In their quest to dominate everything in our lives, Google is trying their hand at healthy living. The search giant recently announced a new initiative that will give searchers easier access to nutrition information for more than 1,000 foods. In a press release announcing the nutrition info project, product manager Ilya Mezheritsky said: “Figuring out how to make smart choices about some of our favorite foods can often be a cumbersome and daunting process. So we’re hoping we can make those choices a little bit easier: starting today you will be able to quickly and easily find extensive nutrition information for over 1,000 fruits, vegetables, meats and meals in search.” Want to know how much sugar is in prune juice? How many calories in a serving of wheat crackers? Just ask a full question in Google Search and you’ll get a fast answer. It’s a lot easier than a simple Google search that usually returns thousands of answers. Google put together this program using data from the USDA. They will list calorie counts and nutrional breakdowns of simple ingredients like oranges, sweet potatoes and turkey — and also more complex, complete meals like tacos, pizza or macaroni and cheese, and
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I was listening to NPR a few weeks ago and heard a review of the book Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over The American Meal by Melanie Warner. I recognized her name from her writing in The New York Times so I decided to check out the book for myself. Pandora’s Lunchbox is similar to documentaries like Food Inc. or Fat, Sick And Nearly Dead that go behind the scenes of commercial farming, except that Ms. Warner investigates the rest of the food available in our grocery aisles . . . the processed food. Instead of telling us yet again about the danger to our health of soda and candy, she focuses on those foods that claim to be healthy. You know, the low-fat frozen meals, breakfast cereals and vitamin-packed snack foods. Warner paints an unsettling picture about how companies tout simple ingredients, while chemically transforming them so they come in consistent shapes and sizes, have long shelf lives and have all their natural nutrition stripped away. Her points are disturbing: As she points out, because of a combination of genetic modification, commercial farming practices and the abuse the meat sustains to become frozen food, most processed chicken meals
Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat from Colorado, used some clever wordplay to draw attention to his proposed SLICE Act. No, Polis is not advocating for more pizza in school lunches, he’s upset that unhealthy pizza is being routinely served to students and classified as a vegetable by the USDA. His proposed act, The SLICE Act, would end school lunch programs’ reliance on tomato paste—i.e. pizza sauce—as a qualified vegetable. SLICE stands for “School Lunch Improvements for Children’s Education” and would, in part, seek to create a better pizza in three ways: 1) “Allow the USDA to accurately count 1/8 of a cup of tomato paste as 1/8 of a cup, instead of half of a cup, which qualifies pizza as a vegetable” 2) “Allow the USDA to implement science-based sodium reduction targets” and 3) “Allow the USDA to set a whole grain requirement.” From Rep. Polis’s release, “While tomato paste has a small amount of nutrients, pizza is loaded with sugar, salt, bread and cheese, which carry a great deal of fat and carbohydrates that turn into sugar during digestion,” reads a release from Polis’s office. “Categorizing pizza as a vegetable because of its small amount of tomato paste is exactly the
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a HUGE fan of online dating. I’ve met three of my last boyfriends online. Yes, three! Let’s not get into my problem with commitment in this post mmmkay? Until recently, I was never concerned for my safety when it came to online dating. I did all the things everyone tells you to do: Meet in public, tell a friend where you’re going and who you’re meeting, and call said friend when the date was over. I always assumed online dating was safe. Unlike the tales that have been burned into my mind of people getting raped, robbed and assaulted via Craigslist hook-ups, mostly everything I’ve heard about online dating has seemed, well, perfectly cool (except for a few crappy dates of course). I never had a creepy experience until very recently. I met up with a guy for drinks a few months ago, I wasn’t really into him so we never went on a second date and I didn’t think about him again. Well, just a few weeks ago, I’m watching my local news and whose picture do I see on the screen for being arrested for having child porn on his work
The cost of birth control and women’s health has become a huge issue this election season. Surprisingly (or not?), a lot of people don’t think women deserve any help financing the costs of family planning. Meanwhile, men are being encouraged to exercise their right to birth control with things like free pizza! A Cape Cod clinic is offering men a free pizza with their vasectomy, capitalizing on the fact that March is apparently the most popular time of year for men to exercise their reproductive rights. Rumor has it that men get it done now so that they watch March Madness “guilt-free.” Urology Associates of Cape Cod made news with their ploy to get men in for surgery. Virginia Urology is also getting attention for their new site, vasectomymaddness.com, where they pitch a similar argument for getting a vasectomy in time for college basketball’s biggest weekend. Their pitch reads: “Spend 3 days on the couch watching hoops with your wife’s approval! . . . Watch the Tournament While You Recover: Enjoy full days of uninterrupted basketball action from your couch.” What I find more surprising than the random link between basketball and getting your scrotum operated on, is the fact
In the past few years, “curvy actresses” (actresses who don’t fit the size two norm of Hollywood) have gained positive attention with the media. Unfortunately, this attention hasn’t come without their bodies being picked apart. For every article that has celebrated the voluptuous figures of Scarlett Johanssen and Sophia Vergara, there are two more questioning whether or not these women are truly healthy or if they’re good examples for our children (we always have to think of the children for some reason). With the recent success of the movie “The Hunger Games,” Jennifer Lawrence is the latest celebrity to have her body picked apart. Some say that she was too “big” to play the impoverished Katniss Everdeen. “The Hunger Games” follows Katniss on her quest to win an annual barbaric battle that requires 24 children to fight to the death until only one remains. The children in the movie struggle to find food, and apparently Lawrence’s “big” body discredits her portrayal of the feisty 16-year-old. New York Times writer Manohla Dargis says of Lawrence: “A few years ago Ms. Lawrence might have looked hungry enough to play Katniss, but now, at 21, her seductive, womanly figure makes a bad fit
There’s good news in the interwebs! Last month popular blog hosting service Tumblr announced that blogs that promote self-harm, like eating disorders or suicide will be banned from it’s platform. In addition, the new policy will also affect searches for related tags. Searches for terms like “purging,” “proana,” and “thinspiration,” will now prompt an automatic “PSA-style message” educating the searcher about the dangers of eating disorders. The thing with pro-ana websites is that most girls never even hear about them until they do get banned from blogs or search engines. So what exactly is a pro-ana website? A pro-ana website is one that promotes anorexia. Some pro-ana sites use the glorified description of being “thinspirational.” Pro-ana and pro-mia (short for “pro-bulimia”) pages give sick girls tips on how to be sicker. They offer ways to resist food, post photos of skeletal women (literally — you can usually see their bones), and serve as a constant reminder that their readers can always be thinner — and that thinner is better. Pro-ana websites are dangerous, period. They are designed by sick people to not only spread their sickness, but worsen it in themselves and others. 20% of people diagnosed with long-term anorexia