May 6, 2008

Student educates himself, loses 180 pounds


CNN's FIT nation, reports that Brandon Hollas, who grew up drinking lots of soda, eating sweets and nachos recently lost 180 pounds. He knew little about nutrition or portion control until his weight hit 380 lbs. He lost 180 lbs in four years after teaching himself about diet and fitness. Reporter Jackie Adams, quotes Hollas when speaking of his old eating habits, "Along with great home cooking...I could drink a six-pack of Dr. Pepper. I would eat snack cakes and for lunch at school, we were allowed to make lunches of Doritos Chili Cheese nachos from the snack bar accompanied with some awesome Grandma Cookies."

Hollas got a wake-up call when he went to college. One night he was sleeping, and his stomach was weighing him down, making him very uncomfortable. He knew he couldn't continue on with his lifestyle. After that he started to eat healthier by including lean meats, vegetables, whole grains, fiber and carbohydrates into his diet.


I love to hear stories like Hollas'; it's so sad these days how so many young people are obese. People know what foods are unhealthy in large amounts, but they don't know what foods are healthier in moderate amounts. If an obese person had been eating junk food their whole life, and then decides to loose weight that person will have to teach themselves how to eat again.

However, I'm a strong believer that eating healthy all starts as a child. Someone I know lets his kids eat whatever he desires, including chicken nuggets, chips, chocolate cake or pretty much anything that has lots of fat and starch. There is no reinforcement by him or his wife for their kids to eat fruits, vegetables or anything with substance. By no surprise, all three of his sons are overweight, it's truly sad and disturbing. I just want to say, "WAKE UP PEOPLE" nutrition is everything for a well balanced life, and especially vital for a child's development.

April 13, 2008

The Food-Fuel Debate

It seems for every voice that extols the benefits of biofuels, there's another that says they're not feasible, not earth-friendly, not the silver bullet many would like to think they are. Just a few weeks ago, TIME magazine's cover story "The Clean Energy Myth" assessed this debate and came to some less-than-encouraging conclusions. Writer Michael Grunwald asserts "diverting grain and oilseed crops from dinner plates to fuel tanks, biofuels are jacking up world food prices and endangering the hungry. The grain it takes to fill an SUV tank with ethanol could feed a person for a year."

But the April 11 broadcast of National Public Radio's Science Friday with Ira Flatow profiled a few scientists whose projects could improve biofuels' viability. Among them was Mariam Sticklen, a professor at Michigan State University's Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. She's developing a way to genetically engineer corn so that its stalks and leaves contain an enzyme normally found in cows' stomachs. Researchers believe this enzyme would allow corn stalks and leaves to be converted into ethanol the way corn has been, therefore allowing the same field of corn to be used for food and fuel.

March 18, 2008

Salmon Shortage

The population decline of the Pacific salmon through the years has caused the U.S. government to step in. A report by the International Herald Tribune says they will close Pacific salmon fisheries from Oregon to Mexico, leaving Washington and Alaska alone. This will be the largest closing since the government started to regulate fisheries.
The report says that Oregon and California usually have the most valuable fish harvest.
It is unknown how this will affect salmon prices for consumers. It could run commercial and sport fishermen into millions of dollars, though.

March 15, 2008

Food Blog Roll


Each week I will recap what’s new in the food blogging community, which is larger than one would think. I will usually recap my favorite few, but I will incorporate new food blogs each week.

Off we go:

Whipped: This non-salad lover finds a way to make the greens palatable. She also recently wrote about ‘the best cupcakes she’s ever made.’ A pretty big claim, better check it out.

Yumbrosia: This blogger is busy with midterms; we’ll get back to her another day. Her archives are worth a glance, though.

The Amateur Gourmet: She blogged about her experience eating bone marrow. Here’s a teaser: “A treat that is essentially a glob of fat, but a fat so infused with flavor it's practically indescribable. But let me give it a go: beefy and gelatinous, creamy and gamey, buttery and insanely rich.?

Chocolate and Zucchini
: Finally, somebody is excited about winter vegetables. She gives a recipe for her favorite ‘go-to’ lunch of Winter: shredded carrots and beets.

David Lebovitz: Four words – candied, bacon, ice, cream. Check it out. (a few entries down his list)

March 12, 2008

Hunger Aid That Matters

If you've ever donated money to a nonprofit or social aid program, surely you've thought about how your money will actually be spent. Will it make any kind of difference in the lives of the people the program advertises to aid? Or will it buy a new Lexus for the organization's CEO? Thursday's AP story Tons of Food Aid Rotting in Haiti Ports shows just how many factors play into that question. Even if the NGOs that shipped this food to Haiti do have responsible business practices, the corruption in Haiti's government is a factor beyond the organization's control. The result was more than 40,000 pounds of donated food, rotting in shipping ports just miles away from the starving Haitians it was meant to help.
An unrelated Washington Post letter to the editor from the day before draws an interesting parallel to the AP story. What if there's something inherently backward in the way we send food aid to countries with broken governments? We encourage Americans to buy local to reduce our food's carbon footprint, transportation costs, and preserve freshness. Why wouldn't we take the same approach to food we ship to Haiti, or anywhere else? (Especially if, as the letter says, 65 percent of the cost of food aid is due to shipping and administrative expenses.)

March 11, 2008

Minnesota butter gains national recognition

This month’s issue of Saveur magazine features the ingredient that adds the underappreciated magic touch to most recipes: butter. A section of the magazine profiles ’30 Great Butters’. PastureLand Summer Gold Salted Butter, which hails from Minnesota, made the list. The magazine describes it as having a ‘herbaceous flavor’ that goes well with seafood. A quick look at their Web site will show it is no ordinary butter. PastureLand butter is made from the milk of cows that have been raised completely on grass. Their Web site details that the butter’s color comes from the beta-carotene in the grass that the cows eat. The butter has won 5 awards from the American Cheese Society in the past 4 years and is available online or at selected co-op food stores in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The company is composed of 6 different farm families that decided to create a brand because their butter provided more nutrients, compared to that of conventionally raised cattle. These farmers are also dedicated to sustainability by being mindful of the farms’ effects on other parts of the state. They say everything on the Mississippi River watershed living downstream from their farms isn’t harmed because of their enhanced water quality, wildlife habitat, and decreased agricultural run-off.

March 9, 2008

Aunt Jemima gets contaminated with salmonella

A report on the WebMD Web site says that Quaker Oats Co. is recalling Aunt Jemima Pancake and Waffle mix because of potential salmonella contamination. A Quaker Oats spokeswoman said almost 1,000 cases of the mix were recalled. Quaker also noted that most of the recalled boxes hadn’t hit the shelves yet. The products were being shipped to 17 states, Minnesota included. The effects of salmonella poisoning are on WebMD’s Web site and also information about what to do if you have a recalled box.

March 7, 2008

Pizza's recent plight

Our nation’s declining economy may take a toll on your extra thick crust. An AP report claims the $30 billion pizza industry is in trouble due to increasing wheat and cheese costs. Both big and small producers are feeling the crunch. The report says that the price of wheat has increased due to low global supply and a growing demand of it from places like China. Cheese is more expensive for the same reasons: low supply and high demand. One pizza company owner said the cost of flour has tripled in the last year. Pizza places are trying to stay afloat by diversifying their menu - offering more salads, sandwiches, and soups. The report says making thin crusts uses less flour and provides another solution to the situation. Papa John’s pizza already locked in the purchase of part of the wheat supply needed for this year. Some say this price spike is hitting the small owner harder because national chains have more weight to negotiate prices.

Minnesota farmer writes op-ed for New York Times.


It’s a must-read.