Eating to Live on the Outside: Green Tango

I’m not much of a dancer—me on the dance floor looks a lot like a dog floundering on a frozen pond—but nevertheless, Eating to Live on the Outside is about to tango. This week we’re hitting salad emporium, Green Tango.

A place that advertises “fresh chopped salads” has got to be good—right? Yeah, it is. Green Tango is a fine place for the discerning nutritarian to call home. So, enough jibber-jabber! Let’s crack this menu open and see what we got.

Green Tango offers two major options, Salads and Wraps. Let’s check out the salads first. Okay, technically they all “work.” All you’d have to do is drop the occasional egg, bacon, and cheese, but here’s the four that really caught my eye.

I dig The Big Salad, the Tusan Salad, the Fiesta Salad, and the Garden Delight. There’s A LOT of veggies in these. Combine they included iceberg lettuce, hard boiled egg, tomatoes, carrots, green beans, potatoes, chickpeas, feta cheese, arugula, white beans, cremini mushrooms, artichokes, parmesan cheese, corn, black beans, avocado, red onions, grilled shrimp, mesclun greens, broccoli, beets, artichokes, asparagus, and zucchini. Not doubt—this is a MASSIVE amount of phytonutrients—awesome! And once you ditch the egg, cheese, and shrimp it gets even better.

To ensure the health-promoting integrity of these salads, I’d order the dressing on the side. Speaking of the dressing, Green Tango has two options that won’t leave me feeling very guilty; fresh squeezed lemon juice and age balsamic vinegar. I could go for either of these.

If none of the Green Tango favorite salads entice you, why not make your own creation out of these wonderful ingredients? Feast your eyes on these: Romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce, arugula, spinach, mesclun greens, almonds, artichokes, asparagus, avocado, beets, black beens, broccoli, carrots, celery, cauliflower, chick peas, cremini mushrooms, crispy noodles, corn, croutons, cucumbers, dried cherries, dried cranberries, green beans, hearts of palm, mandarin oranges, peanuts, peas, peppers, potatoes, radishes, raisins, red onions, and roasted red peppers. How fantastic is this!

Here’s the salad I would create. Okay, I’d start with a spinach base—I love me some spinach—then on top of that I would pile on some avocado, beets, asparagus, and carrots. Now, for my dressing, I think balsamic vinegar would go nicely with the root veggies—don’t you agree?

Okay, if a salad is striking your fancy—which would be hard to believe if you’re a nutritarian—you could go for a wrap. The wraps are basically one of the salads wrapped up in an original tortilla or either an herb garlic, spinach, or sun-dried tomato basil tortilla. Now, I’m not anti-wrap, but when confronted with all these salad options, I’d easily pass on the tortilla, but if I were to order a wrap, I’d probably go with the spinach tortilla—it’s kind of cruciferous!

Now, to wrap things up—pun intended—I should mention that Green Tango also sells soup, but as we all know, prepared soups tend to be very salty—so, not thanks. Oh! And if you’re looking for a side to go with your salad, Green Tango offers fruit—pretty neat!

I feel like I got off easy this week. Green Tango sounds like a great place to grab a meal; very reminiscent of Eating to Live on the Outside favorite Just Salad—but what do you think? Does Green Tango REALLY stack up? You decide. Take a look at Green Tango’s menu and let me know how you’d handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or send an email to Until then, eat greatly! Peace.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Salsa Rico

Man, am I happy this week is over—what a bear! Anyway, it’s Friday and you know what that means. Time to fire up the machine—vroom-vroom—Eating to Live on the Outside rides again! And this week Salsa Rico is on the hot seat. How will it do? Well there’s only one way to find out.

Time to rock and roll! First up, burritos, and right away we’ve got a concession, flour tortillas—eh, I can deal with it. Believe me, it could be A LOT worse. Now, the burrito I’d go with would be the Calimax; made with ancho chile salsa, melted jack cheese, rice, pinto beans or black beans, fresh pico de gallo, and fresh guacamole. Okay, I’ll ditch the cheese and the rice—and provided the guacamole has no sour cream—it’s a decent option.

Oh! If the tortilla freaks you out. Another option might be the Fajita Burrito Bowl; prepared with flame-roasted peppers, onions, Mexican rice, black beans or pinto beans, ancho chile salsa, jack cheese, and pico de gallo. Nix that cheese and rice and its looking good, and, no tortilla to contend with—sweet!

Next are the Specialties. Yeah, we’ll skip those. Unless of course you think nachos and quesadillas are nutrient-dense—you don’t, right? Let’s just move onto the Salads. I like all three of them. There’s some undesirables in there but combined they include shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, a blend of cheeses, cilantro, a taco shell, black beans or pinto beans, avocado mango salsa, tortilla chips, Romaine lettuce, black olives, cheddar cheese, corn salsa, and a chile lime vinaigrette. Wow, that’s a lot of stuff. Out of all that I’m dropping the sour cream, cheese, tortilla chips, taco shell, and black olives. So if you make those alternations and go easy on the dressing, the Taco Salad, the Cabo Salad, and Chili Lime Salad are all good—nice!

Now, let’s check out the Tacos. I see one I like. The Grilled Vegetable Fajita Taco; made with flame-roasted peppers, onions, and obviously taco shells. It’s not the best option, but if you’re not feeling the salad, you might be willing to make the taco shell concession. Personally, the grilled veggies are great, but give me one of those salads any day.

Alright, let’s scope out the Salsas, they all look very veggie friendly. They could be a nice accent to one of dishes we already looked at. Here’s the three I really liked. The Corn Salsa is cool; made with ancho chili pepper, corn, fresh tomatilos, char-grilled plum tomatoes, fresh lime, and orange juices—not too shabby. I also like the Salsa Fresca; prepared with table salsa, plum tomatoes, sweet onions, jalapenos, and cilantro—you got to love cilantro. And finally, the Onion Salsa is simple but very tasty looking; it’s made with jalapenos, Spanish onions, cilantro, and lime juice—again, another winner! These would certainly liven up one of the salads, maybe as a salad dressing?

It’s probably worth mentioning that Salsa Rico has a couple sides you might want to consider making your main dish. The two that work for me are the pinto beans or black beans and the fresh guacamole—again, provided it is sour cream free. I hate when they ruin perfectly good avocado with sour cow juice—YUCK!

So what do you think? Is Salsa Rico workable? I think there’s hope. Sure, there’s some nasty stuff to deal with like rice, cheese, char-grilled (or burned) food), tortillas, and a potentially heavy salt load—ask the wait staff before you order—but overall I’d give Salsa Rico a shot.

Now it’s your turn, time to judge for yourself. Scope out Salsa Rico’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or send an email to Until then, eat the best you can! Peace.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Justix

I’m hungry. I worked out hard this morning, did an extra Yoga class last night, and now I’ve worked up quite an appetite. Lucky for me it’s Friday, which means its time to test out a new restaurant and—hopefully—grab a nutritious bite to eat.

And, I think we’ve got a chance this week. Justix has potential. It’s not perfect—most restaurants aren’t—but I think it’s got a decent shot at satisfying the discriminating nutritarian. So, grab your knife and fork, tuck a napkin into your collar, and let’s hit it!

Justix is, “Grilled food on a stick.” Well, as far as the “on a stick” part. That’s a little iffy. You’ve got six options; beef, chicken, pork, tofu, portabella mushroom, and salmon. Okay, I’m cool with the tofu, portabella, and salmon. The portabella mushroom is by far my favorite. It’d be my first choice.

As far as the sides go, I’d pair my portabella mushroom sticks with either steamed broccoli, grilled zucchini, steamed carrot sticks, potato wedges, or roasted veggies. I’m leaning towards the steamed broccoli or the roasted veggies, but I’d probably go with the broccoli—I’m on a bit of a steamed broccoli kick lately.

Onto the sauces, there’s three I’d consider ordering. I like Annabelle’s Mint & Orange, Cousin Tony’s Balsamic Glaze, and the Sub-lime Peanut Cilantro. Neither of them strikes me as a massive concession, but just to be safe. I’d order them on the side—what do you think?

Now, Justix isn’t just sticks and sides. They’ve also got some salads and wraps you can work with. Some are bad news; loaded with bacon, beef, blue cheese, and ranch sauce. Clearly, I’ll be avoiding all that stuff. As I’ve pointed out in the past, bacon is my nemesis—growl!

Let’s start with the wraps. I’m digging The Salmon BLT Wrap and The Veggie Wrap—the veggie being the obvious favorite—combined they include grilled farm-raised salmon, bacon, baby lettuce, tomato, ranch sauce, flour tortilla, portabella mushroom, red onion, zucchini, red pepper, goat cheese, and a Balsamic glaze. No question, I’m ditching the bacon and the cheese—yuck! I’m cool with the salmon. I’ll just make sure I don’t eat fish again for a few weeks. So, when all is said and done, the only major concession would be the flour tortilla—I can live it.

Salad time! The Justix Side Salad is cool. It’s made with mixed greens, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onion. With dressing on the side, this one looks good. The next salad I could work with is the Southwestern Chicken Salad—relax! I’m nixing the chicken. Post chicken, the Southwestern salad comes with mixed greens, yellow corn, red onion, tortilla strips, and a lime cumin vinaigrette. Yeah, those tortilla strips are history and that vinaigrette is going on the side.

So there you have it, short but sweet. Granted, Justix is not a homerun, but, if you’re a hungry nutritarian looking for a quick bit to eat, you can certainly make it work—don’t you agree? Now, whether you do or don’t, let me know how do you handle Eating to Live on the Outside? Check out Justix’s menu, make a comment, or send an email to Until then, eat healthfully! Peace.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Georgia Brown's

It’s Friday! Thank goodness. I’m pooped! But before my weekend can begin, I got to pay Georgia Brown’s a visit. Georgia Brown’s is a southern-style restaurant located in the heart of Washington DC. Let’s see how it measures up.

Well, it certainly won’t be an Eating to Live on the Outside all-star, but it has SOME Fuhrman-friendly potential. Sure, we’ll have to bob and weave through some of the undesirables—like fried chicken, cheese, and bacon—but there is hope.

Okay, as far as the “inspirations” go, I’m not too confident about any of them. Maybe you can make a case for the Fried Green Tomatoes, but I wouldn’t eat it; especially since they’re topped with cream cheese and mayonnaise—yuck! Let’s scope out the salads instead.

Unfortunately there’s only one I’d consider ordering—and it’s not without its own issues. The Country Kitchen House Salad is prepared with baby greens, dried apricot ginger vinaigrette, goat cheese, Bermuda onions, and grape tomatoes. Clearly, the cheese gets the axe! Now, like I said, the rest of the salads aren’t worth the trouble; loaded with chicken, cheese, and sausage—no thanks!

Now, even though I’m not a vegetarian. Georgia Brown’s two vegetarian options are looking good. The Black Eyed Pea Cakes are a bit of a mystery though. The menu doesn’t explain what they’re made of, so I’d ask the wait staff first; they’re served with Carolina red rice, asparagus, and lemon-cayenne mayonnaise. The asparagus is great, the rice is a concession, but the mayo has got to go! The Vegetarian Sample is okay; it comes with a black eyed pea cake, a fried green tomato, Carolina red rice, and sautéed spinach; not exactly a homerun, but workable. Personally, I’d ditch the fried tomato and yes, the rice would be a concession and so would the oil used to sautéed the spinach. I can deal with it!

If none of these tickle your fancy, give this a whirl. Try making a meal out of the sides because Georgia Brown’s offers some good ones. I’d order the collard greens, red rice, grilled asparagus, seasonal vegetables, and sautéed spinach. Nothing too bad here; the only concessions would be the rice and—again—the oil used to sauté the spinach and other veggies. No worries. It’s cool.

Like I said, Georgia Brown’s is far from perfect, but if all else fails. The side dishes make it workable. Now before I bid Georgia Brown’s farewell, let’s talk about their fish options. I’m not a vegan or a vegetarian—because I do eat fish—but I wouldn’t order any of these dishes and here’s why. For starters they’re prepared with things like sausage, duck, cream, and butter, but it’s also because the types of fish available aren’t exactly the most eco-friendly.

The Fried Catfish is the safest fish, but the whole “fried” thing puts the kibosh on that one. Next, unless you know the type of crab, lobster, scallops, or shrimp, it’s at best a crapshoot. So I wouldn’t order any of them. Finally, Chilean sea bass and Atlantic salmon are flat out bad news—I wouldn’t touch these! Do you see why I skipped over the fish now?

Okay, what do you think? Does Georgia Brown’s really have a shot at feeding a discriminating nutritarian? It’s certainly not perfect, but I think it works—just focus on those sides—but hey, its time for me to shut up. Check out Georgia Brown’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or drop me an email at Until next time, eat well! Peace.

Chattin' with Tara Parker-Pope

Like I said Friday, I convinced—and by “convinced” I mean begged and groveled—New York Times journalist and blogger Tara Parker-Pope for an interview, and, she said yes! So, without any further ado, here’s the blow-by-blow. Take a look:

About being a health blogger...
Me: Okay Tara, as a blog-nerd, I got to ask. How did Well come to be? I know it’s a very young blog.

Tara: The Times has created a great new health vertical, which offers readers extensive health reference information, special reports and a way to research their health questions. The overall effort to increase the amount of consumer health information the paper provides readers includes Well, a new consumer health blog, which we launched in late September.

Me: Very cool. How did you land the lead-blogger job?

Tara: I was the Wall Street Journal health columnist for the past 8 years. I was looking for way to expand my job beyond print and onto the Web. I had been discussing various ways to do that at the WSJ. Then I got a call from the Times and learned of this opportunity. The Times website is the best news website out there, in my opinion. To have the chance to develop a new health blog, plus write for Science Times—it was my dream job. I loved working for the WSJ, but The Times is just a much better platform for the kind of consumer health journalism I want to pursue.

Me: I agree with you about The Times being the best, hence me swooning over you to get this interview. So, how do you like being a fulltime blogger?

Tara: Well, it's quite busy. In addition to blogging, I also write a weekly column for the paper and am developing other stories as well. But what I love about blogging is that it creates an entirely new relationship with the reader. Readers are smart; they take your story to a place you might never have imagined it would go. I see blog-posts as conversation starters and I'm always amazed and impressed by how much readers have to contribute to the discussion.

Me: So, I bet you find yourself obsessively checking comments all day...and night?

Tara: I do moderate comments at all hours but that's because it's a big job. If I let it go too long, they build up and it's tougher to moderate them. Some days are busier than others, but it's not uncommon to check in and find 30 or 50 comments waiting for me. And readers like to see their comments posted quickly. I try to make that happen as often as possible.

Me: Totally. Keeping up with comments is huge, if you don't people get annoyed. So how do you decide what to blog about it? Spend a lot of time reading newswires and RSS feeds?

Tara: Actually I don't do the newswire or RSS feed route. I get ideas just as I always would for reporting news stories. I read medical journals, talk to doctors, talk to people, read magazines, live my life, etc. It's amazing how many ideas come to you just from talking to people. And of course, the medical journals offer a steady supply of ideas. The challenge is finding things everybody else hasn't already written about.

Health news, health issues—they are everywhere. Dr. Phil blabbing about Britney got me thinking about privacy rules and HIPAA, so I did a post on it. Another example, a woman I know had a stroke which resulted in a post called When Doctors Steal Hope.

That got tons of reader comments and I think resonated with readers because it was about real life. A great blog post is one that is about an issue that people can relate to, something that affects every day life.

I love to read stories about life on the frontiers of medicine, but I don't write them, and that's not what the Well blog is about. It's about the everyday decisions we make that affect our health. I do look for a variety of topics—nutrition, weight, aging, kids. And I look for things that are quirky or interesting. I just did a post called The Midlife Crisis Goes Global.

It's just interesting and oddly reassuring that being bummed out in midlife isn't a uniquely American experience. Everywhere, people in middle age are miserable, apparently.

I do write about medical things—breast cancer, prostate cancer surgery, MRSA—but again, issues that people can relate to on some level.

Me: Wow. Great examples! You just answered my question of what makes good blog-fodder for Well. Okay, next question. What surprises you the most about being a health blogger? What have you encountered that maybe you didn't expect?

Tara: I have been surprised and pleased by the amazing reader interest in health. I had no idea my blog posts would end up generating so many comments. That's very gratifying. I've always believed readers were smart, but I have been impressed by some of the really thoughtful comments the blog has generated.

I think a good blog post with lots of comments can actually be more informative and comprehensive than a traditionally-reported news story. I hadn't expected that. One good example is a post I did on sex after prostate surgery. The reader comments were amazing; the stories readers had to share were so poignant and heartfelt. I never could have provided that kind of information in a straight news story.

I had no idea, after spending 20 years in journalism, how fun, interesting and invigorating this new relationship with readers would be.
Hormone therapy...
Me: Indeed! You tend to get good comments if you provide good blog posts. Okay, that’s all the nerdy blog stuff I had, time to talk health. I see you’ve written a couple of books. So I’m assuming smoking and hormone therapy is an interest of yours. Let’s start with hormones and your book The Hormone Decision. What would you tell a menopausal woman facing the hormone decision?

Tara: I have spent the past five years really taking a close look at the available data on hormones, and that is what my book, The Hormone Decision is about. The bottom line is that there is no single answer for a woman coping with menopause. Hormones are not good. They are not bad. They are just a medical option for women at midlife. And for a woman experiencing extreme symptoms that are hurting her quality of life, I believe the data show that the benefits of hormones in that situation outweigh the risks.

Me: Gotcha. And how has your book and work on this topic been received by the medical community at large?

Tara: Very well actually. My goal has never been to take a position one way or the other but to make sure women were getting accurate information. I've had many doctors and people from women's health groups tell me they appreciate my effort to remove the hype and hysteria from the debate and just give women the facts.

In the end, that's why my whole career as a health journalist has been about—trying to give people accurate information so they can make informed decisions about their health.
Me: I think that is very important. Women need a clear and concise voice of compassion and reason on this issue. Alright, we are half way done. Switching gears a little, your other book, Cigarettes: Anatomy of an Industry from Seed to Smoke, is about smoking. What would you say to a young child when they ask or get curious about smoking?

Tara: I wrote about smoking as a business reporter—I was fascinated by the image of “Big Tobacco” on the ropes with all the state attorneys general suing, plaintiff's lawyers, etc. It wasn't true. Meanwhile, I was looking at earnings reports showing that these companies were pretty much just printing money. So that was the focus of my book—not really health, although the health issues certainly did have an impact on the industry as a whole.

I recently wrote a blog post about kids and smoking. I was watching America's Next Top Model with my daughter and the contestants had done a photo shoot showing the ravages of smoking (In a story for the WSJ, I once railed on America's Next Top Model for showing the models smoking when the show is widely viewed by young girls. They banned smoking among the contestants the next season).

But the photo shoot had a huge impact on my daughter. She had heard me say many times that smoking can kill you, but she was kind of amazed at how ugly it made the girls. There is research to support the notion that you have to target health messages to kids a different way.

Me: For sure, kids aren't just mini-adults.

Kids don't care too much about disease and death, but they care about things they understand—friends, the way they look, the way they smell. I think the best thing parents can do to keep kids from smoking is not smoke themselves. That is huge.

And I think they need to emphasize just what a disgusting habit it is, that it can give you wrinkles, ruin your sports performance on the field, etc.
Being a mom...
Me: Smoking is a hot button issue for me too. Now, since you touched on it, how did becoming a mom change the way you go about your work?

Tara: I think being a parent has changed the way I view health. I think before kids I just thought of it in terms of the basics—weight, getting a physical, etc. Now I view almost every decision I make as one that impacts the health of my family. The foods I eat and whether I exercise is a powerful influence on my child's behavior. Do I sign her up for gymnastics, where there is a lot of standing around, or opt for dance classes, where they move constantly. When I bought a car, I looked for a model with a zillion airbags. A healthy life for me and a healthy life for my child are influenced by 100 different small decisions I make every day.

And the fact that I have a school-aged child does influence the topics I choose to write about. I have a category on my blog called Family Matters--I do a lot of stories on kids, teens and health.

Me: Dr. Fuhrman would applaud you. That’s fantastic! You and the little one should try Yoga.

Tara: You know we haven't done Yoga for a while, but I did organize a yoga class for her preschool. I brought in a yoga teacher for six sessions or so to teach the kids the fun Yoga moves.

Me: Awesome! We should practice together someday.

Tara: Well, I should add that just because I write about health and believe in the power of small decisions, that doesn't mean I'm perfect. I struggle just like everyone else. The hardest thing for me is finding time to exercise. So of course, I blogged about my decision to buy a new elliptical machine.
A problem with health journalism...
Me: Totally, ellipticals are great. In fact, if I had been smart and used one. I wouldn't have a knee brace and heating pad on my knee for the second day straight. Relax folks, I’m all better now. Alright, back to business. What health issue is sticking in your craw lately?

I think it's important that we, as journalists, not act as if the latest study is the best study. There is a tendency to do this in my business and I'm sure I've been guilty of it from time to time.

We saw this with the Women's Health initiative and hormones—this tendency to throw out all the data that came before it. That was a mistake. We need to look at new research in the context of whatever came before it.

A bigger issue probably is the issue of absolute risk versus relative risk. It's so easy to talk about a 20% increase in risk without giving the context. We can't do it every time but whenever possible, it's important to tell readers what a number means to them. So when everybody was writing about a big increase in breast cancer risk due to alcohol consumption after a study came out last fall—I thought it was important to say what that really mean to women.

There was a Kaiser study that reported a 30% increase in breast cancer risk associated with three drinks a day. I made the following point: But before you panic, remember these scary percentages translate into very small risks for the individual woman. A typical 50-year-old woman has a five-year breast cancer risk of about 3 percent. If her risk jumps by 30 percent, her individual risk is still only about 4 percent.

I think we need to try to make the distinction between relative and absolute risk as often as we can. I don't do it every time, often because the data aren't easy to come by, but when a finding has the potential to alarm, then I think we really need to work hard to give readers the context and perspective they need to make sense of it and frankly, absolute risk should be standard in every medical journal abstract. It annoys me to no end that the medical journals don't do this every time.
Me: I feel your passion. Hey, what do you think about the reports linking the raise in allergies to insufficient breastfeeding?

Tara: I don't know enough about the data but there are so many things going on environmentally that I find it tough to believe any one thing can be blamed. I think it’s important not to judge women for the choices they make or men for that matter either. Instead the focus should be on providing information about the benefits of breast milk and making it easy for women to continue to nurse "in the real world.''

It was amazing to me when I was in the hospital with my daughter how often some of the nurses tried to stick a bottle in her mouth. The thing is, the health of our kids is the cumulative result of so many decisions we make. If someone didn't breast feed they aren't to blame for their kids' allergies and just because a woman breastfeeds, doesn't mean she gets to stop worrying about nutrition for her children.

My point is, we are bound to get some things right and do a few things wrong the goal is to just get it right most of the time.
Feeding her family...
Me: Sounds like my dating history. Okay, are you ready for a tough one? How do you keep your family eating healthy?

Tara: It is a struggle. I am so busy. Convenience foods are such a temptation and I confess I often use them. I just try to buy organic, look at labels, pay attention to portion size all the things you're supposed to do but mostly, I don't want to obsess too much.

I think Michael Pollan makes a good point when he notes that this culture of nutritionism has taken much of the pleasure out of eating. Now when I put salmon on my plate in the cafeteria I swear I think to myself "mmm, omega 3s..." There's something really wrong with that.
Jessica Seinfeld's book...
Me: No way! You're talking to a guy that makes vegan brownies with spinach—you're totally normal!

Let's talk about that Jessica Seinfeld book, “Deceptively Delicious”, it is one of the single worst things to happen to childhood nutrition ever.

Me: You are so right! Healthy eating is not about tricking kids.

Tara: This idea that we have to hide vegetables from our kids is so wrong. Our job isn't just to inject nutrients into their little bodies. It’s about teaching them about healthful eating. Why are we so puritanical about vegetables, serving them steamed and flavorless? We make our good food taste really good. We should make our good-for-you food taste really good too.

Me: Awesome. Thanks so much for doing this Tara. I really appreciate it.

Tara: By the way, I read your story. Very inspirational, makes me realize I need to get moving.

Me: Thank you so much. It took a lot for me to publish that story. You never think you're going to be a "success story."

Okay, I won't keep you any longer. Thanks again. Please keep in touch, this was really great. I am honored.

Tara: Thanks. Back to blogging. They are probably wondering what happened to me, and, don't be honored, because it's nice that you were interested. Thanks.

Me: Peace.
So there you have it. Thanks again Tara! I know, that officially makes the 100th time I’ve thank you, but thanks—101! Now, to keep up with all the interviews—yes, there’s more to come—just check out Followhealthlife's interview category. Peace.

Something New on Followhealthlife...

Okay folks, I’m not one to toot my own horn, so let me toot yours—wow, that sounds kind of dirty—thanks everyone! Thank you for your loyal readership. Followhealthlife has been kicking butt lately. In fact, last month was the blog’s busiest month—EVER!

So here’s my gift to you. Say hello to Followhealthlife’s newest series. Joining Eating to Live on the Outside and Operation Banana Hunt, is Followhealthlife Interviews. That’s right. I’ve sharpened my pencils, dusted off my tape recorder, and prepared the truth serum. Time to rock and roll!

I’m all set to go one-on-one with the voices of diet, health, and fitness—both online and off—I’m totally excited about! It’ll give me the opportunity to polish my interviewing skills, while providing all of you with interesting insight into the swirling abyss of health information. It kicks off Monday.

Monday I’ll be presenting my interview with former Wall Street Journal health columnist, author of The Hormone Decision and Cigarettes: Anatomy of an Industry from Seed to Smoke, and current New York Times journalist/blogger Tara Parker-Pope. Don’t know Tara? Shame on you—only kidding—check her out on the Well Blog. Here are some of her recent posts:
Not to gush, but Tara’s an awesome blogger. She mentioned during the interview that she adds a personal touch—a dash of humanity and compassion—to all her blogging and reporting. As someone who pours his heart into this blog each and everyday, I really appreciate her sentiments. Now, for more Tara, check out this video from Charlie Rose:

Tara’s a cool chick. I had a great time chatting with her, I learned a lot. Not only about health, but health journalism too! She and I discussed a myriad of topics; including health-blogging, hormone therapy, breastfeeding, and smoking. No worries, I made sure to pepper the interview with plenty my smart-alecky sense of humor—you know you love it—see you Monday!

(Here's Monday's post: Chattin' with Tara Parker-Pope)

Eating to Live on the Outside: Leaf Cuisine

Sometimes healthy living can be hard work. Imagine walking into Huddle House or Carino's Italian Grill. Eating at these places is like playing Russian-roulette with your health. So what we need is a healthy restaurant. Do we have one on tap this week?

Yes! “Our intention is to create healthful, tasty, and affordable foods, in their natural state, using only organic ingredients, imagination, and conscious care.” That’s the mission of Leaf Cuisine, an organic raw vegan restaurant. Sweet! That’s what I’m talking about. Let’s hit it!

Alright, I’m looking at the menu and I like what I see, so, its time to put my favorite strategy into action. Since all the food looks good—unlike the most of the standard American restaurants I review—I’ll share with you my favorites, and, I encourage you to do the same in the comments.

Let’s start with the appetizers. I like the Raw Slaw a lot; cabbages, carrots, herbs, and a creamy seed cheese dressing. Very cool, I make dressing with nuts and seeds all the time—avocado too! Speaking of avocado, I dig the Guacamole with Flax Seed Crackers; it’s pretty self-explanatory. Now, I really like wakame—seaweed in general—but wakame salads tend to be salty. So, I wouldn’t be too quick to order the Seaweed Salad. Darn it!

The soups don’t excite me too much, onto the wraps and salads. The Garden Delight is great; mixed greens, tomatoes, sprouts, carrot, red cabbage, and house dressing. Pretty basic, but still yummy, provided I go easy on the dressing. The Mediterranean Medley looks tasty; made with sun-dried tomato, walnut croquettes, spinach pesto sauce, greens, tomatoes, and sprouts. Oh! The croquettes are prepared by dehydrating a veggie, nut, seed, and herb pate. Sounds good to me! What do you think? Now, the Veggie Sunburger looks fantastic! It’s another veggie-seed croquette, topped with a tangy tomato sauce, mixed greens, sprouts, and, it’s all wrapped up in a collard green. What a great idea! An awesome way to avoid a bread or tortilla concession—kudos to Leaf on this one!

Okay, I’m briefly skipping over to the breakfast and house specialties. The Apple Spice Oatmeal looks tasty; sprouted oats, apple, banana, almond butter, raisins, and dates. Well, I’m hard-pressed to find anything bad about this. The Kale Salad is also a solid choice; they make it with copped kale, avocado, sprouted wild rice, mung beans, tomatoes, and cayenne. Lots of phyonutrients here, but I’d probably ditch the cayenne, no sense risking my tummy with the hot spice.

Now, jumping back to the smoothies and drinks. The Very Berry is cool; strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, banana, apples, and dates. Sweet! No pun intended. The Chocolate Milkshake looks very tempting; cacao, carob, banana, nut milk, coconut milk, and dates. For a chocolate-fiend like me—awesome! The Green Lean Scene is very Fuhrman-friendly; kale, mango, orange juice, cinnamon, and banana. Love that kale! As for the drinks, the Veggie Combo and the Got Greens are full of great stuff; combined they include carrot, celery, beet, kale, collard greens, parsley, and spinach. I can almost feel the nutrients surging through my body.

As for the desserts, I’d easily devour them all, but my two favorites are the Apple Pie and the Chocolate Brownie. The Apple Pie is made with apples, raisin compote, a date-nut crust, and cashew cream, and, the Chocolate Brownie is put together with raw cacao, chocolate sauce, chopped walnuts, and whipped “cream.” Provided neither of these are packed with sugar, I could order either one guilt free. What about you?

Okay, so there you have it. I think Leaf Cuisine is a slam dunk for a ravenous nutritarian, but, I want to hear from you. Check out Leaf’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or shoot me an email at Until then, eat healthfully! Peace.