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January 16, 2009

Diabetes: Curvy Women More Protected Against Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Got curves?

Well, a new study (performed on mice) from Harvard Medical School suggests that 'pear-shaped' bodies, i.e., those of us with a little extra padding on the hips and buttocks, may be less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than 'apples' (people who tend to have extra fat around the middle).

Not all fat is bad, relates Dr Ronald Kahn, research team leader. He and his colleagues believe that different substances in fat determine different risk levels and, if isolated, could lead to new medications to help Type 2 diabetes management.

Are You a Woman or a Mouse?

Kahn cautioned that because the report is based on the manipulation of fat cells in mice, that "it would be misleading (or wrong) at this stage to link the results of this work to whether a person is at more or less risk of developing Type 2 diabetes because of the size of their buttocks...Maintaining a healthy weight through a healthy balanced diet low in fat, salt and sugar and with plenty of fruit and vegetables is by far the best way for most people to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes."

Posted by Laura on January 16, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 15, 2009

Healthy Recipe: Italian Vegetable and White Bean Soup

There are so many ways to make “Italian soup” but this healthy recipe doesn't require soaking beans overnight or pureeing the vegetables. It's simple, hearty and tasty. The best in healthy eating!

Top it with a drizzle of olive oil, or for those who love it, try truffle oil. We're serving ours with Parmesan cheese toast, but another option is to serve it with a wedge of Parmesan cheese on the side.

Makes 4-6 servings (about 6 cups)

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 stalks celery, cut in ¼ inch slices (about ¾ cup)
2 medium carrots, cut in ¼ inch slices (about ¾ cup)
½ teaspoon salt
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 bay leaf
2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat; add onion, garlic, thyme and rosemary and sauté about 5 minutes. Stir in celery, carrots and salt and sauté about 10 more minutes. Add tomatoes, broth, basil and bay leaf and simmer about 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add beans and continue to simmer about 5-10 minutes. Remove bay leaf, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Posted by Laura on January 15, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 14, 2009

Healthy Weight vs. Normal Weight: Who's to Say?

1077713_scale_series_5 I had such a hard time deciding on a post topic this morning.  There are so many good/important things to post about. What finally won was another discussion of Oprah's weight.  

But no salacious comments here. 

The question at hand is not Oprah's up-and-down battle with serious weight loss but the measure by which many of us define success. Is it the government's definition of 'normal,' which is defined by the body mass index?  Or is it a weight at which we feel well, function well, and at which a variety of health parameters (such as blood glucose or cholesterol) tell us we're doing fine?

For a great discussion of this, check out the article by Paul Campos, author of The Obesity Myth, in Rocky Mountain News.

If you can get on board with this, I vote that we all give up talking about our weight (and weighing ourselves -- toss out that scale!).  If we want to talk, let's discuss our healthy lifestyle habits instead.   Positive = Forward.

Posted by Marsha on January 14, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

January 13, 2009

Healthy Living: Healthy? I'm Barely Among the Living

592770_quartz_clock_with_neon I’m having trouble sleeping – again. What’s up with that? I hate it when I can’t sleep. My eyes are lookin’ ever so patriotic this morning; red, semi-white and gun metal blue.

It’s two or three o'clock in the morning before I even begin to feel sleepy, and you know how watching the clock helps.

So, I was ever so pleased to read this morning the results of a recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine that suggested colds can be brought on by lack of sleep. No real big surprise there, I figure almost everything that goes wrong with me these days has to do with getting too little sleep and it’s certainly not the first time I’ve written about it here .

I’ve followed all the sleep steps and still no go. My friends all take Ambien , or some other type of sleep aid, but I have yet to succumb. I’m open to anything holistic – even a ball-peen hammer. So, let’s hear it. Give me your best tried and true get to sleep advice.

I’ll just be waiting here at my desk…catching 40 winks.

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Posted by Cindy on January 13, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 12, 2009

Diabetes, Obesity, Sleep Apnea and Cardiovascular Risk

It is well known that many people with type 2 diabetes (anywhere from 30-50%) suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), but there is also a potential cardiovascular and other health risks associated with the disorder. Being overweight or obese increases the likelihood of OSA.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your upper airway temporarily collapses while you sleep and you stop breathing (apnea) for as much as ten seconds or more.  When your brain becomes alerted to the lowered oxygen level, the body kicks in breathing again.

The strain of these repeated episodes of apnea, which can occur a hundred times per night, reduces your oxygen levels, increasing blood pressure and daytime fatigue. Insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome are often found in OSA patients, but the relative role played by OSA and obesity is still unclear.

Many physicians are now screening people with type 2 diabetes for sleep apnea. Healthy weight loss, medical treatments for obesity, nighttime pressured air therapy, and even surgery are treatments.

Quick Facts:

Posted by Laura on January 12, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 09, 2009

Weighing In: The Ruby Gettinger Show on Style Network

Admittedly, I'm late in coming to the the Sunday 8 pm (EST) Style network show called "Ruby," which began in November 2008.  The first episode I watched was this past Sunday, and I have to say I was  intrigued to learn more about Ruby Gettinger, her issues with obesity, weight discrimination, and healthy living program to lose weight.

The charismatic Gettinger was inspired to create a documentary based on her own personal journey towards permanent healthy weight loss. She has faced serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes and an enlarged heart, and had repeatedly - and unsuccessfully - tried over and over again to lose weight over the years.  Through the Style television program, Ruby Gettinger now works with a team of professionals to help her reach her goals, and has already lost 10 percent of her body weight, which greatly reduces risks associated with type 2 diabetes

On the whole I think the program is a hopeful, entertaining, and enlightening program, especially when confronting issues of obesity and weight discrimination and the difficulties in changing one's eating behavior. 

However, even with the support of her psychologist, trainer, nutritionists, physicians, and friends, I was saddened to hear Ruby speak in terms of "blowing" her diet, or eating "bad" foods, etc. This language reinforces black and white thinking, cycles of deprivation, and an adversarial relationship with food - all factors in why so many people regain weight after their weight loss program 'ends.' 

I'll keep watching - and hoping - that Ruby loses not only the pounds she wants, but also the 'diet mentality.'

Posted by Laura on January 9, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 08, 2009

Healthy Recipe: Heavenly Broiled Bass

Today's healthy recipe (from the Striped Bass Growers Association) features a very lean fish with a mild sweet flavor and firm flaky texture similar to tilapia and snapper. Striped Bass, which has been a part of some Native American cultures dating back centuries, tastes delicious whether you bake, grill - or in this case - broil it.  Enjoy healthy eating!

Makes 6 servings

2 lbs. farm-raised striped bass fillets
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1T. margarine, softened
3 T. reduced calorie mayonnaise
3 T. chopped green onion with tops
1/4 t. salt
Dash Tabasco 

Place fillets in single layer on well-oiled baking pan. Combine remaining ingredients and spread mixture on fish. Broil fish 6 inches from source of heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until top is lightly browned and fish flakes easily when tested with fork.

Note: Be careful not to broil fish too close to heat or topping will burn before fish is done. 

Posted by Laura on January 8, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 07, 2009

For Healthy Lifestyles: New Year's Resolutions We Can Live With

957450_bulls-eye I can now confess I have recently developed a new addiction, although it's one I think I am coming to terms with.  It's called Twitter, a social networking site that has been a lot of fun over the holidays.  If you're on Twitter, follow me at http://twitter.com/MarshaHudnall.

How does this relate to the title of this post?  I found through Twitter an interesting blog Healthbuzz by Jim, MD, which is composed of podcasts on a variety of health subjects.  The post that grabbed my attention was on New Year's Resolutions.  Dr. Jim acknowledged that while a focus on healthy eating and staying active would have the most impact on our health in the new year, it's a hard task for many of us.  So he came up with seven healthy lifestyle resolutions that are easier to follow and still offer a lot for our well-being.

  • Have fun & de-stress.  It's obvious why this helps our health.
  • Take care of oral hygiene.  Seems poor oral hygiene can raise risk for heart attack.
  • Start working crossword puzzles.  Keeps the mind nimble. 
  • Indulge in a little red wine daily.   The antioxidants therein provide some important health benefits. (Dr. Jim emphasizes 'a little.') 
  • Stop the cycle of snoring.  Affects both your and your sleeping partner's sleep.
  • Don't skip the seatbelt -- ever.  Ditto my comment on the first bullet.
  • Check your ergonomics. Especially for those of us almost permanently attached to the computer. 

So keep up those fitness and diet (healthy eating, that is, not weight loss diet) efforts, but when you feel like you're going around in circles with that, focus on the above for a little positive feedback in the form of success at these sometimes easier efforts.  And listen to Dr. Jim's whole spiel about them for his complete take on the subject. 
Happy New Year!

Posted by Marsha on January 7, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 06, 2009

Healthy Living: Oprah...Another Diet?

1077712_scale_series_4 Oprah, Oprah, Oprah. You can see it coming a mile away – the weight gain. A successful, powerful woman who is confident, smart, courageous and passionate – but still diets to lose weight.

I’m not judging Oprah. What weight struggling woman doesn’t feel compassion and empathy when we see one of our own go up and down the scale every few years? It hurts. It’s demoralizing. And it can’t be healthy. Not to mention she does it in front of all our eyes.

Over the years I’ve refused to go to even the most casual dinner with my friends because I felt 'fat' (not something I'm proud of), but, regardless of her size, Oprah walks regally down the red carpet for God knows what major event knowing the whole world will be talking about her every crook and cranny. The pressure must be enormous, but there she is. She doesn’t seem to shrink from her commitments - so kudos to her for that.

Oprah isn’t a God or a deity – although sometimes she plays one on TV. She’s a contemporary woman in our culture who struggles. And whether she knows it or not, every time her struggle hits the cover of tabloids or the nightly news (and it does), we learn something. No matter how much money, power and influence you have, conquering a weight problem is tough and diets don't work .

PS: I'm sure she'll be offering womens weight loss advice to all her viewers regarding her newest regime. So, viewer beware! Cuz if it walks like a diet...

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Posted by Cindy on January 6, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 05, 2009

Heart Attacks in Diabetic Women More Likely to Be Fatal

Women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes under the age of 65 are at a higher risk than their male counterparts for worse outcomes after heart attacks.

"The female advantage with fewer cardiovascular events than in men at younger ages is attenuated once a woman has the diagnosis of diabetes," report Dr. Anna Norhammar, Her team at Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm have found that the discrepency is do to risk factors, and not treatment differences.

In the study, researchers followed roughly 25 thousand heart attack patients for about 4 and a half years. Just over 20 percent of the group were women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes; men accounted for 16 percent. The female diabetics, the study determined, has a 34 percent increased risk of mortality.

Prevention and Early Intervention Key

"The present observation makes further study of the impact of improved risk factor management in this particular group of relatively young, easily identifiable, high-risk patients important," the researchers conclude, "together with attempts to initiate treatment and cardiac investigations before their first (heart attack) or the onset of heart failure."

Women seeking to manage their diabetes can take advantage of programs such as Green Mountain at Fox Run's Living WellTM  week (February 15-21, 2009), which is a community supported healthy lifestyle program, run jointly by Green Mountain and Joslin Diabetes Center. The special program couples Green Mountain at Fox Run's  renowned weight loss program with diabetes management, which includes strategies for coping with stress, emotional issues as well as behavior modification.

For more information, read more about the Living Well diabetes management program online.

Posted by Laura on January 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack