Food and drink: Food fare deconstructed 

iGoogle offers lots of ‘food’ gadgets but are you still hungry?

Go ahead - laugh your head off. But after so many years I'm too embarrassed to say, I was sick of looking at as my homepage. I mean crap, how many ads for iSomethings can a gal not look at?

So my husband, bless his computer-smart soul, showed me how to use iGoogle to access the variety of news I longed for and my Google alerts just didn't provide. Good ol' Google, the techno boy scout. If it can't help you one way, it will find another.

You go to and cherry-pick the sites you want from a palette of categories - news, tools, finance, whatever.

Now I'm a worse news junkie than ever. Never mind all the news stories. How cool is it to compare top headlines from around the world and see who deems what important?

EU seeks better crisis response; Car bomb in central Iraq kills 23; U2's Bono has emergency surgery (BBC World Edition). EU promises tighter debt rules; Deadly blast hits Iraqi city; US accuses BP of oil spill cover-up (Al Jazeera English). Arizona Law Reveals Tension in G.O.P. on Immigration; Judges Rule Against Detainees Held at Afghan Air Base; Cosmopolitan Era Ends With Baghdad Oasis in Rubble - the most moving story of all ( New York Times ).

If you don't see a category you want in the pre-set menu, you can search for your own "gadgets." Don't bother with "art" - the choices are pathetic. But "food" is another matter, with more selections than an urban food court.

First up is the Daily Nutrition Checklist that, once you customize it with your age, gender and timed amount of exercise, provides you with the number of calories you should consume daily (about 1,800 for me) and the number of "extra" calories from fat and sugar that you should consume (195 for me).

It also gives you a list of food groups or types, including water, grains and "oils" you should be covering off, presumably every day. Many, like eggs and fish, are conspicuous by their absence.

Each group is followed by a row of boxes you can tick which, I assume, represent the pre-calculated number of units each person who signs up for the Daily Nutrition Checklist is advised to eat based on the info they input. I have five boxes to tick, one for each of the five teaspoons of oils I should eat, three boxes for each of the three cups of milk I should drink, and so on.

You don't have to be a dietician or doctor to wonder how useful such a generic checklist could be. First, there's no opportunity to input important details that would impact one's nutritional needs such as the intensity of your activity level or other details about your health and physical condition, including basics like weight and height.


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