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Soul Daddy: America’s Next Great Restaurant?

Will Soul Daddy Succeed?

The winner of America’s Next Great Restaurant is serving up soul food with a healthy twist. Does it sound appealing to the masses? If you’d like to find out for yourself, there are  three locations that have been selected for the new restaurant to open. They are

  • Hollywood
  • Mall of America
  • South Street Seaport (New York City)

Detroit auto worker Jamawn Woods’ concept has yet to make its mark in the industry.

Healthy soul food is the last style of cuisine many would think could be successful as a chain. Will people be returning to eat healthy soul food? Will they even be willing to try it? The benefits of all three locations are the high traffic and wide array of potential customers they bring, something Soul Daddy will certainly take advantage of.

The Soul Daddy Menu

Food offerings are listed on the menu portion of website. As the  Huffington Post describes,

The Soul Daddy menu is recommended as a “full meal” with a main dish and two sides, but can also be ordered a la carte. Mains include baked chicken, roasted pork and ribs and sides include collard greens, cheese grits and black-eyed pea salad.

I question the nutritional facts of a few items listed on the menu. Cheese grits could be anywhere from 300-3,000 calories and the online menu doesn’t list any information. A food chain that is serving up food labeled  healthy should have the calories/nutrition facts readily available for the consumer, even online. The absence fried chicken on the menu doesn’t mean much besides it’s not another KFC. Improvements to the menu based on customer’s reviews seems like the best way to tailor this new concept for future success, but only time will tell how Woods performs as an owner and leader of Soul Daddy.

Woods had a big dream that turned into a reality. His name, typed and searched on Google, now is epitome to many of the American Dream. Have an idea, work hard, never give up, and make it big.  With the success or failure of his chain Woods accomplished the unthinkable with a little help from the judges of America’s Next Great Restaurant.

The Family That Plays Together

Kids learn most of what they know from the biggest influence in their lives, their parents. With childhood obesity rates rising faster than ever parents must lead the charge to raise healthier and happier children.

{Family activities teach kids how to live healthy lives!}

The family that plays together, stays together, or something like that, right? Today that saying is more important than ever, with childhood diabetes rates on the rise. In the spirit of helping busy parents find ways to stay active as a family, we’ve come up with a few activities.


Grab the kids and hit the yard or park for playtime. Pack the car full of Frisbees, balls, skates, ropes and any other equipment needed to keep the entire family active. When the kids see you out there being active–with no electronic devices to distract them–they’ll be happy to join dear old dad & mom for a competitive game of touch football.
Although very few studies have been done on the influence of family on a healthy diet and exercise, plenty of literature indicates that a strong family influence can teach children to form a healthy diet and regular exercise.


Next time the family dog needs his walk, grab one of the kids and get moving! When its time for housework—that the kids can help with, of course—put them to work. They’ll love to help and they’ll be active while learning how to be responsible for their environment. Of course chores aren’t the most exciting activities on the planet, but children look to their parents for guidance on how to act and if they see mom & dad having fun doing chores, they will have fun too!

This doesn’t mean 9-year old Suzie should be attempting to clean pots and pans, but household activities like picking up leaves, putting toys away or even folding laundry requires movement. The key to getting your kids and entire family more active is to lead the way. Children learn best by example, so it is up to you to be that positive influence…not to mention it’ll keep you healthy as well.

Family Meals

With parents working longer hours than they did 20 years ago, many families don’t enjoy the benefit of nightly family dinners. This means that children are not getting enough nutrient rich meals that will help them maintain a healthy weight. When you set the table with lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables and fiber-rich foods, your kids are picking up healthy eating habits from YOU.

What they learn at the dinner table will transfer into their daily lives so they make healthy food choices even when you aren’t around. According to Kathleen T. Morgan, Department Chair of Family & Community Health Sciences at Rutgers University:

Children who have more family meals get more of the nutrient-rich foods that build strong muscles and smart brains…

Family meals can also have another health benefit for families. Make cooking meals together part of family time to make sure you instill healthy eating habits in your children. Give each member of the family responsibility for one part of the meal so everyone is involved. This will teach children what are healthy foods to eat and which should be eaten in moderation. The more information they have, the better chance your children have of maintaining a healthy bodyweight and an active lifestyle.

Old-Fashioned Exercise

Introducing your children to regular exercise doesn’t mean purchasing baby dumbbells for the kids; what it does mean is that you can find creative ways to teach your children how to maintain a healthy bodyweight. The more you encourage your children to be active, the less time they are spending in front of the television or computer.
Family exercises you can do together include bike rides around the neighborhood and what kids would say no to that? Your backyard can be transformed into a playground that includes activities like skipping, hopscotch, jumping on a trampoline, swimming or even a game of tag.

The family that plays together is a healthy family not susceptible to obesity related illnesses. By taking steps now to give your children the information they need to become healthy adults, you can reduce the chances that they’ll have to learn how to lose weight rather than maintain a healthy body weight. It’s never too late for you to learn how to live a healthy lifestyle and pass it on to your children.

Get more information on losing weight and keeping it off at The Fat Loss Authority!

Culinary Schools Guide

Get a degree from a culinary school and it’ll give you a leg up on the competition. No matter what your goals are, nothing is out of reach with hard work and dedication.

Ditch the 9-5

What are your dreams? Take a moment to reflect on what you’d like to accomplish in life. Is it career related? Is it health related? Maybe it’s rethinking your 9-5 in a cramped cubical and planning to explore your love for cooking.

Last week, a close friend talked to me for over an hour about her current job. She expressed her distaste for the evil boss, long hours at the cubical and let me in on a secret: Her real passion isn’t Microsoft Excel. It’s cooking. In her spare time, she’s created some of the best dishes I’ve ever tasted. I’d say her Chicken Marsala is high-end restaurant quality. I could see her talent on MasterChef or even Iron Chef of America.

Qualities of a chef

Becoming a chef isn’t just a piece of cake. To be a contestant on shows like Chopped and Iron Chef America imagine the hard work and dedication it took these people deserve a spot on Prime-Time.

It takes serious commitment to the art of food and motivation to be a continuous student. It’s certainly not for everyone. A good chef possesses the following qualities:

  • Excellent communication
  • Problem solving
  • Ability to critique and be critiqued
  • Business acumen
  • Food and service knowledge
  • Team worker
  • Focused/detailed

Food school resources

Anyone interested in becoming a chef should take a look at the four resources listed below. These sites have filtering options by state, degree, tuition and more. Take a look at what fits your bill here:

Dream it, do it

Take charge, do a little research and find ways to make a culinary dream happen. Don’t expect goals and dreams to fall into your lap. If you want to be a chef use every resource you have to make it a reality. Who knows, we could see you on Iron Chef America or running your own fast food chain down the road.

Dream big, no one else is going to do it for you.

You are the master of your own destiny. Use your strengths well. They are the keys to your destiny and your success in life. Once you know yourself and take action to realize your dreams, you can unlock the doors to your own potential. – Neil Somerville


Kickball and Red Rover Saved at New York Day Camps

Another case of micromanaging emerged today, this time from the authorities at the New York State Health Department. The proposal for New York day camps intended to restrict “dangerous” games has been turned down by officials. Kids will still be able to enjoy games of Red Rover and kickball regardless of the health department’s attempt to forbid camper’s engagement in such activities.

Chris Corola of the Associated Press writes,

On Tuesday, Richie, a Republican whose district includes three mostly rural north-central New York counties, said she was pleased by the reversal. “At a time when our nation’s No. 1 health concern is childhood obesity, I am very happy to see that someone in state government saw we should not be adding new burdensome regulations by classifying tag, Red Rover and Wiffle Ball as dangerous activities,” she said. “I am glad New York’s children can continue to steal the bacon and play flag football and enjoy other traditional rites of summer.”

Richie’s point is valid. Obesity rates are climbing and it’s hard enough to encourage some children to do any sort of physical activity. Accidents happen in every sport and in every game. Even pens and pencils can pose as weapons of death. With obesity rates like the CDC describes below, who’s ready to stop micromanaging?

Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. The prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%

Kids don’t play outside as much as they used to and day camp is perfect way to release energy. Children may not relate to these games as ‘work’, rather ‘fun’. The real danger isn’t injury, it’s the stifling of activities and programs. Many camps had already started adjusting their physical activities to eliminate popular games.

Homemade lunches and kickball –things we’ve treasured for years– are dangerous and could possibly even kill us. And what about Mom driving us to school? That’s dangerous too. Not brushing your teeth 3 times daily? You’d better say your prayers now, while you’re still 10.

15 Second Weight Loss Calculator

O n the coast of Southern California it’s hard not to think of losing a few pounds before summer. When I lived in a much colder Upstate New York, summer still evoked body image concerns. Warmer temperatures plus more outdoor activities where people are flaunting skin makes it nearly unavoidable to consider your own weight. This summer, take control of your weight and drop extra pounds to start off feeling confident and healthy!

3 0 days is plenty of time to kick your new eating and exercise habits into gear and see the results. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to prepare for the weight loss and don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor if you have concerns about how to safely begin a weight loss plan. We aren’t medical doctors or certified nutritionists here, but we’ve successfully managed to help others succeed by providing them with the right tools.

Below, enter your data and get an idea of just how realistic your goals are given the amount of time you’d like to commit to weight loss.



To get started on your new plan, visit According to their site,

One size doesn’t fit all. Try out our interactive tools to get a personalized eating plan., or to plan and assess your food and physical activity choices based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Not only is this site excellent for beginners, I found myself learning cool facts about food. There’s even a food tracker to help you manage your dietary intake!

Tell us about the tools and resources you use to help reach your goals below!


Review: Archer Farms Blueberry Streusel Bread at Target

I’m meticulous with my shopping list. I buy the same few food products every week to keep costs down and I’m not much of an early adopter when it comes to new foods. Kellogg’s, Kraft and the like continuously refine and develop new food products each year and I’ve done a pretty good job avoiding the junk and sticking to the fresh, healthier stuff.

Blueberry Date

About a month ago I passed Target’s bread section and noticed a loaf of Archer Farms Blueberry Streusel Bread. I’m a sucker for a treat here and there, but I refused for many weeks trying to stick to my shopping lists and avoid the unknown. Last Thursday, I caved. My thoughts were focused the bread even after I left the store weeks ago! My mom used to tell me if I really wanted something, go a few days and ask myself “do I still want that?” If the answer is yes, it’s time to think about getting it. I couldn’t deny the sweet blueberry crumble bread.

Nutrition Facts

Who says you can’t treat yourself once in a while? It’s good for your mental health and your taste buds. Raw veggies, fibrous breads and fruits can get boring.

Here’s the facts, straight from the source:

  • Calories: 120/slice
  • Calories from fat: 15
  • Total Fat: 2g
  • Sodium: 140mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 24g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 8g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Iron: 6%
  • Calcium 2%

There’s iron, a bit of calcium and only 8 grams of sugar.  I wouldn’t suggest eating 15 slices a day, but with a little common sense and moderation, it’s a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Recipe Ideas

  • French toast: Soak each loaf for roughly 1-2 minutes per side (any longer and the bread breaks apart).
  • Plain toast: Pop these slices right in your toaster, don’t forget the milk!
  • Sandwiches: Not all sandwiches much be created fibrous

If you’ve tried Archer Farms Blueberry Streusel Bread (a mouthful both figuratively and literally) let us know what you think below!

The Let’s Move Website

A TV ad for the first lady’s Let’s Move! campaign aired for the billionth time. Finally, I decided to see this website for myself. After thorough inspection of the site, I’ve found there are truly valuable resources for kids, parents and educators.

In a section titled “Parents”, the following is mentioned:

Parents and caregivers can set a great example for the whole family by creating a healthy environment at home. Any combination of steps-making fruits and vegetables part of every meal, limiting treats, walking and playing, even shopping together—can add up to make a real difference in children’s lives and help build healthy habits for life.

The site then lists five ideas to get parents actively involved in not only the child’s health but their own. What’s great is the depth of detail and ease to execute healthy habits, such as how to understand “healthy snacks”. Not everyone knows what’s healthy and what isn’t. Education is half the battle, the other part is convincing change and that’s exactly what a great leader can do (hey parents, that sounds like you!).

This website is a must-read. It’s interactive and fun for kids while maintaining a nice balance of educational information.

Michelle Obama seems to be on the same page as those of us who believe the ban on homemade lunches is ridiculous. From ABC news,

“There’s no expert on this planet who says that the government telling people what to do actually does any good with this issue,” she said. “This is going to require an effort on everyone’s part.”

Obama’s announcing that forcing people, or telling them what to do, isn’t going to be an effective means to cure childhood obesity. It will take the effort and the change of parents, children, educators to be on the same page, aligned with one goal: teaching and implementing a healthy lifestyle from a young age.

Chicago Schools: No More Homemade Lunches

Some parents don’t have the option to dress their children for school- they wear uniforms. Some Chicago parents don’t have the option to make their children’s lunches- they must eat what the school provides.

According to the Chicago Tribune, this new rule instilled by Little Valley Academy, a public school in Chicago, is intended to eliminate all possible ways a child could eat something unhealthy during lunchtime.

I’d sure want a medical excuse to bring a lunch. That’s allowed by the way. Allergies to food and other dietary restrictions gets you a free pass for homemade lunches. The kid with food allergies is going to become a lot more popular at the lunch table. There’s no word on whether there’s some “inspection” on the lunches for children with dietary restrictions. I know I’d want to sneak in a brownie for my friend, deprived choice.

The Chicago Tribune continues,

Principal Elsa Carmona said her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices.

Carmona, wake up and smell the Burger King. There are a lot of unintended consequences to this seemingly “great” plan on paper:

  1. School lunches are roughly $2.25 for those who aren’t on a reduced lunch plan. That’s more than the cost of a kids homemade lunch
  2. Parents are already outraged by the deletion of choice
  3. Children are going to be hungry, want more food, and feel deprived. Chances are when they get home, they’ll eat more cookies than they should. Ever heard of binge eating

Ray Rahman wrote about Sarah Palin who, in 2010,  made a strong, clear point,

“Palin asked at a fundraising event at a Bucks County, PA, Christian school, a clear shot at First Lady Michelle Obama’s nutrition guidelines. “Should it be government or should it be parents? It should be the parents.”

Many are asking the same question. The government and schools must be aligned to reduce obesity in children, but what happens at school isn’t necessarily going to happen at home. Healthy habits are taught from a young age, not forced at a school lunch.

Although this is specifically a school issue, there’s plenty of government involvement in lunch programs. I’ll let David Roland close this one up today,

“The government is taking away choice. That is just fundamentally un-American.”


New York: No McDonald’s Toys for Girls and Boys

Here’s the Beef

It’s New York City’s proposed ban on toys in fast food that’s caught the eyes of the media and the moms.

The New York State Restaurant Association released the following statement in response to the proposed ban on April 5th, 2011

“This proposal robs parents of choice while increasing the already burdensome regulation on local restaurant owners,” said Andrew Rigie, executive vice president of the New York City Chapter of NYSRA. “We need to find a more effective way to combat obesity than by taking toys away from children and choices away from their parents. The New York State Restaurant Association looks forward to working with the City Council and other groups in a meaningful way to help educate children and parents about nutrition and healthy lifestyles.”

There is an except to the rule however. NY 1 reports that

Toys would only be allowed in meals under 500 calories with fewer than 600 milligrams of sodium.

Imagine being a child and told you have to “count calories” to be rewarded. What kind of mindset is that instilling– especially for young children? It’s not about how many calories in every meal, rather it’s about a balanced diet. If a child is physically healthy, active and taught to make healthy choices, they shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences of fat America. Sorry, NYC but your problem isn’t every ones and your proposal solves no ones.

Making a Change

Reducing childhood obesity isn’t a one-step/one time process, and certainly toys are not the root cause of obesity. We won’t start to see childhood obesity rates dropping significantly due to one or two “acts” or “bills” passed. The truth is, we need to get to the root of the cause by spending our tax money more effectively. If that means pouring 1 billion in federal money into parental education programs, that’s certainly more effective than telling a kid “no toy for you”. Plus, those toys are often over shadowed by iPhones, iPads and the like these days.

How about promoting healthy applications? How about targeting parents who are the primary influencers of a child’s diet while growing up? Now that’d just be juvenille.


The Odd Carrot Out

I’ve opened hundreds of bags of baby carrots.  I’ve never quite seen anything like this…

Double yolks are cool. I usually tell anyone who’s nearby. “Hey look I have a double yolk!” What the heck do I say here? “Hey look, I have a… conjoined baby carrot?

I’ll admit, it’s not yolk-cool. But definitely pretty weird!