Thursday, August 28, 2008

45.7 Million Americans Lack Health Insurance

Wow! That's pretty much equivalent to the number of people who live in Canada! And this is supposed to be America (whatever that means!)

(Source by WebMD)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Jamie Oliver Blasts Own Country's People Calling Them "Drunks with Horrible Diets"

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is facing the music after returning from France where he made a number of crude comments, describing British people as "drunks with diets worse than those found in the poorest slums of Soweto." 

"The people I'm telling you about have huge TV sets - a lot bigger than mine! They have state of the art mobile phones, cars and they go and get drunk in pubs at the weekend - their poverty shows in the way they feed themselves. I found the cooking of the inhabitants of the slum in Soweto in South Africa a lot more diverse than ours. It's true! I'm going to be harsh, but I think a lot of English people's food lacks heart. It's bland."

First of all...nice cover. Second, which people are you exactly referring to who have TV sets bigger than yours? Aren't you some kind of multi-million dollar-celebrity-chef-extraordinaire, who just happens to be set for life? 

Tsk, tsk Jamie. Shouldn't you be inspiring your country to eat and BE healthy? I don't think Brit's will find your comments very inspiring....ya JERK!

And don't lie. I bet you have a nice 50" HD Plasma...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

TomAYto – TomAHto

Heirloom Tomatoes
By Jo Gryfe (Official NIM Blogger)

Sometimes shopping for tomatoes can make you feel as if you are lost in a technicolour dreamcoat of variety. At their summertime peak, these delicious ruby bulbs dress up in yellow and orange or shrink down to the bite-size of a grape or cherry. 

But perhaps the most coveted member of the tomato family is the heirloom tomato; with radiant colors and unique shapes, it is as if Mother Nature showed up on your plate as the Betsey Johnson of produce.

Usually quadruple the price of standard tomatoes, these disfigured jewels have become a staple in elegant first courses and gourmet dining. As a result of this elevation to gastronomic superstardom, many people are beginning to ask what is so fantastic about this uber chic fruit.

In Heirloom 101, the most important thing to understand is that these tomatoes are cultivated through open pollination. This basically means that in order to grow these delicious treasures, you have to throw your farming to the wind…literally. All pollination is carried out through natural carriers such as birds, insects, and gusty winds. Since this form of pollination is uncontrollable, various genetic traits are adopted en route- picked up from wherever the carrier travels- resulting in the vibrant and incredibly unique collection of heirloom tomatoes available today.

This return to natural farming practices allows the bold and refreshing flavor of produce undisturbed by harsh chemicals to explode on your taste buds. It is also important to keep in mind that the color of the tomato represents a varied level of acidity and sweetness. In other words, a yellow heirloom (such as the Garden Peach) is very sweet with the lowest acid levels of all the varieties, while a purple tomato (such as a Cherokee Purple) has a deeper, woodsier flavor due to its higher acid levels. Aside from the taste, the vast spectrum of colors and sizes of heirloom tomatoes transforms a delicious salad into pure eye candy.

So in these last few days of summer, go to your local farmers market or good quality supermarket, and treat yourself and your family to these jewels of summer!

Friday, August 22, 2008

"Cuisines of the Axis of Evil"

This is something I found today which made me laugh out loud (ok...maybe it was more of a quiet chuckle) but still I thought worthy enough to share with you!

The following is an excerpt from the new recipe book "Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States" by Chris Fair

"While most folks recognize the power of food to bring people together, I notice most its power to divide. Many religions enshrine various forms of commensalisms, or rules that govern with whom you can eat and with whom you cannot. In Hinduism, high-caste persons can't eat in the presence of those who are low caste, whose very shadow defiles the former. Many religions specify not only the animals that can be eaten but the ways in which those animals must be killed as a precondition for eating them and the means by which they must be prepared. This can seriously limit the number of people one can eat with.

Cuisines also yield some insights into the social structure of countries in question. Indian food is time-intensive and requires either a platoon of servants or a daughter-in-law. Women can spend hours of their day slicing and dicing up tiny vegetables, slaving over an open gas burner with little or no ventilation, and, in some cases, cooking up their family victuals over a fire made of desiccated cow dung! And as housewives everywhere hang up their apron for a computer or a real estate license, food slopped to their families changes accordingly. Yet despite the obvious centrality of women in food production and preparation, in many parts of the world, men and women are socially barred from eating together. More disturbing, while women do all the heavy lifting and cooking of those meals, in some places those same women are resigned to eat whatever scraps their men-folk have left for them.

In other words, eating structures power and social relations in ways that most of us have internalized without much thought. Because food is important to me and because my pre-marriage dating list resembled the roll call of the U.N. General Assembly, I've had to abandon relationships with men who were Jewish, Muslim, or Hindu simply because of their eating rules. I eat pork, drink booze, and think vegetarian cuisine is best left for ruminates. I found their eating issues to be bigger hindrances than their various religious commitments, because food—in its preparation and in its consumption—is one of the most fundamental things that we as humans share, and these rules critically create groups who can be included or alternatively excluded in this most primal act.

Food also encapsulates differences in social mores between and within cultures. For example, Americans flinch at those Chinese, Vietnamese, and Koreans who eat dog and cat—man's best and passable friends, respectively. Some Hindus in India are disgusted that we love eating our cows, with whom they share their own spiritual affections. While Americans think of their beloved horses as being akin to big dogs, folks in Central Asia love their horses too—formed into spicy sausages and gracing a fatty pullov. My Chinese colleagues and friends have pointed out how wasteful Americans are when we only eat part of the animal and discard the rest. They are correct to ask, why is a beef steak delicious but a brazed ox penis is repugnant?

Similarly, folks in many Muslim countries are obsessed with various animal parts with alleged properties conferring sexual prowess upon its consumers. For instance, in several places in the Muslim world, it is a delicacy to eat the "egg of lamb," which, as you may have guessed, is the poor animal's family jewels. As you stroll through the meat bazaars of the Muslim world, you are greeted by elegant piles of elaborately arranged organ meat, kept glistening by the efforts of the shopkeepers who sprinkle them with water dotingly. Often they are decorated with garlands of chili peppers, sliced tomatoes, and red onions. Pakistanis love their brain curry and their spicy stew of goat head and feet. The latter, sir paya, is particularly disconcerting, with at least one whole goat head staring up at you blankly from the pot. I flee from this dish when I see it, but I have to ask myself why I find these offerings to be vile while I am perfectly happy eating other parts of that same goat in curries or as kebabs. Similarly, why do most Americans find the Asian culinary custom of eating cockroaches disgusting when most of us eat shrimp and lobster, which are little more than the cockroaches of the sea? Clearly these value judgments of what is or is not edible reflect cultural values that we rarely consider—until we are confronted with one of these affronting delicacies.

Only the foolish would underestimate the social and political importance of food when, in fact, every aspect of what we put into our mouths is burdened with social, political, religious, and even militarized baggage even though most of us remain woefully unaware of the same. It seems to me that cuisine is a perfectly defensible lens through which to look at the countries examined herein and U.S. policies toward the same, and I hope you will agree."

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did! If you want to check out the rest of it -you can buy a copy online, or in most major book stores.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Kid's Meals = Nutrition Nightmare...

Why so happy Ronald? And why aren't those kids overweight?

According to a report released by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), 90% of kid's meals at fast-food restaurants exceed the recommended amount of calories a child should be consuming. This may be one of the key factors to child obesity.

Margo Wootan, CSPI nutrition policy director said, "people may not get a heart attack until their 50's or 60's, but arteries begin to clog in childhood. Most of these kid's meals appear to be designed to put America's children on the fast track to obesity, disability, heart attack or diabetes."

The average child should have no more than 1,200 - 1,300 calories per day. Data from a study involving 13 fast-food chains, found 93% of 1,474 possible food selections contained an entire days worth of calories in one meal.

I think parents are well aware that fast-food is an unhealthy meal choice, regardless, it's convenient and easy pleasing (at least for your kid), so nutrition must sometimes be sacrificed. This is something that is obviously understandable - after all, parents have the hardest job in the world, (unless you happen to be a professional bear wrangler). It should be in the restaurants hands to provide healthy selections for parents that are still kid-pleasing.

McDonald's is kind of trying (but let's face it, not really) to lead the pack by introducing apple slices instead of french fries. Mmmmm sound's good, but I wonder how many calories are added when that same apple slice is drenched in Ronald's famous honey sauce? Sorry to bash the righteous attempt by McDonald's, but the point is that it's not a good enough start.

If fast-food chains added a few more dollars to their food budget instead of to their advertising budget, maybe then would it be a healthy choice to have dinner at KFC.

(Source by Reuters)

Another Thought...(continued from the "First Blog")

I wonder how long Jughead would live if they had an older version of the "Archie" comic books? Would he still be eating like a pig and looking like a twig? I doubt it. The years must of caught up with him.

Forgive me for saying so, but those over-exaggerated comics provided hours of mindless reading for me as a child. Hey, at least I was reading something, right? Anyone who has ever read or flipped through a copy would probably be familiar with the Jughead character. If not, that's him in the picture above. Always wearing the "burger king-type crown" and always stuffing his face with junk food. You'd think that Jughead would be a big kid if you had never seen a picture of him. His daily after school routine includes eating as many hamburgers from Pop Tate's Chok'lit Shoppe as his allowance will let him. Despite his obsession with food, his figure depicts a tall, lanky and thin teenager.

Now what kind of message is that for kids? Leading them to believe you can eat as much unhealthy food as you want and not face the consequences. Boy did Jughead ruin my life! I'm the exact same as he is, minus the tall part unfortunately. I can eat anything without it taking a toll on my body, at least for now...fingers crossed! Really though, its unfortunate because honestly, if he had been an exercise fanatic or something more along those lines, maybe I would have been too?

This all led me to think of something I like to call the "Jughead Effect". When you knowingly are doing something harmful to your body, yet you ignore it based on how the same thing effects others. For example: If Jughead can eat nothing but junk food and red meat all the time, so can I. Come on - he's skinny and can run fast enough to escape Big Ethel, (the chick that loves the guy, but hey, Jughead does NOT like girls...yukkyyy). A more serious example would be someone who thinks they can smoke cigarettes with no consequences because after all, "My best friends grandfather smoked all his life and he never got sick".

So the question from my previous post was "how can I be lazy and healthy"? It might not be that difficult...a 10 minute workout a day, could keep a hip replacement when your old away. At least I know that until I get the idea out of my head, that "my healthy body will always remain intact", those morning pushups are never happening. And I really do apologize for the Archie references. I swear, I haven't picked one up in years...

"Stand Up To Cancer" Where the End of Cancer Begins...

September 5, 2008 will be a night of television to remember. NBC, CBS and ABC will each be donating an hour of air time, in an effort to raise awareness and funds to help fight cancer. "Stand Up To Cancer" will feature film/t.v stars and musicians, all uniting together to provide viewers insight and hope.

(Source by IMDB)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The First Blog

Whoever told me that to be healthy means to be miserable, should BE shot!

I think it was probably my buddy Chris, who's only consistent means of exercise is reaching through his car window to grab the McDonald's bag at the drive through. I guess you can't blame him for trying to stay active though - after all, lifting a thick, juicy and disgustingly fat burger can be strenuous!

But seriously, I'm 25 years old now...time to grow up, it's time to start being responsible, time to take action, time to be...healthy. Great. No problem...I'll just change my diet to everything well...healthy and I'll also work out, jog, or do yoga maybe - guys do yoga right??? Maybe I could spend some quality time with my mom at her pilates class (which up until last week I thought was a made up word). I don't know all seems pretty intense.

I remember watching the movie "Into the Wild" and deciding that - just like Emile Hirsch's character (Chris McCandless) I also would challenge my mind and body, that I would test my physical limitations. With a fierce determination I started working out and bought protein mix and started to run in the mornings. And for almost a whole week I was doing great! Seriously I was already feeling like a mini Marky-Mark or Dolph Lundgren.

Only thing was that I hated it. I hated waking up and forcing myself to do push-ups, I hated driving to the gym or forcing myself to go on a run. Pretty much I was just being lazy and the idea of having to do anything physical was terrifying.

So how can I be healthy AND other words how can I be healthy AND lazy? That would be amazing!

to be continued...