Sunday, June 30, 2013

Advertising or Temptation?

I was lost in the Ikea maze. Three floors of Ikea things. Plastics. Laminates. All ready to be plopped into the giant yellow bag and carried with its blue handles. Or toted in the big wheeled baskets. 

I was more than a little overwhelmed. It's such a fun place. But it's so busy, so crowded and so big. Should have worn my pedometer. I was working on deep breathing to stay calm. I focused on following the big arrows so nicely painted on the floor to make sure no one missed anything. 

At one point, as my daughter considered a wall hanging, I looked up. And, there it was. The answer to every one's overwhelmed feelings. A big sign that said, "Chocolate Cravings?" An advertisement for chocolate bars. Really?

I wonder if Ikea knew that people would be feeling overwhelmed smack dab in the middle of the store? Where better to advertise chocolate? Was it an intentional placement of a sugary quick fix? It couldn't be. I'm sure that no company would ever take advantage of customer's emotional state by encouraging the consumption of chocolate. Right?

And, no, I didn't buy the chocolate bar. It just wasn't right. And, it wouldn't have cured any emotional ailment anyway. And neither would those cinnamon rolls that they bake and smell so good near the checkouts...

Monday, June 24, 2013

All Things Bacon

Bacon Fat Popcorn
Bacon Fat Popcorn. How could I have not predicted it? Lately, brother-in-law Joel's facebook page has been filled with discussions and jokes about bacon. Evidently, his relatives have this thing about bacon. 

There must have been some sort of bacon-crazed alien invasion into the appetite control center of our brains recently. So much so, that bacon isn't just for breakfast or BLT's anymore. Now you can buy bacon chocolate bars, bacon Ice Cream Sundaes, bacon cake, and bacon wrapped bananas. You name it, people are adding bacon to it. 

I should state here for the record, I am not a bacon fan. Never have been. My daughter and husband think I must be from outer space, but I beg to disagree.

The no-carb folks call bacon a winner with 0.1 gram carbohydrate per slice. One slice should fit into most people's diets with 43 calories, 3 grams of protein, and 83 grams of sodium. The trouble starts when people eat more than one slice of bacon frequently. Those grams of saturated fat and sodium can add up quickly, potentially wreaking havoc with your blood pressure and heart health. And, there are still unanswered questions about the health safety of nitrites used in curing meats that need to be considered.

I was with my husband and daughter while eating dinner Saturday night at the highly recommended Revolution Brewery in Chicago---great food and great fun. But, they're known for their bacon fat popcorn. And my husband and daughter had to try it. I was almost embarrassed to see it land on our table. Verdict? They said it was fun to try, but wouldn't order it again. I tasted 2 kernels, and was not impressed with the fatty smell, and the bit of nausea that overcame me. Whether it was the bacon fat itself or flashes of more health challenges coming with the bacon overload, I'm not jumping on this bacon wagon anytime soon. It's all yours, Joel! 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Frozen Yogurt Time!

Every mouthful so smooth, cold, and creamy...nothing quite like it. I was hooked the very first time I tasted soft serve frozen yogurt on our honeymoon in Nantucket, a long time ago.

Frozen yogurt's popularity seems to be on the upswing again, as evidenced by all the new shops popping up everywhere. I just returned from Richmond, Virginia, getting together with family to celebrate my niece Hannah's high school graduation. Evidently, niece Juliette had already been plotting where to take Aunt Barb for frozen yogurt. Gotta love it!

The kids chose to head to Menchie's. It appeared like every other self-serve frozen yogurt shop around these days: grab your own dish, head to the wall displaying all the different yogurt flavors, spout it out, carefully dump on your favorite toppings, then head to the middle where you pay by weight.

But at Menchie's, I zeroed in on the way they displayed their nutrition information. After picking up your dish, you walk right by a poster that explained all of the symbols they used on small posters above each yogurt selection. Some indicated low-fat, low-sugar, gluten-free, and kosher, among many others. All extremely helpful to people with all kinds of health issues. Granted, I haven't walked in to the several new frozen yogurt shops around where we live, so it could be that  others are just on top of things with nutrition information.
My choice: Vanilla Snow
Nutrition symbols along sides

The vanilla and chocolate I swirled together were both low-fat and listed 110 calories for a 4 ounce serving. And, there's the catch. I checked my dish. In very tiny print, it declared it held 16 ounces. If I had really tried, I could have gotten 24 ounces mounded high in there. Easily. And that would have been 6 times the 4 ounce serving, zipping it up to a scary 660 calories. Between my daughter and I, we had a 14 ounce portion, roughly 7 ounces each. And, depending on what it is, toppings can really add up. Luckily, I'm a purist. I don't like toppings to interfere with the creamy goodness. I figured I enjoyed every single bite of cold bliss for a 220 calorie price tag. And it was worth every one!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

One Day at a Time

After reading this motivational poem to a group last week, several people requested a copy of this wonderful way to bring perspective back when we get overwhelmed...

There are two days in every week about which we should not worry,
two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is Yesterday with all its mistakes and cares,
its faults and blunders, its aches and pains.

Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control.
All the money in the world cannot bring back Yesterday.

We cannot undo a single act we performed;
we cannot erase a single word we said.
Yesterday is gone forever.

The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow
with all its possible adversities, its burdens,
its large promise and its poor performance;
Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control.

Tomorrow's sun will rise,
either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise.
Until it does, we have no stake in Tomorrow,
for it is yet to be born.

This leaves only one day, Today.
Any person can fight the battle of just one day.
It is when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities
Yesterday and Tomorrow that we break down.

It is not the experience of Today that drives a person mad,
it is the remorse or bitterness of something which happened Yesterday
and the dread of what Tomorrow may bring.

Let us, therefore, Live but one day at a time.
---Author Unknown