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April 16, 2007

Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters

C_0743287967I’ve spoken several times on the perils of going to the gym. It is a place rife with stories of women who are in the never-ending search for the perfect body, or perhaps even more illusive – someone else’s body.

Not too long ago I was going nowhere on the stationary bike in my gym and noticed two young women cycling their brains out in front of me - they couldn’t have been more than 14 or 15. Both dressed rather provocatively, in the shortest of shorts accompanied with t-shirts tied tightly in a knot under their sports bras with lots of beaded bracelets (Lindsay style) and spray on tans. They didn’t strike me as young athletes in training, but rather two friends in the gym trying to improve their bodies – bodies that were by anyone’s standards already beautiful. Well, this is America afterall (and a fat America at that), so who says two teenage women shouldn’t be spending their spare time in the gym?

Ok, me. When I was 14 never, never, would my friends and I have considered the gym a fun way to spend a sunny afternoon - so what do we suppose brought these two young women to the gym? A lack of athletic opportunities, no physical education in the schools, or something more sinister?

A wonderful new book has just been published this March, entitled, Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body published by Simon & Schuster's Free Press. Courtney E. Martin a talented young writer, has written a book about disordered eating and body image from a new and fresh perspective. From Courtney's website:

"Filled with information from expert psychologists and hundreds of interviews with women with eating disorders, Courtney E. Martin's Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters is a wake-up call to women of all ages and races to recognize the epidemic of eating disorders and what it's doing to them, their daughters, friends, and relatives. Courtney Martin argues passionately that women must commit themselves to developing new attitudes about their bodies, and redirect the negative energy they spend on denying themselves contentment in order to become re-engaged with the possibilities of a better life." - Simon & Schuster

This may be the perfect gift to give that special young woman in your life who just doesn't think you get it.

For more on the subject, read an article by Marsha, "Healthy Eating, Feeding Our Daughters Well", here.

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Posted by Cindy on April 16, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


April 13, 2007

Sleep Like a Baby and Lose Weight?

There’s more news (albeit not new news) on sleep deprived adults. A recent Australian study (they can’t be more stressed than Americans – can they?), reports that only 3% get the recommended 8 hours of sleep.

Back in 2004, Michael Breus, PhD, ABSM spoke in depth about the negative effects that sleep deprivation can have on efforts to lose weight:

“Studies published in The Journal of the American Medical Association and The Lancet suggests that sleep loss may increase hunger and affect the body's metabolism, which may make it more difficult to maintain or lose weight.” 

Can’t Sleep?  Here are 10 Tips from the National Sleep Foundation754054_sleeping_puppy_2_2

1. Maintain a regular bed and wake time schedule including weekends

2. Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or hot tub and then reading a book or listening to soothing music.

3. Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool.

4. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.

5. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex.

6. Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime.

7. Exercise regularly. It is best to complete your workout at least a few hours before bedtime.

8. Avoid caffeine (e.g. coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate) close to bedtime. It can keep you awake.

9. Avoid nicotine (e.g. cigarettes, tobacco products). Used close to bedtime, it can lead to poor sleep.

10. Avoid alcohol close to bedtime.

For more helpful information on getting a better night’s sleep, visit the National Sleep Foundation website and learn more about 'Healthy Sleeping Tips'.

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Posted by Cindy on April 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack


April 12, 2007

Green Mountain Granola

Banish the breakfast blahs! Enjoy this favorite from the Green Mountain at Fox Run kitchens for a hearty, healthy eating start to your day.

Makes 12 ¼-cup servings

1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup coconut (optional)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 250°F. In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, nuts, sunflower seeds, coconut and brown sugar. In a separate bowl, mix maple syrup, oil and salt; stir into the dry ingredients. Spread mixture out on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake for about 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and mix in raisins.

Note: you can substitute other nuts for the pecans; craisins or other dried fruit for raisins.

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 April 12, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


April 11, 2007

Healthy Living: Attitudes of Mindfulness

Think We’ve got a chalkboard in our stairwell at Green Mountain at Fox Run on which we list an ‘attitude of mindfulness for the day’ accompanied by a pithy quote that we think illustrates the point.  It’s one way we try to help women begin to think differently about weight loss and living.  That’s because thinking precedes our actions, and if we can change the way we think, our behaviors will follow.  Too many of us are caught up in a diet mentality that exacerbates, if not causes, weight struggles. 

Take time to read about the attitudes of mindfulness (here’s the link to the attitudes of mindfulness on our website again).  I think their potential impact is obvious.  Here’s an example of quotes we came up with to illustrate each attitude. 

Non-Judging     With our thoughts, we create the world.    ~Buddha

Patience     Patience, and the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.     ~Chinese proverb

Beginner’s Mind    Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.

Trust       …and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.     ~Anais Nin

Non-Striving       Be yourself. Life is precious as it is.There is no need to run, strive, search or struggle. Just be.         ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Acceptance    Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better; it’s about befriending who we are already.        ~Pema Chrodon

Letting Go    Don’t worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do that.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.    
~Robert Thurman

Generosity     What people really need is a good listening to.

Hope this helps your day be a mindful one!

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Posted by Marsha on April 11, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


April 10, 2007

Healthy Living – Redefining Healthy Eating

I’m not a fan of studies. You know exactly which ones I mean, they come out almost daily, usually with information that conflicts the prior day’s study, and always reported in a sound bite fashion that leaves the average person afraid to eat, breathe or sit in a rocking chair.

Remember the one about not stretching before exercise, as it is very bad for you, and caused injury? That was directed at professional athletes whose sport required physical contact (ie football players might do well not to have stretched and loosened muscles and joints when they were going to hit from the side by 1000 pounds of on-rushing linebackers - not the typical scenario for most exercisers).

Or what about the one about avoiding drinking water during exercise? That was a caution against drinking gallons of fluids while doing prolonged, vigorous exercise, like running a marathon; again, not much useful info there for someone that exercises for general health.

But today, there is a study that we can all appreciate…the health benefits of dark chocolate. Here’s the “sound-bite” on the study…

Next time you're craving an afternoon snack, pass up the “healthy” green tea for some dark chocolateCho_chocolate_heart_lg  if you're hoping to battle high blood pressure A study released Monday is one of the first to be done on chocolate and shows that cocoa's polyphenols or flavonoids, help lower high blood pressure, Dirk Taubert, senior lecturer in pharmacology and toxicology Cologne and lead author of the report, told HealthDay News. Taubert's team's report included 10 studies on cocoa with 173 participants and five tea studies with 343 participants. The tea trials yielded no reduction in blood pressure.

IN YOUR FACE GREEN TEA!!!!

Read the study in its entirety - green tea versus dark chocolate – and you’ll find out that cocoa appears to have benefits in preventing Alzheimer’s too. I’m not advocating overeating chocolate (or overeating anything, including carrots) but I am trying to challenge your thoughts about what constitutes “healthy eating” in hopes that you’ll see that restrictive notions of what’s “good” for us don’t really lead us to the best choices. Take a look at The Art and Science of Snacking – another view of eating well by Green Mountain’s nutritionist and blogger Marsha Hudnall, MS, RD, CD.

Posted by Gina V. on April 10, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


April 09, 2007

Green Mountain at Fox Run - Mother, Daughter, Sister Program

Motherdaughter2This year is flying by! One more week and taxes will be just a distant memory. Then, before we know it, it will be Mother's Day. Usually Mother’s Day is celebrated by allowing mom to relax and refrain from her motherly duties for just one day, but what about the rest of the year? A girl needs a little love and care everyday, doesn't she? Think about it, when is the last time you really had a great time with your mom, or your daughter or with your sister?

Well, I've got just the ticket. Green Mountain at Fox Run invites you to join them for their 3rd Annual Mother, Daughter, Sister Program beginning this May.

• Discover familial, historical and cultural influences that affect how we as women feel about our bodies and, therefore, how we take care of them. The mother-daughter relationship is the earliest and most significant influence.

• Explore more deeply the complex ways in which food and body shape/size impact women of all ages today.

• If you're the mother of a college-age daughter who struggles with eating and eating disorders, you can learn how to be supportive, to make a big difference for your daughter who is under much more pressure to ‘be thin' for today's standards of beauty.

• Enjoy adventures together – just like you used to. Hike forested New England trails, or try Pilates or yoga for the very first time.

• Learn new ways to take care of yourself and each other. At the end of the day, pamper yourself with any assortment of spa treatments.

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Enrollment is limited. For more information, call Gina or Amy at (800) 448-8106 or (802) 228-8885 - M-F, 9am-5pm EST. You can also register on line to reserve your spot now. Make sure to mention Mother-Daughter Month in the ‘Special Comments’ section.

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Posted by Cindy on April 9, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack


April 06, 2007

Healthy Eating - The Incredible Edible Egg

77229_21510973Easter Sunday is just around the corner. And for many of us this means colorful dye, marshmallow peeps and hardboiled eggs coming out our bunny ears! So, in honor of the season of fertility and renewal, I thought I’d give another shout out to the good old incredible edible egg!

Here’s a ½ dozen reasons to love eggs:

1) Eggs are still the best source of pure protein. Each egg is a little miracle containing niacin, riboflavin, chlorine, magnesium, potassium, sodium and sulfur as well as other vitamins, minerals and fats, all wrapped up in only 75 calories.

2) Eggs are affordable, coming in at an average cost of $1.51 per dozen.

3) Eggs are versatile. At the time of the French Revolution, the clever French already knew 685 different ways of preparing eggs (including, of course, the omelet).

4) Eggs are fun to color and decorate. Eggs were colored, blessed, exchanged and eaten as part of the rites of spring long before Christian times.

5) Breaking an egg on the threshold of your new home before entering will bring much luck and healthy babies!

6) Eggs are fun to find on Easter morning...

…and a half dozen more interesting uses I’m sure. Happy Easter!

More good news about the cholesterol found in eggs here: Science News

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Posted by Cindy on April 6, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack


April 05, 2007

Healthy Eating: Kid-Friendly Fruit Kabobs

Kids love creative projects (and - let's face it - to play with their food), so fruit kabobs are a no-brainer. And they’re a sweet your kids will love -- no need to tell them it’s good for them!

This healthy recipe was found on a site called Kids Health, which lists many recipes for kids, including those intended to help with specific illnesses such as Cystic Fibrosis, Diabetes, and Celiac Disease. Learn more about healthy eating for children...

Makes 4 servings

  1 apple
  1 banana
  1/3 c. red seedless grapes
  1/3 c. green seedless grapes
  2/3 cup pineapple chunks
  1 cup yogurt
  1/4 c. dried coconut, shredded
  1/3 cup strawberries (optional)

Equipment:

  knife (for adult assistance)
  2 wooden skewer sticks
  large plate

  1. Prepare the fruit by washing the grapes, washing the apples and cutting them into small squares, peeling the bananas and cutting them into chunks, and cutting the pineapple into chunks, if it's fresh. Put the fruit onto a large plate.
  2. Spread coconut onto another large plate.
  3. Slide pieces of fruit onto the skewer and design your own kabob by putting as much or as little of whatever fruit you want! Do this until the stick is almost covered from end to end.
  4. Hold your kabob at the ends and roll it in the yogurt, so the fruit gets covered. Then roll it in the coconut.
    Repeat these steps with another skewer.

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 April 5, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


April 04, 2007

Healthy Eating: Feeding Our Daughters Well

Mother_daughter_2 The title of this post is the same as for a FitBriefing on healthy eating for children that we posted yesterday on Green Mountain’s website.  The idea was spurred by the fact that Mother’s Day is coming up next month, and we wanted to use the opportunity to start people thinking about the impact they as parents have on their children in terms of eating, body image and self esteem.  The article lists ways we can help our children learn attitudes and behaviors that will help them avoid eating and weight struggles as adults.

My admittedly unscientific survey of my daughter’s friends suggests that girls today are as bad if not worse in their body worry than my generation.  I listen to the beautiful young girls who are my 18-year-old daughter’s friends, and often feel discouraged as I hear them spout the same diet nonsense that I heard (and unfortunately still hear) come out of the mouths of my friends (and many of the baby boomer women of which we are a small subgroup).  No small wonder, as those girls’ mothers are where they learn much of it.  They see their moms counting calories, restricting foods they call bad, frowning at their bodies in the mirror, all the while despairing over their imperfections.

I will admit, though, that I do hear some wise words emerge from my daughter’s friends, too.  It’s usually the daughters of self-sufficient women who don’t seem to spend much time worrying about the size and shape of their bodies.  They’re involved in much headier stuff.

Of course, children hear a lot of diet and weight nonsense from other sources than their parents.  But the fact is that parents are primary role models for their children, whether the parents – or the children -- like it or not.  It’s time to stop disparaging our bodies and start treating them well, if for nothing else than our children’s sake.  We’ll benefit immeasurably from it, too.

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Posted by Marsha on April 4, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


April 03, 2007

Healthy Eating - Food is Food!

The written word cannot express how vehemently I believe that food must be seen as nothing more than food - not a self-righteous choice, not good or bad, not fattening or slimming, not a political statement, just food!

And no one's opinions about food makes me crazier than the self-righteous, self-appointed food finger pointer, MorFingerpointinggan Spurlock, who was the creator and "star" of "Super Size Me." The movie's premise was to watch Spurlock force food into his smug mug for thirty days, and watch what happened. Okay, spoiler coming up - he gains weight. He choose to overeat exclusively at McDonald's and to stop exercising. What the point of that was still escapes me, other than to show that OVEREATING (regardless of who made the food) and NOT EXERCISING has a deleterious effect upon the human body. He believes it shows that McDonald's is bad for you. Never let facts get in the way of a movie that grossed $28 million worldwide, and has led to Mr. Spurlock's personal success, and that of his girlfriend after she "de-toxed" him. He's now the "go-to" guy about nutrition.

And I'm not the only one that finds the premise of this movie half-baked.

In the Netherlands, Wim Meij, a reporter with the Algemeen Dagblad (a Dutch newspaper), performed another experiment. He also limited himself to eating at McDonald's, but instead of choosing just any meal from the menu, he chose carefully, with an emphasis on salads. He came out at least as healthy as he was before he started his 30-day experiment and lost 6.5 kg (14 lb) in the process.

In New Jersey documentary filmmaker Scott Caswell also performed a similar experiment. The results of his diet can be seen in his movie, which is titled Bowling for Morgan. It can be seen for free at BowlingForMorgan.com. Like Spurlock, Caswell consumed only McDonald's food, but generally opted for the healthier choices and did not gorge himself—a fact that Caswell oftens compares to the overeating done by Spurlock, who was often seen forcing himself to eat when he was not hungry. Over the course of the experiment, he lost 19 pounds and his cholesterol fell sharply.

Soso Whaley, of Kensington, New Hampshire, made her own film about dieting at McDonald's, called Me and Mickey D. The film follows Whaley as she spends three 30-day periods on the diet. She dropped from 175 to 139 pounds, eating 2,000 kilocalories a day at McDonald's. The film was funded by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (Whaley holds a C.E.I. fellowship).

Raleigh, North Carolina resident Merab Morgan went on a 90-day diet in which she ate at McDonald's exclusively, but she limited her intake to 1,400 kilocalories (5,900 kilojoules) per day. She lost 37 pounds in the process.

San Antonio, Texas resident Deshan Woods went on a 90-day diet in which he lost nearly 14 pounds. He documented the entire experiment on his website LiquidCalories.com. His overall health improved while sticking to a diet mainly in burgers and fries. He stayed away from sugary drinks and stuck to non-caloric beverages instead. His average caloric intake was 2,500 kilocalories a day, which included 130 grams of fat. His cholesterol dropped from 204 to around 160.

By way of comparison, the Starvation Study conducted at the University of Minnesota in 1944-45 used a starvation diet of approximately 1570 kilocalories a day on conscientious objectors for six months, causing an average 25% loss in body weight, simulating the loss of residents of the Warsaw Ghetto. The starvation study found for purposes of weight loss—and subsequent weight gain—it really did not matter what food one ate: what mattered was how many calories one ate. Of course, the focus of that study was not on blood chemistry, cholesterol, or liver function. We use this study at Green Mountain at Fox Run to demonstrate effects of semi-starvation, aka dieting: pre-occupation with food, rapid weight regain plus more once normal caloric intake restored, depression, short tempers, food hording, etc.

Professor James Painter, chair of Eastern Illinois University’s School of Family and Consumer Sciences, made the documentary Portion Size Me. The film follows two graduate students, one a 254-pound male and the other a 108-pound female, as they ate a fast-food diet for a month but in portions appropriate for their size. Both students lost weight and their cholesterol improved by the end of the experiment.[4]

It's easy to point a finger, Mr. Spurlock, until you realize that 3 fingers are pointing back at you.

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Posted by Gina V. on April 3, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack