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Your daily serving of Nutrition Bytes--
but PLEASE see your physician
for diet and medical advice.

I started this Web site in January of 1999 to sort out my confusion over making healthy food choices. I scan scientific and popular news sources, at least once a week, and provide links and summaries to the latest discoveries in food science. At the end of each month, I transfer the links to the appropriate index. I hope this database of nutrition information will help your family as much as it helps us.

I love good food and drink--sometimes the taste of every bite or sip, sometimes the atmosphere, and sometimes the company. In the morning, nothing gets the writing side of my brain going better than a cup of hazelnut-flavored coffee and a good chocolate-chip muffin. At lunch, I can easily pick at a ceasar salad and sip ice tea while talking to friends and colleagues. And, before the arrival of our son, I truly enjoyed an Italian meal at the local restaurant with my husband. My favorite part was the Tiramizu.

My earlier memories of food take me to many parts of the world. I remember my dad delivering chicken kebab from my favorite restaurant to me daily when I was a finicky toddler in Iran. I remember the lavish dinner tables at weekly family gatherings at my grandmother's house. I remember my uncle's wife preparing a German Christmas dinner with sauerkraut and potato dumplings. I remember the cream puffs and feta-cheese pastries served for afternoon tea in Istanbul. I remember the smell of exotic spices and tropical fruits in Singapore. I remember the heavy cafeteria food that got me through long days at college in Vancouver. I remember the late night chats over hot tea with a very close friend. And I remember fixing broken hearts with Cinnabons.

But lately I have been confused. Maturity, resposibility, and the news are clouding my joy of food. I'm not quite sure what to buy at the grocery store and what to eat at home. Let me take you through a shopping trip at the local 'healthy' supermarket. I enter at the produce section. I figure this is an easy section because fruits and vegetables are good. Then I realize most of the fruits are not organic. I'm uneasy about the grapes slathered with pesticides. Then as I move on, my troubles compound. Are the imported raspberries contaminated with Cryptosporidium? Are the alfalfa sprouts and the prewashed lettuce tainted with E. coli? Definitely, forget about the unpasteurized juice.

In the meat department, I stay clear of ground beef and cold-cuts. I don't want to deal with E. coli or Listeria. Instead, I pick up some chicken--free-range, hormone and antibiotic-free. I can't help but wonder if the last part means that my chicken is infested with salmonella. I have no doubts about the salmon--but wait a minute. Is it ocean-raised or farm-raised? Do I have to worry about mercury?

As I move on down the tight ailes, I don't hesitate with coffee. I need my morning cup, and I don't want to know about any findings. I pick the oatbran and shake my head, as I remember recent reports. In the cookie aisle, I go for the dry fruit-juice-sweetened variety.

In the grain section, I do pick up a variety of beans. But the latest dilemma in our family is over bread, pasta, and rice. They used to be the good low-fat food for us, with high cholesterol running in the family. But an experiment with the Zone diet showed us that cutting these foods had surprisingly good effects on cholesterol levels.

Finally near the registers, I pick up tofu, eggs, Egg-Beaters, milk, cheese, and yogurt. This is one of the few places that I can find full-fat yogurt for my toddler. I just hope that he gets some time to enjoy food, before ending up like us.

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©1999 Haleh V. Samiei
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