Vending machine calorie counts are coming

Vending machine snacks are notoriously high in calories, fat, sugar and salt, so I haven’t bought anything from such a machine for the more than a year since my angioplasty. Now, the federal government is requiring machine operators to post calorie counts for everything in them.

The hope is seeing calorie counts will convince people to eat fewer calories. It’s the same logic behind the federal mandate that large restaurant chains also post calorie counts for their foods. Regulators these days are obsessed with the national obesity epidemic and seem to think tackling calories is the best way to fight it. I’m happy for more labeling but think people also need to be seeing how much salt (which contributes to high blood pressure), fat (which can lead to clogged arteries and heart problems) and sugar (too much of which can trigger diabetes) are in every product as well.

A typical vending machine candy bar.
A typical vending machine candy bar.
nutrition labeling
And its nutrition breakdown.
Continue reading “Vending machine calorie counts are coming”

Gilson’s in Wilmette: A local gem on Chicago’s North Shore

Gilson’s is a neighborhood place in downtown Wilmette that has done well in preparing tasty dishes for me with a minimum of salt, fat or sugar. We enjoy it so much that my wife and I decided to dine there on New Year’s Eve before going to see a musical at a local theater.

We started with some wonderful scallops. The Gilson’s menu describes them as “Pan seared jumbo scallops over sautéed Swiss chard and cranberry onion jam and topped with crumbled bacon.”

My beautiful wife Carolyn displays our scallops appetizer.
My beautiful wife Carolyn displays our scallops appetizer.

I did not eat the bacon, needless to say, but my wife enjoyed it. We asked that the dish not be salted in any way and I did not taste any salt (I’ve become ultra sensitive to it since cutting back). The scallops had a wonderful grilled flavor. Continue reading “Gilson’s in Wilmette: A local gem on Chicago’s North Shore”

Multivitamins: another miracle cure gone astray

Multivitamins for years have been marketed, and widely accepted, as taking care of a host of ills. Take a bunch fo vitamins in pill form instead of in the foods you eat and you’ll be in great shape, was the pitch, more ro less.

And many people went for it. Even I admit to taking multivitamin that describes itself as being for mature people. That means it’s for old guys like me who are falling apart and hoping a multivitamin can put us back together again.

Well, just before Christmas, the myth of the multivitamin took a major hit when reports surfaced of a study saying they don’t really do all that much for us after all.

Americans' search for a magic pill goes on.
Americans’ search for a magic pill goes on.
Continue reading “Multivitamins: another miracle cure gone astray”

Steamed Prawn and Bell Pepper Kebabs

Sounds tasty, leave out the salt of course.


Today I am publishing my first recipe of the year, after taking a little break.
Bearing in mind that many of you will be on a diet, just like me, after a full-on Christmas feast, I decided to go for a light and delicate starter made with seafood and vegetables . Experimenting in my kitchen, not long ago, I discovered that the delicate flavours of yellow bell peppers and prawns complement each other very well, especially if steamed. This recipe is very healthy and the preparation is quick and easy, however it’s important to get the cooking time right, because if you overcook the ingredients the final result won’t be any good, as the bell peppers will become too soft and the prawns will turn out hard, dry and chewy. In order to avoid this follow carefully the instructions and you’ll have the most amazing prawn kebabs!
Tip. As a light meal, serve…

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Nutrient-Dense Foods: prepare for this new food jargon

Food fads come and go in America as we all search for magic foods that will allow us to eat what we want while keeping us thin and healthy. Remember high-carb diets, low-carb diets, the protein craze (this one is still going on), and most recently functional foods — foods that supposedly serve a specific function like keeping us sharp for a busy day at school or the office?

The next fad seems to be what are being called nutrient dense foods. What that means exactly is, “naturally or inherently nutritious foods and beverages — ‘traditional foods rooted in folklore as beneficial and delicious,’ ” Melissa Abbott, senior director of culinary insights for The Hartman Group consumer research firm, says in article on MediaPost.

For me, pasta is a functional food, it makes me feel good. Thee days, I'm eating only multigrain pasta,
For me, pasta is a functional food, it makes me feel good. Thee days, I’m eating only multigrain pasta,
Continue reading “Nutrient-Dense Foods: prepare for this new food jargon”

Lose It! loves sending me badges

Lose It! is the app I’ve been using the past several years to keep track of my calories, salt, sugar and fat intake. I find it the most convenient of several I’ve tried because I don’t need to be online to record my daily food intake.

Its food database has expanded considerably over the years I’ve used it and it has a cool bar code scanning feature that allows me to enter new packaged food items that I buy which are not in its database.

My Lose It! veggie badge.
My Lose It! veggie badge.

It also provides reports on my eating that I find very useful for tracking patterns of consumption and weight loss. I’ll be writing more about those in a future post. Continue reading “Lose It! loves sending me badges”

Embeya: a wonderful pan-Asian surprise

Asian food has generally been off my menu since my angioplasty; most common Asian dishes have too much salt for me these days. So I wasn’t sure what to expect when dining at Chicago’s Embeya, a place that describes itself as “progressive Asian.”

I was pleasantly surprised again and again at this wonderful gem of a spot on Randolph Street. The entrée I had planned to get, a sea bass, was wonderful, as was the scallop appetizer we had. A dessert of exotic fruits was fabulous, I brought most of them home and ate them for several days. A friend I ate lunch there with got the cream puff dessert and I tried a bite, it was great; if not for my restrictions on sugar and fat, I would have gladly eaten it as my dessert.

My wonderful sea bass at Embeya.
My wonderful sea bass at Embeya.
Continue reading “Embeya: a wonderful pan-Asian surprise”

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