7 “healthy foods” that really aren’t

Skepticism is my middle name when it comes to any claims that certain foods or food products are healthy. I’ve seen too many food fads come and go and too much science change to believe any of it is permanent these days.

That skepticism was confirmed by this recent article talking about seven foods once thought of as healthy that really aren’t.

Restaurant salads are not good for you. Too much salt and sugar in dressings on on chicken like this Culver's salad.
Restaurant salads are not good for you. Too much salt and sugar in dressings and on chicken like this Culver’s salad.

Continue reading “7 “healthy foods” that really aren’t”

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No sodium: restaurants still have a long way to go

Twenty percent is good but it doesn’t come close to getting sodium levels down to where someone like me, who is trying to stay under 1,200 mgs of sodium a day, need them to be. I miss Chinese food dearly, so I hope these efforts will continue.

Restaurants and sodium, i.e. salt, seem to go together like fire and heat but from time to time I get a little encouragement that the foodservice world is starting to get the message that people on low-sodium diets would like more options when they eat away from home.

Recently, this press release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came across my virtual desk, talking about efforts to cut sodium in restaurant foods.

Restaurants are hooked on using too much sodium in meals like this. Hopefully that is changing.
Restaurants are hooked on using too much sodium in meals like this. Hopefully that is changing.

Continue reading “No sodium: restaurants still have a long way to go”

Embeya for restaurant week? yes, yes, yes

The second course included a nice rendition of clams in a coconut broth and also grilled quail which smelled so tasty I couldn’t wait to dig in.

Embeya, a progressive Asian restaurant in Chicago, has quickly become a favorite of mine for its great food and its total openness to making dishes that meet my low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar requirements.

I enjoyed my first visit there so much that I suggested my wife and I dine there with friends. We went at the start of Chicago’s restaurant week, an annual event (running through Feb. 6 this year) during which restaurants offer special menus at special prices to lure Chicagoans out of their warm homes on the coldest winter days and nights.

Embeya is offering either a three course meal for $33 or a four-course meal for $44. We went with the four-course offering and were not disappointed. And while everything was served family style, my portions were  served separately since they had less salt, an extra touch I really appreciate.

Embeya
My individual serving of Embeya octopus was amazing.

The first course included an amazing octopus dish that had people at our table who don’t normally eat octopus saying they loved it. It was the tenderest octopus I’ve had since dining in southern Italy last summer. Continue reading “Embeya for restaurant week? yes, yes, yes”

Irene’s fat-free biscotti, a great baked item

Each slice contains zero fat, only 5 mgs of salt and 3g of sugar. A slice, there are about 18 in a container, is only 20 calories, so here, finally, is something you can binge on while on a restricted diet!

I miss cakes and cookies so much since my angioplasty, but I’m restricted to no more than 40 grams of fat a day and 1,200 mgs of salt, so baked goods are largely off my plate these days. I’ve been searching for some that are low- or no-fat and low- or no-sodium at the same time, with some good results.

A favorite is Irene’s fat-free biscotti slices carried by Whole Foods and until recently by my local Jewel supermarket.

Irene's biscotti slices are expensive, but good when you crave something baked.
Irene’s biscotti slices are expensive, but good when you crave something baked.
Continue reading “Irene’s fat-free biscotti, a great baked item”

Low-fat chocolate chip cookies: found some good ones at Whole Foods

The cookies look a bit odd, like flat pieces of mud, but they taste great, the most chocolate-tasting things I’ve found that are low fat.

Finding low- and no-fat cookies is a challenge. Baked goods also have lots of salt in them, so it’s really a double challenge, and a discouraging one for someone like me who loved baked goods before my angioplasty. I’ve written about SnackWells chocolate cookies, which are fat-free.

But last week, I found a really great new option at Whole Foods, low-fat chocolate chip cookies that are incredibly chocolatey, and are relatively low sodium and low sugar (for a cookie anyway).

Chocolate chewies, I'm lovin' 'em.
Chocolate chewies, I’m lovin’ ’em.
Nutritional info for chocolate chewies.
Nutritional info for chocolate chewies.

Chocolate Chewies have 70 calories and 1.5 grams of fat per cookie. Each cookie has only 30 mgs of sodium and 12 grams of sugar. The sugar level is high if you’re diabetic I’m sure. A doctor once told me not to buy my diabetic mother anything with more than 10 grams of sugar per serving. Continue reading “Low-fat chocolate chip cookies: found some good ones at Whole Foods”

Pasta with Roasted Peppers

This looks like a fun recipe. To make it no salt, no fat, no sugar I would leave out the capers (salt), the sugar and substitute fat-free cheese for regular cheese (fat). I’d also opt for a whole wheat or multigrain pasta like Barilla Plus which I’ve written about before.

Pasta with Roasted Peppers.

Paleo Diet: heard of it? Don’t give it a second thought

If you’re worried about heart disease, as I am, cut the salt, fat and sugar and hope for the best. While future researchers may find something better, right now that’s the best advice we have.

The Paleo Diet has surfaced in our constant quest to find magic bullets for how we eat in America. It basically advocates going back to the type of diet are far distant ancestors ate while they were hunting and gathering.

It’s always sounded a bit wacky to me and U.S> News seems to agree with me in its latest rankings of various diet plans.

Feeling like a caveman? Better not to eat like one.
Feeling like a caveman? Better not to eat like one.

“The Paleo diet also doesn’t show any significant evidence to prove its role to prevent heart disease and its favorable role in the weight-loss. This is just a few reasons why the Paleo diet ranked last on the best diets list,” one report notes. Continue reading “Paleo Diet: heard of it? Don’t give it a second thought”