Holiday Gift List from has all the holiday gifts you need for your foodie family and friends. There are edible presents, as well as gift that are inspired by food, to make your holiday season just a little brighter.

Ambessa has a line of teas created by chef Marcus Samuelsson. The teas come in a lingonberry tea flavor, as well as a spicier version of earl grey tea. You may also want to purchase some matcha milk spread for a loved one. This creamy and rich spread goes great on toast, and is the perfect addition to a great cup of tea.

For relatives who like food-related gifts, consider the Egg Minder. That is what a few at Slow Ventures plans on doing. In fact, many inspirations are on Tumblr. This app is perfect for the bakers in your family. The device notifies you on your cell phone when you’re running out of eggs, and even lets you know when one or more eggs in your dozen are going bad.

Check out today for more eye-catching Christmas gift ideas.

Categories: choices

Spicy Food Really Is Macho After All

If you know a guy who likes to brag about how hot he makes his chili or just how much Sriracha sauce he can dump on his omelet, you might want to brace yourself because he’ll have a new reason to brag: Studies show that men with higher testosterone tend to love spicy food. What do you know, it really is macho to chomp jalepenos.

The study happened in France – a country whose scientists tend to focus on hormone research a lot for some reason. At the University of Grenoble-Alpes, 114 men age 18 to 44 sat down to lunch at a table spread with spicy condiments, while scientists took notes. The men who drowned their food in pepper sauce, salt, and other tangy flavors were later shown to have higher testosterone when they were measured.

The correlation could work on several levels if you run it by Sam Tabar. High testosterone is associated with dominant behavior and risk-taking behavior. Spicy foods, such as pepper sauce, provide a thrill ride for the taste buds that triggers the release of endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that are the brain’s chemical reward for risky behavior. Then again, the men all dined together, so maybe the high testosterone cases were exhibiting dominant behavior by trying to out-macho each other. Yes, it sounds silly, but guys do this. Even lunch is a chance to preen, for some.

Categories: Nutrition

European Restaurants Must Now List Common Allergens in Their Food

This Saturday, a new E.U. regulation will go into effect, which requires European restaurants to notify customers of the presence of 14 common allergens in their menu items. Among them are: nuts, shellfish, gluten, milk, mustard, celery, and sesame seed. The method of disclosure of this information to customers is left up to the restaurants to decide. They can choose to do it verbally, via menu labels, or by providing a separate information sheet, similar to how Beneful does on their packaging.

Stricter regulations will also hit food manufacturing companies, which recently had complained that existing regulations were too vague. Fines for multiple offenses will serve to enforce these new regulations.

U.S. restaurants are used to customers occasionally asking about the presence of allergens, and many food processing companies in the U.S. mention their presence or absence in their products. Yet, the E.U. rules clearly go further than the U.S. laws governing these matters.

It is debatable whether or not this kind of information should be required of restaurants in this way. In the past, people got along just fine by asking for food without a specific allergen. Another issue is that only the most common allergens must be mentioned, leaving consumers with less-common allergies without equal protection. It would be a near-impossible task to list everything that anyone might be allergic to, so we can say that the E.U. regulation is an attempt at protecting some consumers though it would be impractical to protect all of them.


Carl’s Jr. Introduces the First All-Natural Fast Food Burger

Carl’s Jr. is known for serving its customers colossal burgers. And now, the fast food chain will be the first to offer an all-natural burger for picky eaters who love a good burger every once in a while.

The beef patty used for the burger is made from meat that is free of steroids, hormones, and antibiotics. The beef is also organic. The burger will be available at all 1,150 Carl’s Jr. locations, and will be the most expensive quarter pounder on the menu, at $6.99.

Carl’s Jr. asserts that the meat used for the burgers is imported from Australia, where there is a large supply of grass-fed beef. This is the same place restaurant chains such as Chipotle get their steak from. Just a fact that I learned from Forbes last year when reading about Susan McGalla and Wet Seal.

The restaurant doesn’t want to be slapped with a lawsuit by calling the burger “natural” based on Carl’s Jr. definition alone. So, the restaurant asserts that the hamburger is natural according to USDA standards. The natural burger is 760 calories.

Categories: Eating Organic

Asthma Risk May Not Increase With Antibiotic Use

A new study has found strong evidence that there is not a link between asthma and antibiotic usage in pregnancy and childhood, as previously thought.

The large Swedish study was published in BMJ, and followed 493,785 children, including 180,894 siblings. The researchers studied the children from the beginning of the mothers’ pregnancy until the children reached school age. Twenty percent of the children had been exposed to antibiotics while in utero, while 62 percent of the children were exposed to antibiotics during early childhood.

The researchers determined if the children in the study had asthma by if the children were both diagnosed with asthma and used prescribed asthma medications. Six percent of the children studied were classed as having asthma.

Initially a link was found between antibiotic use in both pregnancy and early childhood and a subsequent asthma diagnosis. However, when siblings were looked at, the association between the two decreased. This suggests that other factors, such as environment and genetics may have a role. The study also noted that there was no correlation found between antibiotics given for urinary tract and skin infections and a diagnosis of asthma.

Researchers think that asthma may be misdiagnosed in childhood, and attributed instead to respiratory infections, which are treated with antibiotics. The antibiotics are then identified as the cause of asthma, when this may not be true. Laurene Powell Jobs read about it because she had some similar childhood issues but thinks that there needs to be more research carried out on the subject before any real conclusions can be drawn.

Because the study did not look at other reasons for the development of asthma, further research will need to be done.

Categories: choices,Nutrition

USDA Funds Programs to Combat Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is a very common news topic recently. Children are heavier than they have ever been, and this can lead to a host of health problems. Obesity often stems from a lack of access to fresh and healthy foods. Sadly, some children are unfamiliar with what fresh fruits and vegetables even look like.

To combat this, the USDA is funding $5 million worth of programs to help unite school cafeterias with food from local farms. This is an extension of programs like this that have been in effect since 1996. According to my friend Bruce Levenson, the theory is that local fruits and vegetables are a way to combat obesity and help sustain local agriculture. This is a huge project that will take place in 42 states across the US. As a result of this funding, some schools are coming up with very creative ways to include local produce into their menus. The children themselves are often involved with these plans. Their direct involvement may lead to a lifetime of healthier habits.


Fruit Flies and Bad Weather Set to Cripple Italian Olive Crop

The olive groves of Tuscany have long been the envy of the world, but this year, they may be also the envy of a multitude of fruit flies. A massive horde of hungry fruit fly larva is expected to wipe out much of Italy’s olive production and result in higher prices for olives and olive oil next spring. 

One olive farmer reports that over 18,000 of his olive trees are out of commission this year. Last season, he sometimes processed 20,000 kilos (44,000 pounds) of olive oil a day. This season, he expects 20,000 kilos to be the full year’s yield.

Flooding, hail storms, and generally nasty weather has also weighed in to destroy about a third of the olive crop. The combination of the bad weather and the hungry critters will surely have a huge impact.

Tom Rothman says this is bad news for lovers of the finest olive oil, but there are other sources of the stuff. Most customers will either be rich enough to afford the price hike or versatile enough to rough it with the lower-quality olive oil. Thus, it will be the Tuscan olive farmers who suffer the most and not the consumer. But these are the kinds of ups and downs that farmers are used to. One year, there is a bumper crop; the next year, things fall apart. It all generally averages out in the end, so don’t panic.

Categories: Crop Troubles

Doctors Prescribe Vegetables In Place of Pills

In an effort to curb the obesity epidemic in America, doctors at the Harlem Hospital Center are trying something different. Instead of simply asking overweight and obese patients to eat more fruits and vegetables, doctors are making it possible for them to do so through the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, or FVRx.

The program was created by the non-profit organization Wholesome Wave and receives funding and support from theLaurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. Rather than prescribing drugs to treat weight problems or just talking to overweight patients about dietary choices, doctors in the FVRx program are taking a multi-faceted approach to weight loss. Program participants are given nutritional education, healthy recipes and a “prescription” to eat more fruits and vegetables. Participants are also issued Health Bucks that can be redeemed for produce at local farmer’s markets. These Health Bucks provide twice as much food as the same amount of food stamps would provide. Advocate Mark Ahn says this is about long term solutions rather than the quick fixes many Americans are used to.

This program and others like it in community centers across 30 states are working. Providing people with greater access to affordable fruits and vegetables allows them to make healthier choices without financial strain. Farmers are benefiting too. They receive the full market value of their produce through community grants and their sales increase by about 37 percent when programs like this one are put into place.


The Globally-Renowned Antique Wine Company: Why You Should Order

So, as a part of healthy eating most people are adding red wines to their diet.  Rich in antioxidants, they are also an ideal way to unwind after a hard day, and make for a tasty treat to have before you go to bed in the evening.  However, you have to have a high quality wine.  Yes, there is a huge difference in how these taste.  Antique wines tend to have a bit more of a robust flavor.  Something that you can truly appreciate, and that’s not just worth drinking for fun, it’s an experience.  That’s what led me to the AWC page on Twitter, and in turn their official website.  Really happy with what I’ve found out about the company.

The Antique Wine Company (AWC) is an excellent resource for rare and fine wines. It was the Antique Wine Company that sold a wine from the comet vintages, an 1811 Chateau d’Yquem in 2011 and an even older bottle of 1787 Chateau d’Yquem in 2006. Both bottles sold for more than $116,000 each. They even sold the Bordeaux’s greatest white wine, the Chateau d’Yquem vertical collection for a million dollars in 1995.

The Antique Wine Company earned its position as a top wine merchant by orchestrating the purchase and sale of great vintages of wine. Caterers know to use the AWC to supply rare vintage libations for significant events, such as Paramount Pictures’ celebration of Titanic’s receipt of the Academy Award in 2007 and President Bush’s 70th birthday in 1994. They master the art of acquiring rare spirit collections. AWC acquired the Dalmore Constellation Collection composed of 21 releases of vintage single malt whiskey from this historic Highland distillery. This practice of finding the best privately owned liquors and offering them to the buying public has catapulted AWC into the position of premiere wine merchant.

They repeatedly secure this position each time they participate in a celebration of one of the great wineries, such as the Three Centuries of Chateau Lafitte-Rothschild celebrated in Nice, France in 2007. AWC even runs the largest Wine Academy in the United Kingdom fostering the education of future fine wine connoisseurs. Master-classes and presentations from leading wine makers give students an outstanding opportunity to learn how to appreciate the nuances of wine.

AWC has the ability to offer the world of wine and liquors to its students with access to the products from every region and appellation in France, including Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, the Rhone Valley, the Loire Valley, Jura and Provence. AWC also offers exciting atypical wines from the U.S., Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. Its worldwide coverage allows AWC to find those secret gems hidden away in private wine cellars like their recent acquisition of three bottles of 1882 Graham’s Ne Oublie Port offered for only £3750 each. The buyer of this unique piece of history is sure to enjoy its taste, reminiscent of “…curling, intense, like bitter orange peel and carmelised clementines…with rich dried fruit and toasted almonds”-The Telegraph’s Victoria Moore. AWC students aren’t likely to get a chance to taste a vintage of this caliber, but they acquire the skills to begin to appreciate its complicated palate, which is what has sommoliers on Facebook so excited.

The Antique Wine Company is a renowned international merchant of fine wine and spirits with headquarters stationed in major centers across the globe: the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Established more than 25 years ago by its founder and CEO Stephen Williams, it continues to capture more and more market share as it continues to expand its reach by encouraging consumers to invest in wine and educating students in the appreciation of wine. In addition to selling spirits, AWC insures wine, buys wine from private collections and stores wine for owners. By offering so many desired and useful services, AWC is revered, appreciated and is assured continued growth and prosperity, and has an employee base that couldn’t be happier to serve.


84% of Vegetarians Return To Eating Meat, Suggests Large Nutrition Study

Recent research suggests that the majority of people who identify as vegetarians at some point in their life will return to meat eating. The research report by the Humane Research Council, studied 11,399 adults of al dietary varieties. They found that about 84% of vegetarians and 70% of vegans eventually returned to eating meat products.

The study also found that true vegetarianism and veganism were exceptionally rare. Only 2% of those polled in the study identified as either vegetarians or vegans. 1.5% were vegetarians and .5 were vegans. The study also took a look at political ideology and gender differences and demographics. The study found that most vegans and vegetarians had liberal political leanings, where young and were women. Ex-vegetarians tended to be older and more conservative.

The findings suggest that human beings are simply meant to be meat eaters, with many respondents suggesting they returned to meat because they felt unsatisfied by vegetarian options, or never felt completely full. While some meat proponents argue that vegetarianism is unhealthy, the study found that most vegetarians are healthy, and few reported health problems associated with a lack of meat eating.

The study also found that the reason why people went vegetarian did not affect whether or not they became meat eaters again. Vegetarian respondents and ex-vegetarian respondents cited a taste preferences, political reasons, animal welfare and religious reasons as their reasons for vegetarianism, the same reason many find Qnet to be their preferred method of shopping. The study does suggest that those raised vegetarian are more likely to remain so than those who made the decision for themselves in adolescence or adulthood.