Tuesday, March 31, 2009

4,800 Calorie 'Burger of Death' at Mich. Baseball Park

Yes, friends - for the low low price of $20, you too can experience the joy of consuming this behemoth burger.

The $20, 4,800 calorie burger offered at a Grand Rapids, Michigan baseball park weighs a whopping 4 pounds and comes complete with five beef patties, five slices of cheese and a cup of chili plus nachos chips with cheese, salsa, lettuce, tomato and sour cream. All that gets loaded on an 8-inch sesame-seed bun which is made from an entire pound of dough! I cringe at the thought of all the cholesterol, carbs and fat in that thing....it just seems like a heart-disease seeker's dream!

Hey, look on the bright side, if you can actually finish this monster you win an awesome T-shirt (not to mention a potential heart attack)! That makes it worth it, right? Bring your appetite, a load of cash and your stretchy pants. Oh, and don't forget to bring your doctor.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

7 Spring Cleaning Secrets for Your Body and Soul

When you think about summer time, what comes to mind? Maybe you want to finally shed some pounds to achieve the body you've always wanted? Well, spring is here, so what are you waiting for? Follow these simple tips to cleaning out your home environment in order to make it conducive to weight loss.

1. Target your goal: Are you serious this time? Is weight loss really what you want? Be committed and write it down! Tape it up somewhere visible so you never forget (your fridge door would be a good start).

2. Examine your fridge. Better yet, take everything out! Throw out anything and everything that is expired or beyond recognition. Re-stock your fridge with healthy choices that are easy to grab when you're feeling hungry.

3. Purge your pantry. Uh oh - if you're like most people, this is where all the 'goodies' are hidden. Throw it all out. You know you want to lose weight so why would you keep anything in there that is essentially designed to make you fat? Plus if it can live on the shelf for that long, you know it's full of preservatives! Chuck those chips, crackers and cookies. Re-stock with rice cakes, organic granola bars, low-fat soups and whole grains. If you're feeling a 'junk food' craving come along, you'll have to physically leave the house and seek them out. This takes a lot of effort and you most likely won't do it (unless you're ravenous!!). If they were easily accessible, they'd already be in your mouth.

4. Make healthy choices easily accessible. Load up on fruits and veg! Just as above, if they're easy to grab, you're more likely to eat them. Plus with the huge variety of choices you will have, you won't get bored. Crunchy, crisp, colourful, sweet, savoury, soft - the possibilities are endless!

5. Stock up on spices. Adding spices to your food will make it more flavourful and will satisfy your soul! Think: cinnamon in your oatmeal, basil and oregano in your pasta...my mouth is already watering! If you've got spices kicking around, check that they still resemble the name on the label; if not, chuck 'em!

6. Stock up on healthy fats. What? Fats? Aren't we trying to lose weight? Yes, indeed, but if you give your body the right kind of fats, you'll not only have a tighter tummy, but you'll also have shiny hair, skin and nails! Load up on olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. Just remember that all you need is about 2 tablespoons a day of these babies, because at 9 calories/gram, fats pack the highest caloric punch of any nutrient.

7. Liquids have calories, too. Yep, juices, sodas, and alcohol, just to name a few, can pack a whopping number of calories that you might just drink down without any thought. If you must have them, just be aware of what you're consuming. Alcohol, for example, packs 7 calories/gram - almost as much as fats! One shot, glass of wine or beer has about 150 calories. That's as much as a whole banana and a closed handful of almonds. Which one is more filling, nutritious and conducive to weight loss?

Bottom line - you've got to think of yourself as a high-performance race car from now on. Only the top fuels will do. Anything less and you're due in for service.

Cat Cora: Fresh Is Best

Shape magazine recently raided the fridge of Food Network's Iron Chef Cat Cora and what did they find? Maybe not what you'd expect from a celebrity chef!

Cat chooses to eat fresh and local; she always uses ingredients that are in season and buys all-natural or organic ingredients whenever possible. Her philosophy is that if you start with a base of delicious, flavourful, nutrient-dense foods, you don't have to compensate with artificial ingredients, added fat or calorie-laden sauces and dressings.

So what exactly is in Cat's fridge? Fresh berries, Dijon mustard (for home-made dressings and marinades), tofu, low-fat yogurt and fresh, local fish. She's even got her kids eating healthier snack options that taste so 'bad', you wouldn't know they're good for you. Her kids reach for peanut butter, string cheese and yogurt pops! Yeah, maybe they're not "local" or "fresh" but it sure beats ice cream and candy bars!

Cat scored two thumbs up from a dietitian who examined the contents of her fridge. She said “If you’re creative when it comes to your meals, they’re more likely to be physically and emotionally fulfilling”. Couldn't have said it better myself! Healthy eating not only your body but your soul!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

'Too Fat to Work' Family Wants More Money

Oh boy, stories like this never get old. An obese British family of four is currently on welfare due to their alleged inability to work, and they want more money from the government.

The family, whose combined weight is 1,160 pounds, reportedly already receives more than $30,000 per year in disability benefits but they feel they deserve more. They claim it's not their fault that they can't work because their condition is "genetic".

If you ask me, all they need is a little help and guidance to get healthier, not more money to sit at home and be miserable! Maybe they genuinely don't know how to live a healthy lifestyle, but bottom line - ignorance is not an excuse to claim disability and bog down the system with CVD, asthma, diabetes and other conditions as a direct result of being obese! They must have never heard the saying "tell me what you eat and I'll tell you what you are".

Organic Almonds Must Be Treated: Judge Rules

In a growing debate over the safety concerns of raw, unprocessed nuts, a US federal judge has ruled that organic almonds must in fact be processed before they can be sold. California organic almond growers are outraged by this fact, seeing that their products are supposed to be natural, untreated and unprocessed!

According to US safety regulations, almonds need to be pasteurized in order to protect consumers from food-borne illnesses caused by salmonella and other pathogens. The fact that the almonds have to be processed not only goes against what organic farmers stand for, but it could impact their ability to market the nuts to the niche organic market. This, in turn, could damage their reputation and lower their profit. Possible pasteurization methods include blanching, steam treatments or the use of chemicals.

It seems it's getting more and more difficult to find foods in their natural state these days, but given that foods are mass produced on such a large scale, safety does become a concern. I guess in the end it's a cost-benefit trade-off between processing and food poisoning. Get sick now or (potentially) get sick later? All I know is I'd rather not get sick at all - how about you?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Public Humiliation Used as Gym Membership Tactic

File this under 'crazy but true': a gym company in the Netherlands has decided to publicly humiliate potential patrons into joining their gyms. "Fitness first" has gone so far as to attach scales to the benches in bus shelters and those scales are then attached to an ad on the side of the shelter. This means that when unsuspecting commuters have a seat while waiting for the bus, their weight will be displayed in an ad for all to see!

Hmmm...I wonder just how effective this tactic will actually be? You can't beat good ol' shame and embarrassment to win the trust of your potential clients!

US to Ban BPA in Food and Drink Containers

Just days after Sunoco announced that they will no longer supply the chemical BPA for use in production of food and drink containers for children, the US is considering banning the use of the compound in all food and drink containers!

Bisphenol A, or BPA for short, has been something of a heated issue in recent times, due to it's potentially harmful health effects. BPA has been shown to cause neurological and developmental damage in studies involving laboratory animals, including genital defects, behavioral changes and abnormal development of mammary glands. In human studies, BPA has been linked to heart disease,diabetes and potential reproductive problems.

The concern over BPA in plastic container stems from the compound's potential to leach out of the plastic into the foods or beverages stored in the containers. Recently, six major baby bottle manufacturers stated that they would no longer use BPA in the production of their baby bottles.

According to the Government of Canada, most Canadians are generally exposed to very low levels of Bisphenol A, and therefore, it does not pose much of a health risk. Newborn babies and young children, on the other hand, are at risk because of their size and the fact that they are rapidly growing and developing. We Canadians can be proud to say that we have been BPA-free in our baby bottles for nearly a year now.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Slow Food "Master" and Legend Appears on 60 Minutes

"Leader", "Visionary", "Master", "Legend", "Hero"... Check out this amazing clip of Alice Waters, world-renowned chef, author and owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant and Café in California, on 60 minutes. She has been preaching the virtues of cultivating fresh food for decades and is committed to promoting the availability of healthy, organic, fresh food for all.
At her bistro, the menu changes daily in order to showcase the finest local, organic ingredients available each season. Alice wants her guests to feel as though they are at a dinner party when they come to her restaurant; she wants them to truly take their time and enjoy everything that food has to offer. Her hope is that a slower approach to the food we eat will keeps us healthier and greener over all. Alice is a strong believer in the "transformative power of growing, cooking, and sharing food".
You can find out more about Alice Waters here, and check out Slow Food USA's website here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

iPhones to Help Monitor Blood Glucose?

Welcome to the future, folks. A prototype diabetes tracker was recently unveiled which would allow parents to remotely monitor their kids' blood glucose levels no matter where they are! All the kids would have to do is download the readout from their blood glucose monitor to their iPhone, which would then determine how much insulin they require based on their activity levels. The information would then be sent to their parents.

A number of iPhone apps already exist that allow you to track your exercise, blood pressure and diet, but they require manual inputs of information. These new-generation 'mobile medical tools' are different in that they are more advanced and can collect and share data as well as connect people in ways that were never before possible. In addition to this new diabetes tracker, a blood-pressure monitor app is also on the way, where you attach your iPhone to a blood pressure cuff and can then share the info with your doctor or anyone you please.

Hey, with all this talk about being addicted to your 'crackberry' and incessant text-addictions, if you've gotta have a smart phone, at least make it work for you instead of the other way around!!

16 Little Ways to Lose Big!

Ah, Calories...They're so unfair. Those suckers go down so quick and easy, but when it comes to burning 'em off, we have to suffer, sweat and feel sore! Well, your prayers have been answered. Look no further than here, because with these small (and easy) changes, you'll be well on your way to a slimmer waistline before you can say "hold the whipped cream".

1. Instead of a glass of juice or dried fruit, go for the real stuff
2. Swap your sugary cereal for some heart-healthy oats
3. Reach for a hearty soup; meals with fibre and water keep you fuller longer
4. Ditch the top of your sandwich - go open-faced (and while you're at it - skip the cheese and mayo; opt for mustard instead)
5. Drink sparkling water (or plain water with a slice of lemon) instead of soda
6. Go for skim or low-fat milk instead of the full-fat kind
7. Use low-sodium chicken broth to cook with (and flavour your food) instead of oil and butter
8. Use smaller plates, bowls and cups; you'll eat a lot less and still feel satisfied
9. Make sure your plate is always at least 1/2 full of veggies and that you have some lean protein with every meal
10. When baking, replace oil and butter with unsweetened apple sauce or mashed bananas
11. On that same note, substitute regular chocolate chips for half the amount of mini-ones
12. Gotta have meat? Substitute half of your ground meat with extra lean ground turkey and try turkey sausages or bacon instead of the traditional kind
13. Reach for snacks that are puffed up with air instead of regular chips or pretzels
14. instead of ice cream, end your meal with some fresh fruit and yogurt or sorbet
15. Check your sink - make sure it's not full of spoons but that there are some knives and forks in there too! Take your time with your food!
And Lastly, 16, Don't mistake thirst for hunger. Drink plenty of the clear stuff and stay hydrated. You might have to pee more, but it sure beats having love-handles.

See, that wasn't so hard; small changes can make a big difference without sacrificing all the good stuff you love.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sugar and Fat: As Addictive as Drugs?

If you've ever felt a rush after all-you-can-eat wings or a big piece of chocolate cake, you might know what I'm talking about here. The good ol' "Sugar High" is so-called for a good reason. In a new series on food addiction published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers have found that when sugar and fat are consumed in binge form, they elicit responses in the brain similar to those experienced in drug addiction! The consumption of copious amounts of sugar and fat in a short period of time triggers the dopamine reward system in the brain, making you want more and giving you that slightly drugged-up feeling.

If any of you have ever reduced your sugar intake or have cut refined sugars completely out of your diet, you might realize that it only takes a little taste for you to want to keep going back for more. I personally avoid refined sugars, but give me just one taste of something yummy and I can't help myself! When viewed in this light, it's not difficult to see why sugar and fat are so controversial and often take the brunt of the blame for an increasingly obese population.

Given the negative health effects of fats and refined sugars, it's undoubtedly a good idea to try to cut back as best as you can. Obviously we do need good fats and some sugars in our diets, so go for the natural stuff - fresh fruit (including avocados), nuts and seeds, a little bit of honey, even dried fruit is great (in moderation!). It's easy to get carried away with goodies, but you just need to just remember exactly why you're not eating that extra donut or brownie. Think arteries, think diabetes, think teeny-weeny-bikini!

Women: Dietary Fiber Reduces Risk of Weight and Fat Gain

Not since your Grandmother has the word fibre been such a hot topic! It seems that on a daily basis we're inundated by advertisements promoting the consumption of fibre; now you can get your hands on pink grapefruit drinks, apple cobbler and chocolate chip granola bars and even yogurts and ice creams that pack big fibre punch! So why exactly is fibre all the rage these days?

For starters, most of us probably don't get enough of it. Not only can fibre reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other not-so-fun conditions like constipation, but a new study claims that increasing your fibre intake can actually help you lose fat and over all weight.

The study published in The Journal of Nutrition measured food intake, body fat and weight of women at baseline and then 20 months later. What they found was that for every 1g increase in dietary fibre, weight decreased by about half a pound and fat decreased by 0.25 percentage point.

It's not rocket science - eating more fibre makes you feel fuller for longer, and it is super low-cal, meaning you can cut out a ton of calories, including fat, from your diet. Plus, with all of the health benefits and the fact that your bowels will be in top shape, fibre should be everyone's friend! Go ahead - Embrace the bran!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Go Green this St. Patrick's Day!

No, I'm not talking about green beer (what's on your mind?)! Fruits and veggies have long been praised for their cancer-fighting properties, but now there's even more evidence pointing to the health benefits of going entirely vegetarian. According to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vegetarians were shown to have a lower incidence of most types of cancers when compared to their meat-eating counterparts.

But just because it's St. Patrick's day doesn't mean you should only think green. For the greatest health benefits, think variety and go for all kinds of bright colours, like the colours of the rainbow! With all this talk of green and rainbows, I just can't help but think of golden beer. Treat yourself to a pint tonight in celebration of all things Irish, I know I will! To your health - Cheers!

Michelle Obama: Healthy Eating is On the Menu

If you walked into a soup kitchen, First Lady Michelle Obama is probably the last person you would expect to see there. Well, that's exactly what happened earlier this month in Washington, DC. Oh, and did I mention that she was actually serving the food? Yep, and there were fruits and veggies on every plate.

You see, First Lady Obama has made it no secret that healthy eating is one of the highest priorities on her agenda. To further send this message home, she donated her time to some of the neediest people in the community. Mrs. Obama feels that everyone should have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and for good reason! She has also pointed out, quite correctly, that incorporating fruits and veggies into meals and snacks are a great way to "keep the calories down but the flavours up". In addition, she is weary of serving her daughters sugar- and calorie-laden snacks such as juice boxes, sweets and processed foods, opting instead for fresh, local produce whenever possible.

Before you start to worry that the only way to look like Michelle is to eat like a rabbit, keep in mind that some of her favourite treats are grits, waffles and the occasional burger, fries, and cola. Bottom line: you can definitely enjoy "unhealthy" food once in a while as long as you make smart, healthy choices the rest of the time!

Look at the Bright Side and You Might Live Longer

See that glass of water? Is it half empty or half full? The way you respond might actually have a lot to do with your health and how long you live, according to US researchers.

More and more evidence is pointing to the fact that negativity, hostility and pessimism not only make life a living hell for those around you, but they are also cutting your lifespan shorter.
Researchers at University of Pittsburgh have found that optimistic women aged 50 and over are 30% less likely to die from heart disease, and 14% less likely to die from any cause when compared to those who view the glass as half-empty. Optimistic women are also less likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure or smoke.

At first glance, I couldn't help but think back to this article here. Basically, if you look at the bright side of things, you're less likely to be stressed and throw your body out of whack! You're also probably someone who takes care of their body by eating healthy, balanced meals and exercising regularly. The researchers can't say for sure if optimism causes better health, but the relationship is undeniable.

Hey, a little optimism can go a long way! We should all take note of this advice, especially in these tough economic times we're facing; in the words of Henry Ford: "If you think you can, or you think you can't, you are right!". I think he was on to something.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Think 'Organic' = Safer? Think again...

Many people associate the word 'Organic' with ' Healthier', 'Better for the planet' and, perhaps 'Safer'. While there are some health benefits in organic foods, since they are grown in a sustainable fashion without the use of synthetic or genetically modified pesticides or fertilizers, there is really nothing to be said in terms of their safety as compared with Non-organic foods. Just recently, organic as well as regular peanut products were affected by the salmonella outbreak; just because products are organic does not mean that there is any added protection from pests or pathogens.

It is comforting to know, if you eat organic foods, that your food was produced in a more traditional, down-to-earth way that is good for the planet. And, hey - it might even taste better (I've heard this from a few people)! Besides, unless you're a geneticist, you might not find it fascinating or appetizing to know that GMO foods have their DNA messed with. Mmm...clones.

New regulations will be coming into play in Canada on June 30th of this year in order to protect consumers and assure them that the claims being made about organic products will be truthful. These new regulations will also ensure that strict guidelines are being met before an "Organic" logo of any kind will appear on any products for human consumption. Regardless of whether products are imported or domestic, they will have to demonstrate and pass the same strict eligibility criteria. Actually, I do find that pretty reassuring...what about you?

Cover Your Eyes! Exercise Ads Increase Food Intake

Well that's just jolly, isn't it. You think that maybe seeing images of fit people would motivate you to drop a few pounds and get in shape, but according to researchers, you might end up doing the opposite...

In the study, published in the Journal of Obesity, participants looked at an advertisement, images or words related to fitness and activity, both obviously and subliminally, while their control counterparts received neutral, non-fitness related messages. All participants were given a 'treat' after this activity and what happened? Those in the 'exercise communication' condition actually ate more of the treats than those that just saw neutral ads or words.

While it makes sense to be hungry and eat more after a workout - none of these participants actually worked out! The researchers think that maybe your brain automatically associates the images with the feelings you have after a workout, and that without proper dietary guidance, these messages might be backfiring. Uh-oh....Well, at least now you know!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Enviga: The Calorie Burner that Doesn't Burn Calories

Ever heard of Enviga? It's a sparkling green tea drink that is supposed to burn calories for you just by drinking it! The makers of Enviga claim that if you drink three cans of it per day, you can burn an extra 60-100 calories.

While it's true that pure, natural green tea is a thermogenic (has the ability to boost your metabolism) and assist in more rapid weight loss, the consumers purchasing this product who were looking for a quick-fix didn't quite get what they were looking for. I'm not even sure how much actual green tea is in this stuff! And guess what - now Coke and Nestle are being sued for false claims!

Those of us who know a thing or two about weight loss should realize that there is no magic pill, drink, powder or food that burns calories for you. The only thing that these products can potentially do is speed up your metabolism, but you still have to do the work yourself if you want to drop the pounds! Translation: healthy diet and exercise. And now there's a disclaimer on Enviga products that states exactly that.

I personally wish that companies would stop pulling on the heartstrings of those looking for a quick fix by suggesting that any given product can burn calories and fat for you. Do yourself a favour - eat right, get your muscles moving - it's the only thing guaranteed to work.

Chocolate Tax to Fight Obesity?

As funny as it sounds, some Scottish doctors are proposing that a heavier tax be placed on foods that contain chocolate! The doctors claim that chocolate is a major player in the obesity and diabetes epidemic that has swept the UK, and that a higher price will discourage people from purchasing as many treats as they do. Apparently, much of the population consumes almost a day's worth of calories in sweets on top of their regular meals.

As great as this tax sounds (yeah, sorry, chocolate should really only be eaten in moderation - it's for the greater good!), Julian Hunt of the Food and Drink Federation said: "Introducing regressive taxes on the foods that consumers love would result only in lighter wallets, not smaller waists".

For the time being we'll just have to wait and see if this tax is actually passed - after that we can find out if the nation slims down as a result! My hope is that we're a little more sensible than to eat a whole chocolate bar at lunch, am I wrong?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

BC Restaurants Ban Trans Fats

Although this is something that has already happened in some parts of the world like Denmark and New York City, we Canadians are slowly jumping on the bandwagon (in a good way!) to getting trans-fat free! BC is the first whole province in Canada to actually ban trans fats in restaurants, and hopefully this will be a growing trend. Some cities, such as Calgary, have restrictions on trans fats, but there's been nothing on this sort of scale before in Canada.

It's no secret that trans fats are detrimental to our health, so this is a step in the right direction for the government and restaurateurs alike to be more socially responsible and promote the health across the board. The rules take effect on September 30th of this year. So, if you're planning on attending the 2010 Olympics, you and your heart can rest assured that your plate of fries will be free of artery-clogging trans fats!

Catch Up With NIM on Facebook!

When it comes to getting healthy and losing weight, it certainly helps to read the latest news and info on the subject. What's more challenging, though, is truly getting committed and finding support from others just like you. Sometimes you just need a little kick in the butt to get moving, and other times you're so proud of your achievements that you want to share your tips and tricks with the world!
We at NIM know how important it is to stay connected, so we're all about community, too. Find us on Facebook where you can chat about anything you like (or don't like!). Come on, get connected!

If They Can Do It, So Can You!

Ok, so I don't think that "before" pictures are in order here, but boy oh boy what an improvement! Not that I actually believed all the recent hype about Jessica being fat (bad outfit?), but both she and Britney have donned their Daisy Dukes to show the world that their bodies are back!

See what a little exercise and healthy eating habits can do for you? Granted, they have a team of nutritionists and trainers working for them (maybe they eat NIM?!), but it all boils down to commitment and discipline. Now it's your turn to show the world that you can do it! Maybe you, too, can reward yourself with a pair of Daisy Dukes this summer...if that's your sort of thing!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Is it True That...All Fats are Bad For You? Your Daily Myth Busted

Quick: Check your skin, hair and nails - are they dry? If you answered 'yes' then you may not be getting enough of the right kinds of fats. While it is most definitely true that saturated and trans fats should be avoided at all costs, there are indeed some fats that your body needs for optimal performance.

Did you know that all of your cellular membranes are composed of lipids? Your brain is also swimming in a fatty material known as myellin. When you consume the right kinds of fats, your body breaks them down and uses them as building blocks to keep your brain sharp and your system in top shape. Deprive yourself of good fats and you are just asking for bad things to happen.

So...what are the "good" fats? Unsaturated fats! Within this category are the essential fatty acids (EFAs) that you often hear about - Omega-3's and omega-6's. These are fats that your body cannot produce on it's own and they need to be consumed in the diet. EFA's can have the beneficial effect of raising your HDL level (the "good cholesterol") and lowering your LDL level ("bad cholesterol").

The reason why fats get such a bad wrap is that they pack a whopping 9 calories/gram, which is more than double that of proteins and carbs (each have 4 calories/gram). Eat a combination of the following foods sparingly each day and you will be in top shape.
  • Avocados
  • Olive oil (in cooking and on salads)
  • Oily fish: salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines
  • Seeds - flax seeds are among the best sources
  • most nuts (ONE closed handful of almonds or walnuts per day is all you need)

Twitter Your Weight Loss

I guess you could call Twitter the new Facebook? It's a phenomenon that's taking the world by storm, and yes, even we're on it! But in all seriousness, updating your friends, family and peers about the details of your weight loss journey is a great way to stay on track!

One of the major pitfalls of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a lack of support. It always seems that there are people who want to see us fail, but where are those who want to cheer us on and motivate us when we need it the most? Temptation is all around us and giving up is so much easier than actually seeing our goals through to completion. It doesn't help that junk food is so cheap and accessible, either! We all need a little (or a big) kick in the butt from time to time! Letting the world know what you've been up to is a great way to hold yourself accountable for your actions and you can also see what works - or doesn't work - for others.

No more excuses, guys! Your weight loss journey can start as soon as right now if you really mean it.

The Secret of the "Always Thin"

It's natural - we can't help but envy those people who always seem to be thin and on top of their game. What's even more amazing is to see super-fit, thin men and women who are over the hill because it seems so rare. When most people get married, become parents, and especially once they hit the age of 40, they tend to "let themselves go" and gain weight at a rapid pace. That's why it's so shocking to see"hot", physically fit moms and dads! What's their secret? How do they do it?

According to a large survey by Consumer Reports, these "fit for life", never overweight individuals don't just kick back and relax and stay thin at the same time. On the contrary, they practice a healthy eating and fitness regimen just like the rest of us. Their habits were surprisingly similar to those individuals who lost weight and kept it off. Their arsenal consists of eating healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, cutting out any unnecessary dietary fat, practicing portion control and exercising vigorously and regularly.

Sure, part of it is genetic, but there is really only a small percentage of people who can eat whatever they want, not exercise and remain thin at the same time. One advantage that "always thin" individuals have over the rest of us is that exercising and healthy eating habits come a little bit more easily to them. The rest of us might have to weigh ourselves a bit more often and record what we eat to end up with the same results.

Well, now that it's all out on the table, you too can get on your way to being fit for life! What are you waiting for?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Watch Booze, Want Booze: Seeing Alcohol in TV and Movies Increases Alcohol Consumption

Shocking! A new study published in the Journal Alcohol and Alcoholism reveals that watching TV shows or movies where alcohol is prominently displayed actually makes you down more booze!

The researchers showed participants various combinations of films and commercials where alcohol was presented or consumed, ranging from many instances to just a few. What they found was that in conditions where more alcohol was present on the screen, more alcohol was consumed by the participants.

The researchers believe that seeing booze on the screen acts as a stimulus, or a trigger, for you to want to go get some booze yourself. It doesn't just make you thirsty - it makes you specifically crave alcohol! It seems this is just gives psychologists another case to add to the growing body of evidence backing the "Monkey see, monkey do" theory!

Is it true that...Carbs Make You Fat? Your Daily Myth Busted

OK, so we all hear a variety of nutrition and health 'facts' on what seems like a daily basis. The question is: Which ones are true and which ones are bogus? I thought I'd give you guys a forum to ask your pressing nutritional questions and express your concerns, and I will provide you with the answers!

Today's myth is that 'carbs make you fat'. It's the basis of low-carb diets and the reason why people are so afraid of pasta and bread! Well, guess what - carbs don't make you fat. Eating too much and not moving around enough makes you fat. The myth stems from the fact that if carbs are not used up as energy, they are readily stored as glycogen for future use as energy. Realistically, though, any excess calories that you consume will ultimately be stored, regardless of where they come from. Remember: balance and portion control are key!

Did you know that your brain relies solely on carbohydrates for energy? Cut them out entirely and you will start to feel dizzy, groggy and won't be able to focus. Carbs give you the energy your body needs to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. Choose complex carbs, like those found in whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat pasta) and sweet potatoes which give you a lasting burst of energy because your body burns them more slowly. Simple carbs like those found in fruits and veggies are used up more quickly by your body, but are also necessary and great for you.

What you should avoid for a number of reasons are refined sugars and white starches. These bad boys spike your blood sugar giving you an instant high, but cause you to crash just as quickly and leave you searching for more food to fill the void.

Hope that cleared the air! Feel free to ask me about any myths that you need busting by commenting on this post. Take care!

'Bad' Foods? Overzealous Parents, Anxious Kids

What happened to the days when kids were just kids? When it came to food, they knew what they liked or disliked and that was that. Not so anymore, a new report says. Apparently, kids nowadays know all too well about the details of nutrition and it's making them anxious!

So where is all of this anxiety is stemming from? Whether they mean to or not, some parents are "moralizing" foods as "good" or "bad" and scaring the bejeezus out of their kids! The irony? - Growing kids actually need a lot more calories and different ratios of carbs, fat and protein than their parents do. Did you know that young kids should drink homogenized or full-fat milk instead of any other kind because it better provides their growing bodies with the nutrients they need? Parents need to be conscious of these differences or else they might actually be doing the opposite of what they are intending.

“It’s almost a fear of dying, a fear of illness, like a delusional view of foods in general. I see kids whose parents have hypnotized them. I have 5-year-olds that speak like 40-year-olds. They can’t eat an Oreo cookie without being concerned about trans fats.” Said one Registered Dietitan.

It's one thing for parents to make efforts to keep their kids healthy, but ultimately, kids need to just be kids. Can you think of any other time when you can eat just about anything you like and not 'pay for it' later? More Birthday cake, please!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Scientists Get to the Root of those Greys

Dreading those tell-tale greys? Listen up: In what's considered to be a major breakthrough, British researchers have finally figured out what causes grey hair (and it's not your mother-in-law). It's pretty simple, actually - grey hair is caused by a build-up of hydrogen peroxide at the roots. Yep, you read that right, it's the same stuff that bottle-blondes use to lighten their locks!

What makes this study so special? Well, now that the cause of the "problem" has been uncovered, researchers can start working to find a solution! Expect new discoveries for interventions or reversal of the greying process in the coming future.

But on a serious note, if you think that grey hair alone will give away your age, think again. Nothing screams youth like dull skin, poor posture and loose teeth! Bottom line - if you want to look and feel younger for life, take good care of yourself now with a healthy lifestyle including eating right (that's where NIM fits in!) and exercising. The secret is out!

Angry Guys Get Fatter Faster: Study

Hey, we all get annoyed or aggravated from time to time. That's life. The thing is, some people just seem to be angry all the time! Well, here's some news they might not like: French researchers have found that the more hostile a man's attitude is, the more likely he is to gain weight in the future.

The study, which lasted for 19 years, measured BMI and hostility in both men and women. The researchers found that overall, hostility was linked with a higher BMI. Hostile women's BMI's stayed relatively the same over time, however hostility in men led to accelerated weight gain over the span of the study. The researchers think that it's due to hostility's link to depression, poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle that leads hostile men to gain weight more rapidly than mellow men.

So the moral of the story here is that there's no need to pull a Christian Bale! Take some time out for yourself and learn how to be a bit more zen. Your future self (and those around you) will seriously thank you.

Finally! A Use for Those Rotten Eggs...

On a slightly awkward note, scientists in Italy think they may have found the ingredients for a new impotence drug in the fumes that give rotten eggs their stench! Without getting too technical, the researchers have found that hydrogen sulphide, the gas responsible for the odour of rotten eggs, can produce similar results to good old Viagra.

According to the researchers, there is a definite need for an alternative to Viagra, since it's not completely effective on everyone who uses it. In their own words "This may help to unravel the complex mechanisms underlying the physiology of human penile erection and may lead to the development of therapeutic approaches in the treatment of erectile dysfunction and sexual arousal disorders."

Hmm...very interesting!

News You Can Use: Eating Less = Weight Loss

Shocking news from the February 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine: When it comes to weight loss, it doesn't really matter where your calories come from, as long as you're eating less.

Who knew?

But in all seriousness, this not-so-shocking discovery serves as the impetus for this reminder. Did you know that NIM Diet's three perfectly portioned meals, snacks and dessert offer up the perfect portions for optimal weight loss?