Sunday, November 29, 2009

Healthy Diet Friendly Pies

Need a healthy dessert for the holidays? We asked a few health-minded chefs to create lighter, healthier versions of classic pies. Here are the results, from apple to pumpkin and all your favorite fillings in between.

By Emily Dorn
Blueberry Mint Pie


Chef Tyson Podolski of Summer Winter Restaurant in Burlington, Massachusetts, has created a pie that will transport you to a midsummer's day. But the best thing about this recipe is neither the seasonal association nor the fact that it is low in fat and calories. It is simply just as delicious with frozen berries found in any supermarket as with fresh. Plus, its gorgeous midnight blue filling provides a striking contrast to the creamy -- yet healthy -- yogurt dolloped on top. A diet-friendly show stopper.

Makes 12 servings
Ingredients

Low-Fat Crust
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled oil (canola or olive oil)
1 extra-large egg white; lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar, either white wine or apple cider
Ice water as needed

Blueberry Filling
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon margarine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Healthy Whipped Cream
1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon orange liqueur or any flavored liqueur that you prefer
Directions

To make pie crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour and salt in a medium bowl. Carve a small well in the middle of the flour and add chilled oil to it. Mix with fork until dough is crumbly. Mix in beaten egg white and white wine vinegar. Using your hands, form dough into ball, adding ice water to the dough if it is still a bit crumbly. Dough should hold together well. Refrigerate until very cold (1/2 hour). Roll dough on a floured surface until 1 inch thick. Drape over 9-inch pie pan, being careful not to tear the dough. Trim off the excess pieces and discard. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown.

To make filling: In medium saucepan, combine 2 cups blueberries with both light brown and granulated sugar, flour, margarine, lemon juice, spices, and salt. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture comes to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in remaining 2 cups of blueberries and the chopped fresh mint. Pour into prepared pie crust and let entire pie cool.

To make whipped cream: If there is liquid in the yogurt container when opened, drain off liquid. In a very cold small bowl, whip the whipping cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold in drained yogurt and orange liqueur. Dollop over pie when ready to serve.

Nutrition info: 281 calories, 4g protein, 43g carbohydrate, 11g fat (2g saturated fat), 2g fiber, 132mg sodium


Sweet Potato Pie


Trust us, now you can polish off a plate of comfort food -- like this sweet potato pie -- and still feel svelte. The version here proudly touts the merits of its main ingredient: tubers so perfectly sweet that the need to camouflage them with butter, sugar, and whole milk is a nonissue.

Makes 12 servings
Ingredients

Low-Fat Crust
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled oil (canola or olive oil)
1 extra-large egg white; lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar, either white wine or apple cider
Ice water as needed

Sweet Potato Filling
16 ounces sweet potatoes, baked till soft, with skins removed
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar or Splenda
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
12-ounce can evaporated skim milk
Directions

To make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour and salt in a medium bowl. Carve a small well in the middle of the flour and add chilled oil to it. Mix with fork until dough is crumbly. Mix in beaten egg white and white wine vinegar. Using your hands, form dough into ball, adding ice water to the dough if it is still a bit crumbly. Dough should hold together well. Refrigerate until very cold (1/2 hour). Roll dough on a floured surface until 1 inch thick. Drape over 9-inch pie pan, being careful not to tear the dough. Trim off the excess pieces and discard. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown.

To make filling: In a medium-size mixing bowl, mix all ingredients. Pour into the prepared crust and bake at 350 degrees F. for approximately 30 to 45 minutes, until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Nutrition info: 221 calories, 6g protein, 34g carbohydrate, 7g fat (1g saturated fat), 2g fiber, 125mg sodium


Pumpkin Pecan Pie


Instead of having to choose between baking either pecan or pumpkin pie, this fantastic recipe from Deborah Racicot of Gotham Bar and Grill in New York rolls them both into one, and in a unique twist, transforms the pumpkin layer into a light cheesecake filling. If that's not enough to tempt you, consider that there is no refined sugar in the whole shebang, and the cream cheese is low-fat. Note: This treat is best served at room temperature or cold. Factor in lots of cooling-down time before serving.

Makes 12 servings
Ingredients

Crust
2 cups low-fat graham crackers
1/2 cup melted butter

Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
4 ounces low-fat cream cheese
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon Splenda
4 egg whites
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt

Pecan Filling
1 large egg
1/2 cup agave syrup (such as Wholesome Sweeteners, available at health food stores)
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons Splenda
2 tablespoons almond flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon bourbon
3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
Directions

To make crust: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Put the cookies into a plastic bag and with a rolling pin crush them until fine. Place them into a medium bowl. Melt butter and pour it over the cookie crumbs. Mix it well with a spoon until all the crumbs are coated completely with butter. Press the crumbs over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let crust cool completely.

To make pumpkin filling: Place low-fat cream cheese in a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment. Add the Splenda and maple syrup. Cream the mixture well, until very smooth. Add the pumpkin puree with the spices and salt. Mix until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl well. With the mixer on low speed add the eggs. Mix just until incorporated. Pour into the pan and place in the freezer. Allow it to freeze so it is just firm to the touch. That way you can pour the pecan mixture on top and it will remain as two layers.

To make pecan filling: Set oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, using a whisk, place all of the ingredients together. Whisk well. Pour the filling onto the frozen pumpkin filling and place it in the oven. Bake the pie in the oven for 20 minutes. Open the oven door and rotate the pie carefully. Then set the timer for another 20 to 25 minutes. The pie is cooked if the filling does not move when jiggled. Allow the pie to cool completely before serving.

Nutrition info: 279 calories, 5g protein, 31g carbohydrate, 16g fat (6g saturated fat), 2g fiber, 277mg sodium



Peach Ginger Pie

There are three different types of ginger in this recipe -- candied, powdered, and freshly grated -- yet somehow the flavor of these tangy ingredients doesn't overpower, but only enhances the sweetness of the peaches. Chef Jaime Sudberg of NYC's The Stanton Social usually creates decadent desserts, such as the housemade red velvet Twinkie, that cater to a late-night crowd. As a healthy alternative to hold court with the menu's rich options, her Peach Ginger Pie only tastes like it's loaded with fattening ingredients. The verdict? No guilt!

Makes 12 servings
Ingredients

Crust
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 Crisco all-vegetable shortening stick
3 tablespoons cold water

Peach Filling
4 cups peeled and diced peaches
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons diced candied ginger
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water
Directions

To make crust: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix flour and salt in medium bowl. Add Crisco in cubes until all flour is blended in to form small chunks. Sprinkle with water, using one tablespoon at a time. Toss lightly with fingers or fork until the dough forms a ball. Press between hands to flatten out slightly. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Then, on a floured surface, and with dough itself lightly floured, roll to 1-inch thickness. Fit dough into 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

To make pie filling: Set oven to 350 degrees F. Mix peaches, salt, and the three ginger ingredients in a bowl. Set aside. Combine cornstarch, sugar, and water in a small pan and cook over medium heat until thick. Fold into peach mixture. Fill prepared pie crust with this mixture and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Nutrition info: 200 calories, 2g protein, 30g carbohydrate, 8.2g fat (2g saturated fat), 1g fiber, 195mg sodium
More Pies see:  fitnessmagazine.com

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Good News Sudoku Fans - You Burn 90 Calories with the Sudoku Diet


dailymail.co.uk - Sitting in your favorite armchair doing a crossword or Sudoku does not sound like a particularly effective way to use up calories.

But if you are about to postpone that trip to the gym and turn to the Coffee Break section of your Daily Mail instead, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Tackling puzzles for an hour, it seems, can burn more calories than are contained in many biscuits.

That was the eyebrow-raising claim being made by mental agility experts yesterday in a bid to encourage more people to log on to their brain-training website.

Doing puzzles and quizzes burns an average of 90 calories every hour, they say - while a chocolate chip cookie contains an average 56 calories, a custard cream 57 calories and a jammy dodger 85 calories.

Researcher Tim Forrester, from cannyminds.com, explained: 'Our brains require 0.1 calories every minute simply to survive.

'When we do something challenging such as a puzzle or a quiz we can burn through 1.5 calories every minute.'

The brain is made up of millions of nerve cells called neurons which transmit messages to the body, he explained.

Neurons produce chemicals called neurotransmitters to relay their signals.

These neurons extract three-quarters of sugar glucose, available calories and a fifth of oxygen from the blood to create neurotransmitters.

So doing difficult crosswords or challenging Sudokus means your brain will crave more glucose and more calories too, added Mr Forrester.

This means that if you spent two hours doing puzzles, you would have used 180 calories - which is more than are contained in a creme egg (173) or a bag of Hula Hoops (175), and only slightly less than in a pint of beer (182).

A British Dietetic Association spokesman said: 'When thinking hard, the brain needs to get its energy from somewhere. It can get this energy from burning calories.

'The brain is like any other body part - if you are working it hard, it will need more calories to work well.'

But it is clearly not possible to think yourself thinner. This is because although the brain uses a lot of energy, it does not use fat to do so.

Unlike sugars, fat molecules cannot be broken down into glucose.

The amount of energy used by thinking is a very small percentage of the total energy used in the brain, which is constantly using energy to function, experts warn.

So if you want to lose weight, you will still need to exercise and eat healthily.

Last year it emerged that millions of people use Sudoku to improve their maths skills after being turned off the subject by dumbed-down teaching at school.

Many gave up after GCSE because lessons were too unchallenging, a study showed.

This 'lost' generation discovered an interest and ability in the subject through logic puzzles.

Although you do not need to be good at maths to do Sudoku, the grids demand logical thinking which underpins maths, added researchers at Reform think tank.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Information and Prevention to Avoid Frostbite

By Gail Mardew

People living in Canada, Alaska, England and other countries subject to very cold climate, frostbites are common occurrences especially for people who, for some reason, are often staying outside in the cold. It can be a very dangerous condition if one is not properly garbed against cold climate.

Frostbites occur when bodily tissues are damaged due to exposure to extreme cold at a long period of time. Skin and limbs that are often exposed like the nose, ears and cheeks are the parts of the body that often get frostbitten. Insufficient clothing will also allow intense cold to penetrate to the skin and may cause damage to an even greater surface area in the body.

MedlinePlus, the information center of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, has enumerated symptoms for frostbites. Areas that are frostbitten are cold and hard to touch. Early stage of frostbite is indicated by stinging red skin. The tingling akin to pins and needles will eventually feel numb appear white as the tissues begin to freeze. As the degree of intensity increases, the color of the skin darkens accordingly. Worst case frostbites may even appear blackened or bruised.

According to MedlinePlus, frostbite is damage to the skin and underlying tissues caused by extreme cold. In extreme cases of this affliction, blood vessels could end up damaged and cause permanent damage. Amputation will then become a necessity because f let alone, this could develop into gangrene and may spread to other unaffected areas of the body.

It will be fortunate if the frostbite is only a minor case because the affected area may still have complete recovery. But to a degree this is not a very comforting thought because the process of thawing is very painful. As the frozen tissues thaw and blood begins flowing back into the area, it goes back to the red-raw state of the early stages of frostbite. The patient will feel a tingling that escalates as sensation creeps back in the affected area.

Acquiring frostbites is a serious condition because it often comes with other afflictions. Trauma for one thing, both physically (when the affected area has to regain sensation and mastery of motion again) and psychologically (if the events leading to exposure in the cold is a disturbing experience). There is also a very high chance of the patient of going through hypothermia, especially in intense cases. Among the worse things that may happen is the development of gangrene in affected areas if not treated immediately.

Prevention is always better than cure. Avoiding frostbites is certainly more appealing than having to endure the pain of recovery from it. It is necessary to be properly and sufficiently clothed when in a very cold climate. Among the basic winter clothing are thick mittens, mufflers, hats and scarves and water resistant thermal clothing. The ideal way is to wear these clothes in layers to ensure that body heat is preserved and cold is kept out of the body. People not used to very cold climates should all the more follow these SOPs.

About the Author:

'Ch de bugre' a Diet Supplement

By Grahaam Maartin


A lowly herb called "Ch de bugre", probably not a name that comes to mind, or even one that you recognize is showing some excellent results down in Brazil where it is used by people on a diet, who want to get in shape and lose those extra pounds.

Several different types of Ch de bugre products are available here and not just to the jet set or beautiful people of Rio de Janeiro. Here it sold as an aid to losing weight and is regarded as a highly commercial product.

Here you will find Ch de bugre freely available in many forms, such as tea bags, capsules and extracts.Theses are now commonly seen in stores, pharmacies, refreshment stands and it's even its beach-front snack bars.

Ch de bugre sells especially well in the summer months, when people want to get in shape and look nice for the beach. It is helpful in cases of obesity because it gently reduces the appetite.

As a good weight loss product, Ch de bugre has been popular for a long time in Brazil. However as well as being sold as an appetite suppressant, it is used as a mild diuretic and also widely believed that it helps to prevent or reduce cellulite.

One thing that must be remembered however is this.There simply isn't a "magic bullet for dieters or people wishing to lose weight, something that would enable you to eat what you want and still lose weight. This is not going to happen in reality and Ch de bugre isn't a magic bullet either, It suppresses your appetite to help 'you' lose the weight.

The only real way to succeed with weight loss is to have a sensible, well balanced eating plan, one which has a lower calorific intake, and stick to it. Also, you should at the same time increase the amount of physical activity that you normally do to help burn off the calories that you have consumed. Ch de bugre just may help you here since it can reduce the appetite....

In addition to eating a sensible, well balanced diet there is one simple thing to remember. When you feel full, put the fork down! An idea here is that if you slow the rate at which you eat it will give the brain receptors time to say, "That's enough, I'm Full". When you get this message you listen..and Stop Eating!

So to recap what it's used for:- Ch de bugre contains natural caffeine!

There are no known side affects! How good is that!

To help tone and balance the body and also believed to reduce cellulite!

Ch de bugre contains natural caffeine!

One of the best selling weight loss products in Brazil!

Ch de bugre contains natural caffeine!

About the Author:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

10 Ways to Cut the Risk of Cancer


The Special Report examines the science and latest findings on 10 approaches that can make a real difference in preventing cancer.

Here are some highlights from the list:

Don''t smoke: Quitting smoking reduces the risk of lung and other cancers, regardless of the number of years of smoking.

Eat fruits and vegetables: The American Cancer Society recommends eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily because they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other substances that lower the risk of cancer.

Limit fat in the diet: Current guidelines recommend keeping fat intake between 20 and 30 percent of total daily calories, with most fats coming from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, such as fish, nuts and vegetable oils.


Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer as well as cancers of the colon, endometrium, esophagus and kidney. There''s evidence that obesity increases the risk of cancers of the prostate, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, stomach, ovary and cervix.

Be physically active: From 45 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a day, on most days of the week, is considered optimal to reduce the risk of breast and colorectal cancers.

Curb alcohol consumption: Women should limit themselves to no more than one alcoholic beverage a day. Men should have no more than two.

Limit exposure to radiation: Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which comes from the sun, sunlamps or commercial tanning beds, is the primary cause of skin cancer, the most common of all cancers.

Protect against infection: Infections caused by viruses are recognized as risk factors for several types of cancer.

Consider chemoprevention: Chemoprevention is the use of natural or synthetic compounds to reduce the risk of cancer or its recurrence. Tamoxifen, prescribed to prevent breast cancer in high-risk women, is the best known chemoprevention agent.


Get recommended screening exams: Pap tests, mammograms, colonoscopies and other routine screenings cannot prevent cancer. But screenings can help find cancers early, when treatment is most likely to be successful.

The study has been published in the November issue of Mayo Clinic Women''s HealthSource.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bad Breath? 8 Tips to a Happy Mouth



Change Your Breath From Bad to Good
Bad breath is embarrassing, unpleasant, and all too common. These eight easy tips will sweeten your breath for good.
By Sarah Albert
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD

We've all found ourselves chatting with someone whose breath could easily wilt a flower. With more than 90 million people suffering from chronic bad breath (also called halitosis), that's a lot of wilted flowers. If you (or someone you regularly smooch) has an attack of bad breath that even Altoids won't fix, try these eight simple tips to fix the problem.

Don't let your tongue become a dirty carpet.

Bad breath often strikes when people aren't properly taking care of their oral health. The odor is usually caused by decaying food particles and bacteria in your mouth. That's why brushing and flossing your teeth is so important, but don't forget to gently brush your tongue to get rid of even more bacteria.

A clean tongue goes a long way to warding off bad breath, says Stephen Z. Wolner, a dentist in private practice in New York City. "Your tongue microscopically is like a shaggy carpet. There are millions of filaments on your tongue that trap tiny food particles and bacteria," he says. Get in the habit of regularly cleaning your tongue using a toothbrush, the edge of a spoon, or a tongue cleaner. If you have any mouth guards or oral devices, make sure to clean them thoroughly before putting them back in your mouth.

Mouthwash isn't a bad idea, but it's only a temporary fix. Granted, a little mouthwash comes in handy before a romantic dinner for two, but it masks the odor instead of tackling the source of your problem.


Chew gum like it's going out of style.

Believe it or not, saliva is your best weapon against bad breath. That's why dry mouth, often caused by certain medications or medical conditions, leads to odor problems. By washing away food particles and bacteria, saliva helps to eliminate odor, too.

If you're wondering why your breath stinks in the morning, it's largely because saliva production slows while you sleep, allowing particles and odor to linger longer. That's where sugarless gum comes in handy, as chewing it will stimulate saliva production. Mints, on the other hand, don't usually stimulate saliva production and only temporarily mask bad odor.

"When you chew gum it makes you salivate, and the more saliva you have in your mouth the fewer bacteria you have. It not only mechanically washes bacteria out, but we have antiseptic and enzymes in our saliva that kill bacteria," says Wolner.

While anything that makes you salivate will improve your breath, a gum that is sweetened with xylitol is your best option. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that not only increases salvation but also works to prevent bacteria from replicating in the mouth.

Choose cinnamon -- it's sweeter.

A recent study of the cinnamon-flavored gum Big Red found that cinnamon might have breath-odor fighting abilities. Unlike other flavors, cinnamon is not just a cover-up, Wolner tells WebMD. In fact, he says, an ingredient in the flavoring appears to actually decrease the bacteria in your mouth. The only problem is that sugar gums are bad for your teeth, so stick to sugarless cinnamon-flavored gum instead.


Drink more water.

Wolner says the older you get the more likely you are to get dehydrated. You might not even notice you're thirsty, he says, so make drinking water a habit, because water will help keep the bacteria in your mouth to a minimum. Drinking water has a lot of health benefits, and preventing bad breath is one of them.

Rule out rare causes for bad breath.

While most bad breath can be banished with simple hygienic steps, there are times when dental or medical conditions might be the culprit. Make an appointment with your dentist if an unsavory odor takes residence in your mouth.

"If there is a persistent odor in your mouth, and you know it's not from the pasta you ate last night, see a dentist," Wolner tells WebMD. Your dentist will be able to pinpoint any cavities or decay, or even periodontal (gum) disease, that might be causing your bad breath.

Because on rare occasions bad breath can signal a larger problem, including infection, and even kidney or liver failure, you should also visit a doctor if your dentist doesn't find a cause for your bad breath problem.


Have a slice of bread.

If you're on one of the many popular low-carb diets, remember that bad breath or "ketone breath" is a potential side effect when you always have that burger sans bun. You can try different methods of masking the odor, such as gum or tart candies, but adding a few carbs to your daily diet might also do the trick.


Get a water pick.

You can't really clean your entire mouth with a toothbrush. "Using an irrigator or water pick cleans everything out around and under your gums and between your teeth," says Wolner. "If food lingers between your teeth where a toothbrush doesn't reach, it's fermenting." Next time you floss, take a whiff of your floss after you're done, and you'll have a good idea about what fermented or rotten food particles smell like.


Don't let bad breath go to your head.

If you think you have bad breath, get a second opinion. "A large proportion of people who think they're social pariahs with terrible breath don't have bad breath at all," says Wolner.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Review – Wii Fit Plus

www.krisabel.ctv.ca -Developed and published by NintendoRated “E” for Everyone
Contains mild cartoon violence

“Plus” is a fitter version of the original Wii Fit. Yes, there are some new exercises, new modes for your friends and pets, many new and innovative games, but the real bonus is the way the software has been streamlined, making it easier for you to jump into a 30 minute routine and on to your day. What has been trimmed is the ceremony and presentation, the time you spend moving in and out of menu systems, waiting. What has been added is a new focus on burning calories and using specific exercises to achieve simple results, like trimming tummy fat, reducing arm flab, or loosening neck muscles. In day-to-day use, this is where the real plus lies.

A Faster Routine
Somehow by adding new options, Nintendo has made it easier for veteran Wii Fit fans to get down to business faster. Similar to the Trial Mode, a new Multiplayer Section lets you jump into the games with your friends without having to load a profile first. You can skip the balance tests, age results, and calendar with the new “Simple Test” and just quickly weigh yourself and move on. The Routine section lets you select a number of Yoga and Strength Training exercises to play as a group, so you won’t visit the menu in between each one, plus you can save it as “My Routine” for your regular workout. And finally, there’s the Wii Fit Plus Routines, pre-made groups of exercises designed to help you target specific fitness goals, to show you which exercises are best for which parts of your body.

This last feature is quite interesting as Nintendo uses simple images and concepts to offer something quite sophisticated. There are five categories of pre-made routines, each offering three groups of exercises. Lifestyle focuses on reducing stress, Health on reducing tummy fat, Youth on hips and lower body muscles, and Form to tone your figure. Whether these groups can have the advertised effect remains to be seen, but it helps Nintendo create a sense of variety out of the existing set of exercises, and that’s a clever move.

A New Motivation
The Body Mass Index (BMI) is still in use for setting weight loss goals, but it’s now overshadowed by a new system that focuses on burning calories to provide drive instead. After each exercise you’ll get two counters, one to measure your workout time as before, another to show you how many calories you’ve burned. You can then see these displayed on a graph after in the Wii Fit Plus section where a food guide is used to show you what the equivalent would be. If you’ve worked off 50 calories, for example, it will tell you that’s the equivalent to one tablespoon of mayonnaise or an ounce of avocado. You can click on pictures of food to create a calorie goal, so that when you exercise, it’ll show you how many calories are left to work off. This is a much better companion to the weight scale than the BMI chart.

I kinda wish Nintendo had left it there, but they’ve also introduced an “MET” system to help rate the intensity of an exercise. Sitting, for example is 1 MET, while Hula-Hooping is 4 METs. The idea is to plug this value into an equation along with your weight and time to work out a calorie goal. Honestly, who wants to do the math when the Wii won’t do it for you?

Add a new graph to the Wii Credit bank system and the number of units and systems to keep track of is getting out of hand. Whether you get these values in Imperial or Metric is now tied to which country you selected in the System Settings menu of the Wii itself. I’m Canadian and yes, we use metric, but for weight loss I prefer to shed off pounds, not kilograms, and so not having any easy way to change that is annoying.

Little Ones
While Nintendo still hasn’t come up with a way to support two balance boards for shared workouts, they have introduced new features for you to add the smaller members of your household.
Profiles created for users three and under are now given “Baby Stats” to record their details. This skips the Body Test and its related steps, and instead simply records their weight while being held on the Balance Board by a parent. When that user turns four, then the profile will change into a regular one and unlock all the other options. The idea, I believe, isn’t to push young users into obsessing about their weight, but merely to let them participate in all the fun.

Nor is this the same goal for pets, who now have their own section. It’s a similar idea, you hold your pet on the Balance Board and the software deducts your weight to find that of your pet’s and records it onto a calendar, so that you can measure changes due to medication, real world exercise, or new diet.

For many I expect the real use of the Pets will be to add a new dimension of cuteness. You can create a “Mii” version of your cat or dog, choosing from different ears, tails, and coat colours, and while they can’t use the Balance Board to perform exercises, just like the other Miis on your system, they can now populate your game worlds. When you go for an Island Run, in addition to passing your friends on the path, your pooch or kitty may show up to run alongside you to add extra support. They also appear in the Mii Plaza where it will interact with the Mii of its owner.

New Exercises And Games
I expected Nintendo to introduce a new section, Cardio perhaps, but instead we get just a small, disappointing handful of new exercises. There are three new yoga poses, including a Spine Extension, Grounded V, and Gate, and three new Strength Training exercises including the side lunge, single-leg reach, and bridge. All six are added to the advanced section of their grids, but are unlikely to play a strong role.

The games, on the other hand, have exploded. Here Nintendo’s creativity shines with juggling, skateboarding, cycling, and a driving range for you to practice your swing with. The more outrageous party-style games include a rhythm challenge where you must perform Kung Fu moves, a duck-and-toss snowball fight, a game where you ride a Segway along a beach to pop balloons and run over moles, and finally, my favorite, a game where you must flap your arms like a chicken to guide yourself to fly and hop from Island to Island, landing on targets to complete a course.

These mini-games are Nintendo’s strength and just as fun as a collection as any of their previous Wii games packages. You can argue that they alone cover the cost of purchase.

Not To Be Confused With A Sequel
Wii Fit Plus has the right name and at $25, the right price as its more as an expansion pack than a traditional sequel, which would change or take the core idea in a new direction. While the selection of just six new exercises is disappointing, the included tweaks respond to most of what fans have been asking for and the added games are hysterical, making Wii Fit a better, more enjoyable experience.

Six Reasons To Say No To Your Doctor

forbes.com - Robert Langreth, 11.12.09, 02:00 PM EST
Find out how much of the $2.5 trillion we spend on health care goes down the drain for tests and treatments that don't help--and may even cause harm.


High-Tech Imaging

A miracle of modern medicine, the computed tomography (CT) machine takes crystal-clear cross-sectional pictures of the body in a few seconds, using high-tech X-rays. Seventy million scans are done annually, at a cost of $200 or more.

It's a seductive, reassuring and quick technology, for both patients and doctors, but do you always need these scans? "From what I see in emergency rooms, 30% to 40% of computed tomography scans are not indicated," says radiologist Stephen Baker of the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey. He says that all too often scans are ordered for relatively benign conditions such as kidney stones or stomachaches with no alarming symptoms. Even in kids with head injuries, a 42,000-patient study published in the Lancet in September found, scans can be skipped in 20% who don't have other indicators of serious brain injury. Primary care docs don't always know when scans are really needed; one Australian study found that 34 of 50 CT scans ordered by general practitioners were unnecessary.

Scans aren't totally benign. CT scans use approximately 100 times as much radiation as plain chest X-rays. Four million Americans each year get a relatively high radiation dose from multiple types of imaging, raising their future cancer risk slightly, a New England Journal of Medicine study estimated in August. A more insidious side effect of excess scans is false positives, which can lead to unnecessary treatment. "Mother Nature makes little lumps and bumps in the body; we cannot explain them all," says Massachusetts General Hospital radiologist James Thrall. (For more, see: Useless Medicine.)


Expensive Mental Health Treatments
Last year new schizophrenia drugs such as Seroquel from AstraZeneca ( AZN - news - people ) and Zyprexa from Eli Lilly ( LLY - news - people ) edged out cholesterol drugs at the top of the sales charts, with well over $14 billion in sales, according to IMS Health ( RX - news - people ). These and other so-called atypical antipsychotics rose to prominence on the belief they were clearly better and safer than older drugs. At least that's what studies commissioned by the drug vendors supposedly showed. But in 2005 a 1,493-patient government trial challenged this, showing that the new drugs were generally not much better and came with side effects, such as rapid weight gain. (Zyprexa had the lowest discontinuation rate, an efficacy measure.) "Marketing, marketing and marketing" drove the uptake, says Yale University psychiatrist Robert Rosenheck.

The pricey antipsychotics are prescribed for all sorts of unapproved uses, including in kids with attention-deficit disorder or behavior problems. Seroquel is often given as a sleep aid, says Yale's Rosenheck, despite costing far more than generic Ambien. Nursing homes frequently use schizophrenia drugs to treat agitated Alzheimer's patients, even though the drugs boost the death rate in these people and a 421-patient trial showed that they have very limited effectiveness.

Eli Lilly psychiatrist Robert Conley says new drugs are needed because individual patients respond differently. "Patients very much need choices," he says. Both Eli Lilly and AstraZeneca point to some studies showing that the newer generation drugs have lower rates of certain important neurologic side effects.

Back Pain

Laura Held, 52, spent years suffering from herniated discs in her upper spine that sent waves of pain shooting down her arms. So in 2006 she underwent a newly invented operation that replaced three of her worn-down discs with artificial ones, even though her insurance wouldn't pay the $10,000 cost. But the neck pain returned after a year. Held now faces the prospect of another operation to fix the problems caused by the first one.

Spending on back and neck pain treatments, including prescription narcotics, increased 65% (after inflation) between 1997 and 2005 to $86 billion, a 2008 Journal of the American Medical Association study found. Yet the study found no evidence all the spending was making people feel better.

Back surgery is getting ever more complicated and expensive. One controversial operation that has surged in popularity is spinal fusion, in which two or more vertebrae are fused together to alleviate pain blamed on degenerated discs. It costs around $50,000. Two controlled trials, one in England and one in Norway, found it was hardly better for plain lower back pain than a good rehab program combining exercise and cognitive therapy. The surgery comes with more complications than the exercise.


Fainting Spells
Half a million Americans are hospitalized each year after they report to the emergency room with fainting spells. The condition is usually benign, unless there are signs of heart problems. Yet Americans spend billions on hospital care and fancy tests in an often futile quest for a cause.

One study of 2,106 elderly patients admitted to Yale-New Haven Hospital found that 63% got head CT scans, 95% got cardiac enzyme tests, while others got electroencephalograms and other exotic tests. The expensive tests were rarely helpful, the study found. A $5 postural blood pressure test was much more useful but performed on only 38% of patients. Doctors in other countries like Canada hospitalize far fewer people after fainting spells, yet "they don't have people dying all over the place," says Stanford University emergency medicine specialist James Quinn, who has developed a set of rules to pluck out patients at high risk.


Stents
One million Americans a year get artery-widening stents in a surgical procedure that costs $20,000. Stents save lives if inserted immediately after heart attacks. But stents don't save lives or prevent heart attacks in most patients with stable heart disease symptoms, two giant trials have now shown. Intensive drug therapy can do just as well without the risks of an invasive procedure.

Few careful studies have looked at how many angioplasties are really necessary. (Stents are installed during angioplasty, in which a balloon is used to unclog an artery; it is an alternative to bypass surgery.) But one Rand study in 1993 found that 4% of angioplasties done in New York were clearly inappropriate and another 38% were of questionable benefit. Since then, stents were introduced, and angioplasties have exploded in popularity. A 2005 study examining a database of 412,000 stent procedures found that 8% of patients got stents they definitely shouldn't have; those who got unnecessary stents were more likely to have complications.

Knee Arthritis

One common way to treat arthritis of the knee has been to shave off loose pieces of cartilage through arthroscopic surgery. Two rigorous trials show that this $5,000 procedure doesn't help. In 2002 researchers at the VA Medical Center in Houston showed that the real operation was no better than a fake operation for arthritic knees. But some surgeons argued that the veterans study reflected a narrow demographic and that patients with locking or other "mechanical" symptoms could still benefit.

Orthopedic surgeon Robert Litchfield of the University of Western Ontario in Canada thought his trial, comparing arthroscopy to treatment with painkillers and physical therapy in 176 arthritis patients, would disprove the earlier one. But after two years, those who got operations were no better, including those with mechanical symptoms, according to the results reported last year in the New England Journal of Medicine. A murky situation is patients with some arthritis and with tears in the meniscus, the knee's shock absorber. Most arthritis patients have the tears, whether they are in pain or not.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tyra Banks' Tapeworm Diet

First, insert stunned silence.
Now, awkward throat clearing.
Tyra Banks touts the tapeworm diet. The diet which starts when you eat a tapeworm.
One of these:


OK, you eat it as an egg, but still! Tapeworms can grow up to 50 feet long in your intestines. They attach to your intestine and, yes, consume some of the calories that you eat. Often, they cause no symptoms, but they can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, and even, in rare cases, seizures.

To get rid of the tapeworm, you take a drug and then you poop out the giant dead worm.
The tapeworm diet, thankfully, is illegal in the United States.


There was all sorts of madness yesterday on The Tyra Banks Show — which shouldn’t surprise most people, but we were genuinely impressed with the amount of stupidity squished into one full hour of television.

 According to The Tapeworm Diet Review, “[The Tapeworm] secretes proteins in our intestinal tract that make our digestion of food much less efficient. A less efficient digestive systems means that you can consume more calories through your food since your “body guest” is also noshing on them for his own growth purposes. Some scientists estimate that those infected with a single tapeworm can lose up to one or two pounds each week.”

Healthy eating? Blah. Exercise? Who needs it! Just swallow a parasite and continue hitting KFC for lunch and dinner. Tyra even had a guy on that sells the worms over the Internet; despite an FDA ban on the practice. Said one woman on Twitter, “I’m still undecided on Tyra Banks’ Tapeworm diet. I don’t know if its a great or just plain ridiculous.” Undecided? What the hell is wrong with people?


dietsinreview.com - Tapeworm Diet
This dangerous parasite is banned in the U.S.

Eating cabbage soup for two weeks. Exercising three times day. Drinking water with lemon juice and cayenne pepper for 10 days. We can all admit to going to great lengths, even if just once, to lose those unwanted pounds. But the Tapeworm Diet has to get as extreme and desperate as the world of dieting tricks and methods come. The good news is that importing or selling tapeworms in the U.S. is illegal. Tapeworms though, do occur in undercooked beef or raw meat dishes which are prone to contamination.

So what does a tapeworm in your gut actually do? It secretes proteins in our intestinal tract that make our digestion of food much less efficient. A less efficient digestive systems means that you can consume more calories through your food since your "body guest" is also noshing on them for his own growth purposes. Some scientists estimate that those infected with a single tapeworm can lose up to one or two pounds each week. Certain tapeworms can be downright lethal like a pork tapeworm, but for beef tapeworms, you can clear up an infection by taking a dose of antibiotics.

Some diet gimmicks have created tapeworm pills but since then the FDA has intervened and banned these unsubstantiated and dangerous products.

Science vs. Grandma: Debunking old wives' tales -- or not

dailycamera.com
By Aimee Heckel Camera Staff Writer
Posted: 11/10/2009 09:08:16 AM MST

This must be how it all started.

Heath Croll's 7-year-old nephew thought spinach was disgusting. But Croll, a Boulder-based youth fitness specialist, knew how to change that.

"If you want to get big and strong like you're uncle, you've got to eat spinach," Cross told him.

The boy started eating it immediately, straight out of the bag.

Croll, who has more than 13 years working with kids and fitness, admits the Popeye-spinach connection isn't exactly a medical fact.

"It's not that simple," he says. Purely popping cans of spinach will obviously not inflate muscles, not without strength-training and a more comprehensive nutritional plan.

Yet it worked for Popeye, right? Just like chicken noodle soup cures a cold, and carrots improve your eyesight, and it's bad to swim on a full stomach.

Right -- Grandma?

Old wives' tales have been around as long as, well, old wives. And despite advances in science and doctors begging us not to believe some of them, the tales -- some myths, some truths -- live on. Even when they defy logic, says Michelle-Nicholle Calareso, a Longmont-based birth doula and childbirth educator.

Ah yes, the old wives' tales around pregnancy are prolific, she says with a laugh. Any rational woman knows that the patterns of a swinging necklace can't foretell the gender of your baby, and neither does the way an expecting mom picks up a key.

Yet we still play these games, Calareso says.

"It's part of human nature," she says. "Pregnancy is so unknown. Science tries to take care of it, but it's still just a lot of unknown, so people try to explain it any way they possibly know how. We don't like the unknown."

The same goes for trying to control nature, she says. Gardening has its own tales: Frost is coming if you don't see many birds.

"It makes sense, kind of," Calareso says. "Over time, people say, 'Hmm, yeah, I've seen that happen,' and there you go. It's your reasoning for trying to explain the world."

And many bits of advice do seem to make sense.

Others, Calareso says, are actually true.

All of this family time with Grandma this holiday season may have you wondering: Which of her warnings hold weight? Here, we've pitted a variety of local experts against good ol' Grams, to make sense of some of our favorite old wives' tales.

1. If you carry the baby high, it's a girl. If you carry low, it's a boy.

Calareso: False. How a mother carries her baby is based on her physique: the length of the torso, where the baby is positioned, how it's sitting. The gender has nothing to do with it.

"I always giggle at these myths," she says. "Babies will sit any way they want to."

In fact, Calareso says, there is no way to predict the gender -- for sure. Darker nipples don't mean it's a boy. Fetal heart rate is the same for all healthy babies, regardless of gender, she says. Despite its popularity -- you can even download it onto your Palm Pilot -- the Chinese birth chart is bunk. Your cravings or amount of heartburn have to do with the mother and her hormones, not the baby. Even ultrasounds can be wrong.

Girls do not "steal their mom's beauty" or cause women to have extra acne. (The amount of estrogen from a girl fetus has no real effect on the mother's body.)

"I had skin problems, and I had two boys," she says. "Those were my hormones. You can't really blame it on them. You can blame other things on them, but not that."

2. Eat chicken soup if you have a cold.

Amy Dickinson, licensed acupuncturist, of Boulder: True. Go, Grandma! Hot liquids are soothing for the throat. Onions and garlic help the lungs and have anti-microbial effects.

The Chinese version of this is hot and sour soup, which also contains vinegar, an extra "oomph" in terms of healing properties, Dickinson says.

"I am recommending this a lot at this time of year, as you can imagine," she says. "And the cod liver oil Grandma used to force our long-suffering parents to swallow is now recommended by every medical profession I know."

Manora Nygren, herbalist at the North Boulder Pharmaca Pharmacy: True. The minerals in the bones of the chicken help your immune system. So do the healthy fats and protein. Hot liquids can also warm up your insides if you have the shivers.

3. Don't go swimming on a full stomach.

Croll, youth fitness specialist: True. Overeating before an activity can make you feel sick and give you a stomach ache. It's not seriously dangerous, though; you're not going to be overcome by cramps and drown. This wives' tale could have been created to keep kids from throwing up in the pool.

Joe Horwat, Boulder-based USA Olympic sports performance coach: True. Cut down on the amount of protein and fat you consume one to two hours before exercising; they digest slower and can cause cramping -- with any kind of exercise. If you're feeling hungry, instead consume a simple carbohydrate, such Vitamin Water. This fills your stomach, gives you some energy and won't make your stomach hurt.

Debbie Steinbock, holistic health counselor with Boulder-based Whole Nourishment: True. We digest better when we aren't diverting blood flow to other activities.

4. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Croll, youth fitness specialist: Not exactly. A variety of fruits and vegetables will help keep the doctor away.

Dickinson, acupuncturist: Sort of. Grandma was probably referring to good nutrition, in general. Chinese medicine has always treated food as therapy. Now, biomedicine is finding a "revolutionary" connection between the digestive system and the immune system.

"All the good medicine in the world cannot reverse the effects of improper diet, and indeed the most prevalent diseases of wealthy countries today -- Type II diabetes, coronary artery disease, obesity -- all stem from undisciplined eating," Dickinson says. "Another point for Grandma."

Snopes.com: Sort of. Apples have antioxidants and flavonoids that enhance the activity of vitamin C and can help reduce the risk of colon cancer, heart attack and stroke.

5. If you swallow your gum, it'll take seven years to digest.

Croll, youth fitness specialist: False. Otherwise every time you get an x-ray, you would see lumps of gum.

Nygren, herbalist: False. Gum resin comes from the gum tree. It's not going to digest easily, but it's a natural component of nature.

"It doesn't take seven years, but I don't think that it's the best thing for your system," Nygren says.

Snopes.com: False. Gum is "indigestible," meaning the body can't break it down. But it still can pass through the body -- at the same rate as any other swallowed matter.

6. Eating carrots will improve your vision.

Croll, youth fitness specialist: Not exactly. The beta-carotene is healthy, but same with the apple; there's a lot more to eye health than just eating carrots.

Steinbock, nutritionist: True. Carrots have beta-carotene (a natural form of vitamin A), which supports the health of the optic nerve.

Snopes.com: False. Eating carrots will not actually improve vision. Although carrots are a good source of vitamin A and beta-carotene, which can reduce cataracts and macular degeneration, studies show it would be difficult to eat the number of carrots necessary to make a difference. Plus, large doses of vitamin A can be toxic, and too much beta-carotene can turn your skin orange.

7. Spicy foods cause ulcers.

Nygren, herbalist: False. Spicy and acidic foods can aggravate an ulcer, but the won't cause ulcers unless you already have the predisposition. Otherwise, all people in Mexico would have ulcers.

Steinbock, nutritionist: False, although some foods (refined, spicy, fried, alcohol) can cause an increase in stomach acids and aggravate an ulcer.

The Mayo Clinic: False. The cause of most ulcers is a corkscrew-shaped bacterium called the Helicobacter pylori. Excessive alcohol consumption, stress, smoking and the regular use of pain relievers may be aggravating.

8. Shaving will cause the hair to grow back thicker.

Jamie Gordon, cosmetician at Lafayette-based Jamie Gordon Skin Care Studio: False. You have two different types of hair: pre-pubescent hair that will come back the same no matter how you take it off, and "hormonally related" hair, which is subject to hormonal changes. It is possible to kill a hair follicle after repeatedly subjecting it to waxing over a long period of time, but that follicle might have died anyway because of hormonal changes, such as menopause.

Snopes.com: False. Cutting does not stimulate growth. If it did, bald men would be shaving their heads

9. You should sweat out a cold.

Dickinson, acupuncturist. Depends. Chinese medicine differentiates between the colds you get in winter and in the summer. For the common winter cold -- with the chills, lack of sore throat and body aches -- you will feel better if you drink hot liquids, use diaphoretic herbs, wrap yourself up in blankets and sweat out the pathogen. On the other hand, a cold with feelings of heat and rapid heart rate could get worse with sweating.

Nygren, herbalist: Depends. If you have a fever, some herbs (osha root, yarrow) can raise your temperature, help kill the bacteria and cause the fever to "break."

"Sometimes your body needs a fever," she says. "Breaking it can be helpful -- if it's ready to break."

10. Toads give you warts.

Nygren, herbalist: False. This myth probably stems from ancient women who had knowledge of plants, who were labeled "witches." These women used to create an ointment out of boiled skins of certain toads and rub it on their skin. The ointment had "mind-opening" (hallucinogenic) qualities. These women were often old and therefore had warts.

"It might have gotten confused that women who had warts play around with toads," Nygren says.

The Mayo Clinic: False. Warts come from contact with the human papillomavirus.

11. Standing on your head after sex can help you get pregnant.

Calareso, doula: False.

"I hear lots of interesting things people try: standing on your head, lying in all kinds of different positions, not eating spicy things," she says. "They're ridiculous things."

Whereas the position does not matter, men should be careful not to overheat their scrotum, which can slow down the mobility of the sperm.

Parents Magazine: False. It doesn't matter to the sperm and egg what position you use.

12. Drinking two glasses of Gatorade will relieve a headache.

Croll, youth fitness specialist: Depends on why you have a headache. If you're dehydrated with low energy, the electrolytes in Gatorade can help relieve some symptoms. It won't help a migraine, though.

Horwat, personal trainer: Depends. If you have a headache after a big training day, it could be due to lack of sugars, liquids and carbs in your diet. Gatorade could help, although it's basically sugar water.

Steinbock, nutritionist: Depends. Hydration can help some headaches, but the excess sugar and food coloring in Gatorade can make a headache worse. Stick with water.

13. Put toothpaste on a burn or acne.

Nygren, herbalist: Maybe. If the toothpaste contains baking soda, it could help balance out the pH of your skin. I wouldn't put baking soda directly on a burn, but toothpaste could help soothe and cool a small burn temporarily.

Gordon, cosmetician: Maybe. Baking soda can be anti-inflammatory, it helps absorb oils, exfoliates and draws out toxins, so it makes sense. But remember: Toothpaste has been so reformulated since this myth probably originated. Much of today's toothpaste also contains dyes, whitening agents and all kinds of ingredients.

Instead, put Vaseline on a burn to temporarily relieve pain. It seals out the air.

14. Put honey on a blemish and cover with a Band-Aid overnight.

Nygren, herbalist: Probably. Raw honey has strong antibacterial components to it -- "although I've never actually done it or heard or anyone doing it," she says.

Gordon, cosmetician: True. Raw honey is often used in face masks. She references the "Beauty by Nature" book by Boulder herbalist Brigitte Mars: Honey is mildly antiseptic and holds water; helps draw impurities out of the skin; and can soothe, heal and nourish the skin.

Contact Staff Writer Aimee Heckel at 303-473-1359 or heckela@dailycamera.com.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Woman diagnosed with fear of vegetables

Vicki Larrieux, a 22-year-old student from Portsmouth, claims she is unable to keep to a healthy diet because she is frightened of vegetables.


Woman diagnosed with fear of vegetables
 telegraph.co.uk -  Miss Larrieux survives on a diet of meat, potatoes, cereals and an occasional apple but refuses even a single slice of carrot on her dinner plate.


She suffers from a fear known as lachanophobia, which leaves her sweating and stricken with panic attacks at the merest sight of a sprout or a pea.

Miss Larrieux survives on a diet of meat, potatoes, cereals and an occasional apple but refuses even a single slice of carrot on her dinner plate.
"I have always had an irrational fear of vegetables even as a child I used to properly freak out if some carrots or a few peas were on my plate," she said.
"But as it continued into adult life I started to think it might not just be a dislike for vegetables but an actual phobia.
"Every time I would see vegetables not just on my plate, but anywhere I would get feelings of panic, start sweating and my heart rate would shoot up.
"People might think it is a bit of a laughable affliction but I have a genuine fear of greens it's not just that I dislike the taste of sprouts or broccoli, but the actual sight of them fills me with dread and I could never touch them."
The unusual fear affects just a few thousand people in Britain and treatments for the condition include "psychological re-programming" to control the anxious response to seeing vegetables.
Miss Larrieux's condition makes routine trips to the supermarket or a night out at a restaurant with her boyfriend Joseph Jade, 25, a major problem.
"It is a bit of an ordeal to go to the supermarket because the veg is usually right by the door," she said.
"My boyfriend is very understanding and does his best to accommodate me. It is a good job he isn't a vegetarian because it just wouldn't work.
"I am learning to control my fear but it isn't easy it is a hard thing to have to bring up when I meet new people and I'm sure some people must think I'm taking the mickey.
"But I'm confident that I will eventually overcome the phobia I'd love to be able to sit down to a slap-up Sunday roast with a pile of greens and I'm sure one day that will happen."
A spokesman for phobia charity Anxiety UK said: "Around 13 per cent of Brits suffer a phobia of some form.
"There are treatments available including medication and self-help groups for all manner of phobias, but anyone fearing they may have a problem should see a GP first for proper diagnosis."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Do not take diet advice from Oprah Winfrey


Examiner.com - WARNING: This post contains completely subjective and cynical, and completely justified, commentary.

This year Oprah Winfrey went on yet another diet. Sun rises. Perhaps her overweight viewers should be glad she doesn’t give up but don’t they long for a success for themselves and for her?

Does Oprah Winfrey have some form of Munchausen syndrome that causes her to remain fat and to fail at every diet. Does she like the cloak that fat gives her?

It’s a good thing Oprah Winfrey is wealthy so she can have a wardrobe at every size.

Oprah’s diet advice: often wrong never in doubt.
Her latest foray into the trendy world of fad diets included a 21 day stab at gluten free (and other foods)even though she had no wheat based food issues.

The 21 day cleanse based on the diet advice of Kathy Freston


Why would anyone take diet advice from a dieter who repeatedly fails? Especially a dieter who takes her advice from people with no nutritional or health education.

Why would Oprah take advice from this woman.? She has zero qualifications as a nutritionist let alone a doctor or even a holistic medical professional.

Was Dr. Oz sitting on his big fat pay check when Oprah went on the21 day cleanse drinking soy products which have an adverse impact for people with thyroid problems.

Why can’t Oprah follow the advice on her web site which is also promoted in other shows her company produces?

Why does the O have a disconnect on dieting. Why does she keep making the same mistakes?

The latest -the gluten free diet- sets back the cause of people who do have an wheat based allergy or even celiac disease. By treating a medical issue as a fad diet, Winfrey makes it more difficult for people who really have the problem to be taken seriously.

Imagine if Oprah finally had her weight under control, the old fashion way, a healthy diet and exercise, would that eliminate half of the books and people she promotes?

Does the O feels keeping on the pounds keeps her in touch with her viewers?

I struggled with my weight for as long as Oprah and when I finally eat less meat, eat more vegetables and moved around more (gave up chicken wings and coca-cola as part of my regular diet) the weight came off and stayed off.

The latest diet was also supposed to increase Winfrey’s consciousness about food. I have seen no evidence of that.

From time to time I imagine what it would be like if Oprah Winfrey lived the talk posted on her web site from people like Michael Pollan.


1. Meatless Mondays
You can do the planet and yourself a huge favor by skipping meat just one day a week. Learn more by check out the latest Meatless Monday video:
2. Shop the Outer Ring of the Supermarket
The healthiest foods are on the periphery of the supermarket, so steer clear of the processed junk in the middle aisles. In addition to being less healthy, the “food” in those inner aisles often creates the most waste and requires excessive amounts of fossil fuels.
3. Buy Organic When You Can
Buying organic and locally provides you with more nutrients for your buck and greatly minimizes the fossil fuels needed to grow and transport conventional food.
4. Only Eat Real Food
In other words, don’t eat anything your grandparents wouldn’t recognize, which generally means avoiding strange shapes, sizes and colors.
5. Start Your Own Vegetable Garden
According to Michael, growing your own vegetables is the “single greenest thing you can do”. And you know I’m a big fan of backyard gardening!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Consumer group finds BPA in canned foods

What's in your pantry?
What's in your pantry?
Wikimedia commons
Examiner.com - Are the canned foods in your cabinet safe? According to the FDA, 17% of the American diet is from canned foods, many of which have an epoxy liner made with BPA. Consumers Union, a non-profit organization which publishes for Consumer Reports, released its findings on 19 canned products which were tested for bisphenol A (BPA). They found measurable levels in a range of foods, some of which were labeled "BPA" free."
BPA is a chemical used in polycarbonate plastic food and drink containers and in resin linings for cans. Research has shown that BPA can leach into food from these containers and cans. Because BPA appears to cause health problems in animal studies, some scientists are concerned about the risk of its exposure to people.
This chemical has been linked by some studies to breast cancer, diabetes, early onset of puberty, infertility and prostate cancer. BPA mimics estrogen, hence the link to breast cancer and early puberty.
Canada has restricted the use of BPA in baby bottles as have some states. The FDA is studying BPA, but has not yet issued warnings about it in baby bottles or other products which come into contact with food.  However, the top six makers of baby bottles in the U.S. have agreed to stop using BPA in their bottles due to earlier studies and media exposure of the chemical in baby bottles.
We should have learned by now not to wait for the FDA to protect us. It's no wonder cancer is wreaking havoc in our society. But people must share the blame. We are a microwaveable, throw-away society. People want convenience; water in plastic bottles for instance. It's time for Americans to take charge of their health.
Here are some things you can do to reduce your family's exposure to BPA:
  • Choose glass or BPA-free plastic baby bottles.
  • Use glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers for hot foods and liquids.
  • Avoid plastic containers with the No. 7 recycling label - they're made with BPA.
  • Don't microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers. Instead, use glass containers designed for microwaving.
  • Reduce your use of canned foods - many cans are lined with a BPA-containing resin.
 Staying healthy is a choice and to make informed choices we need good information.

Is Your Partner Making You Fat?

health.msn.com

A new study says newly married couples gain an average of 16 pounds between them in the first two years of marriage. So, who’s to blame? The editors of Men’s Health and Women’s Health hold a grudge match on the pudge facts.

The Male Perspective


Weight loss experts are fond of saying that being fat is a choice—that our daily actions, from what we select for breakfast to whether we make time to exercise—ultimately determine our belt size. If only it were that simple. Researchers at the University of Minnesota, for example, found that both men and women gain up to 8 pounds in their first two years of marriage. And the white coats at Regis University, in Colorado, concluded in a recent issue of the journal Obesity that people are less likely to exercise and eat healthy—and more likely to pack on extra pounds—if their friend network (read: wives and girlfriends) tend toward the portlier side. What’s going on here? Well, there’s the excuse that you can publicly acknowledge: As a single guy, you could go to the gym whenever you wanted—before work, after work, in the middle of the night if the mood struck you. No one was waiting at home quietly fuming because the lasagne/babysitter/chimney flashing is burnt/late again/leaking into the playroom. And there’s the excuse that you can never, ever speak aloud: You’re no longer competing in the cage match of death that is the dating world, and as such, it’s simply not as imperative that you stay in fighting trim. (And there’s the third excuse, which is that two beers and an extra helping of guac and chips is the only thing that gets you through a night of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice.”)

Weight loss experts are fond of saying that being fat is a choice—that our daily actions, from what we select for breakfast to whether we make time to exercise—ultimately determine our belt size. If only it were that simple. Researchers at the University of Minnesota, for example, found that both men and women gain up to 8 pounds in their first two years of marriage. And the white coats at Regis University, in Colorado, concluded in a recent issue of the journal Obesity that people are less likely to exercise and eat healthy—and more likely to pack on extra pounds—if their friend network (read: wives and girlfriends) tend toward the portlier side.

What’s going on here? Well, there’s the excuse that you can publicly acknowledge: As a single guy, you could go to the gym whenever you wanted—before work, after work, in the middle of the night if the mood struck you. No one was waiting at home quietly fuming because the lasagne/babysitter/chimney flashing is burnt/late again/leaking into the playroom. And there’s the excuse that you can never, ever speak aloud: You’re no longer competing in the cage match of death that is the dating world, and as such, it’s simply not as imperative that you stay in fighting trim. (And there’s the third excuse, which is that two beers and an extra helping of guac and chips is the only thing that gets you through a night of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice.”)

But therein also lies your solution: Regain the romance and you’ll regain the abs. A recent study at the State University of New York at Buffalo observed that men downed 35 percent fewer calories when eating with their significant others than when they ate with their buddies. The reason: People tend to match their food intake to that of their dining partners, and women are more cognizant about how gluttonous they appear in public. And a study at Indiana University found that couples who go to the gym together—another quality-time routine that can help boost your romance factor—do a better job of sticking to their workouts. Ninety-two percent of couples that went to the gym together continued to do so after one year. Couples who worked out separately, meanwhile, had a 50 percent dropout rate—findings reflected by University of Pittsburgh researchers who found that the more active a man’s spouse, the fitter he tends to be.

Bottom line: the more you lean on one another, the leaner you’ll both be.


The Female Perspective

For better or for worse, in good times and bad, and especially through thick and thin, couples share everything—and not always for their mutual benefit. Researchers at the Human Nutrition Research Centre at England’s Newcastle University, for example, found that women tend to eat more fatty foods, and exercise less often, after moving in with a male partner—findings reflected in recent research that shows that fat can indeed be contagious. Add to this the fact that women burn about 26 percent fewer calories per day than guys do, and you’ve got a potent recipe for piling on pounds. What’s worse, your partner might be more than partly to blame for your newly acquired bad habits.

Studies show that when you shape up, your better half suddenly has a choice: undertake a transformation of his own, or inadvertently sabotage yours by spiking your diet with high calorie foods. Many times he’ll choose the latter, often subconsciously. After all, the better you look, the more other men will check you out, and the more he’ll be reminded of his own corporeal excesses. Such sabotage can also be a sign that he misses your old life—the one where you ate deliciously unhealthy foods together and had fun doing so.

For better or for worse, in good times and bad, and especially through thick and thin, couples share everything—and not always for their mutual benefit. Researchers at the Human Nutrition Research Centre at England’s Newcastle University, for example, found that women tend to eat more fatty foods, and exercise less often, after moving in with a male partner—findings reflected in recent research that shows that fat can indeed be contagious. Add to this the fact that women burn about 26 percent fewer calories per day than guys do, and you’ve got a potent recipe for piling on pounds. What’s worse, your partner might be more than partly to blame for your newly acquired bad habits.

Studies show that when you shape up, your better half suddenly has a choice: undertake a transformation of his own or inadvertently sabotage yours by spiking your diet with high calorie foods. Many times he’ll choose the latter, often subconsciously. After all, the better you look, the more other men will check you out, and the more he’ll be reminded of his own corporeal excesses. Such sabotage can also be a sign that he misses your old life—the one where you ate deliciously unhealthy foods together and had fun doing so.

But that’s just his wing-addled brain thinking—and with a little gentle eating guidance from you, he’ll be inspired to unearth his abs once again. Start by getting him to go green more often. According to a survey by the National Cancer Institute, only 5 percent of the men surveyed said they don't like the taste of fruits and vegetables. So while your guy wouldn’t recognize a bundle of bok choy unless it jumped off the produce shelf and bit him in the butt, there’s a good chance he’ll enjoy eating it once it’s sautéed lightly in some olive oil with garlic and placed in front of him at the dinner table. There are other stealth ways to swap the calorie-dense, fat-laden foods that normally dominate his plate with nutrient-rich eats. Heat up a cup or two of spinach and mix it into some whole wheat pasta. You'll be replacing processed carbs with filling fiber. Another idea: Combine a cup and a half of frozen mixed veggies with a half cup of cooked rice —doing so will save you 130 calories, versus eating 2 cups of rice alone—enough to prevent a 14-pound weight gain every year.

And since a study by Johns Hopkins researchers found that the more engaged a person is in a TV program, the less aware they are of how much they eat while watching it, you need a smart strategy to keep game night from intercepting your get-lean plans. It may be as simple as switching out the chips and dip for a giant bowl of light microwave popcorn sprinkled with a tiny bit of Parmesan cheese or chili powder. Most brands contain just 20 to 25 calories per cup popped, so even if you scarf 6 cups, you've consumed only 150 calories. If his team wins, why not suggest a celebratory roll in the hay? A 30-minute sex session burns from 80-200 calories. Kicking off that ritual will benefit your waistlines and your bond.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Warning: Diet Sodas May Be Hard on the Kidneys

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Women Who Drink 2 or More Diet Sodas Daily Double Their Risk of Kidney Function Decline.


By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 2, 2009 -- Diet soda may help keep your calories in check, but drinking two or more diet sodas a day may double your risk of declining kidney function, a new study shows.

Women who drank two or more diet sodas a day had a 30% drop in a measure of kidney function during the lengthy study follow-up, according to research presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Nephrology in San Diego."Thirty percent is considered significant,'' says researcher Julie Lin, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a staff physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. That's especially true, she says, because most study participants had well-preserved kidney function at the start of the study.
Diet Soda and Kidneys: Study Details

The researchers evaluated 3,256 women already participating in the Nurses' Health Study who had submitted dietary information, including their intake of sugary beverages -- sugar-sweetened drinks, sugar-sweetened soda, and artificially sweetened soda. Sugar-sweetened drinks included soda, fruit juices, punch, and iced tea.

Information was also available on measures of kidney function. Their median age was 67.

Lin's team looked at the cumulative average beverage intake, derived from food questionnaires completed in 1984, 1986, and 1990. The women replied whether they drank the beverages less than once a month, one to four times a month, two to six times weekly, once daily but less than twice, or twice a day or more often.

Diet Soda and Kidneys: Study Results

When the researchers compared kidney function of the women in 1989 and 2000, they found that 11.4% or 372 women had a kidney function decline of 30% or more. When they looked at the diet information, they found that the 30% decline in kidney function was associated with drinking two or more artificially sweetened sodas a day. This was true even after taking into account factors such as age, high blood pressure, diabetes, and physical activity.

Put another way: the women who drank two or more diet sodas a day had a decline in their glomerular filtration rate, a measure of kidney function, of 3 milliliters per minute per year. ''With natural aging, kidney function declines about 1 mL per minute per year after age 40," Lin says. No link was found with the other beverages. And less than two sodas a day didn't seem to hurt. "We didn't see any association up to two artificially sweetened beverages a day," Lin says.

''A serving was reported as either a glass, a can, or a bottle of a beverage," Lin tells WebMD. ''It was not more specific than that."

''The mechanisms aren't clear," Lin says of the association she found. In another study she presented at the meeting, she found higher salt intake is also associated with faster kidney function decline.

All of the participants were women, so Lin can't say for sure that the association holds for men, although she says there is ''no biological reason to think it wouldn't."

About 20 million Americans have some evidence of chronic kidney disease, according to the society. Kidney disease diagnoses have doubled each of the last two decades.

Diet Soda and Kidney Function: Industry Input

Asked to review the study findings, Maureen Storey, senior vice president of science policy for the American Beverage Association, says in a prepared statement: "It's important to remember that this is an abstract presented at an annual meeting." She notes that the research needs further scrutiny by researchers.

She acknowledges that kidney disease is serious but that diabetes and high blood pressure account for the majority of kidney disease cases, ''not consumption of diet soda."
Diet Soda and Kidney Function: Dietitian's View

In reviewing the study, Connie Diekman, RD, director of university nutrition for Washington University, St. Louis, wonders if the link might have come about because of long-term consumption, as many of the participants were older adults.

The link found, she says, "calls for more studies where actual intake can be assessed, rather than taking the information from food frequency questionnaires, which could be subject to mistakes."

Diet drinks, she says, are ''generally low in important health-promoting nutrients, so keeping them as a small part of your eating plan would be a smart step."

The Denim Diet: Sixteen Simple Habits To Get You Into Your Dream Pair Of Jeans

www.fitceleb.com

This holiday season don't let baked, buttery goods stand in your way of fitting into your dream pair of jeans!  TV wardrobe stylist and author of the bestselling healthy lifestyle book, The Denim Diet: Sixteen Simple Habits to Get You into Your Dream Pair of Jeans, Kami Gray shares her "Stay Slim Strategies to Survive the Season".

1. Eliminate Temptation: First, go into your kitchen and your pantry and start reading labels. Do you see anything containing high fructose corn syrup? It's not just in soda pop and sports drinks; read the label on your sandwich bread, spaghetti sauce, ketchup, salad dressing, and chocolate syrup. This ingredient and many others like partially hydrogenated oils, modified food starch, and even sugar and sugar substitutes like Splenda actually set your body up for fat storage. By eliminating packaged and processed foods that contain these ingredients, you've solved half the battle...the battle of the bulge that is! Now that your cupboards are bare; restock you kitchen with real, whole foods. You'll find these on the perimeter of your grocery store. Shop wisely and watch your weight get and stay under control.

2. Snack Before Holiday Parties: Sounds counter-productive, but one of the biggest reasons we overeat is we're hungry! I always eat a little something beforehand. Since I have literally zero control over what will be served at the party, I supply my body with fuel so I don’t completely lose it and eat an entire plate of cheese and crackers. The usual appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, and bowls of nuts are extra pounds in the making. Party hosts are apprehensive about serving starters that the average person doesn’t eat or enjoy, so they usually offer fattening crowd-pleasers. I’ve been guilty of this as well, but I always provide a few tasty options that are on the List, like mini–tandoori chicken skewers, which are high in protein. One or two are the perfect pre-dinner snack. If there are no good choices, skip the starters altogether. Just sip on water, wine, or a vodka soda, and wait for the main course. If your hosts are serving a specialty cocktail and not serving wine until dinner, cheerfully decline and let them know that water is good for now.

3. Stay on Track: Literally. If you're a walker, runner, or cyclist, find an indoor track to maintain your exercise routine. This can be at a college or a local gym -- an indoor mall works great for walkers like myself. I live in one of that rainiest cities in the US. I do not let that curtail my exercise routine. One tool I use to stay motivated is dailymile.com. It works for keeping track of daily walks, runs, swims, yoga workouts and almost anything else you do to stay healthy. It even has a handy tool to map your route. I found this particularly useful since I often overestimate how far I’ve walked — the same way I underestimate how many calories I’ve eaten! You can even post your workouts on your blog, website, twitter, linkedin, or facebook account. I find this aspect particularly motivating because my friends and family can see when I've posted a workout (or haven't posted one in while!). They can even write a short motivational message to me if I've gotten off-track!
For more information about The Denim Diet, visit www.thedenimdiet.com.