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Even though it’s still pretty depressing. By Melissa Romero
Eating lunch at your desk may make for a more productive afternoon at work, according to a new study published in the journal Plos One. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Take it from someone with experience: Eating lunch at your desk can be downright depressing.

But new research suggests that (somehow) it may be make you a better employee than those who eat leisurely lunches out with friends.

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Posted at 10:00 AM/ET, 08/02/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
The PepsiCo brand joins several others involved in lawsuits concerning deceptive health claims. By Melissa Romero
PepsiCo recently settled on a $9 million class action lawsuit involving its Naked juice brand, which made false "all natural" claims despite its use of GMO and synthetic ingredients. Photograph via Flickr user JeffBedford.

It’s settled: Those “all-natural” Naked juices that line the shelves in grocery stores’ health-food sections and cost you $4 a pop aren’t actually natural.

PepsiCo recently settled a lawsuit involving its brand Naked Juice for $9 million, admitting that its products weren’t “all natural,” despite being advertised as such on each bottle. Labels also include the phrase, “Only the freshest, purest stuff in the world.” As part of the settlement, PepsiCo announced it will removed those claims from its packaging.

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Posted at 02:30 PM/ET, 07/24/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Not eating the first meal of the day could have some scary consequences for both men and women. By Melissa Romero
New research suggests that skipping breakfast regularly increases men's risk of suffering a heart attack. Women who skip breakfast are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day for various reasons, but approximately 18 percent of American adults admit to skipping it. New research provides two more convincing reasons not to miss out: Skipping breakfast ups the risk of heart attacks in men and diabetes in women. 

The theories were explored in two separate Harvard studies published this month. In the first, researchers from the Harvard University of Public Health found that men who skipped breakfast were 27 percent more likely to be at risk of coronary heart disease than men who did not skip. It was the first study of its kind to examine the relationship between skipping meals and heart health.

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Posted at 10:15 AM/ET, 07/24/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
They’re filled with seasonal ingredients, but which ones pack hidden calorie bombs? By Melissa Romero
Panera Bread's seasonal salad is a winner, thanks to its vitamin-heavy berries, greens, and protein-rich chicken. Photograph via Panera Bread's Facebook page.

Summer is a great time for the health-conscious crowd, thanks to the abundance of seasonal fruits and vegetables such as berries, peaches, and countless greens. At local lunch spots, you can find summer salads stocked with those refreshing ingredients. But while they may be tasty, some salads contain hidden calorie bombs. We did some sleuthing to find out the nutritional data of four seasonal salads at popular lunch spots. Read on to find out the worst, better, and best options to order this summer.

Worst: Cortez Cobb at Chop’t
Without dressing, this adobo chicken salad is already 610 calories—tack on another 130 when you opt for the Tapatio ranch dressing. There’s also 34 grams of fat and a whopping 500 milligrams of sodium. You’re better off with the chain’s other seasonal salad, the vegetarian Melrose. And remember, the optional tortilla bread adds another 300 calories to your meal. 

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Posted at 11:30 AM/ET, 07/01/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Don’t let a gluten sensitivity keep you from a tasty midday meal. By Melissa Romero
Plenty of popular lunch spots in DC, Maryland, and Virginia offer gluten-free menus, including Cava Mezze Grill. Photograph courtesy of Cava Mezze Grill's Facebook page.

These days it seems like we all know someone who is allergic to gluten. So what’s a considerate friend to do when it’s time for lunch? Good news: Plenty of restaurants offer gluten-free menus or will accommodate most allergies—all you have to do is ask! We did some of the work for you by rounding up some popular lunch spots that are gluten-free friendly. Have another recommendation? Let us know in the comments. 

Baja Fresh 
The DC Celiacs community says Baja Fresh has an extensive list of gluten-free options. Try the tacos with corn tortillas, chicken, and cheese. But stay away from the corn chips, as they’re fried in oil with breaded items.

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Posted at 11:05 AM/ET, 06/10/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Six bottles of organic juice and about 15 bathroom trips later, I lived to tell my story. By Melissa Romero
Puree Juice Bar in Bethesda offers three- and six-day juice cleanse packages. One day of cleansing typically involves drinking five 16-ounce bottles of juice, plus a nut milk and two extra shots of ginger and beet juice. Photographs by Melissa Romero.

In a world where raw and organic food have become all the rage, it’s easy to see why the juicing trend has exploded into an multimillion-dollar industry.

In Washington alone, several raw juice bars have quickly popped onto the scene, the first being Puree Juice Bar in Bethesda, quickly followed by Khepra’s Raw Food and Juice Bar on H Street. Sweetgreen offers its line of Sweetpress juices, and a number of small cafes offer their own versions of cold-pressed juices.

But while juice diets appeal to a growing number of consumers, plenty of doubters remain—those who can’t fathom drinking only juice for multiple days to rid the body of toxins. I myself was one of them; as I witnessed friends purchase expensive at-home juicers and mounds of organic produce, my aversion to juice cleanses only continued to grow.

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Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 06/06/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
The boot camp and indoor cycling instructor’s diet is best described as “unconventional.” By Melissa Romero

This week’s food diary may be the most unconventional diet featured yet. MyBootcamp and Revolve DC’s indoor cycling instructor Grant Hill told us his high-calorie diet, which he says is needed to achieve his performance goals, might not be what we expected. “You might be surprised when you don’t see ‘low-fat’ this or ‘whole-grain’ that in my diet.” Things we did see? Raw liver, kelp, and kombucha. But we’ll let Hill’s food diary do the talking.

Breakfast: Coffee blended with coconut oil and grass-fed butter, plus supplements, water, and canned organic sweet potato. “I start each day with Bulletproof Coffee, which consists of high-quality coffee—I use Larry’s, which is shade grown and lower in mycotoxins than you’ll find in abundance with conventional beans—blended with coconut oil and grass-fed butter such as Kerrygold. I modify mine slightly because I find my stomach is happier with coconut milk than with butter. I add some local raw honey, but if you have weight-loss goals, don’t take this cue from me.”

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Posted at 10:00 AM/ET, 06/04/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Three GW business grads brew the probiotic, fermented tea using all local ingredients. By Melissa Romero
Kombucha is fermented tea, which undergoes a similar brewing process as beer and vinegar. Capital Kombucha, a DC-based company, works out of Union Kitchen in NoMa and uses local ingredients. Photographs by Melissa Romero.

For those unfamiliar with kombucha, the idea of gulping down a bottle is often met with a grimace. Fermented tea? Uh, thanks, but no thanks.

But recent GW business graduate Andreas Schneider and his two partners in Capital Kombucha are out to prove naysayers wrong with their fermented, probiotic iced tea. Because kombucha is fermented, “people get the idea it’s going to be gross in some way,” says Schneider. “So we’re making something that’s tasty and appealing.”

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Posted at 10:30 AM/ET, 05/31/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
A new study examines whether consumers really eat better at the sandwich shop versus the fast food chain. By Melissa Romero
A new study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that adolescents consume the same amount of calories at Subway and McDonald's. Photograph courtesy of Flickr users BlueisCoool and jeff_golden.

The differences between Subway and McDonald’s are fairly obvious. Subway touts its sandwiches with fresh ingredients; McDonald’s is still best known for burgers and fries.

But a new study suggests that the two chain restaurants aren’t all that different when it comes to its meals’ caloric contents. In particular, adolescents tend to consume just as many calories at Subway as they would at McDonald’s.

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Posted at 02:30 PM/ET, 05/28/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Ash Allen’s new job is time-consuming. How does she squeeze in time to eat? By Melissa Romero

Ash Allen is just a few weeks into her new role as fitness director at Balance Gym Thomas Circle. That means she teaches 14 classes per week, ranging from Pilates to yoga to aquatics. To keep her energy going throughout her long days, she follows a plant-based diet and stays away from processed foods—because no one wants to have a sugar crash while leading a group of eager exercisers. “You won’t find much in my pantry that isn’t organic,” she says. “My staples are brown rice, quinoa, nuts, organic veggies and fruits, beans, and fish.” Read on to see how she plans her healthy meals.

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Posted at 10:00 AM/ET, 05/28/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()