Category Archives: men and healthy eating

Is Your Personality Making You Put on Pounds? Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal asks the question in our headline. Melinda Beck follows up with a number of personality anomalies including neuroticism, stress, multi-tasking, being a giver and finally a perfectionist that contribute to overeating.

“The link between emotions, food and weight control starts at a very early age. Toddlers who had low-quality emotional relationships with their mothers are more than twice as likely to be obese at age 15 as those who have closer bonds, according to a study of 977 children funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and published in the journal Pediatrics this month,” Beck wrote.

One example is Night owls who are often sleep-deprived which reduces a hormone that signals fullness and also increases one that drives up the appetite.
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Happy New Year to Our 100,000+ Visitors

Happy New Year to all our blog visitors and thank you for propelling us over the 100,000 visitor mark for 2011, only our first full year of publishing this blog.

We have had roughly 10 times the visitors this year that we did in 2010 ; the growth has come from word-of-mouth, namely you talking up the blog to your friends, and search engines discovering our posts for all to see.

When we started in March of 2010, I do not think we imagined how quickly we would become a regular stopping place for those interested in good eating and good health.

The blog continued to evolve with your input and from health, exercise and eating challenges and triumphs we encounter in our own lives. We have dealt with stress and its opposite number – relaxation. Also, the ability to be happy has crossed our radar. The blog has a general good health and wellness focus now as opposed to just the weight loss that we started with.

We originally targeted our posts to men but have been heartened by the number of women who read us and regularly comment on our posts. We hope they are sharing what they see here with men in their lives who may be reluctant to talk about their health and their weight — but should.

We want men to take better care of themselves and to start being proud of the weight they lose and keep off rather than of the beer guts they show their friends while watching football and other sports.

We hope to continue our visitor growth in 2012 and need all your help to do that. Send people our link, talk us up. If you like something we write, comment; if you don’t like something we write, comment on that too, this blog is a dialogue between us and you.

Happy New Year and Good Health to Everyone!
John & Tony

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What is the McDonaldization of the Food Supply?

Robert Dirks is a friend and neighbor of mine who has shared the lakefront bike path with me on more than one occasion. In addition, he drives a MINI Cooper as I do. Besides these mundane attributes, he is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at Illinois State University. He has published in the Annual Review of Nutrition, Journal of Nutrition, The Cambridge World History of Human Disease, American Anthropologist, and Current Anthropology.

Rob is in the blog today because he has written a fascinating book entitled Come & Get It! McDonaldization and the Disappearance of Local Food from a Central Illinois Community. He wrote the following blog item for us and you.

Robert Dirks

McLean County, Illinois presents an enigma. Its largely rural landscape covered with farms suggests communities close to the soil. Its metropolitan center, Bloomington-Normal, which sits roughly half way between Chicago and St. Louis, is home to around 165,000 people, many of them the beneficiaries of the years of schooling required in insurance, finance, and education, the area’s principal industries. Yet, in spite of their geographic situation and social advantages few residents of McLean County have any substantial knowledge about where their food comes from.

Unfortunately, this same ignorance prevails throughout America and for much the same reason. The culprit, a process sociologists have somewhat factitiously labeled “McDonaldization,” refers to the rationalization or application of a business model to the matters of eating and drinking. This leads to a centralization of facilities and consumers losing touch with those who produce and process their food. Come & Get It! McDonaldization and the Disappearance of Local Food from a Central Illinois Community is about this so-called “delocalization” and how it developed in McLean County.

The story begins with settlers from the South and Northeast prepared to make do with foods they either raised or collected themselves. Later on, newcomers from Ireland and Continental Europe established homes in the county. Area foodways increased in complexity, and a variety of new food-related industries developed. Residents made beer, candy, ice cream, pickles, sausages, soda water, vinegar, and wine. They manufactured stoves and refrigerators, milled flour, made a variety of breads, packed pork, and canned tomatoes. Local companies distributed produce and groceries throughout the region. Still, many rural families produced and processed nearly everything they ate and only occasionally visited a grocery store.

By the end of the second millennium, however, it was hard to find locally produced food in McLean County, let alone people with food-related skills. Few other locations in the country had as many fast-food outlets per capita. Citizens took pride in the fact that no other place in the United States funneled as much corn and soy into the nation’s industrial food system. Fruits and vegetables amounted to an afterthought. Livestock and dairy production barely existed. This meant that McLean County came nowhere close to feeding itself and that nearly every food and beverage consumed bore a UPC stamp and arrived by tractor-trailer.
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Looking for Diet Food? You May Be the Only One

Use of the word diet on foods is fading, primarily because people don’t like to buy items that are called diet, a recent weight management conference heard.

Campbell's found that lower sodium claims turned off consumers.

Food makers are taking diet off foods and instead using terms like zero which is somehow more positive, as in zero calories I suppose.
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How Many Calories in Subway’s Bacon-Egg & Cheese Sammy?

I saw a Subway commercial for this sandwich tonight watching one of the football shows. Must admit surprise at the composition of it in view of the fact that  I thought Subway was selling health and healthy products. You don’t even have to see the nutritional breakdown to realize there is a lot of fat in this offering.


Here is the breakdown for the six inch size. Keep in mind that many folks buy the 12 inch. Clearly, you need to double these numbers for that.
Calories 480, Total fat 18 grams, Saturated Fat 7 grams, Cholesterol 265, Sodium 1410 mg, Carbohydrates 47 mg, Fiber 5 grams, Protein 32 grams.

The 480 calorie total is big, but if this is your breakfast, you can say that you are fueling up and will burn it off the rest of the day. On a roughly 2200 calorie basic weight maintenance budget, the 480 can fit.

I have a bit of a problem with the 18 grams of fat of which 7 are saturated. The 5 grams of fiber and whopping 32 grams of protein are helpful.

Last, but not least, is the 1410 mg of Sodium. That is about half of what you should be consuming all day. I think you would have a hard time not going over on Sodium in a day. Don’t forget anyone who ordered the 12 inch size would have effectively finished eating salt at breakfast.

I am guessing the bacon and cheese elements accounted for the lion’s share of the Sodium, not to mention much of the fat.

My conclusion is that this is a very un-Subway-like offering. If you go to Subway for their healthy offerings, I think you need to pass this one up.

Tony

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What is Wheatgrass?

I have a Jamba Juice bar nearby and have seen their emphasis on the health benefits of wheatgrass. Since it is raw, I thought it might be one of those foods with a lot nutrients. As readers know I use Colloidal Trace Minerals daily, so I am interested in foods like this.

Herewith is a result of my reading about it on the web.

WheatGrassKits.com, a website that sells wheatgrass growing kits, offers 40 points about wheatgrass and its nutritional benefits. They include:

5 Wheatgrass is high in oxygen like all green plants that contain chlorophyll.  The brain and all body tissues function at an optimal level in a highly-oxygenated environment.
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Would You Run for Chocolate?

I haven’t run in any races or fun runs in years, but running is a super calorie burner as well as cardio workout and I fully support it. My partner in the blog, John, has participated in several runs this year.

Chicago's Hot Chocolate race trailer

I wanted to share this photo with you because it was just a pleasant surprise to me on my bike ride this morning. These three kids are working to publicize Chicago’s annual Hot Chocolate race that takes place next weekend.

I believe this is the fifth year of the race’s existence.

It will take place in Chicago’s Grant Park and include 15K and 5K events.

Ghirardeli Chocolate is the sponsor and the table in the photo had tons of chocolate samples on it. There was also hot chocolate available.

After the race there is a chocolate party with fondue and lots of Ghirardeli goodies available.

It’s not an accident that the logo photo for our blog is a slice of chocolate cake. John’s wife shot it on their trip to Germany. Both of us love chocolate. I eat a Hershey bar with Almonds (1.45 oz) every night. The trick is just not to overdo it.

When I was still in the working world my company used to be sent gorgeous five pound chocolate bars as gifts at Christmas time. They were put out in the lunch area and folks would stop by and slice off a quarter pound (600 calories) piece or two. I was one of them. I also weighed in the 180 pound range.

The difference between then and now is that I understand portion control and I pay attention to my calories. That’s why I have been in the 155 pound area for the past year. Don’t give up. You can do it too.

We have some great rules on our Remember This page. You can start there.

Tony

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Facebook CEO Eats Only What He Kills

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears to be living up to his pledge last year that he will only eat meat from animals that he has killed himself, according to Fortune Editor at Large Patricia Sellers.

Sellers wrote in her blog Postcards that Zuckerberg started out slaughtering a pig, goat and chicken. Now he has expanded to include bison. He actually got a hunting license and has shot and killed a bison.

John and I are both fans of bison meat. John wrote about it several times, including this on January third of this year.

Sellers reported that Zuckerberg wants to eat “a lot healthier foods.”

He declined to comment to Sellers through a Facebook spokesman.

Last Thursday at the Facebook developers conference he hinted about his new tastes. On the left side of his Facebook page projected on a huge screen behind him was a photo of a juicy looking sandwich and the words, “Bison Burgers,” Sellers reported.

We are all for healthy eating and we don’t think you have to go to the kind of extremes as young Zuckerberg. Check out our Remember This page for a great way to start on the path of good health and lifetime weight management.

Tony

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What is the Secret of Mel Brooks’s Successful Aging

The 84-year old Mel Brooks recently appeared on an HBO Special in a conversation with talk show host Dick Cavett, sharing anecdotes about show business personalities and celebrities. The final third of the show had the two old friends taking questions from the audience.

Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner on the cover of the sequel to their successful comedy album

Brooks was asked to reveal the secret of his successful aging. The audience member remarked that Brooks appeared to be close to 80 years old.

Brooks responded that he was closer to 61 years old, but after the audience’s laughter subsided, he said that, yes, he was 84 years old.

The secret of his successful aging?

Brooks answered, “Pineapple …. That’s all I eat morning, noon and night.”

“I wake up. For breakfast I have an illegal immigrant peel a pineapple… chop it up. I eat it. At 2:30 I go to my office and open a can of pineapple … it’s already done, with rings … just the pineapple, nothing else. And, at night, I have a baked pineapple. I want something warm at night. I hate to give it away, but that’s my secret.”

Brooks is famous as a film writer, director, composer, lyricist, comedian, actor and producer. He is best known as a creator of broad film farces and comic parodies. Professionally, he has won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony award.

Tony

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What Have You Done For Me Lately?

Do you have a friend or acquaintance that always seems to be needing some kind of attention? No matter what you do, it never seems to be enough. It always feels like they are saying, “What have you done for me lately?”

This is what you call high maintenance. Many folks, short of sainthood, try to shed these acquaintances if possible as they  never seem to be satisfied.

Ironically, every one of us is in such a relationship literally ‘until death do us part.’ No, it isn’t with our spouse. It is the relationship we have with our own body.

We wake up in the morning and the first thing we do is relieve its discomfort of a full bladder. Then we have to clean up. Next thing we get fueled up. Probably including some kind of stimulant like tea or coffee with caffeine in it to jack up our alertness. The demands never end.

We can heed them like the first ones and try to do justice by them, or we can play ostrich and ignore them hoping they will go away. Sadly, when we do this, we become the losers. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Our bodies demand food, but not just what tastes good to us. They need to be nourished or they won’t function properly and will start to deteriorate and break down in small ways at first. You don’t put bad fuel into your auto, but you don’t hesitate to reach for that sugary, creamy dessert and stuff it into your mouth. Over a period of time, the deterioration blossoms into some kind of real problem that demands medical attention.

We need to learn the proper foods and quantities that will keep us healthy and satisfied without going overboard and creating a weight or other medical problem.

Also, our bodies demand exercise. The law of the body is use it or lose it.  We can’t let the only exercise we have be jamming our heads into the sand and ignoring our own needs. If we fail to exercise, our waistlines expand and our clothes never seem to fit right any more. And that is the least of our worries. Over a period of time, such neglect leads to true deterioration and disease, again requiring medical attention. Being under doctor’s orders is not how you want to spend your life.

Maintaining a healthy happy body takes Focus, Effort and Discipline (FED). Decide to take the first step today… and a second step tomorrow. The road to good health is attainable. All you have to do is decide you will do what is necessary to get there.

When your body asks, “What have you done for me lately?” I hope you will have a good answer for it.

Tony

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Vita Mix – Drinking a Watermelon

Saturday was an eventful day for me. I went to Costco and Trader Joe’s first thing in the morning which meant I had to miss out on my early bike ride. This is unfortunate as early morning is the only time this summer that is CLOSE TO pleasant in terms of heat. After that the temperature and humidity just continue to escalate. Chicago has had heat warnings for the very young and the elderly in this recent siege of hot weather. That’s a little off-putting  for me as I am one of the elderly over 70.

The shopping was successful. Costco surprised me again with another wonderful whole grain available. Ever heard of Farro? If you have, you are one up on me. I hadn’t. I bought some, though, and will blog about it at a later date.

This is exactly how I felt

This is exactly how I felt

I didn’t get out on the bike till around noon. It was plenty hot. Even riding on the lakefront where there is a lake breeze the heat felt blistering. This is also the point where my Saturday started to turn sour. I got a flat tire … and it happened three miles from home. So now in the stultifying heat I had to walk the bike back. Regular readers may be asking about now – Was your dog on the bike? Yes, she was, and she remained in her carrier on the front handlebars for the entire three mile trek to the bike shop. Fortunately for me there was a mechanic on duty. He was busy but said I could have my bike back in an hour. The bike shop is a half mile from my apartment, so I started walking home. My hot and tired little dog, the Princess,  however, had other ideas. She took about ten steps, stopped, lay down on the hot pavement and looked up at me. The heat was too much for her.

So on top of my three mile tropical slog pushing the bike, I had the privilege of carrying the pup the half mile home. She weighs 13.5 lbs, but after around fifty feet of carrying her it felt like the decimal point dropped out. All I could think of on that final half mile was how good it was going to be to feel air conditioning on my skin. Also, my thirst was mountainous. I had a very clear image of wanting to and trying to drink a watermelon.

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Staying on Track When It’s Tough

This post originally appeared on our blog on March 22, 2010. I’m reposting it because I continually face food temptations in my job, which is to write about food. I’m at food conferences several times a year. Not over-eating at those is a major challenge. I’m sure some of our readers face the same types of business-event challenges, so I say to you, take heart and fight off the cravings. This is one of a series of reposts Tony and I are doing to celebrate our blog’s 18-month anniversary Sept. 7.
John

I’ve spent all day at a conference, nursing a cold which makes me hungrier, and trying not to eat the fattening things that were there – giant bagels with tubs of cream cheese and overstuffed sandwiches with processed meats. I ended up with a half turkey sandwich, half a ham sandwich of which I left most of the bread, and half a cupcake, not the best for lunch but still restrained compared to my old ways.
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Happy Birthday-and-a-Half To Us

Today marks 18 months since Tony and I began this blog. It’s been an interesting evolution to watch. I think the process has made Tony a serious advocate for healthy eating while it’s left me as skeptical as ever about heeding advice. Whether it be from the latest food fad or exercise guru or medical type telling me they know what I need to do to live longer.

Hopefully our blend of posts has been informative and even enlightening for you, helping you navigate your way through all the food minefields out there. Maybe we’ve even helped you get a bit more fit, eat a bit healthier.

We’ll be reposting our favorite items in the next few days. See what we enjoyed writing the most and let us know what you think of them.

What have you been reading? Pretty much anything we write about McDonald’s. Below is a list of the 15 most viewed posts and/or pages on our site (I took out the Home Page because I think we’ve occasionally sent people there instead of to a specific post).
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The Dark Side of Apples

“When you look at the dark side, careful you must be.  For the dark side looks back.” Yoda

Do apples have a dark side?

What is more beautiful and healthy looking than a fresh red apple? No wonder Snow White was tempted …

The image of good health

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. I remember the first time I heard that old saw. I know it was pre-kindergarten. I asked my mom what it meant and she explained how this healthy eating habit would keep you well and you wouldn’t need to go to the doctor. I was thrilled to hear that as I had endured some serious doctoring as a child and anything that could reduce my doctor visits was okay by me.

Back in April I wrote about the benefit of eating apples daily in lowering cholesterol levels.

John has written a number of blog items on his consumption of diet soda and his attempts to cut down on his unhealthy habit. I really admire his candor and courage. Few people are able to admit even to themselves that they have a destructive habit, let alone to thousands of blog readers.

I wanted to write this piece on apples because while I do eat an apple a day for all the healthy reasons, not to mention that I love their taste, for me there is also a dark side to apples.

My problem is that much as I love and consume raw apples, I lust for and consume them in pastries – their dark side.

One of my apple turnovers – culinary porn – nearly 8 inches of flake-crusted heaven

Almost every day I eat some of an apple turnover, apple pie, or if I go to the riverboat casino buffet, apple cobbler.

A 3 inch apple has 95 calories, 0.3 grams of fat, no cholesterol, 1.8 mg of sodium, 25.1 grams of carbohydrate, 4.4 grams of fiber, 18.9 grams of real fruit sugar and 0.5 grams of protein. Sparkling nutrition.

In contrast to this salubrious summary, an apple turnover has 260 calories, 13 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, no cholesterol, 170 mg of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 14 grams of sugar (refined) and 2 grams of protein.

The apple pie and apple cobbler contain similar damning nutrients.

The apple turnover in the picture, culinary porn, is one of mine fresh from the bakery. You can see by its size it is amazing. You’ll have to take my word for it that the flaky confection tastes as good as it looks. I eat a half of one of these most days. That is where the above nutrition info came from. Because of its size I count half of it as 260 calories, etc. As long as I am riding my bicycle I can snack on devilish treats like this and keep my weight in the 150’s.

If/when I am unable to ride my bike and burn off these calories, I will have to confine myself to the healthy side of the apple and forgo the dark side.

Update: As of May 2013, I have actually eliminated apple turnovers, etc from my daily diet. I feel better as a result and don’t miss them nearly as much as I had imagined I would.

Tony

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My Diet Soda Challenge, a Progress Report

Tony has challenged me to drink less diet soda, thinking it will help in my weight loss efforts.

I’ve written about how much diet soda I’ve been consuming, an average of about 140 ounces a day prior to his calling me out about it.

So for the past month or so, I’ve been cutting back. Rather than buy a 44-ounce diet soda on my way to work each morning, I now buy one only once or twice a week, filling my 44-ounce cup with water at home the other days.
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Is it Harmful to Drink Diet Soda Every Day?

My blogging partner, John, has admitted that he is addicted to diet sodas. He and I differ strongly on the impact of his habit of consuming 140 ounces of diet soda each day. I think he should cut it down and finally off. He disagrees.


Here is what Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. of the Mayo Clinic had to say on the subject: “Drinking a reasonable amount of diet soda a day, such as a can or two, isn’t likely to hurt you. The artificial sweeteners and other chemicals currently used in diet soda are safe for most people, and there’s no credible evidence that these ingredients cause cancer.

“Some types of diet soda are even fortified with vitamins and minerals. But diet soda isn’t a health drink or a silver bullet for weight loss.

“Although switching from regular soda to diet soda may save you calories, some studies suggest that drinking more than one soda a day — regular or diet — increases your risk of obesity and related health problems such as type 2 diabetes. (Italics mine.)

“Healthier choices abound. Start your day with a small glass of 100 percent fruit juice. Drink skim milk with meals. Sip water throughout the day. For variety, try sparkling water or add a squirt of lemon or cranberry juice to your water. Save diet soda for an occasional treat.”

Health bistro came down more negatively on diet drinks. They said it “Can lead to a higher rate of heart attack and stroke, according to a study revealed Wednesday at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles.

“The so-called “Northern Manhattan Study” of 2,564 soda drinkers implied that those who chugged diet soda daily were 61% more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who abstained from soft drinks.”

Tony

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