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Water and a wooden spoon are the key to this simple process. By Melissa Romero, Anna Spiegel, Chris Campbell
Photograph by Chris Campbell.

Pomegranate season is in full swing, and we just can’t get enough of those yummy seeds, whether they’re tossed into salads, blended into smoothies, or simply eaten raw. But de-seeding a pomegranate has always been a messy hassle—until now. 

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Posted at 03:29 PM/ET, 11/15/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
From Burger King’s new low-fat fries to Chipotle’s bacon-less pinto beans, quick-service spots are trying to cater to health-conscious folks. By Melissa Romero
This week Burger King added Satisfries to their menu, with claims that they are a "healthier" and low-fat alternative to other French fries. Burger King joins other fast food restaurants that are attempting to cater to health-conscious consumers by offering healthier options on their menus. Photograph via Flickr user impulsivebuy.

Fast food restaurants get a bad rap. And in many cases, rightly so (heart attack on a plate, anyone?). But as recently as this week, certain quick-service spots have tried to shed their fried-food personas and offer alternatives for us health-minded folks.

We rounded up some of the “healthier” options that have popped up on fast food restaurants’ menus in recent years—or days, in Burger King’s case.

Burger King: Satisfries
Burger King made headlines this week when it announced its new menu item Satisfries. BK boasts that the fries have 40 percent less fat and 30 percent fewer calories than McDonald’s fries. And the website says Satisfries fries are “cut from real, whole potatoes,” which begs the question: What are the normal fries made of? (Our verdict: These may be “healthier,” but they’re still fried.)

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Posted at 02:00 PM/ET, 09/26/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
You really don’t have to spend your whole paycheck at the organic-friendly market. By Melissa Romero
Shopping at Whole Foods Market doesn't have to mean blowing your whole paycheck. Photograph via Flickr user Masahiro Ihara.

Confession: I stepped into a Whole Foods for the first time ever this summer. And while yes, it was magical, and yes, I appreciated all of the local and organic produce, as local nutritionist Betsy Ramirez points out, there’s a reason it’s often dubbed “Whole Paycheck.”

But shopping at Whole Foods doesn’t have to be so expensive that you’re silently sobbing as you hand over your credit card. We consulted with grocery-shopping expert Ramirez and fellow nutritionist Danielle Omar to see how they manage to save some major bucks at Whole Foods. Print out this list before you make your next shopping trip, and leave Whole Foods with a heaping bag of healthy groceries—and a much healthier bank account.

1) Check the website for coupons and sale tips.
Each month Whole Foods publishes a Whole Deal coupon booklet that’s available for download. You can also check out the in-store flyer to see what’s on sale for the week at each location. Says Omar, “I take advantage of the Whole Deal coupon booklet every month and work my meal planning for the week around what’s on sale.” Also helpful, says Ramirez, is the Whole Foods recipe app. “Everyone should have this. Not only do you have access to recipes at your fingertips, but you can access your store’s sales flyer. It also features a budget-friendly meal planner broken down by date, nutrition information, and special diet.” 

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Posted at 10:30 AM/ET, 08/19/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
The fast food chain committed to sustainability is considering serving meat from animals treated with antibiotics. By Melissa Romero
Photograph via Flickr user Mike Saechang.

For more than a decade, Chipotle has been known for its use of antibiotic-free meat and sustainable, fresh ingredients. That’s still the case, although a recent statement released by the Denver-based company has raised some eyebrows.

“Chipotle Mexican Grill, the largest restaurant seller of responsibly raised meat, has not changed its standards for responsibly raised beef,” the statement read. “The company is currently evaluating if this strict ‘never-ever’ antibiotic protocol is best for animals, or whether animals can be treated when necessary and allowed to remain in the herd.” 

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Posted at 11:40 AM/ET, 08/14/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
We break down what the long-awaited decision means for the gluten-free community and food manufacturers. By Melissa Romero

In a move that was years in the making, the FDA last week ruled on what officially qualifies a food product as “gluten-free,” giving a nod to the ever-growing gluten-intolerant community.

According to the FDA, currently 5 percent of food products marked as “gluten-free” actually contain more than 20 parts per million, which is enough to sicken those who are gluten-intolerant or suffer from celiac disease. “When people with celiac disease have to follow the diet and the labels aren’t accurate, it puts people at a lot of risk and can be a huge stressor,” says local registered dietitian Cheryl Harris, who suffers from the disease. The new ruling “means there’s finally accountability and a set standard.”

Here are five key things to know about the FDA’s ruling.

1) The official labeling goes into effect in one year.
Although the FDA made its announcement last week, the new standards for gluten-free labeling don’t go into effect until August 5, 2014. Harris says until then the best thing you can do is look for foods that are marked with gluten-free certifications, such as those from the Gluten-Intolerance Group, which tests products for gluten-levels.

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Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 08/07/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
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 ()