Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Brit's bloated body: Are drugs to blame?

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Britney Spears' less-than-perfect body of late has been getting lots of publicity -- both bad and good -- and here's a suggestion that would definitely fall in the bad category: Life & Style magazine is reporting that her bloated body is due to her excessive drug use, which was also one of the major reasons she lost custody of her sons. According to the article, "She's bloated, and she's stopped working out. She also starves herself for three days while drinking and doing drugs, and then when she comes down she binges on junk food." Drugs apparently are also the reason that her skin is looking lackluster these days, not doubt due to her unhealthy lifestyle.

Now, I don't know hot legit the article or it's sources are but if she is abusing drugs and alcohol, it's not surprising that her looks have started to suffer. Still, It's sad to see such a promising young star so far gone. Do you agree?

What's the point of living longer if you can't eat the yummy stuff?

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On a recent post, one reader left the title of this post as a comment. And it's a good question indeed. Just what IS the point of life if you have to spend it eating salads and stuff that tastes like cardboard instead of stuff you actually like -- pizza, donuts, french fries, bacon and so forth?

Here's another question: What's more important to you -- A sinful meal or your family and friends? I'm willing to bet that hardly anyone ever lies on their death bed wishing they'd ate more junk food -- but they will wish they had more time with their loved ones, and they'll wish they'd enjoyed time with their family more. Don't you think? That's not to say that for the sake of your family you should completly change your life and cut out every single enjoyable food, but why not make the effort to practice healthy habits at least most of the time? Aren't they worth it? Isn't your quality of life worth it?

Continue reading What's the point of living longer if you can't eat the yummy stuff?

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Would you take weight-loss advice from this woman?

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Have you heard about the Kimkins controversy? If you haven't, you're one of the few -- it's big news around the online weight loss community these days, particularly because the programs founder, Heidi Diaz, has recently be uncovered as a fraud, not the cute girl in the red dress who claims to have lost 118-lbs in 11 months.

If you don't believe all the anti-Kimkins hype, check out these alleged photos of the Heidi Diaz -- obviously frumpy, it's clear that she doesn't live up to her claims if that's her. Also, check out this testimonial from a former Kimkins follower -- it's pretty frightening. Apparently, for this survivor, the Kimkins diet damaged her body irrevocably.

As Diet Blog says, this is a very good reminder to really do your research when you embark on a weight-loss plan. And, above all, make sure you talk to your doctor before following any eating plan. Quick weight loss might be appealing, but it can severely damage your health.



Get ready for Spa week

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Are you in need of some serious relaxation before the onslaught of the Christmas season hits us? You're in luck -- Spa Week is upon us. Taking place between October 15th to 21st in select cities across North America, Spa Week is dedicated to bringing the spa lifestyle to the masses. So, during this time, spa treatments will be available at $50 per treatment -- a steal compared to some of the spas treatments you can get today.

So where are the lucky cities? Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Florida, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto and Washington, DC. So spa week isn't coming to my city, or even anywhere remotely close to it, but if you live in one of these places, enjoy!

Three specific genes tied to lung cancer risk

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Researchers reported this week that a trio of genes actually work together to become associated with about 20 percent of lung cancer cases. That's millions of lung cancer cases per year -- quite a large amount.

As the medical art of genomics marches on, scientists said that understanding the way these genes work could be a large leap in preventing tumors form forming.

The three-gene mutation is found in 20 percent of non-small lung cancer cases, which comprises about 80 percent of all lung cancer, according to lead researcher on the study, David Mu. Gene-based therapy sure looks to have the potential to treat (and prevent) many types of cancer in the near future, and this is another sign that advances are indeed happening.

Why go GI?

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The GI (Glycemic Index) diet is one of the hottest weight-loss plans out there, and I can see why. It's healthy and it makes sense. In fact, we would all be better off if we followed some of the principles of the GI diets all the time. eDiets has the low-down on the secrets of the GI diet, including why you should do it yourself; Potentially, it can:
  • Even out your blood sugar levels
  • Balance out your insulin levels
  • Help you manage diabetes
  • Help you feel full for longer -- hence, you eat less overall
  • Increase your energy
  • Reduce your junk-food cravings.
Sounds pretty good, huh? To find out more about the GI diet, click here.

Experiencing a lull? How to re-claim your motivation

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If you ask me, motivation is the single most important thing to tossing out your bad habits and re-building a healthy lifestyle. After all, if you don't really want it, ultimately, you won't feel the drive to go after it.

But motivation is a funny thing -- sometimes it just disappears and your chocolate cravings seem more important, and certainly easier than going to the gym. So what to do if your motivation takes a vacation? ultimately the key to maintaining your motivation is to build it up yourself -- motivation doesn't just magically appear one day. eDiets has some great tips for holding on to your motivation -- check them out!

What do you do for motivation?

Eating more and more at a healthy restaurant not good

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If you are a frequent visitor of healthy restaurants, you may be wise to pay attention to your caloric intake anyway. New research has stated that although visitors to health restaurants go there to watch their food intake, they also indulge in bigger side dishes desserts and drinks. Result: they may be eating worse due to a bigger caloric intake.

It's hard to think that those visiting fast food restaurants may actually eat less then when those same folks visit a healthy restaurant, but it comes down to specifics always. I can't fathom the logic that tells a person a veggie sandwich or salad is a better meal when finished off with that highly sugared tea and large slice of pie or other dessert.

The same result suggested that many visitors to healthy restaurants underestimate how many calories they end up eating by a whopping 35 percent. Yikes!

Do you really know the symptoms of breast cancer?

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Although great strides have been taken in recent years in spreading awareness and information about breast cancer, it seems there is a lot of confusion about what the symptoms are. Besides the well-known "lump," do you know what else to look for? And do you know what symptoms don't usually mean breast cancer? Apparently 25% of women wrongly believe a persistent cough is a sign of breast cancer.

For an easy to read run-down of the most common breast cancer symptoms click here, and if you ever have any questions or concerns make sure to ask/see your doctor!

Jessica Seinfeld's recipes for picky eaters

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Pureed cauliflower mac 'n cheese, kale spaghetti and meatballs -- sneaky meals for kids' picky palates. Jessica Seinfeld has written a new book, Deceptively Delicious, filled with traditional recipes kids love -- with fruit and veggies folded in. A mother of three, Seinfeld stands strong against the sugar-filled, packaged meals and processed foods busy families commonly toss in front of finicky children.

The book includes a month's worth of nutritious, kid-nummy meals, tear-out shopping guides and humorous personal stories. It better be funny, she's a Seinfeld. With help from a nutritionist and chef, Seinfeld developed meals containing elements kids need -- protein, calcium, vitamins and Omega 3 and 6 fats.

My three-year-old daughter loves cauliflower, but I'd have a tough time selling kale to either of my kids. I'm considering purchasing the book just to try the kale spaghetti and meatball recipe. But I would not stop serving a vegetable with each dinner. Exposure to a variety of tastes and textures may help break through those picky palates. Picture from Amazon.

Medicare changes in 2003 did not affect cancer care, says study

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In 2003, Medicare laws changed the way oncologists are reimbursed for treating cancer patients, and any perception by patients that the quality of care they received for cancer going down were out to rest by a new survey this week.

All in all, the survey found very little to no changes in the way cancer patients perceived the quality o care they received, nor the amount of time cancer patients waited to see their doctors or the time it took to start chemotherapy treatments.

This is a nod in the direction of Medicare changes not really changing treatment options for the better or worse, which was contrary to the overriding feeling years ago that changes in the Medicare system regarding oncology would cause some cancer patients to be denied access to medical resources. According to this survey, that is simply not the case.

Rare heart defect found to be cause of marathoner's death

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This past weekend, a rather brutal marathon was held in Chicago. Brutal, as in the temperature was a boiling 88 degrees during the race. Normally, that's somewhat mild. But, for this time of year and for a long marathon, that temperature makes for unsafe conditions.

One 35 year-old died during the race, and thousands others quit before finishing and many suffered from heat-related problems as well. But, the lone death did not die to to heat exhaustion or another related malady, but from a rare heart condition according to reports this week.

A condition called "mitral valve prolapse" is being blamed in the death of Chad Schieber, although doctors estimate that the birth defect actually affects 2 to 5 percent of the population -- which is millions of people. Unfortunately, the condition is generally undiagnosed unless observed during a stethoscope exam, or in this unfortunate case, a fatality possibly brought on by the running conditions Mr. Schieber faced.

Migraine pill found to help alcoholics

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Researchers reported this week that a migraine headache pill may be able to assist alcoholics in curbing their drinking habits without going into full detox mode using other methods that can be hit-or-miss.

For those suffering from alcoholism and have had no luck with quitting cold turkey (or otherwise detoxing yourself), this may hold new hope if in fact it works.

Topamax, a drug used to treat migraine headaches, was tied to alcoholics who quit drinking for seven weeks or more -- to the tune of 15 percent of all alcoholic subjects that participated in the study. The downside is that the drug costs an estimated $350 per month plus the costs of doctor's visits.

Diabetes humor site is forerunner in patient laugh therapy

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Let's face it, disease is no laughing matter. It many times ushers in times of great distress and emotional tumult, leaving families and friends in its devastating wake. Still, there are some situations where one of the best coping mechanisms available is to simply allow yourself a good laugh. Call it the healing power of laughter, if you will.

That's the prevailing sentiment over at the popular humor website LOL Diabetes (www.loldiabetes.com). As an offshoot of the popular diabetes patient web blog Six Until Me (www.sixuntilme.com), this site allows readers to submit humorous photos, stories, videos, etc. that are related to diabetes and, most importantly, funny. And sometimes they can get REALLY funny.

The best part of this site is that it brings together people with diabetes -- and the loved ones of those with the disease -- and allows them to decompress a little bit. Let their guard down, even. Type-2 diabetes affects nearly 21 million people living in the United States alone, and close to 3 million people have type-1. These are big numbers; and the disease carries with it the possibility of additional physical complications. So, to have the ability to let off some steam and release some stress once and a while is certainly a good thing.

As far as I could tell, there are not any other LOL sites on the web that were related to a disease. If you know of any, please let us know.

How Many Calories ... In a Bagel with Creamed Cheese?

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When it comes to breakfast, we're generally aware that donuts, muffins and patries are bad for us and we'd be better off going with something less sugary and fatty, like toast or even a bagel. Truth be told, years ago I used to grab a bagel on my way to work every morning because it was healthier than my other choice -- a bran muffin. But are bagels really any better for us than those sugary treats we trade in for them?

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Continue reading How Many Calories ... In a Bagel with Creamed Cheese?

Life Fit Chat with Laura Lewis: Natural alternatives to chemical sweeteners

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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, and Thursday!

Are you addicted to to those little pink, blue and/or yellow packets available at every conventional restaurant and super market? Do you suffer from any of the following symptoms?

  • systemic lupus
  • fibromyalgia symptoms
  • spasms
  • shooting pains
  • numbness in your legs
  • cramps
  • vertigo
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • tinnitus
  • joint pain
  • depression
  • anxiety attacks
  • slurred speech
  • blurred vision
  • memory loss
If so, you may be suffering from Aspartame Disease. Sweet'N Low(R) and NutraSweet(R) are both artificial sweeteners that contain Aspartame, which is highly toxic to our bodies. According to an article written by Nancy Markle, Aspartame can cause symptoms that actually mimic the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. "When the temperature of Aspartame exceeds 86 degrees F, the wood alcohol in Aspartame coverts to formaldehyde and then to formic acid, which in turn causes metabolic acidosis. (Formic acid is the poison found in the sting of fire ants). The methanol toxicity mimics multiple sclerosis; thus people were being diagnosed with having multiple sclerosis in error."

If Splenda(R) tends to be the packet you pick most frequently, you may find yourself suffering from the following symptoms:
  • skin rashes/flushing
  • diarrhea
  • muscle aches
  • intestinal cramping
  • bladder issues
  • stomach pain
Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP comments, "As food additives, artificial sweeteners are not subject to the same gauntlet of FDA safety trials as pharmaceuticals. Most of the testing is funded by the food industry, which has a vested interest in the outcome. This can lead to misleading claims on both sides. But one thing is certain: some of the chemicals that comprise artificial sweeteners are known hazards - the degree to which you experience side effects just depends on your individual biochemistry. Manufacturers are banking on the fact that our bodies won't absorb very much of these compounds at any one time. And many of us don't. But what happens when we are ingesting a combination of artificial sweeteners like Splenda dozens of times a week through many different "low-sugar" or "sugar-free" products?"

The good news is there are natural alternatives. Stevia is an herb that is native to South America and has been used as a natural sweetener for hundreds of years. Stevia is actually 30 times sweeter than refined sugar but has no calories or negative side effects. Date sugar and sugar from dehydrated cane juice are also healthful alternatives to refined or artificial sweeteners. The next time you feel compelled to reach for one of those pretty pastel packets try a natural alternative instead.


Daily Fit Tip: It's never too late to change

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Daily decisions that seem inconsequential may actually be life-changing choices. Doughnut or apple? Walk the dog or watch TV? Elevator or stairs? The directions you take in the span of mere moments can have an instant effect and can play a huge role in overall health for years to come.

Take exercise. Did you know the health of your arteries improves immediately after you exercise? And diet. While we once thought it took years for the harmful effects of saturated fats to take effect, it's now clear a high-fat meal causes arteries to stiffen right away. Smoking? Your blood pressure is affected instantly when you light up. Now unhealthy decisions don't create catastrophic results in the blink of an eye, but they do plant their seeds and add up over time. This works in reverse too.

Every time you choose to walk instead of ride, put low-fat milk instead of cream in your coffee, and opt for herbs over salt, you're doing your body a big favor. And these decisions will pay dividends in the coming years.

It's never too late to make healthy changes, says Ann Bolger, M.D. at the University of California/San Franciso and Chair for the American Heart Association Council on Clinical Cardiology. Because regardless of your age or condition in life, what you choose to do now will work now. Not only will it matter today, though. It will matter in the long run too.

Workplace Fitness: How to 'complain' successfully

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We all experience things we don't like pretty much on a daily basis, and doing something about them can be a daunting task. Obviously not everything can, be changed, but when it comes to dealing with things that can the approach you take can make all the difference. "Complaining" is a word that definitely has a negative connotation, but the principle of speaking up is not a bad one if you do it right, and it can help you build healthier stronger relationships at work and at home. The keys to expressing yourself constructively pretty much break down into making sure you do these things:
  • Talk about the specific issue or problem at hand
  • Ask the other person about their view
  • Make a point to understand their view, while making your own view clear
  • Come up with a strategy for solving the problem
  • Follow-up on it all later
All that may seem easy enough, but many people miss key points and end up coming across the wrong way and making things worse instead of better.

Continue reading Workplace Fitness: How to 'complain' successfully

Do you have office ADD? These tips may help

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In so many ways, the technology boom has made our lives easier. Internet, email, cell phones, text messages, wireless...it all means that information travels freely and instantly any time of the day. But at what point does it become too much and turn into information overload? In the office, says one prominent psychiatrist, it can happen pretty quickly.

Office workers are complaining of symptoms that are remarkably similar to ADD: difficulty focusing, inability to get things done, anxiety. And studies show that being interrupted by just one email can distract an employee for up to 30 minutes. Technology is the ideal procrastinating tool. After all, there's the web out there just begging you to come and play. But more importantly, people can't focus on more than one task at a time, and the constant barrage of interruptions eventually just makes us scattered and unfocused.

So what can you do? By changing the rules and tweaking the way you do things, you can reign in this craziness and have a more zen office life. And maybe, finally, get that project finished.

Quit smoking? Great, now watch your weight

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So you've quit smoking. Good for you! You're one step closer to a healthier, longer life -- unless you pack on the pounds, in which case you'll compromise your health in other ways.

To help you manage your weight while you resist the urge to smoke, Dr. Cindy Pomerleau, Director of the Nicotine Research Laboratory at the University of Michigan, offers these seven tips:
  • Start the day with breakfast, not a cigarette. A satisfying breakfast can help deflect the urge to smoke. Avoiding the meal might sound like a good way to avoid unwanted calories, but it's not a sound weight-management strategy.

Continue reading Quit smoking? Great, now watch your weight

Brain damage prevented by using AIDS prescription drug "cocktail"

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Researchers yesterday reported that a "cocktail" of HIV-treatment drugs used in AIDS patients also appeared to halt brain damage caused by human immunodeficiency virus as a side effect.

Drug combinations known as HAART(highly active antiretroviral therapy) are often used in AIDS patients in order to slow down the effects of the disease. Although HAART-based mixed treatments can highly suppress the effects from AIDS, it cannot rid the body of the virus completely. AIDS, as we all probably know, still has no known cure.

In addition to harming the body's immune defenses, HIV can also affect the brain and nerves. But, with HAART treatments, the scientists that made this study public stated that some of the drugs that comprise HAART treatment methods can indeed get into the brain and help protect it, although not all of the drugs used in the cocktail could be helpful there.

A few ways to incorporate strawberries into your meals

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I always find it easier to work the daily recommendation of 7 to 8 servings of fruit and vegetables into my meals during the summer. All sorts of fresh produce is in season at that time of year making it pretty simple to include a variety of fruits and veggies into meals or just as a quick snack.

Now that winter is approaching, it's a bit more difficult to incorporate tasty produce into your diet each day. Strawberries are one fruit that I love which can usually be found at the supermarket all year round. The superfood is great for you as it's full of fiber, folate, vitamin C and antioxidants, which look after your heart and help protect against cancer, among other benefits.

If you'd like to incorporate more of the ripe, red berry into your meals, why not try some of the strawberry-enhanced meal suggestions offered here. For breakfast you can enjoy an English muffin topped with low-fat cream cheese and fresh, sliced strawberries, add strawberries to your favorite salad at lunch and enjoy chicken, vegetable and strawberry kebabs at dinner.

Say hello to two brand-new blogs

It's been an exciting few weeks for us folks at Weblogs, Inc. -- especially since we've just welcomed two brand-new, awesome blogs onto our roster. Say hello to AisleDash (for all things wedding) and The Green Daily (for all things eco-friendly.) Here are some fabulous posts to get you started.

AisleDash:

The Green Daily: Check them out!
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Boost your memory with these 10 tips

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The sad fact is that as we age, our memory gets a little less sharp, and a hectic life can exacerbate that problem. But you don't have to live a life that constantly has you stopping and thinking, "Now why did I come in here again?" Instead, try one of these 10 tricks to improve your memory. My favorites:
  • Meditate before long and important meetings
  • Stretch your mind by learning a new hobby
  • Play mah-jongg with friends; it's a great memory booster!
  • Exercise regularly, and get enough sleep.
  • Experiment with smells. Favorite scents may trigger memory.
Now, if you can just remember to do these things, you might just find yourself with a sharper memory! And if you're looking to sharpen your brain online, try these anti-aging games from Prevention, created specifically to build memory.

Need for an annual check up questioned

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We know that annual health screenings are an important part of preventative health care, but a recent study questions the idea that an annual check up is actually necessary. When looking at preventative health care exams, researchers found that most of the required tests and procedures actually took place outside of that exam and that the exams were unnecessarily costly and time consuming.

What concerns me is that people will get this finding confused with the need for actual preventative tests and screenings. Though there is debate about whether yearly check ups are important, there is no argument over whether certain health screenings are necessary...they are. But if you see your doctor over the course of a year anyway, you might not need to make a special annual appointment to have them done.

The study found that annual checkups vary by region, so I'm interested to hear what you think. Are you loyal to the once-a-year check up, or do you have them done when you see your doctor at other appointments?

Drink tea, slow down that bone loss

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Tea is a great substitute for soft drinks, and if you choose the 'green' variety, you're getting an extra does of antioxidants as well as other disease-fighting agents right there in your beverage.

In addition to those proactive health benefits, a new study shows that consumption of tea may increase bone density. The study involved women who were shown to have heightened bone density after drinking tea compared to those that did not drink tea.

Is tea about to be marketed as an osteoporosis treatment? I doubt that. However, the bone density measurements at issue in this study -- all taken from 275 women between the ages of 70 and 85 -- did see marked improvements over the five-year study time frame. Note that black and green teas are the specific ones referenced in this study -- not herbal teas.

Scalp transplants: The next new cure for balding?

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You've heard of hair-replacement surgery to cure baldness, but what about a scalp transplant? In your wildest dreams? Maybe...if you're a hair restoration specialist.

Because transplants require a lifetime of anti-rejection drugs, the idea of a transplant to cure something as cosmetic as baldness was never even considered. Transplant experts say, however, that they've created an anti-rejection regimen that last only a week in lab animals. The science is exciting for burn and trauma victims, but hair restoration specialists admit that they're watching the development with interest.

Consumers spend $1.2 billion a year on surgeries to replace their missing hair, and specialists say that for some, balding is truly a traumatic experience. I doubt we'll see scalp transplants in the near future, but you never know. What do you think?

How to end binge drinking? Let your teenagers have a few

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What's the key to curbing underage binge drinking? Make it legal, according to Stanton Peele, psychologist and author of "Addiction-Proof Your Child." He argues that if you encourage a healthy attitude towards drinking and don't forbid your teenagers from doing it, it will lead to responsible drinking. He cites many countries in Europe as proof, since many countries there allow teenagers to drink and their are less alcohol abuse problems over the pond than here. What do you think?

I'm kind of on the fence about this subject. I do agree that it's safer for kids to drink when their parents are around than to feel pressure to sneak off with their friends to get drunk in a potentially dangerous situation. But are parents really teaching responsible drinking when they're breaking the law to allow their teenager to drink? That seems to be like encouraging them to drive safely by allowing them to speed and run red lights.

Is any amount of alcohol safe for adolescents?

Snack Time: How about a fruit salad?

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Six-year-old Joey is having a friend over after school today. So I asked him this morning, "What would you like to have for a snack this afternoon?" I thought I might provide a special treat -- a healthy one -- for him to share with his new buddy. He tried for cookies. "Nope," I told him. "Why?" he asked. "Is it because I'll just keep eating and eating them?"

That's exactly why.

Joey knows no limits when it comes to junk food. He'll eat and eat and eat until I forcefully stop his madness. And if he isn't eating, he's begging for the sweet stuff. So we don't keep anything of the sort in our house. It's just so much easier that way. If it's not here, it's not here. He can't beg for it. He can't eat it.

Emptying our pantry of crappy snacks has done wonders for the healthy spirit in our family. And slowly, Joey is becoming happy with good, whole, nutritious food. So much so that once I denied his request for cookies, he suggested we have a fruit salad. It's our latest, greatest household snack, and it appears our new habit is catching on.

"We could have strawberries and watermelon and grapes," Joey shared with me as we drove to school. "We sure can," I happily replied.

Already, I can't wait to slice up our favorite fruits. I plan to put them in separate bowls so my gathering of boys can pick and choose and create their own unique salads. It makes me happy to know I'll be serving up something entirely healthy. It makes me even happier my kid came up with the idea.
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Negativity is contagious, unfortunately

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Do you ever notice that a negative personality can be contagious? I've seen this in my own family and within my social group. There are some people that are perpetually positive, while others default to a negative point of view on almost everything. It's more than cynicism as well.

A new study has shown that consumers can pick up negative views of a product when friends and those close to them have negative views on those same products to begin with? For example, if you can't stand the Apple iPod's iTunes software and you share that fact with your close friends, they too may come to dislike the software.

The results from this study also show that people with negative perceptions on a certain product can become even more negative when they meet new people that also have negative feelings about a certain product. In the consumer psychology field, this is huge. If you've ever heard the term "word of mouth," this would be the definition of that, big-time.

What picky eaters will always eat

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Are you a picky eater? I would say no because I'm always willing to try new dishes, but I try to avoid cauliflower, onions and mayonaise whenever I can -- they're the quirky foods that I dislike, and I think everyone has one or two of these. But I know some really picky people -- one of my friends will only order chicken fingers and fries at a restaurant.

Anthropologist Jane Kauer took an extensive look into picky eaters these days, and based on her findings, one third of people are unusually picky, few are extremely, and the rest of the population is only mildly picky. But there are a few things that almost every person likes. Want to know what they are?
  • Fried chicken
  • French fries
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
So, to sum up, the only really widely-accepted foods are junk foods. It's bit unfortunately that no veggies or fruits made the list. I for one avoid the above items almost all the time -- what about you?

Marriage trouble? You could have heart trouble as well

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In the past, studies have suggested that being married is good for your health. But a recent study of 9,000 British citizens found that being in a bad marriage may literally break your heart. People who had toxic relationships with their spouses, near relatives, or friends were 34% more likely to have heart trouble in the 12 years following the study than those who reported being in solid relationships.

A separate study that looked at the issue found no relationship between bad relationships and heart health, but did find that women who sat silently through martial spats were more likely to have health problems than women who expressed their emotions.

So while the link is tentative, it's pretty clear that being in a bad marriage is stressful. Stress can have a lot of negative health effects, so maybe it's not too far a stretch to say that it could contribute to heart disease. What do you think?

Lily Allen: re-programming her brain for weight loss?

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Losing weight and changing your unhealthy habits means changing your way of thinking to a certain extent, but how far would you go? Brit popstar Lily Allen has resorted to hypnotism to lose weight, according to the Daily Mail. And it's working -- she's gone from a size 10 to a size six, despite her insistence that she's happy to set a good weight example for celebrities.

Apparently, when she's under hypnosis, the hypnotist works are implanting healthy habits into the mind of the client -- stuff like eating lots of fruits and veggies, going to the gym regularly and eating organic. Then, when the person is awake, their mind automatically tries to follow these healthy habits. Supposedly.

Allen's hynotherapy sessions aren't cheap -- £300 per hour-long session -- so it makes more sense to see a nutritionist and/or personal trainer. What do you think?

X-rays: Too much of a good thing?

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According to a June, 2007 New York Times article, Americans are being exposed to inordinately high amounts of radiation, due almost chiefly to the increase in exposure to X-rays.

From 1980 to 2006, the average per capita exposure to ionizing radiation from imaging exams (such as CT scans, mammograms, and traditional X-rays), rose by almost 600%. There is no question that imaging of this kind has revolutionized modern medicine and, specifically, diagnosis. However, there are risks inherent to X-ray exposure, which is why the World Health Organization and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have classified them as carcinogenic.

Again, there's simply no disputing the fact that imaging procedures are often necessary. But, what should be taken into account is the overall exposure to X-rays over a given period of time.