Category: Health

Dining with Friends Shown to Be Fattening

Posted on Nov 23, 2015 by No Comments

Many of us struggle with weight and wonder why it’s so hard to lose.

Unfortunately, it’s harder to lose as we age because we gradually lose muscle mass which helps us burn calories. That translates to, we need to eat less and try strength train.

But besides that, there are things we do that contribute to overeating that we don’t even realize. One of those is to eat with other people.

When we get together with others to eat, research shows we consume, on average, 44 percent more food than when we eat alone.

When I first heard this, 44 percent sounded really high, but then I thought about the portion sizes served in restaurants and how often you think you’ve had enough but continue to pick and eat as you visit.

Even when we have a cookout with friends or family in our backyard, I have to admit, I tend to eat more than I would normally.

I don’t know about you, but I eat with a group like this at least twice a week and usually more. For me the habit of eating with others, means the habit of eating at least 44 percent more than I would if I was eating at home!

Plus, meals I prepare at home are usually healthier than what I choose from the menu. So not only am I eating more, but more of fattening stuff for the most part.

According to the study, dining with four, six, or eight or more friends coincided with meal amount increases of 69, 70, and 96 percent, respectively.

This is partly due to the amout of time we spend together at the table, but it can’t only be attributed to that because it has been shown that people who read while they eat take significantly longer, but don’t eat more.

Equipped with this information, one of the things I’ve started to do at restaurants is to ask for a to-go box when they bring my food. I put half of the entrée into the box before I start eating.

At get-togethers like birthdays, cook-outs and pot lucks, I make sure I don’t take seconds and usually skip dessert.

Having a plan to eat less before you get together can really help, but even then you’ll need an extra measure of will power.

Photo credits: pixabay

Sanofi Auvi-Q Recalls 490,000 Injectors

Posted on Nov 6, 2015 by No Comments

Epinephrine injectors commonly called Epi-pens are devices used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions in children and adults. These devices carry a single dose of life-saving epinephrine that can be easily carried with you and administered if needed.

Even my five-year-old nephew knows how to use his Epi-pen if he unknowingly comes in contact with peanuts.

Now one of the largest makers of these devices has issued a recall involving hundreds of thousands of their products because they may not deliver the right dosage.

Sanofi’s recall is voluntary and involves 490,000 Auvi-Q injectors currently on the market. Auvi‑Q is packaged with two active devices and one trainer device in the box.

They were distributed throughout the United States via wholesalers, pharmacies and hospitals, and all Auvi‑Q is being recalled including both the 0.15 mg and 0.3 mg strengths.

The recall includes lot numbers 2081278 through 3037230, which expire October 2015 through December 2016. The reason for the recall is that Sanofi has received 26 reports that “products have been found to potentially have inaccurate dosage delivery, which may include failure to deliver drug.”

These suspected malfunctions resulted in patients experiencing hypersensitivity despite taking the drugs, but no fatal outcomes have been reported among these cases.

Sanofi is asking that all Auvi-Q devices be returned and they are offering reimbursement for out-of-pocket costs including the price paid at the pharmacy and the amount incurred for replacement of unexpired Auvi-Q devices.

For more information, call 1-866-726-6340 or 1-877-319-8963 with questions or visit the company’s website for printable directions as to how to return the pens and receive reimbursement.

The numbers above can also be used to arrange return of the product. It will take about 30 days for you to receive your check. In the meantime, Sanofi recommends consumers call their doctors to get a prescription for alternative epinephrine injectors without delay.

Photo credits: Julie Brown

Mixed Mammogram Recommendations Confusing

Posted on Nov 2, 2015 by No Comments

Mammograms have become one of those issues the experts don’t agree upon. I remember back when they said we should be getting mammograms at age 40 as a baseline.

In fact, Susan G. Komen guidelines still recommends those at average risk start at 40, but the latest American Cancer Society guidelines have pushed it to 45, and I’ve even seen it suggested we can wait until 50 by U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

The result of all this is that some experts suggest this delay will result in more women dying of breast cancer.

It makes it all a little confusing doesn’t it? I’ve even heard speculation that changes were made because insurance companies don’t want to have to pay out for mammograms.

But instead of jumping on a conspiracy band wagon, we have to realize the use of mammograms is actually fairly recent in the scheme of things. We’re still learning.

Right now the different sets of guidelines aren’t in agreement because, based on current research, there isn’t a single best answer for when or even how often a women should be screened for breast cancer.

Dr. Nancy Keating of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who wrote a commentary to accompany the new ACS guidelines said the differences emphasize the need to talk to patients and understand their preferences about breast cancer screening.

The new ACS guidelines also recommend against actual clinical breast exams in which doctors physically check a woman’s breasts for lumps but that we should just get mammograms.

For those who don’t have insurance, a mammogram of both breasts costs around $300, according to Healthcare Bluebook. With insurance, it costs somewhere between $77 and $100.

So with reputable organizations and their experts disagreeing, where does the government stand on the issue? For now, according to a statement release by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the group will review evidence and guidelines from the American Cancer Society as they finalize their recommendations.

Photo credits: wikipedia

Pu-erh Tea Said to Shrinks Fat Cells

Posted on Oct 30, 2015 by No Comments

Since I learned my cholesterol had climbed into the high zone, one of my dietary changes has been to switch to black tea, because it is supposed to help bring cholesterol down, and I like it better than green tea.

The funny thing is that these two teas come from the same plant. In fact, oolong tea also comes from this same source plant, and I like that, too. However, I’ve just learned about pu-erh tea (also from the same plant), which is part of The 7-Day Flat Belly Tea Cleanse.

So with all these teas coming from the same plant, what’s the difference? It is how they are processed. Green tea isn’t fermented, oolong is only partially fermented, black tea is completely fermented, and pu-erh tea is fermented and then aged.

In fact, some are aged for 50 years or more. The downside to this is that it can sometimes have a musty smell or taste because mold and bacteria can occur during the aging process.

seven day flat belly tea cleanse
So what’s all the hype about pu-erh tea? You guessed it. It’s the next thing that’s going to help us lose weight. The reason I found it, is because it is supposed to help with cholesterol, too, but in doing my research found that some studies suggest that ph-erh tea can actually shrink fat cells. I admit, this got my attention.

Chinese researchers decided to look into the brew’s fat-reuding powers. For this study, they divided rats into five groups, and fed each group a different diet for two months.

Along with the control group, one group ate a high-fat diet with no tea supplementation, and the other three groups were fed a high-fat diet with varying doses of pu-erh tea extract.

Results showed that the tea significantly lowered triglyceride concentrations and belly fat in the high-fat diet groups.

So add pu-erh tea to the list of teas to drink when losing weight and overall health. According to The 7-Day Flat-Bell Tea Clease, test panelists lost 10 pounds in one week.

Granted, I’d never expect those kind of results, but I’d be happy with lower cholesterol, as well as improved mental alertness. Love to hear from anyone who has tried it or the cleanse.

Photo credits: Daniel Hanson, Amazon

Your Playlist Can Help Burn Unwanted Fat

Posted on Oct 29, 2015 by No Comments

Many of us walk, run, or hit the treadmill while listening to music to help pass the time, but I just came across a study out of West London’s Brunnel University that shows that it does even more than that.

Music can help motivate you and actually assist in burning more of that unwanted body fat.

Music and exercise have gone hand in hand since long before we had the ability to record it. According to Dr. Carl Foster, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, Exercise and Health program, “You go all the way back to rowers on the Roman Galleys.”

You’ve seen it in the movies; a guy sits beating a big drum and drives the rhythm of the rowing. It helps rowers stay coordinated, but it was also used to help speed the rowers up or to slow them down.

Foster says, “Part of it is that people will naturally follow a tempo. It’s just something about the way our brains work.”

With that picture in mind, it’s easy to see why we can keep up or even pick up the pace when listening to music. According to the study’s findings, it actually increases our endurance by 15 percent.

The study’s author, Costas Karageorghis, says that music tends to block fatigue, and produces feelings of excitement and vigor which in turn helps us keep pace by synchronizing our workout movements. Which goes back to our Roman Galley example.

This particular study was small with just 30 participants who exercised on a treadmill while listening to a selection of motivational rock or pop music including tracks from Queen, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Madonna.

Participants were told to stay in strict time with the beat. Results found that when carefuly selected according to scientific principles, music not only enhances endurance by 15 percent, it also enhances how we “feel” about exercise and can help us stay positive even when we’re working out at a very high intensity.

So if you want to get more out of your exercise routine, put together an upbeat playlist designed to keep your motivation up along with your heartbeat.

What music do you like to listen to while exercising?

Photo credits: wikimedia

How Often Should You Replace Your Toothbrush?

Posted on Oct 28, 2015 by No Comments

Some items we use everyday look fine but are really worn out and should be replaced. Among these are the sneakers we wear every day and our toothbrushes.

When it comes to athletic shoes, they should be replaced every 300-500 miles and when it comes to our toothbrushes, it should be at least every 3-4 months and sometimes sooner.

I go to the dentist twice a year for cleaning and a checkup and figured switching out my toothbrush at the same time was all I needed to do. Turns out that’s not really the case, plus it’s not just manual toothbrushes that need replacing, it’s the electric variety, too.

And sometimes they need to be replaced even sooner than the 3-4 month standard, because with our toothbrushes, it’s not always a matter of being worn out, it’s also a matter of bacteria. That means it should be replaced after you’ve been sick. If you don’t, you could find yourself sick again with the same bug.

As for the bacteria, it’s not just about germs when you’re sick. I’ve just watched my husband undergo treatment for an expensive case of gum disease and since then, and I’ve learned a lot. Like learning to clean my toothbrush and to store it properly.

And when I say clean my toothbrush I don’t just mean rinsing, because while rinsing your toothbrush cleans away excess toothpaste and debris, it doesn’t rinse away the germs collected in our mouths.

I’ve started pouring Listerine into a little medicine cup and using it to swish my toothbrush when I’m done brushing. Plus once a week, I run it through the dishwasher.

I know they have ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms and such, and I admit I don’t know much about them. My dentist said the rinsing in antibacterial Listerine and running through the dishwasher should work just fine.

Along with all of this, don’t overlook your toothbrush holder. It doesn’t do much good to clean your toothbrush and then place it into a grungy holder. Run it through the dishwasher regularly, too. Then store your toothbrush upright. It helps it dry instead of turning into a wet breeding ground for bacteria to grow.

Photo credits: Amazon

New Sesame Street Character Raises Autism Awareness

Posted on Oct 26, 2015 by No Comments

Sesame Street first aired in November, 1969 as children were introduced to the 8 ft. 2 in. Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch (who was orange that first year), Bert and Ernie, Kermit the frog, Cookie Monster, and others.

From the start, the shows purpose was to educate children while entertaining them.

Autism Awareness
One of my favorite memories of the show was when Big Bird’s imaginary friend Mr. Snuffleupagus could finally be seen by others. The Bert and Ernie skits that made me laugh but which also had a point…a moral.

Over the years, new characters were added to the show like Count von Count who taught us how to count, and today the most recent character to join the show is Julia, who happens to be a good friend of Elmo. Her purpose on the show is to raise awareness about children with autism.

This addition is part of Sesame Street’s new See Amazing in All Children initiative which is designed to help kids with autism and to educate the general public regarding the disorder.

As part of this initiative, the show has also introduced a new website which offers bright, interactive tools, including things like daily routine cards and a digital illustrated storybook featuring Julia. Of course, the book incorporates many of the beloved Muppets.

The name of the storybook is “We’re Amazing 1, 2, 3” and was written by Leslie Kimmelman whose son is autistic. She wrote, “We’re all different in some way or another — that’s what makes the world an interesting place. And equally, all of us in our own way are amazing!”

Sesame Street released an official statement regarding this initiative which said that they developed the show “with input from parents, people who serve the autism community, and people with autism.”

If there’s any children’s show that can make a difference by raising awareness regarding autism, Sesame Street is it. The way they put it is that “this project is an extension of the belief we’ve always promoted: ‘we are all different, but all the same.'”

This is such an exciting step in the right direction!

Photo credits: Sesame Street in Communities

Maybe It’s Time to Try the DASH Diet to Lose Weight

Posted on Oct 23, 2015 by No Comments

This is the fifth year that the DASH diet has won the award for “Best Overall Diet” in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Diets.

I think one of the reasons it’s being recognized as the “best” because it doesn’t make you feel like you’re starving, doesn’t exclude any food categories, and has been shown to lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and it’s good for the heart.

If that’s all I had to say about it, that’s reason enough to think about giving it a try.

DASH Diet for Weight Loss

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, but even for those who don’t have high blood pressure this diet is worth consideration as a weight loss plan.

It’s not only a healthy way to eat that helps cut back on fats, salt, cholesterol, and sweets, it has also been shown to be an effective weight loss plan.

The DASH Diet also limits processed foods, which are often high in sodium, while it encourages adding whole grain foods like oatmeal, brown rice, popcorn and other whole-grain items to your menu. This allows for variety in what you eat, plus helps satisfy for longer. Fiber helps lower cholesterol, too.

However, while these items are allowed, moderation still plays a factor with attention to serving sizes an important factor.

Vegetables and Fruit Are Friends

Speaking of fiber, vegetables are loaded with it along with important vitamins and minerals. The DASH Diet recommends 4-5 servings of vegetables a day, along with 4-5 servings of fruit.

Now a serving is only about ½ cup of frozen, fresh, or canned fruit, so again it’s important to pay attention to how much you’re eating.

You’ll be surprised at how satisfying a little is, especially if you take time to savor it. I’ve been eating a small apple for my afternoon snack and find it really curbs my desire to snack on chips or cookies.

Other foods included in the DASH Diet include lean meats, low- and no-fat dairy, and nuts and legumes. The two things that are curbed the most are fats and sweets, but they are not totally eliminated.

Most people aim for around 2,000 calories a day, but this can vary depending on your activity level and size. Like all changes in diet, it’s best to talk with your doctor for advice, even with the DASH Diet.

Photo credits: Amazonwikimedia

3 Easy Ways to Reduce Stress

Posted on Oct 22, 2015 by No Comments

Stress is a part of life. There’s good stress and bad stress. Good stress can help motivate us, while bad stress can drain our energy.

Stress is usually the result of having too much to do, so when you see a list of things to “do” to help beat that stress it can feel a little overwhelming. This short list can be incorporated, rather than added to, what you already have on your plate.

Drink Green Tea

I’m a coffee drinker first thing in the morning but I’ve learned to switch to tea midday. Green tea is my brew of choice because it has half the caffeine of coffee, and it offers something coffee doesn’t have – the amino acid L-Theanine which is linked to reducing stress and anxiety.

L-Theanine has even been shown to help people focus. So while I don’t get the same caffeine buzz, I don’t really need it. Green tea gets two thumbs up from me.

Find the Positive

For decades now we’ve heard the “think positive” mantra, but Mayo Clinic says if we stop the negative self-talk it will reduce stress. Negative self talk is a habit for some of us so it will take practice to break it just like any other habit, but it’s well worth it.

Just last week, I felt like the world was on my shoulders with deadlines to meet, company coming for a couple of days, and then the hot water line in the kitchen broke. What a mess!

Instead of thinking, “What else can go wrong,” or “Everything always happens to me,” I was thankful to be home when it happened. Can you imagine if that water got to my hardwood floors, wooden cabinets, and the drywall? I’d be looking at relocating while the repairs were made.

The point is, finding the positive helped negate the stress. It really could have been worse.

Go for a Walk

I know I said I wouldn’t mention adding something to your list of things to do, but walking is a physical activity that significantly reduces stress levels.

I’m not saying you have to go for a 3 mile walk at some point in your day. I’m just saying get up and move around more. For a writer glued to her computer, this can be a challenge, but most days I’m making five minute walks here and there throughout the day, and it does make a difference.

Not only does it help reduce stress, for me it helps clear the mind, too. I’ve started wearing a pedometer and challenge myself to shoot for 10,000 steps a day now that I’ve learned to get up and move around more.

Photo credits: pixabay