In the Star Trek episode “The Omega Glory,” Captain Kirk and his crew arrive on a planet where people live for more than 1,000 years. Another officer, the deranged Captain Tracey, assumes that there’s something in the environment that gives the inhabitants such long lives, but it turns out that it was years of nuclear war and related chaos that made the survivors naturally tough and long-living.
Here on Earth, there are five “blue zones” — the islands of Okinawa in Japan, Sardinia in Italy, and Icaria in Greece, plus Nicoya in Costa Rica and Loma Linda, Calif. — where an unusually high percentage of people live to be more than 100 years old. A Blue Zone Diet has been developed, supposedly based on what the people in those zones eat. It’s mostly plant-based, high in legumes, and low in processed foods. However, Okinawans eat a lot of pork, so the science all seems a bit sketchy.
At any rate, Tender Greens is kicking off the new year with a Longevity Bowl based on the Blue Zone Diet.
It’s a bit of a surprise that this first Menu Tracker of 2023 isn’t totally dominated by new items related to resolutions to eat more healthfully. There are quite a few: Vitality Bowls’ Detox Bowl, Biscuitville’s Skinny Biscuit, a new line of Lifestyle Bowls from Chipotle, a grilled fish taco from Rubio’s, a (fried) tofu bowl at California Tortilla, and a salad at Sweetgreen that’s part of a cross-promotion with health and wellness coach Melissa Wood-Tepperberg, plus Tender Greens’ thing.
There are also new health-focused items from Everytable, Protein Bar, PLNT Burger, Juice it Up!, Pokeworks, and Smoothie King, but that’s their bread and butter, so to speak.
Jack in the Box has new energy drinks, which some people think are good for them, and Yogurtland has a new sorbet.
But there are also new chocolate items, and not the super-dark unsweetened kind, at Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, Cinnaholic, and Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers.
If your resolution is to eat richer, more indulgent food, Burger King’s here to help with more fried chicken sandwiches, plus some sliders, one of which has half a pound of beef on it, and Papa Murphy’s has new, bigger pizzas.
Buffalo’s Café also has new fried chicken items, and Smashburger made its spicy fried chicken sandwich a permanent addition to the menu. Donatos and Little Caesars have more cheesy bread options, Del Taco has an orange shake, and Popeyes is bringing back a fried pie among other things.
Velvet Taco’s Weekly Taco Feature is based on a meatball sub.
Voodoo Doughnut has new doughnuts and cannoli, but that’s its job. Ditto new drinks at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Dutch Bros, Peet’s Coffee, Scooter’s Coffee, and Starbucks.
There are also new items at Condado Tacos, El Pollo Loco, and Hurricane Grill & Wings.