Healthy Byte: The New unMcDonald’s

Lettuce Buns and Beetroot: Is It Now Possible to Eat a Healthy Burger at McDonalds?

McDonald’s new “Create Your Taste” kiosks allow you to build your own burger. But is it healthier? (Image: McDonalds)

Several fast food companies and chain restaurants have made very public moves recently to create more transparent, healthier options for consumers.

And now, McDonald’s is changing, too. The fast food giant, which announced last year that is will be eliminating eight items from its menus as well as getting rid of some ingredients, is rolling out a new feature that allows customers to build their own meal.

The program, dubbed “Create Your Taste,” is currently out in Australia and a few select McDonald’s in the U.S. This year, the chain plans to expand the program to 2,000 U.S. locations, a McDonald’s executive told USA Today.

“Create Your Taste” features touch-screen kiosks that allow customers to choose from 31 ingredients to build their own sandwich (you can check out the offerings here).

2015 8-28

Among the options: The ability to ditch the traditional bun and make a lettuce burger. Customers can also opt to add very un-McDonald’s-like ingredients to their sandwiches such as guacamole, grilled pineapple, and sliced beetroot.

image

You can use the new “Burger Builders” to create your own sandwich, and select from a host of healthier toppings. (Image: McDonalds)

“Create Your Taste” is a bit pricier than other McDonald’s options. A DIY quarter-pounder sandwich is about $5.99, theAssociated Press reports, and takes up to 10 minutes to prepare.

While McDonald’s hasn’t exactly been known as a health food vendor, experts say this is a step in the right direction.

“Offering more whole foods is never a bad idea,” registered dietitian nutritionist Beth Warren, author of Living a Real Life with Real Food, tells Yahoo Health.

Of course, customers also have the ability to load up on unhealthy choices, such as opting for a larger bun and adding as much bacon, cheese, and fried egg as they want to a burger, which registered dietitian Keri Gans, author of The Small Change Diet, is wary of.

“They’re offering more vegetables than they’ve ever offered but a person can still lay on too much cheese, mayo-based dressing, or a large bun — nobody needs to supersize their bun,” she tells Yahoo Health. “At the end of the day it’s going to come down to calories.”

But what about that lettuce wrap? While Gans says there’s nothing wrong with eating a bun, Warren says it’s a great option since, most likely, the buns used are not 100 percent whole grain (and therefore don’t contain a lot of valuable nutrients).

If you visit a “Create Your Own” kiosk, Warren recommends choosing the lettuce wrap with an egg for your protein source. Load it up with the vegetable options offered, sprinkle in jalapeno for an added kick, and use the guacamole for a dip.

“Skip the cheese, mayo-based dips, and the meat,” she says, adding that if you want a burger, take a pass on adding the egg.

While Warren doesn’t think health-conscious eaters will suddenly scramble to visit McDonald’s, she says this is a step in the right direction.

Gans says she’s “excited” about the healthier options, adding, “I’ll be curious to see if people get on board with it.”

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Wednesday Wisdom

persistance

“When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stone-cutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”

~ Jacob Riis

Bit of Fiction: Smart Story [1200 word limit] (Scofield – The Scene Book)

2015 8-24

The Mighty Little Ant

Numbness had fully settled in my toothpick legs. The full weight of the combat gear bore down on my lower extremities as if were clenched in the jaws of a rather ferocious vice. Standing at 5 feet tall and weighing 97 lbs, I was essentially carrying my own body weight’s worth in equipment. After some deliberation, the Blackhats collectively decided to give me a fake rucksack filled with sandbags to make sure that I ‘weigh enough to trigger the static line’ and deploy my parachute. Their collective thoughtfulness may have very well killed me right in the airplane hangar under the crushing 90 lbs. worth of equipment!

I sat there with the others under the strain of being tethered to the unimaginable physical burden of equipment, anticipating our first combat jump with great angst. The cavernous hangar was filled with the hush of uneasy tension. This was jump number three out of the required five in order to earn the honor of wearing the Airborne parachute badge on the uniform. A silent statement to say, ‘yea I maybe short, and I maybe a woman, but I’m a total badass!’

Due to high winds on the DZ we had been prepped and distressingly sitting since 0230 and it is now just after lunch. I had to move my right leg, the gear was becoming a tourniquet causing my feet to perpetually tingle annoyingly. I moved a few centimeters at most, anything to avoid a second equipment check by the Blackhats. The Blackhats took a particular sadistic delight in equipment checks. You see it afforded them the opportunity to affectionately polish the process off with the hardest slap on the butt which they could conjure and administer. I was fortunate to be so short that my Blackhat tried three times and failed to aim low enough. What he managed was a handful of the back of my parachute and I hope it hurted his hand … a lot.

With great care I moved my leg just enough so that the dented metal rucksack frame was no longer drilling directly on top my kneecap. My hands awkwardly laid to either side of me, some rested theirs on top of their reserve but I didn’t dare. I had an insatiable fear that the button on the sleeve of my uniform would accidentally latch the pull pin and arbitrally deploy my reserve in the middle of the hangar. The reserve was tucked right beneath my breasts and wrapped tightly around my torso like a deranged man’s corset. So like a boy on his first date I stiffly fiddled with my arm placement finally deciding that the side was the safest.

Some heads had started to bob forcibly forward under the weight of the kevlar helmet. It was like watching a game of ‘whack a mole’ as one-by-one the soldiers nodded off. A crooked smile broke through my face with the amusing scene and as I was about to succumb to the ‘z’ monster myself “STAND UP, STAND UP, STAND UP!” over the loudspeaker jolted me back to reality. In unison, we all Geisha shuffled towards the hangar door onto the tarmac. The cumbersome rucksacks were in front of our legs posted against our shins; so all any of us could muster was to waddle like a string of ducklings following mama duck to the other side of the road.

I was oddly thankful for the extra weight passing the back of the C-130’s thunderous propeller engines. The engines generated gusts of fuel laden scorching air which would have most certainly knocked me over equipment free. With every step closer to the plane my heart quickened its apprehensive pace. My hands grew clamy with nervous sweat and the booming engines faded leaving me to hear nothing but the sound of my own labored breaths, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. It echoed obtrusively like being in an astronaut helmet and for a moment panic had set in where I half contemplated to make a run for it.

We were herded on to the plane like cattle and the Jumpmaster relieves us of our static line as we passed. With a sharp click and a tug our faith were locked. The air seem to accumulate more and more nervousness as more paratroopers filed in. We sat shoulder-to-shoulder, knees touching knees, thighs touching thighs, like sardines jammed into too small of a can. The tempestuous vibration of the engines made one eager to leave the plane before anyone got sick in such close quarters. The Blackhats and Jumpmasters briskly walked on top of soldiers’ laps doing one last static line check because the aisle are all now enveloped with endless pairs of legs.

The Air Force Lieutenant Colonel next to me leaned over and half shouted, “you know, the Air Force just isn’t quite as proficient with punishing ourselves like the Army” he said with a playful twinkle in his kind pale blue eyes.  

Stifling a laugh, “Oh really Sir?” I asked amused.

He nodded and explained, “If the jump was at 1 we would leisurely stroll on to the tarmac around … mmm let’s say 12ish. When we’re close to the DZ the co-pilot would come back to let us know. We put on chutes, check each other, doors open, jump – VALAH!”

I paused for a moment, thinking enviously ‘Dammit I joined the wrong service!’    

After regaining my composure I retorted gently with a wink, “ahhm yeaaa … the Army … we’re really good at making ourselves miserable. Self inflicted misery, it’s an acquired taste.”

Our shared laugh was a grateful distraction from the guy who just violently vomited his lunch on himself and his surrounding neighbors. The sound of the human diaphragm regurgitating sometimes is worst than the end product. A potent noxious stench of stomach acid and dehydrated food quickly infiltrated the air. And when there is one there will inadvertently always be another. Just as a second began to dry heave the obnoxiously jarring alarm rang rambunctiously to interrupt. The large round red light dropped to green followed by “STAND UP STAND UP STAND UP!” The side doors opened on both sides of the plane. The cross breeze of unsullied air enticed the paratroopers to fall into its bosom like mermaids luring sailors.

Holding both hands up with all fingers extended “TEN MINUTES” the Jumpmaster bellowed.

A second seem to pass when the Jumpmaster barked “FIVE MINUTES!”

And before long “GO GO GO!” prompted our little dance into the open sky. The sheer momentum of everyone shuffling forward ensured that you were indeed exiting the plane. It was like a gentle but yet firm kick. I breached the door without a single thought; the static line became taut and after a slight rubber-band like jolt,  my chute deploys. One would never realize the peace that 12,000 feet in the open sky can yield. Falling at the rate of 115 mph, all the chaos of the day, all the noise, the smells, hastily dissolves, like sugar in a hot cup of tea, it all stayed with the plane.

Rong Rong Name Stamp

Healthy Byte: Day 960

Yes, that is the number of days I have obsessively logged every morsel which passed my lips and every mascara running session at the gym into MFP.

I recently celebrated my 2-year weight loss maintenance anniversary and I feel that I have learned a tremendous amount through many, many bouts with trial & error and just observations. I’d like to share this collective in hopes that it’d help others. So here goes nothing!

A recent MFP friend asked how do I stay motivated to stay active in maintenance. In my haste to publish my anniversary post I think I really missed the mark on addressing the question properly. What I initially stated was that regular exercise had simply became a mindless habit which is mostly true. However, in giving the question some additional thought, I feel that I can elaborate a bit more with more practical response. So I asked myself, ‘Self, when you are dog-tired & would much prefer to veg out in front of the computer, what does drive you to go to the gym?’ The answer is in two parts.

The first is that it is a habit for me because I absolutely thrive in routines and schedules. However, to say that is the sole driver is not 100% accurate. What keeps me going is that I continue to experience measurable progress towards my fitness goals. And this one is a bit of the chicken or the egg phenomena … let me explain.

My main mark of progress when I was losing weight, like many others, was the fickle frenemy the scale. No matter if it was 2 lbs or a mere fraction of a pound loss, every miniscule step closer to my goal, the more I was motivated to carry on with what I was doing. It is not that much different to be successful in maintenance. I shifted my focus from losing weight to fitness oriented ones, ie. gain muscle definition. Although I secretly dream of looking like this,

Day 960 JE

Photo of Jamie Eason: Former NFL cheerleader & Winner of the World’s Fittest Model Competition

I know that this is something I am unable to maintain for the rest of my life. It’s not a matter of whether I can physically accomplish it. Rather it’s a matter of being able to comply with the heavy demands necessary to achieve AND maintain which is something I am just not willing to invest the time & effort into for the-rest-of-my-life. So I opted to choose something which is more realistic for me and my lifestyle.

Enter the First Lady, Michelle Obama. Day 960 MO The First Lady’s toned shoulders and arms requires effort of course. But the ‘upkeep’ is a very sustainable amount of effort without becoming burdensome. So with a realistic goal set, an adjustment in exercise regimen, all it took was consistency and time (patience). The more muscle definition that I saw the more motivated I became. Everytime I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror and see the budding toned legs, arms, or shoulders, my initial reaction was always ‘holy shit is that me?’ Immediately followed by ‘wow I never thought any part of me could ever look like that!’

So, that’s the chicken or the egg phenomena: I go to the gym and workout regularly because I am seeing positive results towards my fitness goals. And I am seeing positive results because I am going to the gym to workout regularly.

MFP Flex

6 mths Strength Training – still fairly doughy with bat wings & bra strap fat (Weights Exclusively)

IMAG1725

12 mths Strength Training – starting to see some definition in certain positions – the progress keeps me motivated to carry on – tweaks exercises to get the most bang for the workout buck (Bodyweight Exercises Only)

IMAG2703

18 mths Strength Training – muscle definition becoming more prominent – swapped out all my tshirts for tank tops & I always do my pushups in front of a mirror to check my body position but more importantly seeing my shoulder & arm muscles at work motivates me to really push myself to do ‘just one more’ (Bodyweight Exercises Only)

I mentioned previously how utterly ‘lost’ I felt initially in maintenance. The incremental progress during weight loss was suddenly POOF – gone. I felt as if my inner tube had been deflated leaving me in the middle of the ocean just floundering. Simply being intellectually aware that continued activity was ‘good for me’ was not enough of a motivator because to a certain extent, a part of me did have the ‘yay I’ve reached goal – I’ve crossed the proverbial finish line’ mentality. Embracing the reality that there is no finish line & that this is for the rest of my life sort of commitment, it was imperative that I set new goals to help me overcome a common transition pitfall from weight loss to maintenance.

Fitness goals doesn’t have to be earth-shattering or monumental in order to be effective. It can be a series of mini goals. ie. 2,000 steps in three months No matter what it is, it is a key factor to staying active in maintenance. Every now & again, when I hanker to skip the gym,  I ask myself, ‘is it really worth it?’ As one MFP friend very aptly described, muscle definition is a “herd-of-turtles-slow” process and so my answer 99% of the time is a resounding ‘NO.’ It’s just not worth it to me to undo all the time & effort already invested for one night of sitting on my duff at home for an extra hour or so. Hope this more in depth answer is helpful.

ADDITIONAL INSIGHTS

Need a Plan:

The key is that you need a plan that fits your lifestyle and goals and that allows you to follow through. The world’s greatest plan won’t work if it’s not right for you.

Key Behaviors of Long Term Weight Loss Maintainers:

Several key behavior changes that occurred over the year of follow-up also distinguished maintainers from regainers. Not surprisingly, those who regained weight reported significant decreases in their physical activity, increases in their percentage of calories from fat, and decreases in their dietary restraint. Thus, a large part of weight regain may be attributable to an inability to maintain healthy eating and exercise behaviors over time. The findings also underscore the importance of maintaining behavior changes in the long-term maintenance of weight loss.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Bread … oh how I love thee! It’s my standard go-to for lunch because it is easy, quick, and perfect for a busy morning rushing two kids out the door for school. But when I decided to get healthy, I needed to tweak it so that it is the healthiest version of my standard go-to. Instead of trying to force myself to eat new strange ‘healthy’ foods (ie. lettuce wrap in lieu of bread), I stuck with what I loved and simply swapped out components in order to make it healthier. As you can see below, simply by changing the bread, I saved 80 calories per sandwich, reduced carbs, & total fat/sugar intake. Which may not seem like a lot but multiply that by a week (400 calories) or a year (22,400 calories), it adds up really quickly in my favor.

2015 8-21 Incre Tip

Per 2 Slices Sara Lee Soft & Smooth Enriched Whole Grain  White Sara Lee 45 Calorie & Delightful Whole Grain Aunt Millie’s 35 Calorie Whole Grain Difference per Sandwich
Calories 150 90 70 80
Total Calories from Fat 14 10 5 9
Total Fat 1.4 1 1 .4
Carbs 28 19 19 9
Sugar 4 2 1 3

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Mental Toughness

2015 8-21

Not all of us are naturally strong. Some have anxiety or are insecure, which easily puts cracks in your armor. So, how do you toughen up to gain the utmost confidence? Here are seven ways to mentally toughen you up!

1. They take control.

There are two types of people in the world: Those who believe in fate, and those who believe they have control over things. According to Inc, you should be the latter; stop worrying about things that happen to you and start making things happen for you.

2. They’re flexible.

Life doesn’t always go as planned. So, it’s better to be able to pivot when you need to! According to Forbes, being flexible means you’re open to the unexpected and won’t crumble when something inevitably changes.

3. They learn from their mistakes.

You can either choose to crumble from your mistakes, or make them tools for your future. Look at those slip ups as training and refrain from letting them define you. According to Inc, looking at these moments as training will toughen you up.

4. They create specific goals — then conquer them.

Sometimes, you’re mentally all over the places, because you have no direction. What are you doing? Why? When do you want to accomplish this? A Harvard study found that students who set goals tend to earn twice as much as those who had no goals. So, write down that goal, then reap the benefits.

5. They look for acceptance from themselves, not others.

Most of us want other people to like us, but strength comes from within. Ironically, many people don’t like you until you stop caring whether or not others like you. According toInc, that kind of strength is admirable, and your relationships become happier once you adopt that mindset.

6. They keep their stress in check.

Find out what helps you lower your stress level. Perhaps it’s tea, maybe it’s exercising, maybe it’s just setting aside alone time. But a study from New York University found that stress makes it harder for people to control their emotions. Want to lower your risk of bursting into tears at work? Get rid of that stress.

7. They let the little things roll off their back.

Stop sweating the small stuff. According to Inc, your mental strength is a finite supply. So, don’t wear yourself down. Although you should accept that you have control over your life, don’t turn into a control freak.

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Bit of Fiction: Elaborating Simple Concept [1 paragraph]

2015 8-17

Simple Sentence: He was afraid of the dark.

Elaborating Sentence:

Betrayed

My childhood bedroom was a converted oversized den and was rather oddly shaped. Not quite a rectangle and not quite a square. It had a rounded corner on one end and came to an abrupt acute triangle on the other, with the door offset off of the main corridor so that it was not bad feng shui. The adjoining wall to the master was a putrid pale lime green. It was comparable to various unmentionables in a newborn baby’s diaper, thankfully without the aroma. No matter – I’m certain it was very trendy or more likely, Father’s colorblindedness had bested his decorating efforts yet again. The local carpenter built a custom box bed to accommodate the odd space. The fresh smell of cut oak lingered in my room for weeks. My bed laid quietly under the large window and the the light was not bashful in flooding my room with all it’s magnificence. Even on gloomy rainy days, the light would sneak in to keep me company and bring me cheer. Right outside my window was a mountain canvassed with towering trees. Tall ones, short ones, fat ones, skinny ones. The trees aligned themselves as if they were fans in a stadium; one taller than the other, competing for a touch from the sun. In the early mornings, I could hear the mountain run off trickling down the small waterfall. It was serene. It was peaceful. But then the night comes. And the light … the light betrays me, fails me, abandons me. The very same light which I embraced during the day turns menacing. It forsakens its obligatory shield from all things frightening. It relinquishes its welcoming glow. And in its place, dark shadows springs forth to plague my walls with their grimacing faceless forms. No two shadows were alike and they danced on my walls with such fervent wickedness. I’m not afraid of the dark, no. I’d much rather be completely submerged in darkness than be teased by the light. In complete darkness the shadows are banished from my eyes, from my mind but with the aide of the light it taunts my imagination cruelly and haunts me until I surrender to my dreams.