Tag Archives: food

New Year’s Traditions Around the World

We all have our traditional meals we eat for luck or prosperity or health at New Years, but what do other people eat? Here are some examples from around the world.

In Spain, many people watch the broadcast from Puerta Del Sol, Madrid. There party-goers gather in front of the clock tower in the square to ring in the New Year (much like Times Square, NY City). Those at home eat one grape for each of the 12 tolls of the bell. This is a turn of the 20th century custom supposedly thought up by grape farmers who had a fantastic yield that year. The tradition is now popular across Spanish-speaking nations.

In Austria and Germany they call New Year’s Eve Sylvesterabend, the eve of Saint Sylvester. For this celebration it is tradition to drink a red wine spiced punch and to eat suckling pig for dinner. The table should be adorned with small marzipan pigs—these are called marzipanschwein. Additionally, Glücksschwein or good luck pigs, are given commonly as gifts and are made from all kinds of things.

In Mexico tamales are the traditional food of New Years. One would be hard pressed not to find restaurants and street vendors selling them all hours of the day during the season. Tamales being a thick corn dough stuffed with meat, cheese and other ingredients. They are wrapped in either banana leaf or corn husk and are often steamed.

Many cultures share the tradition of a New Year’s cake. Many Greeks celebrate with Vasilopita, Mexicans enjoy the Rosca de Reyes, Bulgarians eat the banitsa, and the French enjoy the gateau or galette des rois.

In many traditions the cake is eaten at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Other’s may consume this at Christmas or on January 6th, the Epiphany. Often there is a gold coin or small figure baked into the cake. Which ever guest finds this in their food should have a prosperous year.





How Food Affects the Brain

This TedTalk starts with the precept of sucking all the moisture from your brain to see what is left. So what is left? There are mostly fats, then amino acids and proteins and glucose and micronutrients. Omega 3 & 6 are very important to the brain – gotten from nuts, seeds, and fatty fish.

A range of foods helps more than eating the same things all the time. Antioxydants and vitamins, along with trace minerals are also necessary to good brain function.

Carbohydrates are counted together but consist of starch, sugar, and fiber. Oats, grains, and legumes are better choices of carbohydrates so you don’t get that dip that you get from glucose.

Laila Ali Lifestyle

Laila Ali, daughter of boxer Muhammad Ali, has her own blog that covers food, fitness, health and wellness. She also has a podcast, and is the host of OWN’s Home Made Simple show. She has a cookbook coming out next week with some of the recipes she has developed. It is called Food for Life: Delicious & Healthy Comfort Food from My Table to Yours!

She has always enjoyed cooking and when she became a boxer, she knew she had to eat right. She has some very tempting and healthy recipes on her blog.

You may have seen her on TV on Dancing with the Stars, or hosting American Gladiators with Hulk Hogan. She’s also made appearances on Chopped: All Stars, Celebrity Wife Swap, and Celebrity Apprentice.

This is her latest recipe on her blog from Home Made Simple:
Gouchujang Guacamole

Diet Secret?

Don’t diet. Cornell University did a study of the Mindlessly Slim.

Cornell Food and Brand Lab researchers studied those adults who have successfully maintained a healthy body weight throughout their adult lives by creating a registry where they can sign up and answer questions. They divided the responders into 2 groups: the mindlessly slim who didn’t maintain diets; the other group was those who dieted regularly and thought about food frequently and highly conscious of what they ate.

After comparing responses to the questions they found the mindlessly slim stragies included eating high-quality foods, cook themselves, listen to their bodies’ cues. They didn’t feel as guilty as the other group about overeating. They had a more enjoyment-based approach to food and eating.

Here are some of the responses:
Favorite meat (61%): chicken
7% are vegetarian
33% don’t drink alcohol
35% eat salad at lunch everyday
65% eat vegetables at dinner every day
51% include fruits and vegetables in their breakfast
44% snack on fruit
37% don’t drink soft drinks
48% don’t diet; 74% rarely diet

What does 200 calories look like?

AsapSCIENCE has a unique way to look at 200 calories. This video shows different foods and what the calories look like. Not all calories are alike either. wiseGEEK also has a chart that shows the amounts of different foods that equal 200 calories.

Not all calories are the same either. If you have the same amount of cola vs milk, which is the healthier? What about white bread vs whole grain bread? Just a glance at some of this will make you realize that maybe you should watch your calories a little more closely.