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FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD: Probiotics not always helpful, understanding your metabolism, and how to reverse muscle loss with age

by | Sep 7, 2018

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week probiotics not always helpful, understanding your metabolism, and how to reverse muscle loss with age.

Next week’s Mindful Meal Challenge will start again on Monday. Sign up now to join us!

Too busy to read them all? Try this awesome free speed reading app to read at 300+ wpm. So neat!

I also share links on Twitter @summertomato and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

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FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD: How to be perpetually healthy, questioning the sustainability of online meat, and what it means to be a supertaster

by | Oct 13, 2017

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

Next week’s Mindful Meal Challenge will start again on Monday. Sign up now to join us!

This week how to be perpetually healthy, questioning the sustainability of online meat, and what it means to be a supertaster.

Too busy to read them all? Try this awesome free speed reading app to read at 300+ wpm. So neat!

I also share links on Twitter @summertomato and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

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Away Court Habits: Living Well on the Road

by | Apr 20, 2015

Photo by ikarl67

When I was a kid I used to dream of one day having a job that would take me all over the world.  I have always loved to travel, so in my brain I envisioned a non-stop vacation filled with exotic places, foods and adventures.

Of course, reality is nothing like that.

There is a huge difference between traveling occasionally (whether for work or play) and traveling regularly, several times per month.

When traveling is a special occasion, there really are no rules. Foodists have accounted for periodic indulgences in their healthstyle already.

But when travel becomes your normal, your Home Court Habits become diluted and you need to integrate a new set of (much more complex) habits to make up the difference.

Recently my travel schedule has moved from periodic to frequent. And adjusting my healthstyle to account for the change hasn’t been easy.

Putting aside the difficulty of eating well at airports and on the plane, simply being outside your familiar environment can throw off even your most ingrained habits, like cooking and exercise.

After 6 months––and much trial and error––I’ve finally developed a set of Away Court Habits that help keep my healthstyle in check while traveling.

I won’t pretend that these are as powerful as my Home Court Habits, but after nearly two weeks away on my last adventure I came home feeling pretty darn good about my state of health and fitness.
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Wisdom Wednesday: Airports and Cakes Don’t Mix

by | Dec 10, 2014

Photo by David Basanta

Recently I was traveling overseas and had a two-hour layover at LAX. Not excited about the idea of eating on the plane, I searched the airport for something resembling Real Food to keep me satisfied for the long flight ahead.

As has been happening at airports more often lately, I was pleasantly surprise to find several decent options and ended up with a tasty pile of beans, cauliflower and roasted squash.

Score.

You see, there’s absolutely nothing special about airports. 95% of the time the food is gross––the pizza is just as nasty as the salads. And sitting on my butt in an uncomfortable seat for the next several hours is nothing near a special occasion.

Normally I avoid eating at airports at all costs, but sometimes it’s just impossible not to.

When I am forced to eat in an airport I just try to find the healthiest, least disgusting thing I can get my hands on and anxiously await arriving at my destination and rejoining the world of Real Food.

To me, airports are like purgatory.

That’s why as I was finishing my beans and cauliflower I was so astounded to see someone walk past my table carrying a giant, four layer slice of red velvet cake.

Cake. At the airport.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

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For the Love of Food

by | May 23, 2014
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week how your nose fools your brain, why olive oil is better than canola, and the secret to perfectly cooked veggies.

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

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9 Tips To Eat Healthy When Holiday Traveling

by | Dec 11, 2013

Photo by jondoeforty1

Tis the season for holiday travel. For the next couple of weeks airports will be the fateful purgatory for all of us venturing home (or away) for the holidays.

Since calorie rich meals are almost certainly in your future, why waste perfectly good indulgences on crappy airport food?

Unhealthy food should be a treat, never a symptom of laziness. Just a little planning can get you through most flights without the need to eat things you’d prefer not to.

Even in suboptimal situations (75% of my flights back to SF are delayed due to weather), there are a few tricks you can use to minimize the damage.
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For the Love of Food

by | May 3, 2013
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

PLEASE NOTE: This is the last day to get a free Fitbit, Mercado bag, phone calls with me, an invite to the Foodist launch party, and other great prizes. Pre-order Foodist today!

This week we learn why we shouldn’t trust food labels, how economic woes can improve health, and the tastiest ways to travel without resorting to airplane food.

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

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Japan: Eating in Okinawa

by | May 2, 2012

Octopus and Umi Budo

As promised, here’s some photos from the Okinawa leg of my Japan trip. As you’ll see, Okinawa (and its food in particular) deserves special attention.

Okinawa is a small island off the Southern end of Japan. Though most Americans who visit Okinawa do so because of the large US military base there, we were interested because Okinawa is home to the longest lived people on the planet. The island of Okinawa, particularly a small village called Ogimi, has more people over the age of 100 than anywhere else in the world.

Okinawa

While there is certainly a genetic component to why these people live so long, we were curious about the dietary and lifestyle factors that might influence their longevity. We went out of our way looking for foods and beverages that are unique to Okinawa, and did our best to eat in as many traditional style restaurants as possible.

Fermented Turmeric Tea

One of the first things we noticed is that outside of downtown Okinawa (Naha), restaurants are shockingly difficult to find. This is because Okinawan’s prepare most of their food at home. In Ogimi, which was very underdeveloped and poor by normal 21st century standards, every home had a garden in the yard which seemed to be a chief source of food (along with sea vegetables and creatures). Interestingly, the most bustling part of the village was a central market dedicated to selling flowers. We found many of the happy citizens there, choosing bouquets from the fields of purple irises and yellow butterflies. They might not have a lot of money, but this place truly looked like paradise on earth.

Field of Irises

As you might expect we saw a fair amount of older people in Ogimi and around all of Okinawa (our cab driver we hired all day was in his high 70s). Though at first we assumed this was because there are more older individuals, we came to suspect that the real reason we were seeing them more often is because they appear far more active and engaged than older people in the US. Even people with crippling osteoporosis could be found browsing the local markets, undeterred by their disposition. Apparently they do not have a word for retirement.

Me and Ayaka Yamamoto

From a dietary perspective, there were several notable differences between Okinawa and mainland Japan. The first was vegetables. It wasn’t easy finding much green matter in Tokyo or Kyoto, but vegetables were plentiful in all Okinawan dishes.

Lunch in Naha

While lots of vegetables are served, the primary staples were goya (aka bittermelon), carrots, cabbage, bean sprouts, daikon, rabe (a relative of broccoli), squash and a purple sweet potato known as ube.

Ube, Goya, Kabocha, Onion

Goya is the most common, and though its bitter aftertaste was a bit overwhelming at first, we quickly acclimated and learned to love the unusual vegetable.

Goya with Bonito Flakes

Another notable difference was the abundance of seaweed and seafood. I lost track of how many new sea veggies I tried, but all were awesome and probably filled with nutrients I’m not normally exposed to. We also ate a lot of shrimp, lobster, abalone and assorted fish.

Tropical Fish

The only other common animal products were pork and eggs.

Pig Face

There was also lots of tofu. (And yes, this tasted as gross as it looks.)

Fish on Tofu

My favorite new seaweed by far was umi budo (“sea grapes”). They tasted exactly like caviar, only vegetarian, and cooler looking. I wish so bad I could find these in San Francisco. I bet the chefs do as well.

Umi Budo

The best food experience we had on the island was at the restaurant of Ayaka Yamamoto (pictured with me above). Her restaurant was recommended to us by young Jiro, from the famed Jiro Dreams of Sushi documentary (again, huge thanks to Tim Ferriss for translating and making this connection possible).

Well, at least I appreciated it.

She serves traditional Okinawan food and has a book on her philosophy of cooking with love.

Tempura Ube, Goya and Pork

Forget what this was, but it was tasty.

Miso Pork Belly (OMG yum)

Rice was notably lacking in the Okinawan diet. Though we had a few spoonfuls in the most traditional meal we ate at Yamamoto’s, it was a very small amount and the rice was brown instead of the usual white rice found in mainland Japan.

Brown Rice in Dashi

Okinawans rely more on the ube sweet potato for starch. “Soba” noodles (they didn’t look like buckwheat) are also common.

Okinawan Soba

Their diet wasn’t exactly sugar-free though. Okinawans are very proud of their brown sugar, which we all admitted was phenomenal.

Brown Sugar Tapioca

Many things have been suggested as the secret to Okinawan longevity: seafood, seaweed, bittermelon, fermented tofu, lack of rice, fermented turmeric tea (a common beverage), special Okinawan sea salts, brown sugar, awamori (their favorite liquor), and others. While they all likely contribute, all of us noticed that every aspect of the Okinawan lifestyle is healthier than anything we’d ever seen. Turns out that happy, active people who eat lots of home-cooked seafood and vegetables have a tendency to live a long time.

They also have giant lobsters.

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Japan: Fun in Tokyo & Kyoto

by | Apr 30, 2012
Sardines on a stick in Kyoto

Sardines on a stick in Kyoto

I spent the first two weeks of April traveling through Japan eating some pretty amazing things, and wanted to share some of the highlights with you here.

We started in Tokyo for the cherry blossom festival, then took the train to Kyoto for a few days, then back to Tokyo two nights before flying to the island of Okinawa. This post will focus on the food and events on mainland Japan, and I’ll save Okinawa for another post.

Sadly we were not allowed to take many photographs at any of the sushi restaurants we visited, since photography was prohibited at most of them. Though we did manage to sneak in a few.

Enjoy!

Sumo lunch

Otoro at Sawada

Dreams of Sushi

Panda Toast

Sencha

Fish Stick

Starter

Kevin and Geisha (technically Maiko)
Dessert Tomato and Geisha (technically Geiko)

Eel with Nori

Godzilla Attack

Koi

Tofu and Green Onion

Yaki

Lobster Teppanyaki

Temple Garden in Kyoto

Kyoto at Night

Under a Cherry Tree

Thanks to my travel partners Kevin Rose, Tim Ferriss and his lady friend Natasha for a trip of a lifetime.

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Office Hours: How bad is diet soda, healthy potatoes and how to eat on airplanes

by | Jul 14, 2011

We had a fantastic office hours discussion last week about diet soda, the health advantages/disadvantages of potatoes, sushi, eating on airplanes/in airports and more. Thanks to those of you who participated.

The next live event is scheduled for next Tuesday, July 19 @ 6pm PST, and we will be discussing Soy: Good or Evil? To participate and learn more about the exclusive Tomato Slice newsletter check it out here.

Go here to see previous episodes.

Show notes:

How To Break A Diet Soda Addiction: Tips From A Former (Diet) Cokehead

Questions and comments welcome below.

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