July 25th, 2008
05:44 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: A full plate

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

I’m not a huge fan of processed foods. Call me crazy, but something about ingredients I can’t pronounce turns me off. Processed meats rarely make it onto my plate - I’ve never been a sausage fan, and while I do love a hot dog and a beer at a baseball game, that’s pretty much the only time I eat them. We all know too many fatty foods – especially things like processed meats – can be bad for your cholesterol levels and your heart, but who knew that breakfast link could give you cancer? Some days it feels like nothing is safe to eat! My apologies to all the meat lovers out there… maybe a veggie burger or a soy-dog for your bbq this weekend?


I can’t get over this Qantas flight! I admit, my first thought this morning when I heard the story was, “The no crash record is still intact.” Remember that from Rainman? After that split-second, my mind quickly turned to the people on board. We have a first-hand account along with iReport video from inside the cabin.


Two thumbs up would be my officially rating for the “Siskel & Ebert” of days gone by… except Mr Ebert apparently owns the copyright to the rating formula. Since I’m not reviewing a movie, I think I’m safe… at least I hope I am.

I have such found memories of those weekend movie reviews! My dear friend and former co-anchor, Michaela Pereira, even co-hosted with Roger Ebert a few times, which made me love the show even more. I admit, I haven’t watched in years, but it still makes me a little sad and nostalgic to hear the lights are going down on “At the Movies” for the final time.


Another bit of sad news to report… Randy Pausch, a professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon, gave his “Last Lecture” in September after learning he had a few weeks to live. He didn’t lament the years he wouldn’t have but instead rejoiced in everything he’d experienced and lived so far, and the lessons he’d learned. His lecture has been viewed more than 3.2 million times on YouTube (I’m half-way through… had to take a quick break to finish this post). Today, Randy Pausch, husband and father of three, passed away at home. He was 47. Somehow I don’t think he’d want us to cry; instead, I think he’d tell us to seize the day.

Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note • T1
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. kay, Huntsville, AL

    I am sorry to tell Matt that I do not think hush puppies count as a vegetable even though when they are cooked right they are very tasty. They may have veggie "roots" but they are more like a starch or bread. I moved to a city when I found a good job but city living did hurt my health. The faster paced life led me to eating fast foods and more meats. When I lived at home in the country and ate more veggies I was very healthy and lighter on my feet.

    July 28, 2008 at 12:30 am |
  2. Don, WA

    Airline note: Kudo's to Quantas for strong rivets!
    Health note: Red wine, garlic, and dark chocolate!

    July 26, 2008 at 11:03 pm |
  3. carmen

    My mother outlived all her younger brothers and sisters except the baby girl. All (12) of her sibblings saved their bacon grease for Mama to cook with b/o we had so many children in our family to feed. My aunts cooked with Crisco!
    Mama also weighed 220 plus all my life and smoked two ppd unfiltered cigarettes till she died at age 86.

    We are only getting part of the story re foods, etc.
    We couldn't afford the "better choices" and never wrapped food in plastic.

    What is the real cause of Cancer etc?

    July 26, 2008 at 10:17 pm |
  4. pyson

    what do u think about china banning blacks n mongols from bars n restaurants.... do u think the games should be in that horrible n twisted.. country ?

    July 26, 2008 at 6:12 pm |
  5. Marilyn Miller

    There is so much to avoid. I think focusing on what you like that is good for you, like whole grains and fruits and vegetables and trying not to worry too much about what you can't avoid.

    I get to grow some fruits and vegetables in the summer, and my neighbor brings those she can't use from her garden. I make my own whole wheat bread and learned to cook from scratch from my mother. My dad made sausage and we had bacon, scrapple, and rendered lard for cooking. I saw all that went into the meat before we sent them out to be smoked. You need to be careful how much you eat, any time, even good things.

    We did not make hot dogs, but we roasted them over a fire in the spring and summertime for picnics. We could not afford to buy meat so even bologna was not on our usual menu. What a treat to have a bologna sandwich on store bought white bread. I cannot eat that now.

    We always ran out of meat in the summer, then we were essentially vegetarians until the fall butchering season and hunting. My mother died of a heart attack when she was quite young (but she was overweight), and my father had diebetes, so it is really about moderation, watching fats, growing and cooking your own food when possible and thinking about your health.

    Thanks for your comments, Erica. We do have a huge problem with weight and unhealthy eating in our country

    I love your nonverbal communication. You say so much with your eyes and your face. Thanks for being expressive and honest.

    Marilyn Miller

    July 26, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  6. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Erica, If I had to spend my life eating veggie burgers, I would rather be dead. Yes Matt hush puppies are veggies, and so are french fries. Soy? Isn't that the gunk you scrape from the underside of your lawn mower after cutting the grass? About that Quantas flight. I heard broccoli was to blame.

    July 26, 2008 at 12:09 pm |
  7. Jason, Rochester Hills, MI

    Hi Erica,

    My only comment is in regards to Mr. Pausch. He was a truly brilliant mind as it pertains to his field of study. I think he was an even more profound person when it came to how he set his priorities. His family truly meant everything to him. He actually moved past "self" after being diagnosed with a terminal illness and went directly into making a lasting contribution to the lives of his wife and children. That deposit of love and wisdom has spilled over onto the balance of humanity in the form of a true reality check, if we are wise enough to partake. I am filled with grief at the loss of yet another tremendous mind. My heart and prayers are with his wife and children.

    On a different note...I SO WISH you were sitting in Campbell Browns chair. I am sure she is a fine person, but I detest her as a news anchor. My wife and I both ADORE you. You radiate purpose and personality when you are delivering the news. We both predict wonderful things for you in the future. Remember us when you hit the big time!

    We send our best and are rooting for ya!

    Jason and Michelle in Rochester Hills, MI

    July 26, 2008 at 12:06 am |
  8. Janna

    Veggieburger fanatic here....the majority of them can be dry if not cooked well and I can't stand the chunky ones, but even my carnivore partner loves gardenburgers. Make no mistake, they are not trying to be real meat. They are just yummy. and believe it or not, many meatless meats taste and feel, texture wise, like the real thing. ok, maybe they taste a little less dirty...
    vegetarian eating frozen spinach and canned tomatoes who will probably get cancer ten other ways

    July 25, 2008 at 11:16 pm |
  9. Matt

    Hi Erica,

    So, do you guys really eat like this? I may eat a vegetable once a week. My diet consists of beef jerkey, hot dogs, Long John Silvers etc.. Are hush puppies vegetables? And I hear that we should drink 8 to 10 glasses of water every day. Does Mt. Dew and Miller Lite count? I think I'm doomed.... Argh!!!

    Miss you on Prime News.... Boo!

    Warmest Regards etc.....

    July 25, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  10. kay, Huntsville, AL

    Veggies are best for us for sure. My Mom and Dad eat them and grow them all of the time. Even though my mom had a high cholesterol level for years when they did a heart cath on her the arteries were clear! She is seventy three. The thing I have noticed is vegetables seem to flush bad cholesterols and fats out of our systems. You need to eat veggies every day like greens and yellow veggies. Starchy ones are bad sometimes like corn, potatoes, and too much rice if you have diabetes. Do not smoke! Smoking narrows and constricts arteries leading to heart disease no matter what you eat- it will not help. If you eat a little meat it is usually O.K. if you eat enough veggies too and do not smoke.

    July 25, 2008 at 9:30 pm |
  11. Christine

    You know I hear and read all about healthy eating and life styles, and most of the people preaching look very unhappy. I quit smoking about 13 or 14 years ago, I no longer drink alcohol and switched to chicken sausage (which is pretty good), but I will not give up pasta, potatoes beef and some junk food.

    Any death is sad. My mother always said tears are for the living, but when she died, my heart hurt so that I couldn't help but sob, and the first time I saw her name on the tombstone i almost fell to the ground.

    July 25, 2008 at 9:20 pm |
  12. Annie Kate

    Hi Erica

    You're right – there doesn't seem to be anything safe to eat. If it doesn't make you sick immediately or kill you immediately then its bad for you in the long run – heart disease, cancer, you name it. Fish used to be THE food for dieting but now you have to worry about mercury levels and some of the fish have been overfished and have limits on the quantities that can be commercially caught and sold. Oysters are dying in a warming sea. Beef is bad for your cholesterol as is cheese and eggs. Vegetables right now seem to be suspect from salmonella. The list goes on and on.

    Condolences to Mr Pausch's family. He sounds like he was an extraordinary individual and much too young to die.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 25, 2008 at 8:42 pm |
  13. Jim- Kearny, NJ

    Hi Erica!

    Veggie burgers? Yuck. They're dry and taste lousy.
    Soy dogs? Didn't know they existed. I tried a soy burger many years ago and couldn't finish it. I guess i'm doomed to death by chemical alteration. But at least I'm safe from those nasty Mexican jalapenos : )

    It's amazing to me that the Quantas flight was able to land safely. That was a big hole. It actually amazes me that planes get off the ground in the first place. Kudos to the pilots and crew!

    I haven't seen Randy Pausch's Last Lecture yet, I'll try to catch up with it over the weekend. It's sad anyway. 47 is much too young to die.

    I didn't see a lot of "At The Movies", but the show was iconic. Word is that Roger Ebert has plans to keep his thumbs up or down in the public eye after ATM is over.

    Have a great night,


    July 25, 2008 at 8:34 pm |
  14. Megan Dresslar

    Helllooo Erica,
    My hearts go to Randy Pausch's family and friends who lost battle cancer, he will missed by fans and family, he was best lecture to his students at Carnegie Mellon, My thoughts and prayers with Carnegie Mellon, his parents, his wife and 3 children. you know that my dad and grandmother also had cancer too. they died few ago. I always wore pink ribbon to support to beat cancer. Will you pass to Randy Pausch's family for me??? Thanks.........
    I will see you there tonight on program and live blog.
    Megan D.
    Shoreline, Wa

    July 25, 2008 at 7:44 pm |
  15. Heather

    They created a standard for us movie lovers. But it was just a matter of time. Unfortunately, some good things really do come to any end. I don't think it is possible to replace them. Any end to an era indeed. Erica, Im with you. If its not organic, I dont eat it. I dont think what happened to that plane is supposed to happen. It reminds of that flight where part of the roof just tore off.Someone who I grew up with lived his life to the fullest and was diagnosed with end stage skin cancer and died exactly two months to the day of his diagnosis. Its makes me think sunblock and how happy I am to be pale.Ill try to live fully each day but Ill use sunblock.

    July 25, 2008 at 7:33 pm |
  16. Victor in Saanich, B.C. Canada

    Sure Erica, have a tomato!! Maybe then some lettuce or packaged salad!! Prepared salads from the deli depts. at your local grocer!!
    If it's out there and as they say 'it has your name on it', it's a bit tough to duck!!

    July 25, 2008 at 7:16 pm |
  17. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    Hey Erica!
    Processed meats are sooooo yucky! Do you know what by~products they toss into those weiners and sasage? You probably don't want to know but it is nasty. Think, think, think, of the nastiest body parts you can think of then, think of the tumors. . . enough? My dinner is ruined now.
    The meat industry surely does not want you to know about the "evils" of eating meat aka consumption of dead animals.
    Talk about pesticides on fruits and veggies, just imagine how many pollluted veggies are concentrated in each pound of meat!
    kinda scary. This will definitely tick off the meat industry so shhhhh!!
    @ Jim~ We may all die of something but I will continue to treat my healthy body like a temple and not pollute it any more than I have to.
    ( except on special occasions! )
    That Quantas flight was really freaky. I believe that if I were in that plane, I would drive or sail home. That pilot did an amazing job!
    It will be interesting to see what made that huge hole in the aircraft.
    Ok` I'll shut up now.;-)
    Thanks for the blog Erica!
    All the best~

    July 25, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  18. Lilibeth

    Hmmm…I’ve never heard of a soy-dog until now…maybe I’ll give it a try. I like veggie burgers though. I know what you mean about hotdogs…for whatever reason, they taste good at a baseball game or a movie.

    Speaking of movies, I loved the movie weekend reviews, too. They’re as entertaining as the movies themselves. I find myself disagreeing with them sometimes, though.

    I’ll have to check out Mr. Pausch’s lecture. It sounds moving.

    See you later,

    Edmonds, Washington

    July 25, 2008 at 6:47 pm |
  19. Jim Ca.-

    I'll let you in on a little secret- If you knew what was in your vegies, breads, water, air- You'd stop Eating ,Drinking & Breathing.
    So Eat ,Drink & Enjoy because we all die -its just a matter of when & how.If the food doesn't kill you it's the water, if not the waterthen its the air, if not the air ,then its going to be something else. I'm a Strict Meat & Potoato/ junk food junkie & I've lived longer than some of my " Health food friends"
    As for the Flight- I don't fly- & the planes falling apart because of people not doing their job is the reason why.
    As for Mr. Pausch- see my first comment- My Dad died at 47,My first Girl friend died at 38,- non of us are promised tomorrow.

    July 25, 2008 at 6:12 pm |