Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Handy tool: Food loop

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As someone who loves to cook, I'm always overwhelmed in the cooking section of the department store by all the handy gadgets you can get to make it a bit easier. Here are a few more that I came across courtesy of DIY life.

There's the Food Loop -- a plastic, heat-resistant thingamajig that you can use instead of string to hold food together while you're cooking; the Cookhook, which allows you to hang wet dishtowels almost everywhere; the Tenderpress, which you use on meat in the tenderizing process; the Drizzlestick, for achieving that perfectly even drizzle on your food; and my fave, the Poach Pod, which helps you keep your poached eggs together.

Thanks for the tip, DIY Life!

Vitamin C useless against the common cold, according to study

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Are you a daily Vitamin C taker? If so, you probably are not helping prevent yourself from getting the common cold, according to new research.

In fact, supplements containing a high dose of Vitamin C were found to be useless against the cold virus, according to scientists. Common wisdom holds that Vitamin C is a good tonic for that nasty winter cold. Apparently, this isn't so.

The researchers did state that athletes like marathon runners, skiers and others that see exposure to cold (or stress) for short stints could continue to take Vitamin C supplements, although no explanation was given outside of normal cold sufferers.

Strength training still an awesome way to be healthy

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Strength and resistance training is known to be good for your cardiovascular system and body in general, and the American Heart Association has just released new and updated information on exactly how. For those looking to cash in on the those benefits and are just getting started here are the latest recommendations:
  • Use rhythmical, controlled movements at a slow or moderate speed
  • Exhale on the effort and inhale on the return
  • Avoid holding your breath and ensure full range of motion
  • Choose age and health appropriate weight, number of repetitions, exercises, etc
  • Start out with no more than 1 set twice per week
  • Involve the major muscle groups of both the upper and lower body
Keep in contact with your doctor when you're getting started, and be careful not to overdo it -- your muscles need time to adjust to the new activity.

Super celebs and their super slim-down strategies

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Some diets are as famous as the celebrities that endorse it. Or is it because of celebrity endorsement that the diets flourish? Either way, AOL has put together a list of famous celebrity-diet pairings that you've probably heard about. Here's who made the cut;
  • Jessica Simpson is known for following the 5-Factor Diet
  • Robin Quivers is famous for buying into the Martha's Vineyard Diet
  • Oprah makes no secret of swearing by Bob Greene's plan
  • Kirsti Alley is constantly in our faces about Jenny Craig
  • Beyonce lost a bunch of weight with (blech) maple syrup and cayenne pepper
  • Jennifer Aniston is in the Zone
  • Bill Clinton had good results with the South Beach Diet
  • J-Lo is an Atkin's girl
  • Madonna doesn't eat anything outside of her strict macrobiotic diet
  • Jessica Biel eats every three hours, a la Jorge Cruise's suggestions
To see the gallery, click here.

Which of these famous plans worked for you?

Low-fat products does not always mean low-calorie

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You see it everywhere now: the "Low Fat" marketing pitch. Many processed, frozen and fresh foods are advertised this way, along with plenty of beverages. That's grand, but fat content is not the only variable to look at when deciding when to eat or drink something.

How about something sweetened with Splenda (instead of real sugar) that has "low fat", but still packs a wallop of calories? It still may not be a good choice.

So, how do food manufacturers add in taste once they've removed all the fat from those various products? Why, adding sugar, of course. So, "very low fat" may also mean "incredibly high calories".

The the deal with the Balance Cushion?

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If you belong to a gym,chances are you've seen one of these contraptions kicking around. What are they, You ask? They're balance cushion -- small inflatable disks that you can use during your workout to work on your balance and stability. It ultimately benefits your core and can add a bit of challenge to a routine.

Still can't picture it? Fitsugar recommends a number of ways to use one, including:
  • Standing on it while doing squats or lunges
  • Placing it under your back while doing sit ups
  • Use them under your feet or hands when doing push-ups or plank.
I've never used one but I'm curious to know what it's like. Any feedback?

You can still run in the rain. Here's how

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Next time you awake to see that it's raining outside, don't do a little dance of joy -- you can still run when it's raining. You'll need to make a few changes to your running MO, but don't let a little rain stop you from your healthy habits.

Here are some suggestions from Fitsugar:
  • Wear a water-repellent top layer, like a rain coat, so the water doesn't weight you down
  • Avoid cotton shorts and cotton socks -- neither are very comfortable when wet
  • Waterproof your iPod with a zipper-top plastic baggy
  • Wear old running shoes, unless yours are waterproof
  • Wear sunglasses -- you might look silly but it will keep the water from your eyes
  • Don't run too close to the road -- you might get splashed by a car!
Of course, if there's lightening, stay at home and enjoy a day off from the fitness routine.

Hello Kitty wants to save your life

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Hello Kitty is cute enough, but I really don't get the whole phenomenon of Hello Kitty everything. And now we have the ultimate in "probably wouldn't expect to see that" type gadgets: the Hello Kitty emergency rescue device. One guy unfortunate enough to own one calls it a high tech version of the Swiss Army Knife for the next generation. It comes equipped with a flashlight, USB cell phone recharger, AM/FM radio, hazard siren (not a toy for your kids!), and a compass. Handy in an emergency? Absolutely. Am I going to go rush out and buy one? Not so much.

Via Engadget

Tips on choosing meat

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Meat is a staple of the American diet. For decades, a typical dinner plate consisted of half meat, plus one quarter grains and one quarter veggies. That concept is slowly changing but in the meantime, we're still eating lots of meat. WebMD has put together an informative video on meat, explaining your best choices and outlining 4 healthy principals you should follow when it comes to meat. They are:

  1. Lean choices: Choose the cut with the least fat. And don't always assume chicken is the best -- dark chicken meat has much more fat than a lean beef cut.
  2. Smaller portions: Aim for a piece of meat the size of your fist or a deck of cards.
  3. Low-fat cooking methods: Bake, broil or barbecue instead of frying
  4. Moderation: Don't go overboard on the meat.

As for me, I eat red meat at most once a week. The rest of the time, I try to stick to fish, chicken breasts or alternate protein sources like tofu. How about you?

Tips on getting your kids to eat their veggies

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I don't have kids but I have some idea of how hard it can be to get them to eat their veggies. Particularly if you have a picky eater to feed. So it might come as some relief that the folks at DIY Life have posted some suggestions on how you get your kids to eat up. Here are some of the tips:
  • Disguise veggies in muffins (Broccoli and cheddar muffins? How ingenious is that?)
  • Top tasty things like pancakes with fresh fruit
  • Make them a fruity smoothie
  • Bake some sweet potatoes as an alternative to fries
  • Puree veggies and add them to anything
There are plenty more tips -- check out the full article to learn more.

How do you get your little one to eat the healthy stuff?

People react faster to lost bank card than stroke symptoms

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It was kind of funny to hear that many British citizens were faster to react to losing those precious bank cards instead of recognizing the symptoms of a stroke. Hey, gotta have that quick meal or new wallet, right?

Interesting, a recent survey concluded that citizens would report a stolen or lost bank card immediately after losing it (88% would), but those same folks would wait 24 hours before seeking medical help if stroke symptoms developed (about 33%).

Perhaps it's human nature to be in denial of being sick when we feel like it, or we really are attached to the material things in life (like cards that can buy things). What a weird state of affairs, right?

Curry spice takes on Alzheimer's Disease

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That hot and yummy curry spice derivative known as turmeric might be for more than for making that dish tasty. It could also serve to be used when developing new treatments for Alzheimer's Disease patients, according to new research.

The "brain plaque" that helps lead to Alzheimer's Disease can be partially wiped away by turmeric, as researchers suggested that the spice could be used in an injectable fashion to help the sufferer's immune system deal with the components that ultimately help lead to Alzheimer's Disease.

So, curry is not only tasty, but good for the brain in an odd kind of way. I'll continue sprinkling it on those tasty veggie dishes, that's for sure.

Swing through the air with the greatest of ease

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Be daring (and fit) on the flying trapeze!

Trapeze as exercise? Really? Really, really. It's exhilarating, unusual, and packs a hefty fitness punch as well. You can take traditional flying trapeze classes at sites across the country. (A quick Google search turned up quite a few.) Sure, it takes bravado to complete the stunts, but it's also a technical and exacting sport that promotes strength, muscle control, balance, and flexibility. Some fitness clubs have added static trapeze or other aerial arts equipment to the gym -- offering all of the fitness benefits without the flying.

Traffic pollution leads to potential heart problems

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Do you spend quite a bit of time daily in that commute, breathing in fumes? Many of us do, and if so, you may be putting your heart at risk compared to those not regularly breathing all that smoggy mess.

A German study said this week that fumes not specifically linked just to freeways could have hardening of the arteries, which results in a greater heart attack risk.

Oddly, the artery hardening was linked to damage commonly seen in people who ingest secondhand smoke, noted the researchers. Keep those windows rolled up, eh?

The best foods for young athletes

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Got kids in sports? Do you know what they need to eat not only before a big game, but in general everyday to be their healthiest? Although all kids need a nutritionally balanced diet it's especially important for those involved in sports so they can stay at the top of their game. Experts at the Nemours Foundation recommend the following:
  • Plenty of vitamins and minerals in foods like spinach, carrots, squash, and peppers.
  • Protein through foods like fish, lean red meat and poultry, dairy products, nuts, soy products and peanut butter.
  • Carbs via pasta, brown rice, whole-grain breads and cereal.
It's basically just the same good diet we should all be eating, although I can't help but notice there's no fruit in these recommendations?

The best hotel gyms for your summer vacation

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As a rule, hotel fitness centers stink, and I don't mean that they smell bad (even thought they do.) Just go inside most hotel 'gyms' and you'll find only a few pieces of equipment and a dumbbell or two ... usually crammed into an airless storage closet. Not to mention, if you attempt to get on one of the cardio machine, you'll be lucky if your head doesn't touch the ceiling.

Fortunately, some larger hotel chains are bulking up their 'so-called' facilities to attract loyal, health conscious travelers--and some are testing travelers to see if they enjoy having treadmills and other fitness equipment in their very own room.

To give us the heads up on who's doing what, 'Women's Health' magazine has rated a few of the better hotels giving each a dumbbell from 1 to 5. So before you head out on vacation check out their ratings before you check in. 5 Dumbbells = Fitness bliss.

Continue reading The best hotel gyms for your summer vacation

FDA's plan to close half its labs draws sharp criticism

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With all the recent food imports from China causing all kinds of health havoc on citizens in the U.S., what are the inspection procedures and other safeguards that the Food and Drug Administration are supposed to be using to protect the American public? Your guess is as good as mine.

With the FDA planning to close about half of its nationwide labs, Washington lawmakers fear that move would put even more health issues in front of American citizens. How can a food oversight agency with existing issues do better when it closes half of its labs?

The FDA head said that closing the labs would help the FDA modernize its operations, although more detail on that odd explanation did not come forward. Takeaway: only you can be responsible for your own health. What else is new?

Workplace Fitness: Money can't buy happiness...or can it?

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Most people, even those in the noblest and most selfless of jobs, deep down wish they were making more money. How much money do you need to live comfortably? Do you think that would solve some of the issues in your life and you'd be happier than you are now? I think most of us are smart enough to know that money can't buy happiness, but do you secretly think it just might in your case?

According to a recent MSN-Zogby poll 48% of people say they would need $50,000-$100,000/year to live comfortably, while 23% say they'd need upwards of $100,000 to have what they need. That's a lot of money! Does that mean if you have less than you think you need you can't be happy? Not necessarily, because it seems having more money doesn't make the big difference many people expect. A study done by Princeton last year showed that wealthier people aren't necessarily happier than not-so-wealthy people -- in fact, people making less than $20,000 were only in a bad mood 12% more often than people making $100,000+ per year. And in the intensity of moment-to-moment experiences there was really no difference at all.

Continue reading Workplace Fitness: Money can't buy happiness...or can it?

How Many Calories ... In Instant Ramen Noodles?

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The other day, Jon worked late, so when he got home and found that I had already eaten, he quickly started preparing his favourite standby meal -- two packages of Instant ramen noodles with extra hot sauce. We always have instant noodles in our house, though I haven't eaten them since High School, when they were a staple of my diet. 'Do you think these are bad for me?' he asked? Yes, I replied. He wanted to know why and I started rattling off words like MSG and empty calories. Then I had a look at the back of the package and even though I know they're bad for you, I was a bit shocked.

How many calories are in a package of Nong Shim Ramen Noodles?

A) 270
B) 440
C) 540
D) 720

Continue reading How Many Calories ... In Instant Ramen Noodles?

Ask Fitz! Your Fitness Questions Answered -- Butts & Guts Edition

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Have fitness questions? Fitz has your answer. Our fitness expert -- and now your own virtual personal trainer -- will help you get fit, increase your overall health and do it in a fun way. Drop your questions here in the Comments section below and we'll choose two per week to publish on That's Fit! Learn more about Fitz here.

Q. Dear Fitz. I'm trying so hard to shrink my tummy and I do tons of crunches. My friend says I'm doing no good. What's the truth? Katie

A. Very good questions Katie. It reminds me of a funny story my husband, who's in law enforcement just told me. The Chief of his department is a cool guy who also has been a certified fitness trainer. Very knowledgeable on two cool topics I think. My hubby's' Captain is also a really neat guy who I consider to be in pretty good shape. Looks good to me, you know? So anyway, one day in the department gym the Captain is on the floor doing crunches and the Chief comes along and tells him to stop wasting his time, because he's just "pushing the fat out". Makes me laugh every time I think about it. Poor Captain.

Here's the truth. If you're trying to shrink your tummy, crunches aren't the way to go. Crunches will absolutely strengthen and harden your abdominal muscles, but they will not shrink your tummy the way you'd like. Strong abs are great, but if you have a layer of fat over'll still look like a girl with a big belly.

What to do? Lose weight. Burn more calories than you consume. Eat foods that are low in calories and high in nutrition. Burn many extra calories with great workouts. When the fat disappears, we'll all be able to "Ooh and Ahh" over the sturdy abs you've been earning. Fitz.

Q. Hey Fitz. My butt is super saggy and it drives me nuts. My profile from the waste-down is flat wihich is not hot. Can you guide me on what to do? Erika.

Continue reading Ask Fitz! Your Fitness Questions Answered -- Butts & Guts Edition

Oregon sues LA Weight Loss

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I've never really understood the "lose weight for only $X per week" claims that some weight loss companies make. After all, you can lose weight for free on your own. But the guidance and support have value, so I guess I can understand the draw.

Oregon Attorney General has filed a suit against LA Weight Loss and a franchisee. The suit contends that their advertising claiming $9/week is false and misleading. The cost is accurate -- but instead of paying by week program participants have to pay up front. The lawsuit also alleges that clients were required to purchase LA Weight Loss branded food items (such as the candy-bar like LA Lite bars) in order to take advantage of the guarantee and rebate programs that were advertised. The law suit also takes issue with the advertisement of an "individualized" menu plan which is, in fact, one of 8 pre-made menu plans. The LA Weight Loss franchisee named in the law suit gave full refunds to customers who complained, but the advertising continued.

It's always important to thoroughly research and understand the plans of any weight loss organization. If you're looking for a support system and help with losing weight -- consider visiting your doctor for advice and enlisting the help of friends. There are also plenty of free online support groups to join. If you do join a weight loss group/plan locally, be sure to read the fine print and know what you're getting in to!

What should be our role in world health?

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When I say "our" role, I mean you and I -people living their lives relatively free from the threat of hunger and rampantly spreading diseases.
My thought process was sparked by viewing a documentary that aired on the CBC, about photographers in the line of fire. There are many mind blowing and disturbing images of starving children and horrific statistics revealing death by numbers -but are we desensitized to all this as we sit comfortably in front of our TVs?
Journalist and author, Stephanie Nolen, appeared on The Hour, to talk about her new book, 28, a journal on AIDS in Africa and how desperate the situation has become due to world wide indifference.
I realize the task of lending a helping hand may appear daunting, but really the best thing to do is educate yourself and simply spread the word through advocacy.

Want to learn more about how you can help? Click here.

Enhance your assets and reduce your hips all at once with Lipo

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'If only', my friend said to me as we discussed her plans to get in shape for her upcoming wedding, 'If only I could take the excess fat from my hips and put it in my boobs, I would be one happy girl'. Although I am opposed to plastic surgery, it sounds kind of ideal -- taking fat from where you don't want it and putting it where you do want it. According to this post on Fitsugar, you can do it -- move fat from your trouble areas into your breasts.

What do you think? Would you do it? Here's what I say: A boob job is still a boob job, regardless of whether it's your own flesh that they're implanting or not. And lipo is a waste of money -- you're only skinnier, not healthier. The only time I'd consider this is if I had a mastectomy. What's the big deal with big breasts anyway? I'll stick with my A-cups and enjoy the freedom to wear all the cute tops I want.

Teens workout in their own private gym

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It's no secret that healthy habits begin in childhood and encouraging teens to take care of their health is important. One fitness center, Overtime Fitness, is has taken that priority to the next step by creating one of the country's only private gyms for teens. Teens (or their parents) pay $59 per month to use equipment or take classes, and Overtime Fitness offers plenty of teen-friendly options. Video games, head-to-head stationary bikes, and rock climbing walls are popular, and there are also trained adults who help out kids in the weight rooms.

It sounds awesome, but it's obviously not a solution for everyone. Nearly $60 a month (per child) is out of reach for many families, especially those with several teens in the house. I wonder if local YMCA's could build off this idea and have a teen night or teen-only hours. I also think it pays to teach your children how to be well-rounded as well. The gym isn't the only place to get fit. What do you think?

Compromising with picky eaters

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Have you had good luck in getting that picky eater at the table to eat more than sugary, salty and sweet snacks? You are not alone. What happens when vegetables are thrown next to something else on that picky eater's plate? The universe can implode.

But kids need the best nutrition of almost all people. After all, kids continue developing until those awkward teenage years, and proper nutrition is immensely helpful in propagating that development, right?

Starting off kids right with nutritious foods right from the start is very important. But the independence of certain kids and other psychological issues can come into play. Want to see possible solutions? See this and hopefully there will be a good takeaway that works for you.

Are bike trailers safer than bike seats?

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On a recent bike ride around town, I was following my husband who was towing our two young daughters in a bike trailer. He made a turn to get up onto a sidewalk, and as he did, the trailer hit a curb and the trailer suddenly flipped up on its side. I can't tell you how fast my heart was pounding as I threw down my own bike and ran to find out if my girls were ok. A passerby met my husband and I there at the same moment, and I think we all held our breath as we opened the flap to the trailer. Inside sat two very shook up, but thankfully very safe little girls.

Today, over at ParentDish, Heather wrote about her own close call. Only in her case, she was grateful her child was strapped into a trailer instead of a bike seat. So now it's got me wondering...which really is safer? I think I still think the trailer is safer, but watching those turns is a definite must. What do you think?

Athletes and air pollution

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Walking outside is my favorite way to exercise, so I was disturbed to read this article about athletes in Bakersfield, CA. Bakersfield sits near the top of the list of the countries most polluted cities, and it's elite outdoor athletes are feeling it. Athletes take in far more air when working out that those who are sedentary and that elevated level of air pollution can have an effect on the heart and lungs. The problem lies not only with ozone, but with fine particulates, which are found in car, truck, and diesel exhaust. The particulates irritate the lungs and work their way into the bloodstream where they can damage the heart.

It's all enough to make you stay inside where it's nice and safe, isn't it? Health experts say you don't have to, but that it might be in your best interest to pay attention to where and when you're working out. Stay off roads with heavy traffic and work out indoors when the air quality is bad. Most states have websites that let you check your air quality index, and if they don't, here's a less specific national map.

Recycling your old yoga mat

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The folks over at the super cool, brand-new Weblogs Inc. Blog, DIY Life, have asked the following question: What do you do with an old yoga mat? Throwing it out seems to go against all yogi principals. Wouldn't it be better to recycle or re-use it? Luckily you can -- here are some suggestions:
  • Use it to sit on at sporting events, and save yourself the hassle of carrying folding chairs
  • Cut it up, tape it together and use it to kneel on while gardening
  • Use it as packing material
If you have an old yoga mat lying around, and you're wondering what to do with it, check out this site for lots of inspiration. There's no excuse to be wasteful!

What did you do with your old mat?

Study says breast cancer return not thwarted by produce diet

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Although a vegetable-based diet is never a bad thing for almost everyone, it won't help sufferers of breast cancer prevent a recurrence, according to a new report released yesterday that covered seven years of studies.

The study's conclusion is that those trying to permanently kick breast cancer to the curb should not over-indulge on veggie consumption in order to try and permanently ban those bodies from breast cancer if it's been detected previously.

Well, that's all fine and good -- but eating at least the daily suggested servings of fruits and vegetables still should be a plan within every person's diet if possible. Eating a few more veggies sure is not going to hurt.

Are you living (and dying) a super-sized life?

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"Do you want that casket super-sized?" It sounds crass, but casket manufacturers are actually selling XXL caskets in record numbers. You've probably already heard this, but it bears repeating ... for the first time in history the world currently has as many over-fed and obese people as it does under-fed and malnourished people. According to the federal government, 65 million Americans are overweight -- and it's affecting everything from our health care system to mass transit. Imagine, if you have a super-sized casket, don't you need a larger plot of land in the cemetery and how about the hearse, won't that need to be bigger too?

If that's not disturbing enough ... in a related story, the Daily Telegraph (UK) reported that Americans are getting too fat to fit into X-Ray machines! So not only do you have to worry about your super-sized casket, but you'll probably be heading to it faster, as it seems that if you are obese you won't be able to get an x-ray at the doctors to find out what is wrong with you anyway.

Odwalla vs. Naked Juice: which is better?

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If you're a fan of pure fruit juice, you've probably heard of Naked Juice and Odwalla brands. Both are basically pureed fruit in a plastic bottle, and both taste very good while providing whole pieces of fruit in a package that is easier to consumer and much less messy.

Which is your favorite? I'm interested to hear from readers who have had both brands and like one over the other. There are many fruity variations of both, and some veggie and protein varieties as well.

I'm not sure I have a favorite at this time, as both seem just as tasty to me. Anything with pureed strawberries, pomegranates and blueberries works for me. How about you?

Make your own 100-calorie snacks

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100-calorie snacks are big business these days. For someone trying to lose weight, 100 calories is ideal -- it should be able to satisfy your hunger for a bit without putting you over your calorie quotient. But why waste your money on those pre-packed snacks that are making money off of giving you less food? Make your own 100-cal snacks. Here are some suggestions from eDiets:
  • Celery with peanut butter
  • Watermelon
  • Corn on the cob
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds
  • A diet root-beer float with vanilla fro-yo
What snack satisfy your hunger? For me, it's a bowl of cherries or a few slices of cheese with an apple.

How to paint your office smoking area

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Sick of dealing with the haze from your office's smoking area? Wish the colleagues you've grown to care about would stop killing themselves with their nicotine addiction? Here's a decorating idea that'd serve as a not-so-subtle hint about the long-term health effects of cigarettes.

Of course, I'm sure this would also lead to resentment and bickering between smokers and non-smokers at your company, so maybe it's not the best idea in the world.

It is, however, very clever, and would certainly get the point across.

Vitamin C won't save you from a cold after all

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Well it seems the old standby Vitamin C isn't all it's cracked up to be when it comes to curing the sniffles and misery caused by the common cold. A 60 year study concluded recently in Australia (that's one long study) that found taking high doses of Vitamin C on a daily basis only slightly reduces the risk of getting a cold in the first place (8% for adults and 13.8% for kids) and doesn't shorten the length of colds at all once they've been caught. So is it worth it to take a big Vitamin C pill every single day just to average 11 days of illness a year instead of 12? That extra day of wellness is pretty special (I hate colds!) but I also hate taking pills -- decisions decisions!

Cigarette tax hike sees opposition

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Are cigarette taxes a good thing? I'm quite sure smokers would say a resounding "no," and non-smokers love the income it brings in for other causes. How about a 61-cent excise tax increase per cigarette pack? That is a biggie in the tobacco industry if you ask me, where packs of ciggies are already priced ridiculously high.

The Bush administration doesn't like the proposed plan, as some lawmakers have stated that such an increase would put undue pressure on low-income citizens to pay for health care...for low-income citizens.

Would the proposed tax better benefit the nation's children and those caught between affording private health insurance and government-sponsored Medicaid? Many lawmakers think so.

Lose weight and get healthy by eating like a monkey?

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An interesting experiment happened over in England recently at the Paignton Zoo -- a group of volunteers set up camp outside the ape enclosure and promised to eat like monkeys for 12 days. The Evo Diet, created by a nutritionist, consisted of raw fruits and vegetables (plus some cooked fish that was added the second week), provided 2,300 calories, and met adult human daily nutritional requirements. And of course they had water to drink.

The experiment was designed to show that blood pressure and cholesterol could be lowered by eliminating the processed and fatty foods of today's diets -- and it worked! Overall cholesterol levels dropped 23%, the groups blood pressure average fell by several points, and on average they each lost 9.7 pounds. And on top of it all, the people participating reported feeling energetic and happy the whole time.

Not too shabby -- would you do it?

Via Slashfood

Are dog people healthier?

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I had a dog growing up but busy schedules and a lack of space have caused me to settle for a cat for companionship. Don't get me wrong -- Molly (a boy) is fun to play with and suitably snuggly when I need a warm furry hug, but I miss having a dog rush excitedly to the door when I come home, licking my face and making me realize that every day is a good day, even when I'm run down. Do you feel the same way?

Good news for dog people -- they might live longer lives, according to a study at Queen's University in Belfast. Apparently dog owners are generally healthier, both emotionally and physically. And while cats are nice to have around, they don't demand a much-needed walk every day.

Via Fitsugar