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For March 23, 2018

  • Shaking the Salt Habit
    Shaking the Salt Habit

    Cooking Without Salt

    (By Chef Tom Ney, Prevention Magazine, August 1999) � First of all, remove the salt shaker from your dining table and your stove. Put them behind your spice shelf cabinet door (out of sight, out of mind). Now, get yourself down to your favorite supermarket and roam the aisles for about one hour. Explore all the low-salt and salt-free ingredients on the shelves.

    Scan the spice section for herb and spice mixtures that are salt-free. McCormick and Mrs. Dash are a couple that come to mind. Toss a small jar of mustard seed into your basket. Later, you will place the mustard seed in a good peppermill that stays on your stove, in place of the salt shaker. Whenever you get the urge to shake some salt into a pot or pan of cooking food, grind the mustard seed instead. I like to blend white mustard seed with brown mustard seed for the best flavor enhancement. (I recommend peppermills by Peugeot.)

    Back to the spice rack: Beware of general spice mixtures. Many, like lemon-pepper, chili powder and shrimp boil, contain large amounts of salt. Stock up on Italian herb seasoning and paprika instead. Celery and parsley flakes make great flavor enhancers for liquid dishes like soups and stews.

    Flavored vinegars or frozen lemon juice (Minute Maid squeeze bottles are a favorite) add a splash of zing to many dishes beyond salads. One of my favorite condiments for flavor is Dijon mustard. (Yes, I know it contains salt, but the little mustard you need to spark up saucy dishes is way better than shaking straight salt into the food).

    Don't pass up the canned vegetable aisle. There, you will find a huge variety of flavored tomato products in cans. Diced tomatoes and stewed tomatoes can each play a starring role in boosting both flavor and color, in the pot and on the plate. Around the corner you will find an endless array of salsas and picante sauces. Most will contribute low-fat flavor without a high-sodium sneak attack. A little salsa goes a long way, when it comes to flavor.

    I do a lot of broth cooking. If you don't have time to make your own, canned broth can be found in the soup aisle -- you will find plenty of canned broths with reduced salt or low salt. Flavor the broths with fresh garlic, fresh gingerroot or lemongrass, and cook with them like you would butter, oil or tomato sauce. While you are in the soup section, check out Healthy Request and Healthy Choice brand cooking soups.

    All the help you need to cook conveniently salt-free is right in your local supermarket. Start your hunt through the aisles today, and you'll be surprised how many low-salt treasures you'll find.

  • Fluids and Hydration
    Fluids and Hydration
    How important are fluids?
    Fluid replacement is probably the most important nutritional concern for athletes. Approximately 60% of your body weight is water. As you exercise, fluid is lost through your skin as sweat and through your lungs when you breathe. If this fluid is not replaced at regular intervals during exercise, you can become dehydrated.

    When you are dehydrated, you have a smaller volume of blood circulating through your body. Consequently, the amount of blood your heart pumps with each beat decreases and your exercising muscles do not receive enough oxygen from your blood. Soon exhaustion sets in and your athletic performance suffers.

    If you have lost as little as 2% of your body weight due to dehydration, it can adversely affect your athletic performance. For example, if you are a 150-pound athlete and you lose 3 pounds during a workout, your performance will start to suffer unless you replace the fluid you have lost. Proper fluid replacement is the key to preventing dehydration and reducing the risk of heat injury during training and competition.

    How can I prevent dehydration?
    The best way to prevent dehydration is to maintain body fluid levels by drinking plenty of fluids before, during, and after a workout or race. Often athletes are not aware that they are losing body fluid or that their performance is being impacted by dehydration.

    If you are not sure how much fluid to drink, you can monitor your hydration using one of these methods.

    • Weight: Weigh yourself before practice and again after practice. For every pound you lose during the workout you will need to drink 2 cups of fluid to rehydrate your body.
    • Urine color: Check the color of your urine. If it is a dark gold color like apple juice, you are dehydrated. If you are well hydrated, the color of your urine will look like pale lemonade.

    Thirst is not an accurate indicator of how much fluid you have lost. If you wait until you are thirsty to replenish body fluids, then you are already dehydrated. Most people do not become thirsty until they have lost more than 2% of their body weight. And if you only drink enough to quench your thirst, you may still be dehydrated.

    Keep a water bottle available when working out and drink as often as you want, ideally every 15 to 30 minutes. High school and junior high school athletes can bring a water bottle to school and drink between classes and during breaks so they show up at workouts hydrated.

    What about sport drinks?

    Researchers have found that sports drinks containing between 6% and 8% carbohydrate (sugars) are absorbed into the body as rapidly as water and can provide energy to working muscles that water cannot. This extra energy can delay fatigue and possibly improve performance, particularly if the sport lasts longer than 1 hour. If you drink a sports drink, you can maintain your blood sugar level even when the sugar stored in your muscles (glycogen) is running low. This allows your body to continue to produce energy at a high rate.

    Drinks containing less than 5% carbohydrate do not provide enough energy to improve your performance. So, athletes who dilute sports drink are most likely not getting enough energy from their drink to maintain a good blood sugar level. Drinking beverages that exceed a 10% carbohydrate level (most soda pop and some fruit juices) often have negative side effects such as abdominal cramps, nausea, and diarrhea and can hurt your performance.

    What does the sodium in sports drinks do?

    Sodium is an electrolyte needed to help maintain proper fluid balance in your body. Sodium helps your body absorb and retain more water. Researchers have found that the fluid from an 8-ounce serving of a sports drink with 6% carbohydrates (sugars) and about 110 mg of sodium absorbs into your body faster than plain water.

    Some parents, coaches, and athletes are concerned that sports drinks may contain too much sodium. However, most sports drinks are actually low in sodium. An 8-ounce serving of Gatorade has a sodium content similar to a cup of 2% milk. Most Americans do get too much sodium, but usually from eating convenience-type foods, not from sports drinks.

    What are guidelines for fluid replacement?

    • Drink a sports drink containing 6% to 8% carbohydrate to help give you more energy during intense training and long workouts. To figure out the percentage of carbohydrate in your drink use the following formula:

      grams of carbohydrate/serving -------------------------------------------- X 100 = % of carbohydrate in drink mL of drink/serving

      For example, 240 mL (a 1 cup serving) of a drink with 24 grams of carbohydrate per serving would have a 10% carbohydrate concentration. Almost all drinks have the grams of carbohydrate per serving and the volume in mL somewhere on the container.
    • Drink a beverage that contains a small amount of sodium and other electrolytes (like potassium and chloride).
    • Find a beverage that tastes good; something cold and sweet is easier to drink.
    • Drink 10 to 16 ounces of cold fluid about 15 to 30 minutes before workouts. Drinking a sports drink with a 6% to 8% carbohydrate level is useful to help build up energy stores in your muscles, particularly if the workout will last longer than 1 hour.
    • Drink 4 to 8 ounces of cold fluid during exercise at 10 to 15 minute intervals.
    • Start drinking early in your workout because you will not feel thirsty until you have already lost 2% of your body weight; by that time your performance may have begun to decline.
    • Avoid carbonated drinks, which can cause gastrointestinal distress and may decrease the the fluid volume.
    • Avoid beverages containing caffeine and alcohol due to their diuretic effect.
    • Practice drinking fluids while you train. If you have never used a sports drink don't start during a meet or on race day. Use a trial-and-error approach until you find the drink that works for you.

    Developed with and licensed from Clinical Reference Systems, Ltd.
    Copyright 1997 Clinical Reference Systems
  • The anti-aging effects of blueberries
    The anti-aging effects of blueberries

    The secret to eternal youth may already be atop your cereal. A recent study in the Journal of Neuroscience found that eating blueberries can reverse age-related loss of memory and motor skills. Nineteen-month-old rats (equivalent in age to 65-year-old humans) that were fed strawberry or spinach or blueberry extracts -- foods high in antioxidants -- all showed improved memory, but rats that ate the blueberry extract regained balance and coordination as well. This discovery comes on the heels of earlier findings that antioxidant-rich foods can prevent neurological degeneration associated with aging.

    Blueberries, like the other foods tested, contain flavonoids, potent antioxidants which are believed to reduce free-radical damage, but researchers are uncertain of what it is that makes the berries in particular so effective. Regardless, says the study's lead author, Dr. James A. Joseph, "nothing bad has happened from eating blue-berries, and nobody's ever OD'd."

    From Mensjournal.com by Emma Sussman Starr
  • Sticking to your health resolutions
    Sticking to your health resolutions

    by Linda Carroll - MSNBC

    For many people, the new year represents an opportunity to start afresh, to make assessments, resolutions and changes. But this new year is the start of a millennium and the temptation is to up the ante, to make bigger and more profound resolutions and life-rocking changes. The challenge is to make them stick.

    AND WHILE introspection and self-evaluation can be a good thing, major changes in life�s course can be very difficult to navigate. Research has shown that the resolutions that are most likely to be carried through are the realistic ones.

    That doesn�t mean that we shouldn�t try to make big changes as the new millennium approaches, just that we should think them through and plan carefully.

    The inclination to try to make millennial-size changes �is both good and bad,� says John Norcross, a professor of psychology at the University of Scranton and co-author of �Changing for Good.� �It�s a double-edged sword. It�s good in the sense that people are seriously reevaluating their lives, committing to self-change, and using a socially-sanctioned date to propel themselves into health. It�s bad in the sense that the �bigger� resolutions can tend to be unrealistically grandiose and perhaps unattainable.�


    So if you want your millennium goals to include losing 50 pounds or quitting smoking or running a marathon, what do you do?

    �The compromise solution we favor is to think in big strides but act in small steps,� Norcross says. �Break it down into manageable and realistic actions.�

    Take losing weight, for example.

    A realistic goal for an overweight, sedentary person might be to exercise twice a week and to lose and to keep off five pounds. Once you�ve had the positive experience of losing the five pounds, then you might try to lose another five.

    On the other hand, an unrealistic � and probably unattainable � goal for our overweight couch potato would be to exercise every day and to lose 50 pounds.

    The difference between these two scenarios is the difference between a realistically attainable resolution and a fantasy resolution, Norcross says.


    Besides picking the right resolution, there are several other keys to attaining change, says Peter A. Wish, a psychologist from Sarasota, Fl., and author of �Don�t Stop at Green Lights: Every Woman�s Guide to Taking Charge of Her Life and Achieving Her Dreams.�

    First, Wish says, don�t make too many resolutions. Focus on one or two things you�d really like to change.

    And try to stay away from categorical resolutions, that is, the ones that contain words like never, every or always. It�s better, for example, to say that you�re going to cut down on sweets than to decide you�ll never eat any sugar-stuffed concoction again.

    Make sure one of your resolutions is a pleasant one. You might want to resolve to spend more time with your friends or go out to the theater more frequently. �If you can accomplish something easy and simple, it�s easy to move on to the next item on the list,� Wish says. �Everyone enjoys the outcome of achieving, but most don�t enjoy trying to achieve.�

    You�re also more likely to follow through with your resolutions if you enlist the support of family and friends. This is particularly important if you have different goals from your spouse. For example, if you want to lose weight and your husband likes to eat ice cream in front of you every night, he may be unwittingly sabotaging your diet. You should explain to him how difficult it is for you to diet while he eats dessert and ask if he could skip the ice cream or eat it when you�re not around.


    And finally, and perhaps most importantly, look at occasional slip-ups only as detours and not as permanent roadblocks.

    �You have to understand that a slip is not a fall,� Norcross says. �Slips have to be part of the program.�

    You might even want to incorporate some breaks from the resolution into the plan. If you�re on a diet, a dessert once a week will not derail your plans. And knowing that you�ll have a day off may help you stick with your plan a bit longer.

    And if the new millennium inspires you to make those major health-related resolutions, go for it. But start off with some short hikes, before attempting Mount Everest.

    Linda Carroll�s work often appears on the New York Times Syndicate.

  • When Children Pump Iron
    When Children Pump Iron

    From Hercules to Arnold Schwarzenegger, the image of the muscular hero has inspired children for generations. And now, perhaps more than ever, physical education experts at the National Strength and Conditioning Association in Lincoln, Nebraska, are encouraging kids to beef up. Children are spending less and less time playing outdoors and more and more time watching TV or tapping at their computers, according to a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in 1996. As a result, they're getting heavier.

    Over the past two decades, the number of American children who are overweight shot up from 10 percent to 25 percent, according to a 1998 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only half of U.S. children get as much exercise as they need, the researchers found, and as a result, kids are displaying signs of heart disease and diabetes before they even reach their teens.

    Fit or Fat

    The good news is that almost any kind of vigorous physical activity can help stem the tide of obesity. In addition, studies published in numerous journals, including the 1996 issues of the American Journal of Public Health and Nutrition Review, have found that physically active children are far less susceptible to emotional problems, are more likely to stay away from drugs, resist smoking cigarettes, delay sexual activity; develop more self-confidence and higher self-esteem, and even get better grades.

    Weight training offers particular advantages to children who are overweight and struggle to keep up with their peers in more traditional childrens' sports, such as soccer and running. By lifting weights, these kids can improve their strength, endurance and coordination, enhancing their performance in other sports. And when they lift weights, children can exercise in privacy, away from the critical eyes of their schoolmates.

    On the other hand, the impetus for weight lifting should come from the children themselves; children who prefer to spend time doing other types of physical activity should be encouraged to do so.

    The Right Way

    As with any sport, however, children can injure themselves if they take on too much weight or lift in the wrong position. Children should not be treated as miniature adults, particularly in terms of intensity. And training principles for adults must not be imposed on them.

    In 1996, the National Strength and Conditioning Association laid out guidelines for children who want to lift weights:

    Children should use machines that are properly designed for their size. Machines designed for adults are not safe for most children because children's arms and legs are not long enough to use them correctly. Many children can use only light free weights. Weight-lifting equipment specifically designed for children is available, but even doing squats while holding a broomstick may be a good starting point.

    Children must be supervised by professional trainers. Supervising trainers should encourage children to achieve at their own personal best and discourage children from competing with their peers.

    Children can begin around the time they would participate in organized sports (about age 7), but each child's readiness needs to be evaluated on an individual basis with careful attention given to their ability to follow directions.

    Fitness professionals must closely supervise all children during resistance-training exercises. Children must be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise.

    Copyright � 1999 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Sports Bras: Getting Some Visibility
    Sports Bras: Getting Some Visibility

    You probably know that sports bras have become highly visible lately.

    This is because Brandi Chastain, exuberant over making the winning kick for the United States recently in women�s World Cup soccer competition, tore off her blouse and exposed a black sports bra.

    It turns out that Chastain helped design the $40 sports bra, which all the women on the USA team wear. Apparently, this has resulted in a lot of interest in the specially-designed bras that give firm support to reduce bouncing of the breasts while running.

    As more women become more serious about exercising, manufacturers are appealing to them by pointing out that properly fitted bras for exercising can control breast motion, feel comfortable and look good.

    And there are some other issues involved. Without motion-controlling support, some women start lactating when engaged in strenuous exercise. Nipple irritation can occur using flimsy leotards for support.

    And, of course, if women are more comfortable while they exercise, they are probably going to exercise more often.

    In one of the few studies I�ve seen on the subject, 27 women marathon runners were mostly pleased with wearing commercial bras, although they did report some chafing.

    But its questionable how much this trend has caught on. Among women athletes at the University of Washington, only 10 percent reported wearing a sports bra, according to a report in The Physician and Sportsmedicine.

    I would say this is a choice best left up to the woman involved, since some sports are more rigorous than others. In volleyball, for example, some players wear front-latched bras to prevent scratches or pain from repeated diving and rolling on the floor.

    There is some evidence that breast injuries can be avoided by strong support, including wrapping elastic bandages around the breasts.

    Use your best judgement here. A blend of comfort, support and style would make the most sense � especially if you tend to rip your blouse off when winning a contest.

    Source: The Physician and Sportsmedicine, Vol. 10, No. 11.


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