“Just got to work and there are 6 turkeys blocking the door. My first thought was THEY KNOW THAT I ATE ONE OF THEM LAST NIGHT at Friendsgiving!”
I posted this Forbes article to Twitter yesterday, but this infographic about SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – aka food stamps) is really great and dispels a lot of the myths about food stamps. Given the recent decision by lawmakers to cut money from SNAP while enrollment has increased, perhaps these same lawmakers should be looking at some of this data as well…
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced this week that for the first time there is clear evidence that the childhood obesity epidemic may be turning a corner, particularly in children from low-income families.
The rate of obesity in pre-school children from impoverished backgrounds fell in 19 states between 2008 and 2011, and remained stable in many other states. Only three states showed increased rates. It was the first time federal researchers have shown a consistent decline in obesity rates among low-income children. The government had noted a similar decline in December, but lacked a geographic pattern to see if this was a one time occurrence or a trend.
The new data is incredibly important in the fight against childhood obesity, because children from poor families have had some of the nation’s highest rates of obesity. One in eight preschoolers in the United States is obese, with rates among low-income children around one in seven. There is also a large racial disparity, as the rate among black children is one in five, while for Hispanics it is one in six.
No one is really sure why the decline occurred, but researchers theorize that increased rates of breast-feeding, a decline in consumption of sugary drinks, and changes to food options covered by programs like WIC and SNAP may be contributing.
The cause of the decline remains a mystery, but researchers offered theories, like an increase rate of breast-feeding, a drop in calories from sugary drinks, and changes in the food offered in federal nutrition programs for women and children. In interviews, parents suggested that they have become more educated in recent years, and so are more aware of their families’ eating habits and of the health problems that can come with being overweight.
I’m personally skeptical that kids truly are consuming less sugary beverages, and though researchers noted that kids are consuming 4-7% less overall calories over the last decade, that amount doesn’t explain this trend. Whatever the reason, the decline in obesity rates particularly among children from low-income families is an encouraging sign that the scales are tipping in favor of our childrens’ future.
Anyone out there who drinks coffee likely drinks it for one of two reasons: 1) they like the taste and/or 2) they need the caffeine.
Well it turns out that not all coffees are equal. It should come as no surprise that different kinds of coffee have, on average, varying amounts of caffeine in them. So if you’re drinking your coffee for reasons #2 above, the pic below tells you how to get the most bang for your buck.
Think about that the next time you’re ordering your grande extra-hot no foam mocha. And don’t even get me started on decaf…
And that something is being obese.
According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, Mexico has surpassed the United States as the developed country with the highest percentage of citizens who are considered to be obese. 32.8% of Mexicans are considered obese, while the US clocks in at 31.8%.
But don’t worry America… just because Mexico is beating us doesn’t mean that we’ve gotten leaner as a country.
Normally I would post a sarcastic someecard about turning a year old given that today is my birthday, however today’s post is a bit on the sad side since my 92 year old grandmother Gina passed away this past Thursday. Tomorrow’s regularly scheduled someecard will be post-poned until Tuesday, I promise it will be worth the wait.
Born in 1921, my nonna’s life is one for the history books. She first hand witnessed the tragedies of World War 2 and the Nazi retreat from Italy which claimed the lives of many in the Italian countryside. My mom and uncle were born during the aftermath of a depressed post-war Italy, which unfortunately claimed the life of their oldest brother and my nonna’s eldest son from a land mine that the Germans planted around Italy to stop the progress of Allied forces during the war. Emigrating to the United States and leaving behind the world she knew at nearly 40 years old was tough on my grandmother. I can’t begin to imagine the pain and heartache she must have lived with for the rest of her life, a feeling I’ve only glimpsed through the eyes of my mother on the occasions when we’ve returned to Italy. It’s a sorrow and a longing for a life that could have been but never was, in my opinion, a distinctly Italian feeling of loss for what never existed in the first place. If there’s a positive side, it’s that the experience served to harden her a bit and offered her the promise of a new life in America, one that has been filled with weddings, grandchildren and great grandchildren, good times and grand memories.
Like most Italian families, my grandfather was clearly the king of the castle and the one who wore the pants in the family, yet my nonna clearly picked out the pants – but I’m pretty sure she also ironed them and decided which shirt and shoes my nonno would wear with them. My nonna’s soft exterior and gentleness with her grandchildren often masked a core hardened by life and a tongue that was both quick and sharp. My grandmother was not a woman to be messed with; get her riled up or on her wrong side – and you best watch out. The rules in my grandparents’ house were clear, and spoiled brats wouldn’t be tolerated.
As is probably true of most Italian families, my fondest memories of my grandmother all center around family and food. Nonna Gina’s house was the glue that bonded us with my cousins on my mom’s side. The house was her castle, and her kitchen entirely her domain. When I was very young, my parents both worked, and my nonna and nonno served as daycare. My parents also felt it was important to retain our Italian heritage, and spending time with nonno and nonna was critically important. My sisters and I picked up the occasional Italian phrase from them during those days at their house, and spent a lot of time with them during the summers when school was out. From an early age, my sisters, my cousins and I were brought up on “pane e burro” and “peacock” (raw egg yolks whipped with sugar to which toasted bread is dunked in. I know it sounds gross – but it’s actually delicious, so dont knock it until you try it). In my very biased opinion, her pasta sauce and meatballs rival that of any Italian restaurant. My grandmother’s kitchen was small and her food simple but satisfying. Lasagna, pasta e fagioli, and pasta “stufata” were the staples of my childhood.
When my grandparents emigrated to the United States from Italy, they tried to assimilate my mom and my uncle as much as possible into American traditions. In the spirit of Americanization, my nonna always made a full traditional Thanksgiving dinner complete with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes – the whole nine yards. Thanksgiving was almost always celebrated with my grandparents, and the tradition continued even after my nonno passed away from lung cancer. The controlled chaos of those Thanksgiving Thursdays is one of my fondest memories, and the smells emanating from nonna’s kitchen will linger in my memory for the rest of my life. Dessert included many of the American staples like apple, pecan and pumpkin pie, but my nonna always made “cheesecake” on holidays, and Thanksgiving was no exception. Her cheesecake was actually a more light and fluffy lemon-ricotta pie, a recipe my nonna closely guarded. My grandmother did not keep recipe cards, and measurements were always “a pinch of this” or “a little of that”. If you asked her to tell you how much flour or sugar to add, she would say “about a cup” – but my nonna never owned measuring cups or spoons. No matter how hard we try, nonna’s recipes are nearly impossible to recreate.
I will be forever indebted to my grandmother for the care and compassion that she showed for my father, especially while he was sick. The love she showed for a son that wasn’t her own flesh and blood amazes me to this day. During my dad’s last hospitalization, she stood watch in his hospital room with the rest of us, and the pain, sorrow, and anguish on her face when he died and during his funeral highlighted the depth of her love for him.
Throughout her life, my grandmother faced hardship and suffering and continually rose to the occasion, experiences that shaped her into the soft on the outside but tough on the inside woman that she was. She is fondly remembered by her son and daughter, her six grandchildren and her five great grandchildren.
To Nonna Gina, may she rest in peace.
The Hostess company is emerging from bankruptcy after selling off some of its well known products (Wonder Bread to Flower Foods; Devil Dogs and Yodels to McKee Foods) and a take over by private investment firms Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management.
The takeover by Metropoulos and Apollo meant that the Hostess company would retain its signature products, including Twinkies. The company has announced that Twinkies will be returning to store shelves on July 15th. And they are betting that Twinkies will make a huge comeback considering the run on store shelves when the company filed for bankruptcy.
So America can look forward to Twinkies back on store shelves – and even more of them. The company will be delivering products to warehouses that supply retailers, rather than delivering directly to stores, allowing it to reach dollar stores and nearly all convenience stores in the U.S.
Enjoy your expanded waist lines America.
Much of the eastern portion of the United States will be baking in greater than 85 degree temperatures tomorrow. Given that Bostonians, New Yorkers, Philadelphians, and Washingtonians tomorrow will be sweating like… well you know the phrase… many will undoubtedly reach for their favorite iced coffee drink.
Not so fast. You might think that iced coffee drink is refreshing and packs a nice little “pick me up” with the caffeine, but ever wonder why it tastes so damn good too? Hint: it’s loaded with calories, sugar, and fat.
Check out this link from Huffington Post’s Healthy Living section for some alternative selections with fewer calories and sugar from places like Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, and McDonald’s.
This post is a little late for Mother’s Day but since my mom is flying into town tomorrow in order to watch me graduate with a Masters in Public Health, I figured it was still appropriate.
I am currently baking red velvet cupcakes. Why you ask? Because I’m going to a graduation reception/party Saturday afternoon following the graduation ceremony. And clearly, I have to bring something. I blame my mother.
You see, we all grow up learning little pearls from our parents, but I contend that our mother’s influence on our social graces far exceeds that of our fathers. For example, my mother always said you can’t show up empty handed to a party that you were invited to. Hence I’m baking cupcakes. Could I have made something easier? Sure, but it just so happens that the Boston University colors are red and white. (Don’t judge me. I can feel you judging.)
I don’t think my mother was forced to read Emily Post when she was growing up, but there are many other habits I have because of my mom. For example, I always return the shopping cart (it happens to be one of my biggest pet peeves when people don’t – and yes, my mother’s biggest pet peeve too). I always rinse dishes before they go into the dishwasher. Many of my food and product purchases are from my mom; choosy moms choose JIF and so does this ginger, and Downy is the only acceptable fabric softener.
For better or for worse, she is the voice within my head. And I suspect I’m not alone. What social graces and habits have you picked up from your mothers?
well… sort of. I’m not sure how I missed the article in the New England Journal of Medicine from October 2012, but the authors show a linear correlation between a country’s chocolate consumption per person (per capita) and the number of Nobel Laureates per 10 million population.
Proof that chocolate will make you a better person (*that’s not a true statement as this is a correlational study. My biostatistics and epidemiology professors would cut me if I didn’t mention that correlation does not imply causation).
So how does your country rank?