Monday, 22 January 2007

Students waving off inadequate school cafeteria food these days

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After reading this, I was pleased to see that at least some elementary schools are providing healthy lunch choices in there cafeterias these days in addition to or in replacement of junk foods like hamburgers, french fries and other unhealthy foods.

Could this trend reach a school near you? Remember, garbage in...garbage out. If kids eat junk, there are many expert minds that say junk will come out out them in the form of bad attitudes, lethargy, disease, promotion of ADHD and other bad things.

Good nutrition should be a top priority of kids these days -- not an afterthought to take care of later. Agree? Disagree?

Is your jumbo handbag killing your back?

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Are you getting more headaches than you used to? Are you having neck cramps or back pain and can't figure out why? The culprit could be your large, heavy purse. Trendy handbags and purses keep getting bigger and bigger - and we're filling them to the max.

Toting these bags around with us all day - which can easily weigh 15 pounds or more - can also lead to upper back problems. And since you might not notice the pain until later, when you're working out or sitting at your desk at the office, the source of the pain often remains a mystery as the problem gets worse and worse.

The American Chiropractic Association recommends that handbags weigh no more than 10 percent of the owner's body weight, but doctors point out that the rule was made assuming the weight would carried distributed evenly across your back, like when wearing a backpack.

Handbags that will be carried with the straps over only one shoulder should generally weigh less than 10 percent of your body weight to avoid injury. Also
remember to switch the side you're carrying it on often, and walk with correct posture, keeping your head and shoulders aligned and upright.

Cut trans fats to increase fertility

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crackersTrans fats are the new "out" food, if you can even call them a food. Found mostly in fried and processed foods due to their hydrogenated fat c ontent, trans fats have been found to be a culprit in increased heart disease.

But if you are a woman of childbearing age who would like to conceive, a new study shows that you'll have even more reason to avoid trans fats. It seems that by having just 2% of your total calories from trans fats, it can cause a 73% increase in ovulation-related fertility.

What? That's huge! I bet it is not hard to eat 2% of trans fats if you go out to dinner often or use margarine or packaged foods. This list of the top ten trans fat foods should help you to reduce the amount of trans fats in your diet.

Not too long ago, fellow That's Fit blogger Martha Edwards posted about foods that can help or hinder fertility. Maybe decreasing trans fats and increasing oysters could be your recipe for success.

Happy baby-making, and here's to healthy eating!

'Mystery Fat' a hit in Pennsylvania school

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We all know that kids don't like "mystery meats" in school lunches -- just what is that piece of meat, anyway. But, I was surprised to read that some Pennsylvania kids like "mystery fats". After all, many kids have grown up eating trans fats in so man foods, what could be so good about a "mystery fat"?

Well, it appears to be a secret ingredient derived from a plant-based fat substitute called Z Trim. That particular plant-based fat has been in the school's popular ranch dressing for months. Ah-ha -- a "quiet" introduction here.

This surprise substitution was designed to reduce the fat and calories students are getting when they load up their salads and chicken with it. The results? They actually like it.

Be successful at losing the weight

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Why should you lose weight? Okay, dumb question. But maybe not for everybody, because sometimes it's easy to get bogged down in the everyday and lose your real motivation. So make a conscious effort to find it again, whether it's to have more energy for playing with your kids/nieces/grandchildren/etc, reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, or simply to breathe better and feel more energetic.

This article will give you a quick boost in your weight loss plans, reminding you of good ideas for everything from "feel fuller" foods to fun ways to burn calories, and even how to get a flatter stomach. There's so many tips and information out there, sometimes you just need to see it again to stay on track.

Top medical milestone in history is...Sanitation

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When you think of all the advances in the medical field in the last 150 years, what comes to your mind? Cures? Recent surgical techniques? Pharmaceutical breakthroughs? Vaccines?

How about sanitation? The prevalence of sanitizing techniques was voted the most important medical milestone in the past century and a half this past week. Sanitation techniques like improved sewage disposal and clean water supply systems were the overwhelming favorites in a recent worldwide study.

Educate yourself on herbal supplements, or don't bother taking them

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I'm personally a huge fan of herbal supplements -- I don't think they can work miracles but I do think they can have some significant health benefits if taken strategically. A lot of people take kind of a "willy nilly" approach when it comes to herbal supplements, treating the store shelf or their medicine cabinet like a sundae buffet. "Hmmmm, lets throw a little of this one on there, and some of that too. Oh, and some of that one too...why not!"

Why not? We're not dealing with rainbow sprinklies here. If you think that herbal supplements may be able to help you then you need to educate yourself and take them correctly, because just like anything you ingest they have the potential of interacting with other things in your body. For example, St John's Wort can cancel the effects of some HIV medications and interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.

There are enough health surprises in life without increasing the odds!

Aging men using testosterone to 'turn back time'

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As many men feel that searching for the "fountain of youth" becomes more important after age 45, a growing number o them are using testosterone creams, gels, and patches in an effort to capture that young feeling again.

Are these kinds of treatments and products safe and effective? Not according to recent conclusions from investigators at the Mayo Clinic -- who conducted two research analyses of testosterone therapy.

The best way to capture that "fountain of youth" is to eat right, drink right, get plenty of exercise and reduce your exposure to household and environmental toxins. That is, of course, easier said than done for most.

Supermodel says families, not fashion to blame for anorexia

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There's been a lot of debate lately surrounding the fashion industry and its models -- how thin is too thin? The debate flamed even higher recently in Brazil, following the death of a popular supermodel and three other young women from anorexia nervosa. Anorexia is such a hot topic in the South American country that a favorite TV soap opera has built a major story line around it.

Supermodel Gisele Bundchen entered the fray this week, speaking out in defense of the fashion industry. Bundchen feels that young models need stro ng family support to walk the fine line between thin and too thin. She herself started modeling at 14 and says that though she was away from the protection of family, she still knew she had their support. She says that fashion is not to blame for anorexia nervosa in models, but instead the focus should fall on the families of these women.

Obviously, Gisele has more experience with this topic than I do. After all, she's a supermodel with years of experience and I'm....well....not. But I'm not sure I agree with her. I do agree that strong family support can see a person through multitude of things, probably even the rigors of being a teenage model. But we've talked about the negative effect that the media can have on young girls before, and I don't think the fashion industry has to accept some of the responsibility here. I have to imagine that livi ng in an industry with a culture that's competitive, where the most thin and beautiful become the most successful, has to have a pretty big impact on teenage models.

Of course, it might just be that I rented The Devil Wears Prada last night and am still annoyed that (spoiler alert) Miranda jilted Nigel in such a mean and heartless way. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this issue!

Major anti-smoking milestone

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Last year was the most successful year yet for anti-smoking advocates. So successful, in fact, that experts predict that 100% of Americans will be living in smoke-free jurisdictions within just a few years. 100%? That's everybody! Since when do experts ever predict anything at 100%?

That's either really exciting, or completely unreliable.

But besides predicting some major milestone achievements in the future, there was a significant one we've already reached that deserves mentioning: for the first time in our nation's history at least 50% of Americans are living in a city or state that has laws preventing smoking in public places like restaurants, bars, and workplaces. It's encouraging to know that things are changing!

Can the Nintendo Wii cause weight loss? Sure!

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I found this to be not surprising, but actually very encouraging to those who think kids (and adults) are spending too much time in front of those TVs playing video games instead of getting involved in physical activity. After all, a sedentary lifestyle does nobody any good.

The newer Nintendo Wii gaming console is quite unique, in that it encourages physical exertion and activity as a way to interact with game elements. This is opposed to all the hundreds of dollars in add-ons to make just a few games worth any physical activity on other game consoles.

Want to play tennis? Box? Run? You can be playing certain games on the Nintendo Wii with the wireless, physical game controller and many games. And, this player actually lost more than 8 pounds playing games on the Nintendo Wii. Very impressive.

Jumpstart Your Fitness: By combating cravings

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If there was a cure for cravings then I think the entire weight-loss industry would be in serious trouble. Many people on diets struggle with feeling hungry, but it seems like the real problem comes in what people eat to cure that hunger. If broccoli and rice cakes only sounded good we'd all be thin and beautiful.

And then, of course, there are people like me who don't necessarily feel hungry but instead struggle with the "I'm full but that ice cream is soooooo tempting!" I just really love to eat, and can't always resist those Milano cookies calling to me from the pantry (or, apparently, from the grocery store shelf in the first place).

So the battle on cravings begins! Here are 9 tips for combating them, try one next time a craving strikes:

Continue reading Jumpstart Your Fitness: By combating cravings

Daily Fit Tip: Banish late-night munchie attacks

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When dinner's over and cleaned up and you're relaxing in front of the TV, are you suddenly struck by the urge to snack on something sweet, salty, -- or really anything? You're not alone -- late-night snacking is a weighty issue, one that affects many people. Oprah and other weight-loss officials say that banishing any eating after 8pm will do a world of good. But how do you do this?

Julia Havey has these tips on avoiding late-night snacking. They're simple tips that will help you in more ways than one, including using whitening strips, trying a beauty masks, and doing crunches.

How do you banish the lat e-night munchies?

The dieter's toolbox -- 5 tools to help you lose weight

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Here's just what you need on a Monday morning -- a little motivation! We talk a lot about what to eat and what not to eat, but here's an article outlining 5 necessary tools for weight loss -- without a nutritional tip in the bunch. Curious? Go check it out, but in a nutshell the author says every dieter must have:
  • Awareness
  • Education
  • Determination
  • Action
  • Motivation
The one that struck home for me was awareness. So often we think that our habits really aren't that bad -- a nibble here, a treat there, but try logging everything you eat for three days and you might be surprised how quickly everything adds up. Another good point the author makes is the need for motivation. Setting short term goals is an excellent way to break up the time and reward yourself along the way. Would you rather reward yourself after 50 pounds or after 10?

Losing weight is hard work. You can have a plan in hand, all the right foods in your fridge, but without commitment and determination, it all means nothing. The author of this article talks about a unique visual way to reward your weight loss -- gluing colored tiles on a terra cotta planter at the end of every successful day. I'd love to hear some of the tactics you use for keeping yourself motivated and committed to your weight loss plan. Anyone feel like sharing?

Can a laugh a day keep the pounds away?

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Here's a story that'll make you smile -- laughing can help you lose up to 5 pounds a year! Researchers sat 45 participants down in front of humorous TV programs and then measured what happened when they laughed. Surprisingly, the TV viewers burned 10-20% more energy when they were laughing. Doing a few simple calculations, researchers figured that laughing just 15 minutes a day would burn enough calories to shed 5 pounds a year. In fact, a big belly laugh burned as much energy as walking a half mile! (That must have been some good TV!)

Laughing's not just good for your waistline, it also boosts heart health, improve immunity, and reduces stress. Looking for a way to add laughter to your day? Get started with these hilarious haunts on the web:

Comedy Central

Spamusement!

Comics.com

The 30-Second Bunny Theatre Library

Food Network running subliminal McDonalds ads

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I could not believe my eyes when this tip came in -- apparently, the Food Network is running "subliminal" advertising now on its network, as there was a one-frame McDonald's ad during the "Iron Chef" show recently.

There is a virtual zero percentage proposition that this was a mistake (how could that be?), so I'm left with utter disgust in how a decent programming network could have "sold out" to a company that produces some of the most unhealthy food imaginable.

It does taste good -- that is, if you have a penchant for clogging some arteries. I don't. Watch this amazing video over on YouTube here. Is this really a ploy for free viral mar keting by McDonalds, real one-frame advertising spots or just a mistake? You make the call.

[Thanks, Berkana]

Where breast implants are born

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The FDA's recent re-approval of the silicone breast implant may not matter to many Americans. To the people in the clinics, operating rooms, labs and even on the factory floors, the change is big business.

A 14-year ban on silicone limited breast augmentation to saline implants unless the patient was signed on with a clinical study or was receiving reconstructive surgery. The new ruling enables women 22-years-old and older to once again choose silicone.

No place is more aware of this re-route back to s ilicone than the manufacturers of breast implants, (not so surprisingly) located right in the (ahem) heart of Texas. The factory is located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and already produces 2,100 saline implants a day -- filling the entire stock of American-made implants themselves.

Those who think the "re-siliconization" of women's breasts is a good thing cite their more "natural" feel and look, and also estimate that 40% of women in the market for an augmentation will choose silicon implants despite that they are double the cost of saline.

After reading so many horror stories and controversy in the 90s by women with silicon implants, all of this confounds me. And yet, I was completely engaged -- not by the facts and figures about the implants, but about the inner workings of the factory where all of this begins. There, it seems, no matter where the politics or approvals fall, the big wheels keep on turning.

If you are pregnant, ditch the plastic

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plastic bottlesIt's tough being pregnant in this day and age if you want to keep up with your pre-pregnancy lifestyle. No drinking and no smoking are no-brainers, but what about things like no sushi? Now that's a killer.

Now there is new evidence that BPA, a chemical compound used in plastic food containers, can cause adult breast cancer risk in female fetuses. So now no sushi AND no plastic containers?

OK, I admit I write this a little tongue-in-cheek, but it does seem there are a lot of things you need to avoid when you are pregnant for the health of your baby. To me, it raises the question as to whether these things are healthy for us in the first place, and if we should be avoiding them all of the time, not just when we are pregnant.

Anyway, the BPAs are even in baby bottles (another reason to breastfeed!) and the linings of canned foods. Dr. Mercola gives plastic bottle alter natives in his article and also tells which plastic types really are safe to use with food.

The fact that just using plastic food containers (deemed safe by the government) could put our babies at risk for breast cancer later in life is a very scary fact indeed. It is a great responsibility being a pregnant mom, and it gets greater everyday, the more we learn about what is not healthy for us and our fetuses.

Your Doctor's diet: Weight loss secrets of nutrition professionals

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Weight loss professionals are always giving advice on what to eat, what not to eat, how much activity to get and how to maintain it all. But have you ever wondered if they practice what they preach and if they actually stick to those seemingly impossible recommendations? AOL did, and the answer is YES, according to this article. Six experts were asked the following questions:

What gets you off track?
How do you lose weight fast?
How do you maintain your weight?

I don't know about you, bu t I found their answers pretty helpful -- they all insist that they're human too and do fall off the wagon, but that the only thing you can do is get right back on it. And as for quick weight-loss advice? They all recommend reducing sugar and carbs.

Eating well is a life-long commitment as the article points out and while it might seem impossible to subsist on so many salads and so much time at the gym, it is possible ... and worth it.

Sizing: Are your clothing labels telling the truth?

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Have you ever noticed that at some stores, you can fit into a smaller or larger size than you normally would at another store. I have -- I have a pair of size 6 pants from Old Navy that are actually loose on me, even though I normally take a size 10 in pants. Well, any joy I take from those pants is ruined by this article, which discusses the phenomenon of Vanity Sizing -- making clothes larger and labeling them smaller in an attempt to get people to buy them. It works because fitting into a smaller size makes the customer feel happy -- and willing to spend.

The article claims vanity sizing is harmful to consumers because it gives them a false body sense. This is true, but I'm not so sure it's all harmful. When I wear my size six pants, I feel great. Yes, lying to consumers to get them to spend is deceitful, but the little bit of body confidence I gain when I wear them almost makes it worth it.

What do you think?

Viagra makes it harder to smell

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Those who take higher doses of Viagra, the popular drug used to combat impotence, may find it difficult to smell -- this according to a recent study published in the The Journal of Urology.

Twenty healthy, young men were given a either a 50 or 100mg dose of Viagra, or an inactive placebo. Participants who took the 50mg dose or the placebo noticed no change in odor detection, odor discrimination or odor identification. Participants who took the 100mg dose, however, noticed a drop in their smelling ability.

Previous reports have linked Viagra with a drop in nasal airflow, which coincides with this study's conclusion -- essentially, that the decreased capacity for odor detection resulted from Viagra-induced nasal congestion.