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Work it Off: Biscuits and Gravy

When I have visitors to my (new) hometown of Portland, Oregon, they all want to go on the same sort of sightseeing tour—one that focuses on all of the delicious food available. So when my friend Beth arrived last week from Colorado I had all of my hot spots queued up: Pok Pok for its Asian Wings, Salt and Straw for its Salted Caramel Ice Cream, and Olympic Provisions for its killer brunch. But of all of the indulgences we shared, the one I was most worried about burning off was a large plate of biscuits and gravy from Portland’s J&M Cafe.

biscuits and gravy

I did some searching online and found a big range for the calorie count in a serving of biscuits and gravy—estimates were anywhere between 200 and 530 calories. Judging from the flakiness of the biscuits, the size of the serving, and the sausage that was blended into the thick gravy, I’m going to guess the plate I ate was packed with about 450 calories. Eek!

Just how does one burn off a meal of that size? I grabbed a calculator—and the American College of Sports Medicine’s Compendium of Physical Activities—to find out. Here are three ways I could have burned off a 450 calorie breakfast of biscuits and gravy:


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Westerners are Just as Active as Hunter Gatherers, Study Shows

There’s very little health news that surprises me these days. Typically, the breaking headlines all funnel back to the basics: We need to eat right and get exercise in order to be healthy. The latest study I just read actually surprised me, and it may do the same for you.

A recent article from TIME writer Laura Blue reported on new research concerning the energy expenditure of westerners vs. hunter-gatherer societies. The study was just published in the PLoS One Journal. It seemed fair to assume we westerners are fat because we eat too much and then sit all day in our cars, at our desks, and on our couches. Meanwhile, those in hunter-gatherer societies walk everywhere, hunt for food, dig in their gardens, and use primitive tools to do a day’s work. The research showed that actually, both societies have an equal energy output, if you can believe it.

Like I said, very little surprises me in health news, but this one was a total surprise. I see the typical American every day. We walk mere feet to our cars, drive to our location with hopes of getting the closest parking spot, walk mere feet to our desks, and not move again until we drive to lunch, which many times is a drive-thru pick-up. There is very little exercise in the typical daily routine.
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