Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
We’re going to preface today’s mix with a quick mention of the hot headlines. Yes, in the UK, Viagra is going OTC for Valentine’s Day. Yes, once again, Spain has a problem with skinny models (eat some paella, already). And yes, HPV vaccines for children are still causing a big ruckus.
Now that we got that out of the way, there were also some really important discoveries reported today, and they’re not even boring. They’re just not about Kate Moss. They’re about you!
Here’s the best of it, because you probably won’t see it on the news tonight:
1) Yes, but what causes diabetes?
Huge news: scientists have identified four genes which predispose people to developing type-2 diabetes (also known as diabetes mellitus, also known as the scourge of modern society, also known as unnecessary in the majority of cases).
Mark believes adamantly in fighting diabetes through lifestyle choices. So many cases of diabetes can be prevented or mitigated with healthier choices – it’s truly a tragedy that this epidemic is striking so many (particularly children) because exercise and healthier eating habits, among other factors, can undo much of the current problem. Most cases of diabetes (about 3/4) are not type 1, but type 2. Though type 2 can’t always be prevented, diabetics who take appropriate healthy measures almost always see their symptoms relieved – even eliminated.
(There’s also a tragic socioeconomic dimension to diabetes – the lack of access to quality food, good medical care and education all contribute. We’d like to see a charity that helps educate disadvantaged families about inexpensive healthy food options and preventive health measures and provides solutions. Do you know of one?)
What this study reveals is not that there is a genetic cause for type 2 – rather, with 70% accuracy, scientists can determine who is likely to develop type 2. This has huge implications for preventive treatment. How great would it be to take a test that determines if you happen to be at a higher risk for diabetes? If so, people could take proactive lifestyle measures to avoid the disease. Read about it.
2) Drool, no extra charge
Those Mediterranean homeys just don’t stop. First, it’s olive oil. Then it’s wine. Next it’s antioxidants. Then fish. Now, scientists think the naps are why Italians, Greeks and other Southern European nations have lower rates of heart disease. If companies can’t or won’t provide health care and daycare, we’re not sure if you should hold out hope for nap time, but it sounds pretty healthy!
3) The power of intention
Everyone’s in a big hot fuss over The Secret these days. Bend your mind a little further: here’s some fascinating brain news, just out today, about the power of intention. Muy interesante!
4) We are really, really fat
74% of Americans are overweight. This creates huge (yeah, yeah) economic and social burdens. Not to mention it makes us live in sheer misery. Who feels sexy, has energy or wants to enjoy activities (or can, for that matter) when one’s very body is an encumbrance? The emotional, mental and social tolls are staggering. Just let it sink in for a minute.
- Ever felt embarrassed in a bathing suit?
- Felt pressure to look a certain way?
- Had a hard time running up a flight of stairs?
- Needed medication to address health problems that are a result of excess weight?
- Wished you had more sexual stamina and drive?
- Felt drained, tired and stressed?
- Suffered from anxiety, insomnia, restless legs, sleep apnea?
- Felt bad about yourself?
These are all problems that have a solution. Truly, they do. Isn’t that great news? Best of all, the solutions are free. They are easy to learn about and implement. You’ve probably heard the opposite – but it doesn’t take trainers, money, gyms and expensive food to be healthy and maintain a good weight. Those things are nice, and they help, but they aren’t necessary. An overhaul is great, but just four or five consistently-applied changes can radically change your health.
We want people to be healthy and happy. We don’t want to be in the top 10 fat countries, which we are. Who is fatter? Well, hardly anyone, but Kuwait and Samoa are slightly bigger. Slightly. We’re Americans, dammit! We have money, optimism, and we invented the internet (sorry, Al), which is loaded with health help. Plus, we have great teeth. Why are we so unhealthy and overweight? That doesn’t sound like something America should be leading in, does it?
You can’t change everyone, but you do have the power to change your own health. If you’re someone who needs to and wants to, we hope you’ll take heart and begin the steps necessary to do it. Have faith! There is a whole world of support online – free. Stick around. Learn. Act. Make the first click.
“Soon we’ll be away from here, step on the gas and wipe that tear away. One sweet dream came true today.” – The Beatles
From one choice a new life is born.
Yo, Apples! It’s time for a little pre-spring cleaning. This week’s challenge is to clean out the (kitchen) closet. Empty your fridge, your pantry, the cabinets, and the deep freeze out in the garage. If it’s not healthy, if it’s not recognizable, if it’s older than the Clinton administration, toss it.
Don’t save unhealthy stuff “for the kids”, either. They don’t need that junk any more than you do. If you feel it’s wasteful, donate the items to your local homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
One of the easiest ways to be healthy and lose weight is to avoid turning your home into a minefield of temptation. Restaurants and movie theaters aren’t going to change anytime soon, but you can control what goes on under your own roof. So from now on, fill the freezer with frozen chicken breasts and veggies. Stock the cabinets with vegetable-based soups, low-sodium broth, canned tomatoes, almond butter, and olive oil. And make sure the condiments in the fridge are low in saturated fats, salt, preservatives, and sugars. As always, ask the Bees for help if you’re unsure about a particular item.
All you runners out there need to sprint on over to Runnersworld.com to take advantage of the numerous free training calculators and coaching tools. This site offers a pace converter and a cool tool that projects your finish times for a number of distances based on your current time for a given distance. It also provides a tool they call SmartCoach that will put together an entire training program for you depending on your level of fitness, what your goals are and how long you have to attain them.
Whether you are training for a full marathon, or are a beginning jogger with aspirations to simply finish a charity 5 K, these useful tools can help you realize your goals.
This week, bust your butt to bust your gut. Exercise every day. Park your car way out of sight. Surprise the dog with an extra-long walk. Make television commercials your own personal sit-up special. Bike with the kids. Walk after every meal. Make activity your middle name this week. Now get moving!
Several Apples have written in wondering about MBT and other supposed jiggle-reducing shoe brands, so in the interest of truth and avoidance of unattractive footwear, let’s set the record straight. Do anti-cellulite shoes work?
No, no, and no. Here’s a great article that debunks this ridiculous shoe trend. Not only are the numerous health and figure-fix claims about cellulite shoes total baloney, these kicks are expensive and super-ugly.
MBT, the main anti-cellulite shoe maker, even has an African myth of sorts to complete the marketing lure (check out Mark’s post on hoodia for another example of emotional bait).
These sneakers will make you wobble, feel dizzy, and possibly fall (so you can have a big bruise in addition to cellulite). What they will not do is cure cellulite.
Unfortunately, there’s just not really a “cure” for cellulite. It’s genetic, like bone density, skin tone and hair color. Of course, you can lift weights to build bones, fry in a tanning bed, and dye your hair, right? Ah, modern technology. There are things you can do to reduce the appearance of cellulite – but it will never go away with a magic cream or a funky pair of shoes.
If you’re really in angst come bikini season, these things can help:
- My personal theory: lay off the sugar, processed foods and trans fat, and make real fat your friend. Fat does not cause cellulite, but eating weird, unhealthy and processed foods does do weird things to our cells. I’m not saying sugar causes cellulite, but it certainly doesn’t help, either. Enough with the fat-free dairy, ladies (which just has sugar in place of fat). Sugar stores itself as fat and expands existing fat cells. Aha!
- The appearance of cellulite can be reduced if you have good, lean muscle tone and less flabby fat. So yes, you need to work out once in a while. Plenty of muscle tissue on that booty of yours will help “smooth” the external layer of skin and fat cells a little bit. Men don’t tend to have cellulite because they have more lean muscle mass, and their fat cells tend to be smaller and more flexible. So, reducing your overall body fat and increasing muscle mass will help in your quest to be as smooth as a baby’s behind.
- Increase circulation. This is where those creams and gels come in. Most of them “work” by temporarily stimulating circulation to fat cells that go so long without seeing so much as a blood platelet, they wouldn’t know what to do if one stopped by. (Okay, my doctor friends are rolling their eyes right now, but you get the idea.) If you can increase your circulation – often a problem with women (cold feet, anyone?) – you can potentially help nourish and smooth those outer cells a bit more. But no amount of cardio is going to totally eliminate cellulite.
Two things to remember:
1) If you’re reasonably fit and healthy, just revel in that figure. Do what you can, and don’t stress the rest. Guys really don’t care as much as we think they do. Seriously, they don’t – men’s eyeballs are wired differently, and detail is not a strong suit (they have better depth perception, while women see certain colors and details better). Whew.
2) As Cindy Crawford once famously said, “Even I don’t look like Cindy Crawford in the morning.” There are very few photographs that are not airbrushed to perfection these days. Women on the covers of magazines are beautiful, yes, but perfect? Nope.
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