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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Contest: The Best "Better" Burger

256px-Veggie burger miikkahoo flickr creative commonsNow that summer’s almost here, let’s talk burgers.

Mushroom and grain cheeseburgers. Sweet-potato burgers oozing with caramelized onions. Curried burgers with tangy yogurt and a zing of ginger. 

To be honest, we also love juicy beef burgers sizzled on the grill until they’re charred and smoky to the bite. Trouble is, seared meat causes cancer. Scientists have known about the link between dangerous heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and grilled meats for a few years. But recently, to add fuel to the fire, new studies show that diets high in animal proteins, no matter how the animal protein is cooked, also significantly increase cancer risk.

(Keep reading for luscious healthy burger recipes and "Better Burger" contest info!)

Photo by Miikkahoo

How much of an increase? Boomers (aged 50 – 65) who eat high-protein diets are four times more likely to die of cancer than those who eat low-protein diets, researchers found, and 75% more likely to die from any cause.

How much animal protein is too much? A 150-pound person should aim for 54 grams of protein per day. For context, a quarter-pound hamburger has about 29 grams of animal protein; bacon double cheeseburgers, 55 grams. And that doesn’t take into account all the fat and sodium—not to mention the cravings sparked by aforementioned fat and sodium.

Fries, anyone?

Which is why we need to get serious about veggie burgers. Forget dry, beige patties. Instead, envision gourmet grains, luscious roasted red peppers, fragrant spices, silky olive oil.

Best Better Burger Contest

Wellbody Blog craves healthy burger recipes that rival the flavor of charbroiled sizzlers, but with less char and more veggies. Email recipes to discover@pacsci.org; we’ll share them in a future post and award prizes.

Until then, here are a few recipes for starters.

This one, from the Food Network, has a lengthy ingredient list including Hungarian paprika which adds a complex, smoky charred vibe without the cancer risk. Allrecipes offers a popular and simple, black bean burger recipe with enough structural integrity to survive grilling. It can also go gluten-free if you subsitute a gluten-free grain or rolled oats for the bread crumbs. Tip: strain or blot the black beans and the onion mixture to get rid of excess liquid before you mix. 

The New York Times  recently offered a bonanza of Summer Burgers, Hold the Meat which you'll want to check out if you’re intrigued by mushroom and farro burgers, potato and broccoli burgers, potato and pea patties revved up with Indian spices or Mediterranean burgers with feta, mint, sweet potato, and spinach.

This batch of burger recipes, from 2012, includes beet, rice and goat cheese burgers; curried lentil and carrot burgers; quinoa and greens burgers; Asian burgers heavy on veggies; barley, mushroom and cheeseburgers.

Enjoy! And don’t forget to share your recipes and successful experiments with Wellbody Blog by emailing discover@pacsci.org.

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Guest Thursday, 02 October 2014