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Welcome to Montana, where residents took Covid seriously from the start

The interior of a shop with signs about safety.
The interior of a shop with signs about safety.
Photos: Adam Erace

Midway through a week traveling in western Montana, I ran into a notecard hanging in the window of Bigfork’s 80-year-old Echo Lake Café. With pastel sprigs of flora in the card’s corners and a “Welcome!!” rolling across the top in swooping mauve letters, it looked like an invitation to a bridal shower. Instead, it listed the restaurant’s pandemic protocols:

• Tables being spaced out 6 feet

• No counter seating

• All tables, booths, salt and pepper shakers, menus, etc. are sanitized after each use

• Hourly sanitizing of frequently touched areas

• Hand sanitizers placed in several high traffic…

Whether you know it or not

Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

From soybeans and apples to corn and potatoes, more foods are genetically modified for reasons ranging from increased yields, pest resistance, or even saving an entire industry from demise.

For many of these crops, you would struggle to find a non-GM option in the U.S. So whether you are for or against GM foods, it’s likely that you are consuming them without even knowing it. Here’s a list of common foods made from GM crops.


And how to make it your own

Okinawa, an island prefecture in southern Japan, stands out among a country that is already well known for longevity. They have a much lower rate of coronary heart disease compared to mainland Japan.

Mortality rates from coronary heart disease and cancers in Okinawans, Japanese, and Americans (Source)

A separate study on Japanese centennials living in Okinawa, where the researcher went back and analyzed at what age these individuals were able to live independently (cook for themselves, do their own house chores, live in their own home, among other factors), came to another fascinating discovery: The study was only on 22 individuals, but among them, 82 percent were still independent at a mean age of…

For one, it’s not a stealth way of feeding a sugar addiction

“Can we have two iced teas?”

Before Covid, we were at an American diner somewhere in Connecticut, in the middle of one of the hottest days in August. My dad and I had just finished moving me into my new apartment, and we were both thirsty and tired from the back-and-forth carrying of boxes.

Relieved to finally sit down and get a cold drink, we ordered the first thing on the menu that wasn’t water. …

I blamed myself. I never thought to blame the chips.

A blue bag of Kettle Brand Sea Salt and Vinegar chips isolated on a black background.
A blue bag of Kettle Brand Sea Salt and Vinegar chips isolated on a black background.
Photo courtesy of Mitsuwaka13/Instagram

Coping is family-sized bag of chips, crystal dustings of salt adhering to my fingers with vinegar. The rush of pleasure comes not just from the trusty crunch and hedonic flavors but also the anticipation of that final finger lick — a pure hit of salt, fat, and sugar. When the bag is empty, I raise it to the skies, raining atoms of salt into my mouth that mingle with feelings of satisfaction, guilt, and regret.

Growing up in India, while my friends bought cigarettes from roadside stands, I bought masala chips. I’d smuggle five or 10 questionably oily, transparent bags…

The most peaceful season in Japan

Illustrations: Kaki Okumura

While some people might think the rainy season evokes feelings of gloom, it actually carries my most peaceful and quiet memories. The popular travel destinations are much less crowded, and the streets are less rowdy — a grace period after cherry blossom season and before the onset of summer vacationers, the weather seemingly slows down the city.

If you visit the mountains in Japan during this time, nature also takes on a different, beautiful form. The humidity and rain allow the moss to thicken and turn a brighter green, covering the tree bark and forest floor in a luscious, soft…

It’s not what you might have guessed

Illustrations: Kaki Okumura

My dad brought up the question at the dinner table: “What do you think is the most consumed vegetable in Japan?”

My sister chimed in: “Onions? Or potatoes maybe?”

“I think it could be cabbage. They use them in salads all the time.”

“Do soybeans count?"

According to a national survey in 2012 by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan, none of these are correct. It's daikon, or Japanese radish.

The Japanese radish

Excluding processed foods (i.e., potato chips or boxed juices), it turns out the most consumed vegetable in Japan is the daikon, measured by absolute weight. Based on…


The former FDA commissioner says that dietary guidelines must change

Photo: XVision/Moment/Getty Images

We all know that the American body is in trouble. Unprecedented numbers of us suffer from obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other debilitating illnesses. The root cause is a once-revolutionary idea that seemed to offer so much promise: processed food.

In his new book released late last month, “Fast Carbs, Slow Carbs: The Simple Truth About Food, Weight, and Disease,” David Kessler, a friend of mine and a highly respected former government official at the highest level of food policy (he’s the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner who helped design the nutrition facts label and took on tobacco; he…

How to feel good while relying on shelf-stable foods

Photo: MirageC/Moment/Getty Images

Most of us are trying to minimize trips out of the house, and our meal options are becoming more limited and dependent on shelf-stable food.

To help, here are some easy switches, tips, and tricks to feel energized and healthy at a time when fresh fruits and vegetables might not be as readily available.

Now is the perfect time to make the switch from more refined or white pasta to whole-grain pasta. The texture might feel weird at first, but the benefits will be worth it.

Whole-grain pasta is made with all three parts of the grain kernel: the bran…

How I found a moment of peace in a crowded grocery store

A delicious Stouffer’s lasagna, just for me. Photo: Ali Montag

I once read in a women’s magazine that the easiest way to eat healthy is to only shop the perimeter of a grocery store. The fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy ring the walls. Candy, popcorn, and cookies lurk in the center.

Today, as a 24-year-old woman working at a tech company in New York, I follow this rule religiously. A typical Sunday grocery store trip is an exercise in self-discipline. How austere can I be?

I circle the store and buy the same items every week. I buy blueberries, bananas, and oatmeal; Brussels sprouts, spinach, and sweet potatoes; ground…


Food from every angle: From Medium x Mark Bittman

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