Friday, February 26, 2010

Can You Detox Safely

Since I'm a big proponent of detoxing, I found this article of interest:

Look, the bottom line of a detox is to spend a few days, a week, weeks off of pure junk. No alcohol, no sugar, no refined grains, no caffeine, etc. Now how can that be a bad thing?

Whether you fast, juice, go raw vegan, or just eat clean, the point is that you're engaging in conscience eating for whatever time period you choose to cleanse.

Considering all the chemicals, toxins and pollutants that surround us (and ultimately wind up in our food no matter how hard we try), going a little cleaner in one's diet for a little while can not be anything but a good thing.

Worth Reading

An Interesting Quote

The article itself was a bit off-topic. Nicholas Kristof of the NYTs was blogging about chemicals in the environment and the impact those chemicals may have on the escalating rates of autism. Towards the end of the article he says;

"I am of course a huge believer in health reform, but I also think we tend
to focus so much on the clinical side that we neglect public health issues. And
the greatest strides in mortality and health in the U.S. in my lifetime didn’t
come from any medical breakthrough but from public health steps such as the
cigarette tax, auto safety measures, the ban on leaded gasoline and so on. Some
scholars believe that the ban on leaded gasoline has raised the I.Q. of today’s
children by as much as 5 points."

You can read the entire article here:

Yesterday I posted about research showing that a tax on high fat, processed food could actually work to reduce the rates of obesity in this country.

We have massive deficits and a sick population because we choose to eat unhealthy foods. Doesn't taxing unhealthy food to encourage better eating behaviors make sense particularly when we can use the tax revenues to pay down the deficit?

I don't know about you, but if I'm going to have to pay extra taxes (and with the deficit situation what is is you know eventually it will happen), I'd rather pay it if on a bag of potato chips and a can of soda then pay extra income taxes.

In a way, when you think about it, our government is failing us. In past centuries our government protected our health by passing seat belt laws, banning lead in gasoline, regulating the water supply, taxing cigarettes and alcohol and regulating what could be dumped into the environment.

But now, it seems that the government will let anything go, no matter what the public health consequences, out of fear of corporate reprisal.

What do you think?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tax the Twinkies!!!

Research now shows that it could reduce obesity rates:

Here's my idea, let's have a Twinkie Tax to subsidize health care. What do you all think?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Isn't He Just Adorable?

British chef Jamie Oliver that is. I think he is just so cute. And, he's on a mission, to reform America's eating habits. You can find a clip from his new show Food Revolution here:

I'm going to set my DVR to capture every episode. What I found particularly interesting in the clip, was not only the pizza for breakfast, but the reaction of the locals to Jamie's efforts.

General Mills' Plans to Make us Fatter

All I can say is avoid the fake foods that General Mills produces for both you and your family. Stick with the real stuff.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I was really looking forward to another good, long outside walk today in my new Skechers Shape-Ups, but it looks like the weather had other ideas. Typical of New England weather, I woke up with a light snow which has just devolved into a rainy, slushy, cold mess.

I guess it's a treadmill day (good thing I have it). I'll have to check out what's on demand. Hopefully I can find a good episode of Mad Men or Anthony Bourdain to watch.

Transitioning from Fake Foods to Natural

Bitchcakes details her journey here:

It's well worth the read.

I'd like to repeat, again, that if you're really serious about getting healthy and losing weight and keeping it off, the first thing you need to do is eat natural "real food" and avoid processed foods.

As Bitchcakes detailed, you can actually get addicted to chemical based foods. Read her post, read the books she mentions (which I've also blogged about), and start eating naturally.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Do These Shoes Make me Look Thinner?

I'm usually one who scoffs at any product that promises weight loss or toning results with little or no effort. However, I have to admit that I was intrigued when shoes started coming on the market several years ago promising to boost calorie burn and tone muscles simply by walking.
Now, I walk most days for exercise as it is. So, if a shoe could actually make my calorie burn more efficient and tone my muscles more efficiently, well I have to say that I'm intrigued. However, the first round of these miracle shoes (the Masai Barefoot Technology or MBT) cost a few hundred dollars, so while I was intrigued, I didn't want to be a sucker.
Luckily, the cost of the technology has come down in recent years, and last week I plunked down $85 (tax free in NH) for a pair of Skechers Shape-ups. Being that they're Sketchers, I got two rows of silvery sparkly things on each shoe.
According to the little brochure that came with the shoes (there was also a DVD which I haven't viewed yet) the "kinetic wedge insert and dynamic rolling bottom" simulate walking barefoot on a giving surface like sand. Shape-ups, the brochure goes on to say "are designed to enhance the benefits of walking by stimulating muscles not utilized by standard walking shoes." Another benefit (one all of us older gals can appreciate) is that they reduce the impact on joints.
This morning I went for my daily power walk in my new miracle shoes, and I have to say, I definitely feel like my legs and rear end got more of a work-out than normal. I can also say that there was less impact on my knees and other joints.
There's also been some research showing the benefits of walking in Shape Ups which you can read about here: I haven't had time to research the validity of the research but losing 3.2 pounds, toning your lower back muscles and butt just by changing your shoe style sounds good to me.
So, overall, my initial thought is that my $85 was well spent. Maybe by the time I'm ready to replace this set I can find them for $50 or less. After all, finding a set of these wedge exercise shoes was over $400 just a few years ago.
If you decide you want to buy a set of these walking wonders, Walker's Warehouse has an interesting comparison of the Skechers Shape-ups versus the MBT technology. You can read it here:
You can also buy the shoes there, although the Skechers I bought for $85 in NH retail for $99 on this website.

It's that Turtle/Hare thing

Slow and steady wins the weight loss race:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Keeping Up with a 12 Year Old

Today I'm proud of myself. I managed to not get out-skied by a 12 year old. My girl friend came up with her son this week. She skied one day and was shot so I took her son out on the slopes this afternoon while my kids were in lessons (we all skied together in the morning).
Being a 12 year old hot shot my friend's son of course wanted to ski the hardest runs. Yet, despite spending the entire afternoon skiing black diamonds, double black diamonds, glade runs and moguls, I was able to not only keep up, but am ready to ski again tomorrow.
The only time I put my foot down was when my friend's son wanted to ski a double black diamond glade run. I have no problem with skiing difficult glade runs on my own, but there was no way I wanted to take responsibility for another person's child wrapping himself around a tree.
BTW, tomorrow is a kind of a special day. My nine-year old daughter told me she wanted "girls only" ski time and wants me to take her down her first black diamond trail. She already skis easier bump and glade runs, and many of the harder blue trails. So, while my fifteen year old autistic son is in his lesson tomorrow, my daughter and I are heading out for a little mother/daughter bonding time.
Isn't that special?

No I Haven't Stopped Blogging

But I've been skiing so hard, I'm too exhausted at night to get on the computer (I guess that's a good thing.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

An Absolute Must Read

A thought provoking and intriguing discussion of model thinness, eating disorders and how they are viewed through the feminist prism:

I happen to think run way models these days are just not attractive. When I pick up a copy of Vogue and look at the women strutting their stuff in Chanel or Lacroix, I DON'T want to look like Kate Moss and her peers. I like curves on women. I think Christina Hendricks, the voluptuous office babe Joan in Mad Men is probably one of the most beautiful woman on TV these days.

Fat is unhealthy for sure, but so is too thin, but the writer in the above article does make a good point that perhaps our obsession with model thinness is, in a way, demeaning to women.

Interesting thought.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Away To the Mountains

I'm leaving tomorrow to take my children skiing for the week in New Hampshire. I had hoped to take them both downhill and cross country skiing, but all the cross country skiing centers are closed because, believe it or not, they haven't had enough snow up there.

So we'll probably just downhill ski, which is still great exercise, but I love cross country skiing for a change. Maybe we'll try tubing.

Calculate Your BMI and Body Fat

I just found this nifty site with both a BMI and Body Fat calculator.

You can calculate your BMI here:

You can calculate your body fat here:

At 5'3" and 131 pounds and 48 years old, my BMI is 23.2 which puts me on par with someone who is 20-30. I guess that means I'm doing OK weight wise.

I'll have to take my measurements and load them in to calculate my body fat. I know my waist and hip measurements, but I don't think I've ever measured my neck.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Martha Does Detox

I found this very interesting and informative. I'll have to check out both the website and the January/February issue of Body and Soul.

Small Changes can Add Up to Big Changes

Today in her newsletter Goop Gwyneth Paltrow discusses Chinese New Year and medicine. You can read it here

While the whole newsletter is a good read, half-way through it discusses making one small change at the beginning of the New Year. As I thought about it, I realized that making small changes over time that you'll actually stick to, is so much better than making dramatic changes that only last a month or two.

So, at the beginning of this New Year, the Year of the Tiger, think about one small change you can make and keep that will improve your eating habits or exercise habits. For example, how about making the commitment to only make and serve brown rice with meals instead of white (or even go half brown/half white?). Or, instead of taking the elevator to your office, you'll take the stairs? Or, when you make chili, how about using only 3/4 of a pound of meat instead of a pound, and adding more beans and vegetables?

Those small steps can add up over time.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dieting Gadgets I love--My Knives

I come from one of those families that always cooked. It wasn't unusual for my entire extended family, men and women, to gather in the kitchen to prepare a meal.

As a consequence, one of the first things I learned was the value of a good knife. Cheap, dull knives were not to be endured. I remember my grandfather would often begin to slice something, deem the knife dull, and pull out a sharpening stone to carefully hone the knife back to a razor sharp state which he would then use to slice prosciutto so thin you could see through it or a tomato into fifty slices.

When I embarked out on my own, one of the first things I did was save my pennies to buy myself a Wusthof Chef's knife and a Sabetier paring knife which I remember costing me around $150.00. That was over 30 years ago. I still own those knives and use them every day. From time to time they've needed professional sharpening, but usually a quick pass through a knife sharpener is all they need for me to effortlessly chop piles of vegetables.

My knife collection through the years has grown somewhat, and all are carefully taken care of. I don't just throw my knives into some drawer to get ruined. My knives are carefully housed in a knife block on my counter, and I never cut anything on a surface that could ruin their edge (such as cutting on granite).

As any of you can tell from reading my blog, I'm a cook. I don't see the point of running out to get take-out because making my own food is just as easy, if not easier, and so much better for both my weight management and my health.

And the reason why it's so easy for me to whip up a salad or slice fruit to go over my morning oatmeal is my knives.

A set of really good knives is the best dieting tool you can ever own. A good sharp, well cared for, knife will get you peeling, chopping, dicing and slicing every kind of fruit or vegetable imaginable.

A couple years ago I was at a friend's house for dinner. This friend was an avowed foe of cooking, and generally ordered in or got take out for dinner every night. I offered to help make the salad and when I asked for a knife. My friend opened a drawer packed filled with cooking utensils and fished out a sorry excuse for a knife.

The operation of assembling the salad, which normally took me a matter of minutes at home with my knives, took me close to 20 minutes to prepare, and I nearly sliced off a finger because the knife kept sliding off the vegetables as opposed to slicing them.

It was no wonder why my friend hating cooking. Who wouldn't when it took ten minutes to peel and slice a cucumber?

Eating so that a majority of your diet is fresh fruits and vegetables is critical if you really want to lose weight, keep it off and be healthy. Getting a good set of knives, that you care for properly, is a good first step to get you on the way.


Mrs. Q over at Fed Up: The School Lunch Project has a good post on hour kids learn from modeling, in both in academics and nutrition. You can read her post here:

If you haven't been following Mrs. Q's blog, you should. It chronicles the somewhat horrifying nutritionally suspect food that's fed to kids every day in school.

My husband and I are big fans of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations on the Travel Channel. If you haven't watched the show, Bourdain is a chef who travels to exotic locations and eats just about anything. He actually ate a stuffed pig's rectum in Namibia.

As part of the show Bourdain often goes into people's houses and eats a typical family meal. Now, one of the things that always impressed me was that whatever was served, the kids of the household ate it. Whether it was cumin spiced tangine in Morocco, garlic infused goat in Egypt or offal over rice in China, the kids eat the same food as their parents. There's no "Kid's food." There's not a chicken nugget or bowl of Mac & Cheese in sight.

That's reality, that's how kids ate for centuries until food got so abundant, that they got picky and parents obsessed that their kids must eat (even if they're already overweight.)

So, let's take Mrs. Q's advice and start modeling better nutrition for our kids instead of feeding them the junk food they want.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Another Reason to Not Drink Sugary Drinks

A study links the consumption of sugary soft drinks with Pancreatic Cancer. Read about it here:

So, to summarize, in the last two days we learned that drinking sweetened beverages (which includes flavored ice teas, sodas, etc) leads to:

A. Obesity

B. Pancreatic Cancer

So, the lesson here is that if a drink contains sugar, high fructose corn syrup, an artificial sweetener, or any other type of processed sweetener, then it will make you fat and sick.

One of the biggest causes of weight gain (and failure to lose weight) is high calorie drinks, which can include that Triple Mocha Latte you had this morning as well as that Pepsi you had with lunch and the Snapple Mango Iced Tea you had mid-afternoon to quench your thirst.

If you want to lose weight, not gain weight and be healthy, stick with water and natural, unsweetened fruit juices. Tea (the real brewed stuff, not the crap that comes out of a bottle) with no added sweeteners (or maybe a touch of honey or maple syrup) whether iced or hot, are also good beverages to drink as well as is unflavored, unsweetened coffee (skip the whipped topping here as well.)

Just remember, there are 200 calories in a 16 oz bottle of Peach-flavored Snapple iced tea. To work off those calories a 140 pound person would have to do 30 minutes if either stair climbing, vigorous weight lifting, hiking, chopping wood, shoveling snow, downhill skiing, swimming or walking.

So the next time you're reaching for that sweetened soft drink think "Do my thighs and pancreas really need this?"

Monday, February 8, 2010

To Vegan or Not to Vegan

Marion Nestle has a very good discussion of the pros and cons of vegetarian and vegan diets in the San Francisco Chronicle. You can read it here:

I eat "mostly vegan," and I exclude some meat products entirely from my diet (along with most processed foods and drinks.) I believe that a mostly plant based diet is both healthier in the long run and more conducive to weight management.

However, I don't think I'll ever take the step to be completely vegetarian or vegan. For one thing, I really don't have all that much empathy for animals. For another, I enjoy eating and just don't want to restrict myself to that level. Finally, I really don't like going to people's houses, etc and being the one who says "I don't eat that."

The Surgeon General's Guide to Avoiding Obesity

The US Surgeon General has published a "Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation." Basically, a call to arms about the obesity epidemic in this country, with tips as to how to avoid it. The paper was released with both a press release and a fact sheet.

Here's the Press Release:

Here's the Surgeon General's fact sheet:

The Surgeon General's "Vision" can be found here:

What's interesting are the recommendations for avoiding obesity, some of which are:

  1. Don't Drink Sodas and Juices with added Sugars.
  2. Don't eat energy dense foods that primarily contain added fats or sugars
  3. Eat More Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins
  4. Control your portions
  5. Drink more water
  6. Become more physically active throughout the day.

So, essentially, the Surgeon General's recommendations boil down to don't eat or drink processed junk foods and drink; have the bulk of your diet consist of "real" food, eat less and exercise more.

Makes sense to me.

Scaling It

I actually stepped on a scale this weekend. In the warmer weather, I'm actually quite obsessive about weighing myself, but once the Fall and Winter hit, I only do so sporadically.

That's because I like to get on the scale first thing in the morning, buck naked. I've noticed that my weight can fluctuate throughout the day, and depending on what I wear, so the only way to really gauge any weight loss/gain, is to step on the scale, first thing in the morning, naked.

Doing this is easy in the Spring and Summer when it's not to cold. But this time of year, the only time I'm ever naked is for that split second between getting undressed and stepping into a nice, hot, steamy shower, and then for that split second between getting out of the shower, quickly toweling off and throwing clothes back on again.

But, I managed to fit in a weigh in this weekend, and I wasn't thrilled. I wasn't distressed either, but I had hoped that I had worked off more of the three pounds I put on during the holidays. I did lose one pound, but despite all my extra exercise and watching what I eat, I still have two more to go.

Yep, losing weight after 45 is a bitch.

Well, Hopefully they'll get this Done

The Obama Administration is pushing for legislation to push candy and sugary drinks out of schools. Read about it here:

My comment: If that kid's mother keeps Pop Tarts in the house for him to take to school once he can't buy them at school anymore, she's not doing him any favors.

I'm lucky enough to live in a school district where a group of parent activists got soda, candy, and sugary drinks out of the schools years ago. They still sell junk food, but at least it's a higher quality of junk, i.e., Sun Chips instead of Lays Potato Chips.

And, a few years ago, the parents voted to spend more on lunches to have all lunches be organic, locally sourced and all whole grain. It's certainly not perfect, but it's better.

Another comment, you shouldn't have to be dependent on making kids fat to raise money for sports team.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Way to Go BitchCakes

Bitchcakes is justifiably proud of the body her new eating and exercise habits have gotten her, so she posted a number of pictures of herself on her blog which you can check out here:

I have to say I'm somewhat in awe of all these lady bloggers who can whip out a set of leopard skin skivvies, take pictures of themselves in said skivvies and then post the photos on the Internet for the world to see.

It's probably just my former Catholic school-girl hang-ups, but it's just not something that I am comfortable doing. That I've never owned an undergarment with a leopard skin print on it could play a part in my reticence as well. Come to think of it, I've never owned anything with a leopard skin print on it. How about a photo of me in one of my Scandinavian Dale of Norway sweaters?.

But kudos to all my fellow lady bloggers who don't have an image of Sister Martin Christie in their minds doling out some punishment for even thinking of posing in their underwear for a snapshot that would be posted on the web.

You all have the right to be proud.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Now this Pisses Me off

As someone who eats a lot of bagged salad in the Winter, Spring and late Fall, I'm naturally appalled to find out that 39% of what I've been eating had unacceptably high levels of fecal matter in it. Read about it here:

Why is it that the government can shell out billions to agribusiness every year to grow food we don't need when they don't seem to have the money to oversee these same firms to ensure they don't sell us unsafe food?

Just a thought.

This Too Shall Change

An interesting read:,0,1938656,full.story

Is it really possible that unhealthy eating habits, which lead to obesity, will be viewed as negatively as smoking? It's an interesting concept.

To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse

Jen over at Prior Fat Girl is debating whether or not to embark on a cleanse. Check it out here:

As those of you know who have been following my blog for a while, I'm a huge fan of cleanses to detoxify and help control weight. While I've never done anything as extreme as the Master Cleanse, I have done juice fasts for up to five days, and have gone completely raw vegan for up to three weeks.

I've also done milder cleanses that involved nothing more then eliminating alcohol, and caffeine and severely limiting my intake of meat, wheat and non-whole grains. Usually when I go this route I supplement it with a colon cleaning product.

I naturally piped in over at the discussion at Prior Fat Girl to discuss the positive results I've seen from embarking on cleanses. After all, why deny yourself solid food for 2 or 3 days time and time again if you don't see any benefits?

What surprised me was that the majority of comments, other than mine, were positively hostile to the idea of a cleanse. Even more amazing, not one of the hostile commentators had apparently ever done a cleanse. At least no one ever owned up to it.

The other interesting fact was that the few commentators who had done cleanses (like me), all praised them.

It's a reaction I've seen before. Whenever Gwyneth Paltrow discusses her cleanses on her website, GOOP, it always seems to draw a lot of criticism. But, why would a big movie star like Paltrow put herself through the ridicule if she didn't think the cleanse worked?

I guess you have to put this in the don't knock it until you've tried it category.

There are all types of cleanses, if you can find one that works for you, I say at least try it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Yes, a Picture can Truly Say a Thousand Words

For an explanation of what the Supreme Court's recent decision allowing unlimited corporate spending on political campaigns could mean to our nation's food supply, I direct you to read here:

and here:

The Crop Racket

When I read something like this it gets me thinking:

Our government lays out billions upon billions a year to pay farmers (many who are big corporate operations), to grow food we don't need. This excess is partly the reason why we've grown so obese as a nation. These excess crops eventually have to go somewhere, and that place is our legs, hips, thighs and guts.

Now, not to get all political again, what I don't understand is this--how come we can spend billions of dollars giving big corporations money to grow food we don't need and is making us unhealthy and fat, while we can't provide decent health care for everyone? Or, for those on the right side of the political spectrum--why are we spending these billions of dollars to give big corporations money to grow food we don't need and is making us unhealthy and fat, while we could be cutting taxes?

The bottom line is this, unless crop subsidies are specifically targeted to only help small family farms, we should not have our government supporting large corporations in behaviors which ultimately make us unhealthy as a nation.

Must Read Blog Post

My fellow blogger Jack Sh*t, Gettin fit, has a must read post on his blog today. Check it out here:

An Ode To Oatmeal

In Spring, Summer and Fall I like to eat just fresh fruit for breakfast. It's a great way to start the day and up my raw percentage for the entire week.
In the Winter, however, I just need something warm in my belly and oatmeal fits the bill perfectly. I put some organic whole grain rolled oats in a bowl, add cinnamon, almond milk, water, raisins, maple syrup and fresh fruit such as apples and blueberries, then I pop the bowl in the microwave, and out comes a hot, steamy bowl of healthy goodness. Yum!!!

Oatmeal is one of the best breakfasts you can eat for both health reasons and weight loss/maintenance reasons. Oatmeal's high fiber content helps fill you up and lowers cholesterol. Oatmeal lowers the risk for getting diabetes, and nutrients in oatmeal help to protect you against cardiovascular disease. Oatmeal is also chock full of antioxidents.

What more can you want from your breakfast food?

But to get the health benefits of oatmeal, you have to eat the real stuff. Instant oatmeal, the kind you just add water to, does not do the trick. It's been refined to the point of having all its fiber stripped out of it. The instant flavored stuff that comes in packets is almost as bad as a bowl of Fruit Loops. The flavored varieties contain high levels of sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

And, there's no point in any the instant junk, making the real stuff is just as easy thanks to the microwave. Just put 1/3 of a cup of real oatmeal in a bowl, add 2/3 cup of liquid (I use 1/3 cup almond milk, 1/3 cup water), add whatever flavorings you want, pop it in the microwave for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes and you've got a hot, steaming bowl of oatmeal.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Don't be a FPIA

Getting on the road to eating right and losing weight is important. However, the one thing that makes me crazier then anything are FPIAs (Food Pain In the Asses). Embarking on the road to weight loss does not entitle you to be rude and obnoxious by being a FPIA.

What's a FPIA? Basically, it's anyone with a food preference who has to constantly draw attention to their food preference, whether it's a restrictive diet, veganism, vegetarianism or even some religious observances.

I have absolutely no problem with people having food preferences. I actually have them myself. I eat mostly raw vegan, and I don't eat many meat products.

A FPIA is the raw vegan who's invited to a restaurant on someone else's dime, who looks at the menu, sighs loudly, and says loudly enough for her host to hear that there's nothing on the menu for her do eat.

A FPIA is someone on the Atkins invited to someone's home, who A) quizzes his host in advance about what's on the menu, and B) tells the host that he's on Atkins when the host did not specifically did not ask if there's any food preferences, C) shows up at the host's house with a bag of food meeting his food preference requirements.

What you should do, is if at a restaurant, you quietly call the waiter over, explain your situation, and see if there's any way to accommodate your food preference.

If you're invited to someone else's home, politely offer to bring a dish that you know you'll eat. If the host declines the offer, then show up, drink water and if asked politely explain your food preference making the host comfortable by saying something such as "Oh, but I'm perfectly content eating this delicious salad you made," or "I'm really not hungry."