Eating a meal, any meal, reliably makes an animal, any animal, calmer and more lethargic. This means humans, too. Hunger makes animals alert and irritable, which explains why couples always fight about where to eat dinner. This emotional response encourages the animals to find food.
But all this is only in the broadest, most primal “eating = good, not eating = bad” way. The details of the relationship between foods and moods end up being a little contradictory and a lot complicated.
What we tend to think of as “emotional eating” is a specific kind of eating and a specific kind of emotion—eating sugary, fatty, carb-y, unhealthy foods as a coping mechanism for feeling upset. In reality, “emotional eating” is a much broader term.
“We eat for a variety of different emotions and we eat in a variety of different circumstances which are in turn connected with emotions,” Meryl Gardner, a marketing professor at the University of Delaware, says.
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“To remain relevant,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said in a press statement today, “the FDA’s newly proposed Nutrition Facts label incorporates the latest in nutrition science as more has been learned about the connection between what we eat and the development of serious chronic diseases impacting millions of Americans.”
Like so many of us, the FDA just wants to remain relevant. Today is the fourth anniversary of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, and with it comes the unveiling of new food nutrition labels. The Nutrition Facts required on food packages for 20 years hven’t changed significantly since 2006, when trans fat was added to the label.
At first glance, the new one is not much different. Apart from the giant calorie number.
Read more. [Image: FDA]
Today’s coffee-shop owners don’t just place orders for beans. They backpack up the sides of volcanoes in Guatemala and Panama to find previously undiscovered farmers who will grow and process beans to their specifications. And if they’ve paid to trek to Central America, you don’t think they’ll just make you a quick cup, do you?
The current fashion is to make what should be the simplest of brewing techniques—pouring hot water over ground beans to coax out their subtle, delicate flavors—an exercise in endurance. Instead of simply opening a spigot on an urn, a barista will set a filter into a carafe and place it on an electronic scale before adding the coffee, to be sure of the exact ratio of water to grounds. Relying on a timer to ensure a prolonged pour (sometimes up to four minutes), the barista will then use a swan-neck pitcher to ever so slowly drip the right amount of temperature-controlled water into the filter, all while giving you a lecture on the new crop of Borboya Yirgacheffe. The experience seems calibrated to produce maximal annoyance.
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In a popular gesture of transparency-in-advertising this week, McDonald’s gave the world a walking tour of its McNugget creation process. Depending which tales you have heard about what’s inside mass-produced chicken nuggets, the company’s disclosure lands somewhere between semi-reassuring and fascinating in a not-at-all-appetizing way.
The video is an installation in an ongoing series produced by McDonald’s Canada, the Canadian version of McDonald’s America, bent on dispelling rumors about their food. In this case, that the insides of McNuggets are a slurry of assorted animal parts.
In actuality, the video shows that it’s a slurry of pure chicken breast and skin.
The video has, in this era of food-vigilante justice, been received warmly. That’s in part because it feels authentic. If what we’re shown is as good as McDonald’s can make the process look, it must be honest. Their nugget portrayal is distantly removed from the pristine portraits that make it to billboards. The nugget they put before us now is cold, battered, soulless.
Read more. [Image: Ali Jarekji/Reuters]
As in romance, a solid relationship with food may benefit from time apart. The “every-other-day diet” involves one day of eating whatever you want, followed by a day of eating very little. Of this year’s eating fads, intermittent fasting stands out as one less ridiculous than it might sound.
In all fairness, you were warned. The Amazon description for sugar-free Haribo Gummy Bears reads, in part: “This product is a sugarless/sugarfree item with ingredients that can cause intestinal distress if eaten in excess.”
"Intestinal distress," in this case, might be an understatement for what a series of viral Amazon reviews call, “trumpets calling the demons back to Hell,” “guttural pronouncement so loud it threatened to drown out my own voice," and "100% liquid. Flammable liquid. NAPALM.”
So why is it that gummy bears, an otherwise delicious, springy snack, become so sphincter-confounding once the sugar is removed?
Nighttime heists, Chinese knockoffs, and poisoned meatball-sabotage: the high-stakes pursuit of the world’s most-prized fungus,
Read more. [Image: Reuters/Stefano Rellandini]
Only one nation averages more than 2 cups of coffee per day. It’s the Netherlands.
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A food desert, according to the USDA, is an area that lacks grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and other sources of healthy food. People living in food deserts often struggle to buy fresh produce, the thinking goes, so they rely on junk- and fast food, which contributes to their health problems.
But what happens when you live in the opposite of a food desert? A place that is literally surrounded by the freshest food possible—a farm?
Farmers’ days often stretch to 12 and 16 hours as they rush from field to CSA pickup to farmer’s market. As with Americans in other professions, the time crunch means cooking is often the first thing to go. A variety of growers told Modern Farmer that they snack on candy all day and their families live on pizza during harvest season.
“At the height of the season, it is a feat in and of itself to sustain the energy to work let alone come home and start preparing food,” one Massachusetts farmer told the magazine.