Category: Health

After Dinner Habits that Cause Weight Gain

Posted on Nov 19, 2014 by 1 Comment

It seems that every time I decide to get serious about trying to lose weight there are more exceptions than ever that come my way. What do I mean by exceptions? Things like someone’s birthday, invite to dinner at someone’s house, a pot luck dinner, and all those sorts of things that we tend to celebrate with food.

But while those things can be hurdles, they can be navigated if you make a plan before they happen. When I think about it, it’s not the exceptions that do me in. It’s my daily habits, in particular, it’s my after dinner habits that pack on the pounds.

I don’t know why, but for some reason I have more will power during the day. Perhaps because I’m working. I usually plan what I’m having for lunch, and even if I’m having a snack I give myself healthy options by planning ahead.

Even though I’m a freelance writer, I schedule a lunch and exercise time. It’s all good because I’m “being good.”

By the time I eat dinner, all I want to do is relax and do nothing. Except, I tend to mindlessly snack to relax. It’s like I equate eating pretzels, ice-cream, or cookies with unwinding. That one habit can ruin all my healthy efforts for the day!

To get around this, I’ve started extending my plan to include a snack after dinner. It would be better to not snack at all, but for now I’m trying to stick to something light, and then I’m done. If I still want something, I choose an herbal tea with cinnamon or peppermint flavor. It helps.

Another thing that can cause us to gain weight is to not get enough sleep. I’ve known this for years, but found myself up in the middle of the night frustrated because I couldn’t sleep.

Studies have shown people who don’t get enough sleep end up eating more than people who do. With that in mind, I’ve started getting ready for bed an hour earlier including brushing my teeth. Then I read for about a half an hour. That usually does the trick. I’m sleeping better than I have in decades.

Don’t let your after dinner habits sabotage your efforts to be a healthy weight. Stop snacking after dinner and try to get enough sleep. You may be surprised at the results. At least on my scale, the numbers are going in the right direction and it sure feels good to awake refreshed in the morning.

Photo credits: Latenitelullabies

Viagra Could Be Next Treatment for Heart Disease

Posted on Nov 18, 2014 by No Comments

The “little blue pill” called Viagra skyrocketed in popularity when it hit the market in 1998 after the Food and Drug Administration approved it for the treatment of impotence in men. It became the most successful commercial drug over the next decade with more than 1.8 billion pills sold.

I remember when Viagra first came out. It was sold as a heart medication which happened to have a beneficial side effect that helped overcome erectile dysfunction and enhanced sexual performance in men. Soon that became the main reason it was prescribed.

Now a new study shows that the little blue pill could also be a possible treatment for heart disease and suggests maybe it should be considered further for cardiovascular treatment.

So is the little blue pill ready to return to its roots? It was originally designed to treat high blood pressure and cardio vascular disease because it helped widen blood vessels and increase blood flow.

Back then it was developed under the generic name Sildenafil, but its early use as a heart medication ran into a setback when some users experienced cardiovascular events and resulted in the death of a few people. As a result, most doctors stopped prescribing it for men who had heart disease.

I can’t help but think of the commercials that warn us to talk to our doctor to see if our heart is healthy enough for sex. What they are really saying is to check with the doctor to see if our hearts are healthy enough to take Viagra.

It turns out that further research showed that the problems came about when Viagra was taken in combination with other medications which contained nitro compounds. The result was a sudden drop in blood pressure while having sex which can be harmful to a person with an existing heart problem.

“Clearly, this is the result of a series of conditions occurring simultaneously. When Viagra is taken correctly, it is no longer a concern.” — Andrea M. Isidori corresponding author

This new study shows that Viagra may actually help improve heart function. Turns out that the ingredient PDE5i shows promise in preventing the heart from enlarging and changing shape in patients who suffer from left ventricular hypertrophy which cause the muscles in the left ventricle to thicken.

Research also showed improvement in patients with other heart conditions, with no negative effect of blood pressure.

Most of the people in this study were men, so that leaves us with the question of whether or not it will offer the same benefits to women. Needless to say, more research is needed, but the little blue pill looks like it offers promise for those with heart disease.

The problem is that the kinds of studies needed are so expensive that drug companies may not be willing to make the investment. It just seems to me that the little blue pill has brought in an awful lot of money and could help pay for some of that research to find out what it can do for women, too. Don’t you think?

Photo credits: David Pakman Show

Eating Yogurt May Replace Colonoscopy in the Future

Posted on Nov 17, 2014 by No Comments

Which would you rather do: have a colonoscopy or eat a yogurt? A lot of us put off colonoscopies because we just don’t want to go through it for one reason or another.

Since my sister experienced a punctured colon and ended up in the hospital following her colonoscopy, I admit I’ve shied away from the procedure. Now MIT professor Sangeeta Bhatia is working on something that might let us detect colon cancer without a colonoscopy.

Bhatia is working on an engineered bacteria designed to detect cancer when consumed orally. Add this bacteria to a spoonful of yogurt and after its nanoparticles pass through the digestive system all we’ll have to do is use a test strip similar to a pregnancy test next time we urinate to get the results.

I’m amazed at this woman’s genius. Her “invention” would be much less invasive, cost less, and save us the embarrassment of lying there while someone sticks a scope up our rear end, too. Those are all reasons we put off getting a colonoscopy which can save our lives!

With this new option, the synthetic molecules can be eaten in yogurt and will interact with cancer if it’s present and produce biomarkers to alert us that it is there. Bhatia has also developed the paper-based urine test to detect the telltale biomarkers.

I don’t know about you but I sometimes joke that its like we are living in a Science Fiction world with all the new things being discovered and developed. Bhatia’s discovery has the potential to transform diagnostics.

Now the question remains: How long until we actually get to take advantage of it? She is in the process of forming a company to commercialize the procedure.

In the meantime, it’s important to get screened because when detected early, 90 percent of people with colorectal cancer survive for at least five more years. Early diagnosis is important.

Photo credits: theimpulsivebuy

Size 10 Is Plus Size – Really?

Posted on Nov 14, 2014 by No Comments

I know that the fashion industry promotes thin, but when Calvin Klein kicked off its new “Perfectly Fit” campaign with model Myla Dalbesio I was stunned to find she was labeled as a size 10 plus size beauty.

You heard me right. Size 10, according to fashion industry standards is plus size.

Size 10 might be plus size for really short people, but Dalbesio actually looks healthy and fit. In an interview with, the 27-year-old model admitted, “It’s kind of confusing because I’m a bigger girl. I’m not the biggest girl on the market but I’m definitely bigger than all the girls [Calvin Klein] has ever worked with, so that is really intimidating.”

However, once she found herself at the center of a controversy she defended Calvin Klein when she appeared on the Today Show. She told co-host Savannah Guthrie, “It’s really unfortunate because Calvin Klein has done something that’s really groundbreaking. There’s not a lot of spots for us to fit in the fashion industry. They released the campaign with me right alongside all of the other girls of varying shapes and sizes, and didn’t make a fuss about it.”

In defense of Calvin Klein, they aren’t the ones who used the label “plus size” for this campaign. They were actually trying to be inclusive and just concentrate on the women as a group.

The Perfectly Fit line is intended to cater to the needs of different women, and it was actually the article written by Elle where the plus size label came up. So I do applaud Calvin Kline for trying to do the right thing.

I can’t help but wonder why a size 10 girl is considered so big that she is an exception to the rule if she is in the fashion industry. Why not have everyone represented. Let’s face it, those of us who buy the clothes off the rack come in a variety of sizes including 10 and up.

Dalbesio is proud that she has become an inspiration to others. She told Guthrie, “I’m getting these emails from 15-year-old girls in the middle of America that are saying, Thank you so much, I’ve never seen myself represented in this way before.”

Photo credits. AUMediaGallery

Are You an Active Couch Potato?

Posted on Nov 12, 2014 by 1 Comment

Last year when I read about how sitting all day was as bad for you as smoking, I thought about how my life as a writer could be killing me. I’d walk pretty faithfully for about 30 minutes a few times a week, but that wasn’t enough.

Since then, I have upped my game to an hour a day at least 5 days a week and usually 6.

Now, a growing body of research suggests that people who spend “many” hours a day sitting die at an earlier age. As a writer, I still sit many hours a day, so what does that mean for me?

I guess it means, I’ll be looking into a standing work station.

“Up until very recently, if you exercised for 60 minutes or more a day, you were considered physically active, case closed. Now a consistent body of emerging research suggests it is entirely possible to meet current physical activity guidelines while still being incredibly sedentary, and that sitting increases your risk of death and disease, even if you are getting plenty of physical activity. It’s a bit like smoking. Smoking is bad for you even if you get lots of exercise. So is sitting too much.” – Travis Saunders certified exercise physiologist at the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Based on the new information, I am currently considered an active couch potato or as healthy as someone who smokes and exercises regularly.

Since I’m not ready to dish out money for a standing workstation at the moment, I’ve turned to a more affordable option. The jump rope. Once an hour, I jump rope for 50 -80 jumps, and then I get back to work. It gets my heart pumping and doesn’t take a lot of time.

What most of us don’t realize is that sitting for so much of the day can lead to diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and even depression. If a little jumping rope can help prevent that, I guess that’s what I’ll be doing.

I’d love to hear if anyone else out there has a way to help combat this sitting problem.

Photo credits: James

Link Round-up: Thanksgiving Sides, Crustless Apple Pie, DIY Hand Scrub, and More

Posted on Nov 11, 2014 by 3 Comments

Today’s link round-up has some Thanksgiving sides to be thankful for, pear and pumpkin bread, a DIY hand scrub, and more.

Chocolate Covered Katie shared a crustless apple pie recipe.

Hungry Happenings showed us how to make Magic 8 Ball cakes.

Happy Deal Happy Day taught us how to make a coffee filter wreath.

Pint Sized Baker shared a recipe for pear and pumpkin bread.


Homemade Interest shared 10 Thanksgiving sides to be thankful for.

A Mom’s Take shared ideas for beating the wintertime blues.

A Dose of Paige taught us how to make a hand scrub.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and Homemade Interest

Blood Type and Memory Loss Linked

Posted on Nov 11, 2014 by No Comments

Sometimes by the time I walk into the kitchen, I can’t remember the reason or what I was after. Often when I return to what I was doing, I am reminded of what it was, but that forgetfulness makes me wonder what my life will be like 20 years from now.

However, being distracted like that is considered “normal.” It can be due to stress, too much to do, and other factors we face in our day-to-day living. There are also times when forgetfulness like forgetting words, having difficulty performing tasks like paying bills, and neglecting daily hygiene, may point to serious memory problems.

One new study even suggests that there could be a link between memory loss later in life and your blood type.

The study published in Neurology looked at a larger study (the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke) of 30,000 people in the U.S. which followed people for an average of 3.4 years. The memory study looked at participants of the larger study who were age 45 and older.

Results showed 495 participants developed memory and cognitive impairment during the three-plus year study. They were compared to 587 participants who showed no cognitive problems. Findings suggest that people with AB blood developed memory and cognitive issues 4% more than people in other blood groups.

The good news is that AB is the least common blood type and only around 4% of people in the U.S. have it. Good news, that is, if you are not in that minority, because the study found people with this rare type of blood were 82% more likely to develop memory problems that can lead to dementia.

According to the author of the study, “Blood type is also related to other vascular conditions like stroke, so the findings highlight the connections between vascular issues and brain health. More research is needed to confirm these results.”

Along that line, a previous study had looked at O blood type and found it to have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke which are factors that raise the risk of memory problems leading to dementia.

With all this in mind, I don’t have AB blood and I don’t have O blood. Even if I did, there’s nothing I could do about it. What we can do to help keep our mind healthy is to eat a balanced diet, exercise moderately but regularly, and to be a non-smoker.

All we can do is what we can do, and worrying about the rest won’t help anything.

Photo credits: Maria Morri

Fat Shaming Shown to Contribute to Weight Gain

Posted on Nov 10, 2014 by No Comments

A recent study shows that weight discrimination is part of the obesity problem and not the solution.

For this study, almost 3,000 people were asked if they had faced discrimination because of their weight. This included being treated with less respect, feeling harassed, receiving poor service in stores and restaurants, or being treated as if they weren’t smart.

When I saw the parameters of this study, I couldn’t help but think about how the results are based on people’s perceptions and feelings. I’ll never forget when my girlfriend talked to her doctor about her weight. She just couldn’t seem to lose.

He said, the best exercise for her was to push away from the table. To say she was angry is putting it mildly, but was that statement harassment or treating her as if she wasn’t smart? No. He was trying to gently tell her she was eating too much.

I agree that fat shaming is a real thing and is hurtful; however, there is the other side of the coin. The extra weight leads to health issues and needs to be discussed. I’ve heard of doctors who don’t even mention the fact that a patient is overweight because they don’t want to go there. It doesn’t help anyone to pretend they aren’t overweight, either.

Fat shaming can actually make overweight people turn to food to feel better, and the result is weight gain. Doctors who avoid the possibility of fat shaming don’t say anything and many patients don’t even know they are obese or the health risks associated with their weight, and they remain overweight.

So talking about the fact someone is overweight causes weight gain, and not talking about it makes people think there is no problem carrying around that extra weight. Seems like there has to be some middle ground here. What do you think?

Photo credits: wikimedia

Chia Pudding a Versatile Nutritious Powerhouse Snack

Posted on Nov 7, 2014 by 1 Comment

Years ago I had a friend tell me about chia seeds. I was interested, but then she had me taste them. “They don’t have much of a taste,” she said.

She had soaked them in water, and it was like tasting tiny globular gel balls with no flavor. Something in my brain has said, no thank you to this little seed ever since. That is until now.

Recently I’ve given chia seeds another chance as I’ve been searching for a snack that can help me satisfy my cravings for something cool and creamy. I confess, I often turn to ice cream, but eating even a small serving each day reflects in my weight when I step on that scale.

I didn’t naturally think of turning to chia seeds, but have a friend who accidentally over bought in bulk and offered to give some away. Free. Something about getting something for nothing makes me figure out how I can use it, and it was no different with the chia seeds. The result, in my case, is chia pudding.

Currently I like to make it with almond milk, a hint of vanilla, cinnamon and sweetener, but I may be trying chocolate by adding some cocoa.

It’s easy to make. Just mix three tablespoons of chia seeds in one cup of milk with your favorite flavorings. Cover and keep in the refrigerator overnight and the next morning, voila, it is pudding. Granted it is like tapioca pudding, so if you don’t like tapioca it might not be the snack for you, but chia pudding is my new friend.

Along with the ease in mixing up a batch, chia seeds are low calorie. They provide fiber, protein, healthy fats including Omega-3s, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and more.

They make my pudding a whole-grain snack option that’s low carb and helps curb appetite. Picture me slapping my forehead and asking, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”

I’m still new at making chia pudding, so if you have a recipe you love, I’d like to hear it.

Photo credits: wikimedia