Organic sushi: A balanced meal for the health-conscious

A balanced healthy mealBy: Marina Ignatyeva

Health-conscious food lovers face a constant dilemma: how to balance their love for food with healthy eating that would not result in weight gain. A delicious solution is organic sushi.

Sushi is a culinary work of art that usually consists of rice, vegetables, fish or seafood, and nori seaweed that holds this all together. Some sushi rolls also contain sauces, which add flavor and spiciness to the roll.

The beauty of sushi is just how customizable it is. If one is concerned about eating too many carbs, one can choose to get sushi made out of brown rice instead of white rice or jasmine rice, both of which are much higher on the calorie scale. People can choose to get their sushi rolls lightly cooked in tempura batter, or avoid this crispy goodness and the calories from fat that come with it. Or they can choose to get sushi rolls with tempura-fried shrimp or vegetables, so that only a small portion of the roll is crispy, reducing the guilt of eating unhealthily. Customers can order rolls with cream cheese, or opt out from consuming this melty goodness. The types of vegetables used are different for each type of roll, as well as the types of fish and seafood used. If the consumer wants to opt out from eating any fish, they can always find vegetarian sushi.

The biggest concern that most people have with sushi is how expensive sushi can be. Most sushi houses and modern sushi bars use wild caught fish and organic ingredients. (For those who want to be absolutely sure of how organic their sushi is, Wholefoods has amazing sushi bars.) In Seattle, it is easy to find traditional sushi houses that make whole rolls for an inexpensive price, as long as they are not too fancy and if it is happy hour. Modern-style sushi bars with conveyer belt serving system occasionally also have reduced prices during certain hours, or choose to sell sushi pieces with farm-grown fish, which cost less. For example, Oto Sushi ( is a traditional-style sushi house that sells whole rolls for as cheap as $4.99 during their lunch special. Conveyer belt modern restaurant AA Sushi ( also has reduced prices on their plates during lunch hours. Blue C Sushi  ( sells rolls with farmed salmon, which is less expensive than wild salmon or a different type of fish.

Organic sushi with brown rice is very nutritious and delicious. If eaten with a bowl of miso soup, a light healthy Japanese soup. it makes a balanced meal that does not induce bloating while filling the eater up. This is a perfect meal for the health0conscious consumer!

Disney to Fight Against Childhood Obesity by Banning Junk-Food Ads

Written by: Kristiina Yang

Iger and Obama pose with Mickey Mouse

Disney CEO Robert Iger and First Lady Michelle Obama present new initiative together at June 5 press conference.

In an effort to combat America’s escalating childhood obesity problem, the Walt Disney Company, together with First Lady Michelle Obama, announced on June 5 its plan to remove junk-food advertising from its kids’ programming by 2015.

This initiative, presented by Disney CEO Robert Iger at the Newseum in Washington, will require companies advertising food and drinks to meet a set of nutrition standards in accordance with the government’s dietary guidelines. By 2015, when the full ban is slated to be in place, such companies must either reformulate their products or they will be cut off from advertising on all of Disney’s programming.

Disney is a wide-reaching and influential media company, including amongst its many divisions, a leading film studio, the ABC broadcast network, and multiple cable channels. The ban on junk-food advertising will primarily apply to its programming for children, which accounts for millions of dollars of revenue for the company each year.

While this initiative may represent a loss of money for Disney, it is not expected to be a significant amount relative to the company’s total operations. This small cost is seen as a smart business move for the positive publicity that this initiative will afford the company.

When a food or drink product meets Disney’s nutrition standards, it will receive a Mickey Check, a symbol also newly introduced as a part of Tuesday’s announcement. Additionally, Disney plans to revamp its menu items and offer more fruit and vegetable options at its domestic theme parks by next year.

Mickey Check

Food and drink items will receive a Mickey Check when they meet Disney's nutrition standards.

Disney is being lauded for its acknowledgement of media’s heavy influence on children, particularly in junk-food advertising, as well as, its commitment to battling childhood obesity. Such was the draw for Michelle Obama’s involvement, who has made fighting childhood obesity a cornerstone of her time in office.

In her statement at the press conference, Obama praised Disney remarking, “This is a major American company, a global brand, that is literally changing the way it does business so that our kids can lead healthier lives. With this new initiative Disney is doing what no major media company has done before in the United States and what I hope every company will do going forward.”

This initiative is the first time that a wide-scale media company is taking control of what food products are being advertised to children. Some believe that with this ban, Disney may completely change the landscape of food marketing toward children with other stations such as Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network anticipated to take notice and act accordingly.

Revamped Food Pyramid to Make Americans Eat Healthier

In June the United States Department of Food and Agriculture released a new version of the food pyramid in the form of a plate guideline to help Americans make healthy choices when deciding what to eat.

The latest version, called MyPlate, features a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, with less of an emphasis on proteins and grains. Instead of the original food pyramid which provided daily recommended servings of grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, protein, and sweets, the new design shows a plate divided into four portions with a small optional side dish. One half of the plate is dedicated to equal portions of fruit and vegetables, while the other half contains one portion of protein and another portion of grains, with the optional side dish being a serving of dairy.

The new initiative was backed strongly by the Obama family, who have launched several other programs to encourage children, as well as adults, to engage in physical activity and make healthy choices. The hope is that the unveiling of a new program will remind Americans what healthy eating means by capturing their attention which may have wandered over the years. Also, the newer guidelines explain how to lay out a healthy plate at each meal, whereas the older pyramid gave vague suggestions to be followed throughout the day.

Perhaps the biggest change between the two, other than the obvious format transformation, is the movement towards an emphasis on fruits and vegetables and less of a focus on grains which previously formed the base of the pyramid with the largest recommended servings per day. While carbohydrates should remain a vital component of every diet because they are the basic building blocks for energy and brain power, the new program changes up the main source of carbohydrates from grains to fruits and vegetables. This not only will help to reduce the number of calories consumed, but also provides a greater amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in addition to the numerous other health benefits associated with higher intakes of fruit and vegetables.

The new image and guidelines themselves will not automatically solve all of the problems related to food intake like obesity and high blood pressure, the USDA hopes that they will be combined with portion control and physical activity to create healthier lifestyles for all Americans.

Organic? Low-Fat? Nutritious? LA Students Say: No, Thanks

meals from the new LAUSD lunch program

Pre-packaged foods of the revolution

Written by: Holly Troupe

In the spring of 2011, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and his team marched into the LAUSD with the purpose of remodeling the school lunch program only to have his cameras publicly rebuffed. The district was revamping the menu on its own, representatives said, with the goal of exceeding the health standards set forth by the U.S.D.A. Eight months later, students unanimously reject the healthy alternatives, and huge quantities of the foods are being thrown out untouched.

Officials are startled by the reaction. Taste tests of the new menu items yielded mainly positive, even enthusiastic results. But according to Seth Nickinson, a member of the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation who attended the tasting, there were issues from the start. “One of my biggest frustrations was the packaging,” he wrote on the blog. “Everything from LAUSD comes pre-packaged with cellophane tops. Not only is it a constant reminder that LAUSD meals, produced in such high volume, aren’t ‘fresh,’ but it can be hard to see through the package.”

The un-fresh, pre-packaged nature of the meals was one of the students’ biggest complaints. Salads dated Oct. 7 were distributed Oct. 17, according to Van Nuys Highschool Principal Judith Vanderbok. In a letter-writing campaign to First Lady Michelle Obama, Van Nuys students spoke of undercooked meat, hard rice and finding mold on the food.

The unified disapproval of the lunches has also spurred a disheartening consequence: a junk-food black market. Teachers and other school officers have been selling candy, instant noodles and chips to hungry students. Van Nuys student Iraides Renteria subsists solely on Cheetos and sodas during the school day. “This is our daily lunch,” she said. “We’re eating more junk food now than last year.” “It’s like prohibition,” said Vanderbok.

The menu also may have proved to be too exotic for the tastes of the school children. Where lunches previously consisted of pizza, burgers and tater tots, the new fare is more worldly items like quinoa salad, black bean burgers, pad Thai and beef jambalaya. “It’s not going over well; I have a lot of waste,” Principal Scott Schmerelson of Johhny L. Cochran Jr. Middle School said. “They don’t want the weird things. They want down-home comfort food.”

The district announced this month that the school menu would be revised. Some of the items will remain—the salads and vegetable tamales—while others will be re-worked or eliminated. Foods more familiar to students would be brought back, like burgers and pizza, but with low-fat and whole grain ingredients. According to food services deputy director David Binkle, “We’re trying to put healthier foods in place and make food kids like, and that’s a challenge, but we want to be responsive and listen and learn.”