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Fat-Shaming, Vaccines, and the Pandemic – Jezebel

Posted: April 9, 2021 at 1:53 am

More than 20 years later, I can still remember my grandmother handing me the silver diet book with the cartoon cover and the sense that I needed to do something. I was probably around 13; the specifics have mercifully faded with time, but the cover and the feeling are burned into my brain. And so it was with a special kind of remembered dread and baggage that I read a recent NPR headline: How Parents Can Address Kids Pandemic Weight Gain. Children have had their lives upended over the last year, isolated from their friends and shut out from so many spaces and activities; so many of them have lost grandparents, parents, and other people they cared about. Why is the weight the thing that matters? Of course, its always the weight that matters, looming large in American culture as an obsession, a scapegoat, a gravitational force that warps discussions about fitness, about food, about bodies. Not just in American culture, but for those of us who are in fact fat.

The accelerated vaccine rollout has prompted a flood of lifestyle content, but one storyline rises above the others: the weight and what to do about it. One New York Times headline delivered the bad news: How Much Weight Did We Gain During Lockdowns? 2 Pounds a Month, Study Hints. The piece covered a study published in March in JAMA Network Open; Good Morning America picked up the same study and advised its audience How to work out safely at the gym amid coronavirus pandemic. The longtime Personal Health columnist for the Times, Jane E. Brody,opted for a more actively shaming stance in her mid-March piece. She wrote:

The country was suddenly faced with a shortage of flour and yeast as millions of Americans stuck at home went on a baking frenzy. While I understood their need to relieve stress, feel productive and perhaps help others less able or so inclined, bread, muffins and cookies were not the most wholesome products that might have emerged from pandemic kitchens.

This was a motif throughout the pandemic, one taken up by Whole Foods founder John Mackey in an interview where he stressed a link between covid and obesity and proclaimed: People have got to become wiser about their food choices. Even when media wasnt cutting it dangerously close to blaming people for dying of covid, the concern about packing on pounds has persisted throughout the pandemic. The Times also picked up on a study by weight-loss brand Nutrisystem in October (Using the Pandemic as an Opportunity to Lose Weight and Get in Shape) and one in the journal Obesity in December (Yes, Many of Us Are Stress-Eating and Gaining Weight in the Pandemic).

Not even a corporate initiative to encourage vaccination escaped the concern; when Krispy Kreme announced a free donut promotion for those whod gotten the jab, a professor of public health took it upon herself to criticize the promotion; As a public health expert, I cant endorse a diet of daily donuts, she wrote.

Its not like anybody is surprised to hear theyve gained 20 pounds in the pandemic; people know whether their pants fit or dont fit. Its not a shock that a year of stress would result in some weight gain, and much of America has spent the last year with much, much bigger problems than an additional 10 pounds. And, too, many Americans have been more concerned about having enough to eat, as evidenced by long lines at food pantries across the country.

But the proliferation is also part of a decades-long pattern in the way America talks about weight that just isnt helping. If it were, the percentages wouldnt have kept creeping up, up, up; clearly, there are structural factors at work that far outweigh any individuals calorie-counting. And yet, thats what these narratives always come back to. The discussion of personal health, over and over again, is framed in terms of weight, rather than centering the practices that are good for all bodiesexercise and healthy eatingregardless of size. And, too, the obsession with personal responsibility obscures the possibilities for structural solutions.

Whats more, it just makes heavier people fucking miserable.

I dont remember how old I was when I first became aware that I was fat, or at least inclined to chubbiness, which suggests it was early in grade school or even before. I know I was well aware of the shame by fourth grade, because I remember the sinking feeling when some about you worksheet required writing out your weight. (Im pretty sure I fudged the numbers.) When my grandmother handed me that diet book, at the time, shaving off whatever number stood between me and normal really did seem almost achievable if I simply put my mind to it. All it would take was the right combination of grapefruit, cottage cheese, and willpower. It probably wasnt the first time wed have a similar conversation, and it wasnt the last.

With the benefit of adult hindsight, I can see that my grandmother was coming from a place of concern, and a place of anxiety about her own body. (She was forever fad dieting, and her mobility was limited because of a car accident years before.) Thats the point, though: the stuff thats kindly meant still hurts. And it wasnt just her; I grew up in the South in the 80s and 90s and to the degree that there were any women forthrightly comfortable in their bodies, well, they were thin on the ground. Nor did popular culture offer any alternative visions: The messages were everywhere. And so at the impressionable period of my life where I might have been forming a comfortable relationship with vegetables and exercise, instead I was beginning to conceive of myself as a person who would always exist in an uneasy tension with her own body. That sense of myself threw my relationship to the foods I ate and the physical activities I chose into complete disorder.

When New York expanded vaccine availability to the clinically overweightanybody with a BMI of 30 or aboveIll admit I felt weird about it. Not guilty, exactly; its not cheating to make an appointment when the authorities say its time to make an appointment. It was more an echo of the discomfort, shame, and guilt Ive carried for years about my body, which is so often framed as a problem. Its more that Im accustomed to the lack of accommodationthe clothing that doesnt fit, the chairs that are too smalland move through the world accordingly. I expect a lecture on every trip to the doctors office; I went through an entire pregnancy with COMPLICATIONS: MORBID OBESITY emblazoned on the various forms I carried around my OB/GYNs office. It felt unreal that my cursed BMI might benefit me in some waythough, of course, it wasnt a benefit at all, but a simple public health judgment about risk.

So much comes to rest on a fat bodyso much symbolism for oneself, for others, for society. That, to me, is the true weight, the weight that puts the wear and tear on my body and my spirit. I remember, too, the moment I knew that my grandmothers ovarian cancer was going to kill her: After a doctors appointment, I watched her order a milkshake without so much as hemming or hawing. I knew, too, that I had to find a way to live that didnt revolve around endlessly struggling with my own body.

The irony is, working from home for a year has been good for my eating habits. I started eating green smoothies for breakfast; I experimented with my dinner menus and I developed opinions about specific varieties of lettuce. Desperate for covid-safe entertainment with my stuck-at-home toddler, we began frequenting nearby farm stands and discovered the glories of late-summer New York peaches. I had an epiphany: I actually like salad. Its not a punishment food, or a grim requirement for a narrow view of beauty, or a chore; its something that I quite genuinely enjoy eating. Id never realized this because even after I decided to quit worrying about the numbers on the scale, my relationship with food was still so fraught. It took years and years of exposure to fat acceptance and life experience to reach this point; no smug article about public health has done anything to help the process. I sometimes think about the friendly resident tutor in college who brought over a small side salad after assessing the contents of my tray and deciding it didnt have enough vegetables. A lifetime of moments like that just made me associate healthy food with humiliation and shame for a very, very long time.

Much to my immense surprisein contravention of every stereotype about fat peopleI also find myself doing exactly what all these articles presumably want me to be doing and fantasize constantly about going back to the gym, previously a space I associated with being conspicuous and out-of-place. Shortly before the pandemic, I finally forked over the money for somewhere with a lap pool, because if theres one childhood physical activity of which I have nothing but the fondest possible memories, its swimming. Swimming has always been movement for the sake of movement, for the sake of fun, untainted by the pressure to shrink the number on the scale. For a month, I routinely sank into the blue water and stroked my way down and back, down and back. Another realization: I actually do get those exercise endorphins.

I imagine sliding back into the water and gliding along at eye-level, pulling myself along. Maybe Ill take up open-water swimming, I imagine. Maybe Ill become one of those people who takes long weekend hikes in nature. Maybe Ill get into kayaking, cutting through the open water, still heavy but nevertheless weightless. Hope, they say, springs eternal.

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Fat-Shaming, Vaccines, and the Pandemic - Jezebel

COVID-19 and loss: ‘You don’t think it will happen to you until it does’ – Rockford Register Star

Posted: April 9, 2021 at 1:53 am

Alex Gary| Special to the Rockford Register Star

The coronavirus pandemic is the closest thing to a worldwide event since World War II. Last year, the Register Star reached out to 19 Rock River Valley natives from all over the world to see how COVID was affecting them. Over the next few weeks, we will update several of their stories, seeing how the coronavirus has changed their lives and living habits.

Evangeline Whitlock, a 2001 Keith School graduate, was a visiting assistant arts professor at New York University-Tisch School of the Arts and a professional stage manager when the pandemic hit last year. She lost her father to the coronavirus in December and relocated to live closer to family during the pandemic.

Postcards Home: Keith School graduate in NYC actually making lemonade out of lemons

Q: Has the coronavirus affected you personally or professionally?

This question is the hardest one of all. Yes, to both. Ill start with the sad.

My dad passed away from COVID-19 on Dec. 26. He was 62. He went into the hospital on Nov. 29, and into the ICU on Dec. 5. The rest of the month was an emotional roller coaster. Some days were good, some days were bad, some days were even worse. Every day was a nail-biter.

I dont know how I got any work done at all or focused on anything. The doctors were certain he was through the worst of it and was going to pull through. I got a call from my mom on the morning of Dec. 26, saying, "They had to emergency intubate him overnight."

"Should I come up?"I asked immediately.

"Yeah. Youd better."

I was still down in St. Louis but my sister and brother-in-law had driven up for the Christmas holidays. My boss offered to drive me halfway and my brother-in-law met us in Bloomington. I knew I was too distraught to drive safely. When we were about an hour outside of Rockford my mom called and said, "Come straight to the hospital. The doctor called. Hes not going to make it."

Id like to think that even though he was intubated and unconscious, Dad somehow knew that his family was together and that he could let go. I made it just in time to suit up in full PPE, dash into his little ICU room, and say my goodbyes.

You dont think it will happen to you until it does.

I tell the sad part first, because I firmly believe that what happened last year with my life was a way of preparing me for this great loss and tragedy.

Last summer, I moved across the country and started a new job. I received an offer to take on a professor of stage management position in the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, where my sister and brother-in-law live, and about a four-hour drive to Rockford where my parents live.

With the shutdown of everything in New York and great uncertainty surrounding the future of my career there, I jumped at the chance to live closer to family and to start a new chapter in my life. I dont want to say this move was a result of the pandemic; rather, a form of collateral beauty that the catastrophe of the pandemic offered.

I cant imagine going through what we are all going through now as a family if I still lived in New York, hundreds of miles away from my family. At one point during the hellish uncertainty of December my sister said to me through tears, "I cant imagine dealing with all of this if you werent close by.

Q: Has anything in your life gotten back to normal or is there a new normal?

My job as a teacher provides structure and routine, even with all the continued uncertainty of how we are going to come out of this, and in particular when theater and live events with audiences will return. I am accountable to my colleagues and my students, I have all the obligations and responsibilities of learning a new job and working in a new environment, and I am finding the strength to show up each day with hope and joy.

Ive always said that my life in theater makes for certain uncertainty. I live the routine of no routine. In fact, I was looking back at my responses from a year ago and in one of them I talked about how my career as a freelancer has uniquely prepared me for the change and uncertainty that the pandemic has wrought.

Postcards Home: 'I can't envision a 'post-COVID world' just yet'

Without my dad on this planet anymore, I must admit I feel a little rudderless, unmoored, adrift. And yet, I know that I have it in me to find my way back to shore because in many ways, I have always had to live my life this way. Moving from job to job and city to city, crying because the show is closing at the same time Im packing my bags and excited to head to the next one.

What Im finding is that instead of going through that every few months when the show closes, Im feeling that feeling every day right now. The feeling of packing the bag, not quite sure where Im headed, but knowing that someones booked me a plane ticket and I have to show up at the next venue tomorrow.

I know Ill get there, even though some days its harder to see how than others.

Q: What have you learned about yourself over the past year?

Ive learned that its not for nothing my birthday is in April and thus my birthstone is a diamond. Just when I think I cant stand any more pressure, I learn that I can. Just when I think the weight is too much to bear, I learn I can carry just a little bit more.

Im not a chemist, so this metaphor may be a bit unscientific, but go with me here. A diamond, which is formed from carbon under immense amounts of pressure, has an extremely stable crystal structure. Its unique in that way. Ive learned that to get to that state of diamond, that state of extremely stable structure and crystalline beauty, there is a period of immense pressure that one must withstand.

Ive learned that joy and grief can hold hands with each other, that I can be happy and experience the beauty of each new day, and at the same time cry tears of grief and sadness. The juxtaposition of these extreme emotions is all a part of living each day fully present to myself and to the world, and reveling in the small moments that are the stuff of life.

Q: What have you learned about your neighbors or community over the past year?

Ive learned microcosmic things and macrocosmic things. In my responses from last year I talked about the interconnectedness of communities, and how the pandemic was revealing that in new ways to me. Ive learned tiny, intricate details about my neighbors, and Ive learned global, universal things about my communities.

Even in the last days of my time in New York I was learning new things about my neighbors. Seeing them in the hallways and stairwells in passing, making sure each other was OK, making sure that no one needed anything.

Postcards Home: Harlem grad in England just wants parents to 'meet their first grandchild'

It was interesting that in my building, the forced stay-at-home measures led to a deeper commitment to taking care of each other in whatever small way we could. I learned that my expectant neighbor welcomed a new baby girl into the world just after I moved out. I learned another of my neighbors had applied to New York University, which was her dream school, and was eagerly awaiting the decision. I learned that one of my neighbors had been in the hospital for three weeks with Covid, but he made it home and was on the way to a full recovery just when I was getting ready to move.

And about my new community here in St. Louis? Ive learned that its really, really cool, and even in the middle of the pandemic Im discovering amazing people and places. Ive learned that I can put down my roots in a new city, in the midst of a global crisis, and I will find ways to be watered and nurtured and grow, because thats what a good community does. And Ive learned that Im a vital part of the life force of whatever community in which I find myself. My actions matter, both small and big.

Ive learned that even without New York, I can still walk to the coffee shop, the bar, a restaurant, and ice cream, and that city life does exist outside the Big Apple.

Q: What was the most difficult part of the pandemic?

Losing my dad. Full stop.

What do you think is "next" for you in a post-COVID world?

I am looking forward to being an aunt! Alongside the sadness our family is experiencing, we are also eagerly anticipating the arrival of my sisters first baby! And that joyous upcoming event has caused me to say a word I usually try not to say no when Ive gotten some offers for projects this summer.

Ordinarily, I jump at every single work opportunity that comes my way. Now, I am pausing and realizing that after a year of such sadness, such loss, and such grief, I dont want to miss a single moment of the first few months of my nephews life.

Professionally, I am hoping I can get back to freelance work soon, and get back into a theater with a full audience! St. Louis is an amazing city for arts and culture, and there are so many great theatre companies here. I cant wait to hear the murmur of a gathering crowd, to call the cue that takes the house lights down, to experience the collective intake of breath from an eager audience as the actors say their first lines and take us into some fantastic story. Thats going to be a beautiful moment.

Alex Gary is a freelance correspondent

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COVID-19 and loss: 'You don't think it will happen to you until it does' - Rockford Register Star

Safe eating with SafeDish THE MERCURY – The UTD Mercury

Posted: April 9, 2021 at 1:52 am

After a recent bout with food poisoning, a UTD student co-created SafeDish, an app that makes it easier to find health inspection information for nearby restaurants.

Computer science senior Caleb Jiang noticed how inaccessible health inspection data is when he got food poisoning after eating at Chipotle. Jiang said that while restaurants are required to have copies of their latest health inspections available upon request, the data can be very difficult to find online.

We thought, you know, it would be pretty cool if we could make this hard-to-find government data much more accessible to everyone so they could be more informed consumers about what food they eat, Jiang said.

SafeDish aggregates health inspection data from food establishments and displays inspection scores, sanitary violation information and links to the inspection reports. Users can search for restaurants or use their location to view data for nearby restaurants. According to the coverage map, data is available for restaurants in the DFW and Austin areas, as well as for Chicago, New York City, San Jose and municipalities across Tennessee and Georgia.

Jiang said that current coverage depends on how easy it is to get data from different areas: Tennessee and Georgia have a statewide system that handles health inspection data, and they use the same software as Tarrant County, so the code could be reused.

When we do write new features for new regions, we try to prioritize the amount of people covered per hour [of work], Jiang said.

Jiang co-developed the app with Blake Bottum, a friend from high school who is now a computer science student at UT Austin. Bottum said that he recalls looking for health and sanitation information for a restaurant in Austin before the two conceptualized SafeDish. He was unable to find any data online.

To be honest, that may have been a failure of the state health department, and if thats the case, then the app doesnt solve that anyway, Bottum said. But just knowing where to look was half the problem.

The two came up with the idea for SafeDish in September and started working on the front and back ends over winter break, Jiang said. While they are continuing to work on adding data for new cities, Bottum said, its a time-consuming process made more difficult by the fact that inspection data isnt standardized.

Our expansion plans are dependent on if we can find other places that are easy to fetch, Bottum said. A lot of counties and a lot of municipalities in this country do not have easily formatted data sets to access programmatically.

For example, North Richland Hills publishes scores in a PDF thats not computer-readable, while Arlington has a database thats in a completely different format, Jiang said. The Park Cities area of Dallas, meanwhile, doesnt have any kind of digitized records.

If you want all the health reports, you have to file a public information request and pay a bunch of money, Jiang said. Even in DFW, its very hard to get full coverage of everything.

Jiang said that user response is difficult to measure since people tend to use SafeDish just once or twice to check scores on restaurants they frequent. Because users dont reopen the app once they have the information they need, the user retention rate is low.

Our app is more of a tool than something thats supposed to suck you in, like Facebook, that constantly refreshes with new content, Jiang said. I dont see how we could have refreshing content considering were limited by the data the city provides.

Jiang said that ultimately, SafeDish can help people be more informed about whats happening in the background to keep communities safe and healthy.

Your local government does a lot of things for every aspect of environmental and public health that you just dont know because 99% of the time, it goes smoothly, Jiang said. I think that if people have access to that data, they can make a lot more informed choices about day-to-day things.

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Safe eating with SafeDish THE MERCURY - The UTD Mercury

COVID isn’t over: Doctor explains when it’ll be safe to travel, eat out again – Local 5 –

Posted: April 9, 2021 at 1:52 am

Iowa is still experiencing high levels of COVID-19 transmission, even with vaccine rollout underway.

DES MOINES, Iowa Some folks in central Iowa are starting to travel and go out like they did before the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything, and doctors are warning activities like this could cause more harm than good if not done safely.

MercyOne Des Moines infectious disease expert Dr. Ravi Vemuri said Iowans shouldn't start celebrating the end of COVID until 70% of the population is vaccinated and community transmission is low.

Community spread of the virus is still high in Iowa, according to Vemuri.

However, Dr. Vemuri said Iowans can travel or go out to restaurants if they are practicing safe mitigation tactics.

As long as you protect your mucus membranes, which is your eyes your nose and your mouth, and you wash your hands a lot you should be pretty safe," he said.

The American Automobile Association reported over half of Iowans are comfortable taking a trip right now. The Des Moines International Airport, also, shows an increase of people flying.

The Iowa Restaurant Association told Local 5 they've seen in uptick in people going out to eat too.

Personally, I have not been in a restaurant for over a year," said Dr. Vemuri.

He said if Iowans can eat outside that's a plus, but they still need to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines, even if they're fully vaccinated:

Vemuri said Iowa is getting better when it comes to virus activity, but not good enough to act like the pandemic is over.

As of Thursday, the CDC reports 25% of adults 18 and older are fully vaccinated.

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COVID isn't over: Doctor explains when it'll be safe to travel, eat out again - Local 5 -

Popular Foods You Should Avoid, According to the Mayo Clinic | Eat This Not That – Eat This, Not That

Posted: April 9, 2021 at 1:52 am

If you've read just about any medical publication, Googled any ailment, or turned on the news at any point in the last year, you're likely at least vaguely familiar with the Mayo Clinic: a nonprofit American academic medical center focused on integrated health care, education, and research. Though it sounds like one entity, the Mayo Clinic actually has campuses across the country, with a headquarters in Rochester, Minnesota. It employs around 63,000 medical professionals.

It's safe to say the people who work at the Mayo Clinic know a thing or two about health, especially as it relates to diet. In fact, the Mayo Clinic has even devised its own healthy eating regimen dubbed the Mayo Clinic Diet, which is an eating plan developed to help people lose weight and maintain a healthy weight for a lifetime.

Given its dedication to people's overall health, it's no surprise that the Mayo Clinic has also written about, and conducted research related to the foods one should avoid if they want to stay in the best shape possible.

For example, though the Mayo Clinic doesn't prohibit alcohol consumption, the organization does recommend consuming alcohol in moderation and no more than seven times per week. Scroll down to discover what other popular foods the Mayo Clinic suggests you steer clear of. Read on, and for more on how to eat healthy, don't miss 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

"A recent review of the research regarding red meat consumption looked at six studies that tracked more than 1.5 million people for 5.5 to 28 years," wrote Liza Torborg, of the Mayo Clinic in August 2018, citing Dr. Heather Fields. "The review found that regularly consuming processed meats is associated with increased risk of heart disease, cancerespecially colon cancerand early death. Processed meats include bacon; sausage; hot dogs; ham; deli meats; canned meats; jerky; and meat that is processed, cured, fermented, or salted. These meats tend to be high in saturated fat, sodium, and nitrates or nitrites, which are thought to be implicated in their associated risks."

The health issues associated with the consumption of fried foods such as doughnuts, mozzarella sticks and French fries are well-documented, so it's not exactly a surprise that the Mayo Clinic warns against eating them too frequently.

"Researchers have linked fried foods to type-2 diabetes and heart problems, but studies also show that eating fried foods every day can shorten your life," notes The Mayo Clinic Minute. According to Stephen Kopecky, MD, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, our bodies just weren't made to eat the amount of fried foods that exist today. "If you have a diesel engine, you don't put gasoline in your diesel tank," he explained.

Soda is one of the most popular foods around and, according to the experts at the Mayo Clinic, it's also one of the most harmfulif consumed too often. Throwing back sugary drinks like soda can result in significant weight gain, wrinkly skin, an increase in triglycerides and more.

Frequent soda drinkers also have an increased chance of developing painful kidney stones and may develop serious heart issues. Researchers reporting in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found the health effects of drinking one or two servings a day of sugar-sweetened beverages include a 35% greater risk of heart attack or fatal heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic News Network.

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Sure, diet soda boasts fewer calories than regular soda, but that doesn't mean the Mayo Clinic approves. In fact, the Mayo Clinic reports that while artificial sweeteners won't really raise your blood sugar levels the way traditional sweeteners do, there are other concerns people should be aware of.

One study found that women who consistently drank two or more artificially sweetened beverages a day had a higher risk of stroke than women who drank those beverages less often or not at all. "Although more research is needed, these findings point to the value of consuming artificially sweetened beverages in moderation," the Mayo Clinic concluded.

And although the Mayo Clinic acknowledged that consuming artificial sweeteners in moderation may be safe, the organization still advises opting for whole foods and drinks that are naturally sweetened over processed ones like diet soda, which contain no nutritional value.

"If you regularly drink artificially sweetened beverages as a replacement for sweetened drinks, use that as a stepping stone to drinking more plain water," the Mayo Clinic states. "Your body needs the water, and there's no question that it's good for you." To learn more, don't miss What Happens to Your Body When You Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day.

While having up to four cups of coffee per day is fine, the Mayo Clinic advises against consuming any more than that over a 24-hour period.

According to a 2013 study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, having more than four cups of java a day can increase your risk of dying from a host of diseases if you're under the age of 55. In fact, researchers discovered that death rates from all causes rose by more than half in people who had more than 28 cups a week.

"From our study, it seems safe to drink one to three cups of coffee a day," said one of the study's co-authors, Xuemei Sui, who defines a cup of coffee as 6 to 8 ounces.

Additionally, if you have less than four cups of coffee per day but are experiencing symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, irritability, fast heartbeat, muscle tremors, nervousness, or frequent urination, the Mayo Clinic suggests you cut back. To learn more, read up on these Signs You Should Stop Drinking Coffee Immediately.

You may think you're doing yourself a favor by sipping on some fruit juice or a glass of sweetened iced tea instead of ordering an alcoholic beverage or a soda, but according to the Mayo Clinic, regular consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks is a big no-no.

That's because the medical center reports that regular consumption of sugary drinks has been proven countless times to be one of the drinking habits shortening your life and linked to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Additionally, a large study published in the journal Circulation revealed that people who drink more sugar-sweetened beverages have a greater risk of premature deathespecially from heart diseasethan do those who drink fewer.

As a result, the Mayo Clinic advises enjoying drinks such as water, tea, or unsweetened iced tea instead.

When it comes to energy drinks, the Mayo Clinic doesn't even advocate consuming these in moderation. By contrast, they're viewed as unhealthy, in part because of their high sugar and caffeine content.

According to Mayo Clinic research, knocking back just one 16-ounce energy drink can significantly increase your blood pressure as well as stress hormone responses. Additionally, previous studies have indicated that energy drinks are particularly harmful when you mix them with alcohol.

"In previous research, we found that energy drink consumption increased blood pressure in healthy young adults," noted Mayo Clinic study co-author Dr. Anna Svatikova. "We now show that the increases in blood pressure are accompanied by increases in norepinephrine, a stress hormone chemical, and this could predispose an increased risk of cardiac events even in healthy people."

Instead of reaching for one of those sugar-laden energy drinks, the organization suggests trying to get quality sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, and increasing physical activity to naturally boost your energy levels.

RELATED:12 Dangerous Side Effects of Energy Drinks, According to Science

The Mayo Clinic has no issue with people enjoying the occasional drink (phew!) but the organization cautions against drinking too much both in one sitting and over time.

Per the Mayo Clinic, high-risk drinking is defined as more than three drinks in one day or more than seven drinks in a week for women. For men over the age of 65, it's just one drink per day, and for men under the age of 65, it's more than four drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks a week.

"Occasional beer or wine with dinner, or a drink in the evening, is not a health problem for most people," explained Mayo Clinic doctor Terry Schneekloth, MD, in a Q&A. "When drinking becomes a daily activity, though, it may represent the progression of your consumption and place you at increased health risks. Alcohol can damage your body's organs and lead to various health concerns. For women, this damage happens with lower doses of alcohol, because their bodies have lower water content than men. That's why the moderate drinking guidelines for women and men are so different."

Given that intel, the Mayo Clinic advises drinking in moderation. As a general rule, that means no more than one drink a day for women, or two a day for menwhich translates to roughly 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.

Sorry ranch dressing fans, the Mayo Clinic isn't a fan of this popular condiment. That's because ranch dressing contains 320 milligrams of sodium in a two-tablespoon serving. Eating this much sodium on a regular basis could lead to heart health issues like high blood pressure and increased risk of heart disease.

Additionally, the Mayo Clinic recommends adults keep their sodium intake below 2,300 milligrams each dayand specifically mentions avoiding foods with more than 200 milligrams of sodium per serving.

Other high-sodium foods that may exceed the Mayo Clinic's per serving recommendation include canned most canned soup, cold cuts, and pretzels. To help keep your sodium intake in check, look for foods marked low-sodium.

On the surface, margarine, which contains unsaturated polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, may seem like a healthy alternative to high-calorie butter, but that's not necessarily the case.

According to the Mayo Clinic, not all margarines are created equal. "Some margarines contain trans fat, which is considered the worst type of fat you can eat. Unlike other dietary fats, trans fat raises your LDL cholesterol and also lowers your high-density lipoprotein, or HDL or 'good,' cholesterol," the organization explains. "A diet laden with trans fats also increases your risk of heart disease, as well as stroke and Type 2 diabetes." You'll have to watch out for more than just margarine to protect your heart. See: Popular Foods That May Lead to a Heart Attack, According to Science.

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Popular Foods You Should Avoid, According to the Mayo Clinic | Eat This Not That - Eat This, Not That

Eating disorders among teens are up during COVID. Pediatrician offers tips on what to watch for – KCRW

Posted: April 9, 2021 at 1:52 am

The pandemic has left many people feeling depressed and anxious, and teenagers and young adults are especially vulnerable. Eating disorders have jumped in the last year as more young people spent time on screens, according to new research from UC San Francisco.

Hospitalizations at UCSF Benioff Childrens Hospital doubled since March 2020 for eating disorders such as binging, bulimia, and compulsive exercise. The National Eating Disorders Association has also received more calls to their hotline.

Jason Nagata, M.D., is professor of pediatrics at UCSF Benioff Childrens Hospital, where he specializes in eating disorders. He says teenagers who spend more time in front of screens watching TV and texting are at a higher risk to develop binge eating disorders.

For a lot of teenagers who have been more socially isolated because they're not able to attend in-person school there has been distress and anxiety, and even depression related to that.

Nagata points out that screen time has been linked to these disorders, but its also a source of connection for youth.

The link to screen time is complex because youth have so many different forms of screens that they're exposed to now. On the one hand, there's social media, like Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok. Youth are reliant on more and more these days for socialization, especially when in-person social gatherings are not safe or not recommended, Nagata says.

He says social media platforms, such as Instagram, are image-based and might provide a distorted perception of reality through filters. He says lots of teens with eating disorders or body image issues have attributed to being on-camera during virtual learning as a trigger for their concerns.

According to Negata, binge eating is a psychological disorder thats characterized by eating an objectively large amount of food in a short period of time, and experiencing an inability to stop eating.

He says some teenagers have gained weight during the pandemic, which they call the quarantine 15, due to overeating or a more sedentary lifestyle. And its led to heightened body image concerns.

Others, including student athletes, have restricted their eating or compulsively exercised. He says thats an example of individuals trying to regain a semblance of control in their lives.

There's so much that has been lost during the pandemic like school and sports and whatever. If they can control their diet and or their exercise, it's sort of a way of gaining control over one aspect of their life.

What to look for and what to do

Nagata says red flag behaviors can include a preoccupation with appearance, weight, exercise, or food intake in a way that worsens someones quality of life.

These teenagers may start to withdraw from usual activities they enjoy with friends or family meals because of these concerns about eating.

As warning signs begin to appear, he recommends speaking with a pediatrician or primary care doctor who can assess the situation.

Teenagers can also share how theyre feeling with their physician, a counselor at school, or friends.

Nagata also recommends the National Eating Disorders Associations Helpline, which can be reached by phone or text at (800) 931-2237. In crises, you can text NEDA to 741741 to talk with a trained volunteer.

Originally posted here:
Eating disorders among teens are up during COVID. Pediatrician offers tips on what to watch for - KCRW

Saladworks pivots menu as definition of ‘healthy eating’ evolves – Fast Casual

Posted: April 9, 2021 at 1:52 am

Executive Chef Katie Cavuto explains how she ensures that delicious and nutritious food co-exist at Saladworks.

Katie Cavuto is the executive chef at New Jersey-based Saladworks. Provided

By Katie Cavuto, executive chef, Saladworks

Whole 30 and Keto may still be trending along with plant-based diets and sustainable food conversations, yet amidst all of the diet talk, new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics shows that 90% of Americans are not getting the recommended 2-3 cups of vegetables per day for reasons including budget, accessibility, time constraints and food preferences.

And while the way we define healthy seems to be constantly evolving and changing, one thing remains the same, there are benefits found in a plate filled with whole foods, fruits and vegetables and we choose foods because they taste great! Historically our ideas around health food are not synonymous with bold, rich and crave-worthy flavors so you may find yourself asking, "Can delicious and nutritious co-exist? Can nourishing also mean satisfying?"

The answer is yes! As a dietitian and executive chef at Saladworks, I can assure you nourishing foods can and SHOULD taste great! A healthy diet doesn't have to feel depriving. All foods can fit on a healthy plate though this will look different for everyone. And while nutrition and health recommendations may not be one-size-fits-all, the importance of flavor is one principle we can all agree on because one way we can collectively encourage our guests to "Eat More Vegetables" is to season them well and prepare them in a way that makes them irresistible!

At Saladworks, our menu is built on these four foundations: freshness, flavor, nourishment and variety. We all strive to make our offerings accessible to everyone and we pride ourselves on keeping our price points reasonable.

With a full array of over 60 ingredients, we strive to provide guests with an abundance of fresh, flavorful and nourishing menu options as preferences vary between guests and more options mean more opportunities to inspire good choices. More than just sating an appetite, this allows guests to create a meal that also fuels their originality. From raw veggies to roasted and plant-based proteins like baked tofu and smoky chickpeas to our new Super Premium Carved Prime Rib and Roasted Shrimp Skewers we have options for almost every diet and lifestyle choice.

And while we've always believed in the benefits of offering an abundance of plant-based options, since long before it was trendy, we pride ourselves on the variety we provide our guests in our menu categories. In addition to our popular Create Your Own menu category, we also offer 12 unique Chef-inspired recipes all of which can be prepared with a base of greens, warm super grains or a combination of both. And, depending upon the desire of our guests, all of these menu items can be ordered as a salad, a warm grain bowl or a wrap more options to create their personal version of "healthy"!

As for the "all-foods-fit" and flavor-forward philosophy I mentioned earlier, we make it easy to create a plant-centric plate without sacrificing the satisfaction that comes from including more decadent ingredients like smoky bacon or your favorite cheese, we have six options. A little goes a long way with these ingredients and we include some of them in our Signature recipe builds as a gateway for guests to try and enjoy otherwise plant-forward menu items. We like to call this a "safe-adventure!"

Speaking of adventures, while Covid-culture may be keeping us at home, a rich food experience has the ability to transport us to faraway places. Our upcoming "Flavor Your World" campaign will allow our guests to taste new flavors and cultures without ever leaving their neighborhood. It's also a nod to yet another way "healthy" has evolved. Guests are looking to reinvent their idea of health food. They may know the health benefits of eating more vegetables and choosing lean proteins but they want us to transform these ingredients into "WOW!" experiences.

We agree, there is no need to sacrifice flavor for healthy and, with the addition of herbs and spices to create flavor profiles that span the world, we're actually adding health benefits. These ingredients have been praised for their medicinal properties since long before our time. A great example of delicious and nutritious co-existing is our Za'atar Roasted Cauliflower, which shines in our new Grilled Chicken Mediterranean Signature. We roast the cauliflower, along with several other vegetables for salad and warm grain bowl toppings because raw isn't for everyone the concentration of flavor adds appeal for many. Za'atar, a delicious blend of sumac, thyme and sesame seeds also has natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

We see guests becoming more educated on such benefits and therefore seeking meal options with the intention to nourish and care for themselves and their families. This is particularly prevalent with Millennial parents, which is why we created our Kids Works meals with the same principles as our broader menu. Freshness, flavor, nourishment and variety are also the foundation of our Create Your Own Salad and Build Your Own Meal Kids Works menu items where creativity reigns supreme and even our youngest guests can try new foods and create a healthy meal that is bursting with originality.

And the reality is, the pandemic has impacted everyone differently. Some people have more time to cook; others find themselves with less time, while even more face food insecurity. To help address the issues around health food accessibility we partnered with No Kid Hungry, which provides food to children in need. And every day, we make a Vow to "WOW!" it's our commitment to our guests that ensures they have access to a wide variety of fresh, flavorful and nourishing ingredients so they can customize their version of a healthy meal that is as original as they are.

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Saladworks pivots menu as definition of 'healthy eating' evolves - Fast Casual

How Long Are Hard-Boiled Easter Eggs Safe To Eat? –

Posted: April 9, 2021 at 1:52 am

WISCONSIN Here's a hard-boiled truth about the annual ritual of Easter egg hunts: If you're not careful, you could expose the kiddos to salmonella food poisoning.

If you're dyeing Easter eggs and storing them in the refrigerator like any other hard-boiled egg, you can eat them for up to a week afterward as long as you've used food-safe dyes or food coloring, according to the American Egg Board.

But if you're decorating and hiding them, enjoy their beauty but not their taste.

About 1 in every 20,000 eggs is contaminated with salmonella, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and there's no way to know by looking at the eggs which ones might have the bacteria lurking in them.If they do contain Subscribe

Some important considerations:

In some cultures and Easter traditions, the egg whites and yolks are blown out of the shell. If you're blowing out an egg, follow these tips from the USDA and Jessi Wohlwend on her DIY blog, Practically Functional:

The USDA frowns on eating eggs used for hunting but says if the intent is to have the kids eat them, the eggs should be hidden in places that are free of dirt, moisture, pets and other sources of bacteria. Keep in mind, too, that eggs in the dirt can pick up bacteria from the soil, especially if the shells are cracked.

The total "hide and hunt time" should never exceed two hours, the USDA says. Found eggs should be washed, put back in the refrigerator and eaten within seven days of the date they were boiled.

The agency would rather folks boil two sets of eggs one for eating and the other for decorating and hiding or use plastic eggs in the hunt.Salmonella illnesses are unpleasant, but usually not life-threatening except in some cases of people with weakened immune systems, adults 65 and older and children 5 and younger, the CDC says. In most cases, the illness will last four to seven days of eating the contaminated food, with symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, fever and abdominal cramps.Here are some facts about eggs in general from the American Egg Board:

Want to know how to peel a hard-boiled egg without damaging the whites? Check this out from the American Egg Board:

Originally posted here:
How Long Are Hard-Boiled Easter Eggs Safe To Eat? -

Hard-Boiled Easter Eggs: How Long Are They Safe To Eat? –

Posted: April 9, 2021 at 1:52 am

OHIO If you've used food-safe dyes on your Easter eggs, they could be good to eat for up to one week (if properly refrigerated and stored).

However, if you're decorating with non-edible colors or hiding the eggs outside avoid eating your creations, the USDA says. There's a chance you could expose yourself or others to salmonella.

About 1 in every 20,000 eggs is contaminated with salmonella, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and there's no way to know by looking at the eggs which ones might have the bacteria lurking in them.

If they do contain salmonella bacteria, the contaminant can multiply quickly at room temperature, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That's why it's important to refrigerate eggs as soon as possible after gathering or bringing them home from the store.

Some important considerations:

In some cultures and Easter traditions, the egg whites and yolks are blown out of the shell. If you're blowing out an egg, follow these tips from the USDA and Jessi Wohlwend on her DIY blog, Practically Functional:

The USDA frowns on eating eggs used for hunting but says if the intent is to have the kids eat them, the eggs should be hidden in places that are free of dirt, moisture, pets and other sources of bacteria. Keep in mind, too, that eggs in the dirt can pick up bacteria from the soil, especially if the shells are cracked.

The total "hide and hunt time" should never exceed two hours, the USDA says. Found eggs should be washed, put back in the refrigerator and eaten within seven days of the date they were boiled.

The agency would rather folks boil two sets of eggs one for eating and the other for decorating and hiding or use plastic eggs in the hunt.

Salmonella illnesses are unpleasant, but usually not life-threatening except in some cases of people with weakened immune systems, adults 65 and older and children 5 and younger, the CDC says. In most cases, the illness will last four to seven days of eating the contaminated food, with symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, fever and abdominal cramps.

Here are some facts about eggs in general from the American Egg Board:

Want to know how to peel a hard-boiled egg without damaging the whites? Check this out from the American Egg Board:

Follow this link:
Hard-Boiled Easter Eggs: How Long Are They Safe To Eat? -

UCSF Grand Rounds: Regional updates and playing Is it safe to? with two UCSF medicine professors – Mission Local

Posted: April 9, 2021 at 1:52 am

As individuals toggle between optimism and impending doom, the two factors that determine how you see the world are your vaccination status and where you live, said UCSF chair of the department of medicine Dr. Bob Wachter. To help evaluate the risks of certain actions, Wachter brought on three Grand Rounds regulars to discuss regional covid-19 updates and to answer questions about what theyre comfortable doing now that theyre vaccinated.

UCSF professor of medicine Dr. George Rutherford began his presentation with an update on the quite telling international situation. Countries like the United Kingdom and the United States that have done fabulous jobs getting people vaccinated have demonstrated massive drop offs in transmission, whereas countries such as France, Canada and Brazil all struggling with vaccinations have not been able to move the dial, Rutherford said. One anomaly is Chile, which has done very well in vaccinating people, but has not been able to drive down its rate yet, though he is unsure why.

In the United States, there have been close to 31 million cases, with a seven-day average of 65,556 new cases per day. Deaths continue to decline, though yesterday there were 2,564 reported deaths. All eyes are on the upper Midwest as the large outbreak in Michigan continues, Rutherford said. The outbreak is driven largely by the B.1.1.7 (the UK) variant, and appears to have been spurred by youth athletic events. Rutherford said it may be related to the outbreak in Ontario, despite borders being officially closed. Meanwhile, the outbreak on the Eastern seaboard is starting to turn the corner.

California is faring much better with a one percent positivity test rate and a basic reproductive number (R number) of 0.8 and hospitalizations continue to fall. ICU capacity statewide is at 31 percent, and the remaining counties with increasing cases are all very small, Rutherford said. The government announced that it is moving away from the tier system on June 15 when many covid-19 restrictions are to be removed if two criteria are met: equitable vaccine accessibility for those 16 and older, and a consistently low burden of disease.

However, this does not mean that covid has gone away, Rutherford said, as there are about 5,000 new infections a day in California.

Cases in the Bay Area are mostly steady, with low case counts in all counties except for Solano and Napa. San Francisco is close to meeting all criteria for the yellow tier, where it will have to remain for three weeks to receive yellow designation.

Over 20 million vaccines have been administered in California, and the seven-day average is 324,689 doses per day. Some 34 percent of Californians are fully vaccinated and in San Francisco 45.6 percent of people have received at least one dose, though Rutherford said this number is lower because not everyone vaccinated in San Francisco lives there.

Florida, home of the famous spring break, has the highest number of B.1.1.7 cases, and is trailed by Michigan, Minnesota, Colorado, and California. Rutherford believes that the B.1.1.7 variant hasnt driven the epidemic curve in California because other variants like B.1.427 and B.1.429 (the West Coast variants) are here.

Though this trend may not hold up over time, the good news is that a New England Journal article indicates that these variants are susceptible to the Novavax and Moderna vaccines, Rutherford said.

Asked about the biological and probably political bet to reopen on June 15, Rutherford told Wachter that biologically its not a bad bet. Yet he still noted uncertainty around the B.1.1.7 variant in Southern California and youth sports.

He believes we are on the way to herd immunity statewide on June 15. After listing what could derail these efforts (unknown vaccine side effects, vaccination levels slowing, widespread transmission of more variants, or diversion of the vaccine to other states), Rutherford said I just dont see it happening.

Next, Wachter brought on UCSF medicine professors Dr. Monica Gandhi and Dr. Peter Chin-Hong to answer a series of questions about the safety of certain actions once vaccinated.

Wachter started off by asking if Rutherfords outlook was appropriately sunny?

I love warm weather, Chin-Hong said, but the question is really Whats in the future? He is worried about the waning of natural immunity in fall or winter and young adults who may not get vaccinated in time. However, he is basking in the sun right now.

Gandhi, on the other hand, seemed completely unfazed by fear, calling herself literally giddy about vaccine effectiveness in real-world settings and praising it so much that Wachter said, Talk me down Monica.

There is nothing in my mind why there would be a surge in the fall or the winter when the vaccines are being distributed, she said.

Gandhi cited a CDC study of vaccine effectiveness in healthcare workers across the United States released on March 29. The study found out of 1,000 people who were vaccinated, only one person was infected with covid-19, and out of 1,000 people who were unvaccinated, only 161 became infected. Chin-Hong pushed back, suggesting that healthcare workers may take other precautions more seriously. In response, Gandhi cited a Pfizer study of 40,000 individuals across the globe which found that the vaccine was 100 percent effective in stopping severe illness and death.

The vaccines, she said are even better in the real world than they were in the clinical trials, and thats saying something.

Gandhi and Chin-Hong are both comfortable eating at indoor restaurants, going to the gym, getting haircuts, and traveling on airplanes now that theyre vaccinated. Chin-Hong was cautious about events with bigger crowds such as music festivals, especially because there is still a small chance of acquiring covid once vaccinated. Both agreed that it is important to continue masking in public, though for Gandhi this was less out of caution and more out of politeness for social norms as not everyone has gotten the chance to be vaccinated yet.

The pair explained two important factors in risk assessment: vaccination status and the amount of virus circulating in ones community. For example, flying domestically in California is more advisable than flying to Michigan.

For those who are unvaccinated, such as children, Chin-Hong said that alternatives to travel should be taken if possible, but he believes that it is warranted in some situations, such as for family reasons.

Gandhi said that unvaccinated people can go to gyms and outdoor restaurants safely, but advised against indoor dining. Chin-Hong cautioned unvaccinated individuals against taking risks such as not wearing ones mask in a gym, especially considering variants.

Im worried about both the biology and the sort of feeling that Im invincible because everyone else feels like they are, he said.

The two shared similar beliefs about vaccine passports, saying that it is unfair to require immunity passports before everyone has had an equal opportunity to be vaccinated, but that they will likely become a reality eventually.

The writings on the wall. Whether or not we like it or not, its happening, Chin-Hong said, noting that it is already required on airplanes and in some places in Los Angeles and New York. He said that alternatives such as requiring testing before entering public spaces may be more ethical.

See our previous Grand Rounds coverage here.

UCSF Grand Rounds: Regional updates and playing Is it safe to? with two UCSF medicine professors - Mission Local

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