Monthly Archives: September 2011
|September 30, 2011||Posted by Ronni under Food and Nutrition, Health|
Over the past several years, food safety has been on the minds of all Americans. In the United States, consumers often take for granted the safety of the food at the corner store. Yet at the same time, the media has been highlighting cases of salmonella, E. coli and, most recently, listeria in domestically grown crops.
In 2009, peanut products were found with salmonella due to the dirty conditions at a peanut factory. Thus, the virus spread to the production of peanut products like peanut butter that was made into filling for popular snacks for humans and dogs.
A month after the FDA announced a salmonella outbreak in spinach. A year before the same product had been recalled for having E. Coli, killing three people and sickening another 200.
The list goes on. Turkey breasts, eggs, cilantro and deli meats – all food marked over the past few years with a virus possibly fatal to humans. So the question is: What is the government doing to ensure the food safety in this country?
In 2010, the Senate approved a bill that attempted to strengthen food safety in the country. At the time, critics noticed the bill’s weak spots. For instance, while the bill gave the FDA authority to prevent foodborne illnesses, not just react to them, they were restricted to NOT pressing criminal charges on producers who knowingly put contaminated foods into the market. Also, unless the facility was high-risk for a virus, the bill didn’t change the required frequency of the FDA inspects – which at the time could occur as frequently as once every 10 years.
So has this bill changed food safety in the United States? Barely. Most recently cantaloupe and bagged romaine lettuce has been marked with listeria. Since the first announcement of the outbreak, the affected crop of cantaloupe has spread to 18 states, caused 72 illnesses and resulted in 13 deaths, according to the CDC. Most importantly, the problem has yet to be controlled completely.
Moral of the story? Stay knowledgeable on food recalls – do not take “safe food” for granted. Periodically check the CDC website, watch the headlines on your local news, scan news websites, read the local papers – also, keep your friends and family healthy by spreading the word when you hear about any food recall. Stay Alert.
|September 28, 2011||Posted by Ronni under Food and Nutrition, Health|
In a recent study out of Japan, research have found men and women over the age of 60 with Type 2 Diabetes were twice as likely than other participants to develop Alzheimer’s within 15 years and 1.75 more likely to develop any kind of dementia. (reported on CNN.com)
Although this study seems to prove there is indeed a link between the conditions, the researchers are still unsure as to why they are linked. Because of this it is even more of a reason to continue a healthy life style that will prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes.
Consider these Healthy Living Tips to Prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes:
1. Exercise. A cardio work out for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week can be enough to improve your health. This could be as simple as going for a walk or jog around the block or as extensive as joining a group fitness class at your local gym. It also keeps your heart pumping and blood flowing, boosting metabolism and muscle growth! Controlling your weight is a large part of healthy living.
2. Eating the Right Foods. Along with maintaining a constant workout routine, eating the best foods for you is also important. Skip over the burgers and French fries. Instead have grilled chicken and, if you’re craving something fry-like, snack on some sweet potato fries! Staying away from carbohydrates and sugars will help you lose weight and consume beneficial nutrients. Remember: low in fat – high in fiber.
3. Visit Your Doctor. Talk to a personal care physician about the real risks you have of developing diabetes. Everyone is different and sometimes due to age or family history it cannot be prevented; but most of the time it can. Living a healthy style is the first step to doing so, but your doctor may be able to recommend specific regiments that can help you specifically.
|September 27, 2011||Posted by Ronni under Health, Wellness|
Erasing misconceptions brewed from misspoke words is often much harder than constructing brand new opinions. Unfortunately, the scientific community is fighting this battle after a very public misstep after an early presidential debate.
Republican Tea Party candidate Michelle Bachmann tried to gain leverage in an early debate over a fellow candidate, Texas Governor Rich Perry, by highlighting his statewide, mandatory HPV vaccination program for adolescent girls. The argument had seemed effective during the debate, throwing Perry off slightly. It was the interviews prior to the event that spun out of control.
Bachmann lost crucial ground on the argument by discussing the possible “dangerous side effects” of the vaccine, such as “mental retardation”, without any medical evidence to support her claim. She referenced a supporter of her campaign who discussed her daughter’s alleged reaction to the vaccine. Scientists, proponents of the vaccine and medical professionals across the country immediately went on the defensive.
Putting all political views aside – the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is very beneficial for both women and men. HPV is the most commonly sexually transmitted infection. Studies account that 50-70% of women will develop HPV after while they are sexually active. The infection can cause genital warts, cervical cancer and cancer in anal and genital areas of both men and women, but this vaccine prevents it. Vaccines have long been rumored to be the cause of health conditions, like autism, but time and time again studies have scientifically proven there is no link between the two.
Since 2006, two vaccines have been approved by the FDA and widely administered by medical professionals, vaccinating both men and women between the ages of nine and 26. The vaccine is most effective in adolescents because they have yet to become sexually active and protection of the vaccine is expected to last for many years.
After several studies and clinical trials, no serious safety concerns have been detected after taking the vaccine. Like any other vaccine, the HPV vaccines do come with some risk of fainting and normal vaccine allergic reactions. Most importantly, however, there is no “data [to support] a causal relationship of HPV vaccines to any neurological condition.”
Anyone who is looking for more information on the HPV vaccine should visit the CDC website, which provides the most up-to-date information about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines.
Joseph A. Bocchini Jr., Science shows HPV vaccine safe, beneficial, CNN.com Read More
|September 23, 2011||Posted by Ronni under Health News|
Cross-country competitor saves runner. Andover, MA high school student carries a cross country competitor to safety, after several runners pass him unconcerned. Injured student received 21 stitches in his right leg. Read More
With Bed Bugs the Cure May be Worse than the Disease. “Blood-sucking bed bugs have made a comeback in recent years. But as victims of infestation have become increasingly desperate to rid their homes of the bedeviling pests, many have only done themselves more harm.” Read More
New Hope for Blind as Europe’s First Embryonic Stem Cell Trail is Approved. “An injection aimed at curing blindness is to be given to British patients, after health authorities approved plans for the first embryonic stem cell trial of its kind on Europe. Surgeons at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London will inject cells into the eyes of 12 patients with the degenerative condition Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy. Read More
ADHD Drug May Help Wake Up People After Surgery. “The drug Ritalin, prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), may help patients wake up after they’ve been placed under general anesthesia, a new study in animals suggests. Rats given the drug regained consciousness in about one-third of the time it took those given a placebo.” Read More
|September 22, 2011||Posted by Ronni under Ergonomics, Wellness|
If you have a desk job, you are likely to spend 56 hours a week sitting. That’s not just at your desk; that’s also in your car, on your couch, at your kids’ soccer games or at the movie theater. But seeing most of us maintain a 40-50 hour work week, one of our most important places we sit is our desk chair.
For this reason picking any old chair cannot work. You’ve got to research it, study it and try it out. You need the most ergonomic chair for your body type.
Ergonomics. I’ve read many articles saying it’s simply a buzz word for comfort. I have several colleagues that respectfully disagree. It’s a scientific construction and design of a product that supports the human body in the most comfortable and supportive way possible.
The question is – how do you pick the most ergonomic chair for you? We have worked with AliMed’s Ergo Expert and pulled together some great tips to consider when looking to purchase a new office chair.
4 Things to Look for in an Ergonomic Chair:
- Height of the Chair. The Ergo Expert suggests measuring the distance from the floor to the underside of your desk, then subtracting 8”-10”. Your new chair will most likely match this height measurement. Humantech®, an ergonomic consulting firm out of Ann Arbor, MI, says the perfect chair will allow your feet to be planted on the floor with your thighs parallel to the floor; your knees will thus be at a 90 degree angle. (Reported in The Wall Street Journal)
- Back of the Chair. The Ergo Expert’s top suggestion is focus on the lumbar support. The most convenient chair is one that can adjust the lumbar support, allowing an adjustment for the user’s height. You can also find a chair with the proper, non-adjustable lumbar support for you, by trying the chair out before you buy it.
- Seat of the Chair. The most comfortable chair is one that fits you explicitly, including the depth of the seat. It should measure the same distance from the inside of your knee to the base of your spine, says the Ergo Expert. Also, the perfect chair will only improve your health. A waterfall front to the seat will provide you with improved blood circulation to your legs.
- Armrests for the Chair. Armrests are possibly the most overlooked aspect of the chair. If you spend 90% of your day typing, you’ll understand why. But for the other 10% of your day, armrests that are too low or too high can put heightened strain on your upper back, neck and shoulders. That’s why, unless you find a chair that’s non-adjustable armrests perfect for you, the armrests should be adjustable to accommodate any user.
A comfortable, supportive chair should be the goal of any employee or employer. This is why you should NEVER purchase a chair without a money back guarantee or taking it for a test drive. You probably spend 30-40 hours a week sitting in your desk chair; make sure it is the best one for you.
No matter how comfortable the chair is, don’t sit down all day. Leading a sedentary life can often lead to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Try to walk around your office at least once every hour. As for your new, ergonomic chair? It is said absence makes the heart grow fonder.
|September 20, 2011||Posted by Ronni under Health, Wellness|
On Monday a new shipment of flu vaccines was sent across the United States, but this batch looks a little different than it’s predecessor. It has a smaller needle, geared toward patients who skip the vaccine due to their fear of the length of a needle. The vaccine does contain 40% less antigen material than the regular flu vaccine, but does not provide a different immune response than the original.
Because the newer vaccine has a lower percentage of antigen material, the same amount of antigen can be used for more vaccines. This may come in handy if there is a flu-shot shortage this season.
There are many reasons to get a flu shot, this new needle size only adds to the list.
|September 19, 2011||Posted by Ronni under Food and Nutrition, Recipes|
Part of the constant struggle to stay on a healthy food track is the parties you’ll attend. In my circle, football season spikes the number of get-togethers and the number of calories consumed at each one. In an effort to stay healthy, but still appeal to the masses, I have adapted a game day classic: The Pig in a Blanket.
Using regular hot dogs and butter crescent rolls stacks up the calories quick. But with a few adjustments to the play, you can have your guests full and energized to cheer on the home team. Instead of using a full sized hot dog, use mini ones instead. They are bite size, yummy morsels that everyone can dunk and enjoy. I have found the best choice to be a turkey based hot dog. Although it is a little more expensive, your guests won’t even be able to tell the difference between turkey and kosher beef. And most importantly, do not use butter crescent rolls. Most of the time, I use reduced-fat, non-buttered dough. If I am feeling a little adventurous, I hunt down a wheat dough. Here’s my usual recipe:
The Mini Pig in a Blanket
One package of Mini Turkey Hot Dogs
2 Packs of Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls
A light weight cooking spray
Mustard and Ketchup
1) Preheat the oven at 375.
2) Remove the hot dogs from the package. Separate and rinse with water.
3) Open the crescent rolls and separate along the perforated edges. Cut each triangle into three smaller triangles. (With two containers of rolls, you should end up with 48 small triangles)
4) Spray a large cookie sheet with a thin layer of cooking spray.
5) Roll one mini hot dog into the small dough triangle and place the wrapped dog onto the tray.
6) Continue until you have rolled all the hot dogs into dough.
7) Once fully preheated, put the pan of hot dogs into the oven. Cook for 15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
8) Let cool for 5 minutes, before serving on a platter with mustard and ketchup for dipping.
|September 16, 2011||Posted by Ronni under Health News|
After Dr. Oz’s show this past week, where he reported his findings from his study on the arsenic in apple juice, the FDA and other doctors have fired back, questioning the legitimacy of his study. The FDA says that his study was conducted without merit – but Dr. Oz sticks to his story and his findings.
Doctors at a Memphis, Tennessee, hospital have separated eight-month-old twins who were connected by their pelvis and lower spine. The Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital announced that they successfully operated on Joshua and Jacob Spates about two weeks ago. The twins remain in the intensive care unit, according to the hospital.
“Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson stunned “700 Club” viewers Tuesday when he said divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer’s disease was justified. Robertson, chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network and former Republican presidential candidate, said he wouldn’t ‘put a guilt trip’ on someone for divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer’s disease, calling Alzheimer’s itself “a kind of death.’”
“Among the 115 children who died of flu-related causes last year, less than a quarter of them had received the flu vaccine, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While childhood deaths from the flu are extremely rare, experts said the flu vaccine could have likely saved the lives of these children.”
|September 15, 2011||Posted by Jennifer EasierLiving under Fitness, Food and Nutrition, Health|
Losing weight is never easy. I’ve watched several people try and lose weight through a healthy, regimented plan and it has never seemed easy. A person needs supporters, determination, perseverance and self-control – lots and lots of self-control.
Within my own struggle to shed the pounds, I have found the most challenging part to be eating the right foods. When I was in school, I maintained an active, athletic schedule that allowed me to live off of fast food burgers and Little Debbie snacks. I remember eating three or four oatmeal crème pies as an after school snack before racing off to a volleyball game. Delicious? You betcha. Healthy? No, definitely not.
Now, I have to fight to keep from eating my fiancé’s Keebler cookies in the pantry. There are many tricks to avoiding temptations, but I have yet to master any of them. I struggle day in and day out to keep my snacking to a minimum and my meal choices healthy. I gained the weight after college because I wasn’t acting accountable for the food I was eating. I just ate like I was still playing volleyball every night, walking to across campus 4 times a day and going to free group fitness at the sports complex.
When I started noticing how tight my pants were becoming, I started to notice my eating habits. I finally decided enough was enough; I discovered a tool that changed how I acted about food.
A food diary. Some people balk at the idea, contributing journaling food as unhealthy for a person’s self-esteem. Journaling the food you eat throughout the day is not the same as counting calories or the gateway to eating disorders. It’s a healthy, easy way to become accountable for the food you eat every day.
If I look back at my day’s journal and realize that I ate this:
|Breakfast||Bagel with Cream Cheese|
|Morning Snack||Snack Bag of Cheese Its|
|Lunch||Burger King Whopper|
|Afternoon Snack||Lays Potato Chips|
|Dinner||Bean and Cheese Burrito|
|Dessert||Ice Cream Sandwich|
I don’t feel guilty; I feel failure. A journal like this means I didn’t even attempt to try! Not to mention, I’m then going to bed at the end of the day with a pile of calories that are going to create fat, not reduce it.
If I look back at my day’s journal and realize that I ate this:
|Breakfast||Wheat Waffle with Peanut Butter|
|Morning Snack||An Apple|
|Lunch||Baja Chicken Lean Cuisine|
|Afternoon Snack||Hummus and Tomato Wheat wrap|
|Dinner||Grilled Chicken and Spinach|
|Desert||Ice Cream Sandwich|
I feel excellent. I probably even worked out this day – because this day I made decisions on my food that transformed my attitude.
My advice, from one dieter to the next, is to journal your food. Don’t track the calories; don’t lie about what you ate. Use each day to teach you accountability for your eating habits. Use it to change those bad habits and make the good ones more prevalent.
And report back on how it works! We love success stories!
|September 13, 2011||Posted by Ronni under Health, Wellness|
Historically, I avoid the flu vaccine like the plague. I survived 4 years of college with a beloved roommate who never seemed to escape bronchitis or the flu, due to her internships at inner city elementary schools – I hardly thought I needed to vaccinate myself against the flu. I’m a lover of natural medicine: Three classes of water for a headache, a massage for achy muscles, rest and relaxation for a stomachache.
Then my sister had a baby. He’s the cutest little 5-month-old buddle of joy you’ll ever meet. He also has already had a cold 4 times in his short life. Regardless of my apprehension, this year I ran to the nearest vaccination clinic to prevent the transmission of the virus to that cute little boy.
5 Reasons to Consider the Flu Shot:
- A Vaccine for Everyone! Scared of needles? No problem. Now you and your family can be vaccinated with a nasal spray, avoiding fearful tantrums and tears. Although, you will also have to say goodbye to the Hello Kitty BandAids.
- Children Pass Germs like Wild Fire. No matter how hygienic you think your keep your children – it doesn’t matter. They may wash their hands at the bathroom in school, but little Johnny in line before them probably won’t. A vaccination can keep the influenza virus from affecting them – and you when they bring those germs home.
- Healthy = Happy. Your children may not be cranky because they watching reruns of Hannah Montana all day, but they will when their fever hits 102 – or when they have to catch up on the work they missed at school. You’ll have to stay home, to ensure they are drinking fluids and resting enough – missing important work meetings and decisions. Basically, a vaccination = less stress.
- Various Flu Stands. The flu shot this year “includes an influenza B virus, an influenza A (H1N1) virus and an influenza A (H3N2) virus.” There are many other strands – like the bird flu or the swine flu – but the FDA has released a diagnostic kit to identify these strands if suspected.
- It’s the 1st Line of Defense against the Flu. Yes, there are other ways to prevent the flu – but the CDC recommends a vaccine above all else. It’s specifically formulated to prevent the flu stands that commonly affect people in the United States.
For more information about the Flu this season and its vaccines, please visit the CDC website.