Category: Health

Study Reveals Correlation Between Diet Soda and Heart Disease

Posted on Apr 16, 2014 by No Comments

Trying to lose unwanted pounds or to maintain a healthy weight is challenge enough, but it seems with every study it becomes more challenging.

One recent study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s annual session shows that older women who drink two or more diet drinks a day are 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack or another “dangerous” cardiovascular event. It also reveals that those women are 50 percent more likely to die as a result of the event, too.

I’m not a big diet drink person because I try not to consume a bunch of artificial sweeteners. I have a basic health rule. I can have a few cups of coffee or tea (unsweetened) but for the most part, until I drink my 64 ounces of water, nothing else is “allowed.” Not that I follow that rule like it is set in stone, but it is more a lifestyle choice.

This latest study was a big one and encourages me to stay on the dietary road of chosen. The researchers looked at almost 60,000 women ages 50-79. The lead investigator, Ankur Vyas, a fellow of cardiovascular diseases at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Cincs, said, “Our findings are in line with and extend data from previous studies.”

However, it is important to note this study doesn’t go so far as to say that the diet drinks “cause” the heart disease. Instead, it shows there is a correlation between drinking the diet drinks and heart disease. It is not evidence that one causes the other, but I tend to lean to the side of caution.

This news comes on the heels of a decline in diet soda consumption. According to the Wall Street Journal, Diet Coke sales dropped by 6.8 in 2013 and Diet Pepsi fell by 6.9 percent. I think with all the various studies that talk about potential negative effects of artificial sweeteners, more of us are consuming them less or not at all.

And I’m not saying turn to sugar, either! But that’s a story for another article.

Photo credits: wikipedia

Good Enough Isn’t a Crime

Posted on Apr 14, 2014 by No Comments

How do you feel about mediocrity and “good enough”?

If you answered that you were totally cool with both of those things, you can go and read a different page. There is absolutely nothing for you here. If, however, you answered that those two words make your heart tremble with fear and your shoulders stiffen up like they were made of marble, then this is for you.

And me.

I say that I was raised to be a perfectionist but I don’t know if that is totally true. I may be one by nature and my family just nurtured that seed of perfectionism and helped it to grow into the massive thing it is today.

Here is the thing — I can’t do things halfway. I struggle over each article in an attempt to make  it useful, interesting, and fun to read. My recipes are tested and tested again, the plates are rearranged numerous times before I photograph them, and I hold my breath until someone says that they made it successfully and loved it. I want to give everything and everyone my very best.

I can’t.

No one can. There has to come a point where you make the decision that good enough is enough. Finish a project and stop. Don’t look for tiny imperfections or ways to improve on what you have done. Go for good enough and stay there.

If dinner is on the table and everyone is eating it then that should be good enough. Don’t frustrate yourself with the small details and whether or not it was totally nutritionally balanced.

The next time you find that you are stressing out trying to get something done remind yourself that good enough is just fine.

photo credit: Richard_of_England via photopin cc

The Full Beauty Project Is a Little Weird to Me

Posted on Apr 11, 2014 by 1 Comment

You get used to seeing photographs of naked and nearly naked emaciated models in magazines; you get used to seeing images of thin, young women with fake breasts that look like they were carefully glued on with Super Glue, but would you ever get used to seeing images of morbidly obese women naked or in sexy lingerie?

Photographer Yossi Loloi has created a series of images that he has dubbed, The Full Beauty Project. Photographing extremely large women in seductive, suggestive poses he is definitely getting attention.

He began in 2006 with the idea of challenging society’s accepted idea of beauty, sexiness, and what the female body should look like. The models are all between 350 and 600 pounds, certainly not beautiful or sexy by the current standards in the United State, if anywhere.

Some people think it’s fabulous that someone is forcing us to reconsider our ideas of what is attractive and others feel that he is glorifying a potentially dangerous medical condition.

I spent some time going through the images and really looking at them. The women’s faces, their eyes, and the emotions they were portraying. I noticed that I was trying to overlook the rolls and dents that their fat created so I began to focus on the entire image as much as I could.

I don’t like seeing super-skinny, size 00 models. It isn’t healthy, it isn’t attractive, and it isn’t realistic. In the same way, I don’t like seeing these incredibly obese women naked.

I love pinups, I always have enjoyed the artwork, the beauty of the women, and the faint naughtiness of them, especially those from the 1930s and 1940s. As an artist, the human body doesn’t phase me one bit. In this case, to be honest, I don’t think it’s attractive, cute, sexy, or anything but sad.

I try to see people as individuals and to get to know them as a person and not just as a fat person, a skinny person, a black person, or a white person. It is the mind, emotions, and personality that I am intrigued by. However, if I am going to look at an image and be asked to make an evaluation based on the image, there is no way I am going to love images of super-sized women (or men, for that matter). It isn’t attractive and no amount of being OK with who you are will make it attractive to most people.

There are many nude images that seek to show the beauty of the human body, its lines and shadows, and its uniqueness, but these do not ask the viewer to see the bodies in a certain way. They are to be appreciated for what they are.

Loloi’s images forces the viewer to make a decision about whether or not the women are beautiful by attempting to make them sexual and provocative. To me, it comes across as very demeaning, tawdry, and a mockery in many ways.

Newsweek says that fashion needs to give a nod to reality because the average American woman is a size 14. I don’t see these images doing that at all. They are as extreme as the anorexic models in magazines.

I believe that women need to accept and love their bodies with all of the imperfections that increase with age and experience, but that doesn’t mean that we should accept unhealthy weights or try to force society to see obesity as beautiful. Am I being too judgmental here?

photo credit: Tobyotter via photopin cc

Corset Diet Is Really Not a Diet

Posted on Apr 10, 2014 by 2 Comments

What is being called the corset diet is all the rage. Women are squeezing into these tight fitting under garments in hopes of getting a smaller waistline.

This extreme slimming trend has nothing to do with diet, other than the fact that you may eat less when your insides are all squished and compressed. It reminds me of scenes from 100 years ago when women held on to the bedpost while someone tightened the corset for an unrealistic hourglass figure.

I’ve never had a small waistline for my size. It’s one of those elusive, “I wish I had…” kind of things. So when I saw there was a diet that can take 3-6 inches off your waist I was interested, until I saw that it really wasn’t a diet after all. It’s really corset training, and it’s even done under the care of a doctor!

Women who are tired of trying and failing to get a smaller waist through dieting and exercise are turning to “corset training.” One woman I saw interviewed actually said her goal is to have a “tiny waistline like a Barbie doll.” She already had a 26″ waist but was going for 23″ and her doctor said that it is a realistic goal. Makes me wonder what she’s paying for his help.

Wearing a corset is a way to “train” your waist to be smaller without exercise or diet. It compresses the bottom ribs up and in which makes the space between your ribs and hips look smaller. It makes me think of when I take off my wedding ring and how my finger is thinner beneath it because I wear it all the time.

I just can’t imagine wearing a corset all the time, though. However, I bet it could make you uncomfortable enough to eat less so maybe in a way it could be diet.

Photo credits: din_bastet

Diet Supplement OxyElite Pro Linked to Hepatitis

Posted on Apr 9, 2014 by No Comments

OxyElite Pro is a dietary supplement manufactured by USPLabs which claimed to help burn fat. Unfortunately, as of February this popular supplement has been linked to almost 100 cases of hepatitis in 16 states. Of these cases, 47 people were hospitalized, three need liver transplants, and one person died.

This is bad news for all who took this dietary supplement, and a good reminder that not all supplements are safe. The thing that makes situations like this even worse is that people started getting sick last May, but the Food and Drug Administration didn’t learn about these early cases until four months later after doctors reported a group of liver illnesses in Hawaii.

USPLabs stopped selling OxyElite Pro in October. That’s six months from the time it was known that people were getting sick – that’s a long time for people to be unaware of the problem.

So before we point fingers at the FDA for not doing their job, it’s important to understand that the FDA regulates supplements only after they come to market, so companies are not required to prove their products are safe and/or effective before they are marketed to the public.

In the case of OxyElite Pro, health officials suspect the cause of the liver disease may be linked to a new ingredient in the supplement called aegeline.

Supplements deemed dangerous are supposed to be identified and removed from the marketplace quickly, but the fact that it took the FDA months to learn about the hepatitis outbreak tells you something about the system is not working.

Doctors can report adverse effects related to dietary supplements through an online portal called MedWatch, but in most cases, the FDA doesn’t receive reports regarding harmful effects of supplements. Instead, those cases might be reported elsewhere such as a poison control center.

Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a general internist at Cambridge Health Alliance has proposed a couple of changes:

  1. All dietary supplements should be registered
  2. Information about supplements and their ingredients should be incorporated into a database maintained by the FDA and poison centers

With such a database, adverse reactions to supplement would be reported to a response team composed of doctors, toxicologists, pharmacologists, and chemists. However, Cohen admits improved monitoring isn’t enough and suggests that Congress should make changes in the law regulating supplements so all ingredients undergo safety testing before they are consumed by the public.

Photo credits: Andrews & Thornton

We Can Stop Starving Laboring Women Now

Posted on Apr 7, 2014 by 1 Comment

Two of my births were relatively conventional and at a hospital, while the last six were at home with a midwife. Of the labors and deliveries that I endured, the last six were much more comfortable than the first two, despite the fact that #4 had shoulder dystocia and had to be twisted out.

That was exciting.

One of the reasons I felt that the home births were easier was the simple fact that I could drink and eat as I needed to throughout the labor at home, and at the hospital I was given a nutritious diet of ice chips.

I don’t know how many calories the average woman burns during twelve or twenty hours of labor but I am betting it’s up there with professional athletes. If you are taking in zero calories but your body is burning through them like dry wood you are going to get tired and weak. It’s a fact.

Recently, doctors have decided that it is safe for women to have more. They are still not open to food but some doctors have begun to give their laboring patients protein shakes with good results.

They did a study with a group of laboring moms, half who were given only ice chips and half that were given specially formulated protein shakes. The women who drank the shakes reported more satisfaction with their labor and delivery than the moms who had eaten just ice chips.

This just may make labor and delivery easier than most people ever imagined. It’s about time that the medical world stepped out of the barbaric dark ages.

photo credit: thetejon via photopin cc

Link Round-up: Treats, Makeovers, Emotions, and More

Posted on Apr 3, 2014 by 1 Comment

Today’s link round-up has delicious treats, makeovers for your dresser and your shoes, emotion detox, and more.

Craftaholics Anonymous taught us how to make a modern leather planter.

Pink So Foxy showed us how to give a boring dresser a fabulous makeover.

Mind Body Green taught us about seven emotions that don’t serve us and how to detox them.

link ru pretzel smores

Cupcakes and Cashmere shared a recipe for a pretzel s’more crunch bar.

A Subtle Revelry showed us how to make a watermelon cake.

Love, Maegan taught us how to liven up an old pair of pumps.

Chocolate Covered Katie shared a recipe for healthy tiramisu.

Photo credit: Craftaholics Anonymous and Cupcakes and Cashmere

Diet Drinks Contribute to Heart Issues in Women

Posted on Apr 2, 2014 by 3 Comments

If you are in the habit of drinking a diet soda or two every day, you could be setting yourself up for some pretty serious health complications later in life.

There’s been lots of chatter about how diet drinks are really worse for you than the full sugar kind but we keep ignoring the warnings (says the writer with a can of Diet Dr Pepper sitting next to her as she types).

A study of 60,000 healthy, post-menopausal women found that the women who were heavy consumers of diet drinks were more likely to experiences cardiovascular problems like heart attacks, blood clots, etc. than women who didn’t drink the artificially sweetened drinks.

Researchers asked the participants to estimate how many diet drinks they’d consumed in the past three months. The women were then divided into four groups based on their consumption. Women who drank two or more diet sodas per day, women who drank five to seven a week, women who had one to four diet drinks per week, and women who rarely drank artificially sweetened drinks.

After nine years, researchers found that the women who had reported drinking two or more diet sodas per day were about 30 percent more likely to have had heart problems, including death from heart failure, than the women who rarely drank the diet beverages.

Sadly, those of us in our 50s are really the first generation that was exposed to artificial sweeteners and other chemical additives in our food. We are only just now seeing the health risks that years of consuming man-made chemicals causes.

source: US News

photo credit: nathanmac87 via photopin cc

Jessica Simpson Slips Back into Her Daisy Dukes

Posted on Apr 2, 2014 by 1 Comment

Jessica Simpson played Daisy Duke in the 2005 Dukes of Hazard. That scene in the bar with those legs is etched into the memory of tons of guys as well as girls who could only wish they looked like that. To say she was famous for her figure is an understatement.

When you think about it, that’s a hard thing to live up to, because when you’re weight changes the public can be rather unforgiving.

I’ll never forget seeing her on TV at a football game in which her then boyfriend, Tony Romo of the Cowboys, was playing. Somehow Simpson became the scapegoat for the worst game of his life. Fans were ugly and some started talking about her weight. She wasn’t “fat” but she wasn’t Daisy Duke.

Can you imagine trying to live up to that image?

Life moved on for her and when she became pregnant with her daughter Maxwell her weight skyrocketed. When she stepped on the scales at her first Weight Watcher’s meeting she couldn’t believe how much she had gained.

Just about the time she started to drop some of that weight, she found out she was pregnant with her son. She stayed more active during her second pregnancy and only gained half the weight she had gained with her first pregnancy.

Since the birth of her son, we’ve all seen a slimming Jessica on the Weight Watcher’s commercials. She’s reached her goal weight, and I for one am happy for her. She is a real person, but in her case she is still compared to her Daisy Duke role of a decade ago.

No matter who you are, there’s a difference in how you look at 23 versus 33! And having kids does make changes to your figure. However, with all that, she was caught out and about in a pair of Daisy Dukes last weekend, and her legs look great! Way to go Jessica!

Photo credits: Joshua Trend