Editor's note: Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist, is vice chairwoman for voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee. She is a nationally syndicated columnist, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and author of "Cooking With Grease: Stirring the Pots in America." She was manager for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
It's been a long time. A very long time. But I cannot forget my first school lunch.
Call it free or call it charity, but it was a good meal that provided me, and so many others, with sustenance that made our school days more delightful. Our meals honored the traditions of the time - red beans and rice with smoked sausage, bread and perhaps dessert. And of course every Friday we had fish sticks, potato salad or French fries.
We've come a long way since then. Today, most public school children get perfectly balanced meals. School chefs use food selected to provide maximum nutrition, food that will enhance a student's well-being and learning abilities. Their standards come from federal nutrition experts in the U.S. Department of Agriculture who survey what important foods are missing from children's diets.
Most people choose artificially-sweetened soda over regular soda to avoid packing on extra pounds. But what if you already choose diet? Would it be helpful to quit that too?
Dr. Jim Hill says he gets this question all the time from patients in his weight loss program at the University of Colorado's Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.
With funding from the American Beverage Association, Hill helped design a study that divided approximately 300 adults into two groups: One group would continue drinking diet, and the other group - referred to in the study as the "water group" - would go cold turkey. The study was published in the journal Obesity.
Both participant groups received intensive coaching on successful techniques for weight loss, including regular feedback on the meals they logged in journals.
"The results, to us, were not at all surprising," says Hill.
Eating a high-protein diet in middle age could increase your risk of diabetes and cancer, according to a study published this week in the journal Cell Metabolism. But don't stay away from meat for too long – the same study showed those over 65 need more protein to reduce their mortality risk.
Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
Happy This Year! If, like me, you’ve already broken a few of your resolutions, you might be done with new diets in 2014.
If, however, your will to lose weight is stronger than ever, US News & World Report has some helpful intel. It ranked 32 current diets for effectiveness and simplicity, naming the DASH Diet (developed to fight high blood pressure; the focus is on fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy) and the TLC Diet (focusing on increasing fiber intake and cutting back on saturated fat) as the winners.
Tied at the bottom of the list are the Dukan Diet (the super-strict high-protein diet that claims you’ll lose 10 pounds in the first week) and the Paleo Diet (followers eat like cavemen: lots of meat, fish and vegetables; not a lot of refined sugar, beans, grains).
And then there are a few new weight loss plans that somehow missed the rankings, like the Mushroom Diet and the God Diet. Read on to learn how to lose weight according to the Old Testament.
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