Monday, January 4, 2010

About food. Good & Bad!

Want to build a better burger? The trick is in the toppings.
Chef Devin Alexander helps burgers beat their unhealthy rap, and still taste simply sinful.
Almost Fast Food Burger

Almost Fast Food Burger

This recipe is part of these featured cookbooks:

  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Ready in: 15 mins
  • Serves: 1


  • 1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1/4 pound 96% lean ground beef
  • 1 slice (3/4 oz.) fat-free American cheese (optional)
  • 1 whole-grain or whole-wheat hamburger bun
  • 1/4 cup chopped romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1 thin slice red onion
  • 3 dill pickle rounds

Cooking Instructions

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard. Stir to mix. Set aside. Shape the beef into a patty that is about 1/2" wider than the bun.
Preheat a medium nonstick skillet or grill rack on high heat. Place the patty on the pan or grill. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until desired doneness. Internal temp. of 165 deg. (Do not smash the burger with the spatula.) About 30 seconds before the burger is cooked, top with the cheese, if desired. Place the bun halves, cut sides down, on the pan or grill. Cook for about 45 seconds, or until toasted.
Place the bun bottom on a serving plate. Top with the patty, lettuce, onion, and pickles. Spread the reserved sauce evenly over the inside of the bun top. Flip onto the burger. Serve immediately.
Nutritional Information Per serving: 281 calories, 26 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat (2 g saturated), 60 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 736 mg sodium.

Recipe Notes

Recipe provided by "The Biggest Loser Cookbook." Photography by Rick Mandell.
What's For Lunch?
My eldest daughter hit a milestone this year and it’s one that I never read about in the parenting books. Now that she’s a “big kid” she can choose to buy lunch at school rather than bring a packed lunch. We had some great discussion going last week about healthy packed lunches that kids will actually eat at school. But what about when the kids buy lunch and the menu is suddenly out of our control?

But I’m also aware that her school (like most schools in the country) funds their lunch program with meager budgets based on meal sales and federal reimbursements. Therefore the temptation is to offer the most popular (ie unhealthy) selections: pizza, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, as often as possible to boost sales.
True to form, pizza was on the menu for my daughter’s first day back to school. Even my picky kid couldn’t resist pizza day. So off she went to school with her lunch money in hand. You can imagine my dismay when she told me that afternoon that all she had for lunch was chocolate milk and marshmallows. (the pizza was too weird!)

What! No fruit? No vegetables? Sure, the school served fruit and vegetables that day, but what good is it to serve an iceberg lettuce salad and a canned fruit cup if none of the kids will actually eat it.

Pass The Beef: The production of beef makes more of an impact on the environment than any other type of food. According to a report produced by the World Wildlife Fund, more pasture is used for cattle than all other domesticated animals and crops combined. Cattle also eat an increasing proportion of grain produced from agriculture, are one of the most significant contributors to water pollution, and are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Now, we are not vegetarians by any means, but we do try to limit the amount of meat we eat each week. And with childhood obesity rates at an all time high, it makes sense for so many reasons to cut back on the amount of beef that is served in schools. I’d like to see Emily’s school offer one vegetarian option at each meal."

We also need better safety standards for the school lunches:
“It's hard to believe, but hamburgers from McDonald's and Jack in the Box are safer than the meat that America's 31 million children are offered at our nation's schools.”        From:

Food Rule of Thumb:
It may make you look better and feel good about yourself, inside and out.

Five basics to remember:
The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends, in order to help your heart – and body – function at its best, you need to eat food high in fibre and lower in fat and salt.
As a general rule of thumb, it's best to fill half your plate with vegetables, a quarter with whole grains, and the other quarter with lean meat, or meat alternatives.
Here are five healthier food choices to help your heart.
Note: serving ranges vary depending on your age and gender:
  1. Go for the color. Orange and dark green vegetables are the healthiest vegetables you can eat. You should include one of both color every day. August is a great month to load up on all kinds of local foods – from broccoli and dark-green leafy lettuces to orange peppers and carrots. Adults need: 7 to 10 vegetables and fruit a day.
  2. Up the whole grains. Choose at least half your servings as whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal and 100% whole-wheat bread. Adults need: 6 to 8 servings of grain products a day.
  3. Get the skinny on milk. Choose lower fat milk such as skim, 1% or 2%, lower fat yogurt and cheese and fortified soy beverages. Adults need: 2 to 3 servings of milk and alternatives a day.
  4. Make the leaner choice. Cut the saturated fat by eating chicken, fish and lean meat. Have alternatives such as beans, lentils and tofu often – they are high in fibre and very low in fat. Eat at least two servings of fish a week. Adult needs: 2 to 3 servings of meat and alternatives.
  5. Use the good oils. Choose fats such as canola, olive or soybean oils, non-hydrogenated margarines, lower fat salad dressings and mayonnaise. Adult needs: 30 to 45 mL (2 to 3 tbsp) a day.


I love foie gras, and veal, but not at the expense of the animals being treated cruelly to make it.  Then I shun it.
“In 2006, Chicago banned foie gras. In doing so, it became the first place to take a stand against the inhumane conditions and abusive force feeding used to enlarge the fatty liver of ducks and geese that's considered a delicacy.
Two years later, foie gras was back on Windy City menus. Not because it suddenly became an animal-friendly food, but because the ban had been mocked by critics as unworthy of city aldermen’s time and energy. (Of course, it would have taken less time to just leave the ban in the place at this point … but then it wouldn’t be politics.)”

feedlot This feed lot in in California can accommodate up to 100,000 head of cattle.
“Americans are downing close to 200 pounds of meat, poultry and fish per capita per year (dairy and eggs are separate, and hardly insignificant), an increase of 50 pounds per person from 50 years ago.
We each consume something like 110 grams of protein a day, about twice the federal government’s recommended allowance; of that, about 75 grams come from animal protein. (The recommended level is itself considered by many dietary experts to be higher than it needs to be.) It’s likely that most of us would do just fine on around 30 grams of protein a day, virtually all of it from plant sources.”
Portion sizes, and the difference in healthy foods:

“At around 10 in the morning we usually have a bit of a break with a couple of our apples. They really taste good this year. In the afternoon we have another break with hot chocolate and cookies. That is, that's what we used to do. I gained 10 pounds last year, so that has to come off and so no more hot chocolate and cookies for me.”
”Almond Joy”  Turns out almonds not only improve cholesterol levels but also help make LDL -- the bad cholesterol -- less likely to oxidize. Which is great, because LDL can do scary things when it's oxidized, like block arteries and cut blood flow to the heart.
Because oxidized LDL is even more likely to gunk-up your arteries than the unoxidized kind, recent study results on almonds and LDL oxidation helped secure the nut's position in a heart-healthy diet. When older adults with high cholesterol ate a daily handful of almonds as part of a 4-week cholesterol-friendly diet, not only did the nut eaters suffer less bad-for-the-arteries LDL oxidation, but their LDL levels took a nosedive as well.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS):

Coca-Cola Obesity
”Why are Americans more fat and ill than ever before? The answer may be high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), one of the main ingredients in soda and other sugary drinks. Sustainable Food blogger Katherine Gustafson writes that the whopping 60 pounds of HFCS that the average American consumes each year is having massive implications on health.
New evidence shows that HFCS coats our organs with fatty cells and leads to the onset of early diabetes and heart disease. For millions soda might be a refreshing drink. But is it altering our body's metabolism in deadly ways?
Well, I must say, we've really managed to screw ourselves over in this country food-wise. Left and right there's tainted meat and salmonella-laced lettuce, BPA-lined cans and chemically enhanced food-like products that will give you "anal oil leakage."
Now there's evidence that the reason for our obesity epidemic is that something we consume a lot of — at least 60 pounds a year — is actively damaging our ability to stay healthy. Yes, my friends, apparently high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) alters our body chemistry, causing it to grow more fat cells around vital organs and to spark early stages of diabetes and heart disease.
The problem isn't just that we consume too much of the corny sweetener — though surely we do — it's that HFCS actually damages human metabolisms in ways that promote the specific problems we've got.”

Jaimie Wolf

“I've been to Europe, Japan and Australia. You can get the same brands there, Coca Cola, etc. But they contain SUGAR not HFCS. It's so infuriating that the U.S. doesn't ban this poison.”  Jaimie Wolf

“There's a simpler solution to the problem than banning HFCS.  The answer is not MORE government and laws, but LESS.  End food subsidies and the market itself will allow for more nutritious food simply because the economy will not allow HFCS to be in everything.  Without for subsidies, HFCS will be too expensive to produce because the price of corn will rise to whatever the market will bear.  In turn, corn will be too expensive to haul in to cattle and it will again be cheaper to let cows graze on pasture.  
Will food become more expensive?Absolutely... but we'll have lower taxes, more nutritious food and fewer doctor bills”. Mark R     From:

Now, there's ammonia in beef:
Let’s all eat more healthy foods and drinks, starting today.

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