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Archive for the ‘Food in the News’ Category

Chances are, if you’re reading this, the world as we know it has not ended. But, just in case it does, we now have some of the world’s most prized chili peppers preserved in a doomsday-proof underground bunker. I mean, the first thing that comes to mind when I think “major global disaster” is “Where is the Cholula?”

SORRY, THIS SITE HAS MOVED! PLEASE CLICK HERE (http://www.globalfoodfusion.com/2010/07/sci-fi-meets-food-security-planning-for-armageddon/) FOR THE REST OF THIS POST.

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Looking into the eye of the tiger

A recent study seems to point to the possibility that chocolate, while believed to temporarily lift mood, can actually act as a depressant over the longer run.  Of course, the results seem inconclusive and maybe even a little bit contradictory, but still interesting.

I’m sure the researchers accounted for this, but I actually wonder how much is the cocoa and how much is the additives and sugar.  You may have heard that the flavonoids in chocolate, that have antioxidant effects, are richer in dark chocolate and therefore dark chocolate is actually good for you.  The Mayans consumed cocoa as a bitter drink used in special rituals and spiced it with chilies, nothing like the sweet treat that the Europeans later developed.  So “chocolate” really does seem to be a subjective term reflecting a mixture of cocoa and other ingredients.  (Of course, I’m not a scientist, so who knows how they controlled that factor in the experiments.)

The only time I, personally, feel depressed post-chocolate is when I’ve lost my self control and have eaten the whole thing in one sitting.  But hey, if it’s dark chocolate, I do feel less depressed about it.

Read here for the full article on the study.

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While this article focuses on the fact that the link between the intake of fresh produce and the decrease in risk of cancer is less than previously thought, the fact remains that there is still a direct link.  And of course, there are many other “overall benefits,” as the article also states.  Vitamins are absorbed faster and more efficiently when they come directly from food, for instance.  And dark leafy vegetables are a great source of calcium (that doesn’t leach protein back out of your bones like calcium from milk).  Immune system support is obviously readily available through Vitamin C in a variety of produce.  All the more reason to increase our intake!

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Now, I love Taco Bell the way any red-blooded American does:  as a food in its own category.  It’s not Mexican food; it’s not really… food… it’s kind of this delicious, ridiculous combination of real ingredients, dyes, and preservatives with a crack-like attraction for many people.

But Taco Bell and apparently all the major fast food chains know their audiences.  And Americans are missing out on such goodies as crunchy potato tacos at Taco Bell and chickpea burgers at KFC in India.  The trend around the world is to offer the basic staples and supplement them with localized hybrid meals that appeal to the cultural preferences of the consumers.  In other words, keeping it local.   Click here for the full article.

I might be able to pass on the Seaweed Shakers in Japan, but that pizza from Domino’s in India with lamb and onions on top might have to go on the “To Do… Eventually” list.

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While studying land use policy in Costa Rica, my professor (who happened to be a biologist by training) taught us that our stomachs harbor certain types of flora to deal with the foods we regularly eat.  A mini-forest, if you will, attached to our intestinal wall, adapted specifically for whatever little critters (bacteria) normally pass through with our food.  It usually takes about 3 months for the flora to fully make a change to adapt to a new set of food and its accompanying bacteria, she told us.

This article about sushi seems to fit in well with this.  Now I’m no scientist, but personally, I now find that eating haphazardly in, say, 4 different countries in a month doesn’t wreak nearly as much havoc as it did when I first began traveling. I attribute this mainly to the fact that I have made a lot of floral changes in my stomach (i.e. eaten a lot of food, in a lot of places) , and in return my gut seems to have become tougher to upset over the years.  TMI?  Maybe.  But in light of this study on sushi I think it gives us an interesting new way to think about the impact of travel on not only our enjoyment of food, but our health and our physical treatment of food that goes on long after we’ve enjoyed the last bite.

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