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EatDifferent is No Longer Maintained

I wrote EatDifferent a few years ago, and it was an incredible experience to see how all of you used it and to learn from your feedback.

I stopped maintaining the site a year ago but left it up, mostly because I did not have the time to take it down properly. However, I now realize that it is costing significant money to keep running, and I need to be realistic about not being able to keep paying that forever for an app that does not make money. I will start making changes to reduce the budget, like disabling the signup for new users and removing users that never logged data. However, those changes may not reduce the budget enough, so I recommend moving your data off of EatDifferent and looking for better maintained options (perhaps those with a paid plan).

If you’d like, you can export your data as a CSV by clicking on “Stats” and then “Download logs.”

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10 Mushroom Morsels

I just had the pleasure of going to a book reading by Eugenia Bone, the author of "Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms". I loved mushrooms before the talk, and now after being regaled with tales of mushroom hunting and the science of mushrooms, I’m even more intrigued by them.

Here are a few fun facts that she shared with us about mushrooms:

  1. A "mushroom" is the spore-bearing fruit-y body of a fungus. To give an analogy, a mushroom is to the fungus as an apple is to the apple tree.

  2. Fungi are not plants nor animals, they’re in their own Kingdom (Fungi). There are estimated to be 1.5 million species, and only 5% of them have been identified.

  3. Every plant in the world has a fungal symbiont living in their cell walls. We humans even have fungi living inside our bodies, but most of the time, it’s a commensal relationship. It only gets bad when the fungus overgrows (like dandruff) or our immune system weakens.

  4. The largest organism in the world is a mushroom. There’s a single specimen of Armillaria solidipes covering 3.4 square miles in the Malheur National Forest in Oregon, and it’s estimated to be 2,400 years old.

  5. Fungus can take apart anything that is carbon-based. There’s even a radiotrophic fungus that feeds off the gamma radiation in the Chernobyl nuclear plant.
And now, for a few more culinary facts:

  1. The white mushroom and crimini mushroom are the same mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) - the only difference is that the white mushrooms are picked for their whiteness, but the taste should be the same. The portobello mushroom is the mature version of that mushroom and does taste different because the mature spore has a taste to it (a delicious one, in my opinion).

  2. Raw mushrooms are indigestible, because the cell walls are made of chitin, the same fiber that makes up lobster shells. You can eat raw (non-poisonous) mushrooms, but your body can’t derive any nutritional value from them since it can’t take them apart. If you want to get any of the good stuff from mushrooms, cook them up.

  3. When cooked, mushrooms are very nutritional. They’re low in calories, low in sodium, and have a high protein content (20-30% of their weight). They’re often used by vegetarians looking for ways to replace protein in their diet. Just remember they’re mostly water (70%), so you need to eat a whole lot of them to get the good stuff out of them.

  4. The most expensive food in the world is a mushroom, the white truffle of Italy. In 2010, two white truffles weighing just under 3 lbs sold for $330,000 in auction.

  5. If you see a bottle of truffle oil in the store, it’s probably a ripoff — mostly olive oil, with a bit of truffle-flavored additive thrown in.

Are you now mad about mushrooms? Pick some up from your local market, or if you’re feeling adventurous, join a mycological society near you and join them on a wild mushroom hunt.

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Noodle Different: Introducing our new guide to noodle alternatives

When I was a kid, the only meal that I knew how to make was spaghetti, and I made it a lot. After I cut out grains, I find myself wishing for a good old spaghetti dinner like I had in my childhood — and thankfully, I discovered an awesome alternative to spaghetti noodles: spaghetti squash, baked and scraped out into strands. Low in carbs, low in calories, grain-free, and flavorful - perfect!

As it turns out, there are a lot of noodle options out there for folks with nutrition goals, and we wanted to make it easier to see all those options at a glance, so today we added a guide to noodle alternatives. It covers asian-style noodles, italian-style noodles, and homemade options like the spaghetti squash noodles, and gives ingredients and basic nutrition info for each.

To get you started on noodling different, here are a few of my personal favorite recipes that use them:

  Spicy Spaghetti Squash with Italian Sausage and Peppers

  Kelp Noodles Pad Thai

Check out the guide and let us know if we missed any of your favorite noodle knockoffs. Enjoy experimenting!

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Want more of something in your life? You can track that, too!

When it comes to changing your eating habits on the road to health, that almost always means removing something from your daily regimen. It might be sugar, it might be allergens like gluten or lactose, it might be all processed foods, and it may be some combination of food groups and habits. That’s why our tracker encourages you to log how well you avoid stuff each day with the green to red sliders and rewards you when you’ve managed to avoid something for days at a time (it’s hard!).

But we realize it’s not all about avoidance — many of us could benefit from adding to our daily regimen, like increasing our daily dose of green veggies or drinking more water. We had many users ask us if they could track how well they do in getting more of that good stuff, and we’re happy to release that feature today.

If you visit your goal settings, you’ll now find a section for both bad and good stuff. (Plus, If you click “show all” next to the goals, you’ll see a bunch more suggestions based on the most popular custom goals from users, like “mindless eating” and “candy.”)

When you’re logging your progress each day, you’ll see sections for each type of goal. For example, if you slept a full 8 hours the night before, you could drag the slider all the way to the right and see it turn green (woot!).

Try it out and let us know what you think. Happy tracking!

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What’s in your drink? See the sugars for yourself

First, a little personal anecdote: When I started working at a startup and found myself with 24/7 access to microkitchens overflowing with food and beverage options, I drank Vitamin Water with a vengeance — thinking to myself that it was healthy, and never thinking to look at the label. I could go through 5 of those in a day, easy! Months later, I realized that “Vitamin Water”, despite its seemingly healthy name, is nearly as sugary as Coca-Cola and stopped my drinking habit.

According to many studies, sugary drinks are one of the major factors of the current obesity epidemic. They are both a significant source of additional calories (and the super-sized drinks at fast food joints don’t help) and the high sugar content in them makes our metabolism worse. But to the unaware, they can seem so harmless. And how many of us read the label of our drinks?

One of our favorite sites is SugarStacks, which shows you how many sugar cubes are equivalent to the sugar content of soda (and other foods). We were inspired by them to make our own take on the visualization: What’s in your drink? We picked some of the most common drinks and show you how much sugar is them, in terms of sugar cubes, carrots, strawberries, and dark chocolate squares. You’d have to eat 69 strawberries to equal the amount of sugar in a Coke (and you’d get a whole lot more antioxidants from them, too)!

As you can see, a lot of the drinks in the fridges today are pretty bad for you — but luckily, there are also a bunch of options these days that are pretty good for you, too. You can try Hint Fizz, a sugar-free soda with fruit essence, or the unsweetened teas from Honest Tea, or Zevia, stevia-sweetened sodas. Or just stick a slice of cucumber and lemon in your water. So, what’s in your drink?

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Like Instagram? Link it to your logs!

Instagram is a mobile app for taking photos and transforming them with filters so that they look, well, a whole lot better than they originally did (at least in the case of my photos, as my phone camera just isn’t so great). Many people like to take photos of their meals on Instagram, and we thought it’d be fun to let you connect an Instagram account to an EatDifferent account to automatically import those photos into your logs.

If you’re not an Instagram user yet and want to try it out, download it for Android or iPhone from their site. If you are already an Instagram user, you can easily connect your accounts.

First, go to your data import settings and click “Connect” in the Instagram section. Once you’re redirected to Instagram, fill in your username and password and it will redirect you back to EatDifferent. If all goes well, you’ll see a big green check mark!

After your account is connected, you can tag any post with “#eatdifferent” or “#ed” and we’ll import that into your log as a timestamped meal with a link back to the original Instagram post. For example, check out my log for today.

Let us know if you try it out and what you think — and if you have another favorite service where you take photos of your meals, we’d love to hear about it.

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Eating Different on St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is one of those holidays that’s primarily associated with drinking beer and eating Irish grub while wearing every green piece of clothing you can find in your house (plus bobbly shamrock hats). But there are ways to celebrate this holiday that don’t involve compromising your eating goals, especially if you’re up for doing a bit of cooking. Here are a few substitution ideas:

Beer:

Yes, they drink more than just beer in Ireland! Avoiding carbs or sugar? Ask the pub for an Irish wine or an Irish whiskey. Avoiding alcohol altogether? Try making this Shamrock shake (made from fruit, almond milk, and mint leaves - yum!).

 

Soda bread:

Irish Soda Bread

(photo provided courtesy of elenaspantry.com)

Irish soda bread is typically made from a soft wheat flour which is lower in gluten than normal flour - but if you’re trying to avoid gluten or grains altogether, it’s totally possible with a bit of cookery. Try this gluten-free Irish soda bread recipe from the queen of almond flour recipes. If you’re avoiding sugar, that recipe only has a few tablespoons of sugar, which you could try removing or replacing with Stevia, or just decide that it’s good enough for you.

 

Colcannon:

If it’s cold where you are, you might enjoy a bowl of this traditional potato soup from Ireland. If you’re avoiding gluten, grains, or dairy, try this recipe and substitute your “milk” of choice (like almond milk).

 

Shephards Pie:


Shepherd’s Pie

(photo provided courtesy of elenaspantry.com)

This Irish comfort food layers ground lamb (hence the name) with mashed potatoes.

Want to get more fiber-rich veggies in your diet? Try making shephards pie with cauliflower instead of potatoes, like in this gluten-free recipe or this dairy and gluten free recipe. To make it a green dish to fit the holiday even better, find a bright green romanesco broccoli and mash that instead of the usual white cauliflower.

If you’re avoiding red meat altogether, you can make a vegetable hash instead of ground meat, like in this recipe.

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