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By Deven Hopp, Byrdie (TNS)

Olive oil or coconut oil? Tofu or tempeh? Ever wondered which of your health food decisions are actually healthiest? With all of the choices (and conflicting information) out there, it can be confusing. So we called in Elissa Goodman, a certified holistic nutritionist, and asked her to make the final call on a variety of health food match-ups.

Almond milk vs. soy milk
Winner: Almond milk
For this match-up, Goodman said it depends what you’re looking for. “In comparison to soy, almond milk provides fewer calories and unlike soy, almond milk does not contain saturated fat,” Goodman said. “Within an 8-ounce glass, almond milk provides more calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E.” However, Goodman notes that soy milk contains more protein, and almond milk often contains carrageenan, which has been linked to increased inflammation.

“It’s worth mentioning that 90 to 95 percent of soybeans grown in the U.S. have been genetically modified,” Goodman said. “Considering GMOs have been linked to numerous health risks, almond milk is your best bet.”

Kale vs. Spinach
Winner: Kale has a slight edge
“This is a tricky one, only because both leafy greens are great choices,” Goodman said. “Although kale may have a slight upper edge, don’t let that deter you from consuming spinach as well. Kale does in fact provide more vitamin K (a whopping 680 percent per cup), vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber, but it also contains high concentration of two extremely beneficial antioxidants: flavonoids and carotenoids.” Another reason Goodman gives this one to kale? It targets oxidative stress in your body, thanks to its 45 flavonoids, lutein and beta-carotene.

But Goodman assures us spinach has its benefits too. “Since spinach provides your body with more iron and magnesium, why not add both to your salad or smoothie?” And great news for vegetarians and vegans: Goodman said 180 grams of spinach provides your body with more iron than a 6-ounce beef patty.

Coconut Oil vs. Olive Oil
Winner: This is a tie
“Both of these oils are beneficial, so for me this is a tie,” Goodman said. “There’s been a lot of confusion surrounding coconut oil and its high saturated fat content, however not all saturated fats are equal. Many vegetable and seed oils have been artificially manipulated into saturated fats. This is the key, as coconut oil is a naturally occurring source.”

In terms of calories, Goodman said they’re about the same. She also notes that neither contain cholesterol or trans fat. “Since majority of individuals use oils to cook with, it’s crucial that you understand heat-induced damage and oxidation. This is directly linked to increased levels of free radicals, which directly damage your cells.” So if you’re cooking with oil, choose coconut oil — it’s less susceptible to heat damage.

“There is no doubt that olive oil is healthy, it’s just not the healthiest option when heated,” Goodman said. “When used in a non-heated form, such as homemade salad dressings, olive oil is a great choice.” She also added that it’s important to look for certified organic coconut oil because many commercial coconut oils have been refined and in the process have added chemicals.

Stevia vs. Truvia
Winner: Stevia
“Stevia is the obvious choice for me within this round,” Goodman said. “Stevia is a natural sweetener and traditional herb, which has been used for many years throughout South and Central America. As long as you choose a 100 percent pure option, you will not be consuming any fillers. Some of my favorites are Omica ($19), Sweet Leaf ($15) and Body Ecology ($17).”

Many people think Truvia is the same things as Stevia, but Goodman said Truvia contains a variety of fillers. “Unlike Stevia, Truvia is made with erythritol; a sugar alcohol that’s derived from genetically modified corn,” she said.

Eggs White vs. Whole Egg
Winner: Whole egg
“A whole egg trumps egg whites, specifically when the yolk is runny (overcooking an egg decreases its nutritional benefits),” Goodman said. “Sure, the white does not contain as many calories, cholesterol, or fat, but it’s also void of all the vitamins and minerals in which make eggs so healthy. When you opt for egg whites only, you’re missing out on multiple B-vitamins, vitamin D and iron.”

For most people, cholesterol is the concern around egg yolks, but Goodman said it’s actually nothing to worry about. “Our bodies naturally make cholesterol. Each and every day, you produce much more cholesterol than you’d find in a large egg. When you consume more cholesterol within your diet, your body compensates by making less.”

“Although the whole egg is the clear winner, it’s important to note that not all eggs are equal,” Goodman said. “Free-range organic eggs are superior in terms of their nutritional content. Conventionally raised hens are fed genetically modified corn feed, which accumulates pesticides. There’s also three times more vitamin E, seven times more beta carotene, and two times more omega-3 fatty acids in free-range eggs.”

Canned Tuna vs. Canned Salmon vs. Canned Sardines
Winner: Salmon
“Fish are a lean source of protein, which provide you with essential omega-3 fatty acids,” Goodman said. “Although all three are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, tuna tends to contain the highest concentration of mercury. Both sardines and salmon are so good for you, but of these two options, salmon provides more B-vitamins, vitamin D and choline.” There’s just caveat: Goodman said you need to make sure you’re purchasing WILD salmon. Since salmon farming can expose the fish to large amounts of antibiotics, wild salmon end up being the healthier option. “In comparison to wild caught, farmed salmon has less protein, less flavor, more fat and an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio that’s less desirable,” Goodman added.

Tofu vs. Tempeh
Winner: Tempeh
“Although tofu and tempeh are both derived from soybean plants, I award tempeh the gold medal in this round,” Goodman said. “The production of tempeh is fairly simple, while providing the benefits of fermentation.” Fermented foods improve digestive health and so much more. “In comparison to tofu, tempeh offers the whole soybean, increasing your intake of protein (which is about double that of tofu), fiber and vitamins. This is all due to the fermentation process, in which preserves the whole bean.” Her final note? “Once again, choose organic in order to avoid genetically modified soy.”

Get the latest celebrity beauty news, runway trends, health and fitness tips, as well as product suggestions from the experts at

(c)2015, Clique Media Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency., Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture via Flickr


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Eric Holder

The failure of major federal voting rights legislation in the Senate has left civil rights advocates saying they are determined to keep fighting—including by suing in battleground states. But the little bipartisan consensus that exists on election reform would, at best, lead to much narrower legislation that is unlikely to address state-level GOP efforts now targeting Democratic blocs.

“This is the loss of a battle, but it is not necessarily the loss of a war, and this war will go on,” Eric Holder, the former U.S. attorney general and Democrat, told MSNBC, saying that he and the Democratic Party will be suing in states where state constitutions protect voting rights. “This fight for voting rights and voter protection and for our democracy will continue.”

“The stakes are too important to give up now,” said Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which for years has operated an Election Day hotline to help people vote. “Our country cannot claim to be free while allowing states to legislate away that freedom at will.”

In recent weeks, as it became clear that the Senate was not going to change its rules to allow the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to pass with a simple majority, there have been efforts by some lawmakers, election policy experts, and civil rights advocates to identify what election reforms could pass the Senate.

“There are several areas… where I think there could be bipartisan consensus,” said David Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, in a briefing on January 20. “These areas are all around those guardrails of democracy. They are all about ensuring that however the voters speak that their voice is heard… and cannot be subverted by anyone in the post-election process.”

Becker cited updating the 1887 Electoral Count Act, which addressed the process where state-based slates of presidential electors are accepted by Congress. (In recent weeks, new evidence has surfaced showing that Donald Trump’s supporters tried to present Congress with forged certificates as part of an effort to disrupt ratifying the results on January 6, 2021.) Updating that law could also include clarifying which state officials have final authority in elections and setting out clear timetables for challenging election results in federal court after Election Day.

Five centrist Washington-based think tanks issued a report on January 20, Prioritizing Achievable Federal Election Reform, which suggested federal legislation could codify practices now used by nearly three-quarters of the states. Those include requiring voters to present ID, offering at least a week of early voting, allowing all voters to request a mailed-out ballot, and allowing states to start processing returned absentee ballots a week before Election Day.

But the report, which heavily drew on a task force of 29 state and local election officials from 20 states convened by Washington’s Bipartisan Policy Center, was notable in what it did not include, such as restoring the major enforcement section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was removed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013. It did not mention the Electoral Count Act nor growing threats to election officials from Trump supporters.

“This won’t satisfy all supporters of the Freedom to Vote Act, but this is a plausible & serious package of reforms to make elections more accessible and secure that could attract bipartisan support,” tweeted Charles Stewart III, a political scientist and director of the MIT Election Data and Science Lab. “A good starting point.”

The reason the centrist recommendations won’t satisfy civil rights advocates is that many of the most troubling developments since the 2020 election would likely remain.

Targeting Battleground States

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Donald Trump Now Leads An Authoritarian Movement

Politico Magazine published an article Thursday that perfectly embodies the failures of tabloid-style political journalism to address the fundamental dangers facing the country: “145 Things Donald Trump Did in His First Year as the Most Consequential Former President Ever.”

“In ways both absurd and serious, the 45th president refused to let go of the spotlight or his party and redefined what it means to be a former leader of the free world,” the article sub-headline states, sitting above a colorful image containing a photo of a smiling Trump and images that have defined his post-presidency, including his second impeachment, golf clubs, and a vaccination needle.

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