McDonalds and Food Allergies: Check ingredients on-line and again at the restaurant

By writing about McDonald’s Restaurants here, I am not recommending them in particular. However, they have outlets all over the world and sooner or later, many travellers find themselves stopping at McDonald’s even though at home it may not necessarily be their normal preference.

Not all McDonald’s are the same! While the U.S. McDonald’s website is very good at listing McDonald’s ingredients and nutrition information, that information is only good for the U.S. stores. If you are going to be in another country, you need to look at that country’s website, where the information may be different.

In experimenting with the U.S.A. and Canadian McDonald’s websites, using a Big Mac as a test case, it appeared that:

  • there are multiple screens to be worked through to actually find the detailed ingredients lists for the products, but both websites do have them – keep searching for “Details” and be thorough; try using the “Search” function or the site map as well
  • there are little differences in the specific ingredients of some of the parts of a Big Mac, for example:
  • in one place on the Canadian site, the pickles on the Big Mac are shown to contain garlic
  • in another place on the Canadian site, the pickles on the Big Mac do not appear to contain garlic
  • in at least one place on the U.S. site, the pickles on the Big Mac do not have garlic.

Does this matter? Possibly, if you are allergic to garlic. There were other apparently minor differences between the specific Canadian and U.S. ingredients, though not necessarily differences which would matter. For example, the bun (made mainly of wheat flour) also contains wheat starch in one of the Canadian lists, but not the U.S. list. If a person has a wheat allergy, they will probably avoid the bun altogether because of the flour. Whether there is a little added wheat starch probably won’t matter. It’s just an example of a small difference between two countries’ Big Mac ingredients.

More likely to cause concern is the sunflower oil which is listed as an ingredient of the grill seasoning in Canada but not in the U.S. If you are allergic to sunflower oil at all, would you take a chance on eating the U.S. version of the Big Mac? And yet, if you live in the U.S. and never had a reason to check the Canadian McDonald’s website, would you even consider this question?

Using the Search function on McDonald’s USA website, “sunflower” turned up only one result, and that was not for grill seasoning, but for Fruit ‘n’ Yogurt Parfait.

The customer has to realize that the lists of ingredients change from time to time. It is not wise to rely on outdated lists. Probably the best approach is to check the on-line list to get an idea of what to expect, but then to check in the restaurant again, before eating.

The bottom line is, don’t assume that things will be the same once you leave home. McDonald’s disclosure looks very comprehensive, so there is a fair bit of preparation you can do in advance, but ingredients lists change with time and from one place to another.

I have written to McDonald’s USA to ask about the sunflower oil in the grill seasoning or in any McDonald’s cooking oil. Please check back to see how they reply.

How to Stock the Pantry With Raw Foods: Eat More Raw Ingredients Daily — Make this Olive Tapenade in Minutes

Stocking a raw food pantry takes some getting used to. Be sure to go slow while adding raw items to a menu each day. Don’t be afraid to try new things. This may be the beginning of changing an entire lifetime of habits that may be threatening your health.

According to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw [Alpha Books; 2008], “The attraction to eating raw foods is the weight loss, improved health, and increased energy. Some want to cleanse or heal from any number of modern illnesses. Others simply want to include more fruits and vegetables in their diet.” Your reason to eat more raw foods may boil down to wanting to use what is growing in your vegetable garden.

When stocking up on nuts, make certain they are raw, not roasted. Store them in sealed containers in the refrigerator for up to three months or in a freezer for a year. Spices and dried fruits can be kept in a cool, dark cabinet for up to a year and organic coconut oil can last at room temperature for six months.

Raw Food Staples to Stock Up On

While this is not a complete list of raw food staples to store in the pantry, it is a great start in preparing to switch to a raw food diet.

  • agave nectar (a natural sweetener made from the agave plant’s juice)
  • almond milk (can store in pantry prior to opening), almond butter
  • almonds, cashews, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts
  • Flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds,
  • dried apricots, cherries, Medjool dates, cranberries, raisins, apples
  • cacao nibs (lightly crushed bittersweet cacao beans)
  • carob (tastes similar to cocoa powder, but has no caffeine)
  • cashew butter (can be found at most health food stores)
  • sun-dried tomatoes, olives, olive oil,
  • frozen organic raspberries, blueberries, mango
  • raw honey, coconut oil, vanilla extract
  • cinnamon, cayenne, curry powder, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric,
  • herbal tea

Appliances and Tools to Use in a Raw Kitchen

It’s good to have appliances at the ready for chopping, mincing, blending and grinding. The shortlist includes a blender, food processor, juicer, chef’s knife (7 to 10 inches long with a very sharp edge designed to chop, dice, mince and slice) and a variety of other tools most likely already available in an average kitchen.

Make a Simple Olive Tapenade

(This healthy snack will give you your daily allowance of essential fatty acids.)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Put olives in blender and chop finely. Add oil slowly while blender is running until a thick paste forms. Serve immediately on crackers.

To purchase raw foods online, check out Raw Revolution. Eating a balanced raw food diet means learning to look at food as nutrition, not just something that tastes good. This is not to say that a raw diet cannot be a delicious way to eat. It is a journey of learning how to treat the body with the blessings of a rich, diverse plant life.

Healthy Eating All Year Long: Seasonal Produce and Other Tips for Fall and Winter Cooking

Eat Your Greens

While it might not be time to start hanging “greens,” this is the time of year to start eating them. Greens (collard, turnip, mustard, and beet greens along with spinach, kale and Swiss chard) are cool season plants (spring and fall). They are good sources of vitamin A, vitamin K, Folic acid, fiber, iron, calcium, and many other nutrients. Try sautéing greens with olive oil, garlic, pepper flakes or toasted sesame seeds as a side dish or add them to soups, salads and sandwiches this fall.

As fall approaches, thoughts turn to the holidays and holiday eating. Now is the time to brush off those portion size rules and healthy eating habits. If you let things slide during the warmer months, get back on track. Starting healthy eating habits now will make it easier when the real tests – all those parties and family meals – come. Use a food diary to keep track of when, what and how much you are eating. Break out the measuring cups to help refocus your portion sizes.

Now that peaches, watermelon, strawberries and other summer fruits are out of season, turn to apples, pears, pomegranates, cranberries, kiwi, grapefruit, and oranges to satisfy that sweet tooth. Use fall and winter fruits to liven up desserts, salads, grain dishes, breakfast and snack time.

Reduce and Replace

Find ways to lighten your traditional cold weather and holiday comfort foods.

  • Use low-fat or fat-free versions of milk, cream cheese, sour cream, and other dairy ingredients.
  • Reduce sugar by 1/3 in recipes especially those recipes containing fruit.
  • Reduce or substitute a fruit puree for 1/3 of fat in recipes.
  • Use egg substitutes or egg whites instead of whole eggs to cut fat and calories.

One large egg = 49 calories, 3 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat

Equivalent of egg substitute = 28 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated

Equivalent of egg whites = 17 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated

  • Leave out the salt. It is not needed in most recipes. Salt to taste upon serving.
  • Buy low sodium broths or make your own. To make your own, save the liquid used to boil vegetables or meat, freeze it in ice cube trays or freezer bags and use it later for soups and stews.
  • Increase the fruits and vegetables in recipes. Play with fruits and vegetables to add taste and texture to stews, soups, casseroles, and sides instead of ingredients with more fat and calories.

Winter Vegetables

A great winter produce choice is squash. There are a variety of winter squash available – acorn, spaghetti, butternut, pumpkin are just a few. Using winter squash is a low-calorie, low-fat way to add hearty texture and flavor to winter meals. Bake a spaghetti squash (375º for an hour) and top with pesto and pine nuts to create a tasty side dish or roast pumpkin seeds and toss with spices (cinnamon or cumin) to top desserts, salads or add to trail mix.

Fruits and Vegetables: Simple Ways to Add More of These Healthy Foods to Your Family Diet

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the average American needs to increase their fruit and vegetable intake by several servings per day. Although this may sound simple, it will take some creativity and discipline to incorporate more fruit and vegetables in your diet. Here are some simple and tasty suggestions to help in the transition.

  1. Add fruit and/or vegetables to beverages. Lemons aren’t the only fruit you can add to your drink. Try adding a couple of cucumbers and orange slices to your water, it really makes for a refreshing drink. Add peach slices or strawberries to your tea or lemonade. Eat the vegetables and/or fruit as you consume your beverage.
  2. Top off your cold cut sandwich or burger with more than just lettuce and tomato. Instead turn it into a gourmet (and healthy) sandwich by adding alfalfa sprouts, spinach, cucumbers, peppers and or red onions. Burgers or grilled chicken sandwiches are also delicious with a fresh slice of pineapple on top.
  3. Always serve a salad with each meal. You can serve a fruit cup, spring salad or even coleslaw for variety. Add fresh fruit like strawberries or tangerines to greens for a really tasty salad. In addition to increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, you will probably eat less of the main course possibly resulting in weight loss as well.
  4. Do you have cold or hot cereal for breakfast? Add bananas and/or strawberries to cold cereal. Try raspberries, bananas and/or blueberries in hot cereal.
  5. Make up your own vegetable and/or fruit baggies for snacks. In small baggies place spears of broccoli, cauliflower, baby carrots and celery sticks. For a little flavor, use ranch dressing as a dip. Make up fruit bags by putting slices of apples, oranges and pears along with grapes, cherries, etc. in a baggie. Kids can dip fruit in strawberry yogurt as a special treat. Having the baggies will make it easy for you or your kids to grab a healthy snack. These also make great snacks for school and/or work.
  6. Get many servings of fruit by making fruit smoothies. These are great for breakfast, a snack or even a delicious dessert.
  7. Many restaurants are now more flexible and provide the customer with many more healthy alternatives. So instead of having french fries, order a salad or a vegetable for your side dish.

Be persistent and consistent, and before you know it you and your family will easily be consuming the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

An In-Depth Review Of The Secret Fat Burner – Matcha Tea

There is no doubt that most consumers all around the world would love to lose a little bit of weight. Unfortunately, getting into shape is never easy. This is why a lot of people have started looking for reliable weight loss aids. There are plenty of options out there, but Matcha Tea may very well be the best solution for everyone. This weight loss supplement is designed to help the user lose weight easiest than ever before. It is suggested that it could potentially help the consumer lose a maximum of 3 Kgs during the first week of use. Below, you’ll learn more about Matcha Green Tea and its benefits.

NOTE: Get High Quality Matcha Tea Here.

Matcha Tea Suppresses Appetite

It is undeniably true that a lot of people wind up gaining weight, because they’re unable to control their appetite. They feel hungry almost all the time, so they indulge and wind up gaining weight. This also makes it nearly impossible to lose a sufficient amount of weight. The good news is that there are ways to suppress the appetite. This specific supplement can do just that. It is capable of completely suppressing the appetite, so the user will not feel so hungry throughout the day or night.

This can make a big difference and it can lead to rapid weight loss.

Detoxifies The Body

It is also important to realize that this weight loss supplement aids with the detoxification of the body. In some cases, these consumer is obese due to built up toxins inside of the body. With this supplement, the user will be able to detoxify their body and get rid of those potentially dangerous toxins are quickly as possible. In return, this will make the user far healthier, while also giving them the ability to shed a few pounds. When consuming this supplement, it is possible for the user to experience the common signs of detoxification. This includes insomnia, dry mouth, irritability and a slight headache.

Convenient Results

Some supplements are incredibly annoying to use. This is not the case with Matcha Tea. With this specific product, the consumer only needs to consume a single tablet each and every day for the first five days. As soon as you wake up in the morning, you should take a pill on an empty stomach. Make sure that you drink two to three liters of water per day. After the first five days have elapsed, it is possible to skip two days and scale back. Truly, losing weight with this specific supplement is very easy and convenient. On top of that, the product has a shelf life of 24 months, so you’ll be able to store it and use it for a long time.

Matcha Tea Powder Overall Assessment

When it comes down to it, no supplement is going to be a miracle cure to obesity. Nevertheless, it is entirely possible to lose weight faster with Matcha Tea. This product can speed up the user’s metabolism and allow them to burn fat quicker. It also helps to suppress the appetite. This combination guarantees that the user will burn fat and keep it off!

The Full Raspberry Ketone Diet Breakdown

The high number of raspberry ketone reviews on the Internet show how popular the weight loss supplement has become. Just like is the case with Slim Tea Nigeria reviews, there are also many testimonials from people who have lost weight by supplementing their diets with Pure Raspberry Ketones recommended by Dr Oz. Some of the best diets to use Rasberry Ketones on are as follows:

  • Banting Diet
  • The Paleo Diet
  • Atkins Diet
  • Low Carb High Fat Diet

However, before you buy Raspberry Ketone, it is good to know the recommended diet you should take to achieve the best results.

Raspberry Ketone Diet

One thing you must remember is that Raspberry Ketone Pure is not a medicine. It is simply a dietary supplement. This means it can be taken with other foods to compliment them in their efforts to make your body healthy.

At the official Raspberry Ketone website, the supplement is recommended to be taken together with a balanced diet. To achieve your weight loss goals, you must adopt healthy eating habits in the long term. The raspberry ketones can help you lose weight by burning the fat in your body, but if you do not switch to healthy eating habits, it is likely that weight loss results may take time to be seen.

A diet comprising of the three main food groups: carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins is recommended. Remember to take a lot of water on a daily basis to keep your immune system healthy and flush out toxins from the body.

Main Raspberry Ketone Ingredients

Raspberry Ketone Pure comprises of ingredients that make up the top weight loss supplements in the market. These ingredients include acai berry, grape fruit, green tea extract, kelp extract and apple cider vinegar.

Acai Berry: The Amazon acai berry is one of the major ingredients in Pure Raspberry Ketone. The fruit became famous around 2007 and 2008 when Oprah and Dr Oz talked about is benefits on Oprah Live. This wellness berry has just nearly about every dietary compound that a person needs to be healthy.

Grape Fruit: Grape fruits are cousins to raspberries and contain powerful enzymes that help in various body functions. The fruits have high amount of pectin, vitamin C and fiber. They help in digestion and making the bones strong.

Green Tea Extract: Communities in the Far East have been using the healthiest green tea for centuries for its health benefits. The extract improved digestion and flushes out unwanted matter in the body. This keeps you energetic and leaves you body toned.

Kelp Extract: Kelp is a super food that helps to support the nervous system and the thyroid. The food helps in digestion and keeps the urinary tract clean.  This ensures fats and toxins and flushed out of the system to keep your body healthy.

Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar helps to flush out toxins in the body and ensures the digestive system remains healthy.  The combination of apple cider and vinegar act as a cleanser in the digestive system. The intestinal walls are washed to release toxins and excess body fat.

Does Raspberry Ketone Pure Really Work?

Raspberry Ketone Pure works and can help you lose weight in as few as 5 days. While we are confident of the weight loss result that the supplement provides, we ultimately recommend a full lifestyle change for you to enjoy long term benefits of not only losing weight, but also a healthier life.

Pizzas Are Not Meant to Be Cheesy! Here’s a Low Fat Pizza Recipe for Your Weight Loss Journey

If you’re looking for a quick pizza dough recipe, this is it. And it’s really one of the best pizza crust recipes you’ll ever make because it tastes just like pizza you’d find in a pizzeria.

The secret is a method borrowed from a recent issue of Cooking Light magazine: You preheat the cookie sheet in the oven, just as you would a pizza stone. Then pre-bake the pizza crust a a few minutes. The results are exceptional.

Even better: You don’t even need a pizza stone or pizza peel to make this pizza crust recipe. Just a regular cookie sheet and your oven. A silicone cutting mat is helpful, too, but not necessary.

If, however, you are interested in buying a pizza stone or pizza pan, I recommend the Mario Batali pizza pan. It won’t crack like the stones, and you can use it for numerous other things, from roasting vegetables to making french toast.

Pizza Dough Recipe

(Makes enough for 2 pizzas)

  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp. active dry yeast
  • cornmeal

Place water, 2 tsp. olive oil, flours, salt, cheese and yeast in bread machine according to manufacturer’s directions. Select dough cycle. When cycle is complete, place an empty rimless cookie sheet in oven and preheat to 475 degrees F.

Turn dough out on a separate rimless cookie sheet or silicone cutting mat, dusted with cornmeal. Knead dough a few times. Divide in half. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze for later.

Roll other half of dough into a 14-inch circle (or square — the shape doesn’t really matter). Brush with remaining teaspoon of olive oil. Slide dough onto cookie sheet in oven and bake 8 minutes. Remove from oven and continue with your favorite recipe for homemade pizza.

How to Bake Chicken Fingers To Lose Weight

How many times have you had finger-licking baked chicken at a fast-food joint and wished you could have it easily at home? Wouldn’t it be awesome to make baked chicken at home that is not only tasty but super healthy and easy as well?

Well worry no more because this baked chicken delivers it all oodles of flavor in the shortest of time with the simplest ingredients and a no-brainer recipe. What’s more, this baked chicken recipe is so delightful, you can even present it over lunch or dinner parties and get smiles all around. So why wait when we can be laughing in a matter of minutes?

This gorgeous crispy baked chicken recipe needs only a few simple things.

Baked chicken fingers ingredients

  • Chicken breast – 2, cleaned and cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • Garlic, finely chopped – 1 tbsp (alternatively, you can use 1 tsp dried garlic powder)
  • Buttermilk – 1 pot (If you don’t have buttermilk, mix 1 cup youghurt with 2 tbsp lemon juice and set aside for 15 – 20 minutes)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Pepper – to taste
  • Cornflakes – for coating

You will also need a grilling sheet or cookie cooling rack for baking the chicken fingers.

Baked chicken recipe

  1. In a large bowl, put the buttermilk, chopped garlic, salt and a generous twist of pepper and mix well. Add in the chicken breast strips and mix so that the chicken is coated through. Set aside to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Crush 2 to 3 cups of cornflakes to a fine crumble and take out on a wide open platter. (A plastic bag and a rolling pin work wonders!)
  3. Preheat the oven to 175 – 180 degrees (moderately hot).
  4. Put the marinated chicken in a collander to drain the excess marinade. Roll each chicken strip in the cornflakes crumble and place on the cookie rack.
  5. Place the cookie rack on the middle oven shelf and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Check that the baked chicken is done by breaking a chicken finger in the middle; the meat should have turned white.
  7. Serve the baked chicken fingers hot with a delicious dipping sauce, especially a Honey Mustard Sauce.

Notes

  • Do not cover the baked chicken fingers or they will turn soggy.
  • You can brush the cookie rack with a bit of oil before baking, but it’s not necessary.
  • You can marinate and roll the baked chicken fingers in the cornflake crumble and refrigerate them in advance. They keep very well in the fridge and you can bake them just before your guests arrive. Enjoy!

Grilled Watermelon Salad: A Grilled Fruit Salad That Goes With Any Weight Loss Mea

There is nothing like grilling to bring out the sweetness of fruit. And in this recipe, grilled watermelon is the star. Sprinkling the watermelon with just a bit of kosher salt enhances the flavor of the fruit and helps the watermelon caramelize when grilled.

The addition of mint to this watermelon and feta salad gives this recipe a hint of coolness that perfectly balances the juicy sweetness of the watermelon and the salty creaminess of the feta cheese.

This watermelon salad is not only light and refreshing, it is quite healthy, too. Packed with protein, fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C, this watermelon feta salad is a great addition to just about any meal.

And this grilled watermelon salad makes a great take-along dish to a Father’s Day or 4th of July party, or virtually any summer occasion. Serve this salad with anything from barbecued chicken to citrus baked tilapia for a light and easy summer dinner. Throw some oven fried zucchini or baked sweet potato fries on the side and serve strawberry fruit pizza for dessert, and you’ve got an elegant and healthy meal everyone will love!

Grilled Watermelon Salad

  • 6 slices seedless watermelon
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 cups romaine or bibb lettuce (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice

Prepare grill or heat a cast iron grill pan over medium heat. Sprinkle kosher salt over watermelon slices. Place watermelon on grill in a single layer (you will have to do this in batches if you’re using an indoor grill pan). Cook 2 minutes, then flip and cook another 2 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and allow watermelon to cool, 5 minutes. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

Place the lettuce in the bottom of a large salad bowl. Top with watermelon pieces, fresh chopped mint, then the feta cheese. Pour the lemon juice over the salad and toss lightly. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Per serving (based on 6): 142 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 11 mg cholesterol, 27 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 5 g protein, 104% vitamin A, 75% vitamin C, 14% calcium, 12% iron

Carrot Cake Smoothies: Healthy Smoothies That Helps to Lose Weight!

One of the healthiest things you can do for yourself is learn how to make smoothies. They’re tasty, nutritious and a wonderfully refreshing way to start your day.

The best way to make smoothies is with a top-quality blender, like a Vita Mix Blender. This is what the smoothie chains use, and it works better than any other blender on the market for turning frozen fruits and vegetables into delicious and healthy frozen drinks.

But the Vita-Mix Blenders are pretty pricey. If you don’t want to spend the money, go for a Hamilton Beach blender with an ice-crusher feature. The Hamilton Beach blenders are inexpensive, and they do the job better than any other blender or smoothie maker on the market.

This recipe calls for vanilla bean paste. Vanilla bean paste is like a thick vanilla extract with tiny little vanilla bean seeds in it. It’s a wonderfully convenient (not to mention cheaper) way to add pure vanilla flavoring to recipes, without having to scrape the vanilla beans yourself. However, vanilla bean paste can be hard to find. Trader Joe’s sells it. If you can’t find it, just use pure vanilla extract instead.

Of course, you can serve these carrot cake smoothies for dessert. But the good news is they are nutritious enough to serve for breakfast, too. Indeed, these smoothies have a whopping 3 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein, and 324% of the recommended daily allowance for Vitamin A in each serving. So go ahead, make one today!

Carrot Cake Smoothies

  • 3 cups peeled and sliced carrots — not baby carrots*
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup non-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup angel flaked coconut (sweetened coconut)
  • 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups non-fat vanilla yogurt
  • cinnamon for garnish

Place sliced carrots and water in a microwave-safe container. Heat on high 4 to 8 minutes, until carrots are soft enough to mash. Mash and place in a VitaMix blender or food processor. Add remaining ingredients, except for cinnamon, and puree until well blended. Garnish with cinnamon.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 240 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 5 mg cholesterol, 45 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 8 g protein, 324% vitamin A, 38% vitamin C, 24% calcium, 5% iron

*Regular carrots work best in this recipe, because they have more moisture than the pre-peeled baby carrots.