Amsterdam, Netherlands – Eating in the city of bicycles
June 24, 2011

Amsterdam offers breathtaking views around every corner and boasts an attractive lifestyle! You do not have to venture far before encountering tall stylish people zipping by on bicycles creating a wonderful ambience as you soak in the warm morning sun while you sip on your latte. And what better compliment to this beverage than an appeltaart (apple pie). The Dutch have struck a perfect balance in the art of pie making: a slightly doughy crust, thick firm apples and instead of cheap jelly, apple puree with the odd raisin.

For the more daring, pull up along side a local and have your try at raw herring. While it might not look so appetizing, it is surprisingly mild (do not mind the bones) usually served fresh, complimented with chopped unions and sweet pickles. Order it cut and eat it with a toothpick, on a hotdog style bun, or grab it by the tale and throw it down the hatch.

For a not so sweet treat try poffertjes: perfectly light and fluffy mini pancakes sprinkled in icing sugar often served with ice cream.

To satisfy your sweet tooth you might try a stroopwafel: a layer of sweet caramel between two super thin waffles.

Whether you walk or bike the canals, ride the tram, or lounge at various cafes, there is much to keep you satisfied here.


“Appeltaart” photo provided by Flickr user: druif56 .

“Stroopwafel” photo provided by Flickr user: onedaylingers

“Poffertjes” photo provided by Flickr user: David Visser

“Herring” photo provided by Wikitravel user: Jpatokal


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They have… We have
November 12, 2010

For this week’s post, a more entertaining approach was taken; one that hopefully encourages us to think twice about what we put in our bodies. Please keep in mind that the following comparisons are made in good fun and not to be taken too seriously. Instead, think of it as a kindly reminder that our habits may have gone a little astray.

There is much to learn from other cultures that have had a healthy relationship with food for years. Europe is often a good example but no doubt there are others as well. Just how different are their habits from ours?

They have…


Whether it’s morning or afternoon, these costly machines serve non-stop espresso and espresso based drinks like cappuccinos and lattes, providing Europeans with their daily dose of caffeine.

We have…


Free refills for everyone! Coke, Pepsi, Sprite… you name it. This self-serve fountain machine supplies us caffeine and sugar to no end.

They have…


This flakey piece of heaven might be loaded with butter but a croissant is primarily all-natural goodness, a satisfying way many Europeans start their day. Other than natural sugars in the milk, there is only a small quantity of added sugar, just enough to activate the yeast.

We have…


This sinful monster wreaks havoc on your insulin levels. These eye-popping donuts send signals straight to your brain and later to your fat cells, saying “this guy wants to store some fat”; not to mention the hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and processed white flour. DO-NUT make these a habit!

They have…


Gelato is typically made with milk (some with water) which differs from cream based North American ice cream. With less sugar and up to four and a half times less fat, Gelato is the healthier version of ice cream. Try it and you will be pleasantly surprised how the fruit and berry flavours hit your palate.

We have…


When young and old consumers demand more fat and sugar concentrated flavours, this ice cream delivers. A ½ cup contains 22 grams of carbs (18 from sugar), and 9 grams total fat (6 saturated). You better not even think of finishing this tub in one sitting. At least put it back in the freezer for after your next meal.

They have…


This latte is actually on the larger side of most coffees served in Italy or France, while many opt for an itsy bitsy cup of espresso. If the espresso beans are delicately roasted, ground on the spot to the perfect consistency, nicely dosed, carefully groomed, tamped with the correct amount of pressure, evenly extracted under just the right temperature (using ice-cold filtered water), then crema-laden espresso will ooze out from your portafilter rewarding you with a sweet slightly acidic espresso, to which there is no need to add any sugar or milk. How’s that for getting your caffeine fix with virtually no extra calories?

We have…


Sure, we North Americans think we have a little slice of Italy now that Starbucks has taken over. However, there is something disturbing about the fact we can’t say no when they offer to smother our coffee with a mountain of wiped cream. If you order it hot, it’s up to 20 oz’s, but if you opt for a cold drink, surprise, you can have a whopping 30 oz cardboard goblet. This is great for you moms, because when you are done with it, your kids can cut out a door and windows and play house.

They have…


Wine is the perfect accompaniment to your meal. Swish your wonderfully aged wine of choice around your tongue coating your palette. You taste a bouquet of undergrowth, cherry pit and soft spices. The mouth, graced with ripe red fruit and woody notes, features great freshness and solid tannins. It can go perfectly with duck and mushroom ravioli or thyme rack of lamb.* Wine is the lifeblood of Europeans; cut them and they will bleed grape juices.

We have…


What is the beverage of choice to accompany a typical North American meal? It would have to be a soft drink! It’s perfect for cleansing the palate after fried chicken, a greasy hamburger or deep-fried french fries. A 44 oz Super Big Gulp is everyone’s ticket to high blood sugar and lifelong diabetes. Still thirsty? No worries, ask for his big brother the Double Gulp; he will grace you with a full 64 oz insulin spike. Good to know they also offer discounted refills!

They have…


The veil has been lifted on misconceptions about healthy fats. Finally olive oil is getting the recognition it truly deserves. Should not the fact that Europeans have been using it for thousands of years been a clue that it’s not all that bad for us? If any food could be labelled as a jack-of-all-trades, it would be olive oil. Cook, bake, fry, sprinkle, or pour it on many European inspired dishes to bring out wonderful rich flavours. In their kitchens, the back of restaurants and on their terrace tables, olive oil is a staple.

We have…


That’s right; it’s stocked in our cupboards, sitting in the refrigerator door, and at close reach in many restaurants. Our own jack-of-all-trades is good old Heinz Ketchup. This can be spooned, plopped, hit out from the bottom of an old-school glass bottle, squeezed and squirted onto almost any North American food. Thank goodness they make it in travel size to-go packets, because how would one ever go without. Deep-fried food just wouldn’t taste the same without it!

Depending how you came across this post, you can either submit your own comparisons by way of the “Leave a Response” link at the top of this post or “Submit a Comment” below. Come up with an amusing comparison of your own, and I just might add it to this post.

Help put our unhealthy stereotypes behind us. Eat better starting now!

*Quote provided by SAQ

1. “Espresso Machine” photo provided by Rancilio

2. “Fountain Machine” photo provided by Lancer

3. “Croissant” photo provided by Flickr user: alicehou

4. “Donut” photo provided by Flickr user: simon seljeflot

5. “Gelato” photo provided by Flickr user: su-lin

6. “Rolo Ice Cream” photo provided by Nestlé Canada

7. “Latte” photo provided by Flickr user: Kyle Johnson

8. “Starbucks” photo provided by Cake & Carrots

9. “Wine” photo provided by TripAdvisor

10. “Big Gulp” photo provided by Flickr user: Katrina Lou Samsin

11. “Olive Oil” photo provided by Health

12. “Heinz Ketchup” photo provided by Global Package Gallery


20 Worst Drinks in America 2010
October 18, 2010

Contributed by Men’s Health EAT THIS, NOT THAT!

“We stopped making our own iced teas and lemonades (recipe: water, lemon, sugar) and started buying them in bottles or mixes, with ingredients like “high-fructose corn syrup” and “ascorbic acid” on the labels. We stopped thinking of a soda as a treat – akin to an ice cream or a candy bar – and started seeing it as the equivalent of a glass of water, drinking two, three, four, or more a day. Then we stopped drinking water out of the tap and started demanding that it be artificially flavored and put into bottled with the words “vitamin” or “energy” stamped on their labels. And, in just the last decade or so, many of us stopped brewing our own coffee and started buying things with vaguely European names, like “mocha latte.” And the result of all this beverage evolution is that, today, walking into a convenience store or a beverage distributorship has become dangerous to our health.

America’s supermarket aisles and drive-thru menus are awash in empty liquid calories. We’ve updated our list of worst offenders. Survive the rising tide by eliminating these, the country’s most damaging drinkables, from your beverage regiment.”

View the 20 Worst Drinks in America. (PDF file for best viewing)

You can also visit the 20 Worst Drinks in America at it’s original source, Men’s Health EAT THIS, NOT THAT!

*Photo provided by Men’s Health EAT THIS, NOT THAT!


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