Wednesday, May 27, 2015

My Week-long Tracking Journey with Bon’App

By Kremi Arabadjieva, University of Florida

As I walk through campus, the alluring sirens of greasy pizza and gooey chocolate chip cookies continuously tempt me to follow my nose. Who can say no, am I right? But the trouble with this practice is that we are unaware of how that slice of pizza affects our body, our mind, and most importantly, our health in the long run. I wanted to become more aware of how my daily food intake affected my overall health, which is why I subscribed for a month’s worth of Bon’App food tracking. $9.99 and the click of a button is all it took to start documenting all of my daily meals, from every cup of tea to every last piece of chocolate. This blog will demonstrate my experiences as I navigate through these uncharted waters of food tracking.

Day 1 - May 18, 2015

Shrimp Scampi

Dear Shrimp Scampi,

Not only did you deplete my wallet this evening, but you also completely drained my bad fat battery for the day with a whopping 26 grams. I will always love you, and we can still be friends, but I’ll have to watch my servings when I’m around you.

Today’s Lesson: Fancy restaurants do not equal healthy restaurants. Do not be misguided by upscale prices.

Day 2 - May 19, 2015

Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino
Today’s villain comes in the form of a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino, which contains 31 grams of sugar. I assure you this was no fancy Frappuccino with an Eiffel Tower of whip cream and caramel. It was a simple grab and go bottle, but looks can be deceiving.

Today’s Lesson: Don’t judge food or drink by its outward appearance. Sugar takes on many faces, in this case it was in the lactose of my Frappuccino.

Day 3 - May 20, 2015

Homemade Chicken Fajitas

I decided to make homemade chicken fajitas with my boyfriend. It turned out to be more of a crunchy grilled chicken wrap, but regardless my batteries wept tears of pride when I input this healthier dinner recipe. We used all natural and organic ingredients from Whole Foods, which would have been hard to come by had we eaten out.

Today’s Lesson: Homemade food for the win! You have total control of what you put into your body, and not to mention it’s a fun date night activity.

Day 4 – May 21, 2015

Day four brings an egg with fresh blackberries and a cup of orange juice for breakfast. Today I feel awake, alert, and energized for the day to come. Hey, this is a big accomplishment when you’re not a morning person.

Today’s Lesson: A good breakfast serves as fuel for the whole day. Throw in fresh fruits or vegetables to add more flavor, vitamins, and antioxidants. 

Day 5 – May 22, 2015

Omega Trek Mix
(1 Serving)
Dark Chocolate Powerberries (1 Serving)

Ever since preschool, we are conditioned to be professional snackers. Today I had Omega Trek Mix with Cranberries for my snack. And since you can never forget about the chocolate, I threw in some Dark Chocolate Powerberries. This combination of sweet and savory provides a good balance for my daily salt and sugar intake.

Today’s Lesson: Snack time doesn’t end at preschool. Pick snacks that are high in fiber and protein that can energize you throughout the day.

Day 6 – May 23, 2015

Today’s beautiful sunny sky and soft breeze unlocks a world of mindfulness, and that is when I really begin to taste the salami, tomato, mozzarella, and fresh basil on a brioche bun: so simple, yet so delicious and filling as each ingredient melts on my tongue. This mindfulness cut down my snacking today, which decreased my bad fat consumption.

Today’s Lesson: Mindful eating awakens your taste buds and helps you monitor your intake. This way you’ll be able to sense when you’re full and avoid overeating.

Day 7 – May 24, 2015

Ice Cream Sundae

Truth is, the world is full of delectable food that was put on this earth for us to indulge in. Tracking my food intake has helped me better understand my eating habits. But most of all, it has opened my eyes to how everything I put in my body affects my daily life.

Today’s Lesson: Eat that ice cream sundae! Just be aware of its serving size and impact on your health in correspondence to your personal goals.

The following visuals portray my batteries for every day of the week, as well as my weekly average results. I have also included my complete food intake for day 1, that way you can really visualize how each food item impacted my batteries for the day. It is important to note that my sugar consumption is inclusive of both natural sugar (found in fruits) and added sugar (found in most processed foods). I promise I’m not a sugar addict; I just tend to gravitate towards the fruit bowl (and anything savory apparently.) My mood and level of activeness definitely varied with the food I ate. Some foods made me feel excited and energized, while others made me feel tired and sleepy.

Day 1 Intake
4 Cups Mint Tea
1 Chickpea Fritter Sandwich (Clover)
2 Burt’s Bee’s Honey Cough Drops
1/2 Avocado
1 Cup Chamomile Tea
3 LU Digestive Chocolate Biscuits
1 Serving Trolli Eggs
2 Pieces of Drunken Goat Cheese
1 Serving of Shrimp Scampi

Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Weekly Average

My Bon’App food tracking journey shows me where I currently stand and what I can improve upon each day. Food tracking has made me much more aware of my food consumption and its impact on my health. Most of all, this experience has enabled me to stop and think about my food before it gets sucked into the endless pit that is my stomach. It has been a challenging journey, but it has truly opened my eyes to the foundation of a healthy life: healthy eating.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Chocolate Valentine! White, Milk, Dark choices.....


In the beginning, there was only darkness…. no milk nor white chocolate; only Aztecs who thought of drying cocoa beans in the sun; crush them, pour some hot water on top, et voila! Shock, oh la la! Then, centuries later, say in 1528, the beverage of the gods created simply with cocoa beans and hot water made its first trip across the Atlantic from the Americas. It was first introduced to the royal court of Spain. It took another century for it to reach the royal courts of France by way of a wedding between Anne of Austria, daughter of King Philip III of Spain and the young French king Louis XIII. Chocolate instantly became the rage in all of Europe and every queen had to sip her cup of hot chocolate for its exquisite taste; its magical exotic powers; and its actually true anti-stress soothing properties due to an abundance of unpronounceable molecules, such as phenylethylamine, anandamide, and theobromine. That last one means “food of the gods” in Greek. The anti-stress paroxysm came with Marie Antoinette on the eve of the French Revolution when people were crushed by taxes and didn't have anything to eat anymore. Peaking at the balcony of her bedroom in Versailles, Marie Antoinette made history and a fool of herself for asking, “What’s all the commotion about?” The court chancellor told her “People are hungry; they don’t have bread anymore.” – “They’re out of bread? Let them have brioche,” said Marie Antoinette. In spite of all the controversy, Marie Antoinette must be credited with the creation of the contemporary French chocolatier tradition of small delicacies made with dark ganache infused with some herbs, fruits, and spices. That is chocolate as we know it today. See, Marie Antoinette had been complaining to the court’s doctors that her medication tasted really bad. “Just do something about it and make my meds taste delicious.” So, the doctors referred the matter to the royal court chemist, Debauve, who injected the meds in little chocolates flavored with fruits and herbs. Hmmmm, delish!

Marie Antoinette

The rest is history and after the French Revolution, when things, settled in the early nineteenth century, French bakers had started using chocolate as well to make various pastries like Éclairs au Chocolat and Pain au Chocolat. As for the royal chemist, he had been granted royal authorization to open a chocolate store in Paris in a pharmacy. It opened to the public in 1800 and the original store, Debauve & Gallais still sells chocolates over two centuries later….without the meds!

Too many consumers believe that Kinder, Mars, and the Three Musketeers are chocolate bliss and kisses from heaven. They’re not. They are only a product of ‘chocapitalism’, a marketing economy driven by low costs and sugary addiction.  Dark? Milk? White? Why should it matter that chocolate be white, milk or dark; intense, or of pure origin? From a single estate plantation or a fair trade country? From Cote d’Ivoire or from Venezuela?

Because of chocolate’s high fat and calorie content, it is important to make sensible decisions when it comes to your next chocolate indulgence. Here, we will try and help you see how your favorite chocolates stack up among some of the most popular varieties out there.

White Chocolate is not really chocolate--even though it has chocolate in its name. It contains no cocoa solids but instead has about 20% cocoa butter--the fat extracted from the cocoa beans--which gives it a subtle chocolaty flavor. Milk solids and sugar are added to the cocoa butter, making a rich a creamy faux-chocolate. Essentially, white chocolate is fat and sugar.

Milk Chocolate is usually made of around 10% cocoa solids and 15% milk solids, as well as sugar, an emulsifier, and vanilla for flavoring. Compared to dark chocolate, there are more milk ingredients, more sugar, and less of the nutritionally beneficial cocoa solids. Antioxidants are sacrificed for a smoother taste, which many Americans prefer: 71% of North American chocolate eaters prefer milk chocolate!

Dark Chocolate is made of cacao beans, sugar, an emulsifier to preserve texture, and flavoring such as vanilla. The percentage of cocoa solids in dark chocolate typically ranges from 30% to 70%. Because of the lack of milk additives and the high amount of cocoa solids, there are fewer calories per serving and more antioxidants and flavonoids in dark chocolate than other types of chocolate. Some research studies have shown that antioxidant properties of flavonoids found in cocoa may have potential health benefits. Therefore, opt for the dark chocolate with the highest percentage of cocoa to reap the antioxidant benefits of this delicious treat!

However, even the purported health benefits of flavonoids and antioxidants that might be found in some chocolate cannot outweigh the negative effects of too many calories and too much sugar and bad fat. So when you indulge, try to limit yourself to a square or two, and the darker the chocolate, the better!

Now, go get some chocolate and Happy Valentine!