Monday, April 16, 2012

Popcorn - The Champagne of Snack Foods!

Other than celebrity gossip magazines in bubble baths, popcorn is at the top of my guilty pleasures list.  Apparently it needn't be on that list any longer.

"When it comes to antioxidants, popcorn may have  fruits and vegetables beat.
A new study suggests that one serving of popcorn has more antioxidants than a day’s worth of fruits or vegetables, based on the average American diet.
“Popcorn may be the perfect snack food,” study author Joe Vinson, a chemist at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, said in a statement. “It’s the only snack that is 100 percent whole grain.”
Foods labeled  ”whole grain” only have to be 51 percent whole grain. And more whole grains mean more health benefits.
Whole grains have “antioxidants and a lot more fiber than most other vegetables and fruits,” Vinson said."
So says Alethea Turner at abcnews.go
For a lifetime popcorn addict who has a heaping bowl of the stuff most every single night, this is the news I have been waiting for to release me from my guilt. Popcorn is the world's healthiest food, and not just snack food, either!  

I'm lucky to be a lover of fruits and vegetables as well, but I've often been amazed that I am not morbidly obese considering the amount of food I consume and the huge amount of snacking that I partake of most nights.  The new news about popcorn may go some way in helping to explain this.

Given that I have so much to feel guilty about in life already, it's a relief that I can cross at least one guilt inducer off the list!

Leah's Top Ten Tips On Getting a New Start On Eating Popcorn:

1. Stay away from microwave popcorn and invest in an airpopper or, better yet, a microwave container that is specifically made for popping corn.  You put half a cup in the container, pop the lid on, set for three minutes, and voila, heaven in a bowl.  It's my most used kitchen device.  I'm not proud of this, but it's true.

2. I use (and I'm not saying I am proud of this, either) I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray to spritz on my airpopped corn and then liberally douse with salt, since I have no tendency toward high blood pressure whatsoever.  (Can that stuff really be calorie free like it claims, though?  I'm going to say yes, and forgive myself for the chemicals and perhaps calories contained therein.  Most of my diet is pretty chemical-lite.)  I am thinking about getting one of those olive oil misters and giving that a go.

3. For a healthy but slightly higher calorie treat, try the olive-oil-in-the-wok method.  My sweetheart invented this when we were living in Taiwan and could buy popcorn, but didn't have any pots or pans big enough to pop the abundant amount I insist upon eating.  We hadn't shopped in a while and only had olive oil on hand so Don got his scientific-method groove on.  Knowing that olive oil burns at high heat, he kept the flame low, waited for one kernel to pop, then added the rest, shaking the wok vigorously throughout the remaining popping session.  We knew we had a winner at first crunch.  I have to admit, I have never made this version myself though I have eaten it hundreds of times because it is my sweetheart's special way of messing up the kitchen and showing me how much he loves me.

4. Popcorn does  NOT work with gossip magazines in a bathtub.  Believe me, I have tried.  Many times.  Keep it in the bed or on the sofa, folks.  (I, for one, prefer the bed even though it can have unwanted consequences during the night when an errant corn finds itself in your pajamas or shoved up your nostril.

5. Stay away from the movie theater popcorn.  Apparently it's the equivalent of eating three Big Macs and a biggie size order of fries.  Of course, I NEED to eat popcorn when I watch movies so I always pop ahead of time and each family member carries a large backpack full of the contraband into the theater.  (This works well for beer too.  Don't ask me why I know that except it involved a special birthday surprise for my sweetie one year.  Just pop the cans during a shoot 'em up scene and nobody will be the wiser.)  If you're ever challenged about bringing your own food into the theater, launch into an allergy-related rant and you will be fine.  Trust me.  Nobody wants to be sued over the death of young children.  I don't know that you could use the same defense for the beer, though.

6. Popcorn DOES burn and it can catch fire.  Mind it carefully.  Trust me on this one, too.  Also, the eau de burnt kernels aroma is nearly impossible to get rid of.

7. If you're a woman, you may find some bonus kernels at the end of the evening when you're taking your bra off.  This is always particularly titillating and delightful.

8. Popcorn lasts a LONG time so you don't need to chow it down by the fistful.  I can make a bountiful bowl last me two or three hours eating at a steady pace.  If you're trying to quit smoking, popcorn may be your antidote.  Who needs a nicotine patch or to gain weight on all that junk food when you now know that popcorn may be a snack, but it sure ain't junk food.  Yippee yahoo for that!

9. Stay away from the "old maids" (unpopped kernels) if you don't want to end up in the dentist chair with damaged teeth.  Trust me on this one, too.

10.   Renew your resolution to floss.  You'll need to.

And my parents always told me oatmeal was the perfect food!  (I know what I'll be having for breakfast tomorrow.)

PS: Poppycock or caramel popcorn does NOT count as popcorn.  It's with great regret that I must inform you that these are indeed junk foods that should be avoided except at holidays when they should be consumed with abandon.  If you want an excellent recipe for caramel corn, let me know.  Better yet, look it up yourself.  It's in the website  You can find some other heart-stoppers there as well.

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