Take a Big Fat Break this Mardi Gras Because Carnival Means “So long” to Meat

– Meatless Monday campaign offers delicious recipes for the lean days ahead-

Mardi Gras, also called Carnival, celebrates the last day of indulgence before the start of the Lenten season. During Lent, millions of households will cut back on meat and other rich foods. Meatless Monday offers recipes with photos to help observers through the “lean” weeks of Lent and beyond. With the simplicity of Meatless Monday, reducing meat in our diets is easier than you think and the health benefits can be huge.

Newswise — For centuries, Mardi Gras – or Fat Tuesday, also called Carnival – has celebrated the last day of indulgence before the start of the Lenten season. During Lent, millions of households will cut back on meat and other rich foods during this period of purification. The word Carnival itself stems from the Latin carne vale, or “farewell to flesh.”

Today, there are more reasons than ever to take the occasional break from meat. Reducing the amount of meat in our diets can benefit our personal health, the environment and even our wallets. Meatless Monday, a public health initiative produced in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future, advises foregoing meat just one day a week as one way to reap these benefits. “It’s easier than you think and the payoff can be huge,” says Robert Lawrence, MD, director of the Center for a Livable Future. “Eating less meat not only helps lower cholesterol and decrease cancer risks; it reduces your carbon footprint and helps conserve water. Plus, plant-based meals cost less, an added bonus during these economically tough times.”

Many Americans are heeding the call for a healthier diet. The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that we will be eating about 12% less meat in 2012 than we did five years ago.

The simplicity of Meatless Monday has turned the initiative into a global movement. The campaign is now flourishing in 22 countries and counts among its followers such celebrities as film director James Cameron; co-host of ABC’s The Chew, chef Mario Batali; hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons; and former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney.

A poll conducted by FGI Research for The Monday Campaigns found that more than 50% of Americans were aware of the Meatless Monday movement, with 27% of those aware actively participating.

Meatless Monday offers hundreds of recipes in its online database to help observers through the “lean” weeks of Lent and beyond, including Smothered Mushrooms (http://www.meatlessmonday.com/smothered-mushrooms) and Spicy Rice with Kale (http://www.meatlessmonday.com/spicy-rice-with-kale).

Released: 1/25/2012          Source: The Monday Campaigns

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/take-a-big-fat-break-this-mardi-gras-because-carnival-means-so-long-to-meat

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Diet and Health..Plate Size Doesn’t Help Reduce Calories

Newswise — The size of one’s dinner plate does not help to curb energy intake or control portion sizes, according to a recent study conducted at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

“Smaller plates are often recommended as a way of controlling intake, but that simply isn’t an effective strategy,” said Meena Shah, senior researcher and professor of kinesiology at Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth. “There was no plate size, weight status, or plate size by weight status effect on meal energy intake.”

Researchers including Meena Shah, senior researcher, Rebecca Schroeder, lead researcher, and Walker Winn from Texas Christian University, and Beverley Adams-Huet from UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas examined 10 normal weight women and 10 overweight or obese women over two different days at lunch. Subjects were randomly assigned to consume lunch using either a small (21.6 cm) or large (27.4 cm) plate. The meal, which consisted of spaghetti and tomato sauce, was served in an individual serving bowl. Each subject was asked to self-serve the food from the bowl onto the assigned plate and instructed to eat until satisfied. The meal was consumed alone and without any distractions. During the second lunch, each subject went through the same procedure but using the alternative size plate.

“It is possible that plate size does not have an impact on energy intake because people eat until they are full regardless of what utensils they are using,” said Shah.

Plate size also did not affect ratings of palatability, hunger, satiety, fullness and prospective consumption in either normal weight or overweight/obese women.

“Those who were overweight/obese reported lower levels of hunger and prospective consumptions before the meals and felt less full after the meals compared to normal weight subjects despite no difference in energy consumption between two groups,” said Shah. “This suggests that overweight/obese individuals may have a lower ability to sense hunger and fullness than normal weight adults.”

The findings were published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics in December.

Released: 1/18/2012

Source: Dick Jones Communications

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/plate-size-doesn-t-help-reduce-calories-study-says

Some Like it Hot: Popular Yoga Style Cranks up the Heat

What You Need to Know to Prevent Injuries

Photo Credit, Hospital for Special Surgery. People practicing hot yoga should take certain precautions, said certified yoga instructor Diana Zotos of Hospital for Special Surgery.

Newswise — Yoga is one of the hottest fitness trends and a style known as “hot yoga” is gaining in popularity.

Hot yoga refers to yoga practiced in a heated environment, with the room temperature generally reaching 90 to 105 degrees. The theory behind it is that hot yoga helps the body to sweat out toxins while allowing the practitioner to safely achieve deeper poses. Bikram is a common form of hot yoga.

Almost 16 million Americans practice some form of yoga, according to a 2008 study in the Yoga Journal.

While the practice can offer health benefits and a sense of well-being, people practicing hot yoga, especially beginners, should take certain precautions, according to Diana Zotos, a certified yoga instructor and physical therapist in the Rehabilitation Department at Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.

“Yoga of any type is physically challenging, and the heated environment of hot yoga makes the practice especially demanding,” Zotos says. “The heat makes people feel as if they can stretch deeper into poses and can give them a false sense of flexibility. This can lead to muscle strains or damage to the joint, including ligaments and cartilage.”

Zotos says people over 40 who have never done Bikram yoga may be at greater risk of injury, and she recommends they familiarize themselves with it prior to trying a class. “There are many books and videos that describe this style and can demonstrate the poses and techniques,” she says. “Since classes are constructed of the same 26 poses, people can become familiar with them beforehand.”

Beginners should keep in mind that poses will require a certain level of leg, core and upper body strength, as well as balance, according to Zotos. People should also have a tolerance for stretching and moderate flexibility in their legs and spine.

“The heat factor also puts more strain on the heart and challenges endurance. That being said, people should be of good cardiovascular health; have healthy hip, knee, spine and shoulder joints; shouldn’t have balance or neurological issues; and should have a general tolerance for excessive heat,” she advises.

Zotos has these additional tips:

• Be well-prepared. Bring a mat and towel, and
wear shorts and a tank top. If possible, bring a buddy. It can be more fun and less intimidating if you take your first class with a friend.
• Make sure you drink plenty of fluids well before class (but not coffee or soda). Don’t eat anything too heavy (more than 200 calories) two to three hours prior to class.
• Make sure the studio and teachers have a good reputation. Ask about their experience and credentials. The teacher should be certified in Bikram or another form of yoga.
• Try to arrive early. This way you can introduce yourself and speak with the instructor, pick a good spot in the studio to set up your mat and get comfortable with your surroundings and the heat.
• Start slowly and learn the basics. Never push yourself to the point of pain while stretching or assuming a position.
• Listen to your body. Stop at the first sign of discomfort. If you are extremely fatigued, take a break. Do not try yoga poses beyond your experience or comfort level.
• Don’t get discouraged if you can’t reach a pose. It’s not a competition.
• Ask questions if you’re not sure how to perform a pose.
• If you get dizzy, lightheaded, overheated or experience chest pain, STOP immediately. Seek medical assistance if necessary.

Anyone who questions whether hot yoga is safe for them should consult their physician, Zotos says. “If you have sensitivity to heat, if you’ve ever had heat stroke or tend to get fatigued, dizzy or dehydrated quickly, you should ask your doctor before starting hot yoga. Anyone with osteoarthritis, any rheumatologic arthritis, pain in muscles or a joint, or any kind of previous injury should check with their doctor.”

Zotos says it’s especially important that anyone who has hypertension, low blood pressure or heart disease check with their cardiologist before trying hot yoga.

For more tips concerning other forms of exercise and wellness advice, visit www.hss.edu/wellness.

Released: 1/16/2012

Source: Hospital for Special Surgery

Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/some-like-it-hot-popular-yoga-style-cranks-up-the-heat

Ring in a New Healthier You in 2012!

Newswise — BOSTON— With the start of a new year, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute experts are encouraging people to ring in new healthy habits and offer a number of free and low-cost strategies to help people maintain good health and possibly reduce various cancer risks.

Get moving!
Staying fit and healthy can be as simple as lacing up a pair of sneakers and going for a walk. Moderate to intensive aerobic exercise, according to studies, can reduce the risk of recurrence of several cancers, including colon and breast.

“You don’t have to be a marathon runner, but the more you exercise, typically the greater the beneficial effect,” says Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, MPH, a Dana-Farber gastrointestinal cancer specialist.

Here are some inexpensive ways to workout, but consult a doctor first.
– Using the stairs rather than an elevator.
– Walking or riding a bike rather than driving.
– Taking an exercise break or quick walk at work.
– Using a stationary bicycle or treadmill while watching TV.

Color Your World…and your shirt?
It doesn’t cost anything to walk by the cookie aisle and into a store’s produce section. And, taking that little detour can provide many health benefits. A diet low in processed sugars, red meat and calories, but high in fruits and vegetables and loaded with antioxidants is one of the simplest ways to help maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of certain cancer.
The overall key is to look for colorful produce like pomegranates, tomatoes, eggplant, grapes, cherries, and turnip. The brighter and richer the pigment, the higher the level of nutrients.
“In the nutrition world, we like to say if it comes from the ground and it stains your shirt, you want to be eating it,” says Stephanie Meyers, MS, RD/LDN, a nutritionist at Dana-Farber.

Skip that cocktail
Limiting alcohol consumption can save money and it may lower the risk of developing some cancers. Dana-Farber researchers found that women who consume one alcoholic drink a day may increase their risk for breast cancer. “Women need to consider the possible effects of alcohol on breast cancer risk when weighing the risks and benefits of alcohol consumption,” says Wendy Chen, MD, PhD, a breast cancer expert. “Our findings indicate that in some women, even modest levels of alcohol consumption may elevate their risk of breast cancer.”

Save money and lives – quit smoking
Buying cigarettes and other tobacco products can really take a bite out of a budget. Kicking the habit can result in both a healthier lifestyle and significant financial savings.
According to the American Cancer Society, smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the United States. It also causes more than 80 percent of all cases of lung cancer and increases the risk of oral, throat, pancreatic, uterine, bladder, and kidney cancers.

“Even though there have been many recent advances in lung cancer treatments, the most effective way to eradicate lung cancer is to prevent it from ever happening,” explains Bruce Johnson, MD, director of Dana-Farber’s Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology. Johnson emphasizes that it is never too late to quit.

People who stop and remain nonsmokers for at least 10 to 20 years can cut their risk of developing lung cancer in half.
– Plan the quit day
– Follow the four D’s: Deep breaths, Drink lots of water, Do something to avoid focusing on cravings, Delay reaching for a cigarette – the urge will pass.
– Avoid triggers: Get rid of cigarettes, lighters, matches, and ashtrays.

Sunscreen ‘applies’ year round
Sunscreen shouldn’t be packed away after summer ends. Skin can be exposed to harmful rays all year long. Snow, ice and water can all reflect the ultraviolet (UV) radiation that causes sunburn, which, in turn increases the risk of developing skin cancer. Some experts say winter sports enthusiasts can face just as much risk of getting sunburn as summer sunbathers. Dana-Farber experts remind to protect year round.
– Wear sunscreen, lip balm and makeup with an SPF of 15 or higher.
– Use UV-blocking eye protection, especially for skiing.
– In a tropical setting, wear a broad brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
– Avoid excessive exposure to the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest.

Don’t forget your dentist
Visiting the dentist is not just about clean and healthy teeth. Dentists also are on the front lines of detecting cancer in the mouth. Research shows more than half of all smokeless tobacco users have non-cancerous or pre-cancerous lesions in their mouth. In addition to the increased risk of cancer, smoking and chewing tobacco erodes teeth and gums. “The treatment for this type of head and neck cancer can be a radical and deforming surgery,” warns Robert Haddad, MD, disease center leader of the head and neck oncology program at Dana-Farber. He stresses, “The changes in the cells never go away once they happen. So don’t start using tobacco and if you have, get help to stop.”

Released: Released: 12/28/2011

Source: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/ring-in-a-new-healthier-you-in-2012

New Year’s Resolutions: Reality Check for Would-Be Runners

Newswise — ST.LOUIS – You’ve likely noticed friends, family and coworkers joining running groups, using Facebook apps to share their training times, participating in 5Ks for charity and training for marathons. If you feel motivated to lace up your sneakers in 2012, take some advice from assistant professor of physical therapy at Saint Louis University, Chris Sebelski, to hit the ground running and have realistic expectations about the work ahead.

Sebelski encourages those who want to join the sport’s growing numbers, saying “Running is very accepting of beginners. It’s a great way to stay active at all ages, and it’s a healthy choice for those who have set a New Year’s resolution to get in shape.

“Running really has become the everyman and everywoman sport. It’s also something that more and more people do in their later years. We used to believe it would ruin your joints. There have been several studies in recent years about running, aging and arthritis that have disproved this idea.”

However, while getting in shape is a terrific aim, there can be rocky terrain between your good intentions and the finish line without thorough preparation and a realistic plan.

If you’re ready to join the race, consider these words of wisdom from Sebelski, an avid runner herself:

Overall Body Checkup
Before you begin, visit your primary care doctor for a complete overall body check-up, Sebelski says, and talk about your exercise plans. Depending on your goals and current state of fitness, you may also consult a physical therapist or nutritionist so that they can help you create a holistic plan.

“Remember, it’s so much better to prevent injuries than to try to recover from them,” Sebelski says.

Realistic Goals
It’s easy to go overboard during the enthusiasm of planning, but be sure you accurately acknowledge your current level of fitness. If you haven’t been exercising at all, you’ll want to start with a walking/jogging mix, Sebelski says. Some people feel very tired for the first few weeks after they begin to exercise, so set a reasonable goal that you’ll be able to stick with as your body gets used to the new activity. You might consider journaling to keep track of your progress and how you feel.

“Make your goals personal,” Sebelski says. “On an everyday level, the key is to think about small steps and celebrate the little victories.”

Setbacks
When it comes to setbacks, it’s not if, but when, Sebelski says. “Running doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Everyday things are going on. You’re fighting off a cold. Your children needed extra help with their homework. You may have an injury. Expect that there will be off days when you can’t fit in a workout or your time isn’t your best.”

By anticipating the obstacles to your training, you’ll be able to adjust your workout rather than throw it out the window entirely. And, when it comes to exercising, your efforts are cumulative.

“On a day when you realize you’re not going to be able to complete your normal routine, evaluate the situation and set a good goal for that day,” Sebelski says. “Always do something. Eight minutes is better than nothing.

“It’s never all or nothing. Go for a walk, take the stairs, do squats or do something else that elevates your heart rate. You’ll keep yourself from losing ground and you won’t have the emotional setback of feeling like you gave up.”

Hear more from Chris Sebelski about dealing with setbacks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcdqMZJIuow&feature=youtu.be

Food and Water
When you start burning more calories, you may find yourself very hungry. But, proceed with caution. You can’t simply consume unlimited calories, even if you are burning more during your workouts. Look at what you’re eating and be smarter about what types of calories by including plenty of lean proteins and whole grains. And, don’t forget about hydration, Sebelski says. “Remember: Water. Water.Water.”

Cross-training
Including other forms of exercise in your training regimen will help you reach your running goals. Yoga, for example, offers stretches that will help to change and improve posture and the alignment of the body. Exercises like Pilates can build core strength, which in turn, will help you breathe as you run.

“There’s a big link between core strength and breathing,” Sebelski says. “Core strength assists with posture which in turn will make breathing easier.

“Running itself is an all-over body sport. People think it’s concentrated in the legs, but that’s not true. It affects your arms, back, trunk, and almost every muscle in your body. Cross-training is helpful because you’ll strengthen these other muscles and avoid the injury risk posed by the repetitive motion of running every day.

Staying on Track
Running is hard work, and after the first month or two of diligent training, you may find your enthusiasm waning if you don’t plan for ways to stay engaged. Consider joining friends in the park or a running group to train for a 5K. The social aspect can help keep you on track.

Technology offers helpful ways to stay engaged, as well. Share your training time with friends on Facebook, and you’ll be amazed by the support you receive. There are apps that make it easy to report back to your support group regularly. Or, tell your social circle about your training sessions on your blog so that they can follow your story and cheer you on.

Finally, a reality check shouldn’t dampen your enthusiasm. Though training can be tough, the obstacles are no reason to be daunted. The rewards from running are well worth the effort, and knowing what the terrain looks like makes it more likely you’ll reach your goal.

Released: 12/20/2011

Source: Saint Louis University Medical Center

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/new-year-s-resolutions-reality-check-for-would-be-runners

Pick Up the Cell Phone, Drop the Pounds!

Photo Credit: UC San Diego School of Medicine Pictured: The team from CalIT2's Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems.

Newswise — Cell phones aren’t just for talking any more. Surfing the web, storing music and posting to Facebook have all contributed to the near-mandatory use of a cell phone. How about using that cell phone to lose weight? Researchers with Calit2’s Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems (CWPHS) and the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, at University of California, San Diego are expanding a previous study aimed at finding out if cell phone technology can help with weight loss.

For one year, researchers with the “ConTxt” study will evaluate the use of cell phone text messages to remind participants to make wise nutritional choices throughout the day. Participants randomized to the intervention conditions will also be given tailored messages for weight loss and lifestyle changes as well as a pedometer to monitor their daily activity.

“ConTxt is an innovative, yet straightforward approach to getting people to monitor their diet and physical activity,” says CWPHS project principal investigator Kevin Patrick, MD, MS, professor of Family and Preventive Medicine, UC San Diego School of Medicine. “We are trying to make this as pain free as possible. People won’t stick to something that’s too difficult and they’re all multi-tasking anyway. We’re doing this study to increase what we know about using the cell phone to get messages to busy people on the go.”

Who Can Participate?

ConTxt is recruiting more than 300 participants who meet these criteria:

*Men and women
*21 to 60 years of age
*Overweight or moderately obese with Body Mass Index (BMI) of 27-39.9
*Own a cell phone capable of sending and receiving picture and text messages
*English and Spanish speaking participants that reside in San Diego county

Strategy

As a part of tailoring of the program, surveys completed during baseline visit will help assess the participant’s lifestyle, for example, assessing nearby grocery stores, finding opportunities for physical activity and possibly enlisting the support of friends or family.

The intervention is designed to send “prompts,” text or picture messages, with specific suggestions or tips regarding diet and improving lifestyle habits. “It seems like everybody has a cell phone. Those who do usually carry it with them at all times,” explained ConTxt study coordinator Lindsay W. Dillon, MPH, CHES. “We want to see if we can use that same technology to get people to think differently.”

About CWPHS

CWPHS research focuses on how the health of individuals, families, communities, social networks, and populations can be improved through the creative use of wireless and networked technologies. CWPHS is Housed within the UCSD Division of Calit2: The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology.

Collaborators include physicians and scientists with backgrounds in clinical and preventive medicine, computer science and engineering, social networks, political science, clinical and experimental psychology, electrical engineering, health behavior, behavioral exercise and nutrition science and public health. Center research is supported through public and private sources, including the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Science Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and Nokia Research.

To learn more about enrolling in the ConTxt study, call in USA        858-534-8412       or email us at contxtcoach@ucsd.edu.

Via Newswise

Source: University of California, San Diego Health Sciences

Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/pick-up-the-cell-phone-drop-the-pounds2

Supersized Market Economy, Supersized Belly: Wealthier Nations Have More Fast Food and More Obesity

Newswise — ANN ARBOR, Mich.—New research from the University of Michigan suggests obesity can be seen as one of the unintended side effects of free market policies.

A study of 26 wealthy nations shows that countries with a higher density of fast food restaurants per capita had much higher obesity rates compared to countries with a lower density of fast food restaurants per capita.

“It’s not by chance that countries with the highest obesity rates and fast food restaurants are those in the forefront of market liberalization, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, versus countries like Japan and Norway, with more regulated and restrictive trade policies,” said Roberto De Vogli, associate professor in the U-M School of Public Health, and lead researcher of the study.

For example, in the United States, researchers reported 7.52 fast food restaurants per 100,000 people, and in Canada they reported 7.43 fast food restaurants per 100,000 people. The paper reported the obesity rates among US men and women were 31.3 percent and 33.2 percent, respectively. The obesity rates for Canadian men and women were 23.2 percent and 22.9 percent, respectively.

Compare that to Japan, with 0.13 fast food restaurants per 100,000 people, and Norway, with 0.19 restaurants per capita. Obesity rates for men and women in Japan were 2.9 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively. In Norway, obesity rates for men and women were 6.4 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively. The relationships remain consistent even when researchers controlled for variables such as income, income inequality, urban areas, motor vehicles and internet use per capita.

Obesity research largely overlooks the global market forces behind the epidemic, De Vogli said.

“In my opinion the public debate is too much focused on individual genetics and other individual factors, and overlooks the global forces in society that are shaping behaviors worldwide. If you look at trends overtime for obesity, it’s shocking,” De Vogli said.

“Since the 1980s, since the advent of trade liberalization policies that have indirectly…promoted transnational food companies…we see rates that have tripled or quadrupled. There is no biological, genetic, psychological or community level factor that can explain this. Only a global type of change can explain this.”

Researchers chose one fast food restaurant to use as a proxy measure for how many fast food restaurants were present per 100,000. The study is in no way an indictment of that restaurant, De Vogli said, but rather an indicator of fast food density in a particular area.

Fast food refers to food sold in restaurants or stores with preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customer in a packaged form. A typical fast food meal includes a hamburger, fries and a soft drink, the paper said. Fast food is usually high in fat and calories, and several studies have found associations between fast food intake and increased body mass index, weight gain and obesity. Obesity accounts for approximately 400,000 deaths each year in the United States alone. Fast food consumption is also related to insulin resistance and type II diabetes, another major worldwide public health threat.

The paper, “Globesization: ecological evidence on the relationship between fast food outlets and obesity among 26 advanced economies,” will be published in the December print issue of Critical Public Health. The study was funded by a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council.

Released: 12/21/2011

Source: University of Michigan

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/supersized-market-economy-supersized-belly-wealthier-nations-have-more-fast-food-and-more-obesity

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