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Cholesterol No Longer a Nutrient of Concern

Posted on Feb 27, 2015 by No Comments

For decades we’ve been warned about how many eggs we should eat because they are high in cholesterol. Since the cholesterol is all located in the yolk, we learned to work around it. It’s the reason we concocted egg-white omelets and other such dishes.

But all that’s about to change. Eggs have been given a bad rap, and now the next update to the Dietary Guidelines, which are written to help us make healthier food choices, will tell us they are actually good for us.

Dropping the warning about cholesterol consumption is a big change because it is one of the “official” core guidelines. While I’ve suspected for years that eggs were getting a bad rap, the government has been slow to change their dietary recommendations.

Since the 1970s they’ve been telling us to limit the intake of cholesterol to less than 300 mg per day because eating cholesterol would raise our cholesterol.

This view was supported in the first edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans when they were released in 1980 and has been with us since.

Now the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) no longer believes that the consumption of dietary cholesterol is anything to worry about.

Dietary cholesterol differs from the cholesterol our bodies manufacture. Eggs are high in dietary cholesterol. So are organ meats and some seafood like shrimp and lobster.

For years, we were told to restrict our consumption of these foods. Now the DGAC has decided that “cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”

Instead of focusing on foods we should not eat, the DGAC’s is turning its attention to foods we should eat. Their new mission is to get us to take in more good nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin E, potassium, calcium, and fiber. These are things we are not getting enough of.

So go ahead and eat your eggs. They are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids which help to lower your cholesterol.

Photo credits: Ivy Dawned

Is the Treadmill Equal to the Road?

Posted on Feb 27, 2015 by 1 Comment

With arctic air pushing its way all the way to Florida, I’ve been staying inside but still exercising.

I’ve been house-walking (walking in the house for at least 30 minutes), hula hooping, jump roping, and stretching but all indoors. I prefer walking outdoors, for a number of reasons, but not when it’s cold. One of those reasons, is that the hills require a variation in exertion.

My girlfriend pounds the treadmill to get her exercise it. But she does that year round, though she is not as consistent with her exercise and I think it is because it is rather boring running in the same place.

At least we are moving and burning some calories indoors, but the real question when it comes to treadmills is, do they do the job we think their doing? Are we accomplishing the same thing we would outside?

According to Reed Ferber, exercise physiologist and director of the running injury clinic at the University of Calgary in Canada the answer is basically, yes.

He says, “You have more forward lean from your trunk and more flexion at the hips and knees when you run on a treadmill because you don’t need to generate as much power at the same speed as you do running on level ground outdoors.” But he goes on to say that for the average runner, that doesn’t mean much.

How does that translate to calories burned? If running, studies show it makes a difference at speeds faster that 8.5 miles per hour. That’s faster than most runners run, so if I choose to climb on my girlfriend’s treadmill these cold days, it could do me good.

We can even visit as we take turns, or watch a movie. That’s what I do while I hula-hoop indoors. The real importance is to keep doing something. For now, I dream of the Spring and warm sunshine and keep on keeping on, until then.

Photo credits: Amazon

The Battle Surrounding Female Viagra

Posted on Feb 26, 2015 by No Comments

Men have had Viagra for decades. The “little blue pill” increases blood flow to the area they are often accused of thinking with. During all those years, women who have lost the desire for sex haven’t had the same type of option.

Sprout Pharmaceuticals has been working to fix that, with a drug they are calling flibanserin, but so far the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has turned down their experimental drug twice citing that it has not been proven safe or effective.

With their last rejection, the FDA scientist requested data regarding the pill’s effect on driving ability because side effects include fatigue, dizziness, and nausea.

After heavily lobbying for the pill, which is designed to boost female libido, the drugmaker is once again submitting it to the federal health regulators.

Sprout said it is refiling with the requested information regarding the side effect of sleepiness reported by almost 10 percent of the women who participated in company trials.

Up until now the FDA didn’t really feel the benefits outweigh the risks and they had questions about how the drug would interact with other drugs.

The difference with this pill compared to the blue version for men, is that the pink pill is designed to affect a woman’s brain, not blood flow, and would be the first treatment of its kind for this problem. When a woman loses her sex drive, it can take its toll on her relationship with the man in her life.

In an effort to break through the regulatory red tape, groups sponsored by Sprout and other drugmakers have started publicizing the lack of a “female Viagra” as a women’s right issue.

It made me think about Viagra for men. What kind of side effects is the FDA willing to let them risk?

Well there’s the sudden vision loss, sudden hearing loss, chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea sweating, general ill feeling, irregular heartbeat, swelling in your hands, ankles or feet…. Do those risks outweigh the benefits? Who decides?

Even with such serious side effects, the men who take Viagra are willing to risk it. So maybe it is a rights issue. Should women have the same option to take a pill that restores their libido if they are willing to risk the side effects?

Photo credits: Jason Trommetter

Are Jumpsuits Making a Comeback?

Posted on Feb 25, 2015 by No Comments

Watching the Grammy Awards, I was surprised to see several celebrities wearing jumpsuits. While the jumpsuit resurfaces from time to time, to see at least four of them at the Grammys makes me wonder if they are making a comeback.

They haven’t been on my fashion radar since the 1980s, but Gwen Stefani’s Atelier Versace jumpsuit was stunning. And of course with her figure, she pulled it off.

Others who wore jumpsuits for the Grammys were Jane Fonda, Giuliana Rancic, and Pharrell William’s wife Helen Lasichanh. That’s a lot of jumpsuits in one place worn by high profile people!

There’s one thing about jumpsuits. Because they are like pants and a top all in one piece, they make it hard to camouflage muffin top or belly flab. Those who wore them for the Grammys didn’t have to worry about that.

Jane Fonda showed off her slim fitness in a green Balmain jumpsuit. I thought she looked great for her age, and then Googled to see how old she really is. Would you believe 77 years old! She puts me to shame!

When Giuliana Rancic hit the red carpet wearing a black jumpsuit all I could think was how thin she had become. The jumpsuit accentuated her gaunt frame, and it made me wonder if she is well or if she is suffering from an eating disorder.

Twitter was on fire with people talking about her weight. For me, it’s not hate speech, but concern. I hope she is okay.

The last jumpsuit I saw was worn by Helen Lasichanh, wife of Pharrell Williams. While it fit her well, and she has a great figure, for me the style was more reminiscent of the one-piece suits worn by the Olympian speed skaters. It might just have been the white stripes and high neckline.

Of all these, Gwen Stefani’s gets the award for the best jumpsuit in my book. If I could look like that, I’d have a jumpsuit hanging in my closet today.

Photo credits: Rick Oszko

Whole Foods Recalls More than 100 Items Due to Possible Peanut Contamination

Posted on Feb 25, 2015 by No Comments

Anyone worried about peanut allergies knows how serious cross contamination can be. In late January a cumin-related recall announced the possibility of cross contamination of various products. It led to one of the largest recalls ever.

Now that recall has grown to include the Whole Foods franchise. As a result, the grocery retailer has recalled more than 100 items which contain the cumin spice that may contain undeclared peanuts.

The recall affects a large variety of foods like preseasoned meats, rotisserie chickens, tacos, prepared salads, and other items sold at stores in Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington DC between Jan. 14 and Feb. 6, 2015.

Not all items or all products were sold in all store locations, but if you’ve shopped at one of those Whole Foods locations, you can find a complete list of recalled items on the FDA website.

According to the FDA, “No allergic reactions have been reported to-date, and recalled items have been pulled from store shelves. Whole Foods Market was notified by its supplier that undeclared peanut protein was found in cumin supplied to some of its facilities.”

This all started in January when undeclared peanut proteins where found in Adams Flavors, Foods & Ingredients’ cumin supply. It has turned into a far-reaching problem leading to recalls to include manufacturers who use cumin in their products.

If you suffer from peanut allergy or sensitivity and have bought any of the affected products listed on the Whole Foods recall, you are to discard them and bring the receipt to the local store for a full refund.

If you have questions, call 512-477-5566, extension 20060, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST. And if you know someone with a peanut allergy or sensitivity, be sure to pass on the information to them.

Photo credits: wikipedia

Leaked Cindy Crawford Goes Viral

Posted on Feb 24, 2015 by No Comments

This past week a photo of Cindy Crawford in lingerie was leaked on Twitter and since has gone viral. Not because its risqué, but because it’s real.

The un-retouched photo shows the 48-year-old super model in a sexy pose. But that’s not what all the fuss is about. Some are calling the photo gorgeous others are picking it apart, but the one thing it isn’t is flawless.

A good friend brought the picture to my attention, saying, that she found it encouraging because it helped her realize she wasn’t the only one who wasn’t “perfect” after having kids.

She’s got a point, but if the photo was never leaked would she really think a 48-year-old woman would have the body of someone in their 20s or 30s?

The Twitter account that released the photo exploded with comments from ” Yah Cindy!!! Looks fabulous!” to “Glad to see what she really looks like BUT it’s still a woman with her kit off. Not much progress.”

And of course there were the handful of rude remarks that would be better deleted.

Some people have a problem with the airbrushing and the photo-shopping aspect of photos, but that’s where we live these days.

My sister is an amateur photographer, and the last she was here she did a photo shoot with my husband and myself. She started “fixing” the pictures by whitening our teeth, eliminating dark circles, and such things.

I did look better, but by the time she told me all the things she was fixing, I was looking in the mirror and thinking about all my flaws.

For a mom who is 48 years old, Cindy Crawford looks great. No she’s not “perfect” physically, but it’s part of her job to look perfect.

In the modeling industry, it is common place to correct things like sagging skin, stretch marks, scars, cellulite, and extra pounds. Poof all gone with a click.

For most moms, when we look in the mirror and see all our flaws it can be discouraging by comparison. However, Cindy Crawford sees the same kinds of things when she looks in the mirror. That’s life without Photoshop. It’s called reality.

Photo credits: Marko Getze

Is Your Plastic Drinking Bottle Really Safe?

Posted on Feb 23, 2015 by 1 Comment

For years, I’ve made an effort to drink water and stay hydrated. It takes work for me to remember to drink enough water. I actually track it, and gradually I’ve developed the habit.

When I grew tired of lugging in bottled water, I installed an RO system. Then I learned about BPAs and that my water bottle was deemed unhealthy because it contained a chemical known as bisphenol-A. It has been linked to all kinds of health issues including obesity and diabetes!

Not what I’m looking for by drinking water.

BPAs are found in so many things that traces of BPA were found in 90 percent of urine samples taken from a group representative of the American population.

So I was proactive. I bought a BPA-free bottle and just refilled it throughout the day. Instead of BPAs it contained BPS. I thought I was home safe, but learned that may not be the case.

BPA Free

According to a new study, BPS (bisphenol-S) may be considered harmful, too. The author of the study, Dr. Deborah M. Kurrasch, is recommending a “societal push to remove all bisphenols from our consumer goods.”

So while several states have banned BPA in items like baby bottles, and many companies have voluntarily removed the chemical from their products, the replacement BPS may not really be the answer.

Just because a bottle is labled “BPA free” doesn’t mean it’s okay for me to drink from, and as for BPS exposure, it is said to affect prenatal neurodevelopment in zebra fish. As a result, pregnant women are told to limit exposure to BPA and BPS during gestation.

While I don’t plan to get pregnant, I have a rule of thumb I follow. If something is thought to be a possible risk for pregnant or nursing women, I steer clear of it.

Experts suggest it isn’t appropriate to draw conclusions on this limited experiment, but there seems to be a growing opinion among scientists that the chemical may be harmful to humans. So for now, I think I’ll go back to drinking out of glass.

I’m sure I’ll get plenty of BPAs and BPSs from food packaging. I certainly don’t need to drink them.

Photo credits: Amraepowell, Mark Morgan

Researchers Learn How Pancreatic Cancer Forms

Posted on Feb 23, 2015 by 1 Comment

No cancer diagnosis is welcome, but I remember when Patrick Swayze learned he had pancreatic cancer. He told his wife, “I’m a dead man walking.” And he was right. He died 20 months later.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the few cancers for which the survival rate has not improved much for almost 40 years.

According to data from the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, pancreatic cancer is the twelfth most commonly diagnosed cancer and the fourth-leading cause of cancer related death, just behind lung, colon, and breast cancer. It’s the same cancer that killed Steve Jobs.

Pancreatic Cancer

I had a friend who died at age 59 just weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She ignored her symptoms thinking she was experiencing bad indigestion.

That’s not unusual though. Many times this cancer only produces vague symptoms that can be mistaken for other common conditions within the abdomen or gastrointestinal tract.

Actual symptoms include pain, usually abdominal or back pain, weight loss, jaundice, loss of appetite, nausea, changes in stool, and diabetes. It’s a good reason to be sure you get regular checkups.

Risk factors include being overweight and smoking. In fact, it is found twice as often in smokers. As for the extra weight, it mostly effects people who carry extra weight around their waistline, even if they aren’t carrying around much extra weight elsewhere.

Now a new study at the University of Utah Health Sciences has been published in the January 26 issue of eLife that says they have found a way to identify the method by which pancreatic cancer forms.

Researchers poured over previously published data, and while I’m not going to go into all of the medical lingo (you can read that for yourself), it offers a small bit of hope.

Learning how this deadly cancer forms offers a better chance of finding how to fight it. As I write this, a number of new options are being explored by drug developers. There is hope!

Photo credits: Charles Muldrow

Are You More Like Your Mom than You Thought?

Posted on Feb 20, 2015 by 2 Comments

I love my mom. Yet, I’ll never forget the first time my husband said, “You’re just like your mother.” It didn’t set well. I couldn’t have asked for a better mom, but I didn’t want to turn in to her. Does that make sense?

Yet, each day I look in the mirror these days I see more of her, and in my voice I hear her. It’s like the longer I live the more I become like her.

But that’s not the only transformation. The other is inwardly. I guess because I recognize her value, I no longer care when someone compares me to her. I take it as a compliment.

I’m not just talking about mimicking those same parental phrases we all use, I’m talking about the whole package. The way she thinks.

For instance, I remember when she didn’t like the music I listened to. I vowed I would always like the current tends in music and never grow “old fashioned.”

Well, that certainly didn’t work out like I thought. I don’t hate all the music that comes out today, but I don’t care much for it. It’s not the music I blare while cleaning the house. I guess you can say I’m set in my ways – like my mom.

This carries over to the actors and actresses I recognize. Just the other day I was talking about how you recognized the leading man and woman in every movie.

Then the reality of how I’m perceived sets in when I hear a teen call Brad Bit old. Really? He’s only 50. Isn’t that the new 30?

Plus I suffer from the same mother-hen-syndrome as my mother. When I hear myself say things like, “Don’t forget your jacket,” or “You’re not wearing flip-flops” (in the winter), I hear my mother reminding me to put on my boots.

Then there is the negative judgmental side of Mom. When I talked to her today, I still cringe at some of the things she says, but because this is something that bothers me, I see it more in myself when it surfaces. And I try to change it. I think it is a lifelong quest.

But here’s the one I can’t believe I’m doing. When we’re ready leave McDonalds or some other fast food place, I don’t throw away the extra salt and pepper on the tray. You guessed it. I put it in my purse.

I have become my mother. How about you?

Photo credits: wikipedia