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Tag Archives | health

UAE Bans Super Size Soda…you’re welcome

The other day The National ran an article about various health-care reforms being suggested by the UAE government.  Among those reforms are—wait for it—a proposed restriction on portion sizes for fizzy drinks.  Yes. That’s right: Mayor Bloomberg’s despised soda ban may be about to take hold here in the UAE.  Now, I’m not one to toot my own horn, but I’ll just say that last summer, I wrote this column for The National, in which I said, among other things:

The fact that so many people suck down giant-sized soft drinks may be a significant factor in some of the health problems that have become prevalent in the UAE in recent years. In those supersized soft drinks, you will find more than 75 grams of sugar and up to 400 calories. And before diet soft drinkers pat themselves on the back, scientists have shown that artificial sweeteners lead to elevated glucose levels, which the liver then converts to body fat.

If New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg has his way, however, “soda belly” might become a thing of the past – and I think that the UAE might consider following his lead. Mr Bloomberg has proposed a ban on selling more than 16-ounce (0.45 litres) cups of soft drinks, which most nutritionists would consider as two servings. Cinemas, sports arenas and restaurants are among those that would be affected by the ban. While it’s true that you could buy two cups of soft drinks for yourself to get around the rule, I’m betting most people won’t. After all, when you’re carrying the tub of popcorn plus the packet of liquorice, it’s hard to juggle two cups.

New Yorkers, who always love a fight, are furious about Mr Bloomberg’s proposal, just as they were when he proposed a ban on smoking in public places (the bill passed); on the use of transfats in restaurants (the bill passed); and his law requiring fast-food chain restaurants to post the calorie count of their menu items (that bill passed too).

 

Okay, I suppose it’s possible that the Sheikhs aren’t reading my column but I’m still going to take some credit for their decision.  True, in the States, various courts have said that such a ban is unconstitutional but I’m not sure that can happen here. Here, what the government wants, the government gets. That means you’re probably not going to be able to get a Big Gulp here for very much longer.  And that, I think, is a very good thing.

 

Big-Gulp-Drink

 

 

Continue Reading · on December 11, 2013 in Abu Dhabi, health, NYC, Politics, The National, UAE

Cereal as a cure for chaos? Maybe…

The school year is winding down and we’re getting ready to move. Each boy’s school has end-of-year celebrations and parties and exhibits; after-school classes are over; babysitters are away on vacation.  Add to that the pile of boxes in the middle of our apartment, waiting to be shipped to Abu Dhabi, and it’s like a double whammy of chaos around here.

With all the schedule changes, family dinners have pretty much fallen by the wayside and with all the parties and celebrations happening during the school day both boys are getting lots and lots of opportunities for snacks and sweets—so the lunch boxes are coming home almost untouched. So much for that well-balanced lunch I pack each morning, hmm?

And at night, after the boys are in bed, I’m doing my own fair share of snacking, looking for a little extra sugary energy to get me through another hour or two of sorting through ten years of files, piles, and boxes.

When I was asked to review the FiberPlus cereals with antioxidants from Kelloggs in the midst of all this chaos, I got almost too excited: maybe the boys would like these nutritious cereals and I could know that even if they ate cupcakes and pretzels all day, their day at least had a solid nutritional start.

The first one we tried, FiberPlus Yogurt Berry Crunch has 10g of fiber, which is almost 40% of the daily recommended amount.  With a ½ cup of skim milk, a cup of cereal is 210 calories. The boys liked this flavor but we all agreed that it’s almost too sweet to be a breakfast food. A few handfuls of Yogurt Berry Crunch, however, have become my night-time snack, and I feel much less guilty than I do when I settle down with a plate of ginger snaps.

The second flavor, FiberPlus Cinnamon Oat Crunch was our hands-down favorite. It’s cinnamony and crunchy and tastes as good by the handful as it does with milk. A single serving with a ½ cup of skim milk has only 150 calories and contains 35% of the daily recommended intake of fiber.  Given that regular exercise has also fallen by the wayside in these chaotic weeks, a low calorie, high fiber way to start my day is a bowlful of happy.
The drawback to these two tasty boxes of goodness is that the list of ingredients contains a few too many polysyllabic chemicals (but no high-fructose corn syrup). Generally I like to serve food that’s pretty minimally processed—although, of course, Caleb regularly has hot dogs for dinner and Liam loves chicken nuggets, so I’m not sure I can quibble with what’s written on the side of these cereal boxes. I think these cereals will become a regular part of our morning routine.  Now if Kelloggs could only do something about the rest of my packing…

 

Full disclosure:
This is a paid post sponsored by Kellogg’s. I received one box of Berry Yogurt Crunch and one box of Cinnamon Oat Crunch to facilitate the review. The opinions in this post are my own, not Kelloggs.

Continue Reading · on June 21, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, food, Products

would you like your amoxicyllin shaken or stirred?

Remember “The Thin Man” movies, with the impossibly elegant William Powell and the even more impossibly elegant Myrna Loy? In the first movie, Nora Charles meets her husband in a restaurant and realizes that he is well ahead of her on the martini count. After she figures out he’s had five martinis, she gestures to the waiter: “Bring me five martinis and line them up right here.” She proceeds–elegantly–to toss back all five, one after another.

I opened my fridge yesterday not to a row of perfectly chilled martini shakers but a row of amoxicyllin bottles, in precisely the shocking pink that believe it or not has been declared “color of the year“:

A fridge of pink medicine just isn’t that much fun, frankly, and neither is an apartment full of two strep-throated boys.  Caleb stayed home from school the day after the snow day; Liam came home from school after a detour to the doctor’s office, who declared that he was also infected.

Let’s see. Since Jan 1, 2011, that makes six snowstorms, 1 case of “I almost have lice,” 1 47th birthday, and 2 cases of strep throat. I gotta say that at this rate, February (usually my least favorite month) is looking really good.

And isn’t it any wonder that yesterday–and today, for that matter–I never changed out of the shirt I slept in, never put on anything even resembling a bra, and for that matter don’t think I even washed my face? I did brush my teeth, though. I mean, I’m not a complete pig.

Personal grooming takes a real hit in this whole parenting thing, I find.

But Nora Charles would be horrified.

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Continue Reading · on January 29, 2011 in Children, Parenting

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