Friday, 31 August 2007

Secondhand smoke to kill two million in China, says report

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Smoking is a hot-potato issue across the globe right now, with bans happening in many countries on an ever-more-frequent basis. In China, the number of smokers is larger than the entire U.S. population, so that country is set to have some massive health problems if it does not curb its smoking population soon.

Chinese researchers have added that over two million Chinese people alive today will end up dying from emphysema and other chronic lung diseases directly caused by inhaling second-hand smoke. These are not smokers, but people who ingest smoke from nearby smokers.

In the research, most of the estimated two million Chinese citizens had never before smoked, but were exposed to second-hand smoke regularly. Of course, there will be more to come on the subject of smoking -- much more.

We Love to Gawk at Fit Celebs Weekly Round-Up: Stand up for your right to paddle edition

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Sound the horns and roll out the yoga mats! We Love to Gawk is making its triumphant return. Thanks to all of you who sent the postcards scribbled out with "Wish you were here" and "Miss You XOXO." It got to us, really. (OK, the only postcards that arrived were in the form of emails from the producer that read something along the lines of "When the hell are you going to get back in the celebrity goss game, lazy pants?!" I kid, I kid. I've been far too busy doing lunges and roller-blading to take crap from my producer, write this feature or read postcards. Also, kidding).

So, onward and upward to the fascinatingly mundane fitness routines of celebs you love, hate and read about obsessively anyway:

  • Jennifer Aniston's standing up. And this isn't just big news because all of her precarious relationships with hot men. While in Hawaii with BFF CCA, she's paddling while standing in sort of an African Queen type of exercise that proves how hawt she is. Who else (aside from Angelina, people!) would look sleek, toned and oh-so cool doing this stuff?
  • Posh hates the gym, confirming my thoughts that the little indentation in her booty is caused from walking in monster heels rather than doing squats. But you know what does garner my sympathy? Her bum's too small for bicycle seats. That's just sad, y'all.
  • Reese gets in a jog in her Brentwood neighborhood. I love to see the celebs, who could and surely do all kinds of crazy exercisey stuff (yes, Jennifer, I mean you), keeping it simple. I've adored Reese since before the Election years, but yowza! She's looking might fine these days. Go on, mama.

New Zealand looks at "traffic lights" for unhealthy foods

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In a unique development meant to warn consumers about the food they are about to eat, New Zealand's government may be installing a "traffic light" system that warns food-consuming patrons about obesity-causing foods and drinks.

That is, if companies in New Zealand don't do this first in voluntary fashion. The system involves labels colored red, yellow and green in indicate levels of fat, salt and sugar lurking inside foods.

It may take something as basic as this to give food consumers "at a glance" information about food nutrition, and I applaud it. From what I've seen, many consumers would love to eat healthy, but then they don't pay attention to food labels and nutritional information that would help them make an informed choice. Such a "traffic light" system would make decision making fairly straightforward.

Arthritis drugs increase skin cancer risk?

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Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most messy diseases to deal with on a daily basis for most. The inability to physically grasp objects with force and the pain can be a nightmare for many. Consequently, pain drugs are up front in the medicine cabinets of most sufferers.

Drugs such as etanercept or infliximab, however, may be putting themselves at an increased risk for skin cancer. The risk increase is slight, but it's still there (according to research released this week).

In what I rarely hear from drug companies and especially researchers, the report stated that the risk was probably not significant enough to outweigh the benefits of taking both drugs to combat rheumatoid arthritis on a daily basis.

Measles increasing in Britain as vaccinations drop

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In Britain, the cases of measles have seen an uptick recently, which caused the British Government to remind parents about childhood measles vaccinations.

So far this year, there have been 480 cases of the measles, which seems pretty darn low in a country with tens of millions of citizens. But still, there should be virtually no cases if vaccinations were happening to almost all (if not all) citizens.

Perhaps a reason why vaccination shots for disease like measles and mumps have dropped is based on claims back form nine years ago that linked certain vaccinations to increases in autism rates due to the Thimiserol preservative in vaccination shots.

Immunization rates for U.S. kids at record high

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This week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) proudly stated that immunization rates for U.S. children remained above record highs. the statement did chastise teenagers though, as that age group seemed to be behind the younger kids in getting all the suggested immunization shots and so forth.

The data used by the CDC was for 2006, with age ranges covered including kids aged 19-35 months and teenagers from 13 to 17 years of age. The first group saw a 77 percent response rate for immunizations that target 10 popular diseases.

The goal of the U.S. Government states that a 90 percent participation rate is requested within three years (2010), so there is still some work to do. So far, though more than a three-quarter participation rate means that parents are paying attention to the importance of childhood immunizations.

Some simple home remedies

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Next time you're about to head to the doctor for relief from one of the following problems, consider one of the following home remedies from Glee Magazine:
  • Athlete's foot: Tea tree oil works, but olive oil with a bit of garlic crushed into it (let stand for a couple of days before applying) works better
  • Tinnitus: Consider how much aspirin you are taking (too much can lead to Tinnitus.) If that's not the problem, increase your intake of zinc-rich foods like spinach, brussel sprouts, asparagus, string beans and sesame seeds.
  • Ingrown toenails: Soak your feet in a tub of warm water with Epsom salts. Make sure to let the toe breath
  • Acne: Tea tree and lavender oil can boost healing. Zinc supplements may also help.
To find out more helpful hints, read the full article.

Exercise tips for senior adults

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Exercise is a good course of action for anyone physically capable, regardless of age. After all, the human body seems to have been made for movement and such instead of sedentary movement (read: none).

What can you do to exercise safely if you're in your senior years? Plenty, as long as you have a good bill of health from your doctor and are cleared for any type of exercise beforehand (just to be safe).

There are areas you'll need to research and cover before you begin an continue a safe exercise regimen, though. Certain things need to be looked at before you exercise and after. In other words, you're making sure all safety points are being covered to allow you to benefit from exercise instead of suffering from it.

Want more detail? Of course you do! Mosy on over here and spend a few minutes reading and taking notes. Then, start planning your exercises to start next week.

What's in Red Bull anyway?

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Red Bull gives you wings, or so says it's well-known slogan. But while that offer is tempting, it's also makes me a bit wary -- what's the magic ingredient that makes you fly? Fitsugar addressed this question recently, and here's the lowdown: A regular Red Bull has 27 g of sugar, which is the equivalent of 2 tablespoons, so that doesn't hurt. It also contains:
  • Taurine: originally from bull bile but now synthetically made, it can be used either as a stimulant or a sedative, and it can help regulate your heartbeat.
  • Glucuronolactone: supposedly this additive fights fatigue
  • Caffeine: one can had 80 mg of caffeine -- three times the caffeine that's in a can of coke
  • Niacin: Usually, Niacin helps with cholesterol but it's barely traceable in Red Bull.
Fitsugar sums up by saying it's basically caffeine with sugar and I agree. What about you?

Why don't husbands do more housework?

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It may come as no surprise to many that a recent study concluded with the fact that men perform less housework than women. When it came to married men, even less of them shared the housework load.

this study did not just encompass the U.S. -- 27 countries were involved here along with 17,000 women and men. Out of a total weekly amount of 21 housecleaning hours, men performed just over nine hours of it.

There was a pretty large distinction between married couples and men and women living together (but not married). In all, it was suggested that the division of household labor changed when marriage entered the picture. So married ladies -- does your man measure up to you when it comes to housework?

Pasteurizing almonds: An unnecessary precaution?

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There are new rules coming into affect tomorrow by the US Department of Agriculture that state that almonds must be pasteurized as of September 1, 2007. The new rules are a result of a series of salmonella outbreaks that occurred between 2001 and 2004 and were ultimately linked to raw almonds. This applies to all almonds, including organic ones.

However, these new rules have been met with some outrage. One major point of contention is that no manufacturer can ever truly call their almonds 'raw' anymore, even though the new regulations state that the label 'raw almonds' can be still be used. It's also felt that the powers that be are over-reacting to a small incident that occurred years ago.

Figuring out the coffee shop menu once and for all

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With all the good news we've been hearing about coffee and its health benefits lately, plus the impending cool weather (we've already had a few chilly mornings here in the Midwest) knowing how to navigate the coffee shop menu and get exactly what you want is a pretty valuable skill. Unless you take your coffee straight black, though, it can be a tricky thing to figure out. What's the difference between an Espresso Macchiato and an Espresso con Panna? And what about a Flat White and a Cafe Breve? This handy chart couldn't be simpler, so if you walk out of the shop with whipped creme no more excuses that it was an accident!

Via Slashfood

Florida news anchor and 2-time breast cancer survivor Donna Hicken founds marathon to help fight the disease

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When Jacksonville, Fla news anchor Donna Hicken was diagnosed with breast cancer, she decided she wasn't just going to fight the disease by and for herself, choosing instead to both battle cancer and raise money for a cure. Now, after surviving two occurrences of the disease, Hicken has organized America's first marathon that is solely dedicated to fighting breast cancer.

Hicken, who relates the battle to deal with and beat cancer to running a marathon, has founded The Donna Hicken Foundation, which aims to help under-served women in the Jacksonville area who have been diagnosed with breast cancer deal with everything from financial needs to psychological ones.

26.2 with Donna The National Marathon to Fight Breast Cancer takes place for the first time on February 17, 2008 at Jacksonville Beach. Activities at the weekend-long event include a marathon, a half-marathon, a kid's marathon, a pasta dinner, a concert and a health expo. 100% of the monies raised will go to the Donna Hicken Foundation, which has pledged that the majority of the funds will be donated to the Mayo Clinic's Multidisciplinary Breast Clinic.

Approximately 200,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. If you would like to be one of the thousands helping to find a cure, visit the website for 26.2 with Donna The National Marathon to Fight Breast Cancer and find out more about running in the event as well as being a volunteer.

Carmindy of TLC's "What Not to Wear" to gives make-up tips at Bryant Park during NYC Fashion Week

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Recently, I wrote a post about "What Not to Wear's" resident make-up artist, Carmindy, and her tips on how to get great, glowing skin. The Californian beauty always looks fantastic without being overly made-up, so I thought it would be cool to check out her advice on how to get that naturally beautiful look.

Those of you out there who are also Carmindy fans, especially New York City-area residents and fashionistas who'll be in town for NYC Fashion Week, are in for a treat as the artist will appear at Byrant Park on Monday September 10th, as a part of the Word for Word Author Series.

Carmindy, who has penned a book called The 5-Minute Face: The Quick and Easy Makeup Guide for Every Woman, will appear at 12:30 p.m. and 1:45 p.m., and give away some of her best secrets and tricks of the trade including tips on how to enhance your best features and how to look great without spending hours primping. The author will also be available to sign copies of the book. If you love to look great and have fun with makeup, mark the event in your calendar.

Nancy O'Dell: Newest celeb mom to slim down

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I've never been pregnant, and don't plan to be any time soon, but when I do, I hope I can lose the baby weight as easily as some of the celebrity moms out there. Take Access Hollywood's Nancy O'Dell -- She's lost 24 of the 30 pounds she gained when pregnant with daughter Ashby Grace after only nine weeks, according to People Magazine.

O'Dell credits breastfeeding, which she says is 'the best diet.' Not only does it burn a ton of calories, but O'Dell is eating healthfully so as not to pass on any junk to her little daughter. She stays away from milk, cheese, tomatoes and garlic because it upsets her baby's tummy.

Working out is also an important part of the equation. Following advice from friend Lisa Rinna's trainer, she does ballet and dance workouts three times a week.

China now finding problems with imported U.S. packages

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The war has begun. Well, the war of words with China, that is. The country has had its name dragged through the mud in the most recent 12 months, with product recalls stemming from toothpaste to food to lead paint on toys. Since it was being battered in the media all over the world, I guess the best defense was a goofy offense for the country.

State media today released information the indicated it had found microscopic worms in wooden packaging from the U.S. In addition, health authorities even said that substandard U.S. vitamin pills had been discovered as well.

So now, the order of the day is to inspect all items from any country. It's probably quite true that food-related imports from almost any country would have some minor level contamination. I'm not defending U.S. producers here, but an attempt by China to overshadow massive quality problems there won't work here. Nice try.

Learn how to survive in the most bizarre and unlikely situations

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Some of the time the posts on That's Fit can be a bit gloomy -- stories about all the things that will give you cancer and how death rates are rising because of obesity, aren't exactly feel good fare. While these posts offer important information, I always enjoy the pieces that are a bit silly or goofy, because if we only ever talked about the serious side of health, we'd be a pretty stressed-out bunch.

So for that reason, I thought that today I'd highlight a fun but serious series of books that offer real advice for ridiculous and bizarre situations. The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbooks tell readers, in detail, how to:

  • Survive if your parachute fails to open,
  • Build a shelter in the snow,
  • Treat a scorpion sting,
  • Crash-land a plane,
  • Survive in a plummeting elevator,
  • Stop a car with no brakes,
  • Fend off a shark,
  • Wrestle an alligator, and
  • Use a defibrillator to restore a heartbeat, among other things.

There are books dedicated specifically to Travel, Dating and Sex and Work situations, in addition to the original handbook. While the books can be quite funny as it's unlikely that any of the crazy stuff they discuss will ever actually happen to you, the advice given is sound and you just never know when it might actually save your life.

How I got the body I wanted: 5 different approaches

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These days, there are so many ways to shed those unwanted pounds, and though there are certain healthy living standards, each person must do what will ultimately work for them. So I found this article on five different approaches to weight loss pretty fascinating. It follows five women, their different approached to weight loss, and what the pros and cons of each approach are. One did gastric bypass, one did liposuction, one modified her diet only, one took up weight lifting and one became a runner. Each has her reasons for choosing the path she did, and each was successful in the journey.

So my point is that no matter what you hear from friends or family or even some of the experts, in the end you need to figure out what works for you and do it. For me, I have a mostly healthy diet but I don't like to cut things (particularly cheese and pasta) out of it so I workout harder to make up for it. But for you, cutting something out of your diet might be easy. It's up to you how to figure out how to have a healthy life because it's the life you have to live with.

So, what works for you?

Lumae: Coca-cola's new skincare line

I was browsing through my regular blogs the other night and came across this story: apparently Coca-cola and L'Oreal are teaming up to bring you a beauty product in beverage form. Currently called Lumae, this nutraceutical is a tea-based drink that will supposedly help your skin. Riiiighttt...... Oh wait, they're serious?

This is just the newest in a bunch of 'healthy' drinks that coke has, including a new Diet Coke infused with vitamins, and another one that aids in weight loss called Enviga. I'm quite skeptical about any of these having the desired effect they were intended too, and the Beauty Brains are equally as put off -- check out what they have to say about the notion of 'drinking your way to better skin'.

I think coke is coke and no matter what they put in it, it will be bad for you. What do you think about all this?

Make your car healthy

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I don't know about you, but I spend a lot of time in my car, or so it seems. And I don't even have to commute -- I work from home! We're often talking about how to make our homes healthy, so here are some great tips from Fitsugar on making your car healthy too:
  • Keep fresh water in the car, but don't drink from bottles that have been there for weeks
  • Keep some healthy snacks in the glove box for stuck-in-rush-hour hunger pangs. Think nuts or dried fruit -- not chocolate or chips
  • Keep a set of gym gear or a yoga mat in the trunk in case you suddenly feel motivated to make a pit-stop at the gym
For allergy suffers, a box of tissues in the car is also a must. And make sure to give the inside of your car a good clean every now and then.

How do you keep your car healthy?

Most U.S. adults actually happy with their jobs

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Are you happy at work? Although I've heard from many working stiffs recently that they can't stand the site of the office, a recent survey refutes those opinions. Do you like your job? Why or why not? I love hearing from readers on this so I can see which responses come back as objective or subjective.

It's good to known that a recent survey concluded with the fact that a large majority of workers are actually happy with their job at this time, even though this weekend's stretch for three days will most likely be a welcome relief to many.

An average of about 86 percent of Americans say that they are satisfied with their jobs (averaged since 1972), and nearly 50 percent are "very satisfied" with their jobs. Not too bad, although it seems like I hear the exact opposite from many people. Maybe it's just my area.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Workplace Fitness: Matt Damon on balancing career, fitness, & family

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I've always thought how great it would be to have a job that naturally keeps you in shape, and of the jobs in the world that do that being a celebrity is at the top of the list. Starring in an action movie often means months of vigorous training and workouts before filming even begins, and a star like Matt Damon would know that better than anybody with his third Jason Bourne movie, The Bourne Ultimatum, out this summer.

Damon, who's 36 years old, has been in famously good shape to play the ex-hitman character over the years, but this time was different: he has a family now. Damon was quoted as saying of his life before "I really used to have no life outside movies. I'd work all day, go to the gym and go to sleep." But then he married his wife Luciana back in 2005 and they now have a 1 year old daughter together, Isabella, both which give him a reason to come home after work instead of always working out. And despite the film being shot in a total of 8 different locations the family was only separated once.

Continue reading Workplace Fitness: Matt Damon on balancing career, fitness, & family

Danica McKellar tells girls intelligence is hip

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When I was growing up I used to be so envious of Danica McKellar (aka "Winnie" off The Wonder Years) because she was cute and thin and lots of boys had crushes on her. Now that I'm older, well, I'm still a bit envious because she's still fit and beautiful, but I've also got to give the girl some serious respect because she's also really smart. Not only is she intelligent, she aims to let other girls know that it's great to be smart.

I think that in an age where women like Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson flaunt the notion that they're hot but stupid (and I really wonder whether either is as clueless as they have portrayed themselves to be), it's incredibly refreshing and encouraging to have a beautiful woman not only admit that she's smart, but also make sure that young and impressionable girls know that it's possible to be both pretty and intelligent.

McKellar, who has penned a book called "Math Doesn't Suck", assures adolescent girls that it's cool to be good at math (and as an extension, most other school subjects I would imagine). So while I'm still a little bit jealous of the girl who was "Winnie Cooper", I'm also pretty darn impressed with the woman she's become.

Fall into fitness with these 7 tips

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Summer's lack of structure makes it harder for me to plan and eat regular, nutritious meals and stick to a regular fitness program. Luckily, there's always fresh melon and crisp veggies on hand, and we're naturally more physically active in the summer. But I do look forward to September's more structured routine to help me better meet my health and fitness goals. There's something about a fresh new (school) year and the beginning of a new season that's motivating in a way only a clean slate can be.

Fall is an excellent time to rededicate yourself to your goals. A recent survey of 1,500 moms found that many women look forward to fall to focus more time on themselves and their personal health. Not only that, the cooler autumn air is perfect for outdoor exercise. And after dinner bike ride or walk can get the whole family moving together, while giving parents a chance to hear about their kids' day. Read more about the study here, as well as seven ways to jump-start your own fall fitness routine.

What should I eat? Good question.

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veggiesWith new studies appearing daily on the effects of this diet or that food, it gets hard to know exactly what constitutes a healthy diet. This month's Scientific American has an excellent article by Marion Nestle, renowned nutrition professor and author of What to Eat. Her answer to the good eating dilemma is pretty straightforward: "eat less, move more, eat a largely plant-based diet, and avoid eating too much junk food," and as she says, we've known this for a while now. But she also includes a discussion of how studies of single nutrients and the influence of the food industry on research and consumer behavior have muddied the waters considerably.

One great sidebar is her take on the newest food pyramid. She notes that the vague color scheme and absence of clear-cut advice on foods to avoid makes the pyramid, well, pretty unhelpful. Why is this pyramid so much more flawed than the 1992 version? Nestle and others suspect the influence of the food lobbies, who prefer the that government doesn't tell consumers to stay away from their products. In other words, what is good for the bottom line of food companies is pretty sucky for the rest of us.

Your brain works better at night

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Hate the mornings? Feel groggy, inept, and mentally sluggish during the afternoon?

Don't worry, you're normal.

A team of scientists recently discovered that time of day plays a significant role in how well your brain can learn. But what's even more surprising, is that their research also reveals that human brains learn best at night. Apparently it's all to do with our ancestors, whose bodies learned to adapt to different times of day in order to avoid predators.

Regardless, now I know why all my best ideas come in the evening -- we're all smarter when the sun goes down!

Gadgets keep kids awake and make them fat

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As you might suspect, kids aren't sleeping enough. While the experts recommend eight hours, many young teens only sleep for four to seven on any given night. Making matters worse, is that even when they do doze off, some kids are still only getting poor quality "junk sleep."

According to one study, gadgets are to blame. The Sleep Council recently conducted a poll of 1,000 teenagers -- almost all of whom had either a phone, music system or TV in their bedroom -- and found that not only are these gadgets keeping kids up, but because many fall asleep with the TV or radio on, the sleep they do get is sub-standard.

When you compare this information with previous studies that show a strong link between lack of sleep and obesity, the increased time teens are spending with their electronics is even more worrying.

Seems to me that, while it might lead to a few arguments around the house, parents owe it to their kids to shut the gadgets off at a reasonable hour.

10 eating habits you need to break

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Changing your eating habits is the most important step in healthifying your life. And yet, it's also the hardest aspect of making healthy changes. But I think if you focus on changing your worst eating habits, it can make a big difference on both your health and your waistline. Here are some habits to lose, couresty of Forbes:
  • Unconscious eating: Those small nibbles here and there can really add up. Keep a food journal to keep track of everything you've put in your mouth
  • Weekend splurges: It's easy to stay on track Monday through Thursday, but once Friday hits, it's hard to stay on the wagon. Research shows that on average, people consume 300 more calories on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • Eating three meals a day: Some studies show that eating 5 smaller meals throughout the day might be more beneficial.
  • Feeling invincible: When we're young, we often feel that we can abuse our bodies now because we are healthy. Not so -- the time to pay attention to our diet is now.
  • Giving up control: Letting yourself and your diet be controlled by your busy schedule is an excuse that you will regret in the long run. You can be busy and healthy too.
Wait, there's more. Check out the original article from Forbes for some more valuable information.

Being a mom -- one of the hardest jobs of all

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Moms are amazing. They generally are the ones who raise a child in many respects in addition to carrying a child to term for the better part of a year. Is the job worth it? I almost unanimously hear the word "yes," even though the moms I know were mentally and physically exhausted for over a decade during the raising process.

They still carry on. But the moments that arise from being a mom are more rewarding than the massive amount of effort raising a child can take. Dads aren't out of this picture at all -- but today, we're talking moms.

Some of the areas not covered in any parenting class (well, maybe in a few) are listed here -- these are things nobody tells you about when you become a new mom. Want some inside info? Read on!

National Cholesterol Education Month

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Do you need some TLC? No, not tender loving care...I'm talking about therapeutic life changes. September is National Cholesterol Education month, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute want you to take charge of your heart health by taking charge of your cholesterol. Their theme is:

"Know your cholesterol numbers-Know your risk-Give yourself some TLC."

Check out their website for information you can download on lowering your cholesterol, reducing your risk for heart disease, charting your progress, and information on reading food labels. Even if your cholesterol is picture perfect, there's a lot of great information to be found on improving your overall cardiovascular health. Now go out there and give yourself some TLC! Your heart will thank you.

Is it normal to be this tired?

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Exhaustion is something I'm sure we all know a thing or two about. Most of us feel tired most of the time. But being chronically tired isn't normal, and can be a sign of something bigger going on in your body. If you're tired most of the time, here's a simple quiz you can take to see if it's problematic or not. If you score over 10, you should see a doctor about the possibility of a sleep disorder.

I scored a 7, which seems to be normal. I suspect my sleepiness is more to do with staying up too late engrossed in the latest book club book, not a sleep disorder. What about you?

The FTC is trying to put an end to weight-loss spam

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Good news for those of us whose inboxes are bombarded with endless spam offering the ultimate weight-loss solution (read: everyone with an email address), here's been a small victory in the form of this lawsuit. A judge has issues a restraining order against a Nevada-based neutraceuticals company that's been making false or unsubstantiated weight-loss claims against it's products, which include ones containing Hoodia Gordini, via Email spam. Apparently, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) logged over 85,000 Emails from the defendant, Sili Neutraceuticals LLC and owner Brian McDaid, doing business as Kaycon Ltd.

What do you think about this ruling -- should freedom of speech prevail or should we be working harder to shut down all scammers and spammers?

Ideas to improve your fertility

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A doctor once told me that there are so many pieces that have to fall into place, so many small details that have to line up perfectly, that it's a wonder anyone gets pregnant at all. He didn't tell me that to discourage me, but instead to explain that there are so many factors to fertility, beyond the obvious ones. If you're having trouble conceiving and have no clinical signs of infertility, check out this article on how to improve your fertility. They include:
  • stop smoking
  • reduce stress
  • get enough of the right nutrition
  • lose weight
  • consider certain natural fertility boosters (check with your doctor first)
  • avoid foods with pesticides
  • get enough sleep
In some cases, those tips are derived from studies that are small or only seem to indicate a link, so take a minute to read the full article and decide what is right for you before making any changes.

Star style: Get hair like Natalie Portman, make-up like Reese Witherspoon and more

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It's easy to feel jealous when you see magazine spreads of beautiful and seemingly flawless female celebrities, but it's also easy to forget that most of these women spend hours in the hair and make-up chair before those photos are taken.

With a little time and effort, and some help from top celeb stylists, you can look as fantastic as your favorite star. This spread in Glamour Magazine gives you the lowdown on how to copy hairstyles like Natalie Portman's thick and wavy look, Anne Hathaway's stylish updo, Julia Styles' sleek and straight mane and Mary J. Blige's loose curls, as well as Jennifer Hudson's perfectly manicured nails and Reese Witherspoon's fresh and natural make-up.

For step-by-step instructions on how to get these styles, take a look here.

Five small but powerful diet changes to lose weight

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Diets, diets, diets. That word strikes up hope and fear at the same time to those who know the actions of a diet well. Are there any that are easy and work long-term? That's a question that may not ever be answered, as all our personal variables come into play. And, those change drastically per person.

Are there things you can write on on your fridge door and makeup mirror that give you daily reminders and motivation on what to do in order to make your next diet work -- at least for a little while? Try these small reminders on for size:
  • Quit the juice
  • Omit the oil
  • Minus the mayo
  • Boost the fiber
  • Forget "Fried"

Free weight: Use your kids

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piggyback rideI'm big on activities that kill two birds with one workout. And one of my life goals is to actually have moments of being "fun mom," so I like to look for ways to combine exercise with playtime. Here's my five best kid-exercises that require no equipment except a hyped up small child or two.

1. Piggyback rides. Don't just walk, run, and see if you don't get at least a little sweaty.

2. Freeze tag. When you get frozen hold a squat position or plank. Then run like the wind when you are it. And don't hang out at base.

3. Airplane. Lay on your back, hold your child's hands, and pull them onto the bottoms of your feet. Now bend and straighten your wings. Junior's flying while your legs are dying.

4. Blurty sit-ups. Get in sit-up position, and have your kid stand between your feet. When you sit up, blurt them on the belly. Fun ensues.

5. Squat to press. Hold your child by the waist, and squat down. Then stand and lift your kid (using good form, please!) If you have a small enough child, straighten your arms and press them into the air. Repeat until your child is tired or you are toast, whichever comes first.

This child runs 40 miles a day - don't you feel lazy?

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An 8-year-old girl in China has recently completed a 3550-km (2200-mi) run from Hainan to Beijing, accompanied by her father on a bicycle alongside the little super-athlete. This might seem like an amazing feat but it's just another day for Zhang Huimin, who wakes up at 2:30AM most mornings to run the equivalent of one-and-a-half marathons -- 64 km, or 40 miles in total. The latest run was in an attempt to get noticed by the Olympics -- the girl wants to compete in the 2016 Olympics, when she will be 17.

Many people around the world are calling this child abuse -- what do you think? Her father, who is separated from her disapproving mother, says that Zhang Huimin likes running, and he denies that he is forcing her to run. Still, I think this amount of running is inhumane and unhealthy.

Natural pain remedies that won't break your budget

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For many people, managing pain with painkillers is a last resort. However, even if you are the sort of person who avoids taking drugs, you can do more than simply suffering through your ailments.

There are a number of natural pain relievers that might help -- including a few you might not expect. For instance, the Spine Health blog suggests that you eat cookies -- as research shows that eating sweet foods reduces pain. You can also work from the inside out, by meditating, changing your inner thinking to view pain in different way, or using guided imagery to imagine yourself to a better place. Even the simple act of finding a support group can help take the edge off.

Whether you're dealing with chronic pain, or just generally trying to improve your well-being, this is a great list of ideas to get you started on the right path.

[via Lifehacker]

Sweating profusely? What can you do?

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Do you find yourself excessively sweating sometimes at the most inopportune moments? I think we've all faced this at one point in time or another. How can you prevent it?

Anti-perspirants that contain aluminum chloride hexahydrate is the easy answer, but what if you prefer not to plug up your sweat pores at all?

Overactive sweat glands can produce sweat even when the body is cool, and it can be an embarrassment. This condition, hyperhidrosis, is a major pain, and there are a few solutions. Research each one and see if you're willing to do what it takes to stop that excessive sweating if it is disturbing events in your life. See these tips for possible solutions.

Avoiding bug bites

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I love summer but there are a few aspects of it that I can do without, one of the bigger ones being bugs. I dislike them all -- spiders, mosquitos, bees, especially wasps. This summer, I've managed to avoid getting bitten much, but many of my friends haven't been so lucky. Here are some tips for avoiding bug bites from Everyday Health:
  • Don't provoke insects
  • Avoid rapid movement
  • Don't wear lots of perfume or floral prints
  • Cover up and apply insect repellent
If you do get stung, there are some great home remedies out there, including soothing a bee sting with lemons. What do you do to soothe a bite?

Thursday, 16 August 2007

The simplest water bottle holder

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Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best ones, although I'm not sure about this one. Pretty much everybody these days needs to drink more water, and this is one way you could encourage yourself to do that: hook the water right on your belt. This bottle holder would probably be great for anybody who does a lot of walking and moving around during the day (think college kids, and adults who don't use an office or have a desk at their job), and of course it could work great for walking or jogging also, and even for travel and vacations. Except one concern: even while walking won't it bounce and bang around and get annoying?

Via Book of Joe

Do it yourself: Jam

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One of my favorite treats is bread and jam. Toast and jam works too, and both are especially good with a tablespoon of the tasty, homemade raspberry variety. When I was little, I used to love visiting the family farm and spending an afternoon picking berries (although admittedly, a lot of those berries didn't make it into the pail, but rather ended up heading straight into my mouth after being plucked from among its leafy green surroundings), knowing that my grandmother would turn it into one of my favorite sweet treats.

I never sat in on a jam-making session though, so have never had the chance to make it on my own and wouldn't even know where to start. But recently I came across this post at DIY Life by Heather Craven that gives details on how to make your own jam! She mentions that it's great to use fruit out of your own garden, but if you don't have that particular luxury it's the perfect time of year to find all sorts of appropriate fruits at a local farmer's market. Next time all you fellow jam-fans out there have some time on your hands, you'll know what to do.

Wine allergies do exist

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It's sounds odd that something as docile (heh) as wine could cause allergic reactions, but with win being made from grapes, and grapes being grown in the wild (in most cases), there's several variables that could be the culprit of that allergic reaction.

How about the chemicals left behind by insects that hang out and talk politics on those grapes? Joking aside, washing grapes is always good before eating to wash away any residue on the grape's skin. But, in wine, you can't really do that.

So, unless you're into making your own wine, and you have a funny feeling(or severe reaction) from drinking wine, you may want to investigate further to ensure those nasty insects are not the cause. Things like wasps, ants and bees could all be your enemy during snifter time.

Fitsugar giveaway: Heart rate monitor

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Here's some super news: One of my favourite fitness blogs, Fitsugar, is giving away Polar Heart Rate Monitors to some lucky readers. If you have some sort of fitness routine, a heart rate monitor is a great addition. Even if you don't have a fitness routine, you should and maybe free stuff will motivate you to get to the gym. Heart rate montiors can keep track of your heart rate and they amount of calories you've burned, which is I think you'll agree is an awesome addition to your fitness gear.

So go enter! Um, wait. Scratch that. Please don't enter so my chances of winning are improved.

Daily Fit Tip: Lose weight with the BodyBugg

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The BodyBugg by Apex Fitness is an amazing tool which will legitimately help you manage your weight. This mini computer which is worn around the upper arm, measures exactly how many calories one burns throughout the day . Combined with a personalized program which allows you to chronicle your caloric intake, the BodyBugg offers proof of exactly what you've accomplished each day.

The program sets personalized caloric intake and burn rates each day, specifically for the goals you'd like to accomplish. Just putting the BodyBugg on motivates me to move more and sit less. If I come home at night and see that I haven't achieved my goal.....I go for a walk. If I come home and find that I've superseded my goals, maybe I'll allow myself a treat. Either's nice to know for sure what I've accomplished. It keeps me honest, and the other folks I know who use the BodyBugg have had much success with it too.

The BodyBugg is lightweight, attractive, and extremely comfortable. I actually forget I'm wearing it. Slim enough to fit under any shirt without looking strange, this Bugg is worth a try. Set goals, receive definitive data regarding your efforts and make changes where necessary. Cool tool.

Continue reading Daily Fit Tip: Lose weight with the BodyBugg

There aren't as many potential blood donors out there as we think

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It used to be thought that nearly everyone of a certain age would be eligible to donate blood. Now, a new study shows that the percentage of eligible blood donors is lower than previously thought because certain risk factors hadn't been taken into consideration. Now it's estimated that only about 37% of adults are eligible to donate blood -- less than half of the population. And of that 37% I imagine there are few who actually donate.

For this reason, I think it's more important than ever to donate blood if you're eligible. You can save many lives at only a slight inconvenience to yourself.

Do you donate blood?

Why are we getting shorter?

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Take a walk through my great aunt's 17th-century home in England and you'll find substantial proof that people were much shorter 33 years ago. The American population has been getting steadily taller over the years ... until now. Americans are getting shorter on average every year. And it's not happening in Europe or other countries in the world -- it's just here.

What's the reason? Well, just as proper nutrition is the reason why we've been getting taller, our nutrition, or lack thereof, is to blame for the shrinking phenomenon as well. So even though we're smart enough to make huge strides in our health by improving our nutrition over time, we're stupid enough to disregard those nutritional advances in favour of junk food that in ultimately killing us. It's amazing, really. In a way, we're actually going backwards on the evolutionary scale, don't you think?

(via Diet Blog)

Protein is key for building muscles in the elderly

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High protein foods can be converted into muscle in elderly adults too, a study shows, proving that those protein shakes won't just benefit the young folks at the gym. Therefore, as adults age and begin to lose important muscle mass, a diet high in lean proteins will be beneficial, as well as some gentle exercises. But currently, it's estimated that 27% of older adults aren't getting adequate amounts of protein in their diet.

On an interesting note, this study was partially funded by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, but I'm recommending that seniors get their protein from lean sources like fish, chicken breasts, lean turkey, nuts and low-fat dairy.

Daily Fit Tip: Love yourself

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Loving yourself is so important. Self-esteem is at the root of every experience in your life, and if you lack confidence in yourself, you'll have a hard time achieving your goals and dreams, whatever they may be. So today, take a few moments to work on yours, whether you're dieting or not. Today's guest blogger at Back in the Skinny Jeans recommends a few things, including making a list of 10 things you love about yourself. Here's mine:
  • I love my ankles
  • I love my (mostly) straight teeth (thanks to the orthodontist)
  • I love my tattoos
  • I love the freckles on my arm that form an 'M'
  • I love the birthmark on my thigh because it's one thing on my body that has remained constant since I was a child
  • I love the way I talk with my hands; Until a friend pointed it out recently, I didn't even notice that I have the exact same gestures as my father
  • I love my two-toned eyes
  • I love my small lips, because they're a sign of my heritage
  • I love my inner strength
  • I love my resilience; the way I don't let things get me down for long.
What do you love about yourself?

Life Fit Chat with Laura Lewis: Change your mind, change your matter

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Life Fit Chat with That's Fit Life Fit Expert Laura Lewis brings conversation provoking tidbits to your table, served up with a touch of spice! Byte-sized information that pack some punch, brought to you every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday!

Did you know ... Roughly 30 percent of people who are given a placebo to help cure a negative health condition will totally recover, despite the predicted outcome of research scientists. The only determining factor that makes these people different from their non-placebo responding friends is their attitude, outlook on life and determination. In other words, they changed their mind. (52 Ways to a Healthy You Brown Books Publishing Group,

Though the idea of improving your health by changing your mind may sound like a fantasy, experiments have found that a small amount of training spread over the period of a year can be amazingly effective. Dr. Grossarth-Maticek randomly divided 1,200 people into two equally divided groups, both of whom had scored poorly on a life outlook survey.

The first group were given a self-help brochure and six, one-hour training sessions over the period of one year while the other group received no information or training. When the health status of the two groups was checked over thirteen years later, 409 of the people in the first group of 600 were still alive versus 97 of the equal-sized control group!

If you think it is too late to change, think again. The average age of the people in the experiment was 58.

Change your mind, change your matter ... Mind your thoughts as they truly manifest into the matter of your reality.

Can you think of a time when your attitude affected your physical health? What about the people you spend time with? Do their attitudes bring you down or lift you up?

Action Tips
  • Start each day with an "I AM" statement ... I AM vibrantly health. I AM happy, wise and blessed. I AM filled with abundant joy!
  • Redirect your thoughts when they turn negative. Develop your own mantra to assist you. Keep it positive not negative. For example, I AM in a state of continuous gratitude, versus, I will not be ungrateful.
  • Surround yourself by supporters not naysayers.
Let us know how you do!
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