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May 31, 2006

Sun Safety: When a Tan Isn’t Where It’s At

Sun Over the last few years, my daughter has become the queen of self-tanning lotions.  By the end of the summer, she’s gone through every new product on the market, and often sports a deep orangey, somewhat streaked look that she doesn’t recognize is a little off until she sees a picture of herself later in the fall, when the ‘tan’ and the search for it has faded.  Far be it from me to point this out before, because as her friends lie in the sun in search of a more ‘natural’ look, she has me as the proverbial angel or devil (depending on whom you’re talking to) sitting on her shoulder, reminding her to think twice about her choices.  Since she was small, I preached against the dangers of tanning, not only melanoma, but also those ‘sun damage’ spots that overexposed skin develops (known more commonly as age spots).  I underscored my lectures by exhibiting my spotted arms and legs as proof of the problem.

Hence, as the summer season unofficially begins after Memorial Day, it’s a good time to bring the subject up again.  What does it have to do with healthy weights?  Well, if you’re out there enjoying yourself in the sun – and it does beckon – then it’s time to drag out the sunscreen. 

According to the Sun Safety Alliance, it’s also time to don the shades and a wide-brimmed hat.  June 4-10 is Sun Safety Week.  Check out the tips for fun in the sun, without the negative consequences of too much exposure.  Also check out these tips for beating the heat while you keep your summer fitness in high gear.

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Posted by Marsha on May 31, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 30, 2006

Oppression Syndrome

FistsI’m taking on a big topic today, and I’ll tell you right up front that there won’t be a neatly ribboned answer at the end…you’ll have more questions than answers.

I’ve been thinking about stress and body image and living in an environment where you’re subtly (and not so subtly) told that you’re not acceptable – because of your body size. Can this factor alone (what is known as “oppression syndrome”) account for the erroneous belief that “fat kills.”

A book I’ve been reading (“The Mind Body Diabetes Revolution” by Richard Surwit, Ph.D.) put into black and white what I’ve believed all along (from personal experience) that diabetes control can be made worse by stress and that the disease itself can also be caused by stress. Before I read this revolutionary phrase in Dr Surwit’s book, all the articles, books, journals I’d read previously never went so far as to suggest that diabetes can be caused by stress (and I’m talking the mental/emotional kind of stress, not being dangled by your heels over a vat of sucrose). Can being under the miasma of fear, disgust and self-loathing that body dissatisfaction brings cause conditions such as more weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer?

Consider this. Instilling fat phobia seems to be the number one priority for our government, health professionals and media, despite huge body of credible evidence demonstrating that not only is the “growing fatter” argument is junk science/statistic contortions, and there are few (credible) links between extra weight and disease. Example: recently there was and continues to be a lot of interest in the study that found a connection between greater weights and diet soda, ie those that drank diet soda were heavier than those that didn’t. Their conclusion? Diet sodas make you fat. That’s like saying more crumbs are found in homes without dogs than those with dogs, therefore people without dogs are poor housekeepers. Or that there are more gay people than straight people at a gay pride meeting – therefore meetings cause people to become gay.

The recent article proclaiming that Americans were more likely to know about American Idol than to know about the (alleged) link between obesity and cancer was more of the same kind of poor science/poor journalism that contributes to the oppressive environment of body non-acceptance.

The unsubstantiated claims in this article can be used one of two ways – add to your fear and stress or 2) example to use to identify an organization jumping on the obesity bandwagon.

Perhaps I do agree with this article after all – fatness can cause every disease and syndrome known or unknown to mankind through indifference or malpractice….when you go to the doctor with a complaint, and you’re told that the answer is to lose weight and exercise more, without an exam, that makes a little muscle and fat a dangerous thing. Even if you’re at a fitness level that professional atheletes strive to achieve, if you’re a woman that’s still not “model slim” you can be told that you need to lose weight and exercise to cure your fatigue and back pain. Later you find out that you have a fast growing/debilitating bone marrow cancer that’s achieved stage 4 by the time someone finally listens to you, and you’re walking around with 3 or 4 crushed vertebrae (which makes you shorter, and therefore according to the height/weight charts you’re now borderline “obese”). That's a true story.

Yes, fat (prejuidice) kills.   

picture is taken from Largesse, the network for size esteem.

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Posted by Gina V. on May 30, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 29, 2006

One May Be The Loneliest Number, But Less Than Zero is Downright Negative

SaksOk, let’s not read too much into the title of this post. My point is this – sizing in women’s apparel needs to be revamped, or at least reconsidered. How? I’m not exactly sure, but there are issues for women all over the size spectrum and large portions of the population are having a difficult time getting their needs met.

There’s been a lot of activity over the last year to a post which appeared on this blog titled, "Less Than Zero". It inspired debate and raised concerns over the on going challenges woman face trying to find clothes that work for them in their busy and multifaceted lives. What ended up happening, surprisingly, was that we heard from a vast majority of women who want to know what to do when a size 0 or 00, is too large.

For some of us this may seem incredulous, but the fact is, sizing has changed over the years and in an effort to accomodate a population which now possesses a larger frame than in decades past, the retail industry has inadvertantly made it more difficult for those who use to find their size in regular department store settings, but are now forced to shop in the kids or teen department.

I’ve been looking around and trying to find some information for our readers regarding where to go for great (or at least good, fashionable clothes), in sizes 0 and under. I’m still trying to seek out some outlets for shopping – even if on line. In the meantime I ran across this article on Boston.com, which I thought those of you who are having issues in this regard might find interesting.

PS: I did want to add that I was in a very large GAP outlet this weekend in Vermont and saw that they had everything from 0 to size 18 represented. That's a pretty wide array of sizes for one retailer to make 'work', so hats off to GAP.

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Posted by Cindy on May 29, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 25, 2006

Grilled Pineapple with Coconut Mousse

Warm, sunny days in May mean the start of grill season! When you fire up the barbie for your favorite chicken or fish, try this quick dessert as well. For those of you who have been to Green Mountain, you know it is a favorite.

(Makes 4 servings)

8 slices of pineapple, fresh
      or canned
1 ounce Neufchatel cheese
3 drops of vanilla extract
1/4 cup light whipped topping
1 tablespoon sweetened coconut flakes
Toasted coconut for garnish

Whip cheese and vanilla until creamy. Slowly add whipped topping until peaks form. Fold in coconut.

Brush pineapple rings lightly with olive oil. Place rings on medium hot grill and grill about 2 minutes per side or until browned. Place pineapple rings on a serving plate and top each ring with a dollop of mousse. Garnish with toasted coconut.

For more healthy recipes check out the other delicious recipes listed on this blog or visit Green Mountain Healthy Living Recipe Favorites

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Posted by Laura on May 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 24, 2006

Healthy Weight Loss: Should It Be A Goal?

Weight_loss_scale I’ve lately had an ongoing email conversation with someone from another blog, on which there was some question as to what Green Mountain at Fox Run was all about.  Primarily, they were concerned that we profess to be a HAES (Health at Every Size) program, yet we talk about weight loss all over our site.

For those who don’t know, HAES is a movement that is all about being the best you can be, whatever your size.  It’s not about weight loss, but about being healthy, and letting your body find its natural healthy weight.  It has nothing to do with BMI or ‘ideal’ weight charts, etc.  It’s very individual, and as many of us have finally realized, that’s what we are.  Just because the media, and society in general, idealizes slim bodies, it doesn’t mean that’s what we’re all meant to be, nor that we’re unhealthy if we’re not.  But I digress.

I really want to talk about the idea of weight loss as a goal.  When women come to our website, they learn that we can help them achieve healthy weight loss as part of our healthy weight loss program .  We talk about that a fair amount on our site because for the most part, that’s what women think they’re looking for.  So on the website we talk their language, and the vast majority of women who come to us discover that indeed by beginning to live healthfully, taking care of themselves, their body weight begins to shift to a healthier place.  That’s downward for most women who come to us because they have dieted their way to higher weights.  When they begin eating normally, and get active, their bodies naturally move to what’s right for them.  What’s often even more dramatic, though, is the change in body size independent of weight.  Dress sizes drop as bodies become leaner and stronger, a result of eating well and enjoyable physical activity.

The big difference in our program and a typical weight loss spa is that we don’t promote weight loss as a goal.  In fact, we very strongly recommend against it.  Instead, we see weight loss occur for many people as an outcome of changing attitudes, beliefs and behaviors to foster long-term well-being.  A recent study in the April 2006 issue of the Journal of The American Dietetic Association (unfortunately I think you need to subscribe to access it) confirmed this view that weight loss as a goal is counterproductive.  It defined dieting as a means of losing weight, and showed that dieting increases the risk of weight gain and weight-related problems. 

Giving up the goal of weight loss is hard for many of us, especially those of us who have been in search of it since we were children.   But imagine the difference in and productiveness of our days when we stop obsessing about our weight and just start living well, happily and healthfully going through life.  Now that’s a goal.

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Posted by Marsha on May 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 23, 2006

Good vs Bad

Goodvsbad_1 Although there are 11 definition entries for the word “good” as well as the word “bad”, I contend that these words have meanings that are so imprecise that they should be banned from use!

For example, what does “bad food” mean? What does “I was ‘good’ today” mean? In reality, nothing! Yet these terms can begin to rule our lives by making us feel constantly “guilty” for not being “good” but just being “bad.” But what does that actually mean?

A personal anecdote that has nothing to do with food: I recall working at an organization that had a very successful affinity credit card program. I was in charge of adding a benefit to the card, collision damage waiver coverage. Since the card product was held by people in all 50 states, insurance laws and restrictions in all 50 states had to be researched – but mostly there are just a few states that have very restrictive insurance laws, one of which is New York.

I read information that I obtained about New York insurance restrictions, and soon realized that it was far too complicated to answer my simple question. So I called the New York state division that handles insurance regulation. I got my answer, and continued my project. My immediate supervisor came to me later in the week, and told me that the department head (her boss) and the division head (his boss) were upset, that I should not have called the insurance regulation agency (there were no complaints from anyone, they knew about this because I mentioned it in passing). So I asked her “why? What was the problem?” and she stammered out, “Well, it’s just ‘bad’.” I replied, “okay, what was ‘bad’ about it?” and she said, “it just was.”

Now aside from the fact that you now know that I worked for someone not very skilled in expressing herself, can you see how useless the words “good” and “bad” are at conveying useful information?

So can food be described as “bad” or “good”? I say never. Apart from being virtually meaningless due to the imprecision of the language, food has no ability to impart moral qualities – can’t become “good” by eating vegetables or “bad” by consuming highly refined or processed foods (note: this link is to show the hysteria around food, not to be a guideline!).

Let’s say that milk or cheese, fresh from the farm with no rBGH or anything in the dairy that is not supposed to be there – isn’t that a “good” food? What if you’re lactose intolerant – now that’s “bad” food for you. What about lima beans, lima beans must be a “good” food, right? Except that they can make your throat swell and suffocate you if you happen to be allergic. Well, then how about chocolate, chocolate has GOT to be a bad food. Just recently “scientists reported preliminary evidence recently that cocoa and other chocolates may keep high blood pressure down, your blood flowing and your heart healthy.” Well that sounds “good” to me.

I suggest the answer is that we examine what we’re saying and communicating, not just to others but to ourselves. Let’s clean up our sloppy language, and it will help clear out our brain – banish “good” and “bad” from your thought patterns and replace them with “useful” or “not useful” – you’ll find that decisions are easier and come with a lot less “baggage” – but that’s another blog for another day.

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Posted by Gina V. on May 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 22, 2006

Exercise to Your Favorite Tunes Like Yamin It!

Elliott_3 All my friends know by now that I’ve gone a bit (ok, all the way), off the deep end with my addiction to American Idol. Not a real fan of the show in previous years, I changed my tune this year when I caught an early episode with Elliott Yamin (my fav and 2nd runner up) and I was hooked. Elliott is 90% deaf in one ear and has junvenile diabetes - but you'd never know it to hear his velvety, soulful voice...

Anyway, as I was clamoring to see where I might find music from Elliott's AI performances, I was delighted to stumble across this article which talks about a recent study conducted by Charles Emery, professor or psychology, of Ohio State University, which proves exercise combined with music boosts brain power!

"Evidence suggests that exercise improves the cognitive performance of people with coronary artery disease," Emery said. "And listening to music is thought to enhance brain power. We wanted to put the two results together.”  The study was recently published in Heart and Lung - The Journal of Acute and Critical Care.

"Exercise seems to cause positive changes in the nervous system, and these changes may have a direct effect on cognitive ability," Emery said. "Listening to music may influence cognitive function through different pathways in the brain. The combination of music and exercise may stimulate and increase cognitive arousal while helping to organize cognitive output."

Now there’s a scientific study to support what I’ve always known for myself - music does boost my brain when I exercise! (I actually believe it has the power to move your soul). I’ve believed having just the right music playing helps me work out better, more effortlessly and definitely with more commitment The perfect tunes to work out to and more importantly, of course, the perfect music as a backdrop to just about everything else you do in my life.

So, turn up the tunes, enjoy your music…I know I do. It can make your life richer and apparently it can even make you a little bit smarter!

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Posted by Cindy on May 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 19, 2006

Indulge Yourself - New York Style Cheesecake

Cooking Light - what a great magazine for delicious healthy recipes. I don’t think I’ve ever taken a recipe from their pages that wasn’t delicious. Last week I posted about the food cravings I’ve been having lately and one of my favorite foods I neglected to include was New York style cheesecake. Good Grief, who doesn’t love cheesecake?

So, leave it to the clever folks at Cooking Light to come up with a terrific recipe that tastes just as delicious and rich as a slice of cheese cake right out of your favorite neighborhood deli.  Perfect for entertaining, taking to a special event, or just enjoying all by yourself!

New York Style Cheesecake from Cooking Light -
“Because we wanted the height of a traditional New York-style cheesecake, we baked this in a spring form pan with high (3-inch) sides. If you're not sure about the dimensions of your pan, use a ruler to measure the inside of the pan. To prevent cracks and ensure a creamy texture, the cheesecake needs to cool gradually in the closed oven for one hour.”

2/3  cup all-purpose flour
3  tablespoons sugar
2  tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1  tablespoon ice water
Cooking spray

4  cups fat-free cottage cheese
2  cups sugar
2  (8-ounce) blocks 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4  cup all-purpose flour
1/2  cup fat-free sour cream
1  tablespoon grated lemon rind
1  tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4  teaspoon salt
5  large eggs

Preheat oven to 400°.
To prepare crust, lightly spoon 2/3 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place 2/3 cup flour and 3 tablespoons sugar in a food processor; pulse 2 times or until combined. Add butter; pulse 6 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. With processor on, slowly pour ice water through food chute, processing just until blended (do not allow dough to form a ball). Firmly press mixture into bottom of a 9 x 3-inch spring form pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned; cool on a wire rack.
Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

To prepare filling, strain the cottage cheese through a cheesecloth-lined sieve for 10 minutes; discard liquid. Place cottage cheese in food processor; process until smooth.
Place 2 cups sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Lightly spoon 1/4 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Add 1/4 cup flour, sour cream, and remaining ingredients to cream cheese mixture; beat well. Add cottage cheese, stirring until well blended. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until almost set. Turn oven off. Cool cheesecake in closed oven 1 hour. Remove cheesecake from oven; run a knife around outside edge. Cool to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 8 hours.

Note: You can also make the cheesecake in a 10 x 2 1/2-inch spring form pan. Bake at 300º for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until almost set. Turn oven off. Cool cheesecake in closed oven 30 minutes.

For more healthy recipes check out the other delicious websites listed on this blog or visit Green Mountain Healthy Living Recipe Favorites

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Posted by Cindy on May 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 17, 2006

Promoting a Healthy Body Image

Today is Turn Beauty Inside Out Day, an effort by Mind on the Media, whose mission is “to Open_eye inspire independent thinking and foster critical analysis of media messages.” Their initial project is this campaign, with which they hope to foster participation, discussion and awareness of images of girls and women in the media. 

I don’t think it’s possible to explain this better than they do on their site:

“Turn Beauty Inside Out” (TBIO) began with the Girls Editorial Board of New Moon® Magazine, a group of 8-14 year olds from Minnesota.  In 2000 they decided to produce a special issue of the magazine to counteract and protest People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” issue which focuses on physical appearance and celebrity.  They feel such a narrow, exclusive idea of beauty, prevalent in our culture, is very harmful to girls like themselves.  So they created the special issue in May of 2000 and were excited by the fantastic response it received from kids and adults alike. 

Can’t argue with that. 

Here are a few of the ideas the girls came up with for the advertising industry:

·        Don’t just think how it’s going to affect the target audience but everybody that is going to see the ad (boys, girls, kids, etc.)

·        Don’t assume that the people who are going to see the ads are "mindless droids"; their opinions really matter.

·        Only show women and girls when you NEED them to sell the product.

·        Don’t cut up body parts…show the woman as a whole person.

·        Use a variety of body sizes and shapes in your ads.

·        We need more diversity in ads, use more people of color.

·        Just try to sell the product without presenting it by using "sex" or any other provocative suggestions.

·        Ads make girls self esteem really low and depressed, we want ads to not do that, they should encourage and build the self esteem not take away from it.

·        Use the body in the appropriate way, stop dressing them in skimpy (or no) clothes.

·        “Girlcaught”…girls are going to catch the bad ads and call companies on them.

Can’t argue with that, either.  Whether advertisers will ever listen is another story.  But we can, and profit from the experience.  It’s all about self and size acceptance.  Just reading these ideas makes me feel better.

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Posted by Marsha on May 17, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 16, 2006

My Father the Dog

Ehbluemle340mftd3in150dpi_2 Earlier this month I came across some old photos of me on the trail of a mountain called “White Rocks Ice Bed Trailwith my friend Elizabeth Bluemle (ps –I learned about White Rocks while at Green Mountain and it’s totally amazing - a short walk to mountain views and a really cool rock slide. Special attractions: Unique views of White Rocks Cliff, potential falcon sightings, and and optional walk to cooling beds of ice).

Soon after I got Elizabeth’s announcement of publication of her first book, My Father the Dog, and decided that it was a sign that I should shamelessly promote a friend (of mine and Green Mountain’s).

Before we get into the book, let me also add that Elizabeth is my favorite bookstore proprietress (however she can only manage the Flying Pig Bookstore with the help of Theo and Inky – sorry Elizabeth, they made me put that in there - as well as Josie Leavitt). I must also thank Elizabeth for introducing me to Diana Gabaldon (for fans of DG, a new Jamie and Claire book is out now!). Don’t hesitate to ask for advice about reading materials for your kids or you – The Flying Pig has something wonderful for everyone.

Elizabeth is someone that is always engaged in life, moving forward and actively seeking to be the light in a dark place. In My Father, the Dog (with illustrations by Randy Cecil) she makes an airtight case that fathers and dogs are one in the same. Uplifting, funny and profound all at the same time.

Here's what KIRKUS REVIEWS says:

MY FATHER THE DOG is an affectionate look at the lovable similarities between dads and dogs.

The title, cover and opening sentence groom readers for this waggish tale. "My father pretends to be human, but I know he is really a dog. Consider the evidence." Dad starts the day with a good scratch; fetches the newspaper; likes the windows down in the car; has used a tree for a pit stop; growls when startled out of a nap; chases a ball; loves snacks; he looks innocent when he "toots"; and thinks "we're the best family in the world." That's a good thing, " 'cause Mom says we can keep him." The comical oil illustrations juxtapose dad and dog in synchronized behavior enacting each activity as they amusingly express the subtly underplayed scenes to a T. Even the typeface is called "SoupBone." Tail-wagging hilarity that's simply doggone funny—and a perfect Father's Day gift. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright 2006 Kirkus Reviews (April 1, 2006)

Please visit Elizabeth’s website and read the “About Me” section and you’ll see what I mean about her sharing her “light” with others – she’s put together really useful sections for Kids and Writers too.

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Posted by Gina V. on May 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack