Foods That Wake You up and Give You Energy

Sleep is vital to good health. MayoClinic.com states that adults have lower mortality rates and perform complex tasks better if they receive seven to eight hours of sleep per night. However, waking up with energy in the morning is difficult if you’ve spent the night tossing and turning. Incorporate certain foods into your diet that will help wake you up and give you energy throughout the day.

Whole Grains

High in fiber and complex carbohydrates, whole grains are a nutritious breakfast food that can help to wake you up. According to Wheatfoods.org, whole grains contain antioxidants and may reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Examples of whole grain foods include whole-wheat flour, oatmeal and bulgur. Add oat bran muffins and whole-grain bread to your breakfast meal.

Vitamin C

Studies at Arizona State University in Tempe showed that participants low on vitamin C performed better on the treadmill once they started receiving vitamin C on a daily basis. Some foods high in vitamin C include oranges or orange juice, guavas, strawberries, kiwifruit and cantaloupe.

Protein

Prevention.com recommends including protein with your breakfast for longer-lasting energy. Some examples cited are fat-free milk, cheese, eggs and low-fat yogurt. Enjoy a high-energy breakfast by making an omelet combining eggs, egg whites, cheese, chopped green and/or red pepper. Enjoy your omelet with whole-grain toast.

Protein Smoothie

If you don’t have time to eat a sit-down breakfast, MayoClinic.com has a high-protein recipe that can help boost your energy for the day. Blend 1 cup of vanilla yogurt, 1 cup of 2 percent milk, one medium banana (cut in chunks), 2 tbsp. of wheat germ and 2 tbsp. of protein powder until smooth. You can add ice and any combination of berries as well. Use low-fat yogurt and nonfat milk to reduce the number of calories in the smoothie.

Mid-Morning Snacks

Eat foods high in protein to keep you going throughout the day. Snacks between meals can include peanut butter spread either on whole-wheat bread or an apple, dried fruit, almonds or cheese.

Dunkin’ Donuts Has A Plan To Compete With McDonald’s: Pointing Out That It Also Serves Breakfast All Day

In October Dunkin’ Donuts admitted that it was “obviously” paying attention to McDonald’s all-day breakfast menu, but didn’t seem too worried. Three months later, Dunkin’ is revealing how it plans to tackle the competition in the breakfast arena: remind people that Dunkin’ Donuts also serves breakfast all day.

In the face of declining sales and the threat of Ronald McDonald on its doorstep, Dunkin’ is making a few moves to bring people in the doors again, one of which is revamping its menu boards at counters and drive-thru windows at 8,400 U.S. locations to emphasize coffee and bring attention to its own “all day” breakfast foods, reports Bloomberg News.

The company’s brands chief executive Nigel Travis has said that “revitalized burger players” are hurting the chain, amid a same-store sales drop of 0.8% last quarter, and declining customer traffic in the same time period.

Dunkin’ is now clinging to its breakfast business: instead of focusing on new sandwiches and wraps, as it has been introducing recently, it’ll focus on core breakfast fare, including coffee drinks, which are actually more profitable than food.

You can tell the menus are new because they use a cursive lettering and use images like dark-roast coffee, Coolatta drinks, and egg sandwiches. Combo meals will fall by the wayside, as Dunkin’ will pull back on touting those deals. Before, about 60% of the menu board was taken up by combo meals, despite the fact that they account for a small percentage of the company’s sales. Calorie counts will also be added to the menus.

Though the timing would appear to be in response to McDonald’s, the company says the new menus have been in the works for 18 months.

“Our menu boards were due for a redesign,” said Scott Hudler, the company’s vice president of global consumer engagement. “The menu board helps clear up any confusion on how to order, and shows that our entire menu is available all day.”

Taco Tuesday: College Course on Tacos Will Leave You Hungry for More

Taco ’bout the perfect college class. Following other food based education—like majoring in pizza—a University of Kentucky class is allowing students to study tacos. I know Donald Trump wouldn’t be a fan, but you know who would be? El Chapo. His capture was partly because he couldn’t keep away from the tasty treat.

The class, seeking to educate students on the Mexican dish (and not the imitation stuff at Taco Bell, Chipotle, Qdoba, and other chain restaurants), is called “Taco Literacy” and it’s taught by Professor Steven Alvarez. Yes, the class involves visiting a Mexican restaurant and taking a “taco tour” of Mexican restaurants in Lexington, Ky. where students will inevitably eat. A lot. But Alvarez explained to Buzzfeed News the “literacy” part of the class, full name: “Taco Literacy: Public Advocacy and Mexican Food in the U.S. South.”

“It really encompasses more about migration foodways and looking at the South through the prism of food. The course is on food but it’s really about the culture around food,” Alvarez said. One of the ways migration is examined is through finding the areas where Mexican restaurants are found in Kentucky. Students found there was “segregation” with restaurants seen in Mexican communities.

There you have it. Taco Literacy is just as hard as any other college course one would take (like wine tasting perhaps), if not harder, no matter what your first impressions may be.

Diet App Claims To Help You Watch Your Weight By Scanning The Molecules In Your Food

It’s a new year, and you know what that means: new diet plans — or at least, you might be promising yourself to stick to a new diet plan. But it isn’t easy, which you know if you’ve ever sat staring longingly at the last piece of cheese on the plate, wondering whether it will totally screw up your resolution to finally lose just five more pounds. A new app and its connected smart device claims it can do just that, scan your food and let you know whether or not it’ll lead you from your chosen diet path.

Our friends at Consumer Reports are roaming the booths at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show and came across the DietSensor app, which purports to help folks maintain their diets by way of a gadget that scans the molecules in food via an optical sensor. It then spits out information in the connected app with ratings on carbs, calories, protein, and fat, and tells you what you should eat for the rest of the day.

Based on the food you’ve already scanned up to that point, the app may then ask, somewhat passive-aggressively, “Sure you need to eat more?” or tell you you’re good to go.

The app will only work if you’re checking homogenous foods — so again, cheese, or a piece of bread, or a slab of honey-cured ham. If you want to find out what’s in your pizza and whether it’ll ruin your diet, you’ll have to add that information manually to your log.

It’s also a bit pricy: the gadget itself is $249, while the app will cost $10-$20 per month when it becomes available.

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Is Your Thanksgiving Turkey On Drugs?

We’ve written before about the overuse of antibiotics in turkeys and how it contributes to the development of drug-resistant bacteria, and some companies have pledged to cut down on the amount of unnecessary antibiotics they feed to their birds. But was the turkey you’re planning to carve up next Thursday raised using these and other potentially harmful drugs?

That’s the subject of a new report [PDF] from non-profit group Food Animal Concerns Trust, which looked at the nation’s largest turkey producers and their policies for antibiotics use and the feed additive ractopamine, which is allowed in the U.S. but banned in dozens of other countries around the world.

The FACT survey asked companies to provide information regarding three key issues. First, do they use medically important antibiotics for “disease prevention”? This is a common reason given by farmers to employ antibiotics, but many scientists believe that continual, low-dose prophylactic use of antibiotics only has the end result of further encouraging the development of drug-resistant pathogens.

The second question involves the use of antibiotics for growth-promotion. In 2013, the FDA asked drug companies to remove growth-promotion as an allowable use for their animal antibiotics. Of course, that doesn’t stop these drugs from continuing to work as growth-promoters; it just means the farmers have to change their reason for using the antibiotics to “disease prevention.”

Finally, there’s the issue of ractopamine, a lean-ness promoter used in the last stages of turkey farming that encourages muscle growth without additional fat. The drug can have possible ill effects on the wellness of the animals that receive it, and it has been banned in many other countries over concerns about the potential risk for heart problems in humans who eat meat from animals treated with ractopamine.

According to the report, only two of the large turkey companies — Tyson (Hillshire Farm), and Hain Pure Protein (Plainville Farms brand) — avoid the use of all antibiotics and ractopamine.

All of the others at least use antibiotics for disease prevention, though biggies like Cargill and Foster Farms claim to not use the drugs for growth-promotion.

When Cargill first announced its “no antibiotics for growth-promotion” policy in 2014 some industry watchers were skeptical that the company was merely paying lip service to the idea, as “disease prevention” use of antibiotics can be identical in terms of dose, duration, and prevalence to that of growth-promotion.

Similarly, Foster Farms — the poultry giant behind a massive outbreak of salmonella in 2013 — announced this past summer that it will eventually eliminate all medically important antibiotics from its birds, but was criticized for not providing a more specific timeline to reach that goal.

Probably the two most recognizable names in turkeys — Butterball and Perdue — use antibiotics for both preventing disease and to get bigger birds.

For the report, Perdue told FACT that around 1/5 of its turkeys are raised without any antibiotics at all and that the company is “committed to reducing antibiotic use in turkeys,” but that it’s “not as advanced in reducing antibiotic use in turkeys as we are in chickens.”

As for ractopamine, while only three producers are listed as using the drug to raise lean, large turkeys, that group includes the fourth-largest producer, Farbest, and household name Kraft.

Here is a chart summarizing the results of the survey:

turkey-drug-chart

You Can Eat Christmas Dinner At Hogwarts, For A Price

This year, platform nine and three-quarters is opening up to the public for Christmas dinner. That’s right: you can dine at Hogwarts this winter, if only for a small fee.

So the dinner is actually on December 3rd, and a ticket will get you access to the great hall of the Harry Potter franchise fame. It’s the latest event to be added to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, and it’ll cost you. One ticket is $349. Yikes. But, for the hefty cost of admittance, you’ll get butterbeer, access to Diagon Alley, a custom wand, and a view of “the breathtaking Hogwarts castle model (covered in a layer of filmmaking snow especially for the festive season),” as the studio tour website details. 

I guess it’s time to figure out that “accio $350!” spell I’ve been working on for a smooth five years, huh?

Andrew Zimmern Eats Squirrel And Opossum In This Clip From The New Season Of ‘Bizarre Foods’ Premiering Tonight

Andrew Zimmern is gearing up for the next season of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods. 

In this exclusive clip, Zimmern visits Guatemala with his guide, celebrity chef Mirciny Moliviatis, who takes him to eat with a family who prepares roasted squirrel and opossum. It might sound odd, but Zimmern points out in the clip that small game over open flame is the way mankind used to eat. And while modern cooking over the course of centuries has resulted in a brand new world of cuisines, Zimmern says that looking backwards in time helps us preserve who we were as people before all the bells and whistles of progress.

I don’t care if it’s a taco in Mexico City or a piece of rotted bushmeat in the Aha Hills of Botswana. The show is about the people. More importantly, it’s about increasing patience, tolerance, and understanding with people around the world. My show is about the things we have in common like food and not the things that divide us like skin color, religion, or sexuality.

Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern kicks off its new season tonight on Travel Channel at 9 p.m.

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Here is the List Of Secret Menu Items At Panera

Here’s what our reconnaissance efforts have unearthed:

  • You can add avocado to anything. This upped the enjoyment factor of several menu items for me exponentially, especially the Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich, which is somewhat lacking in its natural state. There is officially an upcharge for it — but if you’re in the store often enough, I have seen them waive it.
  • The “rapid pickup” shelf makes it easy to grab your online order without ever interacting with a single human being.One of the things I dislike about my local Panera is that the crowds are insane. I was grateful enough that it’s possible to order online through their website for 10-minute pickup at my local store, but it wasn’t immediately clear that I didn’t have to talk to the person behind the counter to actually receive my order. The first time I ordered online, I stood around dumbly near the Phone/Fax Order sign (haha…fax) until someone took pity on me and pointed me towards the rapid pickup shelf. I have never seen any other orders on this shelf besides mine, despite the fact that there’s often a line out the door.
  • There’s a secret breadless menu. While I reserve the right to be suspicious of someone who would voluntarily eat at Panera without partaking in their assortment of simple carbohydrates at their best, I acknowledge that there are plenty of people out there who are gluten-free or carb-free or calorie conscious. Panera offers sizeable “power” bowls that consist of various combinations of protein options (steak, chicken, turkey, or egg), vegetables, and/or hummus.
  • You can order from your table through the app. This is another great and underused line-beating hack that will save you precious minutes in scoring prime real estate for your party as far as seating is concerned.

These are the things we’ve observed independently. However, Panera’s resident registered dietitian Katie Bengston had some good advice for Panera patrons looking specifically for ways to make healthier choices from their available menu selections:

  • You can apparently substitute quinoa for protein on a salad. I won’t pretend that I have ever eaten quinoa or that I even know what quinoa is. But if Panera’s registered dietician pitched it to me, it’s probably pretty great.
  • For Panera’s salads and sandwiches, you can often reduce total calories, fat and sodium by omitting or having sauces, condiments and dressing served on the side. You can always customize your order to substitute or omit ingredients that don’t fit into your diet. Also, some of the sandwiches receive salt and pepper when hand crafted, so be sure to ask to have the salt left off when you order if that’s a concern for you.
  • Many of the common-sense healthy eating habits you’d use elsewhere in your life can be easily adapted at Panera; order ahalf portion of the sandwiches, panini, salads, soups to watch your portion sizes. Trade out2% milk for skim milk to save on calories and fat. Trade out regular eggs for egg whites to save on calories and fat. Trade regular milk for almond milk if you have a milk allergy.
  • And of course, Bengston recommends adding the all-natural turkey raised without antibiotics to a classic cafe salad for a boost of protein.

We won’t lie; we were hoping for juicier trade secrets than those. Nevertheless, we feel a bit happier knowing that there is a secret vat of quinoa (it does come in vats, right?) that lies in wait in the kitchen at Panera, just waiting for that pivotal moment when you, the customer, might pull the trigger on that adventurous food substitution.

SCIENCE PROVES FOOD IS ALSO THE WAY TO A WOMAN’S HEART

It’s long been said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. And in a win for food-loving women everywhere who’ve long proclaimed the same, scientists at the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine have finally proven that women respond more to romantic cues on fuller stomachs, too.

Scientists tested the theory by viewing brain activity in response to romantic stimulation in women who had fasted, and in women with full stomachs. In the most unsurprising news to anyone who’s tasted the powerful aphrodisiac also known as pizza, they concluded that women demonstrated greater brain activation in reward-related neural regions after eating, meaning they are more open to, um….other rewarding activities shortly after a satisfying meal.

“This data suggests that eating may prime or sensitize young women to rewards beyond food… it also supports a shared neurocircuitry for food and sex,” reported the research’s first author Alice Ely, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine. Looks like George Costanza had the right idea, all along.

Wine, dine, and be happy.

Recipe of the Week: Fried Chicken and Creamy Coleslaw Sandwich

Ingredients

  • Fried Chicken
for the coleslaw
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage (I used red)
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (I used Hellman’s)
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • salt to taste
to serve
  • buttered brioche rolls

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the coleslaw in a bowl and mix well.
  2. When the chicken is cooked, serve it along with the coleslaw on the buttered rolls.