Thursday, March 27, 2008

Getting help for a child with autism

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- When her son Justin was a newborn, Shannon Kinninger looked up from the kitchen where she was washing dishes, and saw a large, heavy toy fall on his head. Justin didn't cry.


Shannon Kinninger feels her son Justin's autism diagnosis was delayed.

Kinninger thought that was odd, and it wasn't the only thing that seemed strange about Justin. At her weekly playgroup, she watched the other babies hit their developmental milestones more or less on schedule. Justin lagged far behind.

"When he was supposed to be sitting up, he wasn't sitting up. When he was supposed to be holding his head up, he wasn't holding his head up. When he was supposed to be rolling over, he wasn't rolling over," says Kinninger, a nurse who lives in Fayetteville, Georgia.

Kinninger brought up her concerns to her pediatrician, but he told her not to worry. "The doctor kept saying that boys develop more slowly than girls," she says. "He kept reassuring me he'd be OK."

Even though she felt frustrated, Kinninger accepted this explanation for years. Finally, when Justin was 4, she decided enough was enough. Justin wasn't potty trained, and he had unusual repetitive behaviors, such as switching lights on and off for extended periods of time, or washing his hands over and over. Plus, he wouldn't look at people -- he looked "through" them.

She switched doctors, and the new pediatrician referred her to a developmental pediatrician. "He said, 'He's autistic. I knew five minutes after you came in,' " Kinninger says. "I thought, finally, we get a diagnosis."

Now Kinninger thinks about all those lost years -- from babyhood to 4 years old -- critical years when Justin could have been receiving therapy for children with autism, but didn't. She now tells other parents of children with autism they need to be advocates for their children, from the very first moment they show signs of having autism. Video Empowered Patient: Steps to take to get help for a child with autism »

Here, from mothers of children with autism, are ways parents should fight for their children with autism, from babyhood through the school years.

1. Trouble getting a diagnosis? Bring in video, letters.

If you're concerned your child has autism, and you're getting the same response Kinninger got from her pediatrician, remember doctor's visits are often short, and your child may not be displaying the worrisome behavior you've seen so often at home. Alison Singer, executive vice president of Autism Speaks, an awareness and advocacy organization, suggests videotaping your child's behavior and showing it to the doctor. "You could play it on your laptop, or even just bring in the video camera," she says.

Getting a letter of support from your child's day-care provider or preschool teacher might also help.

"Teachers are seen as other professionals, and a letter saying, 'In 20 years of teaching, this behavior is really unusual,' can go far," says Singer, who has a 10-year-old daughter with autism. If your child isn't in day care or school, even a letter from a neighbor who knows your child could help, she says.

Singer emphasizes that parents shouldn't push their pediatrician for a diagnosis. "We're saying, refer the child to a developmental pediatrician for additional screening and testing. Because when a parent thinks something is wrong with their child, they're usually right," she says.

Educating yourself about autism will also help you have a discussion with your pediatrician. Autism Speaks, First Signs, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all give excellent overviews. Autism Speaks' Video Glossary has more than 100 video clips comparing the behavior of children with autism spectrum disorders with the behavior of a typical child.

2. Sign up for early intervention

Any child younger than age 3 with a developmental delay is eligible to receive services through Early Intervention, a government-mandated program that provides services to eligible children. Services are free of charge, and vary from state to state, but may include speech and language instruction and occupational and physical therapy.

To learn how to apply for Early Intervention, click on this state-by-state directory from the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities and scroll down.

Early Intervention is invaluable because it links parents to services in the community, but Lisa Goring, mother of a child with autism and director of family services at Autism Speaks, warns that parents may also have to search on their own, since it can be hard to find services without a long waiting list. "There just aren't enough service providers for the kids who need them," Goring says. To find services on your own,, which offers information about special education law and advocacy, has a Yellow Pages for Kids that lists providers.

Long waits are so prevalent that Nancy Wiseman, founder and president of the advocacy group First Signs, whose 12-year-old daughter has autism, has a few suggestions for how to get in quicker. First, parents should stress the age of their child (many clinics will give priority to children under 3), and should ask the pediatrician to make a call to the specialist. More suggestions are in her book "Could it be Autism? A Parent's Guide to the First Signs and Next Steps."

3. Know your child's rights in school

When your child enters public school, he or she has rights under federal and state laws. The U.S. Department of Education has information about federal laws and state laws. The National Association of Parents with Children in Special Education has information about children's legal rights as well.

Wiseman says that even with these protections, you'll still have to work to get what's best for your child.

For example, Wiseman moved to get into a different school district, and then a few years later, when that district no longer worked well for her daughter, she twice fought to place her child out of the district.

"It's very frustrating to battle a school, and you really have to do your homework," she says.

You and the district will come up with an Individual Education Plan. Wiseman recommends "The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child" by attorney Lawrence Siegel.

Also, school districts often have a Special Education Parent Teacher Association. Parents there can often give good advice on how to work with the school district.

4. Sign up for a research study

If you live near a major research university, Wiseman suggests finding out whether anyone is looking for children with autism for research studies. Sometimes, these universities will provide care for your child as part of the study. Wiseman's group, First Signs, has a list, as does Autism Speaks.

5. Get support from other parents

Judith Steuber, who raised two grandsons with autism, said that if she had to do it all over again, she would do one thing very differently. "From the beginning, I wish I'd had more support from other parents," says Steuber, who now acts as a mentor for special-needs parents in her school district. "I think that makes a big difference."

advertisementAutism Speaks has a state-by-state list of support groups. You can find a chapter of The Autism Society of America here.
There are electronic support groups on Yahoo, the Berkeley Parents Network, and Autism Web. The Arc has support groups for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; Wiseman says many have a large number of parents of children with autism.

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The 5 Most Ridiculously Over-Hyped Health Scares of All Time

Fear is our national pastime. As a society, we have a long history of getting whipped into a collective frenzy over threats to our health or children that are nearly (or completely) non-existent. No danger is too small or remote to be exaggerated and screamed from the headlines.

For example:

Three Mile Island

On March 28, 1979, what should have been a minor plumbing problem somehow escalated into a reactor fuel meltdown at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Station in Pennsylvania. Within five days, the Governor had ordered the evacuation of all children and pregnant women (fuck you, dad!) within a five-mile radius of the area. Since that time, the name Three Mile Island has been synonymous with nuclear disaster. Hooters even named one of their hottest (and most delicious) wing sauces after it!

But unlike other nuclear disasters, Chernobyl for example, which caused at least 4,000 eventual deaths, Three Mile Island was responsible for a whopping zero fatalities. In fact, there weren't even any injuries. Later tests revealed that the level of radiation people were exposed to in the five-mile radius was equivalent to the amount of radiation a person is exposed to while flying on a commercial airliner. In other words, the danger was nil.

So why all the ruckus? Much like that restraining order Catherine Zeta-Jones slapped us with a few years back, we blame Michael Douglas for this.

Just 12 days prior to the incident at TMI, The China Syndrome premiered. In the film, Michael Douglas plays a television news reporter who surreptitiously films a nuclear power plant crew as a near meltdown is taking place. As luck would have it, the events depicted in the movie almost perfectly mirrored what occurred at TMI. With the movie stirring public debate about the safety of nuclear power, there was no way the incident at TMI occurring just days later would do anything less than scare the ever-loving shit out of people. And that's exactly what it did.

"Hi, I'm a giant asshole."

In 1979, Three Mile Island killed fewer people than ...

Robot attacks. Ford factory worker Robert Williams was killed when a robot hit him in the head, thus outranking Three Mile Island's death toll, 1-0.

Artificial Sweeteners, Circa the '60s

In the 1960s, cyclamates (salts of cyclamic acid) were the artificial sweetener of choice for health conscious consumers everywhere. Although initially only intended for use by the obese and diabetics, they quickly gained popularity among those who wanted to eat like the obese without becoming diabetics.

This all changed in 1969 when FDA scientist, Dr. Jacqueline Verrett, went on the NBC Nightly News to tell the world that baby chick embryos injected with cyclamates suffered from severe birth defects. And she had pictures of the deformed birds to back her claim up! When it comes to putting an entire nation off of non-caloric sweets, few things are as effective a picture of a grotesquely malformed bird. Here's one we made ...

... maybe that's a bad example, because that was kind of awesome. But you get the idea.

At any rate, there's a reason the FDA likes its scientists to run the results of their wacky lab experiments past their peers before they take to national television to share them with the world. In this case, Dr. Verrett's peers were quick to point out that, while the results of her experiment were troubling, most humans didn't get their artificial sweeteners by way of in-the-womb injections and therefore may not be affected in the same way.

But when tests performed a few days later showed that cyclamates caused bladder cancer in 8 out of 240 rats when consumed in an also-real-world-applicable dosage equaling 350 cans of diet soda per day, the deal was sealed. Cyclamates were banned in America.

In the years since the ban, tests on cyclamates have continued but none of them have been able to duplicate the results of the 1969 tests. The World Health Organization along with several other research groups has gone so far as to publicly declare that the evidence shows no link between cyclamates and cancer. Nevertheless, subsequent appeals of the initial cyclamate ban have all been rejected and cyclamates are still unavailable in the United States.

But don't lose too much sleep over it, our team of scientists have conducted some studies of their own and 4 out of 5 of them agree, even if cyclamates were available, most of us would still be lard asses anyway.

In 1969, Cyclamates killed fewer people than ...

... were killed by Moose attacks.

The Cranberry Scare of 1959

When it comes to breaking bad news to people, timing is everything. For instance, if at all possible, you'd prefer that your girlfriend not tell you she's leaving while she's banging your best friend. In a similar vein, it may have not been the best timing ever when on November 9, 1959, just 15 days before Thanksgiving, Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Arthur Fleming announced that a shipment of cranberries from Oregon was found to be contaminated with aminotriazole, a weed killer that had been shown to cause thyroid cancer in rats.

As if making the announcement just weeks ahead of the one day of the year when some people do actually eat cranberries wasn't bad enough, Fleming leaned a little too heavily on the "Holy shit we're all going to die!" technique when it came to getting information to the public. Even though tests of cranberries from several other states showed no signs of contamination, when asked how a housewife could be sure the berries she buys are safe, Fleming replied "To be on the safe side, she doesn't buy. Also, he might as well have gone on to say, 'If you've eaten any cranberries in the last 24 hours, make your peace with the Lord.'

In a matter of days, grocery stores across the country were pulling products containing cranberries from their shelves.

Better safe than sorry, right? Well, there was something Fleming failed to mention. For a human to match the cancer causing aminotriazole dosage fed to the lab rats, they would have to consume 15,000 pounds of berries. Daily. For years. As these photos of a plate of cranberry sauce before and after a recent Thanksgiving celebration show, Americans don't eat nearly that amount.

Officials familiar with these minor details grew increasingly wary of the damage that Fleming's comments may have on the cranberry industry and began to distance themselves from the scare. After Presidential candidates Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy both ate cranberries at a campaign stop in Wisconsin, the nation slowly came to their collective senses. By Thanksgiving, cranberries were back on grocery store shelves and back to being universally ignored on Thanksgiving dinner tables nationwide.

In 1959, cranberries killed fewer people than ...

... were killed flying in a plane with Buddy Holly.


If you're looking for another reason to hate that hippie friend of yours that won't shut up about the plight of every plant, animal and insect in danger of extinction, DDT is a good place to start.

Widely considered the first major victory of the environmentalist movement, DDT was banned from use in most applications thanks to a series of insanely half-assed scientific experiments and a book about birds. That book, Silent Spring, was released in 1962 and argued that DDT was not only a carcinogen, but also damaging to wildlife and, especially, certain birds. The public, upon hearing about the possibility of having to live in a world without peregrine falcons and ospreys, did what it does best in situations like this--they lost their shit without a second thought.

The single most important bird on the planet.

Soon, pesticides were the cause du jour for environmentalists and average folks that believe whatever the hell they read, and DDT was banned in 1972. The problem was, the science quoted in the book was all kinds of faulty. One scientific study that purported to show that DDT exposure led to a higher incidence of leukemia in mice was later proven to be more than a little tainted. Turns out, the mice in the experiment were fed moldy food that contained aflatoxin, a known carcinogen. When the test was repeated minus the rancid food, the test results were exactly the same, except without all of the leukemia and stuff.

As for the birds, Audubon Society studies showed that 26 different kinds of birds actually increased in population during DDT's heyday. In cases where bird populations did decline, it was revealed that in most cases the decline began either well before widespread use of DDT began or years after it was banned. Environmentalists dispute the findings, but on the other hand ... who gives a fuck about the damn birds? Especially considering ...

In 1972, DDT killed fewer people than ...

Fucking malaria.

See, what many people don't know about DDT is that the person who discovered that it could be used as a pesticide actually won a Nobel Peace Prize. Why? Because it was kind of effective in fighting malaria. When spraying of DDT stopped in Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka), malaria cases rose from 17 in 1963 to 2.5 goddamn million in 1969, an increase of approximately a bajillion fofillion percent. And to this day, the mosquito remains the deadliest killer Mother Nature has to offer, with a confirmed 2 million kills per year.

But, hey at least there's a lot more ospreys around.

Original here

British TV crew 'spread deadly flu to remote Peruvian tribe'

A British production company making a reality television show in the Peruvian Amazon has been accused of starting a flu epidemic which allegedly killed four members of a remote native tribe and left many others seriously ill.

Indigenous communities blamed researchers from London-based Cicada Films for the outbreak in the isolated Matsigenka tribe where people had previously had little contact with Western diseases.

The company has flatly denied its two-strong team was responsible, insisting they did not visit the area hit by the flu, and did not meet any of those who died.

The Native Federation of River Madre de Dios and Subdiaries, which represents local tribes, accused the film-makers of "threatening the lives of the local people" and called for all film and television companies to be banned from the area.

Dr Glenn Shephard, an American anthropologist who has studied the Matsigenka for 20 years and speaks their language fluently, said he met the research team in the less isolated village of Yomybato where Westerners are allowed to go.

They were scouting film opportunities for The Learning Channel's reality TV series "Going Tribal" and a sequel to Mark Anstice's and Ollie Steeds's TV series "Living with the Kombai" which was based in New Guinea and aired on the Discovery Channel.

After arriving in Yomybato one of the crew had seemed dismayed at seeing people wearing Western clothes, playing football and going to school in a government-equipped schoolhouse, according to Dr Shephard.

The researcher was said to have declared: "The shorts, the guys playing soccer, the school...that just won't cut it."

They were then said to have learnt about more remote settlements where there were no Western influences.

Dr Shephard said: "I warned them specifically that their visit to the isolated villages of the Cumerjali could pose a health risk to the people there through contagion from a simple cold which could turn into virulent pneumonia.

"I was very surprised, even shocked, to learn that they intended to visit these remote, isolated settlements in initial phases of Western contact."

The crew left Yomybato on Oct 19 with a team of local helpers, he claimed. Dr Shephard said that on Nov 10 a man named Kian-Kian emerged from the upper Cumerjali to inform the people of Yomybato that the film crew had visited his community and that, allegedly soon after, four people had died.

"If they return, they'll wipe the rest of us out," Kian-Kian told witnesses in Yomybato.

The film company said in a statement: "There is no evidence that the researcher introduced illness to the areas they visited. He did not seek out or visit isolated communities upriver.

"The researcher and his guide did not visit the area where the deaths are said to have occurred and no deaths occurred amongst the individuals they met.

"The researcher worked with experienced local guides and the relevant authorities who have jurisdiction over the Park. They at all times followed correct procedure and worked with the necessary permits for entry into the park At no time did the Cicada researcher go outside the area of their permit and traveled only a short distance from the large town Yomibato.

"Cicada Productions has not been making a series in Manu National Park and has never had a film crew there."

The company has made over 50 programmes since 1984 for channels including Channel 4, ITV, Discovery and the BBC.

Stephen Corry, Director of Survival, an international organisation that supports tribal peoples across the world, said: "This controversy highlights how the interests and welfare of tribal people can potentially be put at risk by reality TV programmes chasing ratings.

"Since the success of the BBC's Tribe series, which brought tribal peoples' lives to the small screen in a sensitive way, there has been a whole rash of bizarre and extreme programmes on the subject. The key principles here are sensitivity and accuracy, something TV companies are often not good at."

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Fighting with spouse can be good for your health

(LifeWire) -- There are toilet-paper tiffs, thermostat scuffles, ongoing debates over money, sex and the television remote. And then there are the laundry wars.

"My husband has this thing with laundry that drives me nuts," says Amelia Zatik-Sawyer, a 28-year-old mother of two in Cleveland.

"He's supposed to wash and I'm supposed to fold, but he does like 10 loads at a time and then dumps it all on the bed. With two little kids, I don't have time to fold 10 loads all at once, so I'll leave it. And then he'll come home and throw it into the closet so he can get into bed. And then it just spirals out of control from there."

For many couples, spats are a necessary evil, something to endure or avoid (for the sake of the kids!). But new research at the University of Michigan shows that hashing out marital disagreements is actually good for your health. It's squelching anger, especially when you feel you've been wronged, that's dangerous.

A study published in January followed 192 married couples in Michigan from 1971 to 1988 and found that those who kept their anger in when unfairly attacked did not live as long as those who expressed their anger, says lead study author Ernest Harburg, Ph.D., an emeritus research scientist at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health and psychology department.

"We're all interested in longevity," says Harburg, who's studied the health effects of spousal sparring for over 30 years. "We watch our diet, we exercise. Now we need to add 'express anger constructively' to that list."

Women in particular may put their health at risk by holding back during arguments with their spouse, a 10-year study of 4,000 men and women from Framingham, Massachusetts, found. "Women who 'self-silenced' during conflict with their spouse, compared with women who did not, had four times the risk of dying, " according to findings published in 2007 in the journal "Psychosomatic Medicine."

But high schools don't offer Squabbling 101. So what are the nuts and bolts of a healthy fight?

Express Yourself

Harburg says the first step is to let the person know you're mad -- the sooner, the better.

"You can either express your anger directly or you can say, 'That makes me angry, but I don't want to talk about it now; let's discuss it later'," he says. "But in order to solve the problem, you need to first express your emotions."

For some, even acknowledging a problem can be a problem.

Eunice Verstegen of Seattle, a program manager for a large county agency, says her upbringing in Wisconsin prevented her from voicing her true feelings with her first husband, who was her polar opposite politically, emotionally and even gastronomically.

"I was taught to be nice and to keep my feelings buried," she says. "And as a result, I was silently miserable. But with my second husband, if something bothers me, I don't let it simmer. I speak right up."

Don't pout, let it out

Others let their actions do the talking.

"When I'm mad about something, I'll do the heavy sighing thing or toss the silverware as I unload the dishwasher, which drives my husband nuts," says Jackie Papandrew, 44, a syndicated columnist from Largo, Florida. "To him, the silent treatment is the worst thing in the world. He'll pester me and pester me until I finally blow up or laugh."

Papandrew admits she's also gone the passive-aggressive route, like the time she hid the remote because she was angry her husband watched so much TV -- and forgot where she hid it.

"If pouting leads to talking about the issue, then you're ahead of the game," says Harburg. "But passive-aggressive behavior doesn't work. It doesn't solve the problem. The best thing is if you can establish some kind of ritual, like regularly sitting down at a table to talk about your issues."

Communication and compromise

Laundry warrior Zatik-Sawyer uses a digital version of the kitchen-table confessional.

"My blog has become my therapy," she says. "When I have issues, I'll write a blog post and my husband will read it at work. And then he'll come home and we'll talk about the problem and solve it. If we have issues, they never really last longer than a couple of hours."

Harburg says both partners have to be willing to listen and work toward a compromise; otherwise it's a no-go.

"If you get into a zone where someone's impeding the discussion, then you can't solve the problem," he says. "Fear, intimidation, dirty looks, belittling remarks -- that's over the line. But if you can listen to each other, and hear what the other person is feeling and thinking, then you can reach a compromise: 'OK, I won't do this if you won't do that.'"

One final tip: Keep your sense of humor.

"Years ago, my husband and I were having a big spat, really yelling at each other," says Verstegen. "I screamed at him, 'You're so selfish!' There was this long silence and then he said, 'Did you just call me a shellfish?' I started laughing and that was the end of the fight."

Original here

Study: Big belly could carry bigger dementia risk

NEW YORK (AP) -- Having a big belly in your 40s can boost your risk of getting Alzheimer's disease or other dementia decades later, a new study suggests.

It's not clear why abdominal fat would promote dementia, but it may pump out substances that harm the brain.

It's not just about your weight. While previous research has found evidence that obesity in middle age raises the chances of developing dementia later, the new work found a separate risk from storing a lot of fat in the abdomen. Even people who weren't overweight were susceptible.

That abdominal fat, sometimes described as making people apple-shaped rather than pear-shaped, has already been linked to higher risk of developing diabetes, stroke and heart disease.

"Now we can add dementia to that," said study author Rachel Whitmer of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California.

She and others report the findings in Wednesday's online issue of the journal Neurology.

The study involved 6,583 men and women who were ages 40 to 45 when they had checkups between 1964 and 1973. As part of the exam, their belly size was measured by using a caliper to find the distance between their backs and the surface of their upper abdomens. For the study, a distance of about 10 inches or more was considered high. Video Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports on the link between belly fat and dementia »

The researchers checked medical records to see who had developed Alzheimer's or another form of dementia by an average of 36 years later. At that point the participants were ages 73 to 87. There were 1,049 cases.

Analysis found that compared with people in the study with normal body weight and a low belly measurement:

• Participants with normal body weight and high belly measurements were 89 percent more likely to have dementia.

• Overweight people were 82 percent more likely if they had a low belly measurement, but more than twice as likely if they had a high belly measurement.

• Obese people were 81 percent more likely if they had a low belly measurement, but more than three times as likely if they had a high measurement.

Whitmer said there's no precise way to translate belly measurements into waist circumference. But most people have a sense of whether they have a big belly, she said. And if they do, the new study suggests they should get rid of it, she said.

It's not clear why abdominal fat would promote dementia, but it may pump out substances that harm the brain, she said.

Dr. Jose Luchsinger of the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, who studies the connection between obesity and Alzheimer's disease but didn't participate in the new work, cautioned that such a study cannot prove abdominal fat promotes dementia.

But the study results are "highly plausible" and "I'm not surprised at all," he said. High insulin levels might help explain them, he said.

But the study results are "highly plausible" and "I'm not surprised at all," he said. High insulin levels might help explain them, he said.

Dr. Samuel Gandy, who chairs the medical and scientific advisory council of the Alzheimer's Association, said the results fit in with previous work that indicates a person's characteristics in middle age can affect the risk of dementia in later life.

And it's another example of how traits associated with the risk of developing heart disease are also linked to later dementia, he said.

Original here

Possibly the Greatest Invention of this Millennium

The AP reports that 26-year old Jeff Libby has created and sold what will probably be looked back on as the first great invention of the 21st century. Stem cells are cool and all, but this guy has really done it. He has created and sold the first “Table-Top Beer Tap” system to a sports bar in Atlanta. It cost the bar $50,000 in total, but they’ve got 30 of them installed in the place. Isn’t this on the level of flying cars and rocket packs? As kids we always wished we could just somehow rewind live TV and up stepped TIVO to make our dreams a reality. Jeff Libby is 2008’s version of TIVO. Thank you Jeff.

The system measures your pourage and charges you by the ounce. Makes sense to me.

Oh, and how does this relate to baseball? Do I really need to answer that?

Video after the jump…

Original here

Eat Smart When Dining Out: 20 Tips

Navigate the Menu

Suddenly it seems that chain restaurants like Applebee's, T.G.I. Friday's, Olive Garden, and Bennigan's are almost as ubiquitous as the Golden Arches. No surprise. There are nearly 200,000 "table side" restaurants in the United States today, a number that continues to grow.

For many, they offer a reliable, pleasant alternative to cooking -- plentiful servings, service with a smile, relatively good value for the dollar. But like fast-food outlets, these dining establishments can be ticking time bombs when it comes to nutritional health. Government surveys find that the food you typically eat when you're not home is nutritionally worse in every way than the food you eat at home.

The good news is that's changing. For instance, 7 out of 10 adults surveyed by the National Restaurant Association in 2003 said there are more nutritious foods available to them in such restaurants than there were five years ago. Nearly all the chains have added healthier options to their menus -- if you know how to look for them. But whether you're dining out at a major national chain or a locally owned family restaurant, following a few of these tips can guarantee you a pleasant dinner (or lunch) out without busting your health goals.

1. Above all else, be assertive. Dining out is no time to be a meek consumer, notes Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D., executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and coauthor of the book Restaurant Confidential. "You need to be an assertive consumer by asking for changes on the menu," he says. For instance, if an item is fried, ask for it grilled. If it comes with french fries, ask for a side of veggies instead. Ask for a smaller portion of the meat and a larger portion of the salad; for salad instead of coleslaw; baked potato instead of fried. "Just assume you can have the food prepared the way you want it," says Dr. Jacobson. "Very often, the restaurant will cooperate." Below, you'll find more specific requests.

2. Ask your waiter to "triple the vegetables, please." Often a side of vegetables in a restaurant is really like garnish -- a carrot and a forkful of squash. When ordering, ask for three or four times the normal serving of veggies, and offer to pay extra. "I've never been charged," says dietitian Jeff Novick, R.D., director of nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Aventura, Florida. "And I've never been disappointed. I get full, not fat."

3. Ask how the food was prepared; don't go by the menu. For instance, cholesterol-free does not mean fat-free; the dish could still be filled with calorie-dense oil. Neither does "lite" necessarily mean light in calories or fat.

4. Order from the "healthy, light, low fat" entrées on the menu. Most chains will even list the calories and nutritional content of such foods. Applebee's, for instance, offers approved Weight Watchers options, Bennigan's has its Health Club entrées (which it will serve in half portions), and Ruby Tuesday lists the nutritional information for its entire menu.

5. Beware of the low-carb options. Restaurant chains have jumped on the low-carb bandwagon, offering numerous low-carb options on their menu. But low-carb doesn't mean low-cal. For instance, at Ruby Tuesday the Low-Carb New Orleans Seafood packs 710 calories and 42 grams of fat -- ouch! A much better bet -- the Low Carb Veggie Platter -- leaves you with just 297 calories and 16 grams of fat.

Smart Salads

6. Ask the waiter to box half your entrée before it ever gets to the table. Or split an entrée with your dining partner. A CSPI survey found that restaurants often serve two to three times more than food labels list as a serving.

7. Try double appetizers. If there is a nice selection of seafood- and vegetable-based appetizers, consider skipping the entrée and having two appetizers for your meal. Often, that is more than enough food to fill you up.

8. Order a salad before ordering anything else on the menu. Scientists at Pennsylvania State University found that volunteers who ate a big veggie salad before the main course ate fewer calories overall than those who didn't have a first-course salad, notes Novick.

9. But remember: Salads shouldn't be fatty. This is a vegetable course -- keep it tasty but healthy. That means avoiding anything in a creamy sauce (coleslaw, pasta salads, and potato salads), and skipping the bacon bits and fried noodles. Instead, load up on the raw vegetables, treat yourself to a few well-drained marinated vegetables (artichoke hearts, red peppers, or mushrooms), and for a change, add in some fruit or nuts. Indeed, fruits such as mango, kiwi, cantaloupe, and pear are often the secret ingredient in four-star salads.

10. Watch the add-ons to vegetable salads. Even salads that are mostly raw vegetables are a problem if they're loaded with cheese and meats. Take the typical Caesar salad in most restaurants (the one topped with chicken or shrimp as well as plenty of cheese and mayo in the dressing). Add in the fried croutons and the calories add up to a whopping 560, with 36 grams of fat, 6 of them saturated. Italian antipasto salads also are a health challenge, with all their salami, spicy ham, and cheese. Get the salad, but ask for vegetables only.

11. Do the fork dip. The best way to combine salad dressing with salad? Get your dressing on the side, in a small bowl. Dip your empty fork into the dressing, then skewer a forkful of salad. You'll be surprised at how this tastes just right, and how little dressing you'll use. Plus, your lettuce won't wilt and drown in a sea of oil.

12. Check the menu before you leave home. Most chains post their menus on their Web sites. For instance, Ruby Tuesday's Smart Eating menu tells you the restaurant only uses canola oil and even provides nutritional information on its salad bar. You can decide before you ever hit the hostess stand what you're going to order. Conversely, if you don't see anything that's healthy, pick another restaurant.

Watch the Extras

13. Read between the lines. Any menu description that uses the words creamy, breaded, crisp, sauced, or stuffed is likely loaded with hidden fats -- much of it saturated or even trans fats. Other "beware of" words include: buttery, sautéed, pan-fried, au gratin, Thermidor, Newburg, Parmesan, cheese sauce, scalloped, and au lait, à la mode, or au fromage (with milk, ice cream, or cheese).

14. Ask the waiter to skip the bread basket. If you must have something to munch on while you wait for your order, ask for a plate of raw vegetables or some breadsticks.

15. Skip the fancy drinks. If you must order an alcoholic drink, forget the margaritas, piña coladas, and other exotic mixed drinks. They include sugary additions that only add calories. Opt instead for a glass of wine, a light beer, a vodka and tonic or a simple martini (without the chocolate liquor, sour green apple schnapps, or triple sec).

16. Top a baked potato with veggies from the salad bar. Or ask if they have salsa -- the ultimate potato topper, both in terms of flavor and health. Just avoid the butter and sour cream.

17. Order fish. Just make sure it's not fried. When the CSPI evaluated food served at seafood chains and independent restaurants, researchers found low-fat and low-sodium options abounded. Plus, you can order seafood so many different ways -- steamed, baked, broiled, sautéed, blackened, or grilled. Nix any sauces, or ask for them on the side.

18. Drink water throughout the meal. It will slow you down, help you enjoy the food more, and let the message get to your brain that you're full -- before your plate is empty.

19. Always dress up to go out. Even if it's just a regular family restaurant. If you view eating out as an event or a treat, rather than a way to get an everyday dinner, you won't eat out as often. And that's good from both a health and a cost standpoint.

20. Skip the dessert. You can always have some sorbet or even a small piece of chocolate at home. That is much better healthwise than the Triple Chocolate Meltdown or a mountain of ice cream topped by a second mountain of whipped cream.

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British Army Officer

World’s Most Haunted Castles

Steeped in myth and legend, castles have always been popular destinations for lovers of history and architecture. Anyone who has ever visited a castle cannot deny the ambiance and magic of these impressive relics of a time long-forgotten. While castles are fun to visit and often make stunning settings for enchanting events (castle weddings are a celebrity favorite), these ancient places are rife with stories of unspeakable crimes and horrific acts.

It’s called the Dark Ages for a reason. During medieval times, torture was a common practice. Castles were constructed to do more than simply house those in power; they were designed for imprisonment, torture and execution at the whim of whoever happened to be in power. Castle walls and grounds frequently bore witness to unspeakable and inhuman acts of cruelty, carried out with the intention of striking fear and terror into the hearts and minds of the people. Many deaths occurred at these places, but if you dare to take a visit to one of these creepy haunts, you may encounter some souls who are still very much alive…

Chillingham Castle, Northumberland, UK

Located deep in the English countryside, Chillingham Castle has been owned by the family of the Earls Grey since the 1200’s, Chillingham Castle has a reputation for being one of the world’s most haunted and most terrifying castles.

Several ghosts are said to reside here, the most famous being “the Blue Boy,” who haunts the castle’s Pink Room. At the stroke of midnight, cries of terror and pain can be heard emanating from a passage in the wall. When the cries fade, it is said that a halo of blue light would appear and the figure of a boy in blue would approach the bed. During a refurbishing of the castle, bones of a boy along with fragments of a blue dress were found in the wall…

Another ghostly resident of Chillingham is the ghost of Lady Mary Berkeley. It is said that you can hear the rustle of her silk dress as she walks the corridors in search of her husband, who ran away with her sister. Chillingham is also said to be haunted by the infamous torturer John Sage:

“It’s the home of the torturers. 97% of everybody who went into that castle didn’t come out. It’s a horrible killing machine.”


The Tower of London

The Tower of LondonThe Tower of London is another famous castle. Located on the banks of the River Thames, the Tower of London is one of Britain’s most visited attractions.

With over 400 years of gruesome history of torture, violence, execution and murder it’s no wonder the Tower is considered to be one of Britain’s most haunted places in addition to being its oldest fortress, palace and prison.

One of the Tower’s most well-known ghosts is that of Anne Boleyn, the famous wife of Henry VIII who he had beheaded in the Tower in 1536. It is said that the ghost of Lady Jane Grey also is at the castle.

People have reported seeing phantom carriages, and dogs are even too afraid to go near the Salt Tower, where royalty used to be held before execution.


Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

Edinburgh CastleAnother notorious haunt is Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle.

Over one million visitors come to see the castle every year. Edinburgh is one of the UK’s most haunted cities. Built high upon a non-active volcano overlooking the city, Edinburgh Castle has a history of being attacked and rebuilt.

It is said that Edinburgh Castle is haunted by a Lone Piper, a headless drummer and other restless spirits like French prisoners from the Seven Years War and colonial prisoners from the American Revolutionary War.

The Lone Piper can still be heard playing in the secret tunnels underneath the castle. It is said that you can feel haunted presences in the dungeons, and even see a ghost dog wandering the castle’s dog cemetery.


Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle One of the many homes of the Queen of England, Windsor Castle is said to have several ghosts. People have claimed to have seen the ghost of Henry VIII roaming the hallways, and to have heard his footsteps and painful groans.

Another Windsor ghost is that of the Saxon Hunter Herne, who threw himself in front of a stag in order to save the King’s life. His ghost is said to still walk the grounds and gardens with his hounds.

People have reported seeing Queen Elizabeth in the window of the Dean’s Cloister and in the Royal Library. Witnesses say she wears a black gown and a black shawl over her shoulders.

Other ghost sightings include King Charles, Anne Boleyn, and the ghosts that haunt the Long Walk.

Berry Pomeroy Castle

Berry Pomeroy CastleThe ancient ruins of Berry Pomeroy Castle are reputed to be one of England’s most haunted. The castle has several legends.

People claim the castle is haunted by the ghost of Margaret Pomeroy, who was imprisoned by her jealous sister, Eleanor, and consequently starved to death. Legend holds that the sisters were in love with the same man, and Eleanor imprisoned her sister out of jealousy.

Witnesses have seen a ghost known as the White Lady down in the castle dungeon, and she is thought to be Margaret’s ghost.

It is also said that the daughter of a Norman Lord was raped by her own father in the castle. Varying accounts of the legend say that either the girl or her father strangled the resulting child in one of the castles upper rooms. The Blue Lady is thought to be the ghost of the girl who was raped. Creepy!


Warwick Castle, England

Warwick Castle

England’s Warwick Castle is known for its haunted Watergate Tower, also known as the “Ghost Tower.” Warwick Castle is a breathtaking location overlooking the River Avon.

The most famous ghost said to haunt Warwick Castle is that of Sir Fulke Greville, who was stabbed to death in 1628 by his manservant.

It is said that the castle’s Watergate Tower, also known as the “Ghost Tower” is still haunted to this day by Greville and his manservant. According to legend, Greville’s ghost appears in a portrait that hangs above the fireplace in the study and then roams the Tower’s rooms.

Ballygally Castle, Ireland

Said to be one of the most haunted places in Northern Ireland’s County Antrim, Ballygally Castle is said to be home to a few ghosts. It is said that the ghost of one of the castle’s former residents, Lady Isobel Shaw, goes around knocking on doors of guests and then disappears when the guest comes to open the door.

The ghost apparently finds this very amusing. When alive, Lady Isobel Shaw’s husband locked her in her room where she starved. As a result of this cruelty, she jumped out the window and her ghost still haunts the place.

The ghost of Madame Nixon can also be heard walking around the hotel in her silk dress.

Dragsholm Castle, Zealand, Denmark

dragsholm-castle.jpgToday Dragsholm Castle has been converted into a hotel, but once upon a time it was inhabited by people who still “live” there. Several ghosts are said to reside in Denmark’s Dragsholm Castle.

One ghost is that of a “gray lady” who is said to be a friendly ghost. The white lady is another of Dragsholm’s ghosts, said to have been a noblewoman who had an affair with a commoner and was consequently imprisoned by her father.

A skeleton in a white dress was even found in a castle wall during the 1930s. The third ghost said to haunt Dragsholm is that of the Earl of Bothwell, who was prisoner there for 5 years until he died. It is said that his ghost returns to the castle grounds riding in the court yard with his horse carriage.


Bran Castle, Transylvania, Romania

Bran CastlePerhaps better known as “Dracula’s Castle,” Bran Castle in Transylvania was once the home of Prince Vlad Tepes, otherwise known as “Vlad the Impaler.”

Vlad ruled Wallachia by terror during the 15th century, and his legend was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula.

He got his nickname “The Impaler” because impalement was his favorite method of execution. Thousands of atrocious acts and grisly executions took place here.

Leeds Castle, Kent, England

Leeds CastleLeeds Castle is one of England’s most picturesque castles. It sits on two small islands in a tranquil lake. It has survived for 1,000 years.

Leeds Castle is haunted by a large black dog that is said to be an omen of death. The hound is said to terrorize the castle grounds. Many famous historic figures have lived here, yet none of them have ever been reported to haunt the castle.

These castles have been popular destinations for both amateur and professional ghost hunters, tourists and other curious people hoping to spot a real, “live” ghost. Some castles are available for event rentals or even overnight accommodations. So if you’re curious, take a trip to one of these ancient places, and stay the night…if you dare!

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How to Fight a Health Insurance Denial

Fighting with health insurance companies has to be one of the most unsavory tasks around. When I worked in a cancer clinic, we had one woman whose sole job was to talk, negotiate, beg, and plead with insurance companies on behalf of our patients. It was never an easy fight, and one that most people have to do for themselves. Though it requires patience, attention to detail, and tenacity, taking the time to dispute a denial can really pay off. You just might win. A recent case in California brought against a managed care company found that 30 percent of medical claims were improperly denied; a study done by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that around 40 percent of disputed claims were approved. If you think your insurance company has wrongly denied a procedure, pursue it.

Before Denial.
Before an insurance denial, try to prevent one. Though the jargon is thick and the terms confusing, reviewing your health insurance plan to determine whether a procedure is covered or not can save you the headache of trying to be retroactively paid. If you are going in for a surgery or a pre-scheduled procedure, oftentimes your doctor’s office will obtain pre-authorization for you—but don’t leave it up to them. Call your insurance office or follow up with your doctor’s office to make sure you have insurance approval, and ask to have the approval information sent to you in writing.

Make Sure Your Claim is Valid.
When you receive a denial letter, either for a procedure that has yet to be performed or for a claim that has already been submitted, check with your plan to see if this procedure, drug, or treatment is explicitly covered or not. If your plan clearly indicates it will not cover this procedure, then you may have a hard time fighting the denial. However, if the procedure is not mentioned explicitly, or there is room for interpretation, then you may have a valid case.

Gather All of Your Paperwork.
Gather plan information, explanation of benefits, letter(s) of denial, doctor’s bills, referrals, and medical records. You may need to request a letter from your doctor to signify a treatment is medically necessary. Start a folder to keep paperwork in order and handy. Many insurance companies require that you dispute claims within a certain amount of time; having everything in one spot will help facilitate this.

Call Your Insurance Company for an Informal Appeal.
When you call, explain why you are challenging the denial. Make sure all the information on your denial was accurate (especially your diagnosis). Write down the name of the person you speak with, and ask for a date when you should expect to hear back from the person. Write this date on your calendar, and give them a call back if you haven’t heard from them by this date. Be sure to keep a log of all phone interactions with the insurance company (name of representative, date); this may be needed if you take legal action later.

Make a Formal Appeal.
If your informal appeal didn’t work, you’ll need to submit a formal appeal in writing. Most plans have guidelines as to how to do this and some have specific forms, but generally you will need to submit a letter requesting to have your claim looked at. Many plans require you do this within a limited period, so make sure this letter gets in before the appeal date closes. In your letter, you will definitely need to include basics like your contact and insurance information, description and dates of service, supplementary information about why the service should be covered, recommendations from doctors, and references to benefit packages that support covering service. Furthermore, if the procedure is standard of care for your treatment or is covered by law under Medicare, you may want to include this.

External Appeal.
If you are still not satisfied with your insurance company’s decision, you may appeal to an outside group. This is usually your state department of insurance. The laws vary widely by state (see state-by-state external review programs), but usually an independent body will review your case, and if they deem your treatment necessary, your insurance company will be required to cover it.

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Does the Human Brain Possess Potential “Super Powers”?

Brain_power_memory_2_3 A Daily Galaxy post last year, The Importance of Being Forgetful, featured the built-in neural process of forgetting, which discussed why the average human brain is equipped with the ability to filter through seemingly irrelevant details. While the average person may not have vast memory resources, it appears to be an evolutionary trade-off that allows the majority of us to focus on the most relevant facts.

However, some of the most incredible minds on Earth lack this ability to filter irrelevant facts, or perhaps it is more accurate to say that to a savant, the irrelevant IS relevant, and incredibly so. Somehow their brains are able to store and access incredible loads of information, even perceiving and relating to this information in an entirely different way.

Stephen Wiltshire is considered an autistic savant. He has an ability which can certainly be described as a “super power”. Sometimes referred to as the “human camera”, Wilshire has the unnerving ability to draw exact replicas of intricate structures, buildings and landscapes—virtually anything he lays eyes on—after a quick glance. Without taking notes or drawing rough sketches, Wiltshire methodically replicates what his eyes have seen down to the exact number of windows in tall skyscrapers.

While watching a video (see link below) of Stephen drawing Rome, it almost seems as if he is a character straight from NBC’s popular TV series Heroes—born with a superhuman ability. Like many other savants, Wiltshire’s mind is a mystery. He did not speak his first words, “pencil” and “paper” until he was five years old. Savants like Wiltshire seem to have been born fundamentally different.

Imagine being able to learn one of the most difficult languages on Earth, Icelandic, in just 7 days. Well known Savant, Daniel Tammet, makes is look easy. His extraordinary abilities are linked to synesthesia. He “feels” numbers in terms of texture, shape and color. Some scientists believe that the epileptic seizures he suffered as a small child, which nearly ended his life, somehow unlocked the door to an incredible ability that may be inherent in all humans.

Individuals have been known to develop extraordinary abilities much later in life, or after severe brain trauma. Alonzo Clemons, for example, developed an incredible talent, which appears to have emerged directly following a head injury as a child. He can see a fleeting image (on a television screen for example) of any animal, and in less than 20 minutes sculpt a perfect replica of that animal in three-dimensional accuracy. The wax animal is correct in each and every detail, down to each fiber and muscle.

Similarly, Orlando Serrell did not possess any unusual skills until he was struck by a baseball on the left side of his head on August 17, 1979 when he was ten years old. Serrell suffered from a long headache, but after the headache ended, Orlando inexplicably had the ability to perform calendrical calculations of amazing complexity. He can also recall details of his life, like the weather, where he was, and what he was doing every day since the day that baseball hit his head.

Because of cases like these, some scientists believe that the potential to express multiple super-abilities is a universal trait, but is obscured by the normal functioning intellect. In the case of some savants, it is believed that damage to the brain has somehow disrupted normal functioning and therefore allows the brain to express these incredible skills and abilities. Various researchers have noted how many “disabled” individuals are simultaneously “superabled” through some little understood phenomenon.

Mind expert Allan Snyder of the University of Sydney and director of Centre for the Mind, is certain that all people have these latent super abilities, but only some are able to express them through “malfunctions” of overriding brain functions.

"They are exceptional in that they can tap in and somehow we can't. They have privileged access," said Snyder.

So, if all of us have latent super-abilities, is it possible to activate them permanently, or at least periodically, without compromising normal brain functioning? Probably, say the Australian scientists who used transcranial magnetic stimulation to temporarily switch off the frontal temporal lobe of volunteers. Afterwards the subjects showed an immediate improvement in calendar calculating, naming the day of the week of any recent history event, and in their artistic abilities. Of course these were just the abilities tested. Scientists do not know all of the latent abilities that humans may possess.

It has been predicted that more advanced neurological studies may someday discover how to allow “Regular” people to tap into the incredible latent powers of their own mind, and thereby unleashing some of the “superhuman” potential in all of us.

Posted by Rebecca Sato.

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The Worst Artery Cloggers in America

We know that fast food isn’t good for us. But some restaurants have simply gone overboard with the amount of fat, salt, calories, and carbs they’ve managed to pack into a meal. Below are the worst of the worst.

Breakfast of Caloric Champions: Denny’s Smoked Sausage Slam

This is the meal to eat if you like pig products: two eggs scrambled with chopped bacon, diced ham, and crumbled sausage, then topped with cheddar cheese. All rounded out with two strips of bacon, two sausage links, hash browns, and two fluffy buttermilk pancakes. The amount of sodium in this pile of pig garbage is enough to last you two days … if you don’t die of a heart attack first.

A better bet: Two eggs, bacon, and toast. It ain’t health food, but it won’t be a day’s worth of calories either.

Worst Thing You Can Eat with a Spoon: KFC Mashed Potato Bowl

The KFC bowl is for those who can’t be bothered with a plate. It’s a tub filled with mashed potatoes, layered with sweet corn, and “loaded” with pieces of fried chicken. To add insult to injury, they dump “home-style” gravy and cheese on top. I have a feeling this thing comes out in your toilet bowl looking the exact same way it went in.

A better bet: avoid KFC altogether.

Worst Meal in Tin Foil: Chipotle Barbacoa Super Burrito

The other day my coworkers and I went to Chipotle. It was all shits and giggles while we were eating—“hey, pass the guac!” “want some more chips?!”—but then about an hour later, things went terribly wrong. Our stomachs hurt. Our mouths puckered. I drank about a gallon of water but couldn’t seem to quench my thirst. The bathroom stunk.

I think it’s ironic that Chipotle sponsors a biking team. No athlete would ever eat there.

A better bet: Cut the monster in half and share it.

Money Well Spent: Carl’s Jr. Bacon Cheese Six Dollar Burger

A day’s worth of fat in one meal—not bad for six bucks. Of course, if you eat this, you probably shouldn’t eat anything for the rest of the day.

A better bet: A regular Carl’s hamburger.

Worst Italian Offense: Pizza Hut Meat Lover’s Personal Pan Pizza

The “personal” in this title makes one assume you’re supposed to eat the whole thing yourself. And then you do. And people wonder why we have an obesity epidemic.

A better bet: Veggie Lover’s—it’s “only” 560 calories.

Just Wrong, Mate: Outback Steakhouse Aussie Cheese Fries

Are the Aussies trying to mock us by giving us something they know we could never possibly work off in one day? Even if you split this monster of a fat bomb with three friends—it’s still just a side dish, and you’d still be packing away almost one thousand calories each. That’d take about two hours of kangaroo chasing in the outback just to burn off. Problem is, we ain’t got no outback in the US of A.

A better bet: Share the cheese fries with ten people instead.

Worst Dessert: Outback’s Chocolate Thunder from Down Under

I don’t mean to pick on Outback (who now no longer posts their nutritional information), but what were they thinking with this name? It reminds me of what happens after you’ve eaten there, not something you’d like to end a meal with. To burn this off you’d have to run for over two hours. Hmm … an apple isn’t sounding so bad after all.

A better bet: I would never feed this to a child, but you could order the Spotted Dog Sundae off the kid’s menu, and split it with another adult. It has 730 calories and 27 grams of saturated fat; diet food compared to the Thunder.

Worst Mash-Up: Sonic Drive-in Fritos Chili Pie

940 calories for chili? Well, I guess if you make it with Fritos chips and throw in a piecrust, anything is possible.

A better bet: A bowl of chili—without the Fritos.

Worst Appetizer: Chili’s Awesome Blossom

Chili’s is all sorts of wrong. The one and only time I ate there, I almost dove over the table and made the waitress give me my money back, it was so bad. It’s clear now I was just in a salt and sugar-induced rage. Even with their crappy food laden with sodium, fat, and emulsifiers, you’ve got to admire them. How they turned a simple onion into a day’s worth of calories and three days worth of fat is a miracle of food science.

A better bet: Skip the appetizer. Your meal will most certainly contain more calories, fat, and carbs than you’ll need for a week or so.

Smallest Slice of Sin: Baker’s Square Chocolate Caramel Peanut Crunch Pie

A day’s worth of saturated fat in a slice of pie. Yowsers.

A better bet: Apple pie. At least there’s fruit in it.

Worst Hot Dog: Wienershnitzel Pastrami Dog

It’s scary to top a hot dog with pastrami; it’s even scarier to think there is someone in this world that eats it. (Though it has been years since I’ve seen a Wienershnitzel.)

A better bet: Turkey Mustard Dog—only has 240 calories, and no weird red meat hanging off the sides.

Worst Onion Ring: White Castle Home-Style Onion Rings

Rings are supposed to accompany a main meal, but this snack has enough calories and fat to hold its own. Though some major fast food chains have made the move to rid their food of trans fats, the type of fat that really has it in for your heart, White Castle apparently hasn’t—30 grams of the bad stuff.

A better bet: Take a white castle slider and throw it across a room. Those things fly!

Truly, this is the short list of bad items at America’s popular restaurants; the long list would encompass most of their menus. Eating at a Chili’s, Outback, or any big fast food or chain restaurant should come with some sort of warning sign, a prescription for high blood pressure medication, a membership at a gym, or at the very least, prominently displayed nutritional information. Now that would be hard to stomach.

(Info Sources:, Eat This, Not That by David Zinczenko)

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