Don't Finish Your Plate...Pay 3% More

NYC Eatery Charges 3 Percent For Food You Waste

Japanese Restaurant Cuts Costs, Food Thrown Away By Hitting Patrons Who Have Eyes Bigger Than Stomach

Your mother may have told you to clean your plate. Well, now one local restaurant is taking that a step further. They're charging customers for food they don't finish.

At Hayashi Ya Japanese restaurant on the Upper West Side it's all you can eat for $26.95, unless your eyes are bigger than your stomach and then -- like the sign says -- it will cost you extra.

When asked if he had ever been hit with a 3 percent charge for packing some stuff up and taking it home, Gene Nadelson of Sheepshead Bay laughed. "No, we are trying to finish everything here," Nadelson said.

Patrons said they don't mind the surcharge because it helps with their waistline. The manager said he implemented the extra cost two years ago to help with the restaurant's bottom line. The manager told CBS 2 HD the main motivation for the charge is to eliminate waste. And cost.

"Tens of billions of dollars are wasted each year on food that is purchased and not eaten," said Joel Berg of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger.

Under the Clinton administration, Berg oversaw a program to reduce food waste. Now, he's the executive director of the NYC Coalition. "Americans would be shocked to know how much food is wasted," Berg said.

It's estimated 27 percent of all food is thrown out, which works out to a pound of food every day for every American. "Most of the food that's wasted ends up in landfills," Berg said. "That's not only bad for the environment; some of it could have gone to feed hungry people."

With food prices at their highest in 17 years, Berg said it's time for Americans to rethink the way they eat. "One little blemish on their food and Americans who can afford to do so, throw out that apple," Berg said. Many chain restaurants, like TGI Friday, are also responding by cutting portion sizes.

"One in six residents can't afford enough food at all," Berg said. "We certainly don't need on the other side of the spectrum fancy restaurants offering ridiculous excess portions." And to cut down on waste in your own home, skip buying produce in those big wholesale clubs and try going shopping inside the pantry in your own house. Make some creative dinner menus use up the extra items and watch the savings add up.

A recent study found roughly 30 million tons of food is wasted each year.
[via Banquet Manager]

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The Truth About Diet Soda

[via yahoo]

We talk a lot about ''watching what we eat,'' but if you never gave a thought to what you ate and instead watched only what you drank, you could probably cut 450 calories a day out of your life. (Yes, nearly a pound of fat loss a week!) That's what a study from the University of North Carolina found. Americans today drink about 192 gallons of liquid a year—or about 2 liters a day. To put it into perspective, this is nearly twice as many calories as we did 30 years ago.

When confronted with the growing tide of calories from sweetened beverages, the first response is, “Why not just drink diet soda?” Well, for a few reasons:

Just because diet soda is low in calories doesn't mean it can't lead to weight gain.

It may have only 5 or fewer calories per serving, but emerging research suggests that consuming sugary-tasting beverages--even if they're artificially sweetened--may lead to a high preference for sweetness overall. That means sweeter (and more caloric) cereal, bread, dessert--everything.

Guzzling these drinks all day long forces out the healthy beverages you need.

Diet soda is 100 percent nutrition-free, and again, it's just as important to actively drink the good stuff as it is to avoid that bad stuff. So one diet soda a day is fine, but if you're downing five or six cans, that means you're limiting your intake of healthful beverages, particularly water and tea.

There remain some concerns over aspartame, the low-calorie chemical used to give diet sodas their flavor.

Aspartame is 180 times sweeter than sugar, and some animal research has linked consumption of high amounts of the sweetener to brain tumors and lymphoma in rodents. The FDA maintains that the sweetener is safe, but reported side effects include dizziness, headaches, diarrhea, memory loss, and mood changes. Bottom line: Diet soda does you no good, and it might just be doing you wrong.

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5 Surprising Reasons You're Gaining Weight

Extra calories may not be the only cause of weight gain.

[via web md]

It's no mystery that a diet full of fried foods, giant portions, decadent desserts, alcohol, and sugary soft drinks will lead to weight gain. And there's little question why the pounds pile up when you take in more calories than you burn in physical activity. But how do you explain weight gain when your lifestyle includes regular exercise and a healthy diet that is controlled in calories? Gaining weight is absolutely maddening, especially when you really don't understand why the needle on the scale keeps going up.

Several things should be considered if you are gaining weight while watching calories and being physically active. More than likely, it's a variety of things working together that have resulted in the weight gain.

"Weight gain is so complicated; there are so many factors that can impact your weight. It is more likely a combination of things more than just one factor," explains Michelle May, MD, author of Am I Hungry? What to Do When Diets Don't Work.

Here are five factors that can cause the scale to creep up when you least expect it.

(Need to lose a few pounds? Maybe even 50 lbs? You’re not alone. Join the discussions in our Diet Club message boards.)

1. You Might Be Gaining Weight Because of Lack of Sleep

The body functions best when well rested. "When you don't get enough sleep, your body experiences physiological stress and, biochemically, you store fat more efficiently," says May.

When you're tired, you also don't handle stress as well, so you may reach for food as a coping mechanism. Further, you may be taking in extra calories from late-night snacking. Some people think eating might help them get back to sleep, but all it really does is add more calories to their daily total.

Symptoms that you may not be getting enough rest include fatigue, low energy levels, nodding off easily, and feeling irritable.

Strive to get eight hours of sleep each night.

"Add about 15 minutes to your bedtime and see how you feel," suggests May. "Continue to experiment with additional 15-minute increments until you find the ... amount of sleep that is right for you."

When you develop good sleeping rituals and get regular exercise, you sleep better, she adds.

2. You May Be Gaining Weight Because of Stress

We live in a society that demands we do more, be more, and achieve more. Stress moves us forward and helps cope with life's demands, but it also affects our mood and emotions.

"Stress response, whether it is 'fight-or-flight,' juggling too many responsibilities, or coping with financial pressures, triggers a biochemical process where our bodies go into survival mode," explains May. "Our bodies store fuel, slow down metabolism, and dump out chemicals [cortisol, leptin, and other hormones] which are more likely to cause ... obesity in the abdominal region."

2. You May Be Gaining Weight Because of Stress continued...

Many people reach for food to help ease the stress. But, of course, this doesn't work in the long run.

"Food is a temporary fix because it does not deal with the real stressors that must be addressed in order to reduce the trigger for eating and fix the problem," says May.

Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, says stress eaters tend to prefer high-carbohydrate foods because these foods trigger an increase in the brain chemical serotonin, which has a calming effect. "It is almost like self-medicating," she says. "Many people binge on starchy foods to make themselves feel better."

Both May and Bowerman recommend relaxation techniques as well as exercise, which also burns calories and provides other health benefits.

3. You May Be Gaining Weight Because of Medications

Some prescription drugs used to treat depression, mood disorders, seizures, migraines, blood pressure, and diabetes can cause weight gain, from a modest amount to as much as 10 pounds per month. Some steroids, hormone replacement therapy, and even oral contraceptives may also cause gradual weight creep. Your medicine cabinet might be the cause of your weight gain if you've gained 5 or more pounds in a month without a change in your lifestyle.

"Every drug works a little differently to cause weight gain, from increasing appetite, altering the way fat is stored, to how insulin levels change," says May. "And not all drugs have the same side effects on all people."

In the case of antidepressants, weight gain may not even be related to the action of the drug -- feeling better can also result in a heartier appetite. Some drugs can cause fluid retention that shows up on the scale as weight gain, but is not fat, and is usually easily corrected.

Experts say that some of the most common types of medications that may cause weight gain are:

  • Steroids
  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Antiseizure medications
  • Diabetes medications
  • High blood pressure medications
  • Heartburn medications

But it's important to remember that a few extra pounds may be well worth the trade-off of what a particular medication does for your overall health, experts say. Further, even if your medications are the cause of your weight gain, you still need to be mindful of eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.

"Rarely is the problem solved with a change in meds," says May. "These things can contribute, but rarely are the sole cause of the weight gain."

If you suspect your medication is causing weight gain, talk to your health care provider to see about changing your prescription. But whatever you do, don't go off your medication without seeking medical advice.

"There could be very serious consequences if you stop taking your medication without consulting your physician," says May.

4. You May Be Gaining Weight Because of a Medical Condition

The most common medical condition that causes weight gain is hypothyroidism. A deficiency of thyroid hormone can decrease metabolism, causing appetite loss and weight gain.

"If you are feeling fatigued, lethargic, swelling, hoarse voice, intolerance to cold, sleeping too much, or headaches, you should see your doctor for an easy test to determine if you have hypothyroidism," says May.

Much rarer is a condition known as Cushing's syndrome -- a disorder caused by an excess of the hormone cortisol -- that can also result in weight gain.

5. You May Be Gaining Weight Because of Menopause

Women reach menopause at a range of ages, but most are in midlife and are often less physically active than when they were younger. Along with aging comes a natural slowing of metabolism. At the same time, hormonal changes can trigger hunger, depression, and poor sleep.

"It is multifactoral. When women go through menopause, they lose estrogen, causing their shapes to change -- usually a loss of hip and thigh weight. And they start to gain more in the middle," says Bowerman. She explains that estrogen favors fat deposition in the lower body, and when you lose this hormone, fat is more likely to be deposited in the midsection (much like men). This spare tire around the middle has been not so affectionately called the "menopot."

The key to avoiding this extra belly fat is to maintain and increase the amount of lean body mass, which will, in turn, increase your metabolism or calorie burn rate.

"Women need to understand how critically important weight lifting and strength training is to their health," says Bowerman. And don't worry, doing strength training won't make women muscle-bound, experts say.

Exercise also helps offset bone loss that can come with menopause. A combination of exercise and a healthy, calorie-controlled diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is the answer to thwarting menopausal weight gain.

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Madden Curse Strikes Again - Ranking the 12 Curse Victims

[via pwnordie]

The Madden Curse Strikes Again

There have been players featured on the covers of John Madden Football games since 1999 even though the franchise first appeared in 1988. For the first few years the box art for the annual game featured John Madden himself and in the later years, just before switching to the "cover athlete" format, generic scenes of football with nondescript players.

Since 1999 we have counted 12 players that have been on the covers (2 in 2000). With the conclusion of the 2008 NFL regular season yesterday and the fact that we checked out the worst college sports cover athletes not too long ago, we figured we would take a look at past Madden cover athletes and rank the effect of the "Madden Curse" on each.

Ranking the Madden Curse (1999-2009)

There are two criteria for analyzing the curse; immediate effect and long-term effect. To calculate the final score we scored each criteria from 1-5 and then added the two scores together to get a final score out of 10.

Eddie George

Madden 2001 Box Cover with Eddie George

The curse showed up a year late and just enough to spoil some stats for Eddie George. George had rushed for over 1200 yards for 5 years straight including the cover season where he rushed for 1509 yards and had 14 touchdowns. The next year, in 2001 (the year featured on the cover with him) he dropped to 939 yards and 5 touchdowns and missed the Pro Bowl.

Short-Term Effect: 2 (One blip on his career radar, coincidence that year is on the box with him?)
Long-Term Effect: 1 (He recovered right away but ended up leaving having a bad year in Dallas and retired at 31, so maybe the curse did enough to keep him out of the Hall of Fame?)

Ray Lewis

Madden 2005 Box Cover with Ray Lewis

The only defensive player on this list is Ray Lewis. He has been a beast in Baltimore for more than a decade. Showing no fear, "The Curse" took down Ray Lewis too just like an opposing quarterback. He broke his wrist which made him miss just one game but he went from his career high of 6 interceptions to his only season without one. The following season he missed 10 games due to injuries as well. He has been fine ever since and is probably in the midst of a Hall of Fame career.

Short-Term Effect: 3
(He broke his wrist and had his only season without an interception.)
Long-Term Effect: 1 (He regrouped and got back to the dominant player he has always been. There is an outside chance that the hiccups could help the murder charge lead to a Hall snub.)

Barry Sanders

Madden 2000 Box Cover with Barry Sanders

Barry Sanders is a very unique inclusion on this list for a few reasons. First he was not a featured athlete on the cover, he is seen in the background behind John Madden's shoulder. He was picked to be on the cover of the game but "the curse" struck and he retired abruptly before the season started.

Short-Term Effect: 5
(He never played football again, cannot be much worse.)
Long-Term Effect: 0 (He had a Hall of Fame career and was inducted on the first ballot.)

Vince Young

Madden 2008 Box Cover with Vince Young

The image of Vince Young celebrating a college championship in all of the confetti is probably one of the most recognizable sports images of the last few years. Sadly in Tennesse the images they most recognize are of him on the bench or at a party with his shirt off. Vince Young went from their hero to threatening retirement and being benched. He is still young but it appears that the Titans are better off with Kerry Collins throwing the ball so his future is seemingly uncertain. He will get friendly marks because his story is still developing.

Short-Term Effect: 2
(He had an alright year after the cover and has yet to be seriously injured.)
Long-Term Effect: 3 (He went from Pro Bowler and Rookie of the Year to cover boy to benchwarmer.)

Dorsey Levens

Madden 2000 Box Cover with Dorsey Levens

The Barry Sanders replacement was victimized almost as quickly as Sanders. After coming off a 1000 yard season with 9 touchdowns the year before, Levens responded with the help of "the curse" to gain 810 less yards and 6 less touchdowns. From that point on he became a reserve player and landed on a couple other teams.

Short-Term Effect: 3
(Major drop-off in stats but he really only had 2 strong seasons before.)
Long-Term Effect: 3 (Even though his track record before the curse was bad, after was way worse.)

Mike Vick

Madden 2004 Box Cover with Mike Vick

My favorite player of all time, I have to throw that out there to be fair. I remember where I was when he hurt his leg against the Ravens in the pre-season game in his first action since the cover. The curse struck hard and fast as he missed the first 11 games of the season. The year before Falcons went into Green Bay and became the first team ever to beat the Packers on the "frozen tundra" in the playoffs (I was there). Then the Baltimore game happened and the Falcons went 2-10 without Vick, keeping the franchise from having back-to-back winning seasons - something they have still never done. It seemed like he may have shaken the curse off of him since he had 3 decent seasons following, including 2 Pro-Bowl appearances, an NFC South Division Championship, and another playoff win (I was at as well). Then he went to jail. I will blame that and Bobby Petrino on the curse. Or should I blame the curse on Bobby Petrino?

Short-Term Effect: 3
(He got hurt BEFORE the next season but was able to rebound for 3 years.)
Long-Term Effect: 3 (He is on the Falcons roster as a technicality, but he is in jail not the NFL...for now.)

Garrison Hearst
Madden 99 Box Cover with Garrison Hearst

The initial victim of the Madden Curse is Garrison Hearst. He had a bit of success before having it hit him extremely hard. Hearst enjoyed a great regular season that year but on the very first play in the playoffs he broke his ankle about as bad as you can break it. This not only made him miss the rest of the playoff game, but also the Pro Bowl he was selected for, and the next two NFL seasons.

Short-Term Effect: 4
(Would have been a 5 except he squeaked out a Pro Bowl season first.)
Long-Term Effect: 3 (Came back and had 3 decent seasons, who knows what he could have had?)

Donovan McNabb

Madden 2006 Box Cover with Donovan McNabb

McNabb has been a fixture in the Philadelphia Eagles lineup for years. Up until he was featured on the cover of Madden he had put together a string of 5 Pro Bowl bids and 4 trips to the NFC Championship game. The Curse broke all of that up for him. He got hurt like most others on this list and the Eagles finished with a losing record. His stats all dropped from the year before except his interceptions which went up in less games played. He has yet to go back to the Pro Bowl and the Eagles have not been back to the NFC Championship game. This year has been a mix of McNabb being benched and leading them back into the playoffs.

Short-Term Effect: 4 (His and his team's luck has been considerably different since the cover.)
Long-Term Effect: 3 (Philly fans have been calling for his head pretty much ever since the injury.)

Brett Favre

Madden 2009 Box Cover with Brett Favre

The long time Packer made the cover of this year's game coming off of an amazing season in which he lead his overachieving team into the playoffs and made a legitimate case for MVP. EA Sports revealed the game box art with Favre pictured in a familiar Green Bay Packers uniform, but it wasn't long before they were offering an alternate cover. Favre swapped his green for green and joined the New York Jets as his relationship with his long time team broke down. Favre had been threatening his retirement and holding the Packers hostage as he pondered his future. His move to the Jets left many of his fans jilted and the team he left had a miserable year. His new team threw away their franchise quarterback and were knocked out of playoff contention by him on their own turf. Favre also has a shoulder injury now so his career may be over.

Short-Term Effect: 5 (He threw more picks and missed the playoffs... and got hurt.)
Long-Term Effect: 3 (His legacy has a mark on it and both franchises involved could be headed in the wrong direction as the Jets threw away the QB that beat them to get into the playoffs and the Packers are missing a supporting cast to compliment theirs.)

Daunte Culpepper

Madden 2002 Box Cover with Daunte Culpepper

Culpepper was on track statistically to be one of the great quarterbacks ever. He put up record numbers and then "the curse" took out his knee the following season and his production dropped to half. One part of his curse that is overlooked is that his teams went from division winner the year before the curse to never getting back over .500. racking up a record of 30-44 not including his appearance on the 0-16 Detroit Lions this year.

Short-Term Effect: 4 (Hurt for 5 games and production dropped by almost half.)
Long-Term Effect: 4 (Rebounded for 3 good seasons but has barely kept a job for any time since.)

Marshall Faulk

Madden 2003 Box Cover with Marshall Faulk

Faulk has a Hall of Fame resume that includes Rookie of the Year, MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, multiple All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections, and Super Bowl winner. The irony of it is that pretty much all of that happened prior to his appearance on the Madden box. In fact his streak of 1000+ yards in 5 consecutive seasons and 1300+ in 4 came to a halt when he got that cover. His rushing yards dipped by more than 400 yards and each year following he dipped even further. This could be the clearest case of a curse induced career turning point.

Short-Term Effect: 5 (Each season following got progressively worse immediately from that point on.)
Long-Term Effect: 3 (It did essentially signal the beginning of the end but shouldn't keep him from the Hall of Fame.)

Shaun Alexander

Madden 2007 Box Cover with Shaun Alexander

It is hard to believe how far Shaun Alexander has fallen. He was one of the most consistent scoring machine the league had ever seen for 5 years. In those 5 years he scored 87 touchdowns

for about an average of about 17 per season. In those 5 years the lowest amount of yards he rushed for was 1175. In the season before the cover he rushed for 1880 yards and scored a then record of 27 touchdowns. The Curse would have none of it and Alexander suffered a broken foot, causing him to miss 6 games and dropping his rushing output in half and his touchdowns by 20 from the previos season. The next year his numbers dropped again and the year after that he was looking for a job for most of the season. His time with the Redskins this season amounted to 11 carries in 4 games.

Short-Term Effect: 5 (Immediate effect coupled with steady descent.)
Long-Term Effect: 4 (Probably should be a 5 but he might still have a slight chance at redemption.)

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Chilling game of hide and seek with a hungry polar bear

[via dailymail]

There are few things more enjoyable on a freezing day than a vigorous game of tag followed by a hearty meal.

Unless you're supposed to be the main course, that is.

These pictures show how close one man came to being a polar bear's dinner.

Mmmm, looks like dinner time: The bear stands on its haunches and peers over the car roof at his prey, a surveyor returning to his vehicle in the Alaskan town of Barrow

The chase is on: The man has his glove off, but not enough time to unlock his car door

The target, a surveyor, was returning to his car in the remote town of Barrow, Alaska, when he saw the great white beast.

With no time to unlock the door of his vehicle and climb inside, he tried to duck out of sight.

He's coming to get you: The hungry bear makes his move

Yikes: The bear lumbers around the car as the man sprints for his life

But the hungry bear was not giving up, and a terrifying chase began.

First, the beast stood up on its furry haunches and eyed its prey. Then it loped around the car, and even climbed over the bonnet to try to reach him.

Last resort: The man, desperate for shelter, makes a break for a neighbouring truck

Phew: He slips inside the unlocked truck, nursing more than 100 scratches

by numbers.jpg

After a few laps of the car the bear almost caught up, managing to land a few heavy swipes on his prey.

The man eventually managed to take refuge in a neighbouring truck which was unlocked.

His back and head were covered in more than 100 deep scratches where the massive claws had managed to rip through his thick winter clothes and padded coat.

Barrow is the northernmost town of the United States, 340 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

Polar bears are frequently spotted around the area.

They are the world's largest land predator, and are the only animals that actively hunt humans.
Adult bears grow up to 10ft tall and can weigh 95 stone.

They are predominantly carnivores, eating seals, fish, reindeer, seabirds and even whales and baby walruses.

Environmentalists have warned that there could be as few as 22,000 left in the wild, and that they face extinction because the ice they live on is melting.

The wildlife group Polar Bears International says only one person has been killed by a polar bear in the U.S. in the past 30 years.

In Canada eight have been killed and in Russia, 19.

A spokesman said: 'In all instances in which a human was killed by a polar bear, the animal in question was undernourished or had been provoked.'

Wildlife groups have warned that increasing numbers of the giant bears have been spotted near towns and villages because they are trying to scavenge food.

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10 Movie Endings Spoiled By History

Biopics and historical flicks are mighty appealing for filmmakers and stars, but it's hard to create drama when the audience knows the ending. Here are 10 that tried to make it work, with varying results. [via premiere]

Plot: Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (played with eye-patched aplomb by Tom Cruise) and some of his army buddies take a crack at killing Hitler.
History Says: Epic fail, as the kids say. Hitler killed himself.
Execution:Valkyrie isn't really as bad as some of the critics are saying, but its schizoid history/action/thriller jumble doesn't quite satisfy the blow-'em'-up crowd.

Plot: A posh playboy talk show hosts puts his money literally where his mouth is when he scores a series of interviews with Tricky Dick Nixon.
History Says: It happened, and we have the tapes to prove it.
Execution: The story takes some liberties with the characters, especially Frost's background – he was actually quite experienced in interviewing heads of state and covering more serious topics before the Nixon interviews.

Plot: Two young folks have a torrid love affair while traveling on the Titanic, punctuated by nude modeling and the worst Celine Dion song ever.
History Says: The "unsinkable" Titanic hit a giant iceberg, and over 1,500 people met their untimely and unpleasant demise.
Execution: It's almost like director James Cameron did this film to prove a point. "Give me any topic and I'll make it a blockbuster!" "How about the Titanic?" "Sure, whatever." He acknowledges how it sank in the first part of the movie and made it a love story. The dynamic duo of Kate and Leo had packed audiences (and Oscar voters) swooning so by the time the iceberg hits you're actually nervous for how it all turns out.

Star Wars Episodes I, II, III
Plot: The prequels to the original trilogy try to fill in the blanks in the Star Wars mythology.
History Says: I am your father!
Execution: True Star Wars fans generally abhorred everything about the modern takes on their beloved trilogy, from Jar Jar Binks to that crappy makeup on Darth Maul. We slept on the sidewalks for this?! (Patton Oswalt's stand-up routine nails it. Warning: Language NSFW.)

United 93
Plot: United 93 was one of four hijacked planes on 9/11; the passengers decided to kick ass and take names.
History Says: Tragically, the plane still crashed, killing all onboard.
Execution: If you're able to sit through this movie without hyperventilating, let us know how it is.

The Passion of the Christ/Courtesy of Fox

The Passion of the Christ
Plot: An excruciatingly detailed depiction of the last 12 hours of Jesus's life, according to Mel Gibson.
History Says: Depends on who you ask, but we all have a general idea of what went down.
Execution:Passion was critically reviled, but it raked in the box office bucks due to grassroots support from churches and horror aficionados captivated by the endless river of blood and gore.

Pearl Harbor
Plot: A big-budget actioner courtesy of Michael Bay, featuring romance, explosions, and heart-rending friendships leading up to and during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
History Says: Pearl Harbor was bombed in what was possibly the most tragic day in American history.
Execution:The Observer called it "Titanic with bombs." Historians, war buffs and regular hard-working Americans have picked it apart for inaccuracies or for turning a tragedy into a mindless action flick. The song in Team America, "The End of An Act," sums up our feelings perfectly.

The Doors
Plot: Director Oliver Stone chronicles the self-destruction of the legendary band and its drug-addled lead singer, Jim Morrison.
History Says: Morrison wrote poetry, wore tight pants, screwed a lot of groupies, did a lot of drugs, fought with his band mates, and died young.
Execution: Not at a bad trip. The remaining Doors have criticized the movie and pointed out many inaccuracies but Kilmer turned out to be a great choice as The Lizard King. He sang some of the songs on the soundtrack and definitely lit some fires in the pants of fans.

Sid and Nancy
Plot: Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen screw, fight, try and kill each other, do a lot of drugs, and eventually die.
History Says: Nancy was killed, no one really knows Sid's role in her death, Sid died of an overdose.
Execution: Sid and Nancy has become the romantic date movie of the nihilist set, and one of Gary Oldman's most iconic roles to date. Keep your eyes peeled for Courtney Love's cameo, too.

Gerard Butler in 300

300/Courtesy of Warner Home Video

Plot: 300 soldiers, who can get away with fighting in capes and loin clothes because they're in really good enough shape, hold off an army of millions
History Says: The Battle of Thermopylae, where a small group of Spartans led King Leonidas fought off the massive Persian army for seven days.
Execution: This movie is about kicking ass in style. The fact that it's based in truth doesn't matter.

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Top 20 weirdest items removed from the stomachs of pets

Underwear, a kitchen knife and a wig have made a list of the top 10 weirdest items removed from the stomachs of the nation's pets by an animal charity's vets.

[via metro]

The list, released by PDSA, also includes a 10-inch tent peg, a bell, a fishing hook and a rubber duck.

PDSA senior veterinary surgeon, Sean Wensley, said: 'There is a medical term for pets eating strange objects - pica.

Dogs, especially puppies and younger dogs, use their mouth to investigate objects as well as to eat. Sometimes a dog will swallow an object by mistake, even though it had only meant to investigate it.

'Owners should give their pets the chance to investigate new objects by providing them with plenty of pet-safe toys to play with - that way the whole family can enjoy the festive season safely.'

The top twenty list in full is:

1. Ten-inch tent peg
2. Christmas decoration (star shaped)
3. Kitchen knife
4. Alphabet fridge magnets
5. Man's wig
6. Ann Summers underwear
7. Bell
8. Fishing hook
9. Socks
10. Rubber duck
11. Baby's dummy
12. Golf balls
13. Coins
14. Balloons
15. Metal ball from a computer mouse
16. Shoe laces
17. Power ball
18. Corn on the cob
19. Needle and thread
20. Box of chocolates

PDSA provides free veterinary care for the sick and injured pets of those unable to afford veterinary fees and promotes responsible pet ownership.

This year PDSA PetAid hospitals and branches provided more than 1.8 million free treatments and more than 200,000 preventive treatments, such as vaccinations, neutering and microchipping.

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The Most Extreme Conditions Ever Seen on Earth [pics]

[via media caffeine]

There have been volcanic eruptions thousands of times more powerful than Mt. St. Helens. Recent storms have redefined the ranking systems for wind speeds. The hottest place on Earth has hit temperatures 288 degrees hotter than the coldest place on earth.

Yep, it’s an amazing world. Here is a compilation of the most extreme conditions that add a little spice (and devastation) to the planet Earth and its inhabitants.

The Fastest Recorded Wind Speed Near Earth’s Surface

Oklahoma, United States - 318 MPH

A recorded wind speed of 318 mph, the fastest ever recorded near earth’s surface, happened on May 3rd, 1999 when an F5-tornado plowed it’s way through parts of Oklahoma leaving behind devastation and disaster.

There are sources that have stated the wind speed only reached 301-302 mph, which would continue to hold the record for the highest wind speed ever recorded near earth’s surface. However,the NWS stationed in Norman, OK reported it to be 318 mph via DOW Radar. There is no other source of wind measurement that can withstand such speeds that we know of.

Prior to this recording, Oklahoma still held the highest wind speed ever recorded in a tornado near Red Rock, OK on April 26th, 1991 with wind speeds of approximately 286 mph.

(Sources: USA Today,

The Driest Place on Earth

The Dry Valleys of Antartica - Rain-free for 2 million years and counting

One interior region of the Antarctic is known as The Dry Valleys. These valleys have not seen rainfall in over two million years. With the exception of one valley, whose lakes are briefly filled with water by inland flowing rivers during the summer, the Dry Valleys contain no moisture (water, ice, or snow).

The reason why the Dry Valleys exist are the 200 mph Katabatic down winds which evaporate all moisture. The dry valleys are strange: except for a few steep rocks they are the only continental part of Antarctica devoid of ice.

Located in the Trans-Antarctic Range, they correspond to a mountain area where evaporation (or rather, sublimation) is more important than snowfall, thus all the ice disappears, leaving dry barren land.

(Sources: Wikipedia,,,

The Hottest Recorded Temperature

Lut Desert of Iran - 159 °F

A NASA satellite recorded surface temperatures in the Lut desert of Iran as high as 71 °C (159 °F), the hottest temperature ever recorded on the surface of the Earth. This region which covers an area of about 480 kilometers is called Gandom Beriyan (the toasted wheat).

Its surface is wholly matted with black volcano lava. This dark cover absorbs excessive sunshine, which due to difference of temperature with neighboring elevations forms a wind tunnel. There are reports that no living creature lives in this region. That is why this is arguably the driest place on earth next to the Dry Valleys of Antarctica.

(Sources: Wikipedia,

The Coldest Recorded Temperature

Antarctica - 129 °F below zero

The lowest temperature ever recorded on earth was -129 °F recorded in 1983 at the Russian Base Vostok in Antarctica. Antarctica, a continent owned by no one, covers the southern end of our globe.

In addition to being the coldest place on earth, Anarctica is also the wettest and the driest place on earth.

Most of Antarctica is covered with vast areas of snow and ice which reflect about 75% of the incoming solar radiation. Winter temperatures are also influenced by latitude, elevation and by the shortage of sunlight during the Antarctic winter. In fact, the coldest temperatures are usually during late August before the return of the sun.


The Most Rainfall in 24 Hours

La Reunion Island, Indian Ocean - 6ft 2in

As you can see by the image below, this volcanic island in the middle of the Indian Ocean could use the rainfall. They just weren’t expecting to get over 6 ft in a day.

Between March 15-16th, 1952, Cilaos at the center of Réunion, received approximately 74 in (6ft.2″) of rainfall. This is the greatest 24-hour precipitation total ever recorded on earth. The island also holds the record for most rainfall in 72 hours, approximately 155 in (12ft.11″) at Commerson’s Crater in March, 2007.

(Sources: Wikipedia, DailyMail)

The Longest Bolt of Lightning Ever Recorded

From Waco to Dallas, Texas, United States - 118 Miles Long

Positive lightning develops in the same way as typical lightning bolts, but the positive bolt draws electrons upward from the ground.

These lightning bolts tend to be much, much stronger than regular lightning, and may carry as much as a hundred times the energy of a normal flash of lightning.

These “superbolts” of lightning, thankfully, are very rare. Only about five superbolts occur for every ten million normal lightning strokes.

Superbolts can reach way beyond the normal eight to ten miles of a typical lightning stroke. The longest superbolt on record reached from Waco, Texas to Dallas, after having traveled about a 118 miles.

(Sources: Stormblogging, Wikipedia, astrosurf, flickr

The Largest Volcanic Eruption

La Garita Caldera in SW Colorado, United States - 1,200 cu miles

This was chosen because of the firm evidence rather than theory. The eruption that created the La Garita Caldera was the largest known eruption since the Ordovician period, with a VEI magnitude of 8.

The scale of La Garita volcanism was far beyond anything known in human history. The resulting deposit, known as the Fish Canyon Tuff, has a volume of approximately 5,000 cubic kilometers (1,200 cu mi), enough material to fill Lake Michigan (in comparison, the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens was only 1.2 cubic kilometers (0.3 cu mi) in volume).

The area devastated by the La Garita eruption is thought to have covered a significant portion of what is now Colorado, and ash could have fallen as far as the east coast of North America and the Caribbean.

(Sources: Answers, USGS, Wikipedia, wikimedia)

The Deepest Place on Earth

Mariana Trench, Pacific Ocean - 6.77 miles

The Mariana Trench (or Marianas Trench) is the deepest part of the world’s oceans, and the deepest location on the surface of the Earth’s crust. It has a maximum depth of about 10.9 km (6.77 mi), and is located in the western North Pacific Ocean, to the east and south of the Mariana Islands, near Guam.

The bottom of the trench is farther below sea level than Mount Everest is above it (8,850m/29,035ft).

(Sources:, Wikipedia)

The Largest Recorded Earthquake

Valdivia earthquake, Chile - 9.5

The Valdivia earthquake or Great Chilean Earthquake of May 22, 1960 is the most powerful earthquake ever recorded, rating 9.5 on the moment magnitude scale. It caused localised tsunamis that severely battered the Chilean coast, with waves up to 25 meters (82 feet).

Coastal villages, such as Toltén, disappeared. Later studies argued that the earthquake actually had 37 epicenters through a 1,350 km (839 mi) north-south line that lasted from May 22 to June 6th 1960.

Elsewhere along the western coast of the United States, Crescent City, California, experienced notable tsunami waves and run-up. The tsunami travel time of the first wave to arrive at Crescent City was 15.5 hours after the occurrence of the earthquake in Chile.

At Crescent City, tsunami waves of up to 1.7 meters (appr. 5.6 feet) were observed and minor damage was reported.

(Sources:, Wikipedia,

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Man Melting Snow With Blowtorch Burns Home

[via kptv]

Fire officials in New Bedford, Mass., said a man using a blowtorch to melt ice on his back porch ended up setting his house on fire, causing up to $30,000 in damage.

Fire Capt. Scott Kruger told The Standard-Times of New Bedford that no on was injured during Monday's incident at the three-story home.

Kruger said the man was using a torch hooked up to a 20-pound propane cylinder. He got too close to the building's wood frame and ignited the vinyl siding. The fire quickly spread into the building's second- and third-floor apartments.

"I've never seen anything like it. I guess he got distracted and maybe turned toward the house," New Bedford Fire Department Lt. William Arnold told TV station WCVB.

It took 25 firefighters to subdue the blaze that damaged bedrooms in the upstairs units, and caused damage to the structure and wiring.The homeowner will not be charged.

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Fear: DIY Scientists Will Create New Life Forms

[via live science]

Amateur biologists are goofing around with genetics in garage-based labs that some fear could unleash new and dangerous life forms.

The new effort, dubbed biohacking, harkens to revolutions in infotech hatched by individuals that founded Apple, Hewlett Packard and Google.

While, individual kitchen-counter chemists may become biohackers, the field has already become organized: One of the more serious examples is a community lab set up by a Cambridge, Mass. group called DIYbio (do-it-yourself biology). Co-founder Mackenzie Cowell said amateurs might do things as diverse as creating new vaccines to using squid genes to make tattoos that glow.

"We should try to make science more sexy and more fun and more like a game," Cowell said in an Associated Press story.

Some worry things could get out of control, with dangerous organisms escaping a lab.

"Once you move to people working in their garage or other informal location, there's no safety process in place," said Jim Thomas of ETC Group, a biotechnology watchdog.

At the root of biohacking is the field of synthetic biology, which is not new. For years, researchers have been trying to engineer and build or redesign living organisms, such as bacteria, to carry out specific functions. The field is a scientific playground for the genetic code, where previously nonexistent DNA is formulated in test tubes. The promise is that the novel organisms will fight disease, create alternative fuels or build living computers.

The field "is potentially controversial because it raises issues of ownership, misuse, unintended consequences and accidental release," according to a report earlier this year commissioned by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council in England.

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Tampa Bay Handcuffs And Ejects You For Rooting For The Opposing Football Team

[via consumerist]

Steve flew down to Tampa to watch his Raiders play the Buccaneers. After cheering for the away team, he was handcuffed, detained, frisked, and ejected with no explanation. He'd like one.

Our tipster sent the following letter to the NFL, Buccaneers, and Tampa Sports Authority:

Good afternoon,

I apologize for the number of individuals included on this communication as I was unsure who to contact about this.

I had a very negative experience at Raymond James Stadium while attempting to attend the Buccaneers/Raider NFL football game. My day started poorly as I was forced to go to three different entrance gates because I was "wearing the wrong colors" before I could obtain admittance with my ticket to the game.

The game went without incident up until the first score of the game by the Raiders. I stood in celebration, and before the extra point was even kicked, I was being led away by stadium personnel. Once out of the stands, I was placed in handcuffs, although I was not resisting the stadium personnel's requests, or read my rights and placed under arrest. I was lead to a single person holding cell where my possessions were removed, and I was subjected to a full body frisking. After being detained for roughly 30 minutes, I was released outside of the stadium, and informed that I could not return to the stadium.

As a long time fan and supporter of the NFL, I am greatly disappointed by my treatment at today's game. I feel like I was personally singled out due to my team affiliation, and this was totally unwarranted. I was not intoxicated or found to be in possession of any illegal substances. I was not being verbally or physically abusive to any other fans or players. There were no requests to adjust my behavior prior to this either, which was not causing an issue as multiple witnesses can attest to.

I understand the stadium has the right to remove any attendees as stated on the ticket, but my treatment today was completely unacceptable. I came down to Tampa Bay from New Jersey specifically to see this game, and then was stripped of the ability to enjoy the game. I would like to know if there are any options by which I may file a formal complaint against the personnel at the stadium? I wish I could provide you with more information as to the individuals involved, but they would not provide me with that information prior to my removal.

Any assistance in this matter would be appreciated. Thank you and I hope you all had an enjoyable holiday.

Steve has promised to send along a picture of himself getting along just fine with the Bucs fans near him, and considering he wrote a polite, coherent complaint letter only a couple hours after the game ended, we're inclined to believe him when says he wasn't drunk or abusive. We hope Tampa is able to make it up to him, perhaps by paying for his tickets, and maybe his travel expenses.

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Top 10 Most Popular Torrent Sites of 2008

[via torrent freak]

2008 is nearing its end, time to make a list of the top 10 BitTorrent sites that got the most traffic this year. The Pirate Bay is out in the lead followed by Mininova and isoHunt. TorrentSpy shut down earlier this year and is the most notable absentee.

The list is based on traffic rank reports from Compete and Alexa, backed up by visitor reports from some of the site admins.

1. The Pirate Bay

It has been a good year for The Pirate Bay. The number of visitors spiked, despite efforts in Denmark and Italy to block access the site. Last month, The site celebrated its 5th anniversary, just after it broke the 25 million peers mark. At any given point in time, more than 25 million peers actively trade files thought the Pirate Bay tracker.

Compete rank 885 / Alexa rank 117 / 2007 #3

2. Mininova

Mininova has seen a steady rise in visitors in 2008, and more than 3 billion torrents were downloaded from the site in the past 12 months. In addition to user uploaded content, the Mininova team has started to focus more on premium publishers with their content distribution platform.

Compete rank 1,225 / Alexa rank 79 / 2007 #1

3. IsoHunt

Despite being ensnared in legal proceedings with the MPAA and CRIA, isoHunt is continuing to grow. This year they partnered with the Creative Commons music distribution site Jamendo, and just like The Pirate Bay, isoHunt added SSL encryption to the site, making it impossible for your ISP or the authorities to monitor users’ activities.

Compete rank 1,106 / Alexa rank 200 / 2007 #2

4. Torrentz, one of the oldest torrent sites around, celebrated its 5th anniversary in July. The site added a “verified torrents” feature this year, and inspired many other meta-search engines to do the same. Last month a “hacker” caused some problems after it took over the torrentz domain, but luckily this issue was resolved in a few hours.

Compete rank 2,039 / Alexa rank 220 / 2007 #4

5. TorrentReactor

TorrentReactor redesigned and optimized the site throughout 2008, which resulted in a significant increase in visitors. In addition, the TorrentReactor launched TorrentPrivacy, a service that allows BitTorrent users to download torrents anonymously.

Compete rank 2,150 / Alexa rank 532 / 2007 #9

6. Demonoid

After being forced to go offline following threats from the CRIA, Demonoid returned this April after 6 months of downtime. Since then it is business as usual, and most of the members returned quickly.

Compete rank 3,869 / Alexa rank 526 / 2007 #na

7. BTjunkie

In December 2007 BTjunkie was forced to leave their ISP following a takedown notice from the Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN. This year there were no troubles, and the site continues to go strong.

Compete rank 3,762 / Alexa rank 625 / 2007 #5

9. SumoTorrent

In 2007, SumoTorrent quickly settled itself among the top torrent sites, and traffic continued to increase this year. The pop-ups and redirects are new though, and don’t make it one of the most convenient sites to browse.

Compete rank 4,110 / Alexa rank 1,019 / 2007 #na

9. BTmon

BitTorrentMonster, BTmon for short, debuted in 10th place last year, and managed to climb a spot. Other than that, there is not much news surrounding the site.

Compete rank 4,737 / Alexa rank 989 / 2007 #10

10. TorrentPortal

Not much news about TorrentPortal this year either, but for BitTorrent sites that is usually a good thing. Traffic seems to be stable, although the site is not growing as fast as the other BitTorrent sites in this list.

Compete rank 4,300 / Alexa rank 1,126 / 2007 #7

Honorable mention: TorrentSpy

In 2006 TorrentSpy was more popular than any other BitTorrent site, but this changed quickly in August 2007, when a federal judge ordered TorrentSpy to log all user data. The judge ruled that TorrentSpy had to monitor its users in order to create detailed logs of their activities, and hand these over to the MPAA.

In a response to this decision - and to ensure the privacy of their users - TorrentSpy decided that it was best to block access to all users from the US. This led to a huge decrease in traffic, but still, it managed to make out top 10 list last year. March 2008 TorrentSpy owner Justin decided to shut down completely, and in May his company was ordered to pay a $110 million fine, which it will appeal.

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Woman uses bra to save injured man

Nursing assistant credited with saving man outside of nightclub

[via cnews]

Using her bra to stop the bleeding, a Calgary woman is being credited with helping save the life of a man beaten unconscious outside a southwest nightclub.

Nicky Arsenault, 19, was leaving the Back Alley Nightclub with friends early Sunday morning when they saw two men who had been left unconscious and bleeding heavily on the sidewalk.

A nursing assistant at Bowcrest Care Centre, Arsenault jumped into action along with friend Paul Fitzgerald, a welder in the Canadian military.

"There were 20 or 30 people standing around but nobody was doing anything," she said.

"I saw he had a deep laceration on the left side of his head, but he was laying on the left side so the blood was pouring out.

"I got two people help me turn him to the recovery position, otherwise he would have bled out, then I took off my bra because nobody had anything else to use, and I held it against the laceration."

While Arsenault helped one victim, Fitzgerald helped the other -- a 24-year-old male who had a broken right arm.

While she was performing first aid, Arsenault said the man she was helping stopped breathing at one point.

"He was breathing through his nasal passage but it was so blocked, it was really shallow, almost like snoring then he stopped," she said.

"So I opened his throat and cleared out as much blood as I could so I wouldn't have to give him CPR."

It was at that point, she said the man's pulse dropped from 80 to 60 BPM.

"That's pretty bad," she said.

Their actions garnered kudos from EMS spokesman Stuart Brideaux.

"Certainly any time anyone sees an opportunity to try to help the well-being of a patient before EMS arrives, we're very appreciative of them," he said.

"It's very noble for someone to stop to help when they can -- in a patient's mind ... if someone is there helping, they are not alone and are being looked after."

Arsenault said bystanders told her the unconscious pair had been flirting with the girlfriends of another group of men who took offence and laid a beating on them.

"They just turned around and started beating on them," she said.

"Once the guys were on the ground, one of them got booted in the head and that's what caused the lacerations, from the cement.

"Then the other guys just jumped in their car and left."

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Man dies after his wife set his genitals on fire


A MAN whose wife allegedly set fire to his genitals while he slept has died.

Satish Narayan, 47, an engineer, lost his battle to survive at the Royal Adelaide Hospital yesterday, 20 days after sustaining burns to most of his body.

The incident has now been declared a major crime by police and it is likely his wife, Rajini, will face a charge of manslaughter or murder.

Police have alleged Mr Narayan's wife doused his genitals with methylated spirit and then set him on fire about 5.30am on December 7.

Mrs Narayan had been charged with causing serious harm to her husband, arson and endangering her children.

A neighbour told the Sunday Mail she had visited Mrs Narayan in the Adelaide Women's Prison yesterday, before she had been told of her husband's death.

She said she was providing support to her friend over what she said was a "terrible tragedy".

She said the pair had held hands and prayed during her visit. "She wanted him to live, more than anything," she said.

"I didn't know them very well but I've got to know her now through visiting her in prison.

"The children are beautiful and it's just a terrible tragedy."

The neighbour said the couple's children were "beautiful, upright citizens" and "anyone would be proud of them".

It is believed a major blaze was sparked at the couple's Cleland Ave townhouse in Unley when Mr Narayan jumped out of bed and knocked over the bottle of methylated spirit.

The fire caused about $1 million of damage to the couple's home and an adjacent property.

Mr Narayan suffered burns to 85 per cent of his body. Mrs Narayan and the couple's three children escaped unharmed from the burning house.

Police spokesman Senior Constable Paul Noble yesterday refused to comment on whether police were considering upgrading the charges.

"The information we have released is all we are going to release today," he said.

But a court has heard previously it was likely the Director of Public Prosecutions would lay charges of manslaughter or murder if Mr Narayan died.

It is believed the Narayans only shifted to Adelaide from Canberra a few months ago, after Mr Narayan landed a job working on the Air Warfare Destroyer project.

Sturt CIB are continuing to investigate the crime.

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Burger King Lies to Its Customers and supports spyware

[via oregoncatalyst]

Something very, very wrong is going on at Burger King. If you sign up to receive promotions from them ( they will email you occasionally with special offers. The most recent special offer was for a free steakhouse burger with the purchase of any BK Value meal. There is one catch, though, and it is a whopper! You can only print the coupon for your free sandwich if you download a spyware application from Burger King first. They call it a “coupon printer”, but it is an invasion of your privacy and your computer. No special software is ever needed by anyone to print anything, including their coupons.

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The 10 Best Foods You Aren't Eating

Want To Do Your Body a World of Good? It's as Easy as Expanding Your Grocery List.

[via abc news]

Although some guys aren't opposed to smoking some weed, most wouldn't think of eating one. It's a shame, really, since a succulent weed named purslane is not only delicious but also among the world's healthiest foods.

Of course, there are many superfoods that never see the inside of a shopping cart. Some you've never heard of, and others you've simply forgotten about. That's why we've rounded up the best of the bunch. Make a place for them on your table and you'll instantly upgrade your health -- without a prescription.


These grungy-looking roots are naturally sweeter than any other vegetable, which means they pack tons of flavor under-neath their rugged exterior.

Why they're healthy: Think of beets as red spinach. Just like Popeye's powerfood, this crimson vegetable is one of the best sources of both folate and betaine. These two nutrients work together to lower your blood levels of homocysteine, an inflammatory compound that can damage your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease. Plus, the natural pigments -- called betacyanins -- that give beets their color have been proved to be potent cancer fighters in laboratory mice.

How to eat them: Fresh and raw, not from a jar. Heating beets actually decreases their antioxidant power. For a simple single-serving salad, wash and peel one beet, and then grate it on the widest blade of a box grater. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon.

You can eat the leaves and stems, which are also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Simply cut off the stems just below the point where the leaves start, and wash thoroughly. They're now ready to be used in a salad. Or, for a side dish, sauté the leaves, along with a minced clove of garlic and a tablespoon of olive oil, in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook until the leaves are wilted and the stems are tender. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, and sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese.


Absent from most American kitchens, this cruciferous vegetable is a major player in European and Asian diets.

Why it's healthy: One cup of chopped cabbage has just 22 calories, and it's loaded with valuable nutrients. At the top of the list is sulforaphane, a chemical that increases your body's production of enzymes that disarm cell-damaging free radicals and reduce your risk of cancer. In fact, Stanford University scientists determined that sulforaphane boosts your levels of these cancer-fighting enzymes higher than any other plant chemical.

How to eat it: Put cabbage on your burgers to add a satisfying crunch. Or, for an even better sandwich topping or side salad, try an Asian-style slaw. Here's what you'll need:

4 Tbsp peanut or canola oil

Juice of two limes

1 Tbsp sriracha, an Asian chili sauce you can find in the international section of your grocery store

1 head napa cabbage, finely chopped or shredded

1/4 cup toasted peanuts

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Whisk together the oil, lime juice, and sriracha. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss with the dressing to coat. Refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving. The slaw will keep in your fridge for 2 days.


Guava is an obscure tropical fruit that's subtly acidic, with sweetness that intensifies as you eat your way to the center.

Why it's healthy: Guava has a higher concentration of lycopene -- an antioxidant that fights prostate cancer -- than any other plant food, including tomatoes and watermelon. In addition, 1 cup of the stuff provides 688 milligrams (mg) of potassium, which is 63 percent more than you'll find in a medium banana. And guava may be the ultimate high-fiber food: There's almost 9 grams (g) of fiber in every cup.

How to eat it: Down the entire fruit, from the rind to the seeds. It's all edible -- and nutritious. The rind alone has more vitamin C than you'd find in the flesh of an orange. You can score guava in the produce section of higher-end supermarkets or in Latin grocery stores.

Swiss chard

Hidden in the leafy-greens cooler of your market, you'll find this slightly bitter, salty vegetable, which is actually native to the Mediterranean.

Why it's healthy: A half cup of cooked Swiss chard provides a huge amount of both lutein and zeaxanthin, supplying 10 mg each. These plant chemicals, known as carotenoids, protect your retinas from the damage of aging, according to Harvard researchers. That's because both nutrients, which are actually pigments, appear to accumulate in your retinas, where they absorb the type of shortwave light rays that can damage your eyes. So the more lutein and zeaxanthin you eat, the better your internal eye protection will be.

How to eat it: Chard goes great with grilled steaks and chicken, and it also works well as a bed for pan-seared fish. Wash and dry a bunch of Swiss chard, and then chop the leaves and stems into 1-inch pieces. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan or wok, and add two garlic cloves that you've peeled and lightly crushed. When the oil smokes lightly, add the chard. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until the leaves wilt and the stems are tender. Remove the garlic cloves and season the chard with salt and pepper.


This old-world spice usually reaches most men's stomachs only when it's mixed with sugar and stuck to a roll.

Why it's healthy: Cinnamon helps control your blood sugar, which influences your risk of heart disease. In fact, USDA researchers found that people with type-2 diabetes who consumed 1 g of cinnamon a day for 6 weeks (about 1/4 teaspoon each day) significantly reduced not only their blood sugar but also their triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Credit the spice's active ingredients, methylhydroxychalcone polymers, which increase your cells' ability to metabolize sugar by up to 20 times.

How to eat it: You don't need the fancy oils and extracts sold at vitamin stores; just sprinkle the stuff that's in your spice rack (or in the shaker at Starbucks) into your coffee or on your oatmeal.


Although the FDA classifies purslane as a broad-leaved weed, it's a popular vegetable and herb in many other countries, including China, Mexico, and Greece.

Why it's healthy: Purslane has the highest amount of heart-healthy omega-3 fats of any edible plant, according to researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio. The scientists also report that this herb has 10 to 20 times more melatonin -- an antioxidant that may inhibit cancer growth -- than any other fruit or vegetable tested.

How to eat it: In a salad. Think of purslane as a great alternative or addition to lettuce: The leaves and stems are crisp, chewy, and succulent, and they have a mild lemony taste. Look for it at your local farmer's market, or Chinese or Mexican market. It's also available at some Whole Foods stores, as an individual leafy green or in premade salad mixes.

Pomegranate juice

A popular drink for decades in the Middle East, pomegranate juice has become widely available only recently in the United States.

Why it's healthy: Israeli scientists discovered that men who downed just 2 ounces of pomegranate juice daily for a year decreased their systolic (top number) blood pressure by 21 percent and significantly improved bloodflow to their hearts. What's more, 4 ounces provides 50 percent of your daily vitamin C needs.

How to drink it: Try 100 percent pomegranate juice from Pom Wonderful. It contains no added sugars, and because it's so powerful, a small glassful is all you need. (For a list of retailers, go to

Goji berries

These raisin-size fruits are chewy and taste like a cross between a cranberry and a cherry. More important, these potent berries have been used as a medicinal food in Tibet for over 1,700 years.

Why they're healthy: Goji berries have one of the highest ORAC ratings -- a method of gauging antioxidant power -- of any fruit, according to Tufts University researchers. And although modern scientists began to study this ancient berry only recently, they've found that the sugars that make goji berries sweet reduce insulin resistance -- a risk factor of diabetes -- in rats.

How to eat them: Mix dried or fresh goji berries with a cup of plain yogurt, sprinkle them on your oatmeal or cold cereal, or enjoy a handful by themselves. You can find them at specialty supermarkets or at

Dried plums

You may know these better by the moniker "prunes," which are indelibly linked with nursing homes and bathroom habits. And that explains why, in an effort to revive this delicious fruit's image, producers now market them under another name.

Why they're healthy: Prunes contain high amounts of neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids, antioxidants that are particularly effective at combating the "superoxide anion radical." This nasty free radical causes structural damage to your cells, and such damage is thought to be one of the primary causes of cancer.

How to eat them: As an appetizer. Wrap a paper-thin slice of prosciutto around each dried plum and secure with a toothpick. Bake in a 400°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the plums are soft and the prosciutto is crispy. Most of the fat will cook off, and you'll be left with a decadent-tasting treat that's sweet, savory, and healthy.

Pumpkin seeds

These jack-o'-lantern waste products are the most nutritious part of the pumpkin.

Why they're healthy: Downing pumpkin seeds is the easiest way to consume more magnesium. That's important because French researchers recently determined that men with the highest levels of magnesium in their blood have a 40 percent lower risk of early death than those with the lowest levels. And on average, men consume 353 mg of the mineral daily, well under the 420 mg minimum recommended by the USDA.

How to eat them: Whole, shells and all. (The shells provide extra fiber.) Roasted pumpkin seeds contain 150 mg of magnesium per ounce; add them to your regular diet and you'll easily hit your daily target of 420 mg. Look for them in the snack or health-food section of your grocery store, next to the peanuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds.

Antioxidants, Explained

The science is clear: Plant foods are good for you. And the credit often goes to chemicals they produce called antioxidants. Just as the name suggests, antioxidants help protect your cells against oxidation. Think of oxidation as rust. This rust is caused by free radicals, which are unstable oxygen atoms that attack your cells, inducing DNA damage that leads to cancer. Thankfully, antioxidants help stabilize free radicals, which keeps the rogue atoms from harming your cells.

So by eating more antioxidant-rich foods, you'll boost the amount of the disease-fighting chemicals floating in your bloodstream. The result: Every bite fortifies your body with all-natural preventive medicine.

Eight More Superfoods You Should Eat

Want to build more muscle, prevent disease, and live longer? It's as easy as changing your diet: Take out the packaged, processed foods, and add fresh ingredients to your meals.

Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS is a board certified nutritionist with graduate degrees in nutrition and psychology.

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