Sunday, May 29, 2011
Friday, May 27, 2011
Subway jumps on avocado bandwagon
The avocado's about to get respect in the one place where it can finally meet the masses: fast food.
Subway today will unveil plans to roll out avocado next week as a sandwich option nationwide. The public embrace of avocados by the sandwich giant, which with 24,188 U.S. stores has more domestic locations than McDonald's, is pegged to the healthier eating theme that's been crucial to Subway's success.
The move is expected to nudge other major fast-food chains to elevate the vitamin-, mineral- and calorie-packed fruit to their menus. At Subway, avocado makes its debut as preservative-free, 100% avocado spread in a Turkey & Bacon Avocado sandwich that sells for about $7.
Customers will have to pay from 50 cents to $1 to have the mashed avocado spread added to most other sandwiches. On the West Coast, instead of the spread, sliced avocados are offered at many Subways. Both have sold very well in tests, Subway marketing chief Tony Pace says.
We'll help avocado go mainstream," Pace says. So mainstream, that upcoming TV spots will showcase spokesjocks Michael Phelps and Apolo Ohno juggling avocados.
The move comes at a time avocado is showing up in new chips, dips and cooking oils. More than 75 new products made with avocado have rolled out over the past five years, Datamonitor reports. And domestic avocado sales rocketed to 1.3 billion pounds in 2010, up 16%, the Hass Avocado Board says.
Don't be surprised if some burger giants — under pressure to add nutritional offerings — soon embrace avocados, says Tom Vierhile, director of product launch analytics at researcher Datamonitor.
Subway's move is a bid to separate itself from major fast-food chains while luring customers from fast-casual chains such as Panera and Chipotle, where avocado is common. Rival Quiznos has sold subs with guacamole for years.
Subway is eager to boost its own better-for-you image. Last month it announced that it had cut sodium in its sandwich line by 15%.
Subway will tout the slogan "Grab the Green" in TV spots that promote avocados as well as the upcoming summer flick Green Lantern. Avocado also will be available on its breakfast sandwiches, Pace says.
"It's very good news nutritionally if you're substituting avocado for mayo," dietitian Hope Warshaw says. But she says, with the avocado spread at 70 calories per serving, "from a calorie perspective you can't do better than mustard and vinegar."
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Walking counts as exercise
- "People try all these insane diets," then give up when they don't lose weight and don't feel any better, says Vik Khanna, executive director of Health and Wellness for Mercy Health Ministry in Chesterfield, Mo.
Instead, Khanna recommends baby steps to fitness — as in walking.
"It's one of the things that is very underrated," Khanna says. "Walking is the universal best exercise. It's accessible. Most of us can do it into our 80s and 90s."
Not only will you feel better, you can also improve your memory and maybe even live longer. How's that for multitasking?
A study published earlier this year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that regular walking improved older people's ability to remember things. Also, says Khanna, "studies show that older adults who walk faster live longer."
So, once you get up and start putting one foot in front of the other, then pick up your speed.
"The problem is, most of us stroll," Khanna says. Going faster will make you feel even better, and you might lose weight.
Walking at 2 mph, a 150-pound person burns about 171 calories, taking more than 20 hours to lose a pound.
At 3 mph, it would take 15 hours to lose a pound.
Just one hour of walking at 3 mph, and you'll burn off the effects of a 99-cent bag of M&M's.
Getting off the couch …
Start with a slow walk, just a few minutes a day.
Increase time gradually.
Then walk faster.
Make a game out of it by spotting an object and speeding toward it.
Let breathing return to normal then speed up again.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Just one word of advice for the nation's 2011 high school graduates: petroleum.
An analysis of the projected lifetime earnings of 171 college majors provides a clearer picture of what one bachelor's degree means compared to another in the labor market. And the answer can be as much as $3.64 million.
That's the difference between what petroleum engineering majors can expect to earn over a 40-year career ($4.8 million) and what counseling psychology majors could earn ($1.16 million). Even the lowest-paying major beats the $770,000 average earnings of a person who holds only a high school diploma.
"Getting a (college) degree matters, but what you take matters more," says Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, which released its analysis today. It's based on data on undergraduate majors across all age groups, collected for the first time in the Census Bureau's 2009 American Community Survey and released last year. Estimates were based on 319,081 responses from bachelor's-degree holders who work full time over a full year.
The study is the latest, and most finely detailed yet to demonstrate a financial payoff for college. A study this month by American Institutes for Research found economic returns are greater for people with degrees from highly selective colleges than from less selective schools, but that even those degree holders were likely to earn $230,000 more over a lifetime than a person with no more than a high school education. (It also found that less selective schools generate a "much better bang for the taxpayer buck.") And a Pew Research Center study out last week found that, even after the cost of going to college and the foregone income while in college is considered, an education reaps greater benefits.
White workers and men fare best, the Georgetown study found. Even in their highest paid major, electrical engineering, blacks earn $12,000 less a year on average than Asians and $22,000 less than whites with the same major. Women tend to hold the majority of degrees in many of the lower-paying fields, such as education. Female chemical engineering majors earn on average $20,000 less a year than male counterparts.
•Annual incomes for liberal arts and humanities majors — think English, history, philosophy — averaged $47,000. About 40% of those majors also obtained a graduate degree, which boosted their average earnings almost 50%.
•Four majors among the 10 with the highest average annual earnings also are among the least popular majors, "suggesting there's a real demand in these areas that we have yet to meet," Carnevale says. Those are mathematics and computer science, naval architecture and marine engineering, metallurgical engineering, and mining and mineral engineering
Richard Fry, an economist who crunched lifetime earnings data for the Pew report, cautions that the data can't predict what today's students will make: "The future is inherently unknown."
Monday, May 23, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Few of us are really aware of how many new Splenda® products there are in the supermarkets. We’ve been told that this artificial sweetener is different from all the past failures — Sweet’N Low®, NutraSweet®, etc. — and according to the claims, that this Splenda is the perfect sugar substitute: as sweet as sugar, but no calories; as sweet as sugar, but no surge in insulin; as sweet as sugar, but no side effects or long-term health damage.
Splenda side effects
Observational evidence shows that there are side effects of Splenda, including skin rashes/flushing, panic-like agitation, dizziness and numbness, diarrhea, muscle aches, headaches, intestinal cramping, bladder issues, and stomach pain. These show up at one end of the spectrum — in the people who have an allergy or sensitivity to the sucralose molecule. But no one can say to what degree consuming Splenda affects the rest of us.
The health effects of sugar
What happens to our metabolism, on all that sugar? A sugar craving (which is really a craving for an energy and serotonin surge) becomes a habit. What’s more, this process is exacerbated by stress — because that’s when your body needs immediate energy and serotonin.
Over time, your body loses the ability to make enough sugar-digesting enzymes to meet the demand, and sugar sensitivity develops. Women tend to notice this more during perimenopause, when excess sugar and other simple carbohydrates trigger symptoms of hormonal imbalance.
Excess sugar consumption also upsets the balance of intestinal flora in your digestive tract and can cause symptoms of intestinal distress such as bloating, cramping, and gas (for more on this, see our section on digestion). Other symptoms of sugar sensitivity are headaches, insomnia, aggression, panic attacks, irritability, mood swings, and depression. Too much sugar can deplete levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter whose deficiency is linked to depression. What’s worse, low levels of serotonin actually trigger more sugar cravings.
Dangers in aspartame
Possible side effects of aspartame include headaches, migraines, panic attacks, dizziness, irritability, nausea, intestinal discomfort, skin rash, and nervousness. Some researchers have linked aspartame with depression and manic episodes. It may also contribute to male infertility.
Saccharin, the first widely available chemical sweetener, is hardly mentioned any more. Better-tasting NutraSweet took its place in almost every diet soda, but saccharin is still an ingredient in some prepared foods, gum, and over-the-counter medicines. Remember those carcinogen warnings on the side of products that contained saccharin? They no longer appear because industry testing showed that saccharin only caused bladder cancer in rats. Most researchers agree that in sufficient doses, saccharin is carcinogenic in humans. The question is, how do you know how much artificial sweeteners your individual body can tolerate?
That being said, some practitioners think saccharin in moderation is the best choice if you must have an artificially sweetened beverage or food product. It’s been around a relatively long time and seems to cause fewer problems than aspartame. I don’t argue with this recommendation, but I encourage you to find out as much as you can about any chemical before you ingest it.
Artificial sweeteners are body toxins. They are never a good idea for pregnant women, children or teenagers — despite the reduced sugar content — because of possible irreversible cell damage. If you decide it’s worth the risks, then go ahead, but pay attention to your body and your cravings. Once you start tracking your response to artificial sweeteners, it may surprise you.
Stevia and sorbitol — natural alternatives to artificial sweeteners
For many years, diabetics have used products sweetened with polyalcohol sugars like sorbitol, xylitol, malitol, and mannitol. These are natural sweeteners that do not trigger an insulin reaction. (Xylitol can be derived from birch tree pulp.) They have half the calories of sugar and are not digested by the small intestine. Most polyalcohol sugars have no side effects with the exception of sorbitol, a natural laxative that causes diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating and flatulence.
For this reason, the herb stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) which has been used for over 400 years without ill effect is recommended. It’s 200–300 times sweeter than sugar, so just a small portion of stevia will sweeten even a strong cup of tea. Stevia can be used for anything you might use sugar in, including baking. It is naturally low in carbohydrates. You can buy stevia at most health food stores and over the web.
Artificial sweeteners are chemicals, not food! They have no calories because they don’t nourish your body in anyway — they’re toxins your body has to clear, or, depending on how well you detoxify, store.
- Take a daily multivitamin to support your body’s nutritional needs.
- Eat protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates for breakfast. Simple carbs and sugar fire up your insulin receptors and spark those sugar cravings.
- Shop the perimeter of your grocery store — avoid the processed foods in the center aisles. Read all labels and be wary of food that contains apartame, neotame, saccharin, acesulfame K, or sucralose.
- Minimize or avoid products that have sugar, high-fructose corn syrup or corn syrup near the top of their ingredient list. Sugar can also be disguised as evaporated cane juice, cane sugar, beet sugar, glucose, sucrose, maltose, maltodextrin, dextrose, sorbitol, fructose, corn sugar, fruit juice concentrate, barley malt, caramel, and carob syrup.
- Keep a bowl of fresh ripe fruit nearby to snack on, to relieve your sugar cravings. Think primitive and eat fruit that is in season. The fresher the fruit, the more succulent and satisfying it will be. You may find you don’t need anything sweeter!
- If you are craving something sweet, don’t feel guilty. Most of the time, uncontrollable or patterned cravings stem from a malfunctioning metabolism or low serotonin.
- Indulge yourself sometimes. Remember, we have sweet taste buds for a reason. Try a piece of fruit first — you may find your craving diminishes. If you still want a piece of chocolate or pie, go ahead! Just make it a treat, not a habit.
- Remember that wine and alcohol are sugar.
- Take a short walk after eating and breathe in deeply.
- Focus more on what you’d like to cook and eat than what you shouldn’t. If you listen to your body, it may surprise you with a craving for eggs, not a diet soda.
Finding comfort in the right places
After taking a closer look at what you eat, it may also be useful for you to examine the role sweet food plays in your life. This often ties in to deep associations and emotions buried in childhood. Perhaps you always crave sugar in the mornings because you associate family, home, and security with the pancake breakfasts your mother used to make.
But just as a pancake breakfast won’t satisfy your emotional longings, fake sugar won’t feed your body’s needs — nor real sugar, for that matter. So I encourage you to nourish yourself from the inside out, with healthy food, self-care, and healthy relationships. In life there is bound to be some bitterness — the secret is to restore enough balance to delight in the sweet.
Friday, May 20, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
TIPS FOR LIVING GLUTEN FREELY
A GLUTEN-FREE DIET
With these helpful hints, you’ll know what foods contain gluten and know what to avoid.
It is important to learn about the gluten-free diet since it is the only treatment for celiac disease.
Knowing What to Look For: Reading LabelsThe best way to know if a product is gluten free is to read the ingredients label. To determine if a product contains gluten, there are five main words you need to know:
- Wheat, Barley, Rye, Malt and Oats
Looking for these key five words will help you identify products that contain gluten. You need to check labels often. Ingredients can change over time, so checking the ingredients label every time is the most accurate way to identify what is in a food or beverage product. After you have read the label and have determined that the product does not contain these obvious sources of gluten, you may always contact the manufacturer to confirm. Studies suggest that pure oats that are not mixed with wheat, barley, or rye consumed in moderation can be tolerated by most people with celiac disease. Check with your health care provider to find out if this is right for you.
Healthful Gluten-Free EatingMany foods are naturally free of gluten, unless it was added in manufacturing. People who follow a gluten free diet can enjoy a variety of foods, including:
- Plain beef, pork and lamb
- Plain fish and shellfish
- Plain chicken and turkey
- Plain fruits
- Plain vegetables
- Plain beans
- Rice, Wild Rice
- Nuts and seeds
Frequently Overlooked Foods that May Contain Gluten
- Coating mixes
- Imitation bacon
- Imitation seafood
- Processed meats
- Sauces and gravies
- Soy sauce
- Vegetarian meat substitutes
You should discuss with your healthcare provider about being tested for celiac disease prior to beginning a gluten-free diet. It is very difficult to get a true diagnosis once you have removed gluten from your diet. Knowing if you have celiac disease or not is important for long-term management of your health and could impact whether or not your family members should consider being screened as this is a genetic disease.