Saturday, 11 August 2007

Melon thumping 101: How to choose the best summer fruit

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I love fruit and vegetables, especially when they're fresh, but shopping for them can be more complicated than it looks. We've all seen the jokes where somebody's in the produce department of the grocery store trying to look like they know what they're doing thumping away on a large melon, meanwhile having no idea what they're doing or why. Well here's an article that sums up the basics on some of the best summer fruits you'll find at the store or the farmer's market (watermelon, peaches, cantaloupe, and cherries) and gives you the low-down on what to look for and how to find and buy the very best.

And for the record, there's no knocking or thumping suggested.

The Daily Turn On! Eyes wide open

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Life is too short not to be fully "tuned in." The Daily Turn On! is designed to wake up your senses, all six of them: smell, taste, touch, hearing, sight and intuition! Everyday The Daily Turn On! with That's Fit Life Fit expert Laura Lewis will awaken your mind, your body and your life!

Did you know ...
Our eyes actually mirror our physical and mental health? All areas of imbalance in the body are presented within our eyes. Shakespeare said, "Our eyes are the windows to our souls." They are that and much, much more.

Our eyes are actually extensions of our brain. Containing 137 million photoreceptors, our eyes house 70% of the body's sense receptors and are responsible for 90% of all data intake in a typical lifetime. And while they make up only 2% of our total body weight, our eyes consume 25% of our nutritional intake. Of the three billion messages relayed to the brain every second, two billion come from our eyes.

Vitamins A and C are the fountain of youth for our eyes. Vitamin C is a natural immune booster but can also assist in preventing the growth of cataracts. Vitamin A and foods rich in beta-carotene are eyesight essentials that also have cleansing effects on the body. Eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in sugars and fats will greatly enhance your overall health and with 25% of those nutrients heading straight to the eyes, it will greatly enhance your eyesight as well.

Awaken your sense of sight with a vitamin-rich diet.

Turn on your senses ... Live a fit life!
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Who gets more migraines: Men or women?

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Of all the people you know who suffer migraines, are more of them women or men? According to recent research there are more women out there suffering because our brains are quicker on the trigger than men when it comes to getting a migraine started. Yay! Not.

It comes down to new brain imaging techniques that are debunking the old idea that migraines are caused by expanding and contracting blood vessels, and showing instead that excitability seems to be the cause. And women, lucky us, have more excitable brains.

Of course, like any of these studies, the good news is that now researchers have a new direction to take as far as treatment goes -- maybe they'll finally come up with something that works!

Corporation to charge employees for unhealthy habits

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When motivation fails, is punishment the next logical step? One Indiana corporation thinks so, and recently announced their newest "incentive" program to lower health costs. Starting in 2009, employees who fail to live up to BMI standards and other health benchmarks will be charged up to $30 per month. The program, says Clarian Health Partners, is in response to rising health care costs and too few employees taking advantage of company sponsored prevention services.

So if you were previously unmotivated to shed those pounds, stop smoking, or lower your cholesterol, would $30 a month finally urge you into action? Critics say that these sort of programs are punitive and raise privacy concerns, and could even lead to lawsuits down the road. What do you think? Too invasive? Or a necessary kick in the pants?

Black market milk: Is it in your pantry?

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Ever had raw milk? It sounds like a simple enough product, but depending on where you live it may be illegal to buy it or sell it. Some 70+ years ago milk caused 25% of all food related illnesses, but with the advent of pasteurization that number dropped sharply to a mere 1%. Raw milk (meaning straight from the cow and unpasteurized) may taste richer, have more natural enzymes, and appeal to many because it's more "natural," but along with those perks comes a much greater risk of ingesting dangerous bacteria like E.coli, salmonella, and others. Currently 15 states in the U.S. outlaw the selling of raw milk, and many others have severe laws and restrictions.

Raw milk is becoming more and more popular every day -- people are showing that they want it bad enough that they're either ready to deal with all the red tape or they're finding ways around the laws altogether and basically buying it on the black market. What do you think? Should people have the choice to buy what they want or should it be against the law?

Bound to binge? 15 gorge-worthy foods

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Sometimes there are days where you're just going to gorge yourself on something on something and that's all there is too it. You're like a bull on a rampage -- you're going to stuff your face, post-binge guilt be darned. We've all had these days -- whether it's PMS, stress, a run-in with your infuriating boss/husband/neighbour/mother. For most of us, they're bound to happen and the best thing we can do is binge-proof our house so that when we go overboard, it will be on something healthy, not an entire gallon of cookie dough ice cream, a jumbo-sized back of Cheetos or an entire family-sized block of cheese.

Diet Blog has this list of gorge-worthy snacks that won't totally sabotage your healthy eating. Sorry, Ice cream, Cheetos and blocks of cheese didn't make the list, but a bunch of great things did, like popcorn, veggies, almonds and fruit. Check it out for yourself and let me know what you're favourite healthy binge-food is. Mine is pictured here.

"Do it yourself at home!" skin care technology: Worth all the hype?

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Inventors and scientists are going crazy anymore inventing new technology for skin care, beauty, and anti-aging. And although devices like lasers are generally used first by doctors and dermatologists in a professional office setting, eventually the technology trickles its way down to us consumers in a "do it yourself in the comfort of your own home" version.

But are these at home versions just as safe and effective as the professional ones? The answers to those questions are usually, and of course not. They aren't going to be as effective because they're almost always a toned down and weaker version of what would be used in an office setting -- think OTC versus prescription medication. But the good news is that they are generally safe for that same reason, and if you only have a mild condition that you're trying to treat then a mildly effective product might be just what you need.

Food on TV while working out: Motivating or distracting?

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Here's an interesting question: is watching TV while you exercise, specifically something tempting like a cooking show or the Food Network, motivating or distracting? Are you more likely to push yourself harder and faster, or get frustrated and quit early to head to a fattening dinner at your favorite restaurant?

Fitsugar posed this question and according to their survey the results are pretty close, with only 4% separating the "it's motivating" group from the "it's distracting" group. Personally I can relate to both sides -- I think it's all about my mood at the time and, of course, how hungry I am. One more reason to keep a tasty power bar in my gym bag!