Diets in Review - Find the Right Diet for You


We Pimped a Homemade Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte

By Abra Pappa for Nutritious America

Tis’ the season to consume many, many, many pumpkin spice lattes. A now ubiquitous beverage of fall, this Starbucks flavored java is loved the world over.

Last month there was a reported pumpkin spice syrup shortage at hundreds of Starbucks around the country; lovers of this beverage were outraged! It was the Pumpkin Spice LattePOCALYPYSE! Happily for the PSL fans (that’s what they affectionately call this fall beverage) the syrup was replenished and drinking resumed.

But wait! I am so sorry to burst your pumpkin bubble, but do you know really know what you are drinking? Espresso, steamed milk, and pumpkin spice syrup, yes, but what is in that pumpkin spice syrup? I for one, wanted to know. Starbucks isn’t terribly forthcoming about ingredients. Their website is extremely helpful with fat and calorie counts, but when it comes to actual ingredients one must dig deeper to come up with the truth.

I emailed them (which quite honestly, is very simple to do on their website) and asked for the ingredient breakdown. I received this:

Sugar, Condensed Nonfat Milk, Sweetened Condensed Nonfat Milk, Annatto (E160b, Colour), Natural and Artificial Flavours, Caramel Colour (E150D), Salt, Potassium Sorbate (E202, a preservative).

This list did not make a holistic nutritionist very happy. The first ingredient is sugar, then more sugar in the form of sweetened condensed milk, and numerous coloring agents and preservatives. Then the big whammy, under the guise of “natural and artificial flavors” are hidden health disastrous ingredients that legally do not have to be listed. Ingredients like Vanillin instead of Vanilla (synthetic vanillin primarily comes from wood pulp, a bi-product of the sulphite process. Yum!) are considered “natural ingredients.”

Well fear not pumpkin addicts, this is a truly simple and luscious drink to make at home. You will save calories, fat, and yucky franken-food ingredients, AND save yourself a pretty penny!

Consider the Pumpkin Spice Latte Pimped!
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4 Breakfasts Worth Waking Up For, Including a Vegetable Frittatta Recipe

By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D. for

I love breakfast foods, so I’ve always wondered why anyone would deliberately skip this meal. Cereal, oatmeal, waffles, eggs, latte—what’s not to like? And if you opt for healthy versions of these foods, breakfast could be your most nutritious meal of the day. Here’s how to make the most of your morning meal.


Check the ingredient list to make sure that all the grains in the cereal are whole. Then check the label to make sure that you’re getting no more than 5 grams of sugar and at least 4 grams of fiber per 100 calories. If your cereal is very low sugar, such as Food for Life’s Ezekiel cereals or Uncle Sam’s, it’s fine to sprinkle on a few tablespoons of granola (which might exceed the “5 g sugar per 100 calories” rule in larger amounts). Here’s what to put in your bowl:
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Starbucks To Yank Bug-Based Dyes After Thousands Protest

I’ll have a double venti Strawberry Frappuccino, light on the whipped cream and no bug juice, please.

Yes, you can have that now, but only since Starbucks was prompted by thousands of namely vegetarian protesters who were appalled after discovering the coffee giant was using bug-based dyes in some of their drink and food products.

The bug in question is a tiny white insect called a Dactylopius coccus, which when crushed, produces a brilliant red dye known as cochineal. And although this suspicious substance has only become public knowledge recently, it’s apparently been used for coloring foods and makeup for centuries.

Starbucks wasn’t breaking any laws, just vegetarian hearts, who were unknowingly consuming the bug. But cochineal is approved by the FDA and is all natural. Still, some were especially concerned since the dye has been shown to cause allergies and asthma with severe reactions in some instances.

The news leaked when a Starbucks barista reportedly sent a picture of the ingredient label for their Strawberries and Creme Frappuccino to the website, which then reported the chain’s use of the bug.
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Tricky Marketers are Preying on Our Health Habits

Author Charles Duhigg has done some fascinating research regarding human habits in his new book, The Power of Habit. He has been attempting to open the public’s eyes regarding how many of our daily actions are simply habits, not actual choices. Due to this fact, he also points out how companies are cashing in on our routines.

A 2006 study determined that more than 40 percent of our actions are habits, not real decisions. That’s a large portion of our lives being governed for us. Duhigg wants people to view their situation and see how they can nurture good habits and lose the bad ones.

Duhigg created a three step process to explain the development of habits. The process is cue, routine, and reward. The process is explained by using Claude Hopkins, the famous ad man for Pepsodent toothpaste as an example. Hopkins helped create a craving that made toothbrushing a habit. The cue was unsettling tooth film, the routine was brushing, and the reward was clean attractive teeth.

Another case study example of how habits are recognized and then effectively changed into good habits is that of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Duhigg points out how the routine of drinking was replaced with meetings and companionship. AA has become one of the world’s most successful habit changing organizations.

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3 Reasons Babyccinos are the Antithesis of a Healthy Toddler Diet

I heard about it on NPR this weekend while on a mini road trip, but you may have already heard about it from a number of news sources or even Facebook. Babyccinos are a trend, it would seem, or at least a trending search term. As I did some digging, it seems that such things have existed in Australia and London for a while. In the U.S. it may be most popular in Brooklyn, I cannot say it is completely unheard of here in the midwest either. Babyccinos are coffee-like beverages intended for very young children. There are different versions that have been discussed some with steamed milk, some with honey, and some with a shot of decaf espresso. While babyccinos may be a trend that is over reported, the danger cannot be overstated.

1. Espresso – Even decaffeinated espresso or decaffeinated coffee is not free of caffeine; the amount of caffeine has just been reduced. The effects of caffeine on children will be exaggerated due to their small size, and as anyone who has ever had to skip their morning coffee knows, caffeine is a drug without which withdrawal symptoms will be experienced. At what age do you really want to introduce that to your children? It is also important to note that to remove caffeine from coffee beans a chemical solvent must be used.
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