Saturday, July 30, 2011

Radio Show Today

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Today on the show: 

  • Do guys get Man-o-pause? 
  • "What I Love" segment talks about Breast Ironing. 
  • Our Guest is Dr Srini Pillay, who will talk about Emotions in the workplace, and what Brain Science tells us about that. 

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BREAST ironing? Really?

This is NOT done to smooth out wrinkles. It's a cultural practice in Cameroon. I read this article in CNN Health and had to share what is a truly bizarre practice. 
This is so weird: mothers take a burning hot pestle straight out of a fire and use it to press the breasts of their young girls. 
Why, you ask? What are you, crazy, you scream? 
Mothers do this to their daughters to make their little girls less desirable to boys -- as a route to prevent pregnancy. Riiight, it's the old disfigurement strategy!! Genius, right? With just a little mutilation, if you make them horrid enough, then you can prevent SO many unwanted pregnancies. 
Plus, that way you don't have to talk to them about being responsible, you don't have to teach the boys about being respectful to women. Whew!! Glad we didn't have to go through THAT. 
The US State Department, in its 2010 human rights report on Cameroon, cited news reports and said breast ironing affects an amazing one in every four girls in Cameroon.
But Wouldn't This Work For Boys Too?
Rather than making the girls less attractive so those poor boys just can't help themselves, why not just make the boys ... blind? Hey, problem solved?
Or, or, or, you could make them lame so the girls could outrun them ... or maybe we just apply testicle ironing to prevent those boys from having the desire in the first place. Gosh, there are SO many options here.

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There are more than 200 ethnic groups in Breast ironing tradition targeted in Cameroon -

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Weird. Education Actually Works To Control Calories

Look at this picture!! A FAT FREE cake has that number of calories? Whoda thunk? A normal person would read that and think twice. 

Well a new study shows that if you give people the calorie information (so they can make a more informed choice), and they are more likely to make a healthy choice. 

It sounds so commonsensicle that it couldn't possibly be done! (I know "commonsensicle" is not a word, but it just works here).

Here's What Happened
Under a law introduced by the city in 2008, chain restaurants with 15 or more locations nationally must provide consumers with calorie information. This study (just pubbed in the British Medical Journalanalyzed data collected from 7,309 adult customers in 2007 and 8,489 customers in 2009. 
Between 2007 and 2009, 
  • there were significant reductions at three major fast food chains. 
  • Average calories per purchase fell by 5.3 percent at McDonalds, 
  • by 6.4 percent at KFC, 
  • and by 14.4 percent at Au Bon Pain. 
  • 15 percent of the consumers in the study said they used the calorie information and, on average, these people purchased 106 fewer kilocalories than those who did not see or use the calorie information at the fast food outlets.

The researchers also found that average calories per purchase increased by 17.8 percent at Subway, where large portions were heavily promoted.
You can "eat fresh" and still gain weight if you eat large. 

Bottom Line
Education really works. See that picture I put up there at the top of this post? That picture shows a FAT FREE cake slice. If you didn't read the fact that it also has a whopping 390 calories, you'd think you were making a great choice for the expanding horizons of your on bottom ... lines.  

Put calorie labels on the food so we consumers who consume your consumables aren't overly consumed by wondering what is in them!! Just give us the info. 

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How To Prevent Childhood Obesity? Remember What You Have Forgotten

Get this. The calories that kids eat away from home has increased from 23.4 percent to 33.9 percent between 1977 and 2006.

Those take-out foods are high in sugar and salt and synthetics and, oh yeah, calories. 
"We found that ... kids eat an increasing number of calories outside the home," said study author Jennifer Poti, from the university's Gillings School of Global Public Health. "Eating outside the home is actually fueling the increased energy intake for kids."

Ya think? 

Remember What We Have Forgotten
As a culture: 
  • We used to cook more at home. 
  • We used to eat together as a family at home. 
  • We used to not be so fat and unhealthy all the time. 
In fact, eating out increases the volume consumed, the salt consumed, the sugars consumed. 

Here are the study data (pubbed in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association).
29,217 U.S. children aged 2 to 18 took part in surveys of food intake, between 1977 and 2006. 
The researchers found that the number of calories children got from foods eaten away from home increased significantly. In fact, the percentage of calories children got from fast food was greater than those they got at school.
Samantha Heller, a dietitian, nutritionist, exercise physiologist and clinical nutrition coordinator at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn., said that "in our fast-paced, time-challenged world, parents are convinced that it is easier and less expensive to eat take-out, fast food and in restaurants."

But who buys that? 
I don't know -- and I know I will get some people to defend their inability to make food for their families ... or even defend their inability to purchase decent foods -- but it seems like there is a choice being made. The choice to make your food at home; the choice to make family time a commitment.  
"We cannot control where these eateries are located or how they prepare their foods, but we can decide to cook more at home, which will ultimately save money and help keep our families healthy," Heller said.

The Typical Whine
It's too expensive .... Although it appears a take-out meal for $4.99 is a great deal, one would actually save money by going to the store buying chicken breasts, vegetables, whole grain pasta, bread and sauce. 

"You would have a healthy dinner and leftovers for tomorrow's lunch and probably enough left to reinvent dinner by using the remaining ingredients in a salad, frittata or burrito," she added.
"For less than $30, you can buy enough food for several meals including chicken breast, mushrooms, broccoli, pasta, lettuce, bread, eggs, tomato sauce and salad dressing," Heller said. A family of four can spend that much easily for just one meal each for take-out and fast food. Planning the week's meals ahead will make home cooking easier, faster, and cost-efficient. More importantly, research suggests that family meals enhance the health and well-being of children on many levels," she said.

Bottom Line
It's about personal responsibility, and our ability to set our own priorities and schedules. There is "health in the hearth". Make your own food at home. We used to do this when we were healthy and these are the cultural habits that we need to remember to make dent in the chronic weight and health issues of our children. 

More Kids Eating Calorie-Packed Take-out Food -

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Does Your Money Make You Sad?

It seems that, not only is it true that "Money Can't Buy Happiness", but it's also associated with Sadness and Depression. 
A recent study just now showed that depression rates are higher in richer countries than in low- or middle-income nations.

What Did This Study Do, Actually?
They took detailed interviews with more than 89,000 people in 18 nations. 15 percent of people in high-income countries were likely to get depression during their lifetime, compared with 11 percent of those in low- or middle-income countries. 
  • About 5.5 percent of people in high-income countries had depression within the previous year.
  • High-income countries had higher rates of major depression (28 percent vs. 20 percent), and especially high rates (more than 30 percent) were found in the United States, France, the Netherlands and India. 
  • China had the lowest rate of major depression (12 percent).
  • The average age at onset of depression was nearly two years younger in low-income countries, the investigators found.

Does This Mean You Should Send Me All Your Money? 
GREAT idea, but actually no this study does NOT mean that you should empty your bank accounts for your mental health. 
There are so many reasons why this study found what it found, and money itself is more likely to be a bi-product of the effect, than the cause itself. It's just associated with depression ... but the cause? 
Remember, it is "the love of money" that is the root of all evil ... not $ itself. It may be that we are in a much higher stress environment, or we place a much greater value to money's value, or to the status it affords. I could see that those societal biases are the true cause, for which money itself is just the outlet.

Bottom Line?
The most important thing in your life are the people you love. That needs to be said, and expressed. You want to look at your investments, look at the time you spend with the people you love in your life. That is your greatest investment and the single most important way to prevent depression -- money or no money. 
The study, published July 25 in the journal BMC Medicine, was conducted by researchers at 20 centers in conjunction with the World Health Organization World Mental Health Survey Initiative.
"We have shown that depression is a significant public-health concern across all regions of the world and is strongly linked to social conditions. Understanding the patterns and causes of depression can help global initiatives in reducing the impact of depression on individual lives and in reducing the burden to society," Evelyn Bromet, of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, said in a journal news release.
More information
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about depression.
(SOURCE: BMC Medicine, news release, July 25, 2011)

Depression Higher in Wealthier Nations -

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British Fast Food? 7min 20sec for Breakfast; 12min 49sec for Lunch

That's how FAST we eat, according to a new study. 

Around a third of people said they watched television while they choked back their breakfast and over half had the set on when they ate dinner.

Do You Think This Contributes To Their Obesity Problems? 

Of course it does. Nearly half of respondents said they were so busy that they didn't pay attention to whether they felt full and only finished eating because the food was finished.

When this happens, you don't give your brain a chance to register that you're full before you overconsume. Duh. And when THAT happens, you basically put your body in training to overconsume more and more and more with each meal. 

Gee. I wonder why we have the problems with weight and health? 

In fact, Cat Gazzoli, CEO of Slow Food UK, a movement that encourages British people to enjoy their food, take the time to appreciate tastes and concentrate on what they have chosen to eat, told AOL Lifestyle: 
"Taking a break to relax, reflect and enjoy anything from your lunchtime sandwich to a simple supper, not only gives you a chance to recharge and relax but also prevents overeating, consequent weight gain and cumulative stress."

Is Lunch-On-The-Go Culture Damaging Our Health?

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

McDonald's Makes Me Grumpy For A Very Weird Reason

The McDonald's Happy Meal (I've also heard it expressed as the Micky D's Crappy Meal, but that's another subject ... ahem). 

I think this product and that company both have a definite image problem, and want to avoid looking like they are feeding the problem of childhood obesity (pun only partially intended). 
YES, they are marketing to children with a decidedly creepy clown. YES, they have toys in their Meal-Deals to induce children to nag their parents into submission .... They're okay with THAT, they just don't want to be seen as contributing to childhood obesity. 

So What Is McDonald's Doing About It?
McDonald's announced today (June 26) that it will automatically include both produce AND french fries in every Happy Meal, meaning parents and kids no longer have to opt for either fries or fruit.
And because produce will be included in all Happy Meals, french fry-holder sizes will get smaller -- from 2.4 to 1.1 ounces, this according to ABC News.

Kind of a Bummer
This is a totally awesome thing to do for kids ... to just make fruit more ubiquitous in their favorite meal. LOVE that. So what's the problem?

McDonalds is such a great bad guy to rail against -- the symbol of the darth vader evil empire of food and fatness. And now they've gone and done something good for kids with this initiative ... dang, now I have to talk sweet about them! 

It's not just apples, either
Apples will be the main produce option, but other McDonald's may offer carrots, pineapple slices, raisins or mandarin oranges depending on the region and time of the year, according to ABC News. Heck, you can even replace the french fries with MORE fruit. 
PLUS, in addition to the Happy Meal fruit makeover, the Empire also plans to reduce sodium in all of its menu items by 15 percent by 2015. 

Grrrr ... this is a great thing!! The idea of praising a company like McDonalds makes you want to wash yourself off -- hose yourself off. But whatever their motivations, these are three really good steps toward healthier choices for our children.  

McDonald's Happy Meals To Get Less Fries, More Fruit

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Squishy Data and The Best Exercise for Heart Health?

Is it cardio or resistance? 
Yoga or Pilates? 
Walking or Running?
Paper or Plastic? 
Cash or Credit? 
Here or To Go? 

This Study ( from the American Journal of Cardiology  determined that you need a little of both ... but the data are kind of squishy. See what you think. 

Here's how they came to their squashy conclusion
Researchers randomly assigned 196 overweight, sedentary adults to three different exercise programs.

1. The first group did resistance training three days a week, working out on eight different weight machines to target upper and lower body muscles. 
2. A second group did two hours of aerobic training per week on gym machines -- the equivalent of about 12 miles of walking or jogging over the course of the week. 
3. The third group was assigned to do both the weight-training and aerobic-exercise programs.

Fair enough. So what did they find? 
1. People in the weight-training group actually gained about 1.5 pounds and added a smidgen to their waistline, without changing any of their other heart or diabetes risk factors.
2. Those in the aerobic group lost an average of 3 pounds and half an inch from their waists.

3. Study participants who did both weight and aerobic training dropped about 4 pounds and 1 waistline inch. They also saw a decrease in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom blood pressure reading) and in a "metabolic syndrome" score that reflects combined heart and diabetes risk factors.

Here's What Makes It Squishy
Statistical analyses showed that participants doing both aerobics PLUS weight training didn't necessarily have better outcomes than those who just did ONLY aerobic training.

The researchers said it wasn't clear if the apparent tiny, marginal benefits of the combination regimen -- the 4-pound weight loss versus 3, for instance -- were due to the effects of weight training, or just more total time in the gym.
Duh. More time being active = more benefit. Why is this rocket science? 

But the researchers are pushing the combined approach anyway. "Aerobic plus resistance is clearly the optimal program," said Dr. Timothy Church, who studies exercise and disease at Louisiana State University's Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge.

Bottom Line? 
The best exercise for your heart is whatever you do that makes you move, and gives you the most pleasure doing so, for the most consistent period of time. 
They should have just asked me before they had to go and do this study :)

What's the best exercise for heart health? | Reuters

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's summer time and everyone's out in the sun.

Of course, you need the sun for Vitamin D (and it feels SO good!), but you also have to be aware of what happens when you get scorched -- it can lead to skin cancer.

The good news is that skin cancer has a very high incidence, but a very low mortality. That's because you can detect the melanomas very easily. 

That's why I've posted the pictures below from the American Melanoma Foundation. To prevent the whole, skin cancer and death thing, you have to check your skin and look for the signs based on the "ABCDs of Melanoma". 

If any blemishes or moles on your skin meet ANY of these criteria, please please please go see a dermatologist. Plus, a
 sudden or continuous change in the appearance of a mole is also a sign that you should see your doctor.
The ABCD rule can help you remember the symptoms of melanoma:

A for Asymmetry
One half is different than the other half.
B for Border Irregularity
The edges are notched, uneven, or blurred.
C for Color
The color is uneven. Shades of brown, tan,
and black are present.
D for Diameter
Diameter is greater than 6 millimeters.
Other Warning Signs:
• The appearance of a new bump or nodule
• Color spreads into surrounding skin
• redness or swelling beyond the mole
• pain
• tenderness
• itching
• bleeding
• oozing
• scaly appearance

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Why Tap Water No Longer Smells Like A Pig Pen

Today, scientists, environmentalists and health experts are baffled by the extent to which consumers think bottled water is healthier than tap
They note that public water supplies are more tightly regulated than the springs that supply bottled water company. And one of the most highly-rated waters for taste is New York City tap water.

But this was not always the case. 
A nice piece from Edible Geography notes that, for a long time,the taste of tap water changed with the seasons. In the summer, bacteria and algae would proliferate in reservoirs, tainting the taste of water. 
The article even notes that there were scientists who would study the correlation between tastes in tap water and varieties of microorganisms present. One variety was associated with a smell the researchers called "pig-pen smell."
Today, filtration and additives keep the taste of water relatively consistent throughout the year. Now, experts say that irregular tastes are much more likely to be related to problems with a home piping system than to reservoir flora and fauna.

Why Tap Water No Longer Smells Like A Pig Pen

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Pictures: 7 Yoga Poses For Insomnia

Listen. 60 million Americans suffer from some form of insomnia. If you don't want to take meds that may make you "sleep eat" or have other unwanted and bizarre side effects, there are a ton of remedies out there. 

But most Americans don't really look to yoga to help them not loose sleep over loosing a little sleep. They see it as a fitness routine or a stretching practice or even a destressor. 
That said, the original practice of yoga includes many yoga poses that can help in relaxation and even insomnia reduction. Below are the 7 poses that are best for insomnia relief (adapted from  "The Woman's Yoga Book" and "Yoga Therapy For Overcoming Insomnia"). These slow stretching asanas are ideal for an end-of-day wind-down. End your routine with savasana or corpse pose and then let sleep take over.
1. The most basic of yoga asanas, the forward bend or Uttanasana involves bending over and attempting to have your knees touch your forehead. It can be good for releasing tension in the legs, back and shoulders.

Wide-legged forward bend or Prasarita Padottansana is similar to the forward bend but involves the legs being spread a few feet apart. It's known to calm the brain and stretch the back legs and spine.

Child pose or Balasana involves tucking your feet under your buttocks and bending forward with your hands stretched out in front (or resting lightly on either side). Child pose is good for relieving anxiety and fatigue -- by promotion relaxation -- and for stretching the hips, thighs and ankles.

Seated forward bend or Paschimottanasana is similar to the forward bend but is done while sitting instead of standing. It stretches the shoulders, spine and hamstrings and can be especially effective at relieving anxiety and insomnia

Plow or Halasana is a more advanced yoga pose that involves lying down, bending one's body from the hip and placing the legs above and beyond the head. It stretches the shoulder and spine and can work for anxiety and stress-relief.

Supine spinal twist or Supta Matsyaendrasana is a gentle reclining twist that involves lying down and twisting the upper body. The pose relaxes the back and spine and can help with insomnia.

Shoulder stand or Sarvangasana is an advanced yoga position that involves bending the body from the shoulders and lifting and holding the legs in the air. Sarvangasana improves digestion, stretches the shoulder and neck and helps reduce fatigue and alleviate insomnia by promoting relaxation.

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