Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Tap That

Tap Project

The Tap Project is the type of project that can really help the less fortunate, and the kind of charity that I think should be a year round fundraiser for EVERY restaurant. Not just a handful of days in March and not just at a select group of eateries.

But that said, the Tap Project is a brilliant idea, and every restaurant taking part in project deserves a shout out.

What is the Tap Project you ask? According to their site, it’s “a campaign that celebrates the clean and accessible drinking water available as an every day privilege to millions, while helping UNICEF provide safe drinking water for children around the world. Beginning Sunday, March 16 and culminating on March 22, the United Nations World Water Day, restaurants will invite their customers to pay $1 for the tap water they normally get for free.”

For every dollar raised, a child will have clean drinking water for 40 days.

$1. That’s it. That’s all it takes. If you go out to eat between March 16 – 22, ask if the restaurant you’re dining at is taking part in the Tap Project, or ask why they’re not.

If you’d like to specifically visit a restaurant taking part in this, visit the restaurant section of tapproject.org to search for a participating restaurant near you.

If you would just like to donate or want any other information, tapproject.org’s got you covered.

See this post on Changethethought.com.

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Probots In Disguise

Attune Ad

Probiotics quickly becoming all the rage. Some choose to start their day off with a yogurt “shot” filled with probiotics. I’ve done so a few times, but to be honest, it’s not usually something I look forward to. While it tastes fine (actually it tastes like yogurt) wouldn’t you want something that tastes a little better but still fits in all the probiotics you need?

That’s where Attune comes in. The fine people at Attune were nice enough to send some samples my way and I’m sure glad they did. They sent me two varieties:

CHOCOLATE PROBIOTIC WELLNESS BARS

Get your chocolate fix with a healthy twist. Enjoy Attune chocolate probiotic wellness bars in Chocolate Crisp, Dark Chocolate, Mint Chocolate or Blueberry Vanilla!

  • Packed with 5 times the live active cultures in yogurt!
  • Provides an excellent source of calcium with only 100 calories!
  • Just right to take on the go!

GRANOLA PROBIOTIC WELLNESS BARS
If you’re craving more from a healthy snack, choose Attune granola probiotic wellness bars in Strawberry Bliss, Wild Berry, Lemon Crème, or Mango Peach!

  • Packed with 5 times the live active cultures in yogurt!
  • Provides an excellent source of calcium and good source of protein and fiber.
  • Just right to take on the go!

Now if you’re sitting there wondering what a probiotic is, here’s what their site says:

The World Health Organization (WHO) officially defines probiotics as live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.

The probiotics story begins with intestinal bacteria, which, are a community of good and bad bacteria that live in the digestive system. We all have naturally occurring bacterial communities in our digestive systems. These help:

  • Protect the body from harmful bacteria.
  • Exercise the immune system to ensure it is ready to react to harmful bacteria.
  • Strengthen the intestinal wall so it acts as a defensive barrier.
  • Digest fiber in the diet, so we can absorb the nutrients from the foods we eat.

These digestive bacteria are essential to overall wellbeing. Probiotics act as a helper to these friendly bacteria, and that help can keep the digestive system functioning well.

Back to the bars…I received a variety of flavors and every one I tried were honestly delicious. The granola bars taste just like granola bars, with fruit and yogurt mixed in. They’re low in calorie and perfect for a quick morning meal. But the superstar product had to be the chocolate probiotic wellness bars. I samples about 5 different bars, and they all taste just like chocolate candy bars. My favorite was the milk chocolate with tiny bits in side (reminded me of a Crunch bar). They were the perfect after dinner dessert and ideal for anyone with a sweet tooth. But the best part about these (besides the high probiotic count) is the fact that they’re only 100 calories, low in sugar, and an excellent source of calcium. Oh, and according to their site, you’ll really be able to “feel” the probiotics working after a couple of weeks.

Overall, I highly recommend these and I might have to pick up more from my local Whole Foods, unless the nice people at Attune want to send me more! Everyone I let try these, from friends to coworkers, loved the taste and the fact that they’re healthy!

If you want to learn more about Attune, head to their website here. And if you’re still not sure about Attune, but are interested in giving it a try, here’s a coupon.

If you’ve already tried these or decide to try them after reading this, feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section.

Batali vs. The Big Mac

Batali Wind-Up

Gourmet food is about indulgence and eating well, not necessarily healthy, but well. Chefs use high quality ingredients in order to prepare food that tastes good. But does the average person question restaurant food the same way they do fast food? Do people calorie count when they eat a meal prepared by Mario Batali or Thomas Keller? For the most part, no. But the Wall Street Journal decided they’d do just that.

What’d they find? Well, although restaurant food (especially that prepared by Batali or Keller) is about indulging, a lot of these gourmet meals are higher (or close to the same) in calorie content and fat than McDonald’s.

It’s not just fast food that’s making us fat. Temples of fine dining are known for using heart-stopping amounts of butter, not too mention artery-clogging delicacies like foie gras and chocolate truffles.

American adults buy a meal or snack from a restaurant 5.8 times a week, on average, according to the National Restaurant Association. So we have ceded control of a significant part of our diets to professional cooks, who have no incentive to whip up healthy meals in modest amounts. They want to appease your piggish appetite, so they send out gargantuan pieces of meat with several garnishes.

So how did the WSJ test this? They chose a dish from Batali and one from Keller and compared it to a Big Mac.

For Mr. Batali, we chose his pork loin alla porchetta with “mirto,” a myrtle-spiked roulade of sausage-stuffed, butterflied pork loin. Mr. Keller’s breast of veal with yellow corn polenta cakes, glazed vegetables and sweet garlic was the dish he cooked at home for his staff a week before the French Laundry opened in 1994.

Both recipes are (just) feasible for the home cook, down-to-earth but with extra spins that send them into a higher orbit than a regular pork loin (the elegant rolling and stuffing, plus the myrtle) or veal breast (the cutting of the elegantly braised veal into circles to stack with the polenta circles).

We took the ingredient lists of both recipes and ran them through the sieve of the USDA nutritional database to get a rough idea of calorie count. Since both chefs advise you to skim off excess fat, these estimates are undoubtedly higher than a full-scale laboratory analysis would have given. But they are still lower than plenty of fast food meals.

A single portion of the Babbo pork loin totaled 558 calories in our estimate. That’s only 40 calories more than a Big Mac and way lower than the 740 calories you ingest with a Double Quarter Pounder with cheese. Mr. Keller’s veal breast and polenta clocked in higher than either McDonald’s item at 1,143 calories, though it still comes in below a Double Quarter Pounder with large fries (1,310 calories).

Although both chefs do aim to satisfy their customers’ indulgences, you’re still better off eating one of their dishes over Mickey D’s.

Oh, and if you want to give either of these recipes a try at home, head over to the original article at the Wall Street Journal.

Photo from Flickr.

What’s Healthy – What’s Not

Beet

Trying to eat healthy? Well make sure you’re doing it right.

Both Men’s Health and AOL chime in on foods that can be healthy but usually aren’t.

They both agree that you should stay away from granola bars.

Most granola bars are simply candy bars in disguise, with very little fiber, lots of processed carbs, and a ton of sugar. You’re better off making your own healthier version from raw oats, chopped almonds, coconut flakes, raisins and a dollop of raw organic honey.

AOL says there’s no need to hold off on the yolk in omelette’s.

No yolks in your omelette’s? That’s just utterly unnecessary. The yolk contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are crucial for eye health. Egg yolks are also an important source of phosphatidylcholine, a nutrient that boosts brain health. Worried about your cholesterol levels? Consider this: Half the fat in the yolk isn’t even saturated.

And if you think farm-raised salmon is good…

You’d think eating penned salmon would be the healthier way to go, but the farm-raised fish are pumped full of antibiotics and are lower in nutritional value than their wild relatives. In addition, wild salmon get their red color from an antioxidant in their natural food source, krill. Farmed salmon get their color from dye.

Sugary cereals are obvious bad, but make sure you’re buying the right ones.

Most supermarket cereals are fiber lightweights and are also loaded with sugar. The best cereals are old-fashioned oatmeal, and a few standouts like Fiber One and All-Bran. Check the labels and choose cereals that have fewer than 5 grams of sugar and more than 5 grams of fiber per serving.

Careful when drinking bottled drinks, like apple juice.

It’s sweet, refreshing and a favorite among kids. But most apple juice is nothing more than sugar water with apple flavoring. One cup of apple juice has no fiber, 117 calories and 27 grams of sugar. And most people consume way more than a cup at a time. Stick to fiber-rich apples and skip the juice.

Men’s Health also advises to stay away from things like baked beans, and suggests red kidney beans packed in water.

Beans are packed with fiber, which helps keep you full and slows the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. The baked kind are typically covered in a sauce made with brown and white sugars. And because the fiber is located inside the bean, it doesn’t have a chance to interfere with the speed at which the sugary glaze is digested. Consider that 1 cup of baked beans contains 24 g sugar: That’s about the same amount in 8 ounces of regular soda. Red kidney beans, packed in water. You get the nutritional benefits of legumes, but without the extra sugar. They don’t even need to be heated: Just open the can, rinse thoroughly, and serve. Try splashing some hot sauce on top for a spicy variation.

You think yogurt with fruit at the bottom is a smart breakfast? Just pick the right one…

Yogurt and fruit are two of the healthiest foods known to man. Corn syrup is not. But that’s exactly what’s used to make these products supersweet. For example, a cup of Colombo blueberry yogurt contains 36 grams (g) of sugar, only about half of which is found naturally in the yogurt and fruit. The rest comes in the form of “added” sugar — or what we prefer to call “unnecessary.” Opt for Dannon Light ‘n Fit Carb & Sugar Control Yogurt, which has 90 percent less sugar than regular yogurt does.

And watch out for fat-free salad dressing.

Cutting out the fat reduces the calories that a dressing contains. Sugar is added to provide flavor. But perhaps more important is that the removal of fat reduces your body’s ability to absorb many of the vitamins found in a salad’s vegetables. Ohio State University researchers discovered that people who ate a salad dressing that contained fat absorbed 15 times more beta-carotene and five times more lutein — both powerful antioxidants — than when they downed a salad topped with fat-free dressing. Choose a full-fat dressing that’s made with either olive oil or canola oil and has less than 2 g carbs per serving.

And for another list of the 10 worst foods (like a Starbucks Venti Caffè Mocha) and the 10 best foods (like Uncle Ben’s Microwaveable Brown Rice) click here.

Pretty bummed by now? Well try some suggestions from Men’s Health for the best foods you aren’t eating, such as beets, cabbage, guava, Swiss chard, cinnamon, pomegranite, goji berries, dried plums and pumpkin seeds. All of these are packed with nutrients. They even suggest an Asian Slaw Salad:

  • 4 Tbsp peanut or canola oil
  • Juice of two limes
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha, an Asian chili sauce you can find in the international section of your grocery store
  • 1 head napa cabbage, finely chopped or shredded
  • 1/4 cup toasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Whisk together the oil, lime juice, and sriracha. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss with the dressing to coat. Refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving. The slaw will keep in your fridge for 2 days.

Photo from Flickr.

Free Rice

Free Rice

Wanna improve your vocabulary and help world hunger at the same time?

Head over to FreeRice.com. It’s technically a game but it’s much more than that…

FreeRice has two goals:

  1. Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free.
  2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

This is made possible by the sponsors who advertise on this site.

Whether you are CEO of a large corporation or a street child in a poor country, improving your vocabulary can improve your life. It is a great investment in yourself.

Perhaps even greater is the investment your donated rice makes in hungry human beings, enabling them to function and be productive. Somewhere in the world, a person is eating rice that you helped provide.

Still confused? All you do is pick which word from a list of 4 is the same as the word presented to you, and the advertisers who’s names appear at the bottom will donate rice.

Why doesn’t FreeRice just donate all this rice they have? Well technically, they don’t have it.

FreeRice is not sitting on a pile of rice―you are earning it 10 grains at a time. Here is how it works. When you play the game, advertisements appear on the bottom of your screen. The money generated by these advertisements is then used to buy the rice. So by playing, you generate the money that pays for the rice donated to hungry people.

The site launched on Oct. 7, where that day they gave away 830 grains of rice. Yesterday (Nov. 7) they gave away 188,987,290 grains. To date, the site has donated 1,519,627,180 grains of rice.

If you’re still not sure what’s going on, just go visit FreeRice. Play the word game and help feed those in need. I’ve even added a banner towards the bottom right of this site that you can click on in case you forget where to go.

Great find from NOTCOT.

Good or Bad?

Bad Milk

Back in March I posted an blog entry titled “How Long Will It Last” which discussed different kinds of food and how long they were good for. To this day, that remains one of the most viewed blog entries on the site.

But it looks like a new site might be able to help out if you’re stuck on whether or not something is good (thanks to a recent posting on lifehacker.com). Rather than posting a comment asking me when your tuna will go bad (believe me, I’m no expert) try heading over to BestWhenUsedBy.com, a site that will try to help you keep track of your food and let you know when it’s going bad. The site isn’t fully functional yet, but there’s a demo that’ll help you figure out how it all works.

Can’t wait for that site to launch? Well check out this comment from Drama Queen from a Lifehacker post. She says this is the Layman’s version of how to tell if an item is still good (just for fun, of course!):

Is it good or bad?

THE GAG TEST: Anything that makes you gag is spoiled (except for leftovers from what you cooked for yourself last night).

EGGS: When something starts pecking its way out of the shell, the egg is probably past its prime.

DAIRY PRODUCTS: Milk is spoiled when it starts to look like yogurt. Yogurt is spoiled when it starts to look like cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is spoiled when it starts to look like regular cheese. Regular cheese is nothing but spoiled milk anyway and can’t get any more spoiled than it is already. Cheddar cheese is spoiled when you think it is blue cheese but you realize you’ve never purchased that kind.

MAYONNAISE: If it makes you violently ill after you eat it, the mayonnaise is spoiled.

FROZEN FOODS: Frozen foods that have become an integral part of the defrosting problem in your freezer compartment will probably be spoiled (or wrecked anyway) by the time you pry them out with a kitchen knife.

EXPIRATION DATES: This is NOT a marketing ploy to encourage you to throw away perfectly good food so that you’ll spend more on groceries. Perhaps you’d benefit by having a calendar in your kitchen.

MEAT: If opening the refrigerator door causes stray animals from a three-block radius to congregate outside your house, the meat is spoiled.

BREAD: Sesame seeds and Poppy seeds are the only officially acceptable “spots” that should be seen on the surface of any loaf of bread. Fuzzy and hairy looking white or green growth areas are a good indication that your bread has turned into a pharmaceutical laboratory experiment.

FLOUR: Flour is spoiled when it wiggles.

SALT: It never spoils.

CEREAL: It is generally a good rule of thumb that cereal should be discarded when it is two years or longer beyond the expiration date.

LETTUCE: Bibb lettuce is spoiled when you can’t get it off the bottom of the vegetable crisper without Comet. Romaine lettuce is spoiled when it turns liquid.

CANNED GOODS: Any canned goods that have become the size or shape of a softball should be disposed of. Carefully.

CARROTS: A carrot that you can tie a clove hitch in is not fresh.

POTATOES: Fresh potatoes do not have roots, branches, or dense, leafy undergrowth.

CHIP DIP: If you can take it out of its container and bounce it on the floor, it has gone bad.

EMPTY CONTAINERS: Putting empty containers back into the refrigerator is an old trick, but it only works if you live with someone or have a maid.

UNMARKED ITEMS: You know it is well beyond prime when you’re tempted to discard the Tupperware along with the food. Generally speaking, Tupperware containers should not burp when you open them.

GENERAL RULE OF THUMB: Most food cannot be kept longer than the average life span of a hamster. Keep a hamster in or nearby your refrigerator to gauge this.

Still curious if your food is good? Check out this article from BusinessWeek that covers the topic.

Hope some (if not all) of this helps.

Photo from BusinessWeek.

100 Calories

Coke

Are those 100-calorie snack packs really worth it? According to Treehugger.com, they’re not.

Extra packaging and smaller bags factor into the price hike, but you might as well buy a regular bag and divvy it up into smaller portions.

The extra convenience—and unnecessarily wasteful packaging—costs extra money, says a new study from the Center for Science in Public Interest. ABC News notes that if you buy a large bag of the regular Chex Mix snack and divvy up portions equal to 100 calories each, you’d only be out 25 cents per portion, compared with 87 cents if you went with a 100-calorie pack. Each 100-calorie portion of Keebler Chips Deluxe Family Size Cookies cost 16 cents, but a prepackaged snack would cost you 40 cents extra. (from Treehugger.com)

And ABC News suggests that even though they only contain 100 calories, too much of a good thing can be bad.

For example, by splurging and eating two 100-calorie packs of Hostess Mini Cupcakes, suddenly a person has consumed more calories than if he or she had eaten one large Hostess cupcake.

And Jacobson said people should realize the types of foods that are in the snack packs.

“I think it’s important to note that none of these foods are really health foods. We’re talking cookies and crackers — foods that we really shouldn’t be eating much of anyhow,” Jacobson said. (from ABC News)

These 100-calorie packs are so popular that everyone is making reduced calorie packs now, even Coke.

And according to USA Today…

The category didn’t exist four years ago. But 29 such 100-calorie pre-packaged products were introduced over the past three years — 18 last year. (from USA Today)

Check out this chart that shows how the percent change from a year ago has lifted the “treats” category by 14 BILLION dollars.

So you pretty much have 2 choices…either spend the extra money for already portioned snack, or portion it out yourself. Just don’t go gorging on the 100 calorie packs because they sound healthier. Cause they’re probably not.

Fat Food…I mean, Fast Food

McD’s

I try not to eat fast food, but I’ll always cave for a White Castle hamburger when I’m in NYC. Sometimes you just don’t really have a choice in the matter.

So at the request of my brother, here’s some of your better options and some helpful tips when eating fast food.

First up are a few tips from AskMen.com.

Remember that good options include:

  • The smallest size of burger
  • Grilled chicken sandwiches or salads
  • Low-fat dressings and sauces (or none at all)
  • Diet soft drinks or water

A few things to avoid:

  • Super sizes of anything
  • Fried or breaded chicken or fish
  • Chicken nuggets
  • High-fat sauces and dressings
  • Onion rings
  • Extra cheese

Those are pretty obvious, but Real Simple has tips when ordering at some of the more popular fast food places.

For example, when dining at…

Burger King

If You Usually Order: A Whopper with cheese and a side salad.

Make It Healthier: Satisfy your burger craving (and cut out almost 500 calories) by replacing the Whopper with a hamburger from the kids’ menu. (Kids’ menus offer smaller portions.)

Better Yet: Order the Tender Grilled Chicken Sandwich – there’s no crispy fried stuff and no creamy sauce, and you can ask them to double up on the lettuce and tomato for an extra helping of vegetables.

McDonald’s

If You Usually Order: Six-piece Chicken McNuggets (with a side of ranch sauce) and large French fries.

Make It Healthier: Ask for medium fries and replace the ranch sauce with barbecue and you’ve knocked 345 calories off your meal.

Better Yet: Get the California Cobb Salad with grilled chicken. Just beware of what you put on the salad: The Cobb dressing adds 120 calories and 9 grams of fat. Opt for the low-fat balsamic vinaigrette.

Wendy’s

If You Usually Order: A loaded baked potato (stuffed with bacon, cheese, low-fat sour cream, and Buttery Best spread) and a small Original Chocolate Frosty.

Make It Healthier: Save 130 calories and 16 grams of fat by loading your potato with chili, low-fat sour cream, and broccoli.

Better Yet: Try a baked potato topped with chili, broccoli, and chives. It is filling, has loads of fiber, and has a mere 370 calories and 3 grams of fat. Add a glass of 1 percent reduced-fat chocolate milk to satisfy a sweet tooth.

KFC

If You Usually Order: An Extra Crispy chicken breast and a side of mashed potatoes and gravy.

Make It Healthier: Order an Original Recipe wing and leg (290 calories and 17 grams of fat total). Though white meat seems a wise choice, the breast is one of the worst items on the menu, with 460 calories and 28 grams of fat.

Better Yet: Get the Honey BBQ Chicken Sandwich. It only has 300 calories and 6 grams of fat. Among sides, best bets include mashed potatoes (without gravy), green beans, and a small corn on the cob.

Taco Bell

If You Usually Order: Chalupas (fried taco shells filled with cheese and ground beef).

Make It Healthier: “Avoid the crispy things in favor of soft tortillas,” says Leslie Bonci, director of sports medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. (Indeed, the word crispy is often a euphemism for “fried.”)

Better Yet: Order food “Fresco-Style,” which replaces a dish’s normal sauce and cheese with fresh salsa. Loading up on salsa instead of cheese and other sauces can save you hundreds of calories and 10 or more grams of fat.

Subway

If You Usually Order: A classic tuna sandwich with Cheddar cheese and potato chips.

Make It Healthier: Get a wheat roll, and add extra vegetables. If you can’t omit the cheese, know that American cheese is the lowest-fat option, followed by provolone, with Swiss and Cheddar tied for last. Choose baked chips.

Better Yet: Subway’s tuna salad contains lots of mayonnaise, so a less cholesterol-raising option would be the Veggie Delite or Turkey-Breast Sandwich from the “6 Grams of Fat or Less” side of the menu.

—————————————————————-

Just remember that if you don’t think it’s a healthy choice, it probably isn’t. Some other things to remember when ordering:

BURGERS – Keep in mind lots of burger joints (fast food included) now offer “protein style” where they wrap your burger in lettuce instead of a bun. If you need the bun, see if they offer a whole wheat option. Also turkey burgers are usually healthier than beef.

PIZZA – Go thin crust. Light on cheese, and pile on veggies and protein (like chicken).

PASTA – Ask for a whole wheat pasta option, or get a chicken parm sans bread.

JAPANESE – Avoid anything “tempura” and stick to fishes high in omega-3’s and things like salmon, veggies, and avocado which include healthy fats. Also a soy option (miso soup or edemame) is a good idea.

INDIAN – Replace pappadams (thin and crispy) with naan (thicker bread) and order your food grilled rather than smothered in sauces.

MEXICAN – Limit yourself to chips. Instead of tacos or anything cripsy, stick to a flour tortilla and fill it with extra veggies, lots of salsa, leaner meats and a lot of guacamole instead of sour cream.

If that’s not specific enough for you, check out this site which includes a pretty comprehensive list of various fast food places and their healthier options.

Photo from Flickr, where I found this poem attached to the photo. Pretty much sums up our fast food nation.

Fast Food Nation.

Obesity.

They say we’re in the middle of an obesity epidemic.
An epidemic like it is polio.
Like we’ll be telling our grand kids about it one day.
The Great Obesity Epidemic of 2004 (-07 and counting)
“How’d you get through it grandpa?”
“Oh, it was horrible Johnny, there was cheesecake and pork chops everywhere.”

Nobody knows why were getting fatter?
Look at our lifestyle.
I’ll sit at a drive thru.
I’ll sit there behind fifteen other cars instead of getting up to make the eight foot walk to the totally empty counter.

Everything is mega meal, super sized. Want biggie fries, super sized, want to go large.
You want to have thirty burgers for a nickel?
There’s room in the bag. Take it!
Want a 55 gallon drum of Coke with that? It’s only three more cents.

Adapted from Underwear Goes Inside The Pants – Lazyboy.

Tofu’s Perfect Match

Tofu Fest

This is probably one of those “only in LA” festivals but it’s a yearly thing here on the west coast.

I’ve seen posters all over town and it’s finally embedded in my head. Their posters and the whole Tofu Fest campaign is pretty clever. Head over to tofufest.org to help find tofu’s perfect match.

As for the festival itself, here’s what you need to know.

The 12th Annual Los Angeles Tofu Festival will take place on August 18, 12pm – 8 pm and August 19, 12 pm – 6 pm. General admission is $5, kids and seniors are free, and there’s a $2 off coupon here. Proceeds go to charity.

Festival Grounds are located at 237 S. San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013 on San Pedro and 2nd.

Attractions include:

Beer, Wine & Sake Garden: A selection of sake and beer is served in a sectioned off portion of Tofu Fest, supplementing Little Tokyo’s own beer gardens and Nisei Week’s attractions. The sale of alcohol was under debate by the festival’s committee in 1994 in regards to making the festival more family friendly.

Celebrity Chefs: Famous chefs exhibit their craft on a cooking platform, with fair goers getting the chance to taste dishes from the demonstrations. Masaharu Morimoto of Iron Chef is a recurring guest, appearing in last year’s 2006 festival.

Children’s Pavilion: Children were previously given an additional area to enjoy the festival, as parts of the festival, like the alcohol garden, were unsuitable. However, as of 2006, Children’s Pavilion is no longer a featured event.

Entertainment Stage: Bands and artists appear live at the festival, ranging from instrumental groups, such as taiko and orchestra, to hip hop groups like Blackalicious.

Tofu Eating Contest: The tofu eating contest is a race to eat a 14-ounce block of tofu in the shortest amount of time. Several elimination rounds are held before the final battle and winner’s ceremony, where a prize is given to the winner on the entertainment stage.

And if you’re interested in the Tofu Eating Contest it will be held on Saturday, August 18th at 4pm. Here are the rules:

  • Contestants will be required to eat a 14 ounce block of House Foods Medium Firm Tofu.
  • Festival Judges will be judging the Tofu Eating contest. Contestants agree to abide by the Festival Judges’ decision. Festival Judges’ decisions are final.
  • Contestants will not be able to use their hands during the contest to eat the tofu.
  • There will be 10 contestants competing in each round with a total of 5 preliminary rounds. The first 2 contestants to eat the entire block of tofu will advance to the Final Round.
  • The first contestant to eat the entire block of tofu in the Final Round will win the Grand Prize
  • The second and third place winners of the Final Round will receive also receive prizes
  • In order for a contestant to completely finish the block of tofu, he/she must have swallowed the last mouth full of tofu as decided by the Festival Judges.
  • Contestants must be at least 18 years old.
  • Contest Rules are subject to change without notice.

Info seen here was collect from the Tofu Festival site as well as Wikipedia.

10 Things Your Restaurant Won’t Tell You

Kitchen

Who doesn’t like going to a restaurant? Usually the food is good and it’s always nice having someone serve you. It’s also less clean up and usually cheaper than if you had to make a complete meal at home. But what are restaurants keeping secret? What aren’t they telling us?

Slashfood has a link to an article that MSN Money published back in May. It’s a short list of 10 things your restaurant won’t tell you such as…

…being careful when eating out on a Monday…

If you think that Monday, when restaurants tend not to be crowded, is a great time to eat out, think again. “You’re being served all of the weekend’s leftovers,” says Francis, the exposé co-author. Kitchens prepare food on a first-in, first-out basis, meaning whatever is oldest gets served first. It’s a way to ensure that everything on the menu is as fresh as possible.

The system works great most days, but it can run into a little glitch over the weekend. Distributors typically take Sunday off and make their last deliveries Saturday morning, which means that by Monday any food not used over the weekend is at least three to four days old. And it will be served before the same ingredients arriving in Monday’s delivery.

What to do if you wish to dine out on a Monday? Ignore your instincts and go to a place that’s perpetually crowded. “If you are open 24/7 and busy all the time,” says New York chef Lucia Calvete, “all your ingredients are fresh all the time.”

…and, there’s no such thing as too much butter.

Think that salmon fillet you ordered for dinner is good for you? Think again. Restaurants load even their healthiest fare with butter and other calorie-heavy add-ons. Restaurant meals average 1,000 to 1,500 calories, says Milton Stokes, a registered dietitian and spokesman for the American Dietetic Association. That’s roughly two-thirds of the daily average calories recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And according to a recent study, women who eat out five times a week consume an average of 290 additional calories per day.

Though most Americans assume that fast food is the worst offender, similar fare at casual sit-down restaurants can be even more caloric. The classic burger at Ruby Tuesday, for example, has a whopping 1,013 calories and 71 grams of fat. The McDonald’s Big Mac, with its 540 calories and 29 grams of fat, seems downright diet-worthy by comparison.

“We butter our hamburger buns,” says Julie Reid, the vice president of culinary for Ruby Tuesday, “so we tell people if they’re looking to cut calories, they shouldn’t eat the bun.” If that sounds less than appetizing, try splitting an entrée with someone, or order an appetizer instead of a main dish.

Wanna see the rest? Click here.

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