Wellbody Blog

At Professor Wellbody's Academy of Health & Wellness, we understand there's only one thing harder than making healthy behavior changes: Sticking to them! We all need a little help from our friends, and that's the purpose of the Wellbody Blog, a friendly online gathering spot--a community well--where you can dip into health news; wellness tips; recipes; latest research about nutrition, exercise, sleep and hygiene; plus, real stories from virtual neighbors who are also trying to change their lives for the better. Start from wherever you are; share ideas, information, inspiration. At Pacific Science Center, we believe each of us can do something everyday to improve our health and well-being.

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Speaking of cravings and junk food, this simple recipe for kale chips is so delicious, so addictive, it elevates the bliss point of this nutritional superstar to the level of Cheetos.

KaleFirst, there's a satisfying crunch and tingle of salt. Then, the delicate green web of crisped chlorophyll melts in your mouth, spreading a warm glow across the tongue. Excellent with drinks; apple cider for the kids. Even children who won't touch other green vegetables will scarf down a bowl of kale chips.

Kale, in the Brassica family along with cabbage, collards and broccoli, is packed with antioxidant vitamins A, C and K – and sulphur-containing phytonutrients. One cup of kale contains 36 calories, five grams of fiber, 15 percent of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40 percent of magnesium, 180 percent of vitamin A, 200 percent of vitamin C, and 1,020 percent of vitamin K. It is also a good source of copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

(The other primary ingredient, olive oil, is a vital component of the heart healthy Mediterranean Diet. Stay tuned for more about olive oil in upcoming posts.)

Yes, you can purchase a modest-sized bag of kale chips at the store for $5.79. Or, you can buy (or harvest) a bunch of the greens and make double the amount of kale chips for half the price. Bonus: just-out-of-the-oven aroma and warmth. Tip: Watch the kale chips carefully in the oven because they progress slowly from limp and wet to perfectly crisp and green (a short sweet spot) before quickly blackening.

Kale comes in curly, ornamental, green, purple and dinosaur varieties and can be grown all year round in the Seattle area.

Visit Wellbody Academy's Cafedium to play Apple A Day, an interactive, razzle-dazzle game that uses a Vegas-style slot machine to teach what foods have which nutrients and how those nutrients help your body.

Call for recipes! Share your favorite healthy recipes and wellness tips with the Wellbody Blog by emailing professorwellbody@pacsci.org. Thanks!

Cheetos, Dr. Pepper, potato chips . . . Ever wonder why we crave junk foods that add excessive sodium, sugar and fat to our bodies but little nutritional value?

junk food

This extensive report by Michael Moss on The Extraordinary Science of Junk Food in the New York Times Sunday Magazine delves into the laboratories and masterminds behind our guilty food pleasures to reveal the "bliss point" that helps food companies create the greatest amount of crave; the sociology underlying skipped meals and high-sodium Lunchables; and the whopping two teaspoons of sugar in a mere half-cup of Prego spaghetti sauce.

In an era when one in three adults is considered clinically obese, along with one in five kids, and 24 million Americans are afflicted by type 2 diabetes, often caused by poor diet, with another 79 million people having pre-diabetes . . . this is definitely worth a read.

Visit Wellbody Academy's Cafedium to play with hands-on gadgets that teach about nutrition and while you're here, check out the Influence Decoder in Wellbody Hall to learn more about how food industry marketing can impact our dietary choices. For example: Did you know that every year, the food industry spends more than $700 million marketing to children younger than 11 (mostly carbonated beverages, breakfast cereals and fast food restaurants) and that children ages 8 – 12 are exposed to an average 83 product advertisements a day?