Starbucks disciples, take a seat and perk up your ears. Big changes are afoot in your favourite chain, and you may not like them. The Canadian president Rossann Williams has let slip that Starbucks will start serving an evening menu that will include (brace yourself) wine, beer, and tapas.
Before you panic, pause for a moment to consider that 60 per cent of Starbucks clientele is made up of women, who face a genuine shortage of evening venues. Think about it. Where else can you turn when you want to enjoy a quiet glass of wine and conversation with a girlfriend? When contemplating a local book club venue recently, my friends and I were met with a depressing dearth of options that didn't involve us having to shout over Hockey Night in Canada.
I was reminded of that Paula Cole song from years ago: Where have all the unpretentious wine bars gone?
The idea of noshing on some shared flatbreads, olives, nuts and cheese, paired with an affordable wine may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of your beloved Starbucks. That doesn't mean it's an unwelcome concept, though. Starbucks by day could look one way—in the evening, another.
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More and more businesses are having to think out of their coffee cup. Starbucks hasn't gone unscathed, with its coffee sales reportedly flat lining. Let's face it, with the Tim's takeover and so many of our favourite companies going under, evolution is sometimes a necessary evil.
Some new menu items will be rolled out in Ontario and B.C. as early as March. Other, less controversial changes—including carbonated summer drinks and 401 drive-thrus—are also on the horizon.
With McDonald's elbowing into the coffee market, Starbucks has had to up its food game. From next month, locally sourced pastries from bakery La Boulange will make a welcome appearance. I say "welcome" because I've lost track of how many times I've been let down by stale Starbucks snacks.
So far, the changes have been positive in the U.S., with a 15 per cent jump in sales. Will loyal Canadians be so receptive to the Starbucks evolution? It remains to be seen.
You tell me: How do you feel about the changes brewing at Starbucks?
Image Source: WikiCommons
New day, new health/diet celebrity diet. This latest comes from Beyonce, whose 22-day dalliance with veganism in 2013 has naturally evolved into a money-making scheme for her business partner turned personal trainer turned "exercise physiologist" (whatever the hell that is), Marco Borges.
It's called 22 Days Nutrition, and the meatless meal plan is guaranteed in 22 days to suck the money out of your wallet and leave you penniless, picking kale out of your teeth for all of eternity.
Don't get me wrong, Borges's - and by extension Bey's - healthful lifestyle is perfectly admirable. But it's maybe not for you. And it's not for me.
Rightly or wrongly, we constantly look to celebrities for cues on how to eat and exercise and generally look fabulous all the time, which in itself is a fallacy. After all, these people have hired help—chefs, trainers, all manner of assistants to help them walk and chew gum—so in essence, what they are selling is a product we can't buy. Not least of which, said product is largely based on wacky, what-have-you-been-smoking pseudo-science with no tangible medical or nutritional evidence. (You know where you can put that steam, Gwynie...)
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Want to become vegan? Awesome! Do your homework. Read recipes and cook up your own sensible and satisfying meals. You don't need to order three $16.50 meals a day because Bey or her exercise physiologist say so. It's last straw time. It's think for yourself time.
I have a diet of my own to market. It involves some hard fasting, in which we agree to stop gobbling up all the junk celebrities are feeding us. Instead, we let them stick to what they're good at (making music or movies or whatever)—not telling us what to put into our bodies, how to style our hair or how to raise our kids...
OK, who's with me?
Image Source: WikiCommons
Babies foods are carefully regulated for things like excess sugar and salt. So it's probably safe to assume the same stringent rules apply to toddler foods and snacks, right? Dead wrong.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vast majority of these products are far from healthy, sometimes containing as much salt and sugar as that of adult foods!
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Tested of more than 1,000 infant and toddler "dinners, snacks, fruits, vegetables, dry cereals, juices and desserts" revealed that a staggering 72 per cent of dinners contained more than 210 milligrams of sodium per serving, while 32 per cent of snacks contained at least one added form of sugar.
Experts are concerned that taste preferences start early, and such sweet and salt-laden foods can set the stage for future unhealthy eating habits and evolve into adult conditions like heart disease and strokes.
Apparently it didn't matter whether the product came from a major brand or whether it was marketed as organic. Some of the toddler snacks had salt levels to rival salted potato chips. Pasta products were similarly high in sodium. Scary, isn't it?
Parents are advised to cook and cut up their own pasta, and serve it with homemade sauce. Juices are also best avoided in favour of whole fruits.
For the time-pressed (by which I mean everyone), cook big batches then freeze small portions. The freezer is your friend.
When in doubt, our resident nutritionist has plenty of easy healthy snack options for toddlers that won't make you tear out your hair.
You tell me: What's your go-to snack/meal for your toddler?