Paleo is certainly a buzzword in the diet and health communities, but do people really know what it means when they say they “want to eat like their ancestors?” National Geographic’s Evolution of Diet investigates what an original Paleolithic diet might have been, and how the modern diet developed.
To start, they first looked at the few groups of true hunter-gatherers remaining — those whose diets haven’t changed much in thousands of years.
“Hunter-gatherers are not living fossils,” Alyssa Crittenden, a nutritional anthropologist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told National Geographic. “That being said, we have a small handful of foraging populations that remain on the planet. We are running out of time. If we want to glean any information on what a nomadic, foraging lifestyle looks like, we need to capture their diet now.”
Betsy Talbot, 42, and her husband Warren, 41, are healthy, happily married, world travelers these days, but that hasn’t always been the case. The couple who used to be overweight, unhappy and tied to office jobs now travels the world “full-time,” living out their dreams.
At their heaviest, Betsy and Warren weighed 210 and 178 pounds, respectively. But today, Betsy is a trim 160 pounds (just 10 pounds shy of her goal weight) and Warren has already reached his goal weight of 145 pounds. We had the pleasure of speaking with this adventurous pair recently about their weight loss journey as a couple. Here’s what they had to say.
Tell me when your weight struggles began.
Our weight struggles really began in adulthood when we began sitting for our jobs and our entertainment instead of being active. And we “over-busied” ourselves into thinking we had to eat fast and cram meals in instead of planning and enjoying them. This is a deadly combination for weight gain that most people can relate to. (more…)
Grilled chicken is a food that’s often recommended as part of weight-loss plans, because it’s low in fat and high in protein, which helps promote satiety. However, that seemingly innocent chicken breast you ordered at Subway or Burger King is not really the healthy item it masquerades as, despite the grill marks on the meat.
That’s because few fast food restaurants are willing to actually grill. Instead, these chicken breasts are cooked with an industrial process and branded with char marks to make it appear as if the meat might have once touched a grill. The only major fast food chains we know of to actually grill its chicken are Chick-fil-A and Chipotle, while McDonald’s, Subway, Wendy’s, Burger King and Taco Bell all opt for fake char marks.
They call themselves freegans: people who live almost entirely on what others throw away, from furniture right down to the food they put in their bodies. Freegans reject the idea of a capitalist system and take pride in their limited participation in a conventional economy.
According to Freegan.Info, freegans live based on “sharing resources, minimizing the detrimental impact of our consumption and reducing and recovering waste and independence from the profit-driven economy.”
While trash touring or dumpster diving may not sound like reliable methods for sourcing food and nutrition, freegans rarely go hungry, as the Environmental Protection Agency states that Americans dump approximately 38 million tons of garbage daily.
One commenter on a Huffington Post article about a week in the life of a freegan said “While I personally can not see myself dumpster diving, I have seen the waste that restaurants, bakeries and grocery stores discard…it’s good food that can provide meals to the poor or unfortunate.”
Approximately one-third of the U.S. adult population and 17 percent of children are considered obese according to CDC statistics.
NPR’s special series “Living Large: Obesity in America” takes a look at what it truly means to be obese in the United States, a country getting larger and unhealthier by the second.
Why are Americans obese? Blame it on the lifestyle. Americans are eating–everywhere. We eat in our cars on the way to kids’ soccer games, on the way to work, in-between meals, and after school. With our lackadaisical view of standard mealtimes, we are not only eating more, but are eating processed foods that are quick and adaptable to our on-the-go lifestyles and it’s rubbing off on other countries. The French are getting fatter, too, according to NPR.
Although France is typically viewed as a counterexample to America’s growing obesity problem, obesity in France is rising slightly. The French pride themselves on their love of food and traditional meal times. The French also know how to properly prepare a meal, something that is vastly disappearing in the age of globalization and urbanization.
It’s breakfast time and you want to start your day off right with a healthy and nutritious meal that doesn’t take long to make. You open your pantry and grab the Fiber One Original cereal. Then for lunch time, you are away from home so you run to McDonald’s and get their Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken. Around 3:00, you need a snack so you snack on some Wheat Thins Fiber Selects. Then for dinner, you have some spaghetti and meatballs from Pizza Hut.
What do all of these foods have in common? They all contain wood cellulose, which means that you are eating wood. Many companies, including those listed above, use wood cellulose in their foods all the time, and therefore, you are eating wood on a fairly regular basis. It is shocking to realize that many of the foods we eat when we are trying to make healthier options are so processed that they really are not as healthy as we may have thought.
New legislation could alter the familiar faces of the grocery store aisles, such as Chester the Cheetah or the Jolly Green Giant, in the very near future.
According to CNN.com, Rep. Jim Moran, D-Virginia, and Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts will introduce a bill later this month that would give the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences power to ban up to 10 harmful chemicals from common household and food products.
Once the NIEHS has named a chemical as “high concern,” its use is illegal after 24 months. Bisphenol A, often used in plastics and known as an endocrine disruptor, is one of the chemicals that could be on the banned list. Bisphenol A, or BPA, is also used in the lining of many canned goods, which are a staple of pantry cabinets throughout the US.
Harmful chemicals such as BPA and DES, a chemical found in cattle feed and breast cancer treatment medicine, can change how hormones operate and lead to birth defects such as neurological disorders or autism, according to the article.
UPDATE [11/2/10]: Scroll to the bottom of the post to see some of the scary processed foods that turned up at Chipotle on Halloween!
Maybe I am out of the loop, but I did not realize that Chipotle Mexican Grill serves only freshly prepared and unprocessed food. Not only that, but they are turning their annual “Boo-rito” Halloween event into a fundraiser for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution with a goal to raise $1,000,000!
In years past, those who came to a Chipotle Mexican Grill dressed as a burrito, taco, or taco salad would be treated with a free burrito. In honor of the Food Revolution, they are changing the deal just a little. The challenge this year is to dress as a “horrifying processed food product” and boo-ritos, bowls, salads, and tacos are just $2 to raise funds for the Food Revolution. There is also a costume contest with prizes up to $2,500! (more…)
Just recently, the Corn Refiners Association took the legal steps necessary to change the name high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to the more innocuous name, “corn sugar.”
While the approval could take as long as two years, products are already being referred to as containing corn sugar, rather than HFCS.
For those who are a bit confused over the name change, you’re not alone. Corn sugar is just another name and form of sugar, and just like sucrose, HFCS, or dextrose, it can be added into candy, pasta sauce, soda, bread and thousands of other processed products.
So, exactly what is corn sugar and how does it fare in comparison to the now demonized high fructose corn syrup?
UPDATE [9/14/2011]: Although it may take the FDA another year to decide to approve the Corn Refiner’s Association’s (CRA) request to use the term “Corn Sugar” instead of “High Fructose Corn Syrup,” groups representing sugar producers are suing the CRA over an ad campaign that promotes the idea that “your body can’t tell the difference” between the two sweeteners. The Associated Press reports that a ruling to dismiss the case will be decided by U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall soon, but a time frame has not yet been determined.
Health experts remain in disagreement over the dangers of high fructose corn syrup, but many have pointed out that changing the name won’t change the nutritional profile of substance. “Whether they decide to call it ‘High Fructose Corn Syrup’ or ‘Corn Sugar’, its the same processed sugar and 60 calories per tablespoon,” tweeted Joy Bauer, MS RD CDN,
The Corn Refiner’s Association of American has decided that the negativity surrounding the name High-Fructose Corn Syrup is harming the sale of the product. As a result, they’ve moved to make the name more consumer-friendly. High-Fructose Corn Syrup will now be known as “Corn Sugar”, if the CRA has its way.
The CRA applied for an official name change on Tuesday, but the approval could take more than two years. That’s of no concern to the CRA, however, who has already created a web site and begun to refer to the product as Corn Sugar in television commercials.
Consumption of HFCS has reached a 20 year low, with consumers avoiding the product due to a concern with the products effect on the health of the nation. The CRA is capitalizing upon the consumer who looks for the words “cane sugar” and hopes to show that sugar is sugar, no matter the source. (more…)