Archive for September, 2009

THINNER YOU: What to eat after your workout

BY DEAN ANDERSON for SPARKPEOPLE

Everyone knows that athletes must plan and time their meals and snacks very carefully to reach their performance goals. But what about the rest of us? You try to squeeze in 30-60 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Do you have to be careful about what you eat before and after your workouts, too?

gospelcize.0715_4If you’re eating a healthy diet and getting enough calories to support your activity level, you can probably rely on your own appetite, energy levels, and experience to tell you whether you need to eat anything before or after exercise and what it should be. The basic rule here is: Find out what works best for you, and do that.

There are some advantages to knowing how your body works and what it needs to perform at its best. The bottom line for healthy weight loss and fitness sounds simple: You have to eat fewer calories than you use up  —  but not fewer than your body needs to function at its best.

The size, timing, and content of your pre- and …

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CANCER TALES: From Caregiver to Patient

BY JOSEPH DARBY

I wasn’t supposed to be the cancer patient. You see, I was the caregiver of a cancer patient – the strong one, the support system. I spent 17 years with my wife, agonizing about her treatments as she suffered severe pain from multiple myeloma and the devastating treatments. Unfortunately, we lost her battle with the disease about five years ago, and shortly thereafter I was forced to face my own battle with cancer.

survivorOn Christmas Eve this past year, my doctor told me I had aggressive but contained prostate cancer. Not the Christmas gift I was hoping for. Shortly after my youngest daughter got married, I had my Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) levels tested. I had never really paid much attention to the results before because my doctor hadn’t seemed concerned. Well, now they were high and I was going to be forced to pay attention to them.

After dealing with the daily toll cancer took on my wife, it was hard for me to come to terms with my own diagnosis. In fact, it …

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AGING & CARING: 5 foods that sabotage your sleep

BY MELANIE HAIKEN OF CARING.COM

If you’re having trouble sleeping, what about a midnight snack? Think twice — here are five foods that can prevent you from getting a good night’s rest:

HG-Bedding_184611_2505091. Preserved and smoked meats. Slap your hand away when it reaches to make a ham sandwich as an evening snack. Ham, bacon, sausages, and smoked meats contain high levels of the amino acid tyramine, which triggers the brain to release norepinephrine, a brain stimulant that makes us feel alert and wired.

2. Chocolate. Love an evening cup of cocoa? That sundae in front of the TV? Be careful of chocolate in all its disguises. Many people are increasingly sensitive to caffeine as they get older, and even the little chocolate chunks in chocolate chip ice cream could zap you just enough to prevent ZZZZs. Chocolate also contains tyrosine, a stimulating amino acid.

3. Energy drinks. Red Bull and other energy drinks are high in caffeine as well as the amino acid taurine, which boosts alertness and …

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PEOPLE’S PHARMACY: Bounce bees with bags of water?

Q: I was at a child’s birthday party, and wasps and bees were flying all over while the food was out. Someone said to get self-sealing plastic bags (sandwich-size is fine), fill them with water and put them on the table. The wasps disappeared. If I hadn’t seen this with my own eyes, I never would have believed it.

I went to another party, and the host had put plastic bags of water all along her deck and anywhere people were sitting. There were no bees or wasps, and she lives out in the country.

Apparently, the light reflecting on the bags of water hurts the insects’ eyes. This is a cheap way to keep the stinging bugs away without the use of chemicals.

A: Thanks so much for this fascinating tip. We could find no scientific studies to support this approach, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work.

Some folks say that the same trick (with partially filled gallon-size zippered plastic bags) may work to keep flies away, while others maintain it is an urban legend.

Since it is really …

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ASK DR. H: Twins can have different fathers

Q: I know someone who is fostering twin infants that they believe may have different fathers. I never knew that something like this could even be possible. How rare is it? — F.W., Roswell

A: It’s very rare — roughly a one in a million occurrence. There are just a few DNA-verified cases around the world. Closer to home, a couple from Dallas was perplexed that their twin infants had very different facial features. The mother’s concerns that something just wasn’t right prompted DNA testing of the children. The test results from Clear Diagnostics DNA Lab confirmed their suspicions: The twins were half-brothers from different fathers.

The mother’s infidelity led to a rare double conception where sperm from two men fertilized two eggs. The medical explanation is that there is a 24- to 48-hour period during ovulation when this can occur.

Dr. Mitchell Hecht is a physician specializing in internal medicine. Send questions to him at: “Ask Dr. H,” P.O. Box 767787, Roswell, GA 30076. …

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HEALTHY EATING: Navigating fast-food rules

BY CAROLYN O’NEIL

Just because a food is fast doesn’t make it fattening. “Fast food” has long been associated with bags bulging with greasy burgers and fries. But simplistic nutrition advice to avoid drive-through windows and the affordable fare at quick-serve restaurants is outdated and unrealistic.

breakfast.0109bAnd, it’s not even helpful. It’s sort of like driver’s education — sure, you can avoid being in a car accident by staying away from cars. But isn’t it better to learn the skills needed to navigate safely?

In the same way, modern nutrition advice should offer specific suggestions based on what works for your lifestyle, taste buds and pocketbook.

So here, then, are some road rules for a fast-food “Diner’s Education.”

Fast-food lane: It can be a green light. From burgers to bean burritos, the offerings at food places dotting the highways and on every corner of every town include standardization and convenience. Most offer grilled versions of chicken sandwiches, an array of fresh …

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DOCTOR IS IN: Controlling your cholesterol

BY CHERYL WILLIAMS, RD, LD

Clinical Nutritionist, Emory Heart & Vascular Center, Emory HeartWise Cardiac Risk Reduction Program

If you’re a healthy weight and exercise regularly, you probably don’t think you need to worry about your cholesterol, right? Wrong.

Cheryl-Williams_EMORYWhile it is a fact that diet and exercise play crucial roles in controlling cholesterol, eating too many fatty foods – especially those high in saturated fat and trans fat – is the primary cause of high cholesterol. Thin, active people may not be aware of how much bad fat they consume.

Saturated fats are derived primarily from animal products and are known to raise cholesterol levels. They are found in common foods like butter, cheese, whole milk, pork and red meat. Lower-fat versions of these foods usually contain saturated fats, but typically in smaller quantities than the regular versions. Certain plant oils, like palm and coconut oils, are another source of saturated fats. You may not use these oils when you cook, …

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THINNER YOU: What to eat before you work out

BY DEAN ANDERSON for SPARKPEOPLE

Everyone knows that athletes must plan and time their meals and snacks very carefully to reach their performance goals. But what about the rest of us? You try to squeeze in 30-60 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Do you have to be careful about what you eat before and after your workouts, too?

fitness.0507aUsually not. If you’re eating a healthy diet and getting enough calories to support your activity level, you can probably rely on your own appetite, energy levels, and experience to tell you whether you need to eat anything before or after exercise and what it should be. The basic rule here is: Find out what works best for you, and do that.

There are some advantages to knowing how your body works and what it needs to perform at its best. The bottom line for healthy weight loss and fitness sounds simple: You have to eat fewer calories than you use up—but not fewer than your body needs to function at its best.

The size, timing, and content of your …

Continue reading THINNER YOU: What to eat before you work out »

AGING & CARING: How to know when it’s time to stop driving

BY CONNIE MATTHIESSEN OF CARING.COM

If your aging parent or other family member is like most people, the decision to stop driving is likely to be a wrenching one. It raises daunting practical problems (How am I going to get to the doctor? What about my weekly outings for dinner and a movie?). It also represents another loss at a time of life already buffeted by major losses — of independence, health, and lifelong friends and loved ones.

For practical and emotional reasons, then, giving up driving is a transition that everyone involved wishes to put off as long as possible. It’s no wonder that many adult children and spouses say that taking away the car keys was among the hardest things they ever had to do.

Older drivers: increased risk

Still, if you have concerns about a family member’s driving ability, it’s vital not to ignore them. Many seniors are able to drive safely well into their 80s and even early 90s, but it’s also common for elderly people to have vision and hearing …

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ASK DR. H: Screening guidelines change

Q: I’m a 65-year-old woman who developed breast cancer two years ago. I had a colonoscopy five years ago, which was normal. In light of my recent breast cancer, I wanted to have another colonoscopy because I was under the impression that I’m now at greater risk of colon cancer. However, my gastroenterologist said that Medicare doesn’t consider me to be at higher risk and won’t pay for a colonoscopy until I’m 70. Is that right?  — J.L., Roswell, Ga.

A: For years, the guidelines for colon cancer screening were that if a person had a personal history of breast, ovarian or uterine cancer he or she was considered to be at increased risk of getting colorectal cancer. But recent studies have shown differing opinions on whether there really is a heightened risk.
There is not yet a consensus of opinion on this — despite the Medicare guidelines.

The following are clear risk factors for colon cancer: Age over 50; personal history of precancerous colon polyps; personal history of …

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