Donut-licking is an Aberrant Eating Behavior

ariana keep outBefore this “news” story hits the briney deep, I have something to say about Ariana Grande. She is the 22-year old celebrity of Nickelodeon TV, theater, and music fame who was seen in July, on a surveillance video, licking glazed donuts on an uncovered tray in a donut shop. On the audio, she was overheard saying, “What the f*ck is that? I hate Americans. I hate America. That’s disgusting!” There were entertainment-news stories and hash tags galore: #ilickdonuts – #donutgate – #donutproblems – #arianadonuts –  #arianagrandelickingdonuts –  #ariwearewithyou – #arianahatesamerica. This week I read that Ariana Grande Is Now the 2nd Most Disliked Celebrity, Following Close Behind Bill Cosby. Can you believe that? 

But for me as a clinician, donut-licking raises a red flag. It is an aberrant eating behavior on par with eating in a ritualistic way, chewing food and spitting it out, mixing strange food combinations, eating the same foods over and over, skipping meals, taking tiny portions, cutting food in little pieces, and refusing to eat with others. They are all aberrant eating behaviors that may be seen in eating disordered patients.

Ariana also happens to be extraordinarily thin, which wasn’t the case last year when (according to the Internet), at 5’1” tall, she weighed 106 pounds (BMI 20), a perfect weight within the healthy weight range. But within the past year (according to the Internet), she lost twelve pounds by following a vegan diet. I figure that now Arianna is in the underweight range, weighing 90-94 pounds (BMI 17).

Ariana Before Vegan

Ariana Before Vegan

Ariana After Vegan

Ariana After Vegan

I’ve explained why vegan diets are a problem in Beyonce Promotes Vegan Diet. Tricked by Her Trainer. But that doesn’t stop the knuckleheads on YouTube from praising Ariana’s weight loss. (See Ariana Grande Vegan Weight Loss Transformation.) The photos are telling.

I understand why Ariana Grande might let it slip that, subconsciously, she hates America. After all, we made her into an object that must stay dangerously thin (and hungry) in order to survive. As a role model, she spreads the poison to young fans. How can she feel good about that? When all she wanted to do was sing and dance. I hope she gets help.

Healthy Vending Machines Are Here to Stay

bettervendingmachinesAn important diet trend is unfolding. The food in vending machines is changing for the best.

You can’t believe how often people eat from vending machines. Teens get around one third of their calories from snack foods eaten away from home. At work, school and in public places, machines may be the only option. I ate from vending machines I worked in the cubes. 🙁 I used to buy two ounces of salted Planter’s Peanuts, full of calories but also nutrients, I was starving, and the other food was crap. I should have packed a snack.

Anyway, the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, (Michelle Obama’s) federal law that affects public school food, mandated that food sold in schools, including vending machines, meet the USDA’s “Smart Snacks in Schools” nutrition standards. In turn, several major cities, and now the State of California, mandated that vending machines on government property be healthy. That drove the market for suppliers and (surprise!) people liked the healthy food better (well not all.) Still, it looks like a healthy vending machine franchise is good financial bet.

To learn more, read my article, Healthier Vending Machines are a Win-Win for All Hungry Consumers, at DietsInReview.com.

Your thoughts: What do you buy from the vending machine?

Have a Complicated Halloween

Halloween Letter Fargo MomDid you see the Halloween letter from Anonymous Mom? She is handing it out instead of candy to overweight kids. Her stand against childhood obesity made the media outlets. Too bad she doesn’t know that shaming doesn’t work. Weight prejudice seems to be socially acceptable now and will become more so when healthcare costs are transparent. But back to today and the conflicts Americans have about Halloween candy. Check out yesterday’s Tweets:

  • How to talk to your kids about Halloween candy.
  • Watch out for these common (and gross!) ingredients in Halloween candy.
  • Don’t get caught giving petroleum, GMOs, and trans fat to little children.
  • Artificial dyes linked to M+Ms.
  • What it takes to burn off your Halloween treats.
  • Food Allergies: Could Halloween Kill My Child?
  • 7 Terrifying Facts About Halloween Candy!

Danger! Danger! And still, the kids return with their sacks full.

A few years ago, I was asked to write about the “healthiest” Halloween candy. What could I say? “Give out candy that won’t get eaten.” Dum Dum Lollipops, wax lips, and candy buttons stuck on paper tape. Nobody eats those. Pencils, stickers, and temporary tattoos, All good. As you can image, my Dietitian’s Guide to Halloween Candy wasn’t well received. The comments tell all.

Realistically, Halloween night is a free-for all. Everybody eats candy. That goes on for another day or two, but sooner rather than later, candy is rationed to one piece at lunch and another after school. Some is shared with grown-ups or relegated to the freezer or traded with a friendly dentist for cash. (Just don’t dump candy on the Food Bank because needy people need real food!)

I’ve stated my feelings about junk before in Eat Only the Junk Food That You Make. But homemade doesn’t fly on Halloween because of hidden razor blades. Oy! Razor blades, artificial dyes, barbs from Anonymous Mom. Halloween is complicated.

Your thoughts: What is your Halloween candy plan?

One Way to Raise a Great Cook

Little Liza's Cookbook

Liza’s Personal Childhood Cookbook

As I recall, this is the time of year that gave rise to “Cook ‘Til You Drop”, the cookbook my daughter, Liza, made when she was six or seven. I can’t remember. The book,  including title and cover art, was entirely her idea.

Every year, when the raspberries ripened around the first of July, we’d say, “Where’s that Raspberry Cheesecake Parfait recipe?” Since it was the old days, the early ’90s before the Internet, that meant searching through a huge stack of Cooking Light magazines until we found it. Liza, having much less to do than I and forever the Martha Stewart, thought it made sense to preserve her favorite recipes in a self-adhesive photo album. We photocopied only her besties to make Cook ‘Til You Drop.

From that time on, Liza has always kept a personal recipe book. Perhaps it’s a reason why Eliza Hartley in the Kitchenshe is a fabulous cook today.

Here are two summer favorites from Cook ‘Til You Drop:

Your thoughts: Did you cook as a kid? Do you cook with your kids? What do you make?

Adorkable Easter Appetizers

Easter Appetizers Deviled EggsA lot of people ask me, Mary, do you make adorkable appetizers for every holiday? I say, not really, but if I do make anything, I make these. I like my appetizers to be wholesome, easy, attention-getting, and appealing to kids. Besides, my traffic spiked traffic to 10,000 hits a day because of those Strawberry Santas at Christmas. The people have spoken. Adorkable appetizers it is! Click on the links for “how-to” recipe information.

 

Eggy Chicks, Roosters and Bunnies

File these appetizers under “What to Do with the Hard-cooked Eggs.” The deviled Easter egg chicks (above) are my favorite and the no-devil roosters and happy-face chicks are easy enough to make, but the deviled bunnies are scary to me; however, I’ve seen worse. Rachel Ray shows how to make the deviled egg chicks.

Easter no devil Easter roostersEaster Bunny_deviled_eggs_Lg (1)

Raw Vegetables Appetizers Kids will Eat Easter Potted CarrotsEaster Appetizers Smurf Mushrooms

Rule number one: kids love to dip. I love these Potted Carrots and Dip from Toys in the Dryer and the Smurfy Radish Mushrooms from The Paper Pony. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

Easter Appetizers Chick Breadeaster_chickbunsEaster Chick Buns

Granted, making bread is a lot harder than boiling an egg, but how sweet are these little chick rolls?  Grandma’s Kitchen shows you how.

 

Scary Bunnies

Tell me if this pear bunny doesn’t look like a rat? The recipe is from my childhood cookbook and it still creeps me out.

Easter Pear Bunny Image_2Easter_ betty_crocker_boys_and_girls-thumb-250x343Easter bunny_salad-thumb-500x671

Your thoughts: Do you see adorkable Easter appies in your near future?

A Bad Week for Fake Nutrition

Ask Me About Girl Scout CookiesThe food industry is on to “nutrition” as a buzz word, and it’s already out of control. “Functional Foods,” foods with a function to deliver nutrients they don’t normally contain, were on my radar twice this week: first, in the form of a new Girl Scout cookie, MANGO CRÈMES WITH NUTRIFUSION™, that DietsInReview.com asked me to see, and second, in VITAMIN WATER that is nutritious – or not –  as Stephen Colbert explains.

 MANGO CRÈMES WITH NUTRIFUSION™

The Girl Scout bakery invented a new cookie, sans the trans fat and preservatives, pumped up with (only) 15% of the RDI (Reference Daily Intake) for vitamin B1 and 5% for vitamins A, C, D, E, and B6  – no mind to the hundreds and hundreds of other nutrients we need – and called it “a delicious new way to get your vitamins!”  Not so fast. Those cookies have as much sugar and saturated fat as other cookies, and as an aside, they are mango-less, but since they are made with the dehydrated juice of cranberries, pomegranates, oranges, grapes, and strawberries, I can’t complain. Just don’t say cookies are health food. Say, “Hey, we’d like you to try a new cookie and support the Girl Scouts.” That will suffice.

VITAMIN WATER

The Coca-Cola company is defending its Vitamin Water product against deceptive claims. Colbert connects the fake nutrition dots. How bad can it get?

Your thoughts: Are you confused by fake nutrition claims?

Heineken Takes Over the NYC MTA

Who, besides me, thinks it’s weird to see Heineken ads on the turnstiles at the MTA? Check out the 1-2-3 station at 7th Avenue and West 14th Street in Manhattan. I think it’s part of a promotional push by Heineken for the new James Bond movie, Skyfall. Heineken reputedly paid many millions of dollars to have Bond drink their beer in the film. Last month, Heineken celebrated their Bond partnership with a party at the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn. But that party was private. The turnstile is not.

Advertise Responsibly?

I’m no Carrie Nation, but is this necessary? Research shows that alcohol advertisements promote underage drinking. The American Academy of Family Practice published a position paper against it. The subway is full of kids.

For products that are addictive, such as cigarettes, alcohol, and even candy, advertising cues may induce cravings. A abstinent alcoholic exposed to visual cues will experience physiological changes like increased salvation that characterize the urge to drink.

I know the MTA has financial issues and a fare hike is in the works, and Heineken’s money is nice and green, but this is too much blood on the tracks for me.

Your thoughts: Heineken ads at the turnstile. Good idea or not?

Toddlers & Tiaras & Energy Juice

I hope my upscale readers will forgive me for mentioning an odd thing that happened last month. Twice, I was asked to comment on Honey Boo Boo, a fat 6-year old from “Toddlers & Tiaras,” an uber trashy TV show on TLC. I was asked about the “Go-go Juice” that mama feeds to Honey Boo Boo to make her dazzle on stage. Watch them talk about it here.

Question: “Does offering an energy drink to a 6-year old constitute child abuse?”
Answer:     Well, yes it does, in my opinion, but this is ‘merica, the land of the free, and so, officially, I say,  “The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that all drinks with caffeine (e.g. Red Bull) are off limits to children and teenagers. Energy drinks contain high levels of stimulants that can raise heart rate and anxiety levels and increase the risk of dehydration.” And then Mountain Dew soda has even more caffeine along with water, preservatives, artificial flavors, and empty calories from sugar. Go-go juice is a bad idea for anyone, most especially a child.

In 2010, the F.D.A. issued warning letters to makers of energy drinks that combine alcohol and caffeine citing a health risk, and recently, the state of New York’s attorney general began investigating whether companies that make energy drinks are misleading the public about how much caffeine the drinks contain and the health risks they could pose.

Honey Boo Boo’s pediatrician needs to address her consumption of energy drinks and junk food, as well as her childhood obesity, but given the family and the public’s attention, I don’t think it will work. Honey Boo Boo can serve as an example of what not to do. ’nuff said.

Your thoughts: Do you see little kids drinking energy drinks?

Nutritious Snacks on TV!

Shelley Goldberg and Mary Hartley on NY1

In case you missed my interview with parenting reporter, Shelley Goldberg, on NY1 News over the weekend, you can watch it here.

With back-to-school season among us, now is the time to change your children’s eating habits. In the segment I outline some healthier options for your child’s breakfast, lunch and snack!

For a closer look at these better-for-you nutrition options, here is a list of recommended items and where you can get more info.

Olympus Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a thicker and creamier alternative to typical American-style yogurts. Compared to its traditional counterpart, Greek yogurt contains roughly the same amount of calories, but it can pack up to double the protein, while cutting sugar content by half. But buyer beware, not all Greek yogurt brands are not created equal. Olympus Greek yogurt, one of my personal favorites, as it is the only Greek strained yogurt in America  imported directly from Greece–and the difference is in the taste. Olympus’ deliciously thick and creamy yogurt is available in plain and fresh fruit flavors–including blueberry, strawberry, cherry, vanilla, lemon, peach and honey–making it a naturally filling snack for busy parents and growing children. www.olympusdairyusa.com

KAMUT® Khorasan wheat
Nowadays, ancient grains such as quinoa, amaranth and spelt are turning up in every bread and cereal aisle. They’re healthful and tasty, and packed with whole grains, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Additionally, those have an intolerance to modern wheat (but not with celiac disease) often find ancient grains easier to digest. I particularly enjoy KAMUT® Brand Khorasan wheat, an ancient grain that is non-GMO and always grown organically, has naturally sweet taste, smooth texture and is packed with nutritious value. Recipes made with ancient grains such as KAMUT® wheat help establish well-rounded, nutritious meals that offer higher amounts of protein and minerals than ingredients made with traditional grains. www.kamut.com

B-Amazing Food BarsB-Amazing Food Bars
A fresh and colorful diet is one of the biggest contributing factors to overall health, and fruits and vegetables deliver nutrients and minerals needed for our bodies and minds to function at optimal levels. For parents looking to sneak fruits and vegetables into their child’s diet, B-Amazing! Foods has introduced nutritious, all natural food bar made with 50% fresh root vegetables and fruit. Unlike any other bar, B-Amazing! begins with a mixture of fresh sweet potatoes, carrots, yellow beets and squash. Then minimally processed, “real food” ingredients—such as organic whole grains, 5-7 different kinds of nuts and seeds, whole fresh lemons, oranges, cranberries, apricots and other fruits are added to create a delicious flavor. www.b-amazingfoods.com

LesserEvil Snacks  
Snacks can make up a significant portion of your child’s calories. With only 120 calories per serving, LesserEvil Krinkle sticks are a great-tasting snack option that parents can feel good about giving their kids. LesserEvil snacks are free of trans fats, preservatives, artificial flavors and high fructose syrup, and offer a guilt-free alternative to traditional junk food. They are low in sodium for a packaged snack food and kids will love the taste! www.lesserevil.com

Disclosure: I work with ADinfinitum, a full service PR agency for the natural and healthy lifestyle and wellness industry that represents these products – and I love sticking up for delicious, healthy food!

Please Join Me on TV

Glasses

For a good time, I highly recommend being on live TV. On Monday, I was on the PIX11 Morning News in New York City talking about “Back-To-School-Week: Food Swap.” What a blast! ADinfinitum, a public relations agency that promotes healthy lifestyles with brand strategies and campaigns, placed me, and I got to talk about my favorite Olympus Greek Yogurt and two other cool foods, KAMUT® khorasan wheat (more to come) and B-Amazing! (amazingly healthy vegetarian) food bar.

To start, PIX11 is in the “Superman Building,” The Daily News Building, also called The News Building, and the fictional Daily Planet. It was the first vertically soaring, modernistic skyscraper without ornamentation in Manhattan. And look at the 4,000 pound glowing globe in the intact Art Deco lobby, circa 1929. The News Building is easy to get to, near Grand Central Station at 220 East 42nd Street. It is worth the visit.

Up in the station, it is not so fancy: low ceilings, bad coffee, busy bees. Sue Taggart, the owner of ADinfinitum and her team, along with the stylist from the station, arranged the food while I was busy with makeup, mike-up, practice, and changing into my big shoes. (I am vertically challenged and so I need a wardrobe of 5-inch platform heals!) Finally, it is show time with Suki! Sukanya Krishnan of PIX11 Morning News is a real live wire, all about having fun in the morning. And since FUN is my M-O (along with food and nutrition), Suki and I got along great. (Live footage of the segment is available on YouTube for a limited time. See below.)

Your thoughts: Glasses or no glasses? Liza says glasses. “They’re hip like Tina Fey.”