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The John Alleman Reminder

     This is a sad blog of personal responsibility. reports that John Alleman has been taken off life support and pronounced dead at age 52.

     That sentence probably doesn’t mean much to you if you don’t know who he is. I didn’t, until I read the story. Then, I realized that it was a story that was predictable and probably preventable.


     John Alleman loved the Las Vegas restaurant, Heart Attack Grill. In fact, the restaurant had designed T-shirts and logos that featured him. He was their unofficial mascot and even  featured in a cartoon for the restaurant as “Patient Joe”.

Heart Attack Joe

    The nighttime construction worker was never a paid employee, but he became famous because of his love of their food and that he was always there to encourage everyone else to eat the unusual items on the menu.

     The restaurant’s menu includes  the 9,952 calorie Triple Bypass Burger; the Flatliner Fries and the Coronary Dog. The Flatliner Fries are deep fried in pure lard.  For dessert, you can order the Butter-fat Shake made from butter fat cream, vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavors. In fact, the burger is listed in the Guinness record books as the “most calorific burger” and the menu even warns customers against eating it more than once a month.

     Despite all the warnings including being featured as a patient because of the menu, John visited the restaurant to eat there every day. A while back, the local newspaper interviewed the restaurant’s manager. He was quoted as saying that he had told Alleman that, “if you keep eating like this, it’s going to kill ya.”

     Alleman is the second Heart Attack Grill spokesman to die. In 2011, 29-year-old  Blair River also died from a heart attack. Still, the restaurant encourages anyone that weighs more than 350 pounds to eat unlimited free food; as long as they agree to publicly weigh themselves on an electronic platform in front of  all the other diners.

     It is this kind of mentality that has explained why people smoke cigarettes, despite the warning on the side of the packet. “It’s not going to happen to me”. This story is a sad reminder. Instead, it will probably cause the restaurant to do more business, sell more t-shirts and cause them to make a bigger burger.  Shouldn’t the restaurant have some responsibility or is it just a case of  “you don’t have to eat here”.

     For pic o’ day, Amy M. sent me another funny:


Halloween and Nutrition Ads


     Candy Corn was created, or invented, (if there really is such a thing as “inventing” something that isn’t real) around 1880. George Rennigner of the Wunderlie Candy Company, now known as Jelly Belly Candy Co., came up with the concept that was primarily made from sugar, corn syrup (more sugar), artificial coloring and binders, to hold all that sweet stuff together!

     For the whole year, but mostly during October/November, Wikipedia reports that 9000 tons of candy corn are sold. Originally the candy was made by hand but now is made by machine. The “corn starch model” is still the same basic recipe.

     I really don’t want to think about the ingredients too much, since I have eaten some of those “corns” in my day. Now, I’m not such a big fan.

     I guess I’m glad that it’s not like Hollywood, where, when they find movie success with one Superhero;  Soon, we have every other movie with flying capes and Hero powers. Candy Corn might have led to Sweet Miniature Turnips or Bon Bon Broccoli.

     Across the nation, kids will be excited to receive bags of candy. Some parents will restrict the intake while others just let their kids have at it. Of course, kids have figured out how to sneak some of the candy past the parental inspectors anyway.

     Trick or Treat has never been a night for “Teriyaki Chicken on a stick” or “Roast Beef Newtons”. In a society where some kids just snag a Pop Tart for breakfast or nothing at all, I guess that nutrition is usually not in the vocabulary.

     I started thinking about Halloween and nutrition. When I googled it to see if any claims were really being made, I came across “7 Halloween Nutritiion Myths” that are worth considering. It’s a reminder that,  just because an advertisement or label says it, doesn’t necessarily make it worthwhile. 

     I’ve listed the 7 Myths below. The article gives more detail and is worth considering:

     Myth 1: Always Go Low or Non-Fat. This myth reminds that such a label may mean that there’s really more sugar or calories.

     Myth 2: Bite Size is best. Not necessarily so because it may just send off a binge where bite size leads to bag size, and the nutrition listing for the “fun size” bars are may still be prepared with hydrogenated fats, refined sugars and other saturated fats.

     Myth 3: Sugar-Free means healthy. Sugar substitutes can be just as bad and “Sugar-free does not mean fat-free”.

     Myth 4: Always Go Natural.  One example…. Potato Chips may be made from real potatoes but still be fried. “100% natural can be misleading”.

     Myth 5: Candy with Fruit and Nuts is Healthier. A reminder that Chocolate covered raisins or peanuts are still candy.

     Myth 6: Chewy, Fruity Candy is Fat-Free. Gives examples on why it might not be so and that you have to check labels for preparation.

     Myth 7: Dark Chocolate is Always Your Best Bet: Among the article discussion is that 1 oz. of chocolate is 150 Calories. Not many people are eating one ounce of chocoate and stopping.

     Now, I dig deep to the B&W photo days for a regal costumed dressed up cat for pic o’ day.


The Hot Dog Danger

     I was looking for a picture of a hot dog and got distracted. I landed on Big Foot instead of a footlong, Of course, we all know that we really don’t know what we are getting, when we are eating a hot dog.

     I remember being about 10 and being excited about hot dog night at the baseball park. We would go see the Tides in Norfolk; Some baseball and some free hot dogs.

     It was all you could eat. At the age of 10, you take it seriously. It becomes “all you CAN eat”. Plus, the hot dogs made you laugh because the food coloring would come right off in the bun. And, you would even have some shade of red/orange on the lips.

     Unfortunately, we  know that,  just as Big Foot is not a foot long hot dog; a hot dog is really not something that any of us should really be eating very often.

     Now there are advocacy groups that are trying to bring attention to the dangers of hot dogs. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is putting up billboards to publicize the health risks of hot dogs. 

     Another non-profit group has filed suit in New Jersey,  to ask a Judge to require hot dog companies in New Jersey, to include warnings on the sides of hot dog packs. The warning would include that hot dogs increase the risk of cancer.

     The American Institute of Cancer Research has done studies that show that consuming 50-grams of processed meat each day, increases colorectal cancer by 21%.  Most hot dogs are about 50-grams of processed meat.

     Additionally, studies have also connected processed meats to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and other types of cancer. Processed meat consumption by children has shown connection to leukemia, ovarian cancer and even an early development of type 2 diabetes..

     Maybe if we didn’t see a hot dog as a friend named Oscar Meyer; or maybe if the package came with a warning that it caused cancer, it might make us think differently at the next cookout or that quick meal at night.

     It’s a  nutritional issue. Should food manufacturers be required to identify the  risks of what they make?  Or,  should government stay out of legislating what parents should feed their kids?

     It’s not just fat grams or sodium; These studies are connecting serious illnesses.

Jolly Rancher Law Breakers

     Apparently, you have to keep an eye on those who have a craving for Jolly Rancher candy. I wasn’t aware that these sweet items are such a law breaking temptation. Do we need a “Just Say No” campaign. The following two stories show us what happens when there is zero tolerance.

     Last month in Houston, a toolbox was delivered to a prison. Not surprisingly, it went through the x-ray security.  Packed away was five ounces of marijuana, chewing tobacco, five grams of Methamphetamine, 139 ecstasy pills and two bags of Jolly Ranchers. Now, initially when I saw this story, I didn’t think that it warranted a blog.

     Sure, that “crazy” who thought that when the tool box was delivered,  it would just be taken to cell block C, probably shouldn’t be running with scissors. Are sharp tools normally just allowed “back there”? It doesn’t seem like that in the movies. Plus, who is doing Ecstasy takeout  these days, but I digress.  Anyway, I let that first Jolly Rancher story slide, until I saw another Jolly Rancher sighting.

     Third-Grader Leighann Adair has been busted for Jolly Rancher possession and given a week long suspension.  According to the news story and video, the suspension stems from the violation of state nutrition guidelines. Apparently, she wasn’t allowed to bring those to lunch.

     The story asks the blinking question, “what is the big deal with Jolly Ranchers”. They are made in Canada;  A serving size is three pieces;  and they have a multitude of different flavors including blueberry. Plus, this outlaw 3rd grader named Adair, only had one piece on her when she was discovered to be violating the nutrition guidelines. I suspect those other two pieces might still be out there.

     Apparently, this is one issue that has been flying under the radar. I just learned that one inmate on death row, requested a last meal of Jolly Ranchers. He did insist that they all be green. I don’t think I’ll be tempted to break any of these laws, since I don’t really have a craving for these pesky sugar cubes. I just hope that no legislator turns attention to red licorice.

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