New Healthcare Law Requires Chain Restaurants to Post Calorie Counts

Healthcare Law Requires Fast Food Calorie ListingAccording to a report by the Associated Press: WASHINGTON – A requirement tucked into the massive U.S health care bill will make calorie counts impossible for thousands of restaurants to hide and difficult for consumers to ignore. More than 200,000 fast food and other chain restaurants will have to include calorie counts on menus, menu boards and even drive-throughs.  Read the whole article here. It may be a bit onerous for these restaurants to have to do this, but if you’ve ever seen those popular “Eat This, Not That” books and website, you know that often, seemingly “healthy” menu items can be worse than things that have a reputation for being “bad for you”.   In this blogger’s opinion, this step is a positive one because it will help American’s make more informed choices about what they eat.  Dietary choices are behind so many of the leading illnesses in our society from obesity to cancer.  The more info we have as a society, the better off we will be as we choose what to eat.

A Dragonfruit a Day Keeps the Doctor (and the CNA) Away

The days are getting distinctly shorter, and an autumnal chill is in the air at night.  Yes, it is still summer and the days are sweltering.  But as I was munching on a delicious bowl of sweet bing cherries last night, I realized that the summer is rapidly fading; and along with it, affordable and easy access to the profusion of sweet summer fruits.  Yes, you can still buy plums, pluots, nectarines, cherries, watermelons and the like in the wintertime too.  But those fruits are picked early and shipped from the Southern hemisphere and other more remote tropical locales.  By the time they make it into the supermarkets here in the Northeast, they are soft and much of the flavor (never mind the nutrients) has been lost. Certified nursing assistants, along with doctors and others in the medical profession regularly point to nutrition as a cause of poor health in many patients.  Sadly, many Americans consume a diet not rich enough in fresh fruits and vegetables.  For some it is also a matter of economics because fresh fruits and veggies are often more costly than less healthy processed alternatives.  Moreover, they are perishable and not as easy to store.  This is exactly why now, in the heart of summer, it makes the most sense to consume as much yummy fresh fruit as you can when prices are at their lowest and most produce is coming from local sources.  Over at the Huffington Post, they published a slideshow of the top 24 superfruits which are known to help boost immunities and overall good health.  Have a look at the list and then go to your local grocer and buy some fresh superfruits.  Remember it doesn’t have to be an apple a day to keep the doctor or CNA away.  It can also be a dragonfruit!

OK, Just One More

Like one more potato chip, or one more chicken nugget, i simply cannot resist yet another “junk food” post.  After this, I promise to lay off the stories about horrific fast foods (and the role these foods play in undermining in public health) for at least a little while.  Although it is a topic we cover periodically on the Allen School Online Blog, and while there’s been a unusually high number of these stories in the news lately, I will not be turning this blog into something other than a place focused on medical billing and coding, and medical office assistant training.  That said, I was appalled to see another customer suffered an actual heart attack at Las Vegas’s infamous Heart Attack Grill.  We posted the last time a patron of this aptly named restaurant died eating their apparently deadly Quadruple Bypass burger. Today, another Heart Attack Grill patron suffered a heart attack, this time while consuming the comparatively puny Double Bypass burger (wimp!)  One really can’t feel too bad for either victim.  After all they only got exactly what they paid for in their choice of restaurant.  But, if you are feeling badly about it, console yourself with a little treat. I hear Burger King is testing out a new bacon sundae!

Fast Food Industry Fails to Disappoint

Long time readers of the Allen School Online blog know that I have a penchant for covering the strange and life-shortening oddities produced at seemingly regular intervals by the US fast food industry.  These items — like KFC’s Double Down and the recently-proven-fatal Triple Bypass Burger at Vegas’ Heart Attack Grill — are major contributors to the heart disease and obesity epidemic that keeps medical offices busy with lots of ailing patients.  Well, McDonald’s, not to be outclassed, recently upped the ante with a new culinary abomination.  The new McRibster, (that’s a batter fried McRib pork sandwich with bacon) is about to hit markets and arteries near you.  The cult classic McRib sandwich wasn’t unhealthy enough I guess, prompting the evil geniuses at McDonald’s test kitchen to think of ways they could make this sandwich even more likely to stop your heart.   Have a look at it here and let us know if you think they’ve succeeded.

A Heart Attack on a Bun

We’ve all made this joking reference before to fatty fast foods that we love, but that are less than healthy to consume.  Regular readers of the Allen School Online Blog know that we love to cover stories about horrible fast foods.  From KFC’s gruesome Double Down sandwich to the greasy McDonald’s McGriddle breakfast sandwich.  As entrants into the field of medical office assisting, you’re bound to endure a lifetime of dealing with people who suffer the maleffects of eating this kind of diet.  Just look at the case of the man that suffered a heart attack while eating something called the “Triple Bypass Burger” (see photo) at a place in Las Vegas known as the Heart Attack Grill.  You may be as disgusted as I was to learn that this 8000 calorie monstrosity of a sandwich is not the largest one on their menu (see the Quadruple Bypass Burger to be truly impressed/repulsed).  So yes, the victim in this story did indeed suffer a heart attack while eating a Triple Bypass Burger at the Heart Attack Grill.  Is anyone surprised?  Always looking for stories about horrible dietary abuses so if you know of any places or stories like this one, please share with me in the comments.  Now go eat a spinach salad!  Happy Friday students!

Most Ridiculous Fast Food of 2011

I wait for this list every year.  We always cover “over the top” fast food creations on this blog for some reason.  Well this year’s list of the craziest or most wildly unhealthy food items has dropped.  Will someone puhLEEZE tell me how I missed the Doritos Taco Bell taco?  OMG!  That looks EPIC!  Let’s thank America’s purveyors of fast food for their assistance in providing customers for doctors and the medical billers they employ!   Enjoy the madness.

Wheat Belly – A Breakthrough!

This blog often covers issues related to diet, healthy foods and related trends.  So I am excited to share with the readers here some information I have firsthand knowledge of regarding a very important personal breakthrough.  This blogger has eliminated all wheat products from his diet for 45 days and has dropped almost 30 pounds in the same period of time! Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist, has uncovered a very startling fact: modern, genetically modified (GM) wheat produces a gluten protein that crosses the blood-brain barrier.  Know what else crosses the blood-brain barrier?  Cocaine, heroin and other highly addictive substances!  This is why, if you’re like me, you frequently cannot help overeating with a ravenous furor that borders on the uncontrollable.  Since the 1960s, as part of efforts to optimize yields and feed a growing and hungry humanity, all wheat produced globally has been a GM variety.  There was never any testing done to check if the GM grain had any negative side effects. I can tell you that after the first 4 days without wheat – during which time I experienced miserable withdrawal symptoms reminiscent of drug withdrawals – my compulsion to eat constantly has all but subsided.  Now, I still miss breads and pizza etc.  although I can easily resist them whereas before, I was all but powerless to do so.  Happily though, the damaging gluten protein is not inherent in potato, rice, corn and many other grains.  So when I get to longing for a wheat product, I can satisfy myself with some fries and ketchup.  Or I can enjoy a plate of pork fried rice.  Or tacos in crunchy corn shells.  And, I AM LOSING WEIGHT!  So that’s something!  You can visit Dr. Davis’ Wheat Belly Blog here. I highly recommend the book too.  It’s called Wheat Belly. It’s available at and your local public library.  Both the blog and the book also contain recipes to replace some of your favorite wheat-based munchies!

Radishes, Rhubarb and Ramps, OH MY!

Spring has finally popped here in the Northeast and even if I couldn’t see the greenery outside my window, I would know it was time because I am down to the last few jars of tomatoes and peppers I jarred at the end of Summer 2010.  Any day now, the earliest of crops will be ready for consumption heralding a return to the healthy, fresh eating of the warmer months.  Strawberries, asparagus, ramps, radishes, and an array of baby greens are all just a few weeks away.  In fact, we’re already starting to see them showing up in groceries and farmer’s markets. As busy students, workers and parents, it can be hard to remember to eat well when we have so little time.  Grabbing grub on the go often leads to poor dietary habits.  This is especially true in Winter months when it is even more difficult and costly to find fresh, healthy snacks.  So rejoice!  Spring has sprung and the goodies will soon start to arrive.  Click here for more about the bounty of Spring produce.

Top 10 Spingtime Superfoods

One of the best parts about Springtime is anticipating the return of greater varieties of fresh produce in the Northeast.  All winter long, we survive on produce either in cold storage since Fall or fruits and veggies weeks old and flown in from more southern latitudes. Here’s a great list of the top 10 superfoods for Springtime: 1. Artichokes 2. Asparagus 3. Avocado 4. Blueberries 5. Fava Beans 6. Fresh Figs 7. Leeks 8. Oregano (and other fresh herbs) 9. Spinach 10. Strawberries To read more on why each of these are considered superfoods, click here for the Yahoo! article.

Food & Wine’s Best Burgers in the US

In-N-Out Burger, "Animal Style"

This blog periodically covers the topic of fast food and its impact on culture, wellness and society.  I have also written several times about my personal favorite, In-N-Out Burger, the west coast chain that haunts my dreams as an east coast denizen.  Well, Food & Wine magazine publushed its annual list of the best burgers in the US and In-N-Out was at the top of the list!  For us here in the NYC area, the list includes several contenders from the Big Apple.  Minella’s Tavern, the Spotted Pig and Shake Shak all made the list.  As did Peter Luger’s, the legendary steakhouse in Williamsburg.  But if I am going to Luger’s I am eating steak, not burgers.  Where is your favorite burger place?