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January 17, 2007

Spotting Weight Loss Fraud

Quackeru_1 Healthy weight champion Francie Berg lists the following ways to spot weight loss fraud, as part of her promotional materials for Healthy Weight Week, starting next Sunday, January 21. 

Fraudulent weight loss products and programs often rely on unscrupulous but persuasive combinations of message, program, ingredients, mystique, and delivery system. A weight loss product or program may be fraudulent if it does one or more of the following. 

1. Claims or implies a large, fast weight loss — often promised as easy, effortless, guaranteed or permanent. (Weight loss should not exceed an average of one pound per week.) 

2. Implies weight can be lost without restricting calories or exercising, and discounts the benefits of exercise. 

3. Uses typical quackery terms such as: miraculous, breakthrough, exclusive, secret, ancient, from the Orient, accidental discovery, doctor developed. 

4. Claims to get rid of “cellulite.” (Cellulite does not exist and reference to it is a red flag warning of fraud or misinformation.) 

5. Relies heavily on undocumented case histories, before and after photos, and testimonials by “satisfied customers” (who are often paid for the testimony as written by the promoter). Weight loss claims should be typical of all clients, or include a disclaimer. 

6. Misuses medical or technical terms, refers to studies without giving complete references, claims government approval. 

7. Professes to be a treatment for a wide range of ailments and nutritional deficiencies as well as for weight loss. 

8. Makes claims which are not stated on the product label. 

9. Promotes a medically unsupervised diet of less than 1000 calories per day. 

10. Diagnoses nutrient deficiencies, as with computer-scored questionnaire, and prescribes vitamins and supplements (rather than a balanced diet). Recommends these in excess of 100% of Recommended Dietary Allowance. 

11. Promotes aids and gadgets such as body wraps, sauna belts, electronic stimulators, passive motion tables, aromatherapy, appetite patches, earrings, accupressure devices or acupuncture. 

12. Promotes a nutritional plan without at least one author or counselor who has reliable nutrition credentials. (Nutrition educators and registered dietitians are preferred.) 

13. Fails to state risks or recommend a medical exam. 

14. Uses unproven, bogus or potentially dangerous ingredients such as spirulina, glucomannan, human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG), echinacia root, bee pollen, fennel, chickweed, starch blockers, or chromium picolinate. 

15. It is illegal to make a drug claim not allowed by the Food and Drug Administration for any ingredient, food supplement, or nonprescription drug. A drug claim is any claim that the product will alter body processes, such as suppress appetite, speed up metabolism, or block digestion. The only allowed drug claim is appetite suppression — for phenylpropanolamine (PPA) and benzocaine only. 

16. Claims ingredients will surround calories, starch, carbohydrate or fat and remove them from the body are illegal drug claims. 

17. Encourages reliance on a guru figure who has the ultimate answers or secrets unknown by others. 

18. Grants mystical properties to certain foods or ingredients. 

19. Bases plan on faddish ideas, such as food allergies, forbidden foods or magic combinations of foods. 

20. Declares that the established medical community is against this 
      discovery and refuses to accept its miraculous benefits. 

Method of delivery
21. Is sold by self-proclaimed health advisors or “nutritionists,” often door-to-door, in health food stores, or chiropractor offices. 

22. Distributed through hard-sell mail order advertisements, television infomercials, or ads which list an 800 number without address, indicating possible Postal Service action against the company. 

23. Demands large advance payments or long-term contracts. Payment should be pay-as-you-go, or refundable. (May display prominent money-back guarantee, but a common complaint against these companies is that they do not honor their own guarantees). 

24. Uses high pressure sales tactics, one-time-only deals, or recruitment for a pyramid sales organization. 

This year, instead of succumbing to such tactics, try starting the year with another focus.  Check out tips from Green Mountain at Fox Run for starting the new year with a new outlook that will help you make it your best year yet!

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Posted by Marsha on January 17, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

January 16, 2007

New and Improved - NOT!

Calendar01januaryq751945x1522_2 It's inevitable that January turns the mind to "resolutions" and a "new you." We're bombarded with messages of how the "new and improved" (fill in name of product or service) can make a "new and improved" you.

If "new and improved" makes you think that someone is calling you "old and defective," well, you think like I do! You may need some help putting some balance into your life, some guidance in learning how to make yourself a priority, some assistance brushing the dust out of your wings, but you are not defective!

Take a look at a new way to consider resolutions, with this resolution make over, and reject with both hands and feet any suggestion that you are out to pasture!

I just heard this, "When all you've got is a hammer, pretty much everything looks like a nail." I say, when all you've got is your self-worth, you've got everything!

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Posted by Gina V. on January 16, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 15, 2007

Project Runway

Up to now, we hadn’t heard how American fashion groups (New York and Los Angeles),  were going to handle the too skinny to model controversy. As I reported in two prior posts other countries have chosen to take fairly aggressive steps in controlling who can participate in their fashion shows and have even gone further by dictating acceptable standards for high fashion models.

Last week The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), (one of several fashion-industry groups from around the world to encourage models to adopt healthy eating and lifestyle habits), came out with their recommendatins. Some other groups have put out weight limits, though the New York group stops short of that. Here are the recommendations made by them:

- Keep models under 16 off the runway and don't allow models under 18 to work at fittings or photo shoots past midnight.

-Educate those in the industry to identify the early warning signs of eating disorders.

-Require models identified as having an eating disorder to receive professional help and only allow those models to continue with approval from that professional.

-Develop workshops on the causes and effects of eating disorders, and raise awareness of the effects of smoking and tobacco-related disease.

-During fashion shows, provide healthy meals and snacks, while prohibiting smoking and alcohol.

Is it enough? No mention of body mass index, and how will these recommendations be enforced? Recommendations are not requirements. Although, there is no argument that this is a least a step in the right direction, it feels to me much more like a group trying to head off criticism rather than one that really wants to change the current climate.

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Posted by Cindy on January 15, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 12, 2007


Ok, come on now. A cookie diet? Is there anything right with that sentence? It’s 2007 and we’re still entertaining the idea of healthy lifestyle change via diet cookies, powders and shakes? Worse yet, do news organizations still consider this news?

Here’s the skinny, another ‘medically supervised’ diet, the Smart for Life Wieght Management Program, known as the Cookie Diet, has come out this week promoting their new (albiet old) diet which they claim helps people successfully slim down.

"It's basically protein bars, that are cut into two-inch by two-inch squares," said Allan Magaziner, medical director of the Smart for Life Weight Management Centers in the Philadelphia. According to their website the low-calorie diet's daily intake consists of six cookies which contain some amino acids, proteins and fibers that supposedly help curb hunger for a period of time. (Do they ever?) Also offered are shakes and soups for alternatives (Is this is new?) and a regular dinner consisting of meat or fish and fresh vegetables. (What, no pasta, no whole grains, no fruit?)

So, I ask you…why can’t you have real meals the other two meals of the day, instead of cookies and shakes? What’s the logic? The typical diet bar and/or shake is between 190 and 280 calories. Instead of a 2X2 inch bar, why not have a bowl of oatmeal and some fresh fruit, or a piece of toast, with peanut butter, jam and a ripe yummy banana with a cold glass of skim milk? You tell me which is healthier and more satisfying?

You know what? Why not buy yourself some real cookies for a good cause. The Girl Scouts of America's cookie sales campaign ramps up this week. Just so’s ‘ya know, I’m a ‘thin mints’ kinda gal.

And pour me a glass of milk, please…

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Posted by Cindy on January 12, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 11, 2007

Pomegranate Salad

Maintaining a healthy eating lifestyle is never more important than when it comes to preventing cancer. The American Institue for Cancer Research is dedicated to helping you reduce your cancer risk through 'in-season' healthy recipes. Delicious and fortifying, this pomegrante salad delights the senses with tangy lime and spicy dijon accents. Your body (and taste buds) will thank you!

(Makes 6 Servings)

  2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  2 Tbsp. olive oil
  1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  2 medium bunches arugula, rinsed well and thick stems removed
  2 firm but ripe pears, halved, cored and each cut into 6 wedges
  Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
  1/3 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped (optional)
  1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (from 1 medium pomegranate)
  18 rinsed and dried leaves of Boston, Bibb, or green-leaf lettuce (optional)

In small bowl, whisk together lime juice, oil and mustard. In salad bowl, place arugula and pears. Toss with just enough dressing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with feta, pecans (if using) and pomegranate seeds, and serve. Or line salad plates with lettuce leaves and mound the salad in center of each.

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 January 11, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 10, 2007

Get Ready for the Slim Chance Awards during Healthy Weight Week

Free_cheese As the national, even international, rite of after-the-holidays-dieting – or trying to diet and failing -- continues, it’s worth taking a look at the winners of the 2006 Slim Chance Awards.  These awards are sponsored by the Healthy Weight Network, the Society for Nutrition Education, and the National Council Against Health Fraud.

Worst Claim: ChitoGenics. The ChitoGenics stable of cures for the person who wants to lose, say, “20 pounds in one week … without dieting” includes ChitoGold, ChitoGenics Mahuang, PowerUp Weight Loss Formula and Plus Chito Patches. It is claimed to be the “leader when it comes to blending herbs that effectively block sugars, carbohydrates, and fats in your diet … combined with a natural appetite suppressant fat [and] filtering for cholesterol health .” (Undisclosed: kickbacks to radio hosts.)

Worst Product : PediaLean . Advertised in tabloids and magazines including the Enquirer and Redbook, PediaLean is a fiber capsule claimed to cause substantial weight loss in overweight children. Allegedly it is “clinically proven safe and effective for use by overweight children and adolescents,” but experts say the Italian study offered provides no valid scientific proof, is poorly-designed, had a high dropout rate, and revealed abdominal discomfort in many of the children tested. Its active ingredient glucomannan is known to swell in the body and can clump and form an obstructive mass, sometimes causing esophageal and gastrointestinal obstruction. PediaLean is one of six weight loss products for which the FTC, as of May 2006, is requiring payment of $3 million to settle deceptive claim violations.

Most Outrageous Claim: Isacleanse. The detox idea is seemingly the perfect scam – it sets up a problem that doesn’t exist, then provides a solution. Ads for Isacleanse warn of toxins building up, clogging organs and deteriorating the body – unless regularly detoxified. (This doesn’t happen as the human body is naturally self-cleaning.) A “healthier, leaner body” is promised in 30 days through ingesting a medicine chest full of Isagenix cures including IsaFlush for “regularity,” diuretics, aloe pills, vitamins, ionic trace minerals, electrolyte drinks, Isalean Shakes and herbal teas. For those who are frankly more interested in wealth-building, Isagenix turns a neat trick; on the same web page it alternately offers a get-rich-quick scheme on deceiving others about the need to detoxify.

Worst Gimmick: Magic Ear Staple. What’s new is that this is a real staple, piercing the band of cartilage in the upper ear where, supposedly, it presses on an acupressure point that curbs appetite. Average weight losses of 2-5 pounds a week and success rates of 90 percent are claimed. It’s illegal in Florida, and damaging publicity in Mississippi was related to infections from “underground [operations] in parking garages, bathrooms, coin laundries and the back seats of cars,” complains Marie Fallow, a Mississippi-based ear stapler. Fallow says she has stapled ears of some 3,000 clients, is doing 2,400 new ears a month, and charges $75 for both ears. Training offered by chiropractor Carissa Hamilton-Toups of southern Louisiana costs $850 for one afternoon group class (in which students staple each other) and $1200 for a private session. Trainees leave armed with two staple guns, a set of rubber ears, staple remover, paperwork to immediately get started in the stapling business, and a warning: remove staples in four weeks or risk severe infection and the staples becoming embedded.

The 2007 Slim Chance Awards will be presented during Healthy Weight Week, which begins January 21.  Stay tuned to read some sure-to-be-interesting-but-false claims for ending weight woes.  And if you’re looking for an approach that offers real solutions instead of false promises, consider an approach that encourages you to feed yourself well, move your body supportively and feel good about yourself now, not when you reach some magic number.  Try an intuitive eating (mindful eating) approach, like that offered at Green Mountain, to help you get in touch with what feels good and really works for you.

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Posted by Marsha on January 10, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 09, 2007

Day Diary

Open202420hours I was thinking about starting a diary – Lord knows I’ve bought enough writing books and pens! – and BAM, an article about “Day Diaries” jumps onto my desk.

Here’s how the Day Diary started: Joni B. Cole was having a bad day, and she started thinking about other women’s lives – and of course, her imaginings included perfect women having perfect days. Thinking beyond herself, she created a book series and the concept of Day Diaries, as she puts it, “out of self pity, curiosity, and a need to connect.”

The concept is easy – write down what you do in 24 hours. How much is enjoyable? What feelings do you have as you interact? Part itinerary, part journal, a day diary is a way to reflect on your life though the lens of a single day. No big commitment, just one 24-hour day. Pick up your pencil, grab a pen and the back of an envelope, boot up the hard drive – you can find the spectacular of life within the moments of your life. Then share it.

If you want to be part of something bigger and organized, pick March 27th for your “Day” and add your entry to the online gallery www.my247life.com that Colgate-Palmolive’s Lady Speed Stick 24/7 is sponsoring. The site won’t be up until March 5th, and someone’s entry will be included in the 2008 edition of This Day in The Life: Diaries from Women across America.

Tips for Creating a Day Diary

  • Keep your diary close at hand to jot down activities, thoughts, feelings, and observations as they occur throughout the day.
  • Write your day diary in the way you are most comfortable, whether on the computer or in a notebook.
  • Put down what is in your head and heart without censure or second guessing.
  • Don’t overlook the small things; it is the details that make a day.
  • Revisit your day diary a week, a year, a decade after creating it. How did you spend your time? What moments stand out? How did your behavior and attitude work in your favor…or get in the way of productivity, happiness, and fulfillment.
  • Day diaries are meant to be shared and swapped, as a means of fostering a greater appreciation and understanding among women. Use the experience to connect with your mothers, sisters, friends, co-workers, etc.

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Posted by Gina V. on January 9, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 08, 2007

Where's The Truth In Advertising?

Does anyone still believe in the old adage, truth in advertising? Remember when we were young and innocent and actually believed what we were told on television? We were confident that scientific claims about consumer products had to be true – at least at some level. I was always under the impression that companies making claims about their products had to back up the claims with some level of science before their products landed on our TV sets.

Well, supposedly that's true says the Federal Trade Commission. If they can't prove their claims with science, they can’t make the claim. Of course, this doesn’t mean they have to stop selling their products - they just can’t claim their products do things for us they don’t.

Over the last couple years we’ve been bombarded with miraculous weight loss claims.  The newly svelte Anna Nicole Smith smiling seductively into the camera and telling us her new incredible weight loss was  due to , "TrimSpa, baby." Then there was the onslaught of  Cortisol commercials. Remember, Cortislim? It’s the drug you can only afford to buy if you have more than 10 or 15 pounds to lose. (Cortisol is the hormone that controls your body's stress levels which contributes to weight gain). Cortislim claims it can fight off the fat-accumulating effects of this hormone.

If you've seen these ads and have been tempted to try any of these products, you should know that on Jan. 4, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it was imposing a total of $25 million in fines against the companies that make these two products, as well as the makers of Xenadrine EFX and One-A-Day WeightSmart, for false advertising claims. The FTC charged that the weight-loss and weight-control claims these companies made on behalf of their products "were not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence."

Does anyone really need to be told anymore that there are no quick fixes? I suppose we can all live in hope. I think there's really only one way to begin feeling better again - changing those things in your life that make you feel bad. Here's to health!

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Posted by Cindy on January 8, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 05, 2007

A Little Help From Your Friends

We’ve been talking a lot as of late about meeting the New Year with the right frame of mind. About making changes and coming to terms with your health – once and for all. Making big changes or even small changes is always made easier with a little help from your friends. I thought it might be worthwhile to revisit a blog post from July of last year, where I addressed the idea of gathering a team around you who might help you better meet your goals.  Here’s an excerpt:

It Takes a Village                                                                     

I’ve been reminded over the last month how important it is to find a team of people who can support you when you’re looking to make important changes in your life - like getting healthier or just feeling better.  I don’t know why I’ve always been bad about asking people for help, but I suspect I’m not alone. Doing everything ourselves, never letting on that we have weaknesses or need help can be an unproductive part of our human nature, so we often suffer in silence.

Feeling better is a relative term and has different meaning for each of us. It could mean making that long over due trip to your doctor to get a check up, or looking for a personal trainer who can help you work through your personal fitness issues.  It could mean employing a registered dietician or nutritionist to support your efforts to eat healthfully, or maybe its time to consider a terrific therapist who you can spill your guts to. Read more here

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Posted by Cindy on January 5, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 04, 2007

George Foreman's Greek Style Chicken Kebabs

Want to deliver a one-two knockout dish at lunch or dinner? Well, then - "just George it!" That's the phrase to say when making a meal on George Foreman's 'lean, mean grilling machine,' (but any grill will work). These delicious Greek Style Chicken Kebabs are George's healthy eating philosophy on a stick: fresh ingredients, perfectly grilled, that can satisfy even a heavyweight-champion-of-the-world appetite! Try it and you'll see how George Foreman's healthy recipes can make you a legend, too.

(See Video on MSNBC) Boxing great George Foreman demonstrates recipes from "The Next Grilleration," with "Today" host Katie Couric.

Make 4 servings

  2 tablespoons olive oil
  Juice of 1 lemon
  4 garlic cloves, crushed
  1 teaspoon dried oregano
  1 teaspoon salt
  1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
  8 (8-inch) bamboo skewers

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken and onion and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Preheat the grill to high.

Thread the chicken and onion onto the skewers, reserving the marinade in the bowl. Grill the skewers (in batches, if necessary, depending upon the size of your grill) for 2 minutes and then brush with the reserved marinade; discard any remaining marinade. Grill for about 2 minutes more, until the chicken has taken on grill marks and is cooked through. Serve immediately.

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 January 4, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack