Tag Archives: nutrition

New “Food” at Dunkin’ Donuts


Dunkin Donuts Logo

Not just coffee and donuts anymore

Let me first say this – I don’t spend a lot of time at fast food restaurants.  I haven’t been to one in months.  But I’m consumed by this weird fascination with the whole industry.

We’re at a really interesting point in the history of food.  It has never been safer, more readily available or more diverse.  We have, as a culture, the technology to grow healthy food in a multitude of environments and make it available to the public at any time, at any place in this country of ours.

We have methods to preserve foods that, just 50 years ago, you had to consume within days of harvest.  Heck, an orange in New York used to be an oddity – now people in the north can eat them every day of the week if they wanted.

And these technologies have been embraced by a lot of restaurants and grocery stores, expanding local flavors and offering new ways to eat healthy.

But the fast food industry has run in the opposite direction.  Take, unassuming as it may sound, Dunkin’ Donuts for example.  They have the same technology available to them as everybody else, but do they use it to make inexpensive food that is healthy and fresh?  Nope.  They make this, the blueberry waffle breakfast sandwich:

Blueberry Waffle Breakfast Sandwich Dunkin Donuts

Blueberry Waffle Breakfast Sandwich | Photo from Dunkin Donuts

Keep in mind, this is Dunkin’ Donuts own photo which means this is as good as it could possibly, under any circumstance, look.  The blueberries next to it are also misleading, considering what constitutes the “blueberry nuggets” that are actually in the waffle.

I’ve got nothing against Dunkin’ Donuts, but I just find this whole phenomenon bizarre.  To me, eggs, cheese and sausage sandwiched between two blueberry waffles is a weird breakfast – and the shapes of everything kinda creeps me out – the perfectly round egg thing and the perfectly square sausage and cheese.  I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy.

Nutrition wise, it’s got 550 calories, 38 grams of fat and 78% of your daily cholesterol.  It’s no Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowl, but still pretty bad.

And the ingredient list is strange as well, not for any one particular thing, really, but just a general abundance of ingredients.

Dunkin' Donuts Ingredients

Ingredients in Dunkin' Donuts Sandwich

Most of the ingredients are your typical fast food fillers (the waffle, sausage and eggs all contain citric acid, for example).  The sausage does contain BHA and Propyl Gallate, which are both approved by the FDA but having been subject to some debate, especially since they have been shown to cause cancer in certain animals.

Regardless, while you’re at Dunkin’ Donuts, make sure to get a Coffee Coolatta.  It’s a great way to start your day – with only 800 calories in a large, 46 grams of fat and 145% of your daily saturated fat intake.  Considering it’s a drink, that’s pretty impressive.  I’ll look for something to top it, but until then, this might be the worst thing you could drink.

Dunkin Donuts Coolatta

The Coolatta - looks good though, right? | Photo from Dunkin' Donuts

I’ll keep a lookout for the next crazy fast food trend, but until then, thanks for reading.


Film of the Week – Forks Over Knives


Forks Over Knives Poster

Forks Over Knives Poster | Photo from Fandango.com

Two days until the release of Forks Over Knives, the latest documentary touting the benefits of a plant-based diet.  And this one gets a wide theatrical release, so get ready for the debate over it’s merits – I’m sure it will have the low-carb-ers and paleo-dieters in a tizzy.

I haven’t seen the film yet, so I don’t want to go into great detail about what I think it contains.  The gist, though, is this: the diseases of affluence (obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc) that are plaguing our country are a result of an over-abundance of animal proteins in our diet.  The so-called “American Diet,” which is high in everything except fruits and vegetables, is leading to a significant decline in the overall health of American adults and, sadly, children.

The two doctors profiled in Forks Over Knives (forks are used for vegetables, knives for meat/surgery, hence the title) have long supported a diet that is heavily, if not exclusively, plant-based – the complete inverse of the diet that the large majority of Americans now consume.

Dr. Colin Campbell, Cornell University

Dr. Colin Campbell, Cornell University | Photo from Forksoverknives.com

I think we probably all know where I stand.  A plant-based diet has been great for me.  I feel healthy and energetic, and I eat every meal with a clear conscience.

Regardless of whether you agree with this “diet” (and I don’t mean that in the fad-diet sense, but in the way-of-life-diet sense), I encourage you to see the film, do a little research, talk to your doctor and decide on the best diet for you.  “Vegetarian” isn’t a bad word and “vegan” food can be just as delicious and satisfying as a hamburger or steak.  Just watch the film with an open mind.

And I try not to be preachy on this blog.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and their own diet and frankly, I don’t feel that I am qualified to convert anyone to vegetarianism or veganism.  I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist.  All I can do is give my opinion and my experience, and let the experts do the talking.

And this documentary is the experts talking.

Check out the trailer:

I also want to point out that this film is produced by John Corry, my uncle’s brother.  And my cousin, Ian Corry, worked as a camera operator on the sequences featuring Joey Aucoin (the landscaping company owner with high cholesterol and diabetes).  Check out some of Ian’s other work here.

Dr. Oz, well-respected daytime doctor to the masses, recently spent a whole show praising and interviewing the creators of Forks Over Knives and the doctors who have spent their lives researching the benefits of a plant-based diet.  The first few minutes of the show are up on Youtube, but you’ll have to dig a little further to find the rest if you missed it on the telly.

Here’s part 1:

Forks Over Knives releases in New York and Los Angeles on May 6, and releases nationwide in the weeks that follow.  Click here for a list of opening dates by city.


A Change is Gonna Come


As part of Barry O’s health care reform bill passed last year, chain restaurants will soon be required to post in-store calorie counts for all non-alcoholic items on their menu – a step in the right direction, in my opinion.Chain Restaurant

This should, hopefully, push the big chains into some offering up some healthier options.  I mean, it’s going to be a bit of a turn-off if you glance down the menu and all the dishes are pushing 1,000 calories.  Restaurants are going to want some low numbers mixed in, and that’s a good thing for anyone who’s interested in the occasional meal that’s not drenched in butter and grease.

Similar laws are already enforced in certain states, but this proposed legislation would make the labeling law nation-wide.

There’s a few exceptions to the proposed rules – alcoholic beverages are exempt and restaurants with less than 20 locations aren’t required to do anything.  It’s okay, though, baby steps are better than no steps.

There’s also some grey area on what constitutes a “restaurant.”  It appears that the decision will be based on whether or not food sales are the primary reason for business.

Convenience stores and grocery stores are in, movies theaters and bowling alleys are out.  Lightbulb-baked 7-Eleven taquitos are in, large popcorn in the limited-edition Harry Potter bag is out.

7-Eleven Taquito

7-Eleven Taquito | Photo from BiggestMenu.com

This article elaborates on the issue more, and points out that a large popcorn and large soda from a movie theater, aside from costing you more than the movie itself, is likely to run over 2,000 calories – more than the FDA suggests an adult should consume in an entire day.

But let’s be honest, the kind of people who order a large popcorn and soda for themselves probably aren’t the same people who care about calorie intake.  And that’s not meant as a slight to anyone, but a person without a TV probably doesn’t care what’s going on with American Idol.

Menu Board

Posted calories on a menu in New York | Photo from Cleveland.com

Personally, posted calorie counts probably won’t change what I order, but it will satisfy some curiosities and provide fodder for debate.  Knowledge is power, as they say, and this is no different.

On a somewhat unrelated side note, most have probably heard that Subway recently passed McDonald’s in total number of restaurants (despite still being well behind in overall sales).  But did you know that there are more 7-Elevens in the world than either Subway or McD’s, and by quite a margin?  That’s a lot of taquitos.

 


The Lunch Line Blues


Let’s take a quick break from the recipes…

School lunches in the US are pathetic.  For all the talk about this country as the richest in the world, you would never know it by looking at the garbage that we feed to our schoolchildren.  It’s a complicated issue to solve, I’m sure, and one that is compounded by several factors – lack of diet and nutrition education, funding from junk food companies (Coke and Pepsi, I’m looking at you), food contracts awarded to the lowest bidders, decrease in physical education, and an education system that is underfunded to begin with.

Adding to the problem is the undeniable fact that many kids don’t use their lunch money to purchase a well-balanced meal (if even possible).  At my high school, $2.50 would buy you a full lunch, complete with meat, veggies, fruits, bread, and milk.  OR it could buy a soda, french fries, and pack of cookies.  Guess what the kids choose?

Now, I left public education a while ago, but not much has changed since then.  Kids are still eating french fries by the handful, and those corn-syrup-infused fruit cups are still the closest thing to fresh produce that move in the lunch line.

School lunch collage

School lunch collage. Photo from NPR.com

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