Lean Plate Club

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Sally Squires
Washington Post Health and Nutrition Writer
Tuesday, August 7, 2007; 1:00 PM

Confused about nutrition? Wondering how to fit in more physical activity? Welcome to the Lean Plate Club. Ask Sally Squires, nationally syndicated Lean Plate Club columnist for the Washington Post, about eating smart and moving more every Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET. Sally draws upon her master's degree in nutrition from Columbia University to preside over the lively Lean Plate Club web chat. Whether you're trying to reach a healthier weight or simply maintain it, you'll find plenty of tips and strategies.

Share your own food finds, creative workouts and secrets for healthy, great tasting meals. We'll cheer your successes and help with your setbacks. (None of this, of course, is a substitute for medical advice.) E-mail Sally, author of the newly published Secrets of the Lean Plate Club (St. Martin's Press) at leanplateclub@washpost.com.

Or just sign up for the free Lean Plate Club e-mail newsletter. The Lean Plate Club column appears Tuesdays in the Washington Post Health section and is nationally syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group. Find other Lean Plate Club members at www.frappr.com/leanplateclub.

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Discussion Transcripts

A transcript follows.

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Sally Squires: Welcome to the Lean Plate Club!Hope you're all having a great August so far -- and not getting too steamy. It's may hit 100+ here today and on much of the lower East coast. So I took the dog out for an early walk today and saw lots of others out exercising before the real heat hits.

We've got lots up for discussion today from raw milk to a new plan in Mass. to help legislate against fat and height discrimination. What do you think about this idea? We'd love to hear your thoughts.

This week's Lean Plate Club e-mail newsletter should be in your electronic in-boxes now. If you haven't yet subscribed to this free, weekly service, you can sign up with just one click at www.leanplateclub.com.

Now on to the chat!

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Sally,

The Lean Plate Club has helped me so much over the past year -- I have lost 10 pounds by improving my diet and exercising. I spent some time this year eating too much protein, so I've started cutting out the meat in my diet. I went to the gym this morning after eating very little protein yesterday, and I almost couldn't finish my normal workout, although I had my normal oatmeal breakfast. Is it possible I am eating too little protein? Also, does hummus have protein in it? I eat it all the time.

Thanks!

Sally Squires: I'm delighted to hear that you've been able to hone some healthful habits with the Lean Plate Club this year. That's the idea. Take the latest information along with some tips and find ways to make it work for you. Sounds like you have.

As for that protein, most of us get plenty in a lot of different types for foods from dairy products and beans (yes that hummus definitely has protein) to meat, poultry, fish, nuts and even bread (although that's not a huge source of protein, of course.)

You might make sure that you are fueled before your workouts. So consider a small snack about an hour before you head to the gym. A half a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat would work. So would a glass of skim milk. Or a glass of low-fat soy milk. Or a small cup of yogurt. Or some low fat cheese and a few crackers. Or some oatmeal or other cereal with milk. (And yes, that oatmeal does have a little bit of protein in it and if you make it with milk instead of water, it will have even more.)

By the way, women need about 5 ounces of protein daily; men need roughly 6 ounces. Hope that info helps and hope you'll let us know how it goes.

Thanks!

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New York, N.Y.: Dear Sally Squires:

My husband and I and our kids are born and bred in Manhattan. Here, because mass transit is so good, most people do a lot of walking. So, we were surprised to see that your article about Best Cities For Walking, did not include the borough of Manhattan in NYC.

In fact, my daughter has never bothered to get a driver's license, because there is no need for a car, living here.

One other reason, that Manhattan is one of the best places in a city for walking, is that Central Park is the most beautiful public park in the world and perhaps one of the largest.

Another reason to mention Manhattan is that our streets are arranged in a grid, that is easy to understand and to follow. Our bus and subway systems are also easy to find and to understand.

We go to the theater often and talk to tourists during intermissions. Many stay at inexpensive hotels in or near the theater district; in this way, they are within walking distance of all theaters, of excellent restaurants, movie houses, special bus tours and other attractions.

Please think of our great city, the next time you do a piece on easy walking, or other attributes of cities.

Best regards.

Sally Squires: Having lived in Manhattan for 5 years during graduate school, I know exactly what you mean about it being a wonderful, walkable city.

That round-up on the best walking cities was actually done by Prevention magazine and included as a link in today's LPC e-mail newsletter. I'm not sure why they didn't include Manhattan either, but perhaps we can find out. In the meantime, thanks for chiming in. And keep walking! In fact, I not only walked throughout the various burroughs, but even rode a bike (although that is sometimes a little scary!)

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Houston: RAW MILK OPINION: I have drink a lot of raw milk on farms and in Europe. I am 71 years old and I have never gotten sick. I think the flavor of the milk is so much better than pasteurized and homogenized milk. It's a shame that raw milk is not available now. It could be regulated and safe.

Sally Squires: At 71 years young, you clearly are doing some things well and I suspect that you managed to choose the right parents.

But it's also hard to argue with consensus from the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and others that unpasteurized milk can pose some risks, as outbreaks have proven. Perhaps your idea of regulating or certifying this raw milk might be a solution.

What do others think? We'd love to hear your opinions. Thanks for chiming in Houston.

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Rochester, Ind.: I'm a transplant to Indiana from California and I've been here 27 years. We used to have a certified raw milk dairy called AltaDena back home. The milk was delicious and yes, it was much different and better tasting than the pasteurized and homogenized milk of today. But that was a long time ago. I don't think I would trust raw milk today. There have been too many changes in our food supplies and there are suppliers that ethic problems.

Sally Squires: I've heard from others, including one cited in today's column, who grew up on raw milk, but like you are a bit wary of drinking it these days. What do others think?

Thanks for chiming in.

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Indianapolis: RE the Joy of Motion topic: I live in downtown Indianapolis (43rd on the list of top 100 cities). Living downtown means I get to walk to concerts, restaurants, the post office, library, book stores, Nordstrom, and lots of other places. My favorite Just-to-walk routes are around the Canal (a 3-mile loop, but I walk a mile to get there and another mile home after) and in the White River State Park (out Washington Street, across the bridge, north on the River Walk to New York Street, across the NY St bridge, south along the east side of the river back to Washington St.) I think the 2nd walk is a little longer. We actually moved to a downtown home (from exurban Montgomery County, Md.) so that we could walk to everything. Today I'll be walking on the treadmill because of the heat/humidity.

Sally Squires: Sounds like a very walkable city. We happen to live in downtown in the District and are also very fortunate to be able to walk many, many places or to take public transportation. As the green movement grows, I wonder if there will be more effort to make it easier in many other places to walk and bike.

Thanks!

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Washington, D.C.: I drink nothing but raw milk, and I will never drink pasteurized milk again, for several reasons. Raw milk is a living food with probiotic properties that basically boost the body's natural immune system, help fight allergies and everyday illnesses like the common cold, chronic modern-day conditions like asthma, and a range of other things. Not to mention, the taste of pasteurized milk now is so bland and lifeless as to be unpalatable. I have also developed difficulty digesting pasteurized milk after drinking raw, as raw milk, not having been heated, contains the bacteria you need to digest it.

Sally Squires: I heard from a number of raw milk aficionados who said that raw milk had greatly helped them with digestive problems. At least one even said that lactose intolerance seemed to have improved. But I'd be remiss, if I didn't say here that to day, there is no published scientific evidence that I could find that backed this up although several scientists said that they hoped such studies would be done to answer this question. Thanks much for weighing in.

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re: Raw Milk: If raw milk is regulated and clearly labled in grocery stores, I see no reason why it should be banned. Fast food, on the other hand, poses significant health risks -- the AMA and others should look at banning that instead!

Sally Squires: Point well taken! Thanks.

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Arlington, Va.: I just wanted to share a great recipe for "hash brown casserole."

1 package of frozen hash browns (the small cubed kind)

1 8oz container of fat free sour cream

1 can of low-sodium cream of chicken soup

1 16oz package of fat free cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients together in a 9x13 baking pan, then bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. The dish is low fat...but tastes just like cheese fries!

Sally Squires: Sounds easy and tasty. Thanks very much for sharing, Arlington.

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Washington, D.C.: Comment: I grew up with raw milk in my native country. The process to avoid any illness resulting from drinking this milk is to boil it. As far as I know, the procedure gives good results.

I believe that only until recently the so called "third world" countries of Latin America started selling pasteurized milk in big markets located mainly in larger cities. The majority of people in smaller towns still buy raw milk daily which is sold from trucks straight from the farms.

Sally Squires: Interesting. And by boiling that milk, you are in effect pasteurizing it. What surprised me is how quickly pasteurization takes place. In some cases, the milk is heated for no more than a couple of seconds. Thanks for chiming in.

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Berlin, Germany: In France, micro-filtered milk is sold -- isn't that a solution?

Sally Squires: I'm not certain that micro-filtered milk will take out all the potential micro-organisms, although it could certainly eliminate some. And by the way, the other thing that I learned from some wonderful books that I borrowed from the Library of Congress -- thanks to the wonderful Alison Kelly and Constance Carter! -- is how the milk can be contaminated all along the path from cow to bottle unless good precautions are taken. As a city gal, guess I hadn't really thought much about that before. My grandfather, who was born on a farm in Wisconsin, would probably be appalled!

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United Kingdom: Anyone that wishes to learn about RAW MILK should go to a milk processing plant and see the gunge that is separated from raw milk when it is cleaned and processed before separating into the various milk types offered. Imagine slimy chewing gum and you are somewhere near the extraction.

Sally Squires: That's quite a good, graphic description. Guess I'll have to find a dairy farm to do just that. Thanks for chiming in from across the Pond.

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Olney, Md.: I just had to play with the site, walkscore.com today.

I found out that where Manhattan scored a 98, downtown Pittsburgh scored a perfect 100. Where I live here, I scored a 43, which is not surprising, while using my Mom's address, outside of Pittsburgh, it scored a 73.

It just proves that any of us who live in walkable neighborhoods, can consider ourselves very lucky.

Sally Squires: This is a really cool site, isn't it? Kat Hom, on the Health staff, gets the credit for finding and writing about this interesting on-line service. Thanks!

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Washington, D.C.: Hi there,

I like to cook down fresh spinach and use it in dishes, but I usually cook about 1 cup of raw spinach and when it's done, it's about less than 1/4 of a cup... does this still count as one serving?

Cheers!

Sally Squires: Yes, it should indeed count as a serving. In fact, 1 cup of leafy veggies such as spinach or lettuce or arugula generally counts as a serving, although these days, most adults are urged to eat 2.5 cups of vegetables daily.

For more -- including crafting your own personalized pyramid -- we'll post a link to the USDA Web site. If you click on what's in the pyramid, you can find out how much a serving is in many familiar food portions. It's quite clever and has pictures too.

Stay tuned for the URL...We'll try to post in a minute.

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Fort Worth, Tex: Regarding raw milk, a word of caution: I grew up on a dairy farm (long ago, I'm 59) and we drank only raw milk. This milk did not have vitamin D added, and I had rickets and wore braces as a child. I never was told there was a cause/effect relationship there but certainly recommend making sure that if you are drinking raw milk you also are getting enough vitamin D for your body to use the calcium in the milk.

In the '70s and '80s we bought raw milk for our young family to avoid the chemicals in processed milk. With so many ready sources today for milk from cows that have not been filled with hormones and antibiotics, raw milk seems like more of a risk than it is worth.

Sally Squires: I don't know if farmers add vitamin D or vitamin A to raw milk. (Most store-bought milk is fortified with both.) And you're right to remind us that vitamin deficiencies can have huge consequences, including rickets.

There's actually discussion in scientific circles about whether the vitamin D intake should be revised upwards. Nothing's been decided yet, but there are rumblings....

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Centreville, Va.: Hi Sally!

Two things. On the raw milk issue: I've never had raw milk, but I just bought some organic milk on a whim (it was on a good enough sale that I was willing to try it!). It's delicious! I'm not sure what the difference is, but I really think it tastes better than non-organic milk.

My second thing: I live about 3 miles from my office, and I'd like to start biking to work to get in a bit more activity. Do you have any hints for how to exercise outside (my ride to work will probably be moderate, not too strenuous) safely? My concern right now is the heat & humidity...

Thanks!

Sally Squires: Drink plenty of fluids before riding to make sure you are well hydrated and, of course, take some water with you for the ride. Despite the heat, be sure to wear a bike helmet. I can tell you firsthand about a colleague who was saved from serious head injuries by her helmet during an otherwise easy ride. And if you feel dizzy or too hot, stop for a breather. No sense in pushing it especially in this heat. In fact, most advisories say to stay indoors until the heat lifts, which may be this weekend. So you might start riding next week.

And if you have asthma or any other lung conditions, it's doubly important not to start anything in the next couple of days when the air quality is not likely to be very good.

One way to know if you are well hydrated is if your urine is clear -- rather than than yellowish -- you've had enough liquids.

Hope that helps. And happy riding.

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Pittsford, N.Y.: No, please don't put the calories on dinner menus -- it would take all the joy out of eating out. I'd rather have what I like and only eat half than be guilt ridden ordering something with a lot of calories. No one would ever eat dessert again.

Sally Squires: For those who have not yet read today's Lean Plate Club e-mail newsletter, I included a link to a news story about a plan to require restaurants in Montgomery County, Md. to include calories on the menu. Thanks for chiming in, Pittsford.

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Silver Spring, Md.: I have refound brown rice! While it takes so much longer to cook (one hour) it is so much more flavorful. I make it with chicken broth or chipotle bouillon and throw in some onions and celery and it is really delicious.

Sally Squires: It really is, isn't it, Silver Spring. And here's a secret that I stumbled upon: make it in minutes in the microwave. No kidding. I've done this now in our aged and failing microwave and now in our brand new, shining Advantium. It takes just about 20 minutes to produce, fluffy brown rice. I make it in batches and put in the fridge for fast meals. In fact, my family seems to now prefer brown rice to white and brown, whole grain bread to white bread. It's a very easy switch -- just don't spill the beans on me, okay?

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Dover, Ohio: Now that my tomatoes & basil are ripe & flourishing, I'll be making summer pasta:

saute minced garlic in half olive oil, half butter (or use all olive oil, if desired); chop tomatoes and basil to taste, let sit at room temp for at least 30 minutes. Cook spaghetti to al dente, drain, & toss with garlic, tomatoes & basil. Pass freshly-grated Parmesan at table. Amounts depend upon how many you're serving, and if this is a side dish or main course. We've enjoyed this plain, and also with seared scallops or shrimp as a main course. It's also good with crumbled Feta cheese for added protein.

Sally Squires: Get ready for company, Dover. We're coming to your house for dinner tonight! Yum.

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washingtonpost.com: MyPyramid.gov

Sally Squires: As promised!

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Portland: Does anyone need milk? It seems strange to be consuming the lactation product of another species! Check out Campbell's book, "The China Study", and Plant's book, "Your Life in Your Hands". Both books offer a good science based reasoning against milk consumption.

Sally Squires: They are interesting books and I have interviewed Colin Campbell. I know there are many who think it odd to consume dairy products from other species, but it's also been a time-honored tradition to do so for many, many cultures. Of course, it's not for everyone...but I was surprised to learn that there are 12,000 different animals who produce milk. Wouldn't you like to know who counted that? Thanks for chiming in Portland. I sure enjoyed my visit -- albeit too brief -- to your fair city a few months ago.

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Raw milk: Hi Sally,

I'll have to be the dissenter here--I could not recommend raw milk--even if it were completely regulated. Bacterial contamination of food is becoming more common, not less, and at the very least the risk from pathogenic strains of E Coli (the same type that infects hamburgers) and Salmonella can occur.

One reason that we as humans have an increased lifespan (the average person lived to be 40, in 1900), is because of advances in food safety (think Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle"). Statistically, the longer you drink raw milk, the likelier you are to become ill from it.

Let's NOT go back to the dark ages.

( Disclaimer:I am in the medical profession).

Thank you!

Sally Squires: When I interviewed Jeff Karns at the USDA, he said that they carefully track a very well run, very pristine farm near Washington with regular cultures (for other scientific reasons than raw milk.) The scientists have been surprised at how one week, despite doing exactly the same things, there are bad organisms present in milk, while another week, there are none. So you have a very important point:for now, there is no good way to know if raw milk contains contaminants, which is why so many health agencies and groups advise against consuming it. Thanks for chiming in.

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Brown rice: Trader Joe's sells it frozen, in ready-to-microwave packets. It takes 3 minutes, and it's delicious!

Sally Squires: Yes, it is delicious isn't it? And it was that very item that prompted me to see if I could make my own at home. Mine is much less expensive -- TJ's package of three bags costs about $4 -- but when I freeze mine it is not nearly as unclumped as TJ's. So if you want to freeze your rice, you might try theirs. Thanks!

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Calories on menus: Rock Creek (in Bethesda and now Friendship Heights) includes a sheet with nutritional information in its menu. I think that's good because you can look if you want to or skip it if you don't (I skipped it). If they had to print the info right along with the description of the food items, so that there was no way you could avoid it, I wouldn't like that at all.

Sally Squires: Thanks much.

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Washington, D.C.: I've seen suggestions here before for using leftover yogurt to serve as a marinade for chicken, but had never experimented with it. I tried it out last night, and got the moistest most flavorful chicken ever, and it was so easy to prepare (and extremely healthful!)

1/2 cup fat free plain yogurt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 teaspoon each dried basil and dried oregano

Zest of one lemon

2 teaspoons salt

1 onion, diced

2 chicken breasts

Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano, lemon zest, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the chicken and onion and toss well to coat. Refrigerate for 1-3 hours.

Grill or cook in saute pan (I used fat-free Pam).

Sally Squires: Yum! Sounds great. I use yogurt for tandoori chicken from a recipe that I found in one of the American Heart Association's cookbooks.

Also, the late James Beard recommended marinating calamari (squid) in milk in the fridge to make it tender before cooking. That works too although I admit it sounds a bit strange! Thanks!

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VeggieWorld, D.C.: Sally - Thank you for the chats! I've recently begun reading "Veggie Revolution" by Kneidel & Kneidel. The information in the book is fairly hair-raising regarding the effects of American over-consumption of meat on the environment. Have you read this book? If so, how accurate do you believe it to be? Thank you!

Sally Squires: I have not read it, but it sounds a bit like the classic, "Diet for a Small Planet," which in the last couple of years has been updated too. Thanks for the suggestion. Anybody else out there read either of these books? If so, feel free to chime in. We'd love to hear your thoughts.

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Bethesda, Md.: Some time ago you talked about yogurt makers. Did you buy one or get more info on them? I would like to buy one but don't know much and don't know how to research the options. I would like to make yogurt out of soy milk as well as skim milk. Can sugar substitutes be used? My husband likes his sweet while I like yogurt plain with berries or dried fruit. Thanks!

Sally Squires: I have not yet bought a yogurt maker. The one I used to have was by Salton. Donvier made one that interested me, but in renovating our kitchen, I got side-tracked by researching (and buying) larger appliances. I've been thinking recently about adding one of those yogurt makers again. We recently added a seltzer maker that I'll be writing about soon.

I'm still a huge fan of Total yogurt (and have no connection to the company.) But if I could make a less pricey equivalent at home, I'd do it in a heart beat.

Anybody out there make your own yogurt? I know that one Lean Plate Club member in today's column makes his own kefir -- similar to yogurt -- from raw milk.

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Philadelphia: Just a comment: I spent many summers when I was younger working on a variety of farms. All were fully organic, some just plants, some just animals, some both, and some were also experimental and could probably be called somewhat hippy-ish. It was never a big deal to wander in a field and pop off a piece of produce to eat right there, without washing it, but not a single farmer would drink milk until s/he had pasteurized it. We didn't always bother with homogenization, but once it was out of the animal, if it was going to be consumed by a human, it was pasteurized. So if we're going to be deciding diet and health based on anecdotes, I'll stick with the organic farmers.

Sally Squires: Very interesting. Thanks for that insight, Philadelphia.

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Arlington, VA: Re: who counted the 12,000 species... It's not that mysterious really - you pretty much just need to know approximately how many mammal species there are in the world. By definition a mammal nourishes it's young with milk. (The Latin mammalis means "of the breast".)

Sally Squires: Point well taken, of course. But still, who counted the 12,000 mammals in the world?

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Boca Raton, Fla.: The thought of having to label restaurant items makes my brain bleed. Nonsense!

Sally Squires: That's one vote for labeling restaurant menus and one vote for not. Thanks Boca!

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Orem, Utah: I grew up drinking raw milk. We milked our own cows until I was in high school. We never had any problems and did not know anyone else who had problems with raw milk.

Most of the problems with or associated with milk now is because of all the processing and pasteurization which kills many of the beneficial aspects of milk. such as enzymes. Also Homogenization causes problems with milk. When people modify and process our foods is when they become bad.

Sally Squires: No doubt that some processing can alter some foods. But pasteurization only alters a bit of the enzymes and protein in milk and a few of the vitamins. As one expert told me, much of this is destroyed in the very acidic environment of the stomach. So we may have to agree to disagree on this one, Orem, but thanks for chiming in.

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Re Pittsford: The problem is (and I think this is at least alluded to in the newsletter) is that while dining out used to be a once-a-week deal (or for some of us, only on birthdays!) there are now many people who eat virtually all of their meals away from home. And there are all kinds of studies to show that people (including medical professionals of various stripes) simply cannot estimate nutrition content. Although we perhaps wish we could eat more meals at home that's a pipe dream and the industry, and diners, need to deal with the reality of it.

Sally Squires: So I take that to mean that you favor labeling restaurant menus with calories and other nutrition info? Thanks for chiming in.

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Probiotics: better from a bottle: The idea that milk contains "probiotics" is a red herring. Along with the good bacteria you're getting all the bad ones. Probiotics are beneficial but easily obtained from much safer sources: yogurt with live cultures and probiotics in capsule form provide the same benefits without potentially sickening or killing you. With all of the opportunities for products to become contaminated in today's factory farming system, most raw milk produced today is no safer than raw chicken. Would you eat that?

Sally Squires: You're right: there are an increasing number of products with the healthful bacteria known as pro and prebiotics. Some occur naturally in yogurt and kefir. Others are are added. In fact, we had a lively Web chat discussion about them a few months ago. Transcript is likely on our archive page for those who would like to peruse it. Thanks for chiming in.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Sally - a quick question about exercise. If I go to a happy hour and have a drink after work, and then go to the gym later in the evening, am I getting the same calorie-burning benefits? A friend claims that it's ineffective to work out after consuming alcohol, but sometimes later in the evening is the only time I can fit in a trip to the gym.

Sally Squires: It's not ineffective to work out any time. (In fact, to whet your appetite, look for more on this in next week's Lean Plate Club column.) What your friend may mean is that alcohol contains nearly the same calories per gram as fat. That's 7 calories per gram for alcohol; 9 for fat. (And just four each for carbs and protein.) Alcohol is also converted more easily to fat than protein or carbs.

Now, you wouldn't want to get too happy at that happy hour and then exercise. But having a beer or a glass of wine (and maybe a little food too) wouldn't be that much different than having a snack about an hour before your workout.

And exercising is always better than not being active!

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Washington, D.C.: I'm opposed to labeling for a devil's advocate reason: it punishes the honest. Most restaurants don't weigh or measure their ingredients every time they serve someone. If they were to put nutritional information on their menu, it would be based on some hypothetical amount of meat, sauce, oil in the frying. The more honest ones would be fair or even generous in their calculations. Others would calculate what they promise to put in - 2 oz of ham - not what actually gets loaded.

Sally Squires: And if this proposal goes through, it likely won't affect all restaurants, since ingredients at many small restaurants change often as may the menu. Thanks for playing devil's advocate!

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Bronx, N.Y.: My favorite walking site takes place in The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, N.Y.

Sally Squires: That's a great place to go. My other New York favorite is the Cloisters. Thanks for chiming in.

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20009: Hi Sally - Can you make Greek-style, Total yogurt type yogurt at home in a yogurt maker? Any tips on recipes for this? Thanks.

Sally Squires: You likely can. But the thing that makes Total so wonderful is that they let some of the water drain out. That's why it's so rich. I have tried putting plain, nonfat (and non Total) yogurt in a sieve with cheese cloth and letting the water drip from it in the 'fridge. It produces a similar--but still to my mind not quite as good product. I've also been trying some new Greek yogurts that have turned up in groceries around here, including one from TJ's and some others directly from Greece. So far, have not tasted anything as rich as Total.

How about others? Since we're out of time, feel free to e-mail me at leanplateclub@washpost.com

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Philadelphia: I know it's not the thing to say, but I do think Massachusetts is on the wrong track. If someone is overweight or obese for a true medical reason, that person should be covered by the ADA (and if they're not, the focus should be on making the remedy come from there). We discriminate against people who make bad medical decisions all the time - ask anyone who's tried to smoke in public, or ride a motorcycle without a helmet, etc. For the record, no, I'm not a smoker, and yes, like most of us I could lose 10 pounds. We should be encouraging people who can to lose weight, and encouraging understanding of those who have conditions that make it impossible for them to lose weight, but - there are too many in the former group who claim they are in the latter because they don't want to make the lifestyle changes necessary to lose weight. "Don't want to" is a far cry from "can't". Of all the overweight people I've known, only a few were truly because of genetics/medical conditions - and those people were obviously healthy otherwise. The ones who sat around all day eating candy and chips and drinking soda did not become obese because their genes suddenly changed within a year.

Sally Squires: Thanks for your thoughts. I suspect we will be talking about this topic for some time to come, don't you think? It will be interesting to see what happens with the proposed bill.

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Yorktown Hts., N.Y.: Re: Raw Milk

My family ran a dairy farm, so my brother and I grew up drinking raw milk. my father always selected the milk from the healthiest cows; we always discarded all milk from animals receiving antibiotics or who appeared ill, and in the 50s-60s - our small herd was really healthy. I suspect that our fresh milk contained more vitamins than what's in the fortified milk out there today, and no added hormones

However, it is important to know that the animals are healthy, there is no contamination of the milk or storage containers, and that milk is properly cooled, etc.

I think that farmers should be allowed to sell raw milk directly to individual consumers, but consumers do have to make themselves knowledgeable.

Sally Squires: Thanks for weighing in, Yorktown. Your message reminds me of hearing stories from my father who spent summers on his uncle's dairy farm in Wisconsin. They always drank raw milk, but with similar caveats.

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Sally Squires: Thanks for a wonderful chat everyone! Winners today are:

DC marinate; Arlington (hash brown recipe); Indianapolis; Houston and Raw milk disclaimer. Please e-mail me your name, address and put winner in the subject line (for faster handling) to leanplateclub@washpost.com.

Until next week: eat smart and move more with the Lean Plate Club! Stay cool out there. Thanks to all.

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