Sound Bites: Starbucks’ Avocado Toast, Celebrity Chefs’ Bad Habits & More


May 22, 2017

By Megan O. Steintrager

Missed some of the health updates in your news feed this week? Here’s what you need to know:


America’s avocado toast obsession continues unabated, and now you can get your fix along with your grande almond latte at Starbucks. The chain just added avocado spread to its menus nationwide. The spread is somewhat like a pureed guacamole—it contains organic Hass avocados, sea salt, onion, garlic, jalapeño pepper and lime juice, according to a Starbucks spokesperson, who also told us that the product is high-pressure processed (HPP), “which maintains freshness and ensures food safety without the use of heat, additives, or preservatives.” Rather eat at home? You can whip together Clean Plates‘ amped up version of Avocado Toast in five minutes—no high-pressure processing required.


While eating an all-around healthy diet is the best thing you can do to fight aging, there are six specific foods that might help give you an “extra boost” in your quest to “add years to your life or life to your years,” according to a new Consumer Reports article on anti-aging foods. The good news is it doesn’t have to cost a bundle, nor does it involve running around town or scouring the internet to source a bunch of exotic ingredients. Here are six easy to find ingredients to add to your grocery cart next time you go shopping: beans, hot peppers, nuts, chocolate, whole grains, and fish. Sounds pretty tasty and doable to us, plus there’s a lot of overlap with the diet you should eat for heart health that we recently reported on. Browse Clean Plates’ recipes for plenty of ideas involving all of those ingredients.


Frozen food in the refrigerator

Spring has still not fully sprung in much of the country, which means your farmers’ market might still be sadly lacking in fresh produce. The good news is that while frozen vegetables and fruit might not be quite as exciting to shop for as that first fresh asparagus and strawberries of Spring, they can be just as good—or even better—for you.

A new study from the University of Georgia found that the levels of certain vitamins, including A and C, were higher in some frozen fruits and vegetables they tested than in fresh ones, ScienceDirect reports. Now, the study was done in “partnership” with the Frozen Food Foundation, which clearly has an interest in positive news on the topic, but this is not the first study to find that frozen produce, which is generally frozen at its peak of ripeness, can beat out fresh produce, especially if the “fresh” stuff has been sitting on a shelf in the grocery store or your refrigerator for weeks. For ideas on what to stock your freezer with, read 8 Health Gurus Share Their Frozen Must-Haves.


If you’re the food-as-medicine type, you might be interested to see two culinary cures on a Harvard health blog list of Home Remedies That Might Be Worth a Try, which examine home remedies (e.g. using Vick’s VapoRub to fight toenail fungus) that have been tested in clinical studies and published in peer-reviewed medical journals. The culinary winners backed by science are pickle juice to treat muscle cramps and chicken soup to fight nasal congestion. If you’re experiencing the discomforts of that lovely overlap of cold and allergy season, try making yourself a batch of Marco Canora’s Golden Chicken Bone Broth, served with some fermented pickle juice, before you reach for the decongestant pills. If it doesn’t cure your cold or allergies, at least you’ll have a tasty dinner—try finding that at the pharmacy counter.


Shot of an unrecognizable woman washing her hands in the kitchen sink

TV chefs have plenty of great ideas to share about new ingredients and techniques to try out at home, but don’t follow their lead when it comes to food safety. In a recent review of 100 episodes of cooking shows with 24 celebrity chefs, scientists found that 88 percent of the chefs didn’t wash (or weren’t shown washing) their hands after handling raw meat and many of those went on to use those unwashed paws to handle ingredients that wouldn’t be cooked further, Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter Reports. Thorough hand washing might not make for great TV, but it is a great way to avoid foodborne illnesses. And while you’re thinking about washing your hands, maybe clean those kitchen sponges too.

Go here for more Sound Bites news.

Bio: Megan O. Steintrager holds a master’s in journalism from New York University and has been an editor and writer for Epicurious,, TODAY, Food Network Magazine, and Zagat, among other outlets.