Although bad, its in your refrigerator

You know you’re courting nutritional disaster if you order the fettuccine Alfredo or double bacon cheeseburger when you’re eating out. But what about unhealthy foods right in your own refrigerator? If you’re like most of us, your fridge probably holds some basic food products that are adding extra calories, salt, fat, and sugar to your everyday diet — perhaps without you even realizing it.

To make my list of unhealthiest foods, the products had to be commonplace, and they had to be high in trans fats, saturated fat, sugar, or salt. Here are three of my top favorites:

1. ImageMayonnaise

It’s really easy for the calories and fat to add up when you’re slathering on the mayonnaise.

The truth is that regular mayo isn’t too bad if you’re talking about a teaspoon or two. But most mayo users spread it on thicker than that. And if you’re a true mayonnaise lover, you can rack up 360 calories and 40 grams of fat in a 1/4-cup serving.

Mayo maniacs have three better options. They can use a lower-calorie condiment instead of mayonnaise such as mustard, BBQ sauce, salsa, or taco sauce. They can switch to a light mayonnaise with 35 calories and 3.5 grams of fat per tablespoon. Or they can pare down their portion of real mayonnaise to a couple of teaspoons which has 60 calories and 6.7 grams of fat.

2. ImageSoda and Other Sweet Drinks

Sugary drinks are everywhere. Not only are they standard fare in restaurants and vending machines, but the drinks sold in supermarkets — bottled teas, fruit drinks, sports and energy drinks — are usually sweetened as well.

Soda, sweet tea, and fruit drinks generally contribute no nutrients but add plenty of calories. And recent research shows that we don’t tend to compensate by eating less when we drink sweet drinks.

Plain water is best for rehydrating the body and should make up most of what we drink each day. But there are several beverages without calories, like green and black teas, that not only hydrate but contribute healthy antioxidants. And although skim or 1% milk has some calories, milk also has key nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin D, B-12, potassium, and magnesium.

3.  alcohol Alcoholic Beverages

From a nutritional standpoint, there are definitely better beverages you can have in your fridge.

Alcohol calories are empty calories because the body can’t use them as energy. The liver is forced to break alcohol down into fatty acids, which then accumulate in the liver. In fact, fat accumulation can be seen in the liver after a single night of heavy drinking. Liver cells and brain cells actually die with excessive exposure to alcohol.

And then there are the calories. One glass of wine (8 ounces) has around 170 calories, and a bottle of beer (12 ounces) has 150. Each 1.5-ounce shot of liquor (gin, rum, vodka, whiskey) has about 105 calories, not including any soda or mixers you might drink along with it.

If you’re going to drink, do so in moderation. At parties or happy hours, instead of alcoholic drinks, consider drinking mineral or soda water with a wedge of lemon or lime, hot or iced coffee or tea, or diet soft drinks in moderation.


Yes, reform is needed. It’s a travesty that people are viewing others discriminately. Such is a part of the American history and culture. Have we forgotten that this country was built on the backs of immigrants?


According to an article in the Washington Post, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough reiterated that President Obama will be prepared to offer his own immigration reform proposal if a bipartisan effort on Capitol Hill fails. McDonough’s comments followed a recent USA Today report that said the White House is drafting a proposal to allow illegal immigrants to seek permanent legal residency within eight years.

The reality is that any politician who looks at the issue seriously comes to the same conclusions (and this includes GWB whose immigration plan was sensible, but shot down by the republican controlled congress).  In short, the plan that is actually workable and does not include crazy people absolutes includes:

1.  limited amnesty for those who are here a long time and are willing to enter into agreements to pay back taxes and perhaps fines (spread over a few years)

2.  strict border controls along the southern…

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Immigration Reform 2013: Obama Speaks On Leaked Bill; Senators Debate Federal ID Card For All Workers

Immigration Reform 2013: Obama Speaks On Leaked Bill; Senators Debate Federal ID Card For All Workers

Although leaked, President Obama’s discusses his Immigration reform. He believes it won’t hurt talks on the reform. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, several key legislators are looking into the possibility of an immigration bill that would force every U.S. worker to carry a high-tech ID card that could use fingerprints or other markings to determine a person legal status.

Too often, in this highly politicized, highly polarized society, we approach questions through the lenses of politics or economics, job security, family concerns, security concerns – and these things become the categories and lenses through which we approach a particular question. And in addition, too often our thinking is by the pundits – what does Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or Rachel Maddow or some other person that we listen to say and think about a particular issue.

Prosperous nations such as the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom will always attract immigrants that are in search for a better life. The problem is that many immigrants do not follow the proper immigration channels. The United States has an illegal immigration problem as immigrants enter the country illegally by crossing the border between the United States and Mexico, or they enter legally but overstay their visas. The United States Immigration Reform is specifically targeting the problem of 12 to 20 million undocumented workers in the United States.

On January 28, 2013, a bi-partisan group of eight Senators announced principles for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). The Senators involved include: Chuck Schumerof New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Bob Menendez of New Jersey, and Michael Bennet of Colorado, and Republicans John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Jeff Flake of Arizona.[10]

The policies envisioned by the Senators include the following provisions:

  1. A citizenship path for undocumented immigrants already in the United States contingent on certain border security and visa tracking improvements. The plan provides for permanent residence for undocumented immigrants only after legal immigrants waiting for a current priority date receive their permanent residence status and a different citizenship path for agricultural workers through an agricultural worker program.
  2. Business immigration system reforms, focusing on reducing current visa backlogs and fast tracking permanent residence for U.S. university immigrant graduates with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or math also known as the STEM fields.
  3. An expanded and improved employment verification system for all employers to confirm employee work authorization.
  4. Improved work visa options for low-skill workers including an agricultural worker program.

As mention President Obama has his administration’s effort for immigration reform. I hope that our country will find a way to common ground on immigration, which is currently tearing us apart.

Response to Stacey:
Wow, what an interesting perspective from your life. In fact, you’re not alone as people steering clear of others that are different from them. However, I was fortunate in my up bring. I grew up in a diverse neighborhood. Lucky for me that I’ve heard most sides of people’s views. Unfortunately, for me, I never experienced the harsh reality of ignorance until I became an adult. Yikes! However, I learned to work with people who have opposing views. I will add that I’ve open my eyes to an abundance of information to other cultures and view. It was my ah-ha moment.


I know we are suppose to blog about the media and what we think of the news, but I have something to say about my college experience. I grew up in a white Republican middle class household in rural Pennsylvania. My whole family for generations back were Republican–on both sides. They were coal miners, steel workers, factory laborers, country store owners, homemakers–just your average joes and josephines. I married someone just like me–white, middle class and Republican for generations back on both sides. I thought everyone thought and lived like me the whole time I was growing up. The first encounter I had with someone who didn’t agree with me politically was when I was employed as a nanny in New York during the Bush/Dukakis campaign in 1988. I was watching the news alongside the family I was working for and a story came up about Dukakis’ stand on abortion, which was…

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Thanks! There’s a lot of information we need to know. Best of luck to you as well.


Good luck everybody on our first Political Science test tomorrow. Of course, by the time you read this it will probably be over. Don’t forget to have fun! A great piece of advice from my 11-year old.

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Young People should Stop Smoking


Many people say that smoking makes them more alert and improves their concentration, while others believe that smoking calms them down, especially when they are feeling anxious or stressed. While scientists believe this is because the chemicals in the cigarette (especially nicotine) have reduced the withdrawal symptoms that smokers get between one cigarette and the next. Smokers are ‘addicted’ to smoking!

Most people begin smoking when they are teenagers and go on to become regular smokers as adults. Why do young people start smoking when there is so much information available about the damage smoking does to the body?

  • It has been suggested that young people are attracted to the ‘image’ they associate with smoking. The tobacco industry has created an image of smoking as being tough, cool, sophisticated, sexy, attractive or a form of rebellion. Although nicotine addiction keeps people smoking, young people usually start smoking because of the social image they want to present to others.
  • Young people are also more likely to start smoking if their friends or family are smokers.
  • In some cultures, smoking is still widely accepted.

Apart from the health risks, smoking is not seen as ‘cool’ any more. Its banned in so many places these days, that it can be hard to hang out with your friends.

There is no ‘safe’ level of smoking, and the reality is that ‘cutting down’ just doesn’t work! It has been proven that, when people reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke, they take more ‘drags’ from each cigarette. They also take the smoke deeper into their lungs, and hold it in their lungs for a longer period of time. This means they just end up soaking up the same amount of nicotine and other chemicals from fewer cigarettes.

The same thing happens when people switch to cigarettes with a lower tar  and nicotine content (so-called ‘light’ cigarettes). People usually do the same things described above, or actually end up smoking more cigarettes!

Also, research on ‘light’ cigarette smokers has:

  • Not shown any reduction in smoking-related health risks,
  • Not shown that people are more likely to quit,
  • Shown that smokers are exposed to at least as much nicotine, carbon monoxide or tar,
  • Shown that they still get as much heart disease and lung cancer.

Research has also shown that young people do not know this, and many think that they will be healthier if they smoke light cigarettes. This is not true. Light cigarettes will also be just as likely to make a smoker addicted.

Young adulthood is a time of many transitions, including changes in smoking behavior. Adolescents who experiment or smoke intermittently often progress to daily smoking in young adulthood. Young adulthood is also a time when some smokers make quit attempts. Unfortunately, young people who try to quit are likely to relapse, similar to older adults. Often, it is with their first quit attempt that young smokers realize that they have become addicted to tobacco and will not be able to quit easily.

Response to Stacey

Yes, Buffett is dipping into the ketchup business as part of $23.3 billion deal to buy the Heinz ketchup company, uniting a legend of American investing with a mainstay of grocery store shelves. It’s also reported that this is the largest deal ever in the food industry and will help Heinz continue its transformation into a global business. The Heinz Company also makes Classico pasta sauces, Ore-Ida potatoes and Smart Ones frozen meals. Additionally, 3G Capital is the investment firm that bought Burger King in 2010. Furthermore, Heinz CEO William Johnson said at a news conference that taking the company private would give Heinz the flexibility to make decisions more quickly, without the burden of having to report quarterly earnings. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter. We’ll have to sit and watch if Heinz find new home.


This recent NY Times article reported that secret negotitations have resulted in the sale of long time Pittsburgh company Heinz Corporation to Warren Buffet’s company and some rich guy in Brazil who owns 3G. As a native of western Pennsylvania, I take a special interest in this. Pittsburgh has been known for three things in my life time–the best NFL football team, the Steelers; the worst pollution due to the steel industry and the best ketchup, Heinz. Heinz has been based in Pittsburgh since the mid-1800’s. I am proud of that. Although it’s been a publicly traded company for quite some time, it’s always been known as a family company in the hearts of Pittsburghers. Warren Buffet insists that he and his partner insist on keeping the company headquarters in the Steel/Ketchup city but who really knows? He’d better because, to Pittsburgers, Heinz is a name ingrained in their…

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