guidelines are a combination of well-deserved recognition (this year, my two standouts were “make half of your plate fruits and vegetables” and “drink water instead of sugary drinks”) and good old politics (as Marion Nestle points out, “eat less” recommendations are about nutrients rather than actual foods).

One of the “hot topics” of the new Dietary Guidelines?  Sodium.  More specifically, sodium reduction.  This comes in the heels of Walmart’s announcement to reduce sodium and added sugars in their product line (these excellent articles by public health lawyer Michele Simon and BNet food industry blogger Melanie Warner echo my thoughts on that matter).

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You Ask, I Answer: Is Juicing the Best Avenue for Vegetables?

celery juice -Green DelightI watched a documentary called Crazy Sexy Cancer, and in it, director/star Kris Carr talks about the benefits of juicing vegetables. In the book version, she writes, “By removing the fiber through the process of squeezing the pulp, we instantly lighten our digestive load. Nutrients pass directly into the bloodstream, and within minutes our bodies receive optimum fuel to feed our cells and restore our immune systems.”

She says that drinking this juice concoction is better than eating each of the ingredients.

She goes on to say that we of course need fiber as well, but I was a little confused by the “digestive load” bit. Any truth to that?

– Jenn DiSanto
Philadelphia, PA

I need to start my answer with a disclaimer — I enjoy fresh juices.  Once a week or so, you’ll find me sipping on guzzling down a kale, celery, cucumber, Granny Smith apple, parsley, lemon, and ginger concoction at my favorite local juice bar (which conveniently happens to be two blocks from my gym).  I point this out to make it clear that I do not “scoff” at juicing (as some people in my field sadly do).

With that out of the way, let me tackle your question.

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