Category Archives: Food

Dunkin’ Donuts getting healthier

Dunkin’ Donuts has a new menu for customers watching their health and weight. The “DD Smart” menu, which will debut in stores Aug. 6, will feature new flatbread sandwiches. Customers will be able to choose either a turkey sausage egg-white sandwich or a vegetable egg-white sandwich. Both will be under 300 calories with 9 grams of fat or less, the company said.

“We just felt it was important to provide some choice in our menu,” said Will Kussell, president and chief brand officer.

The new menu will also include current menu items that have 25 percent fewer calories, sugar, fat or sodium or are made with more “nutritional ingredients”. Current products that will join the new sandwiches on the menu include a multigrain bagel, Cofee Coolatta with skim milk, Iced Latte Lite, a reduced-fat blueberry muffin, and more.

The entire DDSmart menu can be found here.

Hopefully in the future, success of this ‘smart’ menu over their old offerings should drive them to make this their ‘regular’ menu. I am strong proponent of fast food joints offering smarter choices not in special menus but making those choices the norm. It’s all about small steps and this decision by Dunkin’ Donuts provides a step in the right direction.


7/30/08 – 4.66 miles in 47:37 (slow run with Sparky)


New rule requires calories on menus in New York

A new rule requiring chain restaurants in New York to post calorie information on their menus took effect this past Friday. The regulation defines a chain restaurant as one that has 15 or more outlets across the country.  In New York, the rule affected 2,000 restaurants or 10 percent of the total in the city. Among them are such restaurants as McDonald’s, Burger King, Applebee’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks and Subway.

The rule also states that caloric information must be presented in the same font and format as the price and name of the food item. Health inspectors may issue fines from $200 to $2,000 for establishments not in compliance. 

I hope the rule makes it nationwide. This will prevent people claiming ignorance about the unhealthy nature of meals they consume. It will also serve as reality checks for people consistently consuming fast food. Several customers have claimed to be unaffected by the advent of the rule, if it changes a few decisions a week, I think it’s well worth it. 

The enforcement of this rule would definitely affect the way I sometimes attack the dollar menu at fast food restaurants. 

7/22/08 – 4.6 miles in 41:42 (8:56 per mile pace)

Salmonella infection toll rises to 1,167

With the latest cases reported as of July 14 according to the latest figures posted on the Web site of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nationwide toll from Salmonella Saintpaul now stands at 1,167 people in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (2 persons), Arkansas (14), Arizona (54), California (9), Colorado (15), Connecticut (4), Florida (2), Georgia (28), Idaho (6), Illinois (104), Indiana (16), Iowa (2), Kansas (18), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Maine (1), Maryland (32), Massachusetts (26), Michigan (21), Minnesota (19), Mississippi (2), Missouri (17), New Hampshire (4), Nevada (11), New Jersey (12), New Mexico (102), New York (32), North Carolina (22), Ohio (10), Oklahoma (25), Oregon (10), Pennsylvania (12), Rhode Island (3), South Carolina (2), Tennessee (8), Texas (449), Utah (2), Virginia (31),Vermont (2), Washington (17), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (13), and the District of Columbia (1). Four ill persons are reported from Canada; all four appear to have been infected while traveling in the United States.

An initial investigation of the outbreak, in New Mexico and Texas, suggested raw tomatoes as the likely source of the contamination. But a larger, nationwide study comparing persons who fell ill in June found that those who were sickened were likely to have recently consumed raw tomatoes, fresh jalapeno, serrano peppers, and fresh cilantro.

The source of the outbreak shrouded in mystery, one could easily fall into the panic mode the media promotes. Statistically the chances of getting infected (even with these new cases) remains slim.  I for one am not going to avoid these foods (I love all 4 of them). I choose to simply wash and more importantly cook them to avoid any of the problems. Let’s not freak out… Stay smart either avoid the foods or cook them and remember even if you do eat them raw, your chances are still slim. 


7/14/08 – 4.1 miles in 36:00

Hungry Planet: What the World Eats

A truly amazing concept, a panoramic view of cultural diversity from a diet standpoint. Hungry Planet: What the World Eats dives into the dietary habits of a spectrum of families from different countries featuring pictures of each family behind 1 weeks worth of food. The artists behind this novel concept, photographer Peter Menzel and writer Faith D’Aluisio, visited some 30 families in 24 countries.

This post does not contain all of the families featured in the book but does show large portion. Some things worth noting include the horrific packaging of foods in developed nations. One quickly sees why the industrialized nations produce so much trash. Other visible facts includes the lack of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other produce in the US families. The reality being the cost and convenience of being able to store prepackaged foods for a long period of time while having foods that are quick to prepare.

I hope everyone examines these pictures and takes something from it.

Japan: The Ukita family of Kodaira City

Food expenditure for one week: 37,699 Yen or $317.25
Favorite foods: sashimi, fruit, cake, potato chips

Great Britain: The Bainton family of Cllingbourne Ducis

Food expenditure for one week: 155.54 British Pounds or $253.15
Favorite foods: avocado, mayonnaise sandwich, prawn cocktail, chocolate fudge cake with cream

Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily

Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11
Favorite foods: fish, pasta with ragu, hot dogs, frozen fish sticks

United States: The Caven family of California

Food expenditure for one week: $159.18
Favorite foods: beef stew, berry yogurt sundae, clam chowder, ice cream

Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp

Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23
Favorite foods: soup with fresh sheep meat

Kuwait: The Al Haggan family of Kuwait City

Food expenditure for one week: 63.63 dinar or $221.45 Family recipe: Chicken biryani with basmati rice

United States: The Revis family of North Carolina

Food expenditure for one week: $341.98
Favorite foods: spaghetti, potatoes, sesame chicken

Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca

Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09
Favorite foods: pizza, crab, pasta, chicken

China: The Dong family of Beijing

Food expenditure for one week: 1,233.76 Yuan or $155.06
Favorite foods: fried shredded pork with sweet and sour sauce

Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo

Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53
Family recipe: Okra and mutton

Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo

Food expenditure for one week: $31.55
Family recipe: Potato soup with cabbage

Mongolia: The Batsuuri family of Ulaanbaatar

Food expenditure for one week: 41,985.85 togrogs or $40.02
Family recipe: Mutton dumplings

Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village

Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03
Family recipe: Mushroom, cheese and pork

Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide

Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07
Favorite foods: fried potatoes with onions, bacon and herring, fried noodles with eggs and cheese, pizza, vanilla pudding

Guatemala: The Mendozas of Todos Santos

Food expenditure for one week: 573 Quetzales or $75.70
Family Recipe: Turkey Stew and Susana Perez Matias’s Sheep Soup

India: The Patkars of Ujjain

Food expenditure for one week: 1,636.25 rupees or $39.27
Family Recipe: Sangeeta Patkar’s Poha (Rice Flakes)

United States: The Fernandezes of Texas

Food expenditure for one week: $242.48
Favorite Foods: Shrimp with Alfredo sauce, chicken mole, barbecue ribs, pizza

Earth Day : Meat Consumption

Another Earth Day passes on, little attention, no change. Most people hold the thought process that one person cannot make a difference. Why not make the change, spread the word, and invoke change in others? At any rate this post is going to expose some truths of the livestock industry and its impact on Earth.

In his 1975 bestseller, The Eco-Spasm Report, futurist Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock and The Third Wave, suggested a positive hope for the world’s crisis. He anticipated “the sudden rise of a religious movement in the West that restricts the eating of beef and thereby saves billions of tons of grain and provides a nourishing diet for the world as a whole.” This has not come to fruition, if anything, the opposite holds true.

Statistics show that Nigeria’s per-capita meat consumption is approximately 6.4 kilograms a year, China’s is about 23 kg, but, Canadains consume an average of 65 kg a year and the citizens of the US eat 95 kg. This shows the meatcentricity of Western society.

People do not view meat consumption in the same light as other commodities. Most associate over-consumption with gas, electricity, and water. A quick analysis of meat, where it comes from, and what goes into producing it provides insight into the true cost of producing meat.

Like all the products we buy, meat is made up of inputs. The largest are water, grain, land, and energy. Others include hormones to promote growth, antibiotics to prevent disease, and fertilizers and pesticides to grow the feed

To produce a kilogram of grain-fed beef, it takes, on average, 10 kg of grain and 680 liters of water (only what the animal consumes). In comparison, according to a study in California, 1 kg of tomatoes requires 190 liters of water, 1 kg of potatoes requires 198 liters of water, 1 kg of wheat requires 209 liters of water – but 1 kg of beef requires a whopping 43,500 liters of water (this takes into account the water needed to grow the feed along with the water needed to raise the animal). Even rice, which uses more water than any other grain, requires one tenth the water needed to produce meat.

In order to meet our demand for meat, millions of tons of grain are diverted to feed livestock. More than 1/3 of the world’s total grain harvest is fed to livestock. Another requirement to raise livestock is land. An equivalent amount of land can feed six times more people eating a plant-based diet than people eating a meat-based diet.

Besides consuming an immense amount of resources, livestock also creates large amounts of garbage. Production of 1 kg of edible beef leads to 40 kg of manure. The manure and urine waste, plus the pesticides and fertilizers used to grow feed, are among the largest sources of water pollution in North America. With the population steadily increasing and the average person consuming more meat, the consequences could be disastrous.

Having said all this, I by no means am promoting vegetarianism. I feel the awareness of these facts can lead to people eating healthier by substituting some meat meals with vegetarian meals. Everything in moderation. In addition I feel that grain diverted to human consumption could solve some of the world’s hunger issues. We can all make a difference, every little bit will help. Let’s make some changes if not for the environment, at least for ourselves.

4/21/08 – 5.5 miles in 49:02 (8:54 per mile pace)

Stop overeating! Stop smoking!

The madness must stop! Consuming portions large enough for at least 2 people, my physique is ballooning. Simply stating this and admitting to the fault can induce change, and it has. I am consciously eating slower, enjoying the food and stopping when I am full.

Another fault of mine, that I have tried in vain to control, has been my smoking of cigarettes. It stops now! Just for record keeping, I have not have a cigarette since 04/05/08. This may sound like half an achievement but I am not a pack a day smoker, I usually only smoke when drinking. The challenge lies ahead, especially on weekends.

04/08/08 – 4.1 miles in 39:51 (pace ~9:45/mile)