#330 Ghoulish Foods!

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I see my face in the mirror and go, 'I'm a Halloween costume?
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8 Horrible, Disgusting, and Just Plain Scary Foods

By Cecilia H. Lee

Just in time for Halloween, we've rounded up a bunch of foods that frighten us. Some retro foods look monstrous, while some of the latest culinary concoctions just sound plain ghastly, and still others make you turn away in disgust. Here are some of our favorite dining horrors, which are not for the faint of heart.

We've rated the scary food on a scale of 1 to 10 for general unhealthiness and disgustingness (10 being the most unhealthy or most disgusting).

Chocolate-Covered Bacon, Bacon, and Bacon Milkshake

  1. Things that shouldn't be paired with bacon. Don't know whose idea it was to combine pork bits and dairy, but rabbis everywhere are just shuddering at the thought. Bacon started as a way for farmers to sell the fattiest portions of their pigs, which were literally thrown to the dogs. Due to some smart marketing in the 1920s, bacon became a staple food in American homes, as a popular side to morning eggs. Since then, they've been putting bacon in nearly everything, including the latest culinary adventure: chocolate-covered bacon. But I think bacon milkshakes are taking the whole bacon thing a step too far in the wrong direction. Besides, that's like a heart attack just waiting to happen. Unhealthy: 10, Disgusting: 3

  2. Any salad that hides fruit in whipped mounds of white. Originating somewhere in the South, ambrosia salad first began appearing in American cookbooks at the end of the 19th century. It's usually made with canned pineapple, canned mandarin oranges, maraschino cherries, shredded coconut, sour cream, and whipped topping. The funny thing is the original versions were made with fresh fruit and just a sprinkle of sugar on top. Drowning all that fruit in sour cream, whipped topping, or mayonnaise became a custom during the 1950s, when many other questionable foods made their way into restaurants, cookbooks, and Susie Homemaker's kitchen. Unhealthy: 8, Disgusting: 3

  3. Gelatin Molded FishGelatin molded fish. Again, as a child of the 50s, I remember that people would take a perfectly fine fish and create salmon mousse, trout molds, or tuna gelatin. Who thought it would be a good idea to take fish, mix it with gelatin, and shape it into a mold, fish-shaped or otherwise? One of the worst combinations of this group is borscht and gefilte fish. Gefilte fish is bad enough, but to combine it with borscht and gelatin seems like a laboratory experiment gone awry. Unhealthy: 3, Disgusting: 4

  4. Frankenfoods. Speaking of scientific experiments, engineers at seed supplier companies and biotech companies have been tinkering with the genetic makeup of food for some time. The most frightening part of this is that it's unregulated by the government (and look at what happened to the lack of regulation in the financial sector). Now, these genetically modified foods have infiltrated over a third of our food supply. Sure, they can grow stronger and more portable tomatoes, but we shouldn't have to worry about salmonella on our fruits and vegetables. Dr. Frankenstein would be proud, but remember what happened to the monster in the end. Unhealthy: 9, Disgusting: 9

  5. Rocky Mountain OystersSome parts of animals that just shouldn't be eaten. On top of this list are Rocky Mountain oysters, a regional delicacy, which are deep-fried bull testicles served as a "novelty" appetizer in restaurants. Sometimes called prairie oysters or calf fries (when the parts have come from a young calf), we're not sure if you'd want to eat a dish that some describe as "not completely inedible"—not a resounding recommendation by any measure. Unhealthy: 5, Disgusting: 10

  6. More questionable animal parts. Practically every culture has some traditional dish made from the innards of animals. Although I respect using all the parts of an animal once it is slaughtered, some parts are still difficult to stomach, so to speak. Koreans have their fish intestine soup. Mexicans enjoy their menudo, made with tripe, and chorizo sausages, made with various meat cuts, including lips, lymph nodes, and salivary glands. The British take all manner of animal parts and bake them in a pie. But one of the worst for those with weak stomachs is the Filipino diniguan. Sometimes called "chocolate soup or stew," it's a blood soup made with bits of leftover roasted pig. All the fun parts like the lungs, intestines, liver, and stomach are cooked up with the congealed blood—a veritable feast for zombies! Unhealthy: 4, Disgusting: 6

  7. Roasted TarantulaCreepy crawlies on your plate. Some people might have had a bit of fried alligator or even enjoyed a bit of barbecued rattlesnake. But would you want to have a bite of roasted iguana or other freshly caught lizard? How about a tarantula that's been roasted over a fire? Of course, entomophagy (the practice of eating insects) has been going on for centuries, but you won't find me digging into a jar of pickled black scorpions anytime soon. Unhealthy: 2, Disgusting: 9

  8. Animal parts in jars. Evoking bad memories of high school biology, something about pickled pigs' feet, pickled ox tongue, and other animal parts suspended in a liquid reminds me of bad experiments, natural history museum displays, and serial killers. Maybe it's the way the liquid magnifies the texture of the animal, or the way the parts have to be squeezed into the jar. Whatever the case, I won't be picking one up for dinner, for sure. Unhealthy: 4, Disgusting: 5

We hope you enjoyed this foray into the revealing world of scary foods. We hope we didn't frighten you too much. Happy Haunting!

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"8 Misleading Fitness 'Facts'"
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Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this Thursday, October 30th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT in the Beachbody Chatroom!

Cecilia H. LeeIf you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Beating the Holiday Boos:
Beachbody's Guide to a Healthy Halloween

By Denis Faye

Halloween kind of sneaks up on you, doesn't it? One minute you're fretting over how to eat healthy during the upcoming holidays. Then, suddenly, BANG! It's late at night on October 31st, and you're dressed as a giant M&M and going through your kid's trick-or-treat booty looking for a little treat before bed. They're just little Snickers—you can eat three or four guilt-free, right? Wrong. You may be putting your P90X®, Turbo Jam®, or Hip Hop Abs® results at risk if you keep indulging in that hard-to-resist booty. Oh, the shame.

Candy Corn, Snickers, Carved Pumpkins, Lollipops, and M&Ms

Well, okay, so maybe that exact thing hasn't happened to you, but something close to it has, surely. So what's a giant M&M to do? As usual, Beachbody® has come up with a few suggestions.

Candy ain't that dandy

Candy CornInstead of trick-or-treating . . . How tough do you want to be on your youngsters? Trick-or-treating is right up there with Easter egg hunts and Santa Claus visits for most kids. Deny them that pleasure, and you might have a revolution on your hands. But if you must, try replacing candy gathering with a trip to an age-appropriate haunted house or some other community event. Then you can stop somewhere for ice cream on the way home. No, ice cream isn't good for you, but it's much better than a giant bag of candy (that can last for weeks!), and it keeps your brood from feeling cheated.

Eat a healthy dinner. If you decide to allow trick-or-treating, the first thing to do is to make sure kids hit the sidewalk with a big, healthy dinner in their bellies. This can inhibit urges to sample the loot en route. When the kids get home, insist they turn over the goods. Then, you can dole it back out to them a few treats at a time over the next few weeks.

Throw out half the treats. If you really want to get Machiavellian about it, once your kid hits the hay, throw half of his or her candy away. Your kid will never know the difference.

Haunted HouseLead by example. Just because your neighbors are handing out sugary junk doesn't mean you need to. Although we live in an age when giving out homemade snacks or fruit is frowned upon, your local discount shop should have all kinds of cool little doodads that any kid would be happy to have, from crayons to rubber spacemen to our favorite, Chinese finger traps.

Customize your costume

Trick-or-treating is dandy, but for many, Halloween is a chance to let their hair down and recognize the night for the pagan bacchanalia it was meant to be. It's a chance to put on a mask and be someone you're not.

CostumeIt's all in the outfit. It's all about the costume, man. So the first thing we advise is that you throw out that aforementioned M&M outfit. You've been working out all year! You've got a fit body now so don't hide it! America needs fewer M&Ms and more shirtless barbarians and cheerleaders!

Prop it up. While you're designing your costume, think props. Idle hands are the snacker's worst enemy. If you're a naughty devil carrying around a pitchfork all night, it's a lot harder to get your hands on those nachos. The same goes for masks. There's no way around it; you're going to eat and drink less if you wear a gorilla mask.

With a few simple shifts in thinking and a little planning, Halloween can be turned into a pretty healthy holiday. If you can get by all those candied apples and individually wrapped snacks without gorging, congratulations. Thanksgiving is going to be a snap!

Related Articles
"Best and Worst Halloween Treats"
"6 Foods with Hidden Sugar"
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Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this Thursday, October 30th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT in the Beachbody Chatroom!

Denis FayeIf you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Test Your Helpful Creepy-Crawly Creatures IQ!

By Carla Lord

They sting, they bite, and, well, they just creep a lot of us out! But sometimes, insects and other critters can be beneficial to our health and lives, and even fashion (after all, we'd have no silk without silkworms). Test your wits on these helpful creepy-crawlies in medicine.

  1. MaggotWhat larvae have been found to be helpful in removing gangrene? The fly larvae, or maggots, can actually kill harmful bacteria. As we know, they eat dead tissue, and even field doctors during the Civil War used them to treat wounds. In fact, a study started in the late 1980s showed that maggots cleaned infected wounds better than other nonsurgical treatments. And, to top it all off, the maggot treatment appears to help the wounds heal faster, too! There's even a more clinical name for the maggot treatment—maggot debridement therapy, or MDT.

  2. What insect's sting is being studied for purportedly relieving symptoms of arthritis and multiple sclerosis? The bee (honeybees in particular). Apitherapy (the medical use of honey bee products) is still primarily considered more anecdotal than scientific. From pollination to beeswax to royal jelly to delicious honey, bees are truly man's best friend in the insect world. That's why their recent mysterious disappearances have rung a global alarm. The main active "ingredient" in bee venom is mellitin, which is an anti-inflammatory agent that's considered to be 100 times more powerful than hydrocortisone. Before you run out to get bee-sting therapy, however, make sure you're not allergic first!

  3. LeechesWhich parasitic creature, once used quite popularly, is still being used in medicine? The leech. History shows that the first usage of leeches in medicine occurred about 2,500 years ago in Egypt; since medieval times, people have used leeches for everything from stomachaches to headaches to draining "impure blood" and curing illnesses. Nowadays, they're making a resurgence: they reduce blood coagulation (which can help prevent strokes and heart attacks) and stimulate circulation (helpful after reattachment surgeries and in the distribution of local anesthetics in the bloodstream), and are even being used to treat varicose conditions.

  4. What creature's venom is being tested for possibly slowing the growth of cancerous tumors? Snakes . . . Why did it have to be snakes? They may be no friends to Indiana Jones, but recent studies have shown that there's a compound in snake venom that causes certain types of cells to separate from each other, and when they do, they die—which can be very beneficial when applied to cancerous cells. And, of course, snake venom is also used to create antivenom, which helps save the lives of snakebite victims.

  5. Fruit FlyWhich insect is one of the most commonly used "model organisms"? Drosophilia melanogaster, or the common fruit fly. A model organism is a species that's widely used in research on the causes and treatments of diseases that affect other species, particularly humans. The fruit fly has been helpful in studies in genetics and heredity, physiology, and even life history evolution! Thomas Hunt Morgan won the 1933 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discoveries in the relationship between chromosomes and genes with the help of these winged creatures. Recent research at Queen's University in Canada has shown the fruit fly to be helpful in the way birth defects are studied.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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