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The Weekly Eater

By Nadine Kam

Thursday, January 27, 2000

Zippy’s caters to
new wave of dieters

RIGHT about now, all that "year 2000, new beginning, time for change" resolve is fading fast. There go the plans to get organized, to start exercising, to eat right. Oh well, there's always the real millennium ...

But wait, just when you think you've lost your last ounce of willpower, Zippy's and Dr. Terry Shintani have teamed up to save your diet plans.

Last week, Zippy's restaurants began serving Shintani's "Diet for a New Millennium." One entree and one soup conforming to Shintani's prescription for good health will be included on the menu daily through Feb. 29.

Shintani picks up where your mom left off, as a cheerleader for your body's well-being. By adding more fruits and vegetables to one's diet, ingesting a moderate amount of whole grain foods and cutting down on poultry, dairy, fish and meat consumption, Shintani contends people can eat more and weigh less. Other long-term benefits of the diet may include increased energy and mental alertness, reduced blood pressure, lower cholesterol and prevention of diet-related diseases.


Food -- starstar1/2
Atmosphere -- starstar1/2
Service (window) -- starstar1/2
Value -- starstarstar

Zippy's also should be commended for its progressive thinking, although restaurants that have taken "heart healthy" measures have been met most often by indifference.

The Millennium Diet is not likely to appeal to anyone not already concerned with health issues. At the counter at Kailua's Zippy's, it was business as usual, with Oxtail Soup and Chili Frank Plates cruisin' out the door. On the sit-down side, older customers were more likely to inquire about the menu.

When I inquired about the Shintani diet, the waitperson -- bless her heart -- remarked, "You don't need it."

But appearances can be deceiving. Perhaps my arteries are paying for my weak nature. I'd like to think the reason I do not eat more healthfully is because my job demands that I eat all manner of evil -- foie gras, lobster drenched in butter, creme brulee -- but it was also my job that led me to ask for Shintani entrees, when what I really wanted was a Mushroom Burger and Napple for dessert.

You can look at the diet specials as regular dishes less the meat, sodium and sugar. A Savory Stew ($3.85) is much like Beef Stew -- carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, onions and tomato -- without the meat. Served with two scoops of brown rice and a tossed salad, it's as aesthetically bland as it is good for you.

Mushroom Marinara and Pasta ($4.85) is similarly bland.

What worked best were the soups. A Corn and Potato Soup ($1.95 small, $2.30 large), was missing sodium and creaminess, but was still recognizable.

Best of all were the Two-Bean Chili ($2.50 small) and Vegetable and Bean Soup (.95 small). One doesn't miss the meat in the former, and the latter was a ringer for Portuguese Bean Soup, without the sausage of course. And if you don't believe how bad sausage is, try making pork hash and count up all the little white fat bombs that get folded into the meat.

It would be far better to sacrifice your fried or heavily salted foods a few days a week for one of the Shintani meals, than to find yourself a heart-attack survivor someday, forever restricted to foods good for your body, if somewhat meager for the soul.

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Nadine Kam's restaurant reviews run on Thursdays. Reviews are conducted anonymously and paid for by the Star-Bulletin. Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants:

-- excellent;
-- very good, exceeds expectations;
-- average;
-- below average.

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