Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Peta's ad too sexy for tv

The Peta ad below has been deemed too racy for the Super Bowl, according to NBC.

The ad features scantily clad women doing... things... to vegetables we don't recommend.
We only recommend you EAT vegetables!

he commercial ends with the tag line: Studies show vegetarians have better sex.

Many are claiming it's just a stunt to garner more attention while others think Peta is being too harshly targeted, considering passed controversial Super Bowl moments and the blatant association between football and sex (note the cheerleader above!).

What do you think of the video?
Warning: May not be suitable for kids...

'Veggie Love': PETA's Banned Super Bowl Ad

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Does eating celery burn calories?

A celery stalk contains: 6 calories (that's without the peanut butter or cream cheese, of course!).
Chewing your celery stalk
burns only: 5 calories/hour
However, because of the high insoluble fibre content of celery, you burn even more calories digesting that celery stalk.

So, technically, YES. Eating celery burns calories!

However, eat just celery and you'll not only be malnourished, but your metabolic rate will slow down to protect your body from your low caloric intake. So, when you inevitably get sick of celery and start eating real food, you'll pack on the pounds faster.
Moreover, going for a brisk walk or for a run will burn way more calories than chomping on celery... and it's more fun!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Peanut butter salmonella outbreak: what you should avoid

The newest Salmonella outbreak in the States has been linked to peanuts. So far, about 475 people have been infected in 43 States . Moreover, the infections may have contributed to 6 deaths.

The source of Salmonella has been traced to a peanut processing plant, Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), in Georgia. PCA doesn't sell its peanut butter or peanut paste to consumers but supplies ingredients to food manufacturers.

King Nut peanut butter distributed in certain states was found to be responsible for many of the reported illnesses and has been recalled. Most peanut butters in jars seem safe but the US government is advising consumers to avoid eating cookies, cakes, ice cream, crackers and other foods that contain peanut butter or peanut paste. Click
here for FDA's most current list of recalled products.

Kellogg's has voluntarily placed a hold on 16 products that contain PCA peanut paste or peanut butter, including Austin and Keebler brand snack foods and Amos cookies. There has been no
reported illnesses linked to Kellogg's products and, according to the company, none of these products were shipped to Canada.

Although there have been no illnesses in Canada linked to the growing salmonella outbreak in the US, the
Canadian Food Inspection Agency is warning the public not to consume certain products as they may contain PCA contaminated products.

These products include:

Hebert's Fully Loaded P.B. Crunch mini-bars produced Aug. 26. 2008 and Sept. 9, 2008.
Nature's Path Organic Optimum Energy Bar-Peanut Butter with an Oct. 1, 2009 expiry date.

Clif Bar Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch with a Sept. 7, 2009 expiry date.
Clif Bar Crunchy Peanut Butter with expiry dates between Sept. 6 and Sept. 11, 2009 and Nov. 13, 2009.
Clif Bar Peanut Toffee Buzz with an expiry date of Sept. 12, 2009.

Clif Builders Peanut Butter Protein Bar with expiry dates of June 20, 2009 and Aug. 20, 2009

Clif Bar Club Pack 18 Variety Pack with expiry dates of Sept. 8, 2009 and Nov. 3, 2009.

Lärabar Peanut Butter Cookie snack bars

Lärabar Peanut Butter Cookie Bite Size

Symptoms of salmonella poisoning include high fever, severe headache, vomittting, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Those with compromised immune systems, ie. the elderly and children, are at greater risk.

Update: The FDA has just confirmed that salmonella was found in a package of peanut butter sandwich crackers made by Kellogg's (Kellogg's Austin Quality Foods Toasty Crackers with Peanut Butter).

Monday, 19 January 2009

All things Obama-Food-Related

The 44th American Presidential Inauguration is tomorrow so I thought I'd discuss the fact that Barack Obama seems to attract a lot of food-related attention. In fact, there's a blog that follows all things Obama-food-related:! The creator, Eddie Gehman Kohan, states that "Barack attracts so much attention about food because he's skinny- and always seems to be eating". She thinks the the interest began with some food comments Obama made on the campaign trail that resulted in political attacks. For example, in April 2008, when asked about Jimmy Carter's meeting with Hamas, Obama answered: "Why can't I just eat my waffle?" He was then criticized for "waffling" on the issues.
Here are some other food-related-Obama things take from this great blog:

"Eat the View" is a campaign to urge the Obamas to turn the useless pesticide-laden White House Lawn into an organic garden, providing fresh seasonal ingredients for White House events, local food banks and schools. Click Here to sign the petition.

Cake artist Zilly Rosen or Zillycakes created an ambitious 1200 mini-cupcake mosaic (pictured) of Obama right before election day.

Gourmet magazine editor Ruth Reichl and influential chef and long-time champion of locally-grown food Alice Waters sent an open letter urging the Obamas to choose a White House chef who emphasizes local and organic food (they didn't and stuck with Bush's chef, Cristeta Comerford).

Following Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's conversation with Obama, he told a reporter that he was impressed with his fondness for local foods. According to Yudhoyono, when he invited the President-Elect to come to Jakarta, Obama replied that "besides forging greater cooperation between the two nations, a visit would give him a chance to try local food again, including meatball soup, nasi goreng and rambutan." Obama lived in Indonesia for 4 years as a child.

Obama's favourite meal is his wife's shrimp linguini. His favourite drink is black forest berry iced tea. His favourite snacks are chocolate-peanut protein bars. He doesn't drink coffee and rarely drinks alcohol. He worked a Baskin-Robbins as a teenager and now doesn't like ice cream.

Barack Obama eating:

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Sauna improves endurance

Going into a sauna after exercise may help improve your endurance, according to a 2006 study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.

For 3 weeks, 6 male distance runners went into a dry ~90
°F (32°C) sauna for about 30 minutes after their regular training.
The result: they were able to increase run time to exhaustion by 32%!

The researchers also took some blood from the runners and found that improved performance was correlated with an increase in plasma (liquid part of the blood) volume.

Given the small sample size, clearly more research needs to be done, but the authors explain that the extreme heat
may cause the body to hold more water in the bloodstream and the increased blood volume may help distribute blood more easily, increasing endurance.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

What's for breakfast?

We've all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Studies have shown that this is probably true for kids. Children that skip breakfast have lower attention spans and don't do as well in school. Of course, many of these studies are funded by cereal companies. Moreover studies have also found that kids that skip breakfast are more likely to be from a lower socioeconomic class than breakfast eaters. So, is it the breakfast eating that affects their learning or is it more the markers of their economic status- wealth, education, physical activity? Regardless, kids should be eating a healthy breakfast in the morning.

It's another matter for adults.
A study found that when breakfast skippers ate breakfast regularly, they ate less during the day and lost weight as a result. However, the same study found that when regular breakfast eaters skipped breakfast, they also lost weight! It seems that it wasn't the breakfast, but the change in routine that affected weight. Most dietitians, including myself, would recommend you eat breakfast. However, what you eat is more important than just eating something. If you're like the 15% of Americans that eat pastries and coffee or soda for breakfast, you'd be healthier, and probably thinner, if you had a bowl of whole grain cereal or fruit.

The October issue of
Saveur magazine went around the world to find ou what people eat for breakfast:

Spain: Mostly coffee and bread but a decadent morning option is churros- curved batons of deep-fried sugar-dusted cruller dough- dunked in a cup of thick hot chocolate (pictured left)

Natto, a pungent soybean condiment, often served wit
h rice with chopped scallions, raw quail eggs and hot mustard or soy sauce.

Germans and Austrians eat 2 breakfasts! Their later-morning meal,
is known as zweites Frühstück, or second breakfast, in Germany and Gabelfrühstück, or fork breakfast, in Austria. Traditonally it was the meal farmers had after worked in the field, but it now serves a more social function. A typical second breakfast in a German beer hall includes weisswurst, a mild white sausage made from ground veal, pork and spices, ususlly eaten with sweet mustard, soft pretzels and washed down with beer.

India: Chai tea, tea mixed with milk and spices like cardamon and cinnamon, is a staple in India and often accompanies idlis (lentil-flour cakes) or uppuma (semolina porridge).

Sweet jasmine tea s
erved with a plate of chile-and-garlic fried rice, a slice of buttered white bread topped with milk chocolate sprinkles called meises, papaya and/or leftover curries.

Vietnam: Aromatic noodle soup called pho is a very popular breakfast (pictured left).

Vegemite, a sticky dark brown yeast extract, spread on toast, on cheese biscuits or on eggs.

Venezuela: Small, round cornmeal pancakes called arepas, often stuffed with cream cheese or butter and honey.

Somalia: Laxoox, a sourdough flatbreadm traditionally eaten with honey, butter, or beans.

Kasha, a porridge made from grains such as buckwheat, oats and wheat is a traditional Russian breakfast.

The flaky Southern-style quick breads known as biscuitsis a favourite in the deep South, often acco
mpanied with flour-thickened white sausage gravy. However, a 2005 poll found that 40% of Americans have consumed cold leftver pizza.

Egypt: Ful medames, which consists of fava beans simmered with garlic (pictured left).

Dominican Republic:
Mangu, a mashed boiled plantains with milk and butter, usually served with eggs and sausage.

Jamaica: The national dish is a favourite breakfast- ackee and saltfish. Chewy rehydrated salt cod is sauteed with onions, peppers. tomatoes and ackee, a bright yellow fruit from West African evergreen trees.

What do you have for breakfast?

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Foods That Fight Cancer- Part 3

Cancer Fighting Menu

We’ve seen already that the authors of the great book Foods that Fight Cancer: Preventing cancer through diet, Richard Béliveau and Denis Gingras, leading cancer researchers, recommend you eat ½ cup cruciferous vegetables (particularly broccoli and brussel sprouts) daily as well as 2 cloves of garlic and ½ cup onions most days of the week. According to their research, they’ve found that these foods, as part of a healthy diet, contain important anti-cancer compounds.

The authors also recommend you eat 1 tsp of turmeric a day.

Turmeric is a yellow spice and a staple in Indian cuisine. In fact, Indians consume 1.5-2 grams of the spice a day, on average! Turmeric is actually responsible for the yellow colour of prepared mustard in North America, but the quantity is so small that we’d have to eat 4kg mustard a day to consume as much turmeric as the average Indian. Not appealing.

Cancer rates in India are about 1/3 of that of the United States, lung and colon/rectum cancer rates in India are negligible compared to the States. Although no epidemiological study has looked at the link between turmeric and this huge disparity, the spice is almost exclusively consumed in India and its primary active ingredient, curcumin, has been studied in labs and found to have very strong anti-cancer potential. Giving the compound to lab animals that were introduced to carcinogens prevented the appearance of tumours. Curcumin is thought to have the greatest impact on colon cancer.

What is important to note is that a molecule found in pepper (black pepper and long pepper, not chilli pepper), piperine, increases the absorption of the turmeric’s curcumin by a factor of 1000. So, add 1 tsp turmeric and ½ tsp pepper to your curries, pastas, soups, salad dressing for a little flavour and a little cancer prevention. Curry powder is also great as it contains both turmeric and pepper.

Enjoy 1/2 cup blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries a day.

Berries contain a high number of phytochemical- anti-cancer compounds produced by plants. For example, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries have a high level of

ellagic acid that has been found to interfere with the development of cancer.

Blueberries contain a very high level of the phytochemical anthocyanidins, followed closely by raspberries, strawberries and cranberries, that is thought to be responsible for the antioxidant potential of berries. It has also been found to impede cancer cell growth, leading to cell death.

Enjoy berries year round- buy them frozen in the winter, ensuing that no sugar has been added, and defrost them to use in cereal, yogourt, make shakes with them or have them as a dessert topping... or as a dessert!

Drink 3 cups of green tea a day.

According to the authors, “green tea is by far the more important contender in the dietary cancer prevention race”.

Catechins are the main polyphenols (class of phytochemicals) found in green tea and are responsible for its anti-cancer properties, especially the catechin called EGCG.

The authors warn that just because the package says ‘green tea’, the product may not have a high amount of EGCG as it’s affected by cultivation area, season, processing etc. In general, Japanese green teas (especially Sencha-Uchiyama , Gyokuro and Sencha) contain a greater amount of the catechin than Chinese teas.

Brewing period- the time that the leaves are steeping in boiling water before drinking- is another important factor to consider. A longer brewing time (8-10 minutes) is favoured as it allows the catechins to be extracted. A bad quality tea brewed for a short time can have up to 60 times less catechins than a better quality tea brewed for a longer time.

As a result of the large variations in polyphenol compositions of green teas, it’s been hard to study. New studies are looking at the amount of polyphenols, rather than green tea, ingested. Nonetheless, the current research suggests that green tea is beneficial in cancer prevention, particularly bladder and prostate cancers, as well as breast and stomach cancer. Animal studies have shown that EGCG prevents the development of cancer triggered by carcinogens, specifically skin, lung, breast, esophageal and colorectal cancers.

Apart from choosing Japanese teas that contain a higher amount of anticancer compounds, and brewing it for at least 8-10 minutes, aim to drink freshly brewed tea, avoiding thermoses, and spread out your 3 cups of tea to get the most benefit.

More of the menu to follow... stay tuned!