Monthly Archives: January 2014

What You Should Be Having For Breakfast

People seem to be spending less time making a home cooked hot breakfast.  uncooked-oatsThey appear to be more likely to grab a breakfast sandwich on the way to work with a coffee full of cream and sugar, or quickly eat a bowl of unsatisfying cereal.  Stay tuned for a future rant about cereal.  So what should you be having for breakfast?  Protein and complex carbs are suggested, oatmeal will get you on the right parth.

The benefits of oatmeal, besides it being high-performance, energy-producing, cholesterol-lowering breakfast, is quite the list.  We’re talking about old-fashioned plain oats, or steel cut, not the instant stuff with added sugar.  One advantage this superfood has is that it is slow-digesting and high-fiber, which means your stomach wont be growling two hours later.  Additionally, this whole grain has omega-three fatty acids which are amazing and not commonly found.  Oatmeal‘s nutrition is unstoppable.

In order to make your breakfast optimal, protein needs to be incorporated.  I like to do this by having some Greek yogurt but you could also have scrambled eggs, or added protein powder.  Too really be nutritious you can add berries that all chocked up with antioxidants, particularity blue berries.  Fun fact I think raw blue berries are gross and they are only acceptable once baked.  I know it’s a shame I don’t like this superfood but life goes on.

The different forms thatApple-Cinnamon-Oatmeal-Marla-Meridith-IMG_66561 oats can take include steel-cut, rolled (regular or old-fashioned) and quick oats.  Each variety has a different type of taste because there starts to be less texture as the oats are processed more.  I like old-fashioned that take 5 minuets to cook which fits into my schedule and still has enough texture, the 1 minute instant stuff ends up tasting like a cream of wheat mush to be. Pressed for time in the mornings and don’t have much time to spare, I’ve got options for you.  Overnight oats as their name suggests can be made the night before.  The process involves adding liquids like milk or yogurt (for that protein) to a container with the oats and allowing them to soak in the liquid.  Here are some recipes.  Or perhaps a hot breakfast is preferred.  By baking some oats you will have breakfast prepared for the week in no time.  Or you can check out this recipe for Heat and Eat Oatmeal that also can be prepared ahead of time and is very easy.

Here’s some recipes to get you started, I like to add a banana for it’s natural sweetness and extra nutrition.


Subway healthy?

Last week Subway announced that it will spend $41 million over three years to encourage young eaters to eat more produce.  They have aliened with the First Lady in her campaign to promote healthier eating and lifestyles through the Partnership for a Healthier America nonprofit organization.  Subways changes will only affect their kid’s menu to mirror federal standards for school lunch.  That includes offering apples on the side and low-fat or nonfat plain milk or water as a default beverage.  This is a commendable step in the right direction, but it’s aimed at kids.  What do adults think of their “healthy” Subway meals? They must be pretty supportive because Subway was one of the Best-Perceived Brands of 2013 according to AdWeek.

Which leads us to my favorite topic “Health Halos”.  A product that is marketed as being low fat, natural, whole grain and so on cause people to underestimate the calories and overestimate the health value of the product.  The same thing can happen with a food dish.  One perceives a salad as a restaurant to be healthy because it is a salad when in actuality many salads have as many calories as any other main course.  I’m going to pause there, calories are necessary but I’m talking about extremely high and from bad sources like fatty dressing.  The effect goes even further than what food we choose to eat, also where we choose to get it from.  Subway’s low-fat advertising cause a significant halo effect.  “People who eat at McDonald’s know their sins, ” Dr. Chandon said, “but people at Subway think that a 1,000-calorie sandwich has only 500 calories.”  This does not mean that you have to give up your beloved subs,  Dr. Chandon suggests that you simply take health halos into account.

This healthy perception even spills over into side dishes consumers choose.  “Even though the Subway sandwich had more calories than the Big Mac, the people ordering it were more likely to add a large nondiet soda and cookies to the order.  So while they may have felt virtuous, they ended up with meals averaging 56 percent more calories than the meals ordered from McDonald’s.”

The popularity and emphasis of healthier foods is on the rise simultaneously while there is an increase in obesity – the American obesity paradox.  “Consumers estimate that familiar sandwiches and burgers contain up to 35% fewer calories when they come from restaurants claiming to be healthy, such as Subway, than when they come from restaurants not making this claim, such as McDonald’s” (Chandon and Wansink 2007).

“People are more likely to underestimate the caloric content of main dishes and to choose higher-calorie side dishes, drinks, or desserts when fast-food restaurants claim to be healthy (e.g., Subway) compared to when they do not (e.g., McDonald’s)” Chadon and Wansink 2007.

So next time you choose what restaurant to go to picking one that is perceived to be healthy isn’t enough to ensure you eat a healthy meal, you also have to be conscious of the type of marketing they throw at you and choose a meal that is healthy.  I have based a large part of my arguments on a study done by Brain Wansink and Pierre Chadon’s research that you can read here.

3D Printed Food Comming Near to You Soon?

NM-Foodini-renderingEating food from a printer may sound pretty far fetch to be happening anytime soon, especially with the current costs of such printers.  Never the less companies are developing different food items that will be able to hit the market soon.  At the Consumer Electronic Show 2014 in Las Vegas, the first restaurant-grade certified 3-D printer was unveiled – the ChefJet.

3d print

It is about the size of a microwave and makes chocolate and sugar candies in any geometric shape imaginable.  Don’t get too excited yet, this printer will cost you $5,000 for only a one color option, or $10,000 for the top model that is multicolored and can print photograph-quality pictures for decorating deserts.

If sugar isn’t your thing maybe you would prefer pasta.  The next 3D printer that could be in your kitchen later this year is the Foodini.  Natural Machine’s Foodini can make all kinds of foodini, “technology, food, art and design”.  Soon people who don’t to spend time making dough for ravioli, rolling it out, and stuffing it with cheese will able to sit back and relax while this little machine does all the work for them.  As well as pasta there is also hamburgers with layers of ketchup and mustard, and other wild possibilities like a mini space shuttle shaped nugget. The process includes loading fresh ingredients into the machine and then it simply “prints” out the finished product for you.  Some categories of food products so far include: chocolate,  Hershey has teamed up with 3D systems to develop a variety of 3D printed chocolate and non-chocolate products and pizza, NASA is working with a contractor to created 3D printed pizzas for astronauts.choco_3d

Sounds too good to be true?  The main catch with this technology, besides its price tag is the taste.  Because the way the printer works it prints out tiny layers upon layers of whatever product has been inserted into it, so it will taste like whatever you put in it.  It’s not a magical devise for delicious food, just really really cool looking food in amazing shapes.  So don’t expect to be able to slack on the cooking, flavorings will be key to make the “food” that these machines produce tasty.

Yogurt: Superfood or Marketing Hype?

Greek yogurt has takeHE_strawberry-Greek-yogurt_s4x3n over the yogurt scene. Its sales have more than doubled over the past years, according to Euromonitor International.  There are so many brands creating new lines, how is one to know what they should choose?  Notably, since there is no government regulations of what can be labeled “Greek“.

Yogurt, especially Greek is categorized as a healthy food because it has double the amount of protein than traditional yogurt, great nutritious content, probiotics, calcium, potassium, magnesium and others when plain, but what about when it is flavored. Food producers have capitalized on the healthy perception of yogurt and are trying to promote it to become a larger part of the American lifestyle.

There are several trends that have produced the on going yogurt wars.  The desire for better health and healthier, superior food products has prompted food producers to great creative.  “Brands are looking for new ways to continue driving consumption, private label supply is tight but growing,” said Chris Solly CEO of Ehrmann USA,  “it is clear that brands need to bring true innovation to the category to maintain consumer interest.”  Consumers will see some new advertisements from yogurt producers this year during the Super Bowl.  Dannon will be showing ads during Super Bowl to make up for some loss ground that Chobani gained this past year when it took over the yogurt scene as America’s number-one yogurt brand.  “2014 is the year of the yogurt wars,” said McGuinness, Chobani’s chief marketing officer.  Chobani will also be showing its own ad:

In order to go beyond breakfast, food producers have explored other areas like dessert to sell more products.  Dozens of different flavors have hit the shelves, but are they sill nutritious? Flavors such Apple Pie, Caramel Macchiato, or Vanilla Chocolate Chuck are obviously going to be sweeter but even fruits like peach, strawberry, and blueberry can contain much more sugar than plain.  Not all yogurts are equal.  Both Dannon and Chobani make claims that they produce healthy products.  Even though Chobani markets itself as being “natural” consumers still have to watch out for added sugars.  Yes, evaporated cane juice is natural but it’s still added sugar, I’m looking at you Chobani.

Flavored Greek yogurt can contain as much sugar as 15 to 25 grams per serving.  The better option is to choose plain and add your own fresh fruit or drizzle of honey.  If you still prefer flavored yogurt, registered dietitian Maria Bella recommends making your choice based on the ingredients list; the first three ingredients should be milk, live and active cultures, and fruit, sugar should come near the end of the list.   Next time you purchase yogurt check out the nutrition label, that my be changing soon, and try to pick one out that has a lower sugar content.  Check out these myths about Greek yogurts so you can be more informed next time you go shopping.

Ups and Downs of Bootcamp

blogI have read blogs for the past few years, but en3177 has forced me to produce one myself.  Choosing a topic for a post is the first hurdle, sometimes it comes to me easy other times not so much.  I have gotten into a bad habit of posting every other day, oops.  Personally I like time to reflect on what I have written, look over it a few last final times, and then post.  It is very difficult for me to post just anything, that’s what twitter is for.  Even though I attempt to put such time into my posts, they haven’t gotten my posts to reach such lengths compared to some of my classmates. It’s not a competition but I would like to surpass at least 200 more often.  Though I’m not sure how to accomplish this besides more in-depth looking into topics and linking more.  A good place to start may be the the Daily Post, WordPress has daily and weekly challenges to produce content.  I think this would be a good way to connect with the community of WordPress as well as motivation to posts new and exciting things, daily.   Additionally I had anticipated that there would be more direction from the daybook, perhaps it’s the name, on topics that we would be posting on.  So far class posts included: RSS, Creative Commons, and intro.

I have had a twitter from way back in the day when it wasn’t cool yet and you would receive tweets in the form of text.  After googling how to find my first twee for at least 10 mins, apparently mine was “Wow i just spilled my spaghetti on the carpet floor, the sauce went everywhere. good thing half of it didnt fall so i can still eat something”.  See I’m a foodie at heart, even my first tweet was about food.  I don’t really have anything ever to tweet about.  I enjoy scrolling through other peoples tweet but writing them myself hasn’t been happening for the past few months in general let alone about class beyond linking to new posts.

Commenting on other peoples work has been alright so far.  It can be a struggle to read others people work about topics your not particularity interested in, but it is good challenge because it forces me to expand my horizons and learn about new things.

Changes To Out Of Date Nutrition Labels

imagesThe use of nutrition labels has changed over the past twenty years, where as the products that they are posted on have drastically changed forms.  It wasn’t until 1990 that food producers were required on most prepared and packaged food.  Much more prepared packaged food has been lining the shelves of  grocery stores.  Notably over the past few years consumers have become more vested in what exactly they are putting into their bodies. A study done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed a sinificant rise in the percentage of working-age adults who look at labels either most of the time or always when shopping, up from 34% in 2007 to 42% as well as from 51% of Americans older than 68 to 57%.

The Food and Drug Association has announced that it will be updating nutrition labels, though any specific details are unknown at this time.  The FDA said that knowledge about nutrition has evolved over the last 20 years, and the labels need to reflect that.  Guidelines have been sent to the White House but it is unknown when they might been released.  Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods, said the FDA has been working on this issue for a decade.

A few popular suggested changes by health advocates include
Emphasize calorie counts
Put added sugar on its own line
clearer definition of serving size
added percentage of whole wheat
clearer measurements, getting rid of grams

It is not clear what changes the FDA could decide on but it is clear that changes needed to be made.  Hopefully changes will be made as soon as possible so consumers can become more knowledgeable about what type of products they are consuming.

Winter Veggies

sproutsI must admit, I love Brussels sprouts, it’s true, they rank second behind scrumptious acorn squash.

Poor Brussels sprouts have a bad reputation, like sardines for insistence.  I’ve never had sardines but yet it has been said so many times that they are gross so naturally that it is generally what is believed.  When in actuality they can be really useful in cooking because they are naturally salty.  I haven’t tested this out yet but after watching 100+ cooking how-to’s I am open to using them, so far I just haven’t pick any up from the store.

Why you should you give Brussels sprouts a chance? Well they are: yummy, easy, and nutritious.  What more do you need?  Well you could add bacon I suppose to push things over the edge.  In order to make Brussels sprouts the yummy little treat they are they must be roasted until slightly browned and crispy on the outside, yet oh so creamy on the inside.  All that you need to do is pop the frozen little rounds, or fresh, into the oven and let them do their thing for half a hour.  There any many other ways to incorporate in them into other dishes as well.

Check out these other 10 forgotten winter veggies that deserve some more love.

Attribution and Creative Commons

“Creative Commons provides a valuable resource for the modern ‘cut and paste’ culture that has been neglected by traditional copyright law.”

Creative Commons bases its distribution model on the rights granted under copyright law and the ability of the copyright owner to manage and control these rights.  The first Creative Commons licenses were released in December 2007 and has since gone through a few changes and currently is Version  4. 0 since November of 2013.

Creative Commons leaves the decision making up to the original author and allows them to choose from a variety of suites in which they can pick and choose how to distribute their work.  The four main components of the suites include:

  • Attribution – whenever a work is copied, redistributed or remixed under a Creative Commons license, credit must be given to the original author.
  • Non-Commercial – lets others copy, distribute, display, and perform the work and works based up it  for non-commercial purposes only.
  • No Derivative Works – lets others distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of work.
  • Share Alike – allows other to distribute, display and preform derivative works only under the same license conditions that govern the original work.

“By encouraging the use of CC licenses, and supporting open access, copyright will be of the people, and for the people – to benefit all” Commons Machinery

Creators can choose between six different licenses that allow them to choose the degree of flexibility that have with sharing their work.  Creative Commons is mainly centered around attribution, money as well of course, but mostly attribution.  Creative Commons suite of licenses require attribution of works when they are used by others.  It is important to have policies that protect peoples intellectual property to ensure they receive proper recognition and/or financial benefit from their work.

The modern remix culture consists of people reusing and building upon other people works and the current copyright laws do not accommodate for this.  Especially with the use of digital media, the authority one has over their work has change. 

I would say I like the Attribution-ShareAlike licenses.

Information on Creative Commons gathered from here

How RSS Simplifed My Life

I have been using a RSS reader for a couple years now.  I couldn’t believe why I hadn’t been using this wonderful tool sooner.  I am subscribed to at least 20 cooking and beauty blogs, yup more food shocking. The RSS reader I use for my personal interests is attached to my Firefox toolbar which makes it extremely easy to hover over the subscribed website to see new delicious recipes.

Feedly seems alright but I’ve already subscribed to everyone through WordPress so the reader basically already does the same thing, except I can include the Daybook and WeblogsandWikis site.  An advantage of a services like Feedly is that you can log into it at any computer, whereas I can only look at the sites I subscribed to through Firefox on my personal laptop which can be inconvenient when I’m on campus.

How Cooking Can Change Your Life

This video was posted by The RSA that explains how to can your diet and start to eat well by simply cooking your own food.  It’s a quick summary of a event they held last year with author Michael Pollan.  He suggested that an important step to improve one’s health and well-being is to cook.  For more information you can check out to the audio and video.

I follow this practice myself.  Sure I had pizza two nights ago but I made the dough, added some shredded chicken breast that I also cooked, and had control of every item I put into it.  What are your thoughts on processed foods?

“Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself” Michael Pollan.