Healthy Vending Machines on the Rise

Note from Connie: Today, the Sugar Shock Blog presents a guest post from fellow writer/health coach/IIN grad Suzanne Boothby about new vending machines that healthier foods than you usually find. Full Disclosure: Suzanne is a spokesperson for HUMAN Healthy Vending, the company about which she is writing. In this instance, HUMAN stands for Helping Unite Man and Nutrition.

Human_machine_jofemar Snacking Made Easy & Healthier
By Suzanne Boothby

There's been a lot of buzz recently about school nutrition and, in particular, the problem with junk-filled vending machines in schools.

"Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years," writes Dr. Oz Garcia in The Huffington Post. "Statistics show that nearly one in three American children are either overweight or obese."

Dr. Garcia points out that while parents play the most important role in teaching children healthy habits, the U.S. school system plays a very central part in developing a child's eating habits.

Another article on BusinessWeek, "School Vending Machines Undermine Student Nutrition," referenced a report from the Journal of Adolescent Health, showing the negative impact vending machine foods had on the purchasing choices of students at about 150 different U.S. schools.

More than 80% of the schools studied carried vending machines offering foods with minimal nutritional value, including chips, soda and candy bars.

Enter Sean Kelly and Andy Mackensen, co-founders of HUMAN Healthy Vending machines, which offer healthier fare in the 30-billion vending machine industry.

HUMAN Healthy Vending Machines offer foods that cater to various dietary needs, including those that look for foods that are 100% organic, no-sugar-added, gluten-free, allergen-free, low-fat and carb.

Some of the vending machine's bestselling snacks include PopChips!, TERRA Chips, Larabars, and BARE FRUIT snacks. Drinks include Fiji water, Poland Spring water, Perrier, Horizon Organic Milk and Vita Coco water. 

The new digitally interactive, eco-friendly Healthy Vending machines have some unique features. They display all ingredients via LCD before you purchase it.  What this means is that you can select a product from a touch screen keypad, and then before you make your purchase, the machine shows you the nutritional info on that same touch-screen. Therefore, you don’t have to lose change by buying snacks that don't work for your particular diet.

In addition to providing healthier choices, HUMAN Healthy Vending machines include an eco-component with remote monitoring systems to ensure eco-friendly refilling. Plus, they contain LED lighting and energy-efficient refrigeration units to save power. In addition, the company donates 10% of proceeds to charitable causes that fight childhood obesity and malnutrition.

You can find these HUMAN Healthy Vending machines in schools, offices, hotels and hospitals, as well as health clubs, gyms and spas. In New York City, you can find these machines at the Aveda New York Institute, Mt. Sinai Medical Center and in the new offshoot of Equinox, Blink.

Suzanne Boothby is currently a spokesperson for HUMAN Healthy Vending, as wells as a Brooklyn-based wellness author and writing coach who dabbles in social media and marketing. She is a proud graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and The Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Comment from Connie: Special thanks to Suzanne for this blog post. These machines are a welcome development in our junk-food oriented society! These vending machines seem to contain something for everyone. Please note, however, that while these snacks are far healthier than what you find in traditional vending machines, not all of these foods are healthy by everyone's standards. So just follow your doctor's guidelines and eat what works for you. By the way, I'm thrilled with the feature that you can save yourself time and money by being able to check out the ingredients first via LCD screen. What a unique, cutting-edge feature!

Sugar Sugar Time (And I Don’t Mean Sweets!)

The_Archie_Show Thanks to talented journalist Dana Kennedy — creator of the clever blog,  A Year Without Candy — for reminding me of the fun pop song, Sugar, Sugar by the Archies.

This song makes me smile. I can't begin to remember how many times radio hosts have played this song before they interviewed me about my book Sugar Shock!

Please enjoy this. And of course, I'm not posting this to make you think about sweets (as in the sugary kind) but to think about having (non-sugary) sweetness in your life — something I invite you to find, get and create.

Dana 52 And, readers, please join me in congratulating Dana for making it 90 days without candies, cookies, etc. Way to go, Dana!

See my interview with Dana here, in which she articulately shared why she's choosing to go A Year Without Candy. 

Would you like to join her? Can you go A Year Without Candy or another unhealthy substance or activity?

Michelle Obama Gets Food Companies to Act

Michelle Obama Thank to Michelle Obama’s crusade to combat children’s obesity, major food companies such as PepsiCo and Kraft Foods are changing their products.

She is, in fact, “defining defining her role as first lady by taking on the $600 billion food and beverage industries in a quest to end childhood obesity within a generation,” observes Kate Andersen Brower of Bloomberg Business Week, in an artticle entitled, “Michelle Obama’s ‘Spotlight’ on Obesity Enlists Kraft, PepsiCo.”

“Her lobbying of companies to make products healthier, labels easier to read and limit marketing of unhealthy foods to kids is paying off,” Brower observes.

A month after she began her campaign, “PepsiCo Inc., the world’s second-largest food and beverage company, pledged to stop selling full-sugar soft drinks in schools by 2012.” In addition, Kraft Foods Inc., the maker of Oreo cookies and Oscar Mayer lunch meats, jumped on board, announcing that it would further reduce the sodium content of its products..

Reporter Brower points out that the first lady’s efforts are part of a “movement to recast what the food industry is selling,” according to David Kessler, who was Food and Drug Administration commissioner from 1990 to 1997. “She puts the spotlight on the issue like few others can,” Kessler told Brower.

The American Beverage Association — which represents soda companies — has now joined Michelle Obama’s effort by running a national ad, which claims that the industry is committed to reducing beverage calories in schools by 88 percent.

Things started happening after a well-publicized meeting in Washington on March 16 when the first lady addressed members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents major food companies such as Kraft and PepsiCo. At that GMA meeting, Obama urged the companies to reduce sugar, fat and salt in their products and “to move faster and to go farther” to make them healthier.

The first lady has “accelerated our focus,” Kraft’s president of health and wellness, Rhonda Jordan, told the Bloomberg Business Week reporter Brower, who then quotes Patrick Basham, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, a Washington-based research group that promotes libertarian policies.

Basham believes that the first lady’s anti-obesity efforts are “in sync with public skepticism about `the motives of big business’ in the wake of the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression.” He also believes that the recent moves by the companies may be an effort to prevent government crackdown.

“The food industry is terrified of being either legislated out of business or so regulated they won’t be able to do what they want,” Basham told Brower.

What’s intriguing is that Michelle Obama became concerned about child nutrition for personal reasons.

She told audiences at a National PTA Conference in Arlington, Virginia, on March 10, that she got a “wakeup call” when her pediatrician voiced concern about her family’s eating habits.

While I applaud the first lady’s efforts, as always, no matter what changes the large food companies institute, I encourage people to reduce or even eliminate their consumption of processed foods.

Vegetables and fruits that come courtesy of Mother Nature are best for our bodies. Plus, they taste better — something you’ll discover after you cut back on processed carbs.

We just don’t need to consume large quantities of packaged foods that usually have been extensively processed, with sugar, fat and salt added.

Kelly Ripa, Kim Kardashian, Seth Green, Eva Langoria Parker Go for Over-the-Top Cakes

Cake - kelly-ripa-435 Many of us would-be, health-conscious people strive often (or at times) to cut culprit carbs and shove candies, cookies, cakes and chips out of our lives for our emotional or physical health.

But who can blame Tori Spelling, Kelly Ripa, Kim Kardashian, Eva Langoria Parker, Guy
Ritchie, Flavor Flav, Seth Green, Spencer Pratt and Kid Rock for using creative, elaborate cakes to memorialize major occasions?

I don't mean to unnecessarily entice you with these images (to your left), but I'm amused, entertained and intrigued by these over-the-top, sugary concoctions that People Magazine shares with us in a snazzy photo essay.

My sugar-free — albeit sometimes jealous — funny bone nudges me to poke fun of this sugar-filled hoopla in this way: Well, let them eat cake!

(For the record, my comment was NOT intended to be malicious — it was my silly, sleep-deprived remark.)

Hey, sometimes you just have to laugh at — and accept — our nation's habit of celebrating events with sugar-filled cakes. Let's face it, this is a trend you just can't buck.

So I invite you to set some limits for yourself at your next beautiful cake-celebrated event. I urge you to have just one teeny, tiny piece — and to have it after a good meal with healthy foods (quality protein, healthy carbs such as veggies and a small amount of fat like olive oil). That's right, I challenge you to partake of one tiny slice!

Cake tori-spelling-660 Speaking of challenges, it can be a challenge to figure out how to observe important milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, bar mitzvahs, christenings and graduations without cute cakes.

So, now I'm presented with a challenge. Given that I don't eat sweets, how the heck should I celebrate my 12 years off sugar on April 15?

I invite your suggestions. Because frankly I'm at a loss! Please send in your ideas!

In case you're new to this Sugar Shock Blog and your'e wondering why I would want to pass up such delectable treats as those shown here, consider this: Would you rather suffer from 44 horrible ailments or skip the sweets and feel great?

That's the choice had to reluctantly make back in 1998, when my doctor ordered me to quit my sugar habit. To learn about my sad-to-sweet story, read it in Chapter One of my book SUGAR SHOCK!

If you're annoyed with me for unnecessarily enticing you, come join me tonight when low-carb blogger Jimmy Moore — who lost 180 pounds and kept it off, partly from cutting out cakes — and I tell you "The Top 10 Reasons You Failed to Lose Weight or Kick Sugar." Just sign up here. (If you can't make it live, you can listen to an audio replay later, for a limited time.)

Agave is Worse for You than High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS): Please Stay Away From the Stuff!

Agave_syrup1 In recent years, health-minded people and health food restaurants have been excitedly ingesting and switching to the supposed, “safe, “all natural” sweetener agave or agave nectar.

Time and time again, since 2003, four years before my book Sugar Shock! was published in December 2006, I’ve been warning people that agave is not safe. In fact, I’ve been telling people, it may be worse for you than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Again, for some seven years now, whenever people have asked me if agave is a good idea to use, my answer has always been the same:

“Stay away from agave, because it’s very high in fructose and may have more fructose than high fructose corn syrup.”


Clever Book Marketing: “Be the Media” Author David Mathison’s Seeks to Squash Al Gore’s Record

Gore 6a00d83454bd8569e20120a94aca3a970b-800wi As an author (SUGAR SHOCK!), I'm often awed and intrigued by the brilliant marketing moves of fellow authors.

To pay homage to my fellow Author-Preneurs (a word I coined to convey or entrepreneurial stance) — and to help these authors build a buzz — I plan to periodically feature the clever marketing gimmicks of savvy authors in a new feature here, on my Sugar Shock Blog.

Today, I invite you to learn about David Mathison, author of the hot-selling book, Be The Media, who has launched an outrageous campaign to beat former Vice President Al Gore's book sales record at a particular northern California bookstore.

BeTheMedia_Cover_Animation3.jpg Currently, Gore holds the record for book sales at an author event at the popular Book Passage bookstore in Corte Madera, California. But this Sunday, March 28, 2010, Mathison is setting his sights on breaking Gore's record. 

"If George Bush could beat him, so can I," declares a confident Mathison, who self-published Be The Media in 2009 to help teach the secrets of independent media to authors, musicians, filmmakers, bloggers, TV/radio hosts and vloggers so that they can inexpensively and widely distribute their message.

To create a buzz for just one book signing by seeking to rival a celebrity's turnout is brilliant book marketing in action. Because, let's face it, many authors dread or fret about book signings, because they never know how many fans will show up.

What's especially clever about Mathison's marketing ploy is that he's also encouraging fans based outside of California to help. He invites anyone — from around the world — to buy Be the Media right at his website. He even promises to personally autograph each book. And if you buy a bunch of copies of Be the Media (i.e., be a contributing donor), you can even win lunch with the author, take a photo with a life-size Al Gore, or discuss the invention of the Internet.

According to Mathison, "Diehard Be The Media activists and special guests will rally from noon to 4 pm outside the bookstore. From 4 to 5 pm, Mathison will deliver the same keynotes he gave in December 2009 and January 2010 to the United Nations."

As if that wasn't original enough, Mathison is now live streaming the pre-book-signing goings-on at his website,, so supporters from across the globe can cheer him on and support his cause. The author even "promises to eat, drink, sleep, talk, and filibuster until he beats Gore." He even confidently proclaims: "Once Gore sees me closing in on the record," he says, "I'm sure he'll concede."

Mathison's book signing — and pre-book signing activities — will be held at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd. in Corte Madera, California. (415) 927-0960 or (800) 999-7909. For press info, email Andrzej Sienko at or call him at (646) 707-9145. Fellow authors, we can learn from this savvy book marketing. Good luck, David! 

BEA 6a00d834520ed269e201156fc2430f970c-320wi While I'm on the subject of book marketing, I might as well share the most outrageous thing I've ever done.

Last year at BEA (Book Expo America) — where I ran into Mathison — I staged a zany, sandwich board publicity stunt in which I poked fun of my unmarried status to drum up publisher interest in my next book, which, at the time, was called the Better Habits Diet. (Instead, my next book — for which I will soon be seeking a publisher — is Break Free of Your Sugar Addiction in 5 Weeks.)

My fun-loving gimmick at BEA last year was intended to show to would-be publishers (the "suitors" I was seeking) that I have the chutzpah, promotional panache and marketing creativity that's needed in these trying times.

While my BEA marketing ploy drew lots of chuckles and some publisher interest, it didn't go over well with one publishing insider, who doubted my writing abilities (ouch!). She even blasted me in her blog post, which had the condescending title, "Authorpreneurs, my stinky foot."

Now that last year's tactic is a fun memory, you can now read a press release I wrote about it here.

And you can get a thoughts about last year's BEA from Shelf-Awareness.

Do you know of any Clever Book Marketing Gimmicks? Please let me know, and I'll consider featuring it on this blog. The topic of the author's book can cover anything from health and wellness to romance to business. I'll post whatever I deem to be worthy of mentioning.)