TITANIC SODA HITS [Bloom]BERG

Submitted on June 12, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s large-size soda ban may be a running start to break the ice in tackling America’s obesity crisis.

In an effort to curb the ever-soaring obesity rates–in New York City, about 58% of adults overweight or obese and 21.3% of children obese (according to the NYC Obesity Task Force Plan)–the ban would limit all sugary soft drinks to 16oz. in restaurants, movie theaters and street carts. (It would not apply to convenience or grocery stores.)

While many see the ban as a “nanny” government’s restrictive and liberty-binding act which doesn’t pinpoint the root of the problem (as seen in the comic below), there are many reasons why the ban is effective, specifically because it targets what seems a “lesser” issue initially.

Criticism against the soda ban

First of all, Bloomberg’s ban is an act that finally follows through on copious “obesity talk” in government and finds a more subtle way to introduce legislative changes.

Some argue that instead of forcing people to change their habits, we should be educating them in order to help them make amendments themselves. However, limiting one’s soda intake–a form of portion control–could be seen as exactly that. After all, experiential learning has been shown to be most effective in certain circumstances: people find they are just as satiated with a smaller quantity. It has been shown that people generally follow the serving size suggested, and that is what is being moderated, not one’s liberty to choose. A drop in percentage of soda consumption can not only be reflected onto one’s plate (smaller portions of food) but also increase people’s water intake.

Another criticism the ban has received is that it is not the government’s job to tell people what they should or shouldn’t drink. However, the government is not legislating what or how much people can drink, it is simply creating a standard. Also, the government is responsible to a certain extent because of the cost of obesity. According to CNN, “America spends as much as $147 billion annually on the direct and indirect costs of obesity. In the year of the most recent CDC study, 2006, that made up 9.1 percent of medical spending.” Where do tax-payers dollars go?

Informative and stark truth advertisements in favor of the large-size soda ban

In conjunction with Bloomberg’s large-size soda ban advertisements (like the one seen above), the implementation of smaller standard drinks also brings up public questions on health, making us more conscious of the risks of our dietary choices. Perhaps we won’t be so quick to pick the pop next time.

This may not be the cure for our colossal problem, but it surely is a strong first step.

Other articles which provide a lot of great information are as follows:

 

New York Times — Obesity Ills That Won’t Budge Fuel Soda Battle by Bloomberg

PBS News Hour — Bloomberg Could Buy the World a Coke, but He’d Make it a Small

Pursue Natural — War on obesity and diabetes by reducing intake of drinks with sugar to 16oz in New York City

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Beet this Refined Delectability

In return for the many love and effort-filled meals that my mother has procured for family over the years, I decided a good Mother’s Day gift would be a healthily tasty–or tastily healthy–meal that we could savor and receive a gust of natural energy from. Beets were in the fridge and I remembered a recipe from a wonderful French cookbook (excellent gift)–Swinging French Jazz Bistro Favorite Parisian Bistro Recipes.

To be honest, beets were not my biggest allurers in the vegetable inventory, but I thought “Why not?” and why not was right! Here are some health incentives that will appeal to logos (your sense of logic) and then I’ll move on to the taste bud attraction. First of all, beets are very nutritious, yet low-calorie, bundles of sweetness. Having this sweet taste, they provide us with surges of energy and are fortunately very easy and very cheap! They can be bought for about $2 a pound and don’t even need to be cooked. An un-beet-able source of magnesium, calcium, iron, phospherous, fiber, and Vitamins A & C, beets also contain folic acid (pivotal for health of pregnant women) which is important for the creation and maintenance of new cells. (Give up those supplements and let nature be the one to supply you!) And, of course, the color of beets isn’t only a feast for the eyes but also for the health of our bodies. Betacyanin, which gives beets their striking red, is said to fight cancer, especially that of the colon.

So without further ado, let’s give the tongue a turn or two. The recipe is called “Roast Beet and Mâche Salad with Haricots Verts, Leeks, and Walnut Vinaigrette” and I have copied it from the Bistro cookbook (for which there is a link above!) along with my own pictures.

My Final Subject of Pride!

Ingredients:

4 or 5 beets, depending on how large they are                                                                       2 tablespoons vegetable oil                                                                                                     4 fresh thyme sprigs (or powdered thyme)                                                                             4 ounces (125g) haricots verts or baby Blue Lake green beans (I actually used asparagus), chopped into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces

-For the Vinaigrette-                                                                                                              1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60mL) sherry wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)                                      1 teaspoon Dijon mustard                                                                                                     3/4 cup (6fl. oz./180mL) grapeseed or canola oil                                                                1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60mL) cold-pressed walnut oil (I just used regular walnut oil)                Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 leeks, white part only (I used the white part of Vidalia onions)                                             4 ounces (125g) mâche (lamb’s lettuce) or frisée (curly endive) (I just used lettuce 🙂         2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped and toasted (I prefer a handful which I toast on a pan with a little bit of oil – yumm!)                                                                                                          4 ounces (125g) goat cheese, cut into slivers (I say put as much or little as you like)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 °F (190 °C). In a large bowl, toss the beets with the oil. Separately wrap each beet and a sprig of thyme in a square of aluminum foil. (Or you can sprinkle the beet with powdered thyme – a little easier) Roast in the preheated oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the beets are tender when pierced with a knife. Unwrap and let cool.

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the green beans for 5 to 10 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Using a slotted spoon or a wire-mesh skimmer (spoon with holes), transfer the beans to a bowl of cold water. Drain and set aside. In the boiling bean water, cook the leeks for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain and let cool.

To make the vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar and mustard together. Gradually whisk in the oils until emulsified (completely mixed). Season with salt and pepper.

Peel the beets. Using a sharp knife or mandoline, thinly slice the beets and arrange the slices to cover 4 salad plates. Brush the beets with vinaigrette. (This part makes you feel really sophisticated!) In 2 medium bowls, toss the green beans and leeks separately with the remaining vinaigrette. Arrange the green beans on top of the beets and top them with a mound of leeks.

Add bouquet of lettuce in the center. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts and garnish with slivers of goat cheese. Serve and savor!

Makes 4 servings

P.S. For me, there was a good amount of vinaigrette left over because it is only used for brushing and soaking (of the dish ingredients), so make sure to use it for a salad afterwards.

Branning it Up!!!

Amidst all the carrot soup, zucchini and salads, who doesn’t want a little treat? Well, here’s a perk of moist deliciousness which can accompany a healthy meal and bring along its own virtues as well!

Rich with dietary fiber, potassium, iron, niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin, wheat bran is a great way to satiate and satisfy. As a fiber powersource, wheat bran aids digestion and has been found to regulate blood sugar, beneficial in reducing the risk of diabetes.

So, without further ado, let’s get cooking!

Ingredients ~~~

– 3 cups unprocessed wheat bran (I usually use Hodgson Mill)                                              – 1 cup boiling water                                                                                                                 – 1 cup brown sugar                                                                                                                 – 1/2 cup butter                                                                                                                         – 2 & 1/2 cups flour (use whole wheat if you can!)                                                                  – 2 tsp. baking soda                                                                                                                  – 1 tsp. salt                                                                                                                               – 2 eggs, beaten                                                                                                                       – 2 cups buttermilk                                                                                                                   – raisins! (as many as suit your fancy – I would highly recommend them)

Mixing dry bran with other ingredients...

Mixed ingredients

Mix 1 cup wheat bran with 1 cup boiling water; stir and let water absorb into bran.              In a separate bowl blend sugar and butter.                                                                             Measure and combine flour, baking soda and salt.                                                                Combine the moist bran with beaten eggs, the remaining 2 cups of bran, buttermilk, blended sugar-butter mixture, and flour, soda and salt mixture.                                            Stir well until blended. (Wisking is always enjoyable!)

When preparing to bake, preheat oven to 400°F (205°C).                                                  Stir batter well and spoon into prepared (buttered – this makes the muffins easier to take out once they’re done) muffin tins.                                                                                    Bake 15 minutes.                                                                                                                     Serve and enjoy!! (I, personally, love to cut them through their middle and sandwich a thin piece of melting butter in between.)

(Yield – 2 dozen muffins)

Fibrous delectability!

Since you do want them warm, fortunately the batter is refridgerate-able for up to about a week, so just seal it in an airtight container and keep it safe.

Recipe taken from the back of a Hodgson Mill Unprocessed Wheat Bran (Millers Bran) box! (Read boxes, you might find treasures…)