Thursday, 11 October 2007

Tales of a stale iPod playlist

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No word of a lie, I've had the same damn songs on my iPod for almost a year now. Ridiculous, I know. Sure, I've added a few more here and there, but for the most part, the playlist is the same. So, I actually took a minute the other day and tried to figure out why this is the case.

Is it due to a lack of time? Not really -- I mean, how long does it really take to illegally download ... er, I mean legally purchase songs from iTunes or rip songs from purchased CDs and then load them into an iPod? Is it because there isn't any good new music out there to choose from? There's plenty of good new and old music to choose from, so strike two. What is it, then, that keeps my playlist from changing? And then it hit me -- the reason why I've had the same songs on my iPod is because I've got some quality gym songs on my playlist, that's why.

Here's a just a few of them, sure to keep you moving through your next workout ... or your next 200 workouts:

Kasabian - "Club Foot" - Guaranteed to make you want to train like an animal. Maybe that's why they used it in the training montage scene in the film "The Guardian."

Oasis - "&*#@ing in the Bushes" - Free of any vocals (save for some soundbyte samples), this Oasis song worked perfectly when used in the film "Snatch" starring Brad Pitt. It will work just as perfectly for you to pump up your workouts.

Muse - "Stockholm Syndrome" - Talk about a full sound. This song is like four songs layered on top of one another. The end result is something so pulse-pounding that you'll find yourself doing an extra couple of minutes on the treadmill just to hear it until the end.

The Killers - "When You Were Young" - The best song of their most recent album, Sam's Town, the Killers prove with this one track that they may be the last hope for U2 style arena rock. As for your workout, it's a great song to keep pace with.

Have any songs that have a permanent place on your iPod? Please pass them along ... I could use some new material!!

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Pollution said to cut European lifespans by one year

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European life spans are being cut short by about a year due to poor air and water quality, according to a report out of Europe's main environmental agency this week.

Changes attributed to global warming were specifically referenced in the report as well (smog and pollution), and these collective reasons were connected to an overall decrease int he average European's life span -- to the tune of year lost.

The European Environment Agency concluded that quick changes are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as increasing air and water quality or the more than hundreds of thousands of Europeans prematurely dying each year could increase, according to the 400-page report.

Anna Rexia costume: Funny or not?

Halloween is back -- that time of year when people have a built-in excuse to wear ridiculous outfits that they would never get away with any other time of the year.

But here's a novel costume idea that I saw on Back in the Skinny Jeans: Anna Rexia -- a sexy skeleton costume that comes complete with a measuring tape for a belt. To see pictures of the costume, click here. Ironically, it's available in regular and plus sizes.

I think this costume idea is pretty appalling -- anorexia is not a joke, and it's not sexy. But people with a darker sense of humor might find it amusing ... do you?

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Study: Don't compensate your exercise with diet

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Here's an interesting study I saw on Diet Blog -- people who exercise regularly and vigorously might still have trouble losing weight--or might even gain weight--because they may over-compensate for the weight they shed while working out. Sound familiar? Yeah, I admit, even I've been known to down an extra slice of pizza and rationalize by insisting that I must have burnt more than that at the gym. But that kind of thinking is really counter-productive. Don't you think?

Instead, try to think of it this way -- you did something good for yourself by going to the gym, so why not keep it up by eating well for the rest of the day?

Study says many kids receive inadequate health care

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Kids who frequently visit their doctors as scheduled for checkups and other reasons end up receiving the correct care only about half the time. This comes as a shocking result from a nationwide study released this week which looked at children's health care quality nationwide.

Astonishingly, almost all of the 1,536 kids who participated in the study had insurance. This appears to be another smack at how badly trained some doctors must be these days, or that something else is severely broken in the U.S. health care system, often touted as the world's most advanced.

I really look forward to the upcoming debates and plans that will be laid out by U.S. Presidential candidates is they relate to health care reform in this country. Apparently, it's not a priority any longer. It's even more reason to take charge of one's health on a private and individual basis.

The 25 biggest weight-loss mistakes

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According to this article from eDiets, the average woman has been dieting for 20 years. 20 years! That's a long time! Obviously something is not working here. So eDiets looked into it and developed a list of the 25 biggest dieting mistakes. Here are a few:
  • Having a negative attitude; expecting failure
  • Picking a weight-loss plan that you can't follow in the long run
  • Being a slave to the scale
  • Eating more processed foods than fresh ones
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Finishing what's on your plate, even though you're full.
  • Thinking that pills are the magic solution and not acknowledging that weight-loss is hard work.
For the full list, click here.

What mistake are you making?

Colorectal Cancer meets its match in vitamin B6

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The Journal of Nutrition released a study suggesting that vitamin B6 may help protect men against colorectal cancer.

Reviewing the dietary intake of over 81,000 Japanese adults, researchers found that men with the highest level of vitamin B6 had a 31-percent lower risk of developing colorectal cancer than men with the lowest intake of this B vitamin. The researchers also discovered that drinking more than 5 ounces of alcohol per week doubled the risk of this type of cancer in men with lower B6 consumption levels.

Vitamin B6 is found in chicken, liver, legumes, whole grains, pork, and nuts. Are you sure you're getting enough?

Preparing for the worst

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Flashlight? Check. Bottles of water? Check. Batteries? Check. Potassium Iodide? Uh ... what?

Not to sound like an alarmist, but we live in a day and age when having an emergency kit isn't exactly a bad idea. As we know all too well, disaster can sometimes strike when we least expect it, causing unprecedented levels of devastation and social unrest. But still, what's the deal with the Potassium Iodide?

In the highly unlikely event that we come under some form of nuclear attack, those who survive the immediate impact may soon thereafter fall victim to the short-term and long-term effects of radiation exposure. One of the most dangerous contaminants released by a nuclear explosion is radioactive iodine, which can enter into the human body through water, food, or air. Once in the body, this radioactive element accumulates in the thyroid gland, where it can later lead to thyroid cancer.

To protect yourself and your family, keep a small supply of potassium iodide in your emergency kit to render the radioactive iodine relatively harmless to your thyroid. By saturating the thyroid gland with potassium iodide, it prevents the gland from taking in any dangerous radioactive iodine.

And in case you were wondering, potassium iodide is completely safe (it's actually nothing more than a particular kind of salt). It can be purchased at most health food stores, and is FDA approved.

Cuba's economic crisis: good for health?

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The economic crisis that hit Cuba in the 1990s was generally considered to be a bad thing, except in one regard -- the health of Cubans. Since then, it's become apparent to researchers that the rates of coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and obesity have significantly dropped, according to this interesting article from the New York Times.

Why? Well, hard times forced Cubans to eat less than usual -- from 2,899 to 1,863 calories on average a day, which is usually regarded as a healthy amount. Plus they were forced to trade in driving their cars for walking and bicycling.

Still, it's kind of sad the poverty is the only thing that really leads to major change in the war against obesity. We North Americans would never wish to fall on hard times like that, but it would sure solve a lot of weight problems, don't you think?

Banquet pot pies recalled in salmonella scare

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Another food recall this week was announced after salmonella bacteria poisoning became suspect in Banquet brand chicken and turkey pot pies. Additionally, many generic store brands were under the recall as well.

The CDC in Atlanta started investigating the problem early this week after some reports of illnesses last week were tied to the consumption of these pot pie products.

Over 100 sick people were identified and the correlation between them was the el-cheapo, frozen pot pie. Banquet is a discount brand produced by ConAgra Foods, the same company that brought us the wonderful peanut butter recall earlier this year.

Pot pie production was halted this past Tuesday by ConAgra, so perhaps these distasteful products will stay off shelves for at least a little while.

The 5: Gym etiquette

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During my time spent as a personal trainer, I witnessed many interesting approaches to fitness. Even to this day as a regular gym goer, I still occasionally see things that make me so utterly confused. I can't help but ask myself, From what book or magazine did these people get these exercises from? Or, even worse, why didn't they just leave them there???

Don't be that guy. Or that girl. Leave these exercises to the members of Cirque de Soleil who seemingly invented them. But, be this all as it may, doing some bizarro exercises really isn't that big of a deal, provided that you're not getting in anybody's way. If you do, THEN their could be problems. This brings me to the following list, centering on proper gym etiquette.

1 - Squat Racks are for Squats. They're not for military presses, they're not for deadlifts, and they're definitely not for curls. Most gyms only have about three or four squat racks in total, so if you're standing there in front of one and doing a set of barbell curls, you're almost certain to become persona non grata.

2 - Clean Up After Yourself. Do you workout hard? Do you work up a good sweat when you do? If so, that's great. What's not so great is the poor sap who has to jump on the bench or machine right after you. Do them the favor of wiping it down first with a towel.

3 - Don't Scream. It's funny, but most times when you hear someone yelling and screaming in a gym, they're not lifting all that much weight. I tend to call these people the "Unworthy Screamers." If you're that person, let it me known that everybody thinks you're a tool. The only exception to this rule is if you are throwing around some serious weight, in which case you are more than worthy to do pretty much whatever you want.

4 - Put Down the Phone. Seriously, how important is that you talk to your boy Brian while you run on the treadmill? Can't he wait until you're done? The only thing worse is when people use their Nextels and allow the entire gym to hear Brian's end of the conversation, too.

5 - Don't Stand in Front of the Dumbell Rack. Okay, here's the deal with this one ... if you're doing an exercise - let's say a set of dumbell lateral raises - position yourself far enough away from the dumbell rack that people have access to it. Nothing is more annoying than not being able to grab the dumbells you need because someone is standing with their crotch practically braced against the rack, forcing you to literally stand and wait for them to finish their set.

Wow, I just realized that I could go on for days with this list. But, that's more than enough for now. I'd love to hear some of your own gym etiquette tips, so please do comment.

Going beyond that weight loss plateau: lose weight again!

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If you've faced weight loss and dieting before, my guess is that you've probably been discouraged when you reach that "plateau." You know, when you stop rapidly losing weight and the more realistic weight loss timeline sets in?

This alone discourages many from continuing weight loss diets, and old habits slip back into the picture. That's too bad, since a diet should be considered a lifestyle change more than a temporary goal. That's just not the case with many people.

But weight loss 'plateaus' are very common and are part of the weight loss process. In fact, some folks begin dieting and don't see that scale go down at all for a while -- which can be very distressing indeed. To see what do do when a plateau interrupts your dieting plan, consider this advice. It's not you -- or is it?

What in the world is "eating competence?"

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"Eating competence?" What does that even mean? Well it's a term a nutritionist coined in a study over at Penn State to explain people who know how to eat healthy for their particular bodies and lifestyles. It's about understanding and finding the balance between hunger, appetite, eating enjoyment, and metabolism to maintain a stable weight. Apparently the people who understand this and are "eating competent" have much lower risks of developing heart disease.

Apparently the researchers already developed a tool for measuring how "eating competent" a person is, and they're in the process of creating a specialized curriculum to train people who need help.

I'm sure it will benefit some, but it seems a little gimmicky to me.

Via Cranky Fitness

Cholesterol drugs have long-lasting impact, says study

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If you take statin drugs to lower that cholesterol level, you may have some protection from heart attacks up to ten years later after you cease taking those drugs, according to new research.

Pravacol, a stain drug commonly used in Europe and elsewhere to regulate cholesterol levels in at-risk patients, was found to 'substantially' lower heart attack risk and heart-related death. The study's participants included middle-aged men who had never had a heart attack but had a very high level of LDL (bad) cholesterol.

While this is good news, there definitely needs to be more insight into the benefits of statin drugs in order to offset the problems that have been reported by this class of drugs.

Back to the old days: Doctor 'house calls' on the rise

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While most of us are stressing over our insurance and things like co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses, there are some people out there ordering physician house calls and dishing out serious dollars for the service. And it stems from more than just rich people not wanting to sit in a doctor's office -- due to current health care issues and shortages we're all familiar with waiting days, weeks, or even months in order to get an appointment. Doctors who make house calls can do everything from assess rashes to do ultrasounds and mobile x-rays.

Of course it's a luxury that few can afford, but there's enough of a market that business is booming in some areas. I admit that if I had the money I'd prefer a house call over the doctor's office!

New York passes trans fat test with ease

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Kudos to nearly all New York City restaurants who are now complying with phase one of the city's new trans fat regulation. Those still using spreads or fry oils containing the artificial trans fat will be fined by the Health Department.

A whopping 94 percent of 3,300 restaurants inspected between July 1 and September 1 were using zero grams of trans fat. Before the regulation had passed, 50 percent were in compliance. By June, 80 percent were on board. And for the few still not passing with flying colors, it seems margarine use is the hold-up. Fines starting at $200 -- fining began on October 1 -- is the penalty for non-compliance.

"Despite claims to the contrary, New York City restaurants have shown that it's easy to get artificial trans fat out of spreads and fry oils," said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, Health Commissioner for New York City. "New Yorkers are now enjoying more healthful foods without any change in taste or price."

Continue reading New York passes trans fat test with ease

Prostate treatment tied to three-fold increase in heart disease risk

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A new study released this week suggested that prostate cancer patients in the midst of hormone treatment used to slow tumor growth may actually be hurting their hearts. As in, facing a 300 percent increase of dying from heart disease in the future.

The results come from the research team seeing a decline in testosterone levels which happens when androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) is used to combat prostate cancer.

Unfortunately, that drop can provoke insulin resistance, which can cause a chain reaction leading to type 2 diabetes, weight gain and increases in 'bad' cholesterol. Collectively, these conditions comprise the effect known as "metabolic syndrome." This is strongly associated with heart problems.

Wanna live longer? Banish the sweet tooth

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Did you know worms live longer when they are unable to process the simple sugar glucose? Sure enough. And this finding, published in the October issue of Cell Metabolism, may mean for humans that glucose could have a negative effect on life span. Study of these little worms may have other human implications too.

Already, researchers think their findings cast some doubt on traditional Type 2 diabetes treatments, all of which target lowering blood levels of glucose by increasing the amount of sugar taken up by body tissues. Questions are also being raised about the widespread use of antioxidant supplements -- antioxidants and vitamins given to the worms canceled out the life-extending benefits of sugar deprivation.

While banishing refined sugar is definitely a wise idea -- surely, we all agree on that, right? -- no one recommends tossing the multivitamins just yet. I mean, we're talking worms here. Still, some good food for thought, don't you think?

Less may just be more when it comes to running shoes

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Serious runners know that buying a running shoe is an investment. You have to have a quality shoe with good support and that can stand up to the mileage you put in every week. But an interesting new analysis out of the Institute of Motion Analysis and Research at the University of Dundee, Scotland found that within a brand, expensive shoes really aren't any better then lower priced models.

That doesn't mean that you can go to your local department store and buy the cheapest shoe there. All of the models tested were name brand shoes, priced from $80-$150. But within each brand, the higher priced models with "better features" really didn't feel more comfortable or cushion the feet better than the lower priced models. In addition, study participants couldn't distinguish the more expensive shoes from the cheaper ones.

The bottom line? Buy a good shoe, but don't assume that within a brand that more is better.

It's October -- time to walk to school

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We're almost two weeks into October, the month designated as Walk to School Month. Are your kids walking to school?

Millions of children, parents, teachers, and community leaders across the globe have put on their walking shoes and are logging steps in celebration of this international event. Some are committing to walk for one day; some once per week; some for the entire month. The event, intended to remind parents and kids alike of the simple joy of walking to school, also serves to focus attention on the importance of physical activity and overall fitness.

So lace up those shoes and do your part this month, and for all months that follow -- because it's not really about October. It's about walking. So keep on trekking this month, and next month, and the month after that. You get the drill. For those who live a good distance from school, just drive and park a mile or so away. Then walk the remaining distance. For those looking to spice up this walking challenge, check out this idea: the walking school bus.

Chronic job stress very hard on the heart

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Do you pound your fists on the desk or wall at work and take frequent breaks to 'get away' from bosses and co-workers while at work? These signs of chronic stress (among many others) can cause a doubling of heart attack risk in those that have a history of heart/coronary events.

A new study released this week found that recurrent heart attacks can be the result of frequent, unrelenting stress and the risk doubles in those with a previous heart event.

It adds to previous studies and bodies of evidence that suggest high stress levels cause heart attacks, but this study goes one further and concludes that repeating heart problems can be a result as well, especially in those with a history of heart issues. It's time to find stress reduction techniques if you fall into this category.

Looking for a new trail?

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I get tired of stepping out the front door to head off on my morning walk/jog route. I'm a hamster on wheel most days, but fitting in that workout is paramount. On the weekends, it's invigorating to seek a new trail.

Whether you need just a few miles of crushed gravel or 50+ miles for a bike fiesta, check out this terrific trail locator tool from Rails to Trails Conservancy. Pop in your state and keywords and you'll be sure to find a new curvy path to traverse this weekend. Invite friends and family, bring a lunch, make a day of it! The tool offers detailed directions, mapping, trail descriptions and occasional photos and reviews.

Since 1986, the non-profit Rails to Trails Conservancy has been working diligently to preserve and transform unused rail corridors into public trails. They've had tremendous success influencing favorable trail legislation in Washington, with over 100,000 members and supporters. Check out RTC's news and publications to get a field update from your region of the country.

Why is diabetes worse for minorities?

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Previously studies have shown that when African Americans and Latinos get diabetes they tend to have it more severely than Caucasians, but there was very little understanding why. Recently new studies have shed some light on the situation, although new questions are also part of the mix. According to research by the University of Michigan the following is true, even when issues like income and access to health care are equal:
  • African American diabetes patients are less likely than white ones to take their diabetes medication as prescribed.
  • Latino diabetes patients are more likely than white ones to suffer from emotional distress related to the diagnosis.
But these findings still leave almost 80% of the racial differences in diabetes management unaccounted for, so unfortunately the mystery remains. But, on the bright side, every little bit helps -- if even just to give more focus to the researching!

Vitamin C can prevent wrinkles and slow signs of aging

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Forget expensive anti-wrinkle creams -- the key to preventing wrinkles is wearing sunscreen, getting lots of sleep ... and eating lots of oranges? That's right, a new study shows that people who ate lots of vitamin C had fewer wrinkles than those who didn't.

That's not all -- those with diets rich in Omega-6 fatty acid showedhless signs of aging, while those who ate diets high in overall fat showed more. Omega-6s can be found in sunflower and safflower oils, as well as some fish. For more information on what to eat to keep your skin looking it's best, check out this article from WebMD.

What do you think -- does what you eat really play a role in how well you age?

No surprise: nutrition labels found to give insufficient information

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Nutrition labels may have been useful 15 years ago, but researchers say now that the "recommended daily allowance" figure commonly quoted on nutrition labels makes it hard for many consumers to translate that information into nutrient quantities.

For example, if a product has calcium, and perhaps contains 15 percent of the RDA of that ingredient, how much is that quality, specifically? Since many of us have custom nutrition needs, the bare-bones information on most processed foods can be somewhat meaningless, not to mention misleading.

If you're a female at risk for osteoporosis, can you determine from all the foods you eat exactly what your calcium intake is for a normal day? My guess is no. Did you know that there are many forms of calcium as well, each with a different level of bio-availability? As in, calcium carbonate or calcium citrate? The devil, as always, is in the details.

Lifestyle change can happy at any age

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It seems that the older you get, the more difficult it becomes to stick to a healthy lifestyle. The number of commitments to family, friends and work compound over time, making regular trips to the gym and preparing healthy meals seem impossible to pull off. Then, what often happens is that unhealthy behaviors become routine, begetting even more unhealthy behaviors. Before long, these people feel as though they are taken out of the game completely, and that their chances of being fit at their age are pretty much gone.

Not true. Not true at all, actually. Adopting healthier lifestyle changes relatively late in life can still lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and lengthen life, says a report from the American Journal of Medicine.

Researchers looked at more than 1,300 men and women aged 45 to 64 years who took on healthier habits: exercising a minimum of 2.5 hours per week, eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day, maintaining a body mass index between 18.5 and 29.9kg/m, and not smoking. Over a four-year span, researchers found that these middle-aged individuals experiences a 35% decreased incidence of cardiovascular events and a 40% reduction in mortality, compared with the men and women of this age group who did not make these healthy changes to their lifestyles.

What to eat after a workout

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My husband and brother-in-law -- both seasoned marathoners -- howled with laughter during the season premiere of The Office when Michael Scott decided to carbo-load with fettucini alfredo immediately before his 5K began. Obviously, you know that eating a heavy meal before a strenuous workout isn't a good idea, but do you know what kinds of foods make great post-workout snacks?

A little bit of protein is a good idea, but you need to balance that protein with carbs. Carbs digest right away for a quick recovery, while the protein takes a little bit longer. Here's a list of 10 excellent suggestions from iVillage, including yogurt, low-fat cheese and crackers, skim milk, and low-fat tuna salad on whole wheat bread. What do you like to eat after a workout?

Pomegranates: good for your lungs, not so good for gag reflex

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I'm going to say two things right now about pomegranates; one that will make you want to eat them even more often for their amazing health benefits, and the other that will make you never want to even look at one again.

The tricky part is, which one do I start with? The good or the bad news? Hmmm ... okay, I'll go with the good news first, this way you don't have to finish reading this post and you will still find out that pomegranates have been shown to slow the development of lung tumors. How about that for some good news?

Already known for its role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer, researchers from the University of Wisconsin in Madison have also discovered evidence to suggest that pomegranates may also help prevent lung cancer.

Mice given a tumor-inducing agent had 62-percent fewer lung tumors after five months of pomegranate supplementation than did mice that were not given pomegranate. More research still needs to be done to ascertain if humans would obtain similar results.

Oh great - now onto the other part. I'm loathe to even mention this, I really am. Oh, I know -- I'll use it in the context of Halloween. Let's say you want to serve up a creepy looking snack to your party guests, pomegranates make a great choice. Maybe it's just me, but pomegranate seeds look so much like bloody, human teeth that it makes me want to hurl. A whole bowl full of them would look like something straight out of the movie Saw.

Hey! Don't forget about how healthy they are, though!! And they're very tasty!! Just because something looks like a bloody human mouth ... blech. So freakin' gross.

Allergic baby? Some moms try a total elimination diet

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When she realized that her nursing baby had severe food allergies, Rebecca Boone decided to narrow down the culprit. She originally went on an elimination diet, which normally cuts out highly allergenic foods like dairy, nuts, and wheat. But when her daughter's symptoms didn't improve, Boone took it a step further and tried a total elimination diet (TED). While that may sound like she just decided not to eat, a total elimination diet means eating only 2-3 foods that are unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. In this case, she stuck to organic turkey, squash, and rice and ever so slowly added foods back in one at a time. In this case, the diet improved her baby's symptoms a little, but in the end she had to turn to special hypo-allergenic formula.

So does a TED really work? There doesn't seem to be a clear cut answer to that question. Some doctors feel it could cause nutrition problems, while others think that it's worth a try. Everyone agrees, however, that before trying something as extreme as a TED, both mother and baby need to be seen by a doctor. What about you? Would you consider a TED before switching to a hypo-allergenic formula?

5 supplements worth neglecting Screech for

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What to GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Vitamin World and Fitness Technology all have in common? The answer: My money. Just like the millions of Americans who this year who will visit one of these retailers and purchase a nutritional supplement of some kind, I too have contributed to each of their respective businesses on a number of occasions.

Am I just a nice guy, one who wants to see a multi-million (billion?) dollar industry continue to thrive? Not really. I suppose that if I was actually a nice person, I would use the money I typically spend on supplements to sponsor a child in need or even donate money to help Screech from TV's "Saved by the Bell" save his house. No, I am not a nice guy -- or at least it would seem. I am instead nothing more than a selfish, rotten, and self-serving fitness enthusiast who spends some of his surplus funds on supplements.

Since I'm such a bad person, spending my money on making my body healthier, I have to be sure that what I am buying is worth my neglecting-a-Screech-in-need money. For guys like me -- those who are looking to gain lean muscle mass -- these Men's Health Top 5 Supplements are pretty solid choices:

5 - Protein Shake. While it's entirely possible to get enough daily protein from your regular diet, it's sometimes quite difficult to do so. Protein shakes provide you with a convenient and tasty way to get at least 25 grams of protein and a substantial amount of amino acids with each serving.

4 - Creatine. The king of muscle-building supplements, clinical tests show that creatine can help increase muscle size and strength, in addition to speeding up recovery time after a workout.

3 - Multivitamin. About 80-percent of men don't get their RDA of vitamins and minerals. A simple fix is one of these babies. Be sure to buy a 'complete' multivitamin; such as GNC's Mega Men or even Centrum. Also, men should be sure to avoid multivitamins that contain extra iron, as it can increase the risk of heart disease.

2 - Green Tea. I know - tea isn't exactly the toughest thing in the world for a guy to drink. Nonetheless, you're going to have to suck it up and drink it down if you want to obtain the benefits of its natural antioxidants and fat burning properties.

1 - Fish Oil. It's certainly no mystery by now that Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important to help stave off heart disease and myriad other maladies, which is why adding fish oil to your diet is a must.

I recently restocked my cabinet at home with all of these supplements, as well as a Glutamine powder. I'm a bad, bad man.

Nintendo DS's 'Brain Age 2' a game for everyone

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After playing with a friend's Nintendo DS a few days ago, I could not help but come away impressed. You see, the friend is a middle-aged person that's not a game player.

What was he playing? Brain Age 2, a non-game for the portable game player that has its sights set on helping memory skills in anyone that wants it.

The 'game' features quite a few brain teasers that I thought were very challenging. The execution of all of them (especially the Sudoku game) was excellent, and it's another reason why more people outside the regular gaming community opt for gaming systems like the Wii and DS game systems. Nintendo continues to impress me.

13-year-old climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro -- with one leg!

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I felt pretty powerful after I ran 2 miles this morning. But I seem like a lazy slob compared with Nicolai Calabria -- the 13-year-old recently climbed to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Now, that feat is impressive on it's own, but consider this -- he did it on one leg.

Nicolai was born without a right leg, so he knows what it means to overcome disability. So when he had to opportunity to help out The Free Wheelchair Mission, he jumped at the chance, and proudly braved freezing temperatures and a lack of oxygen while climbing the mountain to support his cause. And now, 1000 people in Tanzania will get a wheelchair thanks to Nicolai's bravery.

Isn't this a story what just warms the heart?

The 30 minute post-weight workout window

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As a follow-up to a great post just written by Bethany Sanders here at ThatsFit, I wanted to further emphasize the significant role the post-weight workout meal plays.

It's important to realize that when you lift weights, your body is stretching and tearing muscle fibers. This may seem like a bad thing at first blush, but make no mistake, it's the process by which your muscles initiate hypertrophy (growth). One of the most vital parts to making this happen is feeding your muscles what they need right after your workout. And by right after, I mean RIGHT after. For the most part, you have a window of about 30 minutes after your weight lifting to eat your post-workout meal, or else your body may actually become catabolic (a situation where you actually lose muscle).

Does what you eat matter? Absolutely. Unlike any other part of the day, you need some simple, high glycemic index ranked sugars right after a weight workout. This is because your body requires immediate sustenance in order to begin rebuilding. Also, it is equally as important that you consume an adequate amount of protein right after a weight workout -- preferably whey.

One thing you do want to avoid right after a weight training workout is fat of any kind. Although nuts, avocados, olive oil and flax seed oil and other healthy fats should be part of your daily diet, they should not be consumed during your post-weight workout meal. Fats slow the absorption of carbohydrates and protein, which works against your goal of almost instant replenishment during this post-weight workout window.

Some great choices for a post-weight training meal include: a slice of white bread with a teaspoon of jelly + a whey protein shake mixed with water, a sports drink such as Gatorade and a fist-sized portion of grilled chicken or fish, or simply purchase any number of post-workout meal replacement shakes, such as EAS's Myoplex.

Is moderate or vigorous exercise better?

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The debate rages on with friends of mine on whether moderate exercise or rigorous exercise is better for the body. While the circumstances of health change for every person, we're all trying to find that magic formula that weaves time availability with regular exercise these days.

A recent study shows that a majority of men (56%) and women (71%) believe moderate exercise to be better than rigorous exercise, although that perception can be argued vigorously itself. Due to time crunches, many folks I know do intense exercise for only 15 minutes per day -- and they believe that it's just as effective as an hour of walking on the treadmill.

How about you? Do you feel better taking your time to exercise moderately (walking, etc.) instead of high-energy exercise like jogging or racquetball?