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


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!

The NO POP Pledge
October 1, 2010

I was inspired to write this post as I have seen a series of 2L Pepsi bottles finding their way back into my refrigerator. Simply outing the person responsible for this unthinkable crime just would not feel right; but I will take this opportunity to tell you… I am married.

Pop, soda, soft drink, cola, whatever you call it. Why is it so bad for you?

Most likely, if you really enjoy drinking pop, you are drinking too much. Unless drank occasionally, pop is extremely addictive, mostly because of the added caffeine, which is sad considering there are many different ways to get your caffeine fix other than drinking pop.

There are many conflicting reports about how much sugar is in pop. It is actually hard to believe that so much sugar can even dissolve in a can of pop. So just how much sugar really is in a can of pop? It is no mystery; the nutrition facts label on the back indicates plainly how many grams of sugar are in one serving. Knowing that a teaspoon of sugar is 4.2 grams, you can then divide the number of sugar grams by 4.2, giving you the total amount of sugar in teaspoons. A can of Pepsi contains 41 grams of sugar, equivalent to 9.8 teaspoons of sugar. A can of Coca-Cola contains 39 grams of sugar, equivalent to 9.3 teaspoons of sugar.

That much sugar wreaks havoc on our bodies and causes mayhem on our hormones, making insulin levels skyrocket. Our entire bloodstream only contains approximately 5 grams (slightly more than a teaspoon) of glucose (blood sugar) at any given time. It is quite apparent how easy it is to upset our body’s delicate balance. With that much sugar in our system, our body will be in constant fat storage mode.

“Out of all the sweeteners in the world, nothing seems to contribute to obesity more than good old table sugar (sucrose). It is a very hard sugar for your body to handle, due to the minerals that are needed to digest it, such as chromium, manganese, cobalt, copper, zinc, and magnesium. These happen to be the very minerals that are stripped from sugar during the refining process. As a result, sugar depletes the body’s own mineral reserves as it gets metabolized.

The powerful combination of glucose and fructose–such as you find in table sugar–simulates your insulin more than anything else tested. So STAY AWAY FROM REFINED TABLE SUGAR at all costs if you want to lose body fat and maintain or gain back your health.” Fat Wars

Think you are off the hook because you drink diet soft drinks? Think again!

“…most artificial sweeteners can affect your health just a negatively as sugar itself (and in some cases even more so).

These sugar substitutes didn’t exist… …therefore, our bodies don’t know what to do with them, so they treat them as a type of sugar. A number of laboratory tests confirm that artificial sweeteners can boost insulin by actually fooling the body into thinking the sweetener is sugar. And remember, it’s the insulin that causes your boys to switch into a fat-storage mode. When your insulin is stimulated, it looks for sugar. When it can’t find any real sugar from these substitutes, it ends up going after your own blood sugar, causing you to experience an energy decline and a fat-storage incline.

The ones to be extra cautious about are aspartame (NutraSweet and Equal) and saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, Sprinkle Twin, and Sugar Twin)…” Fat Wars

It is obvious; we should not be drinking the stuff! Life can get hectic and we are not always in complete control of our circumstances. So here is what I propose…

Sign my NO POP Pledge blog post.

By doing so, you agree to keep your home a pop free zone, not willfully bringing pop into your home. Of course, there will be occasions when invited guests bring some over, when someone hands you a rum and coke at a gathering or you just might find yourself sipping a soft drink of a combo you bought at a fast food joint, but so be it.

Let’s just focus on keeping your refrigerator a pop free zone. You can sign my No POP Pledge by way of the “Leave a Response” link at the top of this post or “Submit a Comment” below.

Signed Stewy (making you healthier, one blog post at a time)

*Photo provided by deviantART user: littlexb

Does healthy = bland?
March 15, 2010

No! Healthy does not have to equal bland. Two of the biggest culprits contributing to this unfortunate misconception, are the unprecedented amounts of sugar and salt in our day to day foods. This has led us to believe that the only foods that taste good are fast foods and highly processed ones.

Foods with alarming quantities of either sugar or salt are highly addictive, and if consumed regularly can easily leave one depending on them. When it comes to salt, we Canadians even outeat our neighbors in the United States. Don’t think for one minute you can simply boycott fast food chains and live a salt free lifestyle, because it’s everywhere! Why? I’ll have to leave that answer for my next post as I don’t want to get side tracked.

In the meantime, to illustrate the difficulty we face, make sure to grab a soup can from your kitchen and read the nutritional facts on the label. One of the healthier foods you can choose from in your home, right? Well… it still remains a better choice than other highly processed foods, but just look at those sodium levels! Many canned soups will give you upto half of your recommended daily requirements of sodium, so eating more than the serving size and finishing the whole can will be your daily requirement of sodium in one sitting! For more information on this sodium epidemic, Statistics Canada has done a study on Salt Consumption.

The good news is that taste buds adapt to whatever you throw at them. For example, how many of us really liked coffee, wine, olives, oysters or fine cheese the very first time we tasted them. Most likely those foods took a little getting used to because they are an acquired taste.

Well fortunately a balanced diet is much like building up an acquired taste for unfamiliar foods. Healthy foods do require your taste buds to adapt, but you will soon love foods that you never thought you would. Believe me it gets easier with time, and you will soon see your likes and dislikes changing completely. This is great and very important to your progress, because you won’t stick to anything if you don’t like the food you’re throwing down the hatch.

*Photos provided by Microsoft Office Online Clip Art

%d bloggers like this: