Showing posts tagged health
I know the pictures are unpleasant, but cancer is obviously exponentially more so.
After watching my dad suffer from melanoma twice, having parts of his shoulder and lung removed, I can testify this is no joke. And now to learn it’s becoming more prevalent in younger people makes it even scarier.
Examining your moles is an easy way you can quickly catch melanoma before it spreads.
According to Dr. Julie Pena, “When melanoma is found early, it is almost 100% curable.”
She says to watch out for the ABC’s of melanoma:
- A is for Asymmetry: Look for moles where the shape of one half is different from the other.
- B is for Border: Look for moles with irregular, scalloped, or jagged borders.
- C is for Color: Look for moles with multiple colors or variation in color-especially shades of black, brown, blue, red, or white.
- D is for Diameter: Melanomas are usually larger than 6 millimeters (the size of a pencil eraser) but they can be smaller too.
- E is for Evolution/Evolving: Moles that are undergoing ANY kind of change, especially as outlined above, need to be evaluated by a medical professional.
You should also have your dermatologist or doctor check each one every six months (for the questionable ones) or yearly. MD Anderson in Houston has a whole staff in the Prevention building that serve as your general practitioner and focus on intercepting cancer before it spreads. If you’re not in Houston, check with the oncology department of hospitals near you to see if they recommend doctors locally.
CLICK HERE for more of my notes on cancer and prevention. Needless to say, WEAR SUNSCREEN EVERYDAY!!! And don’t forget the tops of your hands, they get so much exposure while you’re driving.
Try out Dr. Pena’s line of sunscreen, Likewise Skincare, that has a formula for each skin type so you won’t clog your pores.
Hi Mary! A few of the girls at my office and I are looking to do a 3-day cleanse, and I remember you doing a fantastic write-up of how to prepare for a cleanse and what to do after the cleanse to make it the most effective. Do you have any tips for us? We're all first-time "cleansers", and we'd love any help on what cleanse to use and how to approach it. Thank you!
Hi Beth, here’s my post which will tell you and link you to all you need to know about cleansing! I also suggest this post which answers reader concerns.
The biggest thing you need to know is NOT to freak out when you feel hungry. Just drink more juice and you’ll find it’s more filling than you expect.
Start easting vegetarian two days before the cleanse. Schedule a colonic for day 3 (Libbe or gravity machines are the best). After the cleanse, try to eat raw and vegan for the first day, and then vegetarian for two days afterwards. And stay away from processed sugars!
BluePrintCleanse is generally the best for new cleansers. If you’re in NYC, I also love Organic Avenue because it’s a lot more hearty. Those in LA have the pleasure of the RedCarpetCleanse which has the best juices in my opinion. Read here for more on each. Recently, local cleanses are popping up. In Atlanta, you can try Arden’s Garden, which is amazingly cheap for the good quality of the juice. Houstonians can try Snap Kitchen, but I don’t like their juice line up (too much fruit, not enough veg.)
Let me know if you have any more questions!
The other day I got a crick in my neck that kept getting worse as the days passed. My trainer helped me identify that the pain wasn’t in my neck, but in fact underneath my shoulder blade. The pain was so intense I couldn’t move my head or workout.
He laid me down on the ground, told me to put my arm (on the side the pain was coming from) across my chest and then roll the tennis ball around until I found the spot that took my breath away. I found it pretty quick. Then he had me lay there for 15 minutes. Omgoodness it hurt like hell. During the time I moved it around to massage the area, but the relief came as I just stayed still and allowed the pressure to break up the knot.
The next day the area was tender and maybe even a bit bruised, but I could move again with only a small fraction of the pain. After two days it was gone completely.
They make rubber balls specifically for this that are stiffer, but I wasn’t able to find them online. If you know of one, please post it in the comments below. Otherwise a tennis ball is torture enough to help you find relief in the long run.
— By Nutritionista
A few weeks ago, I got a question from awesome reader Emily:
I had a horrible weekend of eating… I woke up this morning with a stomach ache, a sense of disappointment over my nutrition-less choices and a overwhelming desire to clean-up my act. Do you have any tips on how to make amends for a weekend of binge eating? Should I juice for a day or two? Turn to fruits/veggies or would lean protein be better? Perhaps, I should just stop eating all-together? What is best practice for undoing a weekend of food-sin?
- First of all, don’t worry!
Weekends like this happen to the best of us. Even if you’ve been eating healthy for ages, falling off the wagon at some point is inevitable. Nobody has perfect willpower! They say that willpower is like a muscle that can get fatigued after frequent use, so it’s bound to weaken at some point. When it does, follow the DOs and DON’Ts of getting back on the wagon after a weekend (or week!) of disastrous eating:
Not only is that unproductive, it’s COUNTER-productive. Making yourself feel bad is never the road to anything helpful. Know that this happens to everyone and a few days of less-than-great eating is NOT going to make or break your health or your body. It’s what you do consistently (about 80% of the time) that counts in the long run.
- DON’T starve yourself.
That will just keep you firmly on the rollercoaster of binging and then trying to compensate by not eating the proper amount. Eat a normal amount of calories when you’re ready to get back on track. I like to apply the saying, “If you splurge one day, spend wisely the next.” It applies just as much to diet as it does to finances. It doesn’t mean don’t spend anything at all, it just means spend smarter.
- DON’T slash all your tires.
In one of her podcasts, Jillian Michaels (trainer from Biggest Loser) talks about how it’s common for people to eat one cookie and then think, “Well, I’ve already messed up, might as well eat the whole box.” She points out that’s basically equivalent to getting a flat tire and thinking, “Well, I already have one flat tire, might as well slash them all.” If you go overboard for a meal, or a day, or a week, you can stop at ANY TIME. You don’t need to wait until tomorrow, or Monday, or next month.
- DO eat cleanly.
When I talk about clean eating, that just means eating as much unprocessed food as possible. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, etc. The closer the food is to its natural state, the better! I find that after a couple days of overdoing it, eating a ton of raw fruits and veggies helps my system get back on track (though I wouldn’t suggest eating those foods exclusively). Raw produce has tons of nutrients and fiber, which can help move all that salty, bad-fatty, and sugary stuff out.
- DO move.
There’s nothing like getting sweaty to get over a food hangover! Don’t overdo it in the gym, but do stick to your normal exercise regime, even though you might be feeling extra sluggish. The day after a weekend of indulgence, I like to do a longer period of steady exercise rather than a shorter, more-intense session, but really, it’s whatever feels good to you.
- DO hydrate.
Being low on fluids will only make you feel worse. Try to counteract the bloat you may be feeling with plenty of H2O (and definitely avoid any heavy or caloric drinks!).
Waking Up With Water
The other day Amanda was telling me she started drinking a glass of water before reaching for her morning cup of joe. A friend suggested she try it and see if she felt more awake and less inclined to drink two cups of coffee.
I know you don’t want to hear this, but most cleanses encourage you to drink a glass of water in the morning before you get started on the juices/elixers/raw foods. I believe (don’t quote me on thsi) it gives your metabolism a clean start before you consume something your body has to digest. Kind of like how you drink coffee for energy before you have to put yourself to work. From my past cleansing experiences, I can tell you, I do feel better after that glass of water.
Unfortunately water is not what I crave when I get out of bed. I want cold, fresh-squeezed orange juice…or a coffee with soy milk. Anything with flavor please!
But throwing back a pint of water first does seem like a habit that would beneficial as I am becoming a little too dependent on coffee to keep me going.
Your initial thoughts?
My Conclusions on Supplements and Nutrilite
You can eat consciously healthy every day, but you still are probably missing out on some important nutrients in your diet.
As I expected, the experts say the best way to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs is through fruits and vegetables.
Reasons To Take Supplements
- The most complete diets can still be lacking in important nutrients, such as calcium, and iron. You can ensure you supply everything your body needs by taking a multivitamin daily.
- Individually we face issues with our bodies that require more of a certain vitamin or mineral. (Example: my joint pain might be alleviated with glucosamine or fish oil)
Their philosophy and mission is to help people achieve a lifestyle of “optimal health” - “having the best health that you individually are capable of having.” They approach health as a balanced lifestyle including fitness and diet, not just selling supplements, in an effort to PREVENT disease and elongating life.
In their Optimal Health Facility, they assess people from all over the world so they truly have a unique perspective. Consider this: doctors and researchers usually only have access to a limited group of people from specific cultures. Nutrilite has access to people from every walk of life so they can look at diseases (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity) as worldwide epidemics.
Why Nutritlite Supplements
Nutritlie “controls quality from the seed to the finished product to make the finest products in the world.”
- Farms are sustainable and certified organic
- Extraction process captures all possible vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients
- Plant concentrates are used to make supplements.
Although they recommend their flagship Double X product as a daily multi-vitamin, it’s a little pricey for people who spend the extra cash on buying organic. So I will be incorporating their Daily Multivitamin ($11.30 for 90 = 12cents a day) to satisfy my body’s nutritional requirements. For my joints, I have already started taking Glucosamine which is known to help maintain the collagen in joints and support connective tissue.
For those of you who don’t eat enough fruits and veggies, I think the Concentrated Fruits and Vegetable tablets ($40 for 60) might be a good supplement to have around. Definitely cheaper than a salad.
Nutritlife Sports Nutrition
As for their Sports products, I was shocked to see corn syrup in the ingredients. With their focus on nature and nutrition, I still don’t understand why they felt the need to use it in the products they recommend for athletes who seek to make their bodies run efficiently as possible.
If you’re into bars and protein shakes, their products do taste good, but I will always assert that processed foods are never the answer when creating a healthy lifestyle.
More on fitness nutrition on Monday.
I would like to thank Nutrilite and Amway for inviting me to such an informative day! It was a pleasure to experience your facilities and meet your very talented team.
Weights Work Wonders! — Nutritionista
“I love how I feel after cardio and I just don’t get the same feeling after weight training.”
That’s a comment I hear a lot, from both friends and readers. Not too long ago, I was in the same boat.
Here are a few other reasons why weight training is a must:
- It prevents your body from replacing lost muscle mass with fat as you age.
- Muscle burns more calories than fat when you’re at rest. Meaning, the more muscle you build, the more calories you’ll burn just by BEING.
- It builds healthy bones, encourages better posture, and increases endurance.
- You get a metabolic spike after you weight train that causes you to burn more calories even AFTER you stop moving completely.
- Women who weight train don’t get bulky unless that’s their goal (and they have to try VERY hard).
- Weight training DOES burn calories! You burn about 8-10 calories per minute while pumping iron. (Running or biking burns about 10-12 calories per minute.)
- It’s good for weight loss. I’m speaking from experience!
Now where to start? I like this beginner strength training plan from Fitness magazine (though it only includes one exercise per muscle group). I also created a three day/week weight training plan that’s good for people who don’t want to be in the gym for hours. If you don’t belong to a gym, you can check out my Weight Training without the Gym routine. Once you get started, here are some tips for getting the most out of your weight training workout:
- Go in with a plan. Whether you use a workout plan of mine, one you create with a trainer, or one you find elsewhere, be sure you’re thorough and comprehensive when you weight train. Don’t train haphazardly because it doesn’t work.
- ALWAYS warm-up. Any light cardio works for at least 10 minutes.
- Don’t tease your muscles. Do more than one exercise for each muscle group! Chad Tackett, a certified personal trainer from Global Health & Fitness, says the biggest mistake he sees people make is only doing one exercise for a muscle group and then moving on. It’s like doing warm-up for cardio and not doing the actual cardio workout.
- Challenge yourself. If you’re making it through all your reps without a struggle, you need to increase the weight. The last two to three reps in a set should be challenging! If you’re challenging yourself adequately, you should feel the same way after a weight training workout that you do after cardio.
- Switch it up! Vary your weight training to include free weight, machine, and cable exercises. Do “up-and-down-the-rack” training where you do a certain number of reps at a very heavy weight and then decrease the weight for the next set (or vice versa). Do sets where you take 10 seconds to complete one rep. Whatever you do, don’t let your body get too used to anything!
- Record your progress. Seeing your progress in numbers is motivating and ensures that you’re increasing the difficulty of your workouts.
- Don’t train the same muscle two days in a row. This well-known piece of advice is crucial for preventing injuries. Muscles need time to recover.
- Cool down and stretch. You can stretch after working a muscle group or after you finish your workout. Light cardio for five or 10 minutes after weight training helps prevent soreness.
Repetition = definition. In other words, use light weights but do more reps and you will tone up that muscle group, keeping you lean instead of bulking up. Yes, that’s right.
However, this does not mean you shouldn’t push your muscles to fatigue.
One of my favorite ways to challenge a muscle group is to “super set” exercises. Let’s say I’m working out my pectoral muscles. After a warm up, I start with the bench press using weight on the bar I can get 12-15 reps out of. Then I grab two 3 or five pound weights and do 20-30 flies**. Your chest will be burning by now so drop to the floor for abs or squats.
You can super set every muscle group. Here are a few options, heavy weight exercise —> light weight many reps:
- Legs machines —> squats or lunges
- Shoulder press —> shoulder raises
- Assisted pull ups —> rows
- Bicep curls —> bicep pulses
- Tricep pulls —> dips
After each set, remember to take a break.
**Flies: Laying on the bench, arms out in a T parallel to the floor, then keeping my arms only slightly bent, I bring the weight together over my chest.
Tips for Running on a Treadmill
As I always say, form is the key to getting the maximum benefit out of any workout. Even when running on a treadmill, there are a few things you have to remember.
- Head up
- Chest up and shoulders back, no slouching
- Keep your core engaged to hold yourself upright and help your legs
- Pull your knees up instead of focusing taking steps
- Use your whole foot instead of just the inside or outside
A proper stance will give you more endurance and will lessen the impact on your joints.
Do I Have To Take MultiVitamins?
I’m the worst at taking pills, the absolute worst. :: Especially if you have to take them consistantly at a certain time, and they have no immediate results. Add that on to the fact that vitamins make me feel nauceous (even when I take them with food), and you can guess that I don’t take a multivitamin.
I always figured I’m a healthy eater and develop muscle easily so I must be getting everything I need…with the exception of Calcium because I don’t consume a lot of dairy.
Reader Molly wrote me today asking about MultiVitamins and it made me revisit the issue.
What are your thoughts? Do you take one? How does it make you feel?
Can I have Extra Alfredo Sauce Please? Oh, And A Side of Trainer ::
All of the time I spend in the gym, this is exactly what my abs look like…NOT! Not even close! Crystle (Miss USA) is actually a friend of mine, and let me tell you, this girl loves her some Fettucini with Alfredo sauce. It’s just not fair.
To answer your question Jues, Kym Perfetto is the best trainer I know in NYC. We both teach at Soul Cycle, but she’s a full on trainer and nutritionist who works with Madonna’s trainer (and has even worked out Mag herself). You can email her about availability and rates.
To see more of her, check out The Style on The Rocks episode where she shows off her rock-hard core.
My friend Krystal just emailed me about sharing the cost of a personal trainer, and I think I’m going to do it. I guarantee I’ll never look like the stunning Crystle Stewart (Miss USA), but that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t set lofty (read: improbable) goals!
Anyone have any great personal trainer recs in Manhattan?
SOY OR DAIRY MILK? Which one is better for you? I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately. :: When I asked a nutritionist, she had THE EXACT SAME ANSWER as Nutritionista. Honestly, I didn’t believe her. But the conclusion seems to be the general consensus. Read her analysis.
Dairy vs. soy…
I would love to hear your thoughts on dairy v soy. I was anti-dairy for a long time but maybe a year ago started reading about the different arguments about soy may not be as great as we first thought. It’s the one nutrition area that I don’t have a firm opinion on. I’m currently back on low fat dairy milk.
There’s an easy bottom line on this one: from a weight loss perspective, it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference. Soy milk and one percent regular milk are comparable in terms of calories, fat, and protein. Light soy milk and skim milk are also comparable. Flavored soy milk can contain added sugar, but the unflavored stuff usually doesn’t. Soy milk is also usually fortified with vitamin D and calcium to compete with the amount in regular milk.
There are good things and bad things about both soy and dairy. Dairy has been connected to certain cancers, but has also been shown to aid weight loss for people who don’t get enough calcium from other food. Soy is associated with promoting healthy bones and heart health but has also been associated with cancer. It’s all pretty confusing and I don’t think science has come to a solid conclusion yet.
Personally? I like the taste of soy better for most things. I also find it a little bit weird that humans are the the only animal to drink milk past infancy. Even so, many people don’t have the enzyme required to digest lactose, rendering them lactose intolerant. I have friends who try to avoid eating lots of dairy because it doesn’t do good things for their… digestion. Then again, some people have no problem digesting dairy at all.
Here’s my advice: as long as you’re not lactose intolerant, there’s no good reason to pick one or the other, so drink both to get the benefits of both. I usually have both soy and regular milk in my fridge. I use soy for my protein shakes, cereal, and to drink plain. I use regular milk for recipes that call for milk (baked goods, eggs, etc.). I also eat other dairy products like cheese and yogurt, but occasionally, I eat soy cheese and yogurt also. Since there are pros and cons to both soy and dairy, why not mix it up?
My new favorite sweet treat is raisins (organic, unsweetened). I used to hate them, now I can’t get enough. Try substituting them for your post-meal cookie and see if you prefer it too.::
I’m not going overboard here. No way I’m giving up cookies, but it’s a nice, natural change I actually enjoy (much more than bitter dark chocolate).
And in the spirit of lifecasting, you can see I’m getting a mani-pedi at Spa du Village (on Westview) so I’m red carpet ready on Saturday.
DINNER TONIGHT - PRE-MADE VEGGIES + SOUP
Tonight’s dinner: Tomato Basil Soup with Roasted Brussell Sprouts. Prepared serparately by Whole Foods, combined and warmed by Me. Plus Vegan Cookie (obviously). Sarah, help a girl out with some pictures so this looks edible. I love it, but I don’t think anyone will believe me with this iPhone photo.