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« February 2009 | Main

March 17, 2009

Don't Worry...

...be happy, now!1063923_im_wet  (link)

In support of Bobby McFerrin's theory above, Dr. Hillary Tindle of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and her colleagues analyzed information collected from 97,000+ women involved in the Women's Health Initiative study. (None of these women had either heart disease or cancer prior to the study). 

Tindle and her group took 50 to 74 year olds from the study and had them answer questionnaires about their attitudes at the beginning of the trial. What they found was, optimists expected good things to happen and cynical subjects were extremely mistrustful of other people, according to survey definitions.

Not surprisingly, after eight years, optimistic women had a 14 percent lower risk of dying from any cause than their pessimistic counterparts, according to research Tindle presented last week. Women who scored high on cynical hostility had a 16 percent higher risk of death than their counterparts. Optimists had a 44 percent lower risk of cancer-related death and cynically hostile women had a 142 percent higher risk of cancer death.

I hope you choose to believe this study. Cynicism could be hazardous to your health.

Source Articles: Trust Me, The Glass Is Half Full - Boston.com


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Posted by Cindy on March 17, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 16, 2009

Treat Yourself to the Right Bra

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According to experts and studies about 80 percent of women are wearing the wrong bra size. I recently read an article in New York magazine that touched on the problem many women face. In the middle of a bra fitting, the saleswoman told the author she needed to lose weight. "Nightmares like this have kept me in ill-fitting bras for years," wrote the author. Many of us are reluctant to be measured and prodded by a stranger, but wearing a well-fitting bra can bring unexpected results. It's a little something that you can do for yourself that can mean the difference between feeling great and feeling uncomfortable in your skin. The right fitting bra can improve body image, ease back pain. And remember, there's a bra out there for you. Here are a few tips to get you started.

While many women wear a compression or "short top" bra for physical activity, the bra experts at Intimacy recommend a medium to high impact bra with seams, shape and cup-depth like the La Breeza Sports bra for most physical activities and sports. Many fuller-busted women tend to try to wear minimizer or compression bras that may not offer enough support, especially for higher impact activities. Consult this primer on choosing a sports bra from the Women's Sports Medicine Center.

Make sure the back band is snug. The back band should provide 90% of a bra’s support while the straps should only provide 10 percent.

Check out Intimacy's Top 10 Bra Mistakes. It may surprise you to learn that you're wearing the wrong cup size.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly: Don't blame yourself for an ill-fitting bra. "The truth is that every woman blames her own body for the fit problems she has," writes Susan Nethero at Intimacy. A bra should be tailored to your body, not the other way around. Don't let embarrassment self-blame or stop you from finding the right bra.

Other bra resources:

Title Nine

Bra Smyth

Bare Necessities



Photo by tracyhunter on flickr.

Posted by Emily on March 16, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 13, 2009

Combating the Winter Blues: Keep Your Palate Pleased

Just when I thought we'd rounded a corner and spring was in sight, a foot of snow drops from the sky this week. As some of us head into winter's home stretch, I thought it might be a good time to offer a few tips for combating the winter blues and keeping your palate happy when the season seems to drag and all you can think about are margaritas on the back porch. But the in-between seasons offer us plenty of opportunities to treat ourselves well:

Go to your local greenhouse. Greenhouse growers offer produce year-round. It's a great way to support local farmers while getting your fresh fruits and veggies. Search for a greenhouse near you on Local Harvest.

Root veggies are your friends. Turnips (pictured), beets, radishes and parsnips are all in season. They'll add color to your plate and they're easy to cook (you can saute, roast or steam them).

Think hearty. Stews, pot pies and lean meats can really satisfy after a cold day. There are plenty of ways to prepare hearty meals that are healthy. Our recipe for healthy eggplant Parmesan is a perennial favorite.

Make your own stock. Roast a chicken. When you've eaten most of the meat, put the bones in a pot with carrots, celery and onion and keep it on a low simmer all day. Voila - you've got homemade soup stock and your kitchen smells cozy!

Combat cabin fever by anticipating warmer times. Pesto tastes like summer. Keep it the freezer and pull it out on those nights when your pasta could use a little pizazz. Make your own or buy it premade (Costco has a delicious and affordable pesto).

Set yourself up for success. No matter what the season, there will be nights when you just don't feel like cooking. Prepare meals in advance and freeze them.

Photo: Turnips by John-Morgan via flickr.

Posted by Emily on March 13, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

It Happened This Week: Happiness is a Size 14 Figure

The Daily Mail explains why "Happiness is Having a Size 14 Figure."

Utah, Hawaii and Wyoming top the list in American "happiness" poll, reports the AP.

This month's issue of Health magazine lists "America's Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants." Panera Bread gets top rank.

Reader's Digest says Healthy Eating Begins at the Supermarket.

As a follow-up to our latest FitBriefing on eating healthy during the recession, check out this guide to saving money by growing your own produce, via The Daily Tiffin.

Marsha found a neat blog called How To Cook Like Your Grandmother.

Posted by Emily on March 13, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 12, 2009

Healthy Recipe: Poached Pears in Cranberry Brandy

Picture 3 We're fans of blogger Joie de Vivre's healthy gourmet recipes. She's been dropping pounds since reading French Women Don't Get Fat. So it's true! You can eat like a queen, eat what you want and still lose weight. The secret is eating for pleasure. If you want to know more about this, check out our FitBriefing on how to emulate a healthy "European" lifestyle.

Joie shared her recipe for a scrumptious fruit dessert slow cooked in a crock pot. Enjoy!

Makes 8 servings

1 1/2 cups cranberries
8 pears, peeled, halved and cored
2/3 c. water
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. brandy
zest and juice of 1 lime
Whipped cream, to serve


1.  In the insert of a 6 qt. crock pot, combine the cranberries, pears, water, sugars, brandy and zest and juice of lime.  Stir gently to coat the pears.
2.  Cover the crock pot and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours until the berries have burst and the pears are tender.
3.  To serve, give each person two pear halves and some sauce.  Pass the whipped cream to top.

Photo by Joie de Vivre.

Posted by Emily on March 12, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 11, 2009

Healthy Eating -- Recession Style

Clipping-coupons These days, many of us are more than interested in sharpening our skills at eating well without breaking the bank (pardon the pun).  In our latest FitBriefing, "Eating Well- Recession Style," we take issue with the idea that healthy eating has to be expensive.  A bonus:  Watching your budget might even improve your eating habits!

A couple of tips to entice you to read the whole thing:

  • Use what you already have.  Have on hand any frozen meats, bags of dried beans or any other essentials you've forgotten about?  Inventory (translated: find it) and begin using it.  For more tips, follow the Eating Down the Fridge adventure on Kim O'Donnel's blog for the Washington Post.
  • Keep tossing that broccoli because it turns yellow before you get to it?  Buy frozen instead.  Extra piece of info for today:  Although frozen might not have the flavor of fresh, it's just as nutritious.

Read the complete FitBriefing for more useful tips.  You might also pick up some good tips from the blog Wasted Food, "a look at how America wastes half its food."  'Nuf said.

But lest we think in these hard economic times that we might need to return to the Clean Plate Club, a recent study from Cornell University showed that children whose parents encourage them to eat everything on their plate may be setting the kids up for food struggles.  One way around this without wasting food is to use smaller plates for the kids.  Smaller plates help adults eat less, too.  Indeed, a good investment right now just might be smaller dinner plates.

Posted by Marsha on March 11, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 10, 2009

Take Our Survey and Pass it On!

What creates the most stress for you: Your weight or the economy? Please take our survey. We'd like to get as many people to participate as possible, so as to get a representative sample. So pass it on!  We'll share the results with you in one month, and we hope that they will provoke a fruitful discussion of health in the 21st century.

Click Here to take the survey.

Posted by Emily on March 10, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 09, 2009

Weight Loss and Taxes: What Can You Write Off?

3285791509_ae6593e79c In these uncertain economic times, we're all trying to count our pennies and every bit counts. So with tax season looming, it helps to know what you can safely write off. If you've made a concerted effort to lose weight and have been directed to do so by your doctor, you may be eligible to write off expenses related to your weight loss. IRS Form 502 breaks it down:

"You can include in medical expenses amounts you pay to lose weight if it is a treatment for a specific disease diagnosed by a physician (such as obesity, hypertension, or heart disease). This includes fees you pay for membership in a weight reduction group as well as fees for attendance at periodic meetings. You cannot include membership dues in a gym, health club, or spa as medical expenses, but you can include separate fees charged there for weight loss activities."

Smart Money also offers this tip in "Can I write off this Case of SnackWells?":
There may be another way you can get the tax break: by participating in an employer-sponsored medical-expense reimbursement arrangement (often called a "flexible spending account" or a "cafeteria benefit plan"). These plans allow you to set aside part of your salary in a special account, which isn't taxed. You then turn in copies of your uninsured medical bills and receive tax-free reimbursements from your account. In effect, this is the same as getting a deduction.

For more information, check out our Fitbriefing entitled The IRS, Your Weight and You. See also this audiocast from H&R Block, "Weight Reduction: It Can Pay to Lose Weight."

Photo by brittanyculver via flickr.

Posted by Emily on March 9, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 06, 2009

Tips for Cooking Salmon: Skin, Prepare and Freeze

We're experimenting with offering more video on our site and wanted to share this first effort with you (we're working on improving the audio!). Here, Chef Lisa explains how to cut and prepare a side of salmon.

  • If you have a side of fish that's on sale, break it down and freeze individual portions.
  • Trick yourself. Cut the fish on the bias so it looks like a bigger piece.
  • Some of Lisa's favorite sauces with salmon are teriyaki, pesto, or tomatoes.

Posted by Emily on March 6, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It Happened This Week: Treadmill While You Work

A new study finds that quick bursts beat steady exercise in blood glucose control, via Diabetes Health.

This is from last week, but I love this post by Workout Mommy comparing skinny versus strong.

If you're trying to curb your drinking, don't watch boozy movies, says Diet Blog.

"One-third of cancer cases could be eliminated if people ate less fat and sugar, exercised more and reduced obesity," reported Canada's CBC News.

U.S. News explains why women in strained marriages are more likely than their male counterparts to have health problems.

Hotel Chatter has the scoop on Marriott's new work stations for business travelers that include treadmills. Do you really want to jog while you're checking your e-mail?

The New York Times reports that the FDA "does not have enough authority to ensure that dietary supplements are safe, and it should seek more oversight power.

Also from the Times, an interesting article: "What's Eating our Kids? Fears About 'Bad' Foods."

Posted by Emily on March 6, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack