food

10 experts in 1 C-grade student

I’ve never been so good in the field of science (hence, I got C’s or B’s if I was lucky). But I thought hey, it’s ok, some are better at it than others and my forte has always been the creative side of the brain.

That was until I was struggling to figure out what they put in my joghurt, my make up and my shampoo. The food/make up industry is making me re-learn everything- how a body works, what is good for your body, types of skin, types of vitamins, how organs work and are affected by what I eat etc. I mean, it is annoying. I have to be a nutritionist, dermatologist, biologist, psychologist, chemist, dietitian, pharmacist, materials scientist, environmental analyst and a researcher all in one! I am not capable of doing that people!… And I shouldn’t have to be all that!

I am appalled by how meticulously I have to look at every product I buy. In the food section I have to make sure it doesn’t have hidden sugars (like, oh, just 18g of sugar in a small yogurt), don’t even get me started on bread products and foods that have random trans fats etc. I mean, yeah, I know you will say just stay away from processed foods. I do that, for the most part, but darn it if I crave a yogurt or bread every few days do I really have to spend ten minutes looking at labels wondering which one is the worst for me?

Do I really have to learn chemistry to figure out the sulfites or whatever they are putting in my shampoo is actually bad for the hair but it is cheap to make? Do I really?

Things need to get better regulated in the States, I’m sorry. It shouldn’t be ok to dump sugar in every product out there just because they can, it shouldn’t be ok to stuff people with trans fats just because they can and it shouldn’t be ok to add the crazy chemical components to the products we use on our skin/hair etc just because they can. It just shouldn’t be!!

I know, as consumers we have the choice of not buying these products, but you know, sometimes I just want to buy a nice piece of meat without having to wonder what kind of treatment the poor animals went through and that steak shouldn’t cost me an arm and a leg. I know for a fact that for example Aldi, the German discount retailer, had much better meat in Europe than it does here. And it has everything to do with what they can get away with. So I want that quality here in America too, people. That’s all I want.

It’s sad that the USP (unique selling proposition) of some companies is that their products don’t contain “the fake stuff.” How on Earth did we get to this sad point?

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Guy at Sweet Tomatoes Doesn’t Eat All He Can Eat

West Palm Beach, FL- Employees of Sweet Tomatoes, “a buffet chain serving health-conscious American eats with from-scratch soups, salads, pastas & more,” are used to customers who walk out with their pants undone, moaning of how much food they had. It is a common sight at the “all you can eat” restaurant- but last Thursday, a normal guy walked in and had no problems walking out.

“I noticed his suspicious behavior by the salad bar already,” an employee at Sweet Tomatoes told us. “He didn’t pile on as much salad, croutons, beans etc. as he could but actually put a normal amount of food on the plate. Then, he continued his way to the soup&pasta area and took a bowl of soup, a baked potato with only a little bit of sour creme and that was it. I was shocked,” said the aforementioned employee. “He didn’t even get desert! The guy took an orange to go and he walked out like nothing happened.”

All the employees that day were utterly shocked and stayed in shock for the rest of the day. “We don’t see it happen a lot, you know. It seemed surreal.”

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Debunking the 5 weight loss NO-NOs

When it comes to weight loss, everyone has an opinion. Some people follow strict regimes and workout two hours a day and they try to impose this crazy lifestyle upon other people. Doctors always go on about “eating better, avoiding sugar/salt, healthy portions” etc.

But we all know what’s best for us and what works best for our body. A crash diet or not eating for a few days, those are all effective methods. Below are tips to follow for a greater weight loss despite the negative connotation.

  1. Wear a shirt that says “Run fast/Beast mode/Workout Maniac”– Because if you wear a shirt with such a powerful meaning, you will shed pounds without actually having to run fast.
  2. Buy extremely expensive shakes and diet pills which you will have to buy monthly– Nothing says “I am trying to lose weight” than buying shakes and pills to lose it and going broke while at it. Make sure they are so expensive you will not be able to afford that cruise to Mexico for the next two years. That’s how you know it’s the good stuff!
  3. Eat junk-foodForget junk food haters! While on a diet, eating junk-food is a must. After all, does a hamburger not contain meat which equals protein? Does pizza not have a bunch of healthy ingredients such as tomatoes, cheese, onions aka veggies?
  4. Trust promising advertising– Trust anything that says “slim fast, crazy weight loss, no workout necessary, lose weight in two days” type of advertising because they work. They really do work- how lucky are you to be able to get your hands on this product without making any actual changes to your diet!
  5. Join a marketing scheme- which will require you selling their amazing products to your fat friends and family… this is by far the best way to show you mean business- quite literally, for that matter!

Inspired by The Onion

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Is life without bread worth living?

I have been trying to eat no carbs (well, let’s be honest- LESS carbs) and I truly am struggling.

In the mornings I find myself confused, puzzled and almost sad because I used to always start my day with bread. Grilled cheese sandwich, PBJ sandwich, omlette with toasted bread, toasted bread with butter and honey, garlic bread with cream cheese, baked ham and cheese rollups…. I mean the list goes on, people!

Now, I stare at the fridge and I can not possibly think of things to eat in the morning without bread! I consulted a few recipe websites, and boy oh boy, no bread breakfast requires cooking. I hate cooking! And I hate cauliflower! I do not want to eat cauliflower hash! And who in their right mind eats vegetable miso soup with chickpeas for breakfast? Have people lost their minds?

The suffering continues through lunch. Like my Grandma, I always dip my bread in soup and wipe the plate with it. Now I can’t do that anymore. And how can I turn down endless bread sticks at Olive Garden? Am I supposed to wait for other food to come out and not indulge myself in warm bread sticks? How?

As the night falls, my bread-less life proves to be a challenge. Pass on the sausage bread, Leah! Forget about the pita bread pizza, Leah! Don’t touch the pretzels, Leah! Agh, end the misery!

I love the simplicity of bread, its practicality and its deliciousness. And as I (try) to live my life without it, I ponder…. Is life without bread worth living?

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Letter to Nutella

Dear Nutella,

You are like a bad boyfriend. You lure me with the sweet sugar and hazelnut combo, only to make me feel like a horrible person after I finish the jar within a couple of hours. Everyone keeps telling me you are bad for me, but I don’t care most of the time. I need you.

You are like a drug. Probably worse. Because when I eat Nutella, there is no self-control. You turn me into a spoon-licking monster who always wants more.

I first indulged myself during my study abroad in France and I probably gained 10 pounds from gobbling down slices of bread drowning in Nutella each morning. And afternoon. And right before bed.

For Americans it is hard to understand the Nutella obsession. Because you, Nutella, are either loved or hated. David can’t stand you. But I will pay whatever price to get a jar. Like crack-addicts I will sell my TV if I have to just to get a taste.

But lately, I’ve been having to avoid you. It just doesn’t work, Nutella. You swoop me off my feet with your sweet flavors and trick me into eating so much I end up hating myself. I will probably never have a bikini body, and mostly, it is because of you, dear Nutella. Like a bad boyfriend, you make me feel bad about myself… so it’s best I stay away. I have to (even though I don’t want to). It is for the best.

Love,

Leah

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Quality chocolate for .50 cents

Alright, alright. You can’t get it in the American stores. For many reasons, chocolate in U.S. is not only expensive but the presence of cacao is terrifically low and sugar content abysmally high. But that’s how we like it I guess.

I liked it that way too until I discovered a German store called Lidl (Lidl is pretty much a copycat of Aldi or kind of like Dollar General with better quality products). There are many things in my life that bring me joy and finding great chocolate for the price of a hamburger at McDonald’s on Wednesday’s is one of them.

Lidl is/was a shabby-looking store with a strong warehouse feel. Nothing fancy or classy about it- but Germans love it. Almost instantly as I walked in, a 100 g (3.5- Ounce) of chocolate caught my eyes. Wrapped in an appealing, yet simple wrap tempted me from the shelves. Milk Chocolate for 50 cents. (Mind you, this was like two years ago so the price really hasn’t gone up at the time of writing.) This chocolate wasn’t expired or poisonous. It didn’t give you painful diarrhea. It wasn’t like godawful Hershey’s with their butter substitutes and whatnot. This was genuinely good chocolate. Because it was so cheap, I had to hoard it. I couldn’t pass on such a deal! I bought different kinds: the alpine milk one, the one with nuts, raisins, the white chocolate kind. I thought I died and went to heaven.

Needless to say, all that chocolate was gone before I could bring back any to the States (so I had to go back to the store and buy more). I miss that chocolate. I genuinely miss it. It crosses my mind specially as I wander down our Publix section or when I shop on Amazon. Good chocolate for little money does exist. It exist in the world of the good ole Germany. Now, who in Germany is reading this and is willing to ship some over to me? 😀

P.S: Thanks for reading my post! Leave a comment on what product you miss! 😀

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Link to my book on Amazon (since I haven’t posted one in like half a year 😉

Merry Christmas! (Not happy Holidays)

America is getting too politically correct. Why is it so wrong to wish somebody a Merry Christmas? You are wishing something nice. Something positive. The last time I checked merry meant “cheerful and lively, characterized by festivity and enjoyment.”

I don’t get upset if somebody wishes me Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa. I am neither Jewish or Black, but I can always appreciate a good wish.

So Merry Christmas to everyone. I hope you spend some quality time with your family. I almost have a 100 followers which makes me really happy. And, I sold ONE book since I published it on Amazon (and no, it wasn’t my Mother since somebody from the U.K. bought it….thank you reader!!)

In the spirit of happiness, you can get my book on Amazon for FREE only today! It’s a great read, specially for your teen or college kid. I would appreciate if you leave a critique on Amazon if you read it, good or bad, I would just like to hear everyone’s feedback.

OK, no more computer for a couple of days. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! ❤

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Best plane ride of your life (you’re welcome)

Since I am leaving in, oh, 24 hours and 15 minutes to Ireland (because my best friend in the whole world decided to move there because she fell in love (I guess it is reasonable to fall in love with a freckled, red-haired man named Killian and leave Florida for it)), I thought I would share my experience on how to make your next flight the best yet. I’ve used this techniques various times and they brought me nothing but joy when flying.

1.) Forget the drugs

Don’t drug yourself with Dramamine, Melatonin or whatever other “remedy” you could find to sleep during the flight. How often do you fly, huh? Are you a business man who goes on business trips four times a week? I didn’t think so. So enjoy the flight by being alert. Awake. Conscious. I mean, you should be awake and drug-free in case the airplane goes down anyway.

2.) Choose an airline that offers free booze

I know you are trying to save by flying Delta (or some other 3-star American airline), but you are truly doing yourself a disservice. It’s an international flight; you want to fly in style, even if you are crammed in the back of the economy class. So choose an airline that offers free booze; come to the flight hungry and start of your flight with a glass of wine. After you feel buzzed, start ordering stronger alcohol because by the time lunch/dinner comes you will be able to gobble down the mini airline packages of food. They may not seem like a lot, but guess what, you can always ask for seconds (which brings me to the next point)….

3.) Ask for seconds!

Come on, we all know those Barbi meals they serve us never satisfy our food cravings. We are bored, we are on a plane, and we are hungry! Don’t feel shy asking for seconds. The flight attendant may think you are a greedy pig (but, honestly, will you ever see him/her again?? Probably not). So ask! I always order seconds politely, and flight attendants are never mad at me for asking. If they have some food left over, they always bring it to me. I mean, the thought alone of that food being thrown out is so horrendous I prefer to salvage the food and dump it inside my belly.

4.) Bring 3 pillows

They don’t have to be XL pillows. Just bring three. One for your head (that you will eventually lean against anything, trust me), one for your belly section (because you will be leaning that part of your body against something too), and another pillow for your butt (because after hours on the plane any extra seating softness is a blessing).

5.) Bring A4 blank paper and a colorful pen

Start drawing. You liked drawing as a kid, didn’t you? What happened? Did the society tell you that adults don’t draw? Baloney! Pick up a nice green pen and draw a flower. Monkey. Monkey and donkey playing a guitar, I don’t care. Drawing is therapeutic no matter what age you are.

6.) Write a letter to your special someone

I know, it is waaay “pre-internet”, but people still appreciate it. Pour your heart out for the one you love and hand them the letter as a surprise when you make them a lasagna from Costco. The romantic date is bound to be a success (but don’t tell them you wrote it on a plane because they will just think you were extremely bored).

7.) Think of the fact you are flying thousands of feet above the Earth (in a “wow-this-is-pure-magic” kind of way, not the “I’m-sick-to-my-stomach-at-the-thought-of-that” kind of way)

It’s one of the (wo)man’s finest inventions. Flying! You are flying through the sky! You! People before you centuries ago would have killed for the opportunity. People in 2014 would still kill for the opportunity. Enjoy it! Look outside the window. Is the sky filled with clouds? Is the sun just coming up? Can you see the stars? Did you just fly through a cloud? Can you see the beautiful Earth below you?

Unless it’s a night flight and it is obviously pitch black outside, I always stay awake for my flight. There’s a sense of serenity on the plane you just can’t get anywhere else. You’re stuck in a place above the ground for ten (or more/less) hours with people you don’t know. For me, it’s one of the few moments in my life I truly know the meaning of word serenity (or it’s all that red wine I had I don’t know anymore). Either way, enjoy your flight 🙂

P.S: If you have other tips for a great flight, leave a comment!

P.S.2: If you want to read a great book while bored to death on a plane, buy a copy of my book on Amazon.

P.S.3: Thanks for visiting this site and reading my blog! ❤

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The sugary temptations here till Sunday

8 am. I head over to the coffee machine. I have to start my day with coffee otherwise I am a bigger mess than usual. As I grab the sugar container, I suddenly realize. I promised myself to cut down on sugar. “Put the container back to where it was. You, miss, are done with extra sugar. But coffee doesn’t taste like anything if I don’t put any sugar in it? NO! No sugar.”

I head over to my lovely cubicle. I type away, but my mind can’t stop thinking about sugar. I need it. I’m craving it. My emergency stash is intentionally empty. I look around. Linda always has a jar full of candy. I get up to head to Linda’s desk. Halfway there I change my mind. Am I really going there just to ask her for candy? How pathetic am I? I go back to my cubicle again and wallow in misery.

Meeting time. Oh, how lovely! Our boss brought cupcakes. Everyone has to take one. No, thank you. Questions arise. “But why don’t you want a cupcake? They are fresh! Look how good they look!” Peer-pressured into taking a cupcake I take one and set it next to me. I get odd looks from everyone else who is eating the cupcake. Why aren’t you eating a cupcake? I feel like I am on trial. People are reaching for their second, and look at me, miss Picky, not even touching the first one.

Meeting’s over. I have to take the stupid cupcake with me back to the desk. I can’t stand to look at it so I throw it away. Now I feel bad. I threw away food because I have no self-control and can’t say no. Is it lunch yet?

Lunch time. I give in a little. “I’ll get diet coke, please. No, no dessert.” Yes, your key lime pie looks amazing but I don’t want it, you hear?! I’m getting even crankier. I get a chicken salad and hope the day will be over soon.

I come back to the office. An anonymous left a bunch of homemade cookies in the break room. Chocolate-chip, my favorite! Before I grab any, I leave in a haste. I angrily slam the keyboard, feeling my body getting weak because I haven’t had any sugar.

Finally, work’s over. David surprises me with my favorite cheesecake. “I told you not to buy sweets!” “I bought this for you.” He’s unhappy with my reaction. I feel like he doesn’t support me in my mission to lower sugar intake. We both get mad at each other. I storm out and he ends up eating half of the damn cheesecake.

I go to bed early. My stomach is telling me I have to eat something sweet but I am resisting. I cover myself with the duvet and hope for this nightmare day to be over soon. How am I going to start this again tomorrow?

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The egg of social divison

For those of us who grew up in the States, a Kinder egg, a delicious white and milk chocolate egg, is not a common childhood memory. As a matter of fact, they are forbidden as they contain a little toy which, of course, American children could choke on but European children somehow do not.

Anyway, I had the honor of having my first Kinder egg in Frankfurt, Germany. I was visiting my friend from Bosnia who is now first generation German. Mira opened her palm, and handed me a Kinder egg. “Here, try something very European.” “What’s this?” I asked her. “This was my favorite thing growing up, it’s really good.” I gently unwrapped the plastic around it and indeed, inside it was a chocolate egg. I bit into it and felt something against my teeth. There was a little plastic box that I opened as I chewed on the rest of the chocolate. In it was a toy I had to assemble… it turned out to be a dinosaur.
“Intriguing,” I commented. “Yeah, all the kids here know them. I used to only get them when I was really good, or for holidays- but some kids got them all the time.” “What do you mean?” I asked. “Surely they can’t be that expensive.” “Well, I don’t remember how much they were back in the day, but now they cost around 65 cents.” In dollars, I guess that would be roughly 80 cents. More than a hamburger at McDonald’s. “Some kids got them every day. I was always so jealous. It made me realize some parents have more money to spend than others.”

Intrigued as I was by this piece of information, I went home and did some Math. If a child got it 5x a week, that would total to 3.25 euros a week. 13 euros a month. 156 euros a year. That’s roughly 200 dollars on a little piece of chocolate. I could understand how parents that do not make a lot of money couldn’t buy it. With 200 dollars you can buy clothing or shoes or other types of food for your child. And if the kid didn’t get it everyday, it at least became something special….because I am sure the kids who had it every day thought nothing of it.

Did any of you experience this Kinder egg “social division”?

Like, share, comment, tell me your thoughts! I love reading your responses!

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