5/17/2007

How Many Calories Should I Eat a Day?

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Josh KenzerJosh Kenzer has an excellent entry explaining how you can calculate how many calories you should eat every day:

Remember, because this number is based on your weight, you need to recalculate it when you lose or gain weight. If your weight loss has stalled, it might be time to lower your caloric intake a bit. Go check out his site and run the numbers. Are you eating too much? Are you eating enough?

5/16/2007

Intermountain Healthcare Doesn’t Get It

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Free Yourself From Digital Captivity

Around here, these billboards have been popping up everywhere. They don’t really make any sense. There is another one about not succumbing to the creme filling. I snapped a photo of the billboard in order to find out what they are about. The website is a little more clear:

With these horribly designed and obtuse billboards, Intermountain Healthcare (a local health insurance provider) is trying to convince children to get healthy.

Sorry folks, digital captivity isn’t what’s making our kids fat.

They threw up “8 Healthy Habits” that are supposed to help kids get healthy:

  • Always eat breakfast and make it healthy.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit or eliminate sweetened drinks.
  • Limit screen time.
  • Increase physical activity.
  • Eat meals together as a family.
  • Be positive about food.
  • Don’t criticize about weight.

In essence, I don’t really have an argument with what they are suggesting, but their advertising tells a different story than their actual recommendations. When you watch their TV spots on their website, it looks like Intermountain is blaming potato chips, television and video games for obesity, yet they haven’t shown one obese kid in their ads. In fact, these Steve Madden rip-off billboard characters look strangely thin with sunken in eyes and jutting cheekbones. Should painfully thin kids lay off the video games as well?

In the end , it seems that Intermountain Healthcare is sick of paying for health claims that deal with obesity, so it looks like they are trying to stop the problem early. Unfortunately, preventative care isn’t something you can just throw up a few billboards and cure. It’s an entire philosophy, not a bandaid.

5/15/2007

Fisher Price Joins Exergaming Ranks

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Fisher Price - Smart Cycle at Amazon.comIt has taken three years, but the scales of exergaming just tipped. Fisher Price is working on a product called Smart Cycle that fuses exercise with video games. Even though it’s not available yet, Amazon.com has a listing for it on its website. You can find out more about it here:

This product is completely useless for adults, but the idea of exercising while playing video games has become so ubiquitous that the toy producer behemoth, Fisher Price, has joined the exergaming ranks.

Qmotions FunFitness at Amazon.comIf you’re an adult and you want to play PS2 or Xbox games with your exercise bike, try the Qmotions Fun Fitness. It connects to your exercise bike or regular bike on a trainer and lets you play racing games. The faster you pedal, the faster your car/bike/etc. goes. It actually works really well and there have been more than one time that I have gotten off my bike wobbly-legged because I played too long.

Via: Rudd Sound Bites: No Child Left Outside

5/14/2007

Question of the Week: I’m Just That Kind Of Person

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

What if I could convince myself that I’m just that kind of person? You know what I mean. That kind of person that just eats whatever she wants and somehow stays thin. There are people like that everywhere. Medical science conjectures that it has something to do with genes, but what if it isn’t? What if it’s a decision?

If you could decide today what kind of person you could be, who would you be?

Would you be a thin person who wants to eat healthy?

Would you be an athletic person who likes to go for runs and bike rides?

Would you be a creative cook in the kitchen who can concoct delicious and healthy recipes?

Would you be a naturally simple eater, choosing only the healthiest foods?

What if all you had to do was believe it enough and you would become that person?

What if it’s not genes, it’s belief?

What would you do to change your belief about yourself?

I don’t know if I believe the idea that I have no control over my body’s ability to gain weight, but I do believe that part of the equation is my beliefs in myself.

5/13/2007

How To Starve With Scratch ‘n Sniff Stickers

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

The summer between eighth grade and ninth grade was the worst. My grandma was determined to bring my sister and me back home to my mom as thin and svelte girls. I was also pretty determined to get thin. Puberty was hitting hard and I really wanted to finally be the cute girl that all the guys liked.

As grown up as I wanted to feel, I still was a kid and I loved to collect stickers. I remember the conversation I had with Stacey very vividly:

Me: Listen, Stacey. If you buy these scratch n’ sniff stickers, you can just smell them when you want to eat.

Stacey: If I buy candy, I can just eat the candy.

She hadn’t bought into the constant pressure to be thin and was hoarding her allowance to eat candy when we were out of sight of Grandma.

Just seeing those stickers right now can almost bring back the memory of how they smelled. My particular favorites were the pizza and the popcorn, but the pickle and the cinnamon roll helped at times as well. I remember being so hungry that I would start to black out when I stood up. It wasn’t all Grandma’s fault by then. I was starving myself as well.

Whenever I wanted to eat, I would go into my room and smell my scratch n’ sniff stickers. I would look at the pizza sticker. “Hot Stuff,” it said. “Yeah, I’m going to be hot stuff when I go back to school this year,” I would think to myself.

Seeing them now makes me want to eat everything in sight…

Images via:

Via: Confession: I collected stickers when I was a kid. Put them… (kottke.org)

5/12/2007

New Food Fad: Molecular Gastronomy

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

My introduction to Molecular Gastronomy consisted of some blurry pictures from the inside of Alinea. My sister and her husband raved about concoctions that were freeze dried, laser fried or pulverized beyond recognition. They described round popping balls of flavor that burst all over your face if you didn’t close your lips fast enough. I was interested, but the price tag of a visit to Alinea was enough to keep me watching from the sidelines.

Now, it seems that I can’t read my RSS feeds without hearing about some exclusive restaurant that specializes in molecular gastronomy. What is it? According to Wikipedia:

Molecular Gastronomy is the application of science to culinary practice and more generally gastronomical phenomena.

The chefs use scientific techniques to create food, thus the liquid nitrogen, lasers and pulverizers.

This concoction, called Whim 03 was served at L’Enclume in Cartmel, Great Britain.

Whim 03 from L’Enclume

Here is the description from That’s How It Happened:

It was the first dish that absolutely knocked me into a cocked hat for technical brilliance. The white block was an impossibly light, and yet completely sturdy marscapone foam, topped with salmon roe, on a bed of parsley puree. The pink powder was grated frozen tuna, which reminded me of freeze dried astronaut food. The white puree was grapefruit foam, with passion fruit seeds. This was a riot of contrasting textures, with absolutely surprising complementary flavours.

Marscapone foam, salmon fish eggs, parsley puree, grated frozen tuna and grapefruit foam. It sounds like a good mixture for the “I’ll eat anything and you pay me money if I don’t barf” game. The diner at L’Enclume was quite pleased with the food, but it all smacks of the Emperor’s New Clothes to me. Sure, the tuna fish is frozen and pulverized, but in the end, it’s still tuna.

Has eating hit such a pinnacle that it is no longer about sustenance but extreme diversity in tastes and textures?

When an egg is no longer an egg, what is the point anymore?

This is not an egg

According to Slashfood, this is not an egg:

It looks like an egg – maybe poached, maybe fried – right? You’re close, but…not really. That’s Marcel Vigneron’s Cyber Egg, made with no egg whatsoever. Rather, it’s a dollop of carrot-cardamom puree that has been mixed with sodium alginate into calcium chloride to create the appearance of a “yolk,” and coconut milk mixed with agar hardened in a ring-shaped dish.

Eating at one of these restaurants is said to be an experience that is beyond the food, but I’m having a hard time believing it. I’m waiting for the next food fad: simple and whole food served fresh, and I’m not talking about that Raw Food fad either.

For more information:

5/11/2007

My Relationship With Chinese Food

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

I read an online article the other day about how to make Chinese Food healthier:

I was unimpressed with it. I argued with every suggestion:

  • They said: Order the Sweet & Sour Pork/Chicken or any other meat dish without the fried breading. I said: I don’t want to have to order it without the breading. That’s a pain in the butt for the restaurant staff.

  • They said: Eliminate the soy sauce or ask for low sodium sauce. I said: Sodium only causes temporary weight gain and can be flushed out by drinking more water. It has nothing to do with weight gain and is only a health issue if you have high blood pressure.

  • They said: Ask for brown rice instead of white rice. I said: I’m not believing the brown rice fad. I know they say that it’s a whole grain as opposed to white rice, but I want to see the facts. How much extra fiber? Brown rice is a fad right now and I’m not really wanting to jump on that bandwagon.

  • They said: Order Rice or Chow Mein/Chow Fun but not both. I said: I never order Chow Mein. That stuff is FRIED in oil. Carbo-loading isn’t the issue.

  • They said: Order Wonton soup instead of the Wonton appetizer. I said: The wonton in Wonton Soup taste NOTHING like the fried Wontons. That warm soup feeling is not a good substitute.

After arguing with everything that Skinny Jeans had to say, I realized something. I only eat Chinese food when I want to binge. I know how to eat healthy at a Chinese restaurant, so if it is chosen by the group I can eat without ruining my day, but if I have a choice, I only choose Chinese when I want to binge. Wonton Soup isn’t going to cut it when I want to eat friend wontons because it wasn’t about eating healthy for me. It was about feeding the starving child inside of me.

How do I eat healthy when the group chooses Chinese food? I order a single serving of steamed rice and a cup of hot sour soup. It’s easy for the restaurant staff, cheap, and pretty filling. I count about 200 calories for a half cup of the rice and about 100 calories for the soup. When I’m forced to go to a Chinese restaurant when I’m eating healthy, that’s what I choose.

When I’m tempted to binge, no simple list will ever get me past it.

Via: Food: Make that Chinese take-out more healthy – Lifehacker

5/10/2007

FDA Defends Aspartame Safety

By Laura Moncur @ 7:51 am — Filed under:

Coca-Cola ZeroAspartame is the artificial sweetener that has taken over almost EVERY diet product on the market. Even though there are many artificial sweeteners available, aspartame seems to be the favorite right now. It’s also the favorite scapegoat of many groups, saying that aspartame was pushed through the FDA approval process and is the cause of a wide number of ailments.

The European Ramazzini Foundation in Bologna, Italy conducted a study on aspartame which stated that it caused cancer. The FDA has released their review of that study here:

They asked for the data and the ERF provided some, but not all the data. They also refused to let the FDA review the pathological slides, which are thin slices of the organs of the test animals mounted on slides so they can be analyzed. Based on the data that they DID receive, here are their findings.

Additionally, the data that were provided to FDA do not appear to support the aspartame-related findings reported by ERF. Based on our review, pathological changes were incidental and appeared spontaneously in the study animals, and none of the histopathological changes reported appear to be related to treatment with aspartame. FDA believes that additional insight on the study findings could be provided by an internationally-sponsored pathology working group examination of appropriate tissue slides from the study.

Considering results from the large number of studies on aspartame’s safety, including five previously conducted negative chronic carcinogenicity studies, a recently reported large epidemiology study with negative associations between the use of aspartame and the occurrence of tumors, and negative findings from a series of three transgenic mouse assays, FDA finds no reason to alter its previous conclusion that aspartame is safe as a general purpose sweetener in food.

To be honest, aspartame is fake food. It makes things sweet like sugar does, but doesn’t add calories. It hasn’t even been proven to help you lose weight. It might be safe to eat, but there are doubts as to whether it’s the best for you. If you have a diet soda addiction, then you can rest easy knowing that the FDA has reviewed its safety and still deems it safe, but remember that nothing quenches thirst better than water.

Via: Consumer Health Digest, May 1 2007

5/9/2007

Gender-Different Sports Equipment

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Game Ball“Why does he have to change balls?” I asked when I was playing on the softball team a couple of years ago.

“Because if we used the girl’s ball, the guys would always hit them out of the park,” he answered.

“Why don’t we just use the guy’s ball all the time?” I naively asked.

He didn’t have an answer.

I found out in the middle of a softball game that there is different sports equipment for women and men, but did you know HOW many sports are different? The Apple Lady over at The Daily Apple has the specifics:

She wonders what I did back when I realized they had been pitching me a different ball the whole time:

I wonder how long it will take before the equipment across sports is equalized. It has to happen. I mean, they don’t make women run the 350 meter relay while men run the 400 meter relay, do they? They used to say that women shouldn’t really compete in track because all that running jostled their important baby-making organs. But they’ve changed their minds about that idiocy, thankfully. So it has to be a matter of time before people realize, hey, maybe women can actually handle a basketball that’s one inch larger.

When I hit my first double, does it really count? It was with the girl’s ball, so it was easier for me to hit that double than it would be for a guy. Is that really fair?

In the end, changing the sports equipment for women makes our accomplishments look less admirable. “Sure, she hit a double. She was pitched the girl’s ball. She wouldn’t even make it to base if she had to hit OUR ball,” is what the nay-sayers would say.

Quit assuming that we can’t handle your sports equipment and then assuming our accomplishments aren’t as worthy because you forced us to use the “easier” equipment. If we fail, so be it, but let us fail on the same ground as you do.

5/8/2007

Is Pinkberry Really Frozen Yogurt?

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

I had an interesting comment on my entry about Pinkberry:

Troll on Starling Fitness

The FDA has cracked down on Pinkberry? Pinkberry isn’t really frozen yogurt?! I might believe it, but the commenter didn’t put a real name, they just put FDA in the name field. Additionally, the commenter didn’t include a link to the FDA announcements which state EVERY single company they have served injunctions to. So, I did the research.

Pinkberry search on FDA websiteI searched the FDA website, but they have no mention of Pinkberry at all. The case was the same with the phrase “Red Mango” and “Ice Berry,” two Korean companies that have similar products. Compared with Cortislim, with eight entries, Pinkberry’s nose is clean. The FDA has NOT told Pinkberry to stop calling their product frozen yogurt.

I thought that maybe this is something that the local news programs had reported and I missed because I don’t live in Los Angeles, so I did a search for Pinkberry and FDA. I came up with a lot of results. Here’s one from Somah.com in the comments section:

Troll on Somah.com

Again, it’s an anonymous poster saying the exact same thing as the commenter on my site. It even looks like a cut and paste job.

Here’s another search result from Colleen Cuisine was in her comments section of her weblog:

Troll on Colleen Cuisine

Well, ANOTHER, anonymous post this time stating that the Yogurt Association had been involved. After a thorough search of the National Yogurt Association’s website, there wasn’t one mention of Pinkberry with even a tentative warning. A search for frozen yogurt turned up this comment:

No standard of identity exists for frozen yogurt products, but they too may contain live and active cultures.

In order for manufacturers to carry the seal, refrigerated yogurt products must contain at least 100 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture, and frozen yogurt products must contain 10 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture.

The National Yogurt Association has standards, but it doesn’t look like they’ve announced anything against Pinkberry.

Wow, yet another, anonymous post with no proof. Can you really trust the word of someone who won’t stand behind their words or back them up with proof? Can you trust them THREE times?

In fact, the ONLY mention of Pinkberry and FDA that wasn’t the troll was this article from East West Magazine:

They said:

Compared to its heavier cousin ice cream, Pinkberry’s frozen yogurt can be described as having “less calories and fat, but not healthier,” says Sass, who compared Pinkberry’s nutritional facts with FDA requirements for when a food can put the word “healthy” on its label. The froyo alone, Pinkberry’s as well as frozen yogurt in general, does not have enough vitamins to be labeled as such, she says. But since Pinkberry is not being sold in stores, no food label is actually required and calling it “healthy” is not against FDA regulations.

So, it looks like Pinkberry is trying to follow the standards for the FDA’s requirements for the word “healthy.” East West Magazine doesn’t have the troll on their comments because they require registration to log in.

It looks like someone is out to get Pinkberry. As of this date, the FDA hasn’t said anything to Pinkberry about their frozen yogurt standing. If anyone wants to say something to the contrary, they need to back it up with proof.

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