Archive for July, 2011
Earlier this week, McDonald’s® announced that they are launching what they call, “Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choices.” Does this mean that McDonald’s is now a healthy place for you and your kids to eat?
Highlights from McDonald’s® Press Release
Here’s a quick look at a little piece of the press release:
Menu changes underway include the addition of more nutritionally-balanced choices that meet McDonald’s reputation for great taste and affordability, along with an increased focus on providing nutrition information that enable customers and employees to make simple, informed menu decisions. – McDonald’s®
Main Changes Coming to McDonald’s®
1) McDonald’s will start to include produce or a low-fat dairy option in every Happy Meal®. The new Happy Meal will automatically include both produce (apple slices, a quarter cup or half serving) and a new smaller size French fries (1.1 ounces) along with the choice of a Hamburger, Cheeseburger or Chicken McNuggets, and choice of beverage, including new fat-free chocolate milk and 1% low fat white milk.
-This is great that they are reducing the amount of fries and replacing them with something that is actually healthy – an apple! Still, I am waiting for the Hamburger, Cheeseburger, and Chicken McNuggets that are made with mystery meat, to be addressed. My take is this: Want a hamburger or cheeseburger? Make it at home with quality meat that you can trust. Want chicken nuggets? You can make those from scratch too. With real chicken! Gasp! Crazy concept, I know!
2) The company will promote nutrition and/or active lifestyle messages in 100 percent of its national kids’ communications, including merchandising, advertising, digital and the Happy Meal packaging.
-This sounds like a confusing and mixed message for kids – and parents alike. Be healthy, but you should still eat a Happy Meal at McDonald’s too- which isn’t all that healthy, except for a couple of slices of an apple. If you add apples to greasy food, does it make the greasy food healthy? No.
3) By 2020, McDonald’s will reduce added sugars, saturated fat and calories through varied portion sizes, reformulations and innovations. Also, by 2015, McDonald’s will reduce sodium an average of 15 percent overall across its national menu of food choices.
-At first glace, this sounds fabulous. But when these initiatives become a reality, I would like to take a better look at the ingredients list. The problem with companies going healthier, is that they take a lot of shortcuts in the process, which actually make it not-so-healthy afterall. For example, the “sugar free” initiative was never a healthier option, since the companies that tout those titles just used artificial sweeteners like aspartame rather than truly healthy options such as honey or molasses.
4) McDonald’s will expand new in-restaurant, website and mobile communications, and marketing vehicles making access to nutrition information even easier.
-I have good news and bad news. The good news is, studies show that if people know how many calories are in the meals at restaurants, they usually pick the lower calorie or healthier meals. The bad news is, research has been shown that a lot of the calories listed are not all that accurate. If you get the low calorie foods, it may not be 100% accurate, but it’s likely to have fewer calories than the other high calorie choices on the menu. Think “less of two evils” with this one.
I think it’s great that McDonald’s is trying to be healthier, but I won’t hold my breath for this to be a truly healthy place to eat. When it comes to eating at McDonald’s, I say to eat in moderation…or just not at all!
As always, the choice is yours.
Image Credits: aboutmcdonalds.com
Comment #26 won!
Thank you everyone for participating! We will have many more opportunities for you to win something, so stay tuned…
Winner’s next steps: Watch for our email! It will come from editor@SkinnyTwinkie.com, and we will need you to provide us with your mailing address so we can have your prize sent directly to you.
If you do not reply back to us within 48 hours after our email, we will have to choose another winner.
It’s gettin’ hot outside, so what can you do to prevent, recognize, and recover from Heat Stroke?
Heat stroke is something that can easily be prevented, yet it is something that can just as easily sneak up on someone before they realize what has happened to them. Heat stroke is considered the most serious of all heat related conditions and should be treated as a medical emergency.
It’s so sad to hear about so many heat related deaths this year, so I just had to help educate the Skinny Twinkie community with this life saving information. Find out how to prevent, recognize, and treat heat stroke.
Ways to Prevent Heat Stroke
• Drink lots of water! You should also avoid drinking liquids that will dehydrate you such, such as drinks containing a lot of sugar, caffeine, or any alcohol.
• Unaccustomed to the heat? Don’t overdo yourself, and allow your body time to adjust to the warmer weather. I grew up in Las Vegas where it was common to get well above 100° Fahrenheit. I was completely happy with this very hot temperature. Now that I have moved away, I have noticed that I just don’t handle the heat as well as I used to.
• Stay indoors during the late morning and early afternoon, since this is when the sun’s rays are their strongest. If you want to do anything outdoors, go outside in the morning or evening when it’s cooler outside.
• Wear loose-fitting clothing that won’t add heat to your body temperature.
• Don’t overly exert yourself (exercise, sports, etc) outside on a hot Summer day. Heat stroke can kill young athletes who are very healthy, since they usually ignore the beginning signs of heat stroke and feel that they are too healthy to really be effected by the heat.
• Never leave anyone – child or pet! – in a vehicle. Not for a minute, and not even with the windows rolled down. The vehicle can get very hot inside, much warmer than the outdoors temperature. It’s sad to know that there are still many children who die every Summer because a parent leaves their kid in the car. It’s unacceptable, and not worth the risk.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
• If the body temperature increases too much, it can cause headache, nausea, muscle cramps, and fatigue. At this point, this is considered “heat exhaustion”, but if not taken care of, it can turn into “heat stroke”.
• When the body temperature increases to 105° Fahrenheit (or higher), this is considered “heat stroke”, which potentially life-threatening.
• Develop mental confusion or unconsciousness, due to the cells in the brain getting destroyed by the high temperatures in the body.
How to Treat Heat Stroke
• Reduce body temperature immediately by cooling the body from the outside. You can do this by placing ice packs under the armpits, groin or neck, allow a fan to blow cool air on the person, or removing any tight or unnecessary clothing.
• Seek emergency help if someone that has been in the heat experiences faintness, hallucinations, confusion, staggering, or goes into a coma. Begin reducing the person’s body temperature immediately until they can be helped by the emergency personnel.
• It’s important to receive treatment for heat stroke immediately. Procrastinating treatment can lead to liver or kidney damage, coma, congestive heart failure or death.
It’s important that you take heat strokes seriously, and if at all possible…prevent one from happening! Those who have had heat stroke already are more likely to have another one in the future. It’s not because they didn’t learn from it the first time, it’s likely due because their body is more susceptible to it again.
Everyone, please be safe and enjoy the rest of your Summer!
Image Credit: CBS
Health Education is something I am very passionate about, since I believe it is the key to empowering us to truly know what is healthy for our bodies. It comes as know surprise to find out that there is an entire book dedicated to the many health benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN is a leading diet, nutrition, and fitness expert. She is also the author of Prevent a Second Heart Attack and Cholesterol Down. To learn more, visit drjanet.com
Why Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil:
• Studies show that people who consume a diet rich with Extra Virgin Olive Oil are less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack.
• Great source of vitamin E.
• Olive oil is high in oleic acid and polyphenols.
• Lowers blood pressure
• Improves blood sugar level
How to Enter
1) Join this website (through Google Friend Connect) and make a comment on this post with your email address. If you are already a member, just log in and comment. Yup, it’s that easy!
I encourage you to consider the bonus entries, since we announce the winners on this site, facebook, and twitter!
Bonus Entry Points
1) Find us on Facebook and “like” our page. We’ll have a post that you can comment on, which will provide you an additional entry point when you comment on it. Nice!
2) If you like to tweet, you should “follow” Skinny Twinkie on twitter! All you need to do is Retweet our tweet on twitter that announces this giveaway, and you will get another entry point.
3) Do you have a blog? Grab my button and add it to your site or you can blog about this contest and link to this giveaway post, provide the link to your blog in the comments section on here (or facebook), and you will have gained another chance to win!
♦♦♦You can give yourself a total of four chances to win! ♦♦♦
Contest Rules and Eligibility
This contest is open to all U.S. residents who are 18 years or older. Void where Prohibited by Law. This is a giveaway, which means you are not obligated to buy anything from anyone.
This contest starts on July 26th 2011 and will end on July 28th 2011 at midnight EST.
Skinny Twinkie will use Random.org to choose one winner by picking a random number based on the total number of entries. Skinny Twinkie will draw the winner on July 29th, and the winner will be announced that same day on SkinnyTwinkie.com, twitter, and facebook.
If you are selected as a winner, we will contact you to let you know that you have won! If you do not reply back to us within 48 hours after we have notified you, we will choose another winner and you will forfeit your prize.
Good luck everyone!!!
Sprouts are one of the most complete and nutritionally dense foods in the world. Once you understand how healthy sprouts are, you would agree that they are an amazing super food that everyone should be eating - preferably raw.
In recent news, the media has deemed it unsafe to consume raw or slightly cooked sprouts due to a fairly recent salmonella or E. coli outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory warning consumers of the possible risks of eating raw sprouts. In my opinion, these warnings were created based on misunderstanding and fear rather than logic and reality. Let me explain…
The FDA discovered that the seeds and beans themselves are usually what cause the salmonella or E. coli breakouts in the first place – not the sprouts. If bacteria is already present on the seed or bean, once they start sprouting the bacteria increases to dangerous levels — even under sanitary conditions. This means that the seeds and beans need to have safer handling, storage and sprouting practices. Since the late 90′s, the FDA has established strict packaging standards of seeds and beans used for sprouting, which I feel is safe and can be trusted. Many sprout growers have taken things to the next step by bleaching their seeds and beans to sanitize them and prevent bacteria growth. This is what I like to call “overkill”. Adding chlorine to your sprouts defeats the whole purpose of eating sprouts, which is to provide nutrients in your body. I recommend buying organic sprouts whenever possible to avoid this chlorine bleaching process so you can enjoy the full amount of nutrients that sprouts were intended to have.
Sprouts are like any other food where bacteria can form if handled improperly. For us as consumers, we need to make sure that we keep our sprouts refrigerated and eaten before they get old. If sprouts are old and rotting, bacteria is growing on them like crazy and you just shouldn’t eat it. This is the same concept as with any other food.
Why you should eat Sprouts
I have been introduced to sprouts at a very young age, and I am quite thankful for that. It turns out, sprouts are a very small version of the entire plant. Each little sprout can have as much – or more – of certain micronutrients as an entire mature plant. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that broccoli sprouts contain anywhere from 30 to 50 times the concentration of protective chemicals found in mature broccoli plants – including many cancer fighting compounds.
Broccoli sprouts are an important nutritional tool for anyone battling cancer, and when combined with other superfoods like chlorella, they can actually reverse cancer and result in the elimination of cancer tumors. - Mike Adams, NaturalNews.com
It’s quite amazing to realize how much nutrition is coming into the body when you eat a single sprout. Of course, you usually won’t eat just one sprout!
How to Use Sprouts with your Meals
Now that you know you should be eating sprouts (and it’s perfectly safe!), how do you incorporate it in your meals? It really depends on you! I love having sprout and tomato sandwiches! I will buy either Organic Alfalfa or Broccoli sprouts and put them in my tomato sandwich. It’s simple, easy, healthy, and extremely delicious! I also enjoy eating Mung bean sprouts by adding them to scrambled eggs, stir fry, or specific dishes like Egg Foo Yung.
Sprouts are delicious. OK, so they might be an acquired taste! I don’t know considering I have been eating sprout sandwiches since I was at least five, and I love them! I made a deli sandwich for my husband and I added Alfalfa sprouts instead of lettuce – he loved it! So, I think you just need to try it out in a couple of different ways. Find out how you enjoy eating sprouts, and I think you will realize that you have been missing out on such a delicious and nutrient dense treat!
How to Make Sprouts
Instead of buying sprouts at the store, you can just buy a sprouting kit and just make your own sprouts at home. It’s ridiculously cheap and easy to grow your own sprouts!
I found this great instructional video that I thought would help you learn more about how you can grow your own sprouts!