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Archive for November, 2011

Coca Cola’s “Q&A” is 100% “PR” Spin

A few days ago, deep into a clean-up project in my apartment, I came across a small, 42-page “Q&A” booklet for Coca Cola’s Live Positively campaign.

Subtitled “Your Refreshed Everyday Pocket Guide to Our Products and Our Commitment to Sustaining the Environment and Community,” it was one of the souvenirs I picked up at this year’s American Dietetic Association conference and expo.

The booklet – also available online – is a crash course in Big Beverage’s most common smoke-and-mirror tactics: vehement emphasis on physical activity, avoidance of nutrition issues, a framework of health centered solely around obesity and caloric intake, and rampant use of vague terms like “balance” and “moderation”.

Let’s dissect…

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Mindful Eating 2.0: Beyond What’s On Your Plate

The concept of “mindful eating”– to be fully present when eating so one savors and enjoys food — isn’t particularly new, but it often comes up during the holiday season, when a slew of “healthy eating tips for the holidays” articles pop up.

There is nothing wrong with mindful eating per se.  Enjoying and savoring is much preferred to chowing down in front of the television while being numb to what can be a wonderful sensory experience.  My frustration is that the concept is myopically applied exclusively to the act of eating, when it should really cover more territory.

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Recipe: Sweet & Spicy Harvest Chili

Chili is one of my favorite fall and wintertime foods.  Several years ago I posted one of my favorite chili recipes made with traditional ingredients like corn, peppers, and a variety of beans (that recipe, by the way, goes great over a bed of brown rice or quinoa).

This time around, I want to share a much less conventional variety that contains a variety of vegetables and spices (cocoa powder, anyone?).  If your digestive system is particularly sensitive to beans, then this recipe is for you, since lentils are the stars (unlike beans, lentils do not contain sulfur — AKA: no unpleasant side effects).

This recipe is very high in fiber, so if you are not accustomed to large amounts, you may want to start out having a a smaller serving of this as a side dish.

PS: I have been camera-less for the past week, but next time I make this recipe, I will upload a photo of the finished product.  Enjoy!

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Should RDs Be Gatekeepers of Nutrition Advice?

The Alliance for Natural Health’s Really Eat Right campaign was one of this week’s nutrition hot topics.

Of special interest was the group’s petition, which addresses concerns over the American Dietetic Association’s collusion with ‘Big Food’ and ‘Big Pharma’, as well as the organization’s “multi-state legislative effort[s] to monopolize nutritional therapy through legislative initiates.”

While I do not see eye-to-eye with ANH on every issue, I am in full agreement with this one.

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Some Musings on School Soda Bans

This week, various media outlets reported on a study which concluded that school soda bans are ineffective; or, as as The Chicago Tribute put it — ‘School Soda Bans Don’t Cut Kids’ Consumption’. This not only frames the issue incorrectly, but also blames “ineffective bans” for problems they were never intended to correct.

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Even If Artificial Sweeteners Are 100% Safe, They’re Problematic

Most of the discussion on artificial sweeteners focuses on their presumed safety, of which I have my doubts.

The “Generally Recognized As Safe” process is not very assuring, political/financial interests can trump scientific objectivity, some research studies certainly give pause, and there isn’t any data on the effects of consistent artificial sweetener consumption over the span of several decades.

Let’s hypothesize, though, that artificial sweeteners are eventually cleared of all wrongdoing. Even then, with undisputed evidence that there isn’t the slightest health risk, I would urge everyone to stay away from them.

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5 Problems with US News & World Report’s Diet Rankings

Yesterday marked the release of US World & News Report’s annual “best diets for healthy eating” rankings.

I am not a fan of diet rankings (our nutritional landscape’s Achilles heel is the obsession with dieting, as opposed to learning and developing healthful habits), but this list particularly disappointed and frustrated me.

Below, the five main problems I spotted.

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