Post-Thanksgiving Guilt? No need.

The foods we all love to eat on Thanksgiving are actually quite healthy. Don't feel bad about your holiday indulgences! Turkey day beats a pizza night and day of the week...

Pumpkin - Pumpkin is rich in Vitamin A and also provides fiber. Pumpkin seeds are high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids (the good fats). Pumpkin itself is quite low in calories and is a healthy holiday food. Pumpkin pie, however, becomes a high-calorie food because it's made with eggs, sugar, evaporated milk and baked in a high-fat pie crust. To make a lower-fat pumpkin pie, you may consider soy milk, canola oil or egg whites.

Cranberries - Cranberries are packed with Vitamin C and also provide a fair amount of dietary fiber and manganese. Cranberries also contain proanthocyanidins, a type of antioxidant that can prevent the adhesion of bacteria to the urinary tract sometimes causing urinary tract infections.

Sweet Potato - Sweet Potato is a rich source of antioxidants such as Vitamin C and beta-carotene. Similar to the banana, it is also an excellent source of potassium. Mashed or sliced--just don't load them with butter or too many marshmallows..... they are called sweet potatoes because they are naturally sweet!

Turkey - In addition to being an excellent source of protein, turkey offers the least amount of fat per serving, among all other meats, if you pass on the skin.

Tofurkey- Low in fat, high in protein. Plus....the turkeys are BIG fans....

Stuffing- OK, so its not really the healthiest of side dishes...but just a little bit goes a long way...and if you count the healthy spices and moist veggies....stuffing really can be a worth-it treat to your plate. Try it with corn bread or whole wheat bread. And try a vegan version using canola oil and veggie broth instead of butter and chicken stock.

Green Beans - Green beans are very healthy! They are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K (important in bone health) and manganese. They also contain a good amount of vitamin A, dietary fiber, potassium, folate, and iron. Toss them in olive oil and garlic for delicious flavor. Add sliced almonds for taste and texture.

So just go easy on the gravy ad load up on the good stuff leftovers....and remember with all that healthy fiber, its no wonder you feel so STUFFED!!!

Happy Holiday.


Happy Thanksgiving Veggie Comics

(Click image for zoom)

Happy Thanksgiving!


New Meet the Lunchbox Bunch Video!


Local NYC Review: Russ and Daughters

No its not vegan (and I am), and no I don't eat the famous smoked salmon (I know, booo me)...but my husband does (and habitually)...but I have plenty of options at this true to New York, long time counter shop. They have been in the same location since 1914. Not too shabby.
Located at 179 Houston Street on the Lower East Side of NYC, Russ and Daughters is simply amazing. This store has been around for a very long time, but remains authentic old school NYC. I luckily live very close by and must admit I stop in here 1-2 times a week. I am vegan, but my husband LOVES the smoked salmon. It is the best he has ever had. And the smoked salmon makes it very easy for me to indulge his fish cravings without even cooking or preparing fish! It's great for a couple like us.
Plus they have amazing yummies for me. I get a small container of the scallion tofu cream cheese and about six bagels and bialy's.
Plus most the employees have been working there for a long time, are incredibly friendly and helpful and even accommodating to all the typical tourist questions I constantly overhear like "So what is the best salmon here?" "So what are you guys famous for anyways?" "Doesn't Martha come here a lot?"

So, I love this place. Thank Gosh I live close. If you don't live nearby, they do an amazing mail order service.
Other great treats in there: Try the fresh orange juice too--it is the best in the city. All their specialty preserves and jams are over-the-top delicious. Dried fruits are top notch. Logo to-go bags and even t-shirts for the fanatical foodie. Wear your Russ shirt with pride, I say.

Ps . It gets very busy on weekends and any holiday--so plan ahead and go mid-morning on a weekday so you can get a good look around without feeling rushed or claustrophobic (as the place is nice and tiny!) And bialy's always sell out before the bagels, so plan ahead if you NEED bialy's.

PS...They even have a BLOG now! How exciting for all those hardcore RUSS fans out me.


The View Ladies Hawk Video Game for Kids Health? I say No Way!

Today on The View, after a rousing discussion about healthy kids, a free giveaway for VTECH'S VMOTION, Video Game machine was presented to the audience members. Hmmm...Video Games to get your kids moving. Video games are entered into a 'health kids' discussion? I smell someone simply trying to sell me something.

Let me weigh in on the frustrating new trend of video games that aide in fitness for kids.

With cell phones, computers, online EVERYTHING, do we really want our kids to be getting their exercise habits from another SCREEN? (And its a long shot that they exercise is even adequate...) I think there is no better way for a child to get exercise than traditional methods: basketball, football, running and skipping through the park, swing sets, playing ball and even throwing a tennis ball against your wall....until your parents go nuts and ask you to stop.

When kids get into high school they aren't going to join the 'video game team' are they? No. Lets keep real sports and physical games in the forefront of our kids. Not another video game that glues their eyes to the screen and keeps them indoor--right a few feet away from the kitchen cabinet.

Playskool also came out with a $50 toy called DanceCam. At first I thought it was great! But then I decided a giant mirror, loud music and a few friends would be the same thing...only better

I think anyone trying to claim that these video games are great for promoting a healthy lifestyle is really just trying to sell something....a video game toy. Go to target and buy a soccer or your money and your kids health!

Do you agree with me on this subject???


Economy Woes? Get Your Fast Food Fix without the Guilt!

How will your waistline fare in this downturned economy? McDonald's third quarter sales are way up, and if you've just lost your job, have an empty bank account and an empty tummy--chances are you may have fast food on your mind. It is well known that you can stretch a few bucks pretty far at a Wendy's, McDonald's or even Burger king. And when stress hits, many people throw all their healthy food rules out the window.

Stressed out at the end of the day--healthy, naughty? Green, greasy? Salad bar, Ketchup bar? Whole Grains, whole value meal? Hold the mayo, extra cheese please?

I can't help you if you just want a fast food grease fix...but if you are just looking to save a little money there are indeed 'fast food' options that will keep your mind body and spirit happy and healthy.

#1 Subway. Now don't go choosing the triple cheese meatball melt foot long....choose either a veggie delight, max veggie patty, lean turkey or chicken and hold back on the deadly sauces! The spicy mustard and oil/vinegar dressing make for an excellent addition to a healthy sandwich. And do get the wheat or oat bread--not white. More fiber will keep you fuller longer.

#2 Chipotle. Again..don't go nuts on the bad stuff. You can order anything on the menu and hold the cheese and sour cream and end up with a pretty healthy and filling meal. Tips: hold the sour cream, hold or light on the cheese, switch to black beans, DO get guac and DO get lots of spicy salsa. Salsa has been shown to actually improve you mood by having an endorphin-charged effect--similar to that of coffee. And spicy foods have also been shown to increase ones metabolism.

#3 Papa Johns Pizza. Confused? How is PIZZA healthy, you say.... Well there are some strict rules to getting your healthy pizza fix... First, order the NEW whole wheat pizza crust. Get NO or very light cheese, add tons of fresh veggies, and choose only one 'bonus' topping (you know the topping that you really want but know isn't THAT healthy for you...) And again...NO CHEESE or very light.... I promise it will still taste like pizza. But that cheese...its a killer on the body and packed with unsaturated fat.

#4Corner Deli. My tip here is to go very light on any mayo or cheese. Make sure to add a protein though. And instead of mayo add AVOCADO! It will keep your sandwich tasty, but offer you healthy fats. Also, you can try adding some olive oil to your sandwich. Just keep that cheese and mayo off the sandwich. And lean meats or even better, soy fake-meat or hummus.

So try not to let this dreary economy get to your body. When we are feeling a bit down--the best thing we can do to combat it is to TAKE CARE of our bodies.


Can I Move to Australia and Go to the Cafeteria?

Can I move to Australia? They have an AMAZING healthy kids school lunch program. Just peruse the website to see how amazing it is. FDA, Department of Health, White House are you hearing me???


Is Organic Worth the Extra Cost? Maybe...

I know you've asked yourself this while perusing the $1.25 price difference per pound of those fuji apples you love so much...

With a failing economy, many folks are choosing to make sacrifice a few expensive food items. That usually means 'organic' is the first the get chopped. But should you wait and reconsider keeping ORGANIC to you grocery list??
The article above notes that:
A year ago, research by Britain’s University of Newcastle concluded that some organic food is healthier. Its four-year study conducted across Europe found 50 to 80 percent more antioxidants in organic milk than in conventional milk, and 20 to 40 percent more nutrients in organically cultivated grains, tomatoes, potatoes, onions and salad greens.


A Tale of Two Cities Guillotined by Critics

Boo Tale Closing. I wrote a "strongly worded letter"! I can't help be passionate about this issue.
You can read and comment on the editorial piece here:



A Tale of Two Cities Guillotined by Critics—A Fans’ Outcry.

It is a dark day on Broadway when a show like A Tale of Two Cities closes its doors. Closing with just two weeks notice. Before the holiday tourist season. It is the critics who have guillotined this magically intoxicating show. In the end, it is theater lovers who have been duped again. Duped by those ill hearted, arms crossed, unimaginative pencil-pushing cynics. This show has been given an unfair trial. And as a passionate fan, I protest.

continued....Amidst the back-to-work blur of election week, I have a to-do list that runs out my door and down my block. But alas, I am putting aside reality to write this letter in support for what I think is one of the best shows on Broadway. I attended A Tale of Two Cities for my second show on November fourth. As the seven o’clock showtime approached, little did I know that the cast had just been informed of the show’s closing -- just a half hour before the shimmering purple curtain rose. At the curtain call standing ovation, a weary eyed James Barbour, who plays Sydney Carton, broke the news to the audience who let out a spine tingling gasp. My jaw dropped to the floor in such shock that I could do nothing more than shake my head and feel the Al Hirschfeld theatre sounds and people melt and blur around me like globs of wet oil paint splattered on a canvas. Natalie Toro was sobbing next to James as he rambled on about the upsetting news. “This is outrageous!” I shouted to my husband in disgust. My giddy post-show smile was replaced by a little girls frown after she had just had her favorite toy taken away.

After the show I stood out by the silver bars at the stage door and waited to watch the players exit. I was surprised to see them put on such kind and brave faces for the fans--despite just getting canned a few hours before. Natalie Toro who similar to Barbour, has been working on her role for the past six plus years, chatted with fans with red eyes. James Barbour, who I would have expected to be grumpy, nauseas and simply depressed—came out with a kind face for the glum faced fans. “Not even a CD recording?” I vented to them all. “Too expensive. Apparently.” they responded.

This is the worst of times.

Where’s the justice for the fans? For the show? When did money and critics and the stock market seep its way into theatre owners business plans? Since when did the machine of Broadway turn into a system as lowly as say, network television? And when did bad critics get such power?

So why did Tale get kicked to the Broadway curb? I have three reasons.

1. The economy sucks. And even though hardcore theater fans will easily skip a celebratory dinner at Le Bernadin in exchange for tickets to their favorite show—the tourists are a bit more tight-fisted.

2. The shameless critics killed this one. My expectations of this show were very low, simply based on reading multiple bad reviews. I can only picture those pesky little critics sitting stiffly in their seat skimming another boring Playbill with glaring eyes and a twisted frown. Just another show to review, blah blah blah. They probably attended the show alone, devoid of a hand to clutch passionately as James Barbour belted out his heart-fluttering rendition of I Can’t Recall. I bet the critics even missed it when Barbour smiles at the audience mouthing the words “Oooh myyy God!” as he sings about the rosy cheeked Lucie—stars twinkling against a navy sky set. It gave me chills. It was magical. But clearly the critics missed the point. The point is that in moments like these, the audience is moved not by the story, but by the characters. The emotion. The heart. Smug critics clearly don’t have heart or better yet, they simply despise it. Go figure. The critics didn’t stop and look around at the glow on the audience members faces. All the critics saw was a story. A cast. A show. Oh it’s “Les Miz” only not. But the critics got it way wrong this time.

3. I saved my best point for last. It is in criticism to the marketing of A Tale of Two Cities. The publics’ impression of this show was that it was a big cast performing a historical book-on-stage. And the book just happened to be one they get queasy just thinking about reading back in high school. (Or trying to read) Big casts don’t close the sale! When audiences open their wallets for a show they don’t want a ‘cast’. They want a star! James Barbour is the un-highlighted star in this show. I’ve never seen an audience leap onto its feet at curtain call where…. they almost don’t realize what they are doing. Instead of standing for a show like say, The Lion King, where there is a high pile of good reviews to stand with you. Standing at the end of Tale was like standing up against the critics and wrong bad press. Standing up in response to your own hearts intuition, going against wrong first impressions. And notably, the sincere roaring applause for Barbour’s performance echoes in crisp clear shades of gold, say Tony gold in my opinion. I wish the producers had fiercely marketed Barbour as the star, a star you can’t miss on Broadway! The cast is amazing don’t get me wrong, but like I said, people want to see a star. James Barbour fulfills that desire. Barbour is to Sydney Carton as Crawford is to the Phantom.

The true tragedy of Tale closing is that it all came down to money. Lack of filled seats. However, I would bet my autographed Tale playbill that if hesitant theatre goers were smushed forcefully into those red velvet seats, by the time Barbour parades out in his black boots and draped white shirt, a satisfied and sincere grin on his face, they would be on their feet cheering for feeling a flutter in their heart that they did not expect to feel upon entering the theatre. But unfortunately, the curtain, the guillotine will swipe down for good come November 16th 2008. And theater lovers will be cheated of a remarkable Broadway experience. This is a tragedy.

The song, Let Her be a Child says,

“For now let her be lucky. For now look down in grace. Give her time to learn compassion. Give her time to learn forgiveness. Only let her be a child.”

Can’t we let this child of a musical grow into its place on Broadway—to eventually grow its word-of-mouth and stay at the Hirschfeld Theatre having past its troubled youth?

-Kathy Patalsky