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

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

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

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

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”

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

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”

Ted’s Montana Grill: Order the bison fillet

Bison is leaner than beef, I’ve written about that before and was reminded of it during a recent dinner at a Ted’s Montana Grill in Glenview, Il.

Ted’s is a national chain started by Ted Turner that specializes in bison items like bison burger and bison steaks. We’ve been there before and enjoyed, so I suggested to my wife that we forego our usual Saturday night salad buffet and go to Ted’s instead. The meal was great and my request for no salt was met, with one rather odd exception.

I ordered the bison fillet as a main course, without seasonings, salt or the lemon butter it normally comes with. That’s exactly what Ted’s suggestions on a special dietary information page on its website. I give the chain credit for having that information but the sad part about it is that the information basically tells you all the things on the menu you can’t eat if you’re on a heart-restricted or diabetic diet. Wouldn’t it be nice if instead everything on the menu was ok for everyone to eat?

My great dinner at Ted's.  I left the white roll but everything else was terrific.
My great dinner at Ted’s. I left the white roll but everything else was terrific.

The eight ounce bison fillet is 545 calories, according to the Ted’s nutritional info page, and 28 grams of fat. That compares with 64 grams of fat for the comparable beef fillet. I’m assuming that ordering it without salt or seasonings eliminated most of the 2,307 mgs of sodium the nutritional page lists for it, let’s hope so anyway. Continue reading “Ted’s Montana Grill: Order the bison fillet”

Panera, get the salt out, please!

Panera used to be a go-to lunch place for me. From 1998 through 2005, I worked out of a home office and lunch at a nearby Panera was a great break during the workday.

But since my angioplasty, I have been working to eliminate salt from my diet and so Panera is a place I can no longer eat. Something as healthy sounding as its Mediterranean salmon salad, for example, has 990 mgs of salt, nearly two-thirds of my daily 1,200 target. And that’s without dressing, something else I no longer use.

Miss you Panera, get the salt out of your menu please!
Miss you Panera, get the salt out of your menu please!
Continue reading “Panera, get the salt out, please!”

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