| The Trick
Body weight is a function of how much food you eat and how much energy you
use. The trick to maintaining a healthy weight lies in regulating the balance.
February was American Heart Month
President Bush said on February 1st that childhood obesity is a costly problem
for the country and puts stress on American families. "One way for
this nation to cope with the issue of obesity is to get people outside --
whether it be through sports or hiking or conservation," Bush said while
meeting with business leaders working to encourage exercise and healthy food
choices through advertising. He said first lady Laura Bush was on her
way to New York to kick off Friday's "Wear Red Day" for the National Heart,
Lung and Blood Institute's Red Dress Project to increase awareness that women
are at risk for heart disease. Bush signed a proclamation making February
American Heart Month. "Mothers are the ones, a lot of times, who make choices
for their children," the first lady said. "They make their choices on the
foods they eat. They're the ones at home, many times, who encourage their
children to exercise."
New Frying Oil
In January, McDonald's Corp. has finally selected a new trans-fat-free oil
for cooking its famous french fries after years of testing. The McDonald's
new frying oil is canola-based and includes corn and soy oils. While it has
developed a healthier new oil, the company is still not saying when it will
be used in all 13,700 U.S. restaurants. It already trails competitors in
committing to a zero-trans fat oil. McDonald's French Fries contain
beef tallow for American taste.
Cocoa could help keep your brain sharp. A study presented at the American
Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in San Francisco suggests
cocoa that is high in antioxidants called flavanols could increase blood
flow to the brain. Other studies also have found a decrease in dementia and
high blood pressure in people who consume cocoa with high flavanol content.
However, researchers say that the findings do not mean people should consume
chocolate for health benefits, because chocolate is unhealthy with the high
fat and calories that create health problems. In additon, the cocoa usually
used in chocolate and sold in stores usually has most of the flavanol content
removed, since flavanols are bitter.
Benefits of Sleep
Sleep is critical to preparing the brain to lay down memories the next day,
according to a Harvard study published in Nature Neuroscience, Feb. 11, 2007.
A single night of sleep deprivation can limit the consolidation of memory
the next day, researchers showed in their study of 28 subjects, half of whom
were kept awake all night. The sleep-deprived subjects performed significantly
worse on memory tests than those who had slept well, and their brain scans
showed less activity in the area of the hippocampus that is key to remembering
an event or episode.
New research on napping provides the perfect excuse for office slackers,
finding that a little midday snooze seems to reduce risks for fatal heart
problems, especially among older working men. In the largest study to date
on the health effects of napping, researchers tracked 23,681 healthy Greek
adults for an average of about six years. Those who napped at least three
times weekly for about half an hour had a 37 percent lower risk of dying
from heart attacks or other heart problems than those who did not nap. Most
participants were in their 50s.
Your office desk could be a bacterial hot spot according to a study sponsored
by Clorox. The new study found that desks, particularly women's desks, harbor
more germs than office restrooms. The researchers found that the average
office desktop has 400 times more bacteria than the average office toilet
seat. Women had three to four times the amount of bacteria in, on and around
their desks compared to men.
Androstadienone, a chemical in male sweat can boost mood, brain activity
and sexual arousal in heterosexual women, according to a new study released.
The study offers the first direct evidence that humans secrete a pheromone
that can affect the physiology of the opposite sex, said researchers at the
University of California, Berkeley. Their findings were published this week
in The Journal of Neuroscience. Androstadienone is a compound found
in male perspiration and other bodily secretions. The researchers measured
the women's levels of the stress hormone cortisol and compared them to the
women's responses to a control odor. Cortisol levels in the women rose within
about 15 minutes of inhaling the androstadienone scent and remained elevated
for more than an hour. They also discovered that blood pressure, heart rate
and breathing increased, mood improved and sexual arousal was boosted.
AIDS spreads through sexual contact, especially among people who have multiple
sexual partners. Use of condoms is one way to prevent sexually transmitted
AIDS. One of the major stumbling blocks in AIDS prevention in Africa and
India is that promiscuous men do not want to use condoms. An article published
in The Lancet says that data shows that circumcision reduces promiscuous
men's chances of catching HIV through sexual contact by up to 60 percent
(i.e., circumcised men have 40% percent chance of catching AIDS). The cells
in the foreskin of penis are susceptible to AIDS virus. However, the real
culprit is the adulterous and promiscuous behavior of men, but not the foreskin.
Circumcision is a religious and cultural practice in Islam and Judaism and
accordingly it is a very sensitive issue for others. In addition, it is not
clear if the circumcised men in the study were promiscuous. Also, AIDS spreads
through other avenues such as use of drugs and unhygienic hospitals.
Old Ventilation, Open Window, is Better
And also superior to the expensive and modern mechanically ventilated rooms,
they reported in their study, available online at http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0040068.
Old-fashioned clinical areas with high ceilings and large windows provide
greatest protection. Natural ventilation costs little and is maintenance
free. Preventing the spread of disease in a hospital may be as simple as
opening a window, the international team of researchers reported. Opening
windows and doors maximizes natural ventilation so that the risk of airborne
contagion is much lower than with costly, maintenance-requiring mechanical
Yoga in American Schools
Now, more than 100 schools in 26 states have adopted Tara Guber's "Yoga Ed"
program and more than 300 physical education instructors have been trained
in it. Countless other public and private schools from California to
Massachusetts, including the Aspen school where Guber clashed with parents,
are teaching yoga. Teachers say it helps calm students with attention-deficit
disorder and may reduce childhood obesity. The federal government gives grants
to gym teachers who complete a teacher-training course in yoga.
But when Tara Guber asked a public elementary school in Aspen, Colo., to
teach yoga in 2002, Christian fundamentalists and even some secular parents
lobbied the school board. They argued that yoga's Hindu roots conflicted
with Christian teachings and that using it in school might violate the separation
of church and state.
What changed? Guber crafted a new curriculum that eliminated chanting and
translated Sanskrit into kid-friendly English. Yogic panting became "bunny
breathing," and "meditation" became "time in." "I stripped every piece
of anything that anyone could vaguely construe as spiritual or religious
out of the program," Guber said.
In 2003, researchers at California State University, Los Angeles, studied
test scores at the Accelerated School, a charter school where Guber sits
on the board and where students practice yoga almost every day. Researchers
found a correlation between yoga and better behavior and grades, and they
said young yogis were more fit than the district average from the California
Physical Fitness Test.
In 2004, Americans spent almost $3 billion on yoga classes and retreats,
books, DVDs, mats, clothing and related items. About 3 million American adults
practiced yoga at least twice a week in 2006, more than doubling from 1.3
million in 2001, according to Mediamark Research.
Concerns about yoga's spiritual implications have also fueled a cottage industry
of books and videos that offer the purported benefits of yoga such as flexibility,
strength and weight loss without mentioning the word "Yoga".
Laurette Willis wrote an exercise regimen called "PowerMoves Kids Program
for Public Schools," that includes pauses for children to contemplate character-building
quotes from Martin Luther King Jr., Emily Dickinson, Harriet Tubman and William
Shakespeare. Willis also created an exercise regimen called "PraiseMoves:
The Christian Alternative to Yoga."
Yoga as it's practiced in the United States is primarily about fitness and
stress relief, without Hindu spirituality.
"Today 850 million people are hungry and malnourished. Over half of them
are children. 18,000 children die every single day because of hunger and
malnutrition," Morris, the head of the U.N. food agency said. While
too much food and gluttony is causing preventable obesity in many advanced
Women are at Risk
Nearly all American women are in danger of heart disease or stroke and should
be more aggressive about lowering their risk, the American Heart Association
said in new guidelines. It is the first time guidelines have urged
all women to consider aspirin for preventing strokes, although specialists
warn that it can cause ulcers and dangerous bleeding. They said it is probably
not a good idea for young women with no big health problems. The guidelines
were published in the journal Circulation with related studies on women's
health, including one suggesting that hormone skin patches may be safer than
pills for menopause symptoms.
Among women with no history of major illness, those with high cholesterol
levels are significantly more likely to suffer a stroke, investigators in
Boston report Neurology, February 20, 2007. Being in the group with the highest
level of HDL ("good") cholesterol cut the risk of stroke nearly in half,
the investigators report. On the other hand, having the highest level of
LDL ("bad") cholesterol or non-HDL cholesterol roughly doubled the chances
of having a stroke, compared with those with the lowest levels.
Women with hirsutism grow hair on their faces, breasts and stomachs. This
can cause great distress. The hair grows because they have abnormally high
levels of the ‘masculinising’ androgen hormones. Androgens travel around
the body in the blood stream, and a key way of treating hirsutism is to reduce
the level of these androgens. Data just published in Phytotherapy Research
shows that drinking two cups of spearmint tea a day for five days could reduce
the level of androgens in women with hirsutism.
A single-dose of the antibiotic azithromycin, sold in the U.S. under the
trade name Zithromax, is recommended as the first therapy to use against
traveler's diarrhea, particularly if it's acquired in Thailand, researchers
report in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. According to surveys
of U.S. military personnel stationed in Thailand, bacteria belonging to the
Campylobacter family are responsible for up to 60 percent of cases of diarrhea.
More than 85 percent of these pathogens are resistant to fluoroquinolone
antibiotics, such as Levaquin (levofloxacin) or Cipro (ciprofloxacin), which
are frequently prescribed for traveler's diarrhea.
INGREDIENTS: 1/4 cup margarine, 8 ounces chocolate chips or dark chocolate,
2 tbsp flour, 1/2 cup corn syrup, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 2 tbsp soy milk,
1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 cup Kahlua or other flavored liqueur (optional).
PREPARATION: Melt margarine, chocolate and milk together in saucepan. Once
melted, remove from heat, add the rest of the ingredients, combine well and
transfer to fondue pot to keep warm. Serve with fresh fruit, pound cake,
or sweet bread.
INGREDIENTS: 3 tbsp margarine + 2 tbsp, 1/2 onion, minced, 1 tsp onion powder,
1 vegetarian bouillon cube or 1 tbsp dry veggie broth mix, 2 cups mushrooms,
sliced; 3 cloves garlic; 2 cups soy milk; 1/2 tsp miso; 1/4 cup flour; 1/2
tsp celery salt; 1 tbsp soy sauce; 3 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional).
PREPARATION: Sautee garlic, onions and mushrooms in 3 tbsp margarine until
soft. In separate saucepan, combine remaining ingredients and simmer until
mixture thickens. If your mixture does not thicken, add more flour and mix
well. Allow to cool. Add mushrooms, garlic and onion mix to the soy milk
mix and process in a blender or food processor until smooth. Reheat the blended
mix, stirring occasionally, and allow to cool slightly before transferring
to fondue pot. Some dipper suggestions: whole mushrooms, broccoli, bread,
cooked and halved baby potatoes, tofu etc.
INGREDIENTS: 3 cups flour; 1 1/2 cups sugar; 2 tsp baking soda; 1/2 cup cocoa;
1/4 cup oil; 1 1/2 tsp vanilla; 2 tbsp vinegar dissolved in 1/4 cup water;
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso; 3/4 cup raspberry preserves
PREPARATION: Mix together flour, sugar, baking doa and cocoa in a large mixing
bowl. Slowly incorporate oil and vanilla, and then vinegar in water,
coffee and raspberry preserves. When batter is well mixed, it will be smooth
and creamy. Pour into greased and battered cake pans and bake at 350 degrees
for 25 minutes or until done. You'll know a cake is done baking when you
stick a toothpick into the top and it comes out clean, with no cake on the
Pot Indian Vegetable Curry Recipe
INGREDIENTS: 3 potatoes, chopped; 1 cauliflower, chopped; 1 1/2 cups green
peas; 3 tomatoes, chopped; 3/4 tsp turmeric; 1/2 tsp chili powder; 1 1/2
tsp cumin; 1 tsp curry powder; and 1 cup water
PREPARATION: Place all ingredients in a crock pot or slow cooker. Cook on
low for 5 to 6 hours. http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetariancrockpotrecipe/r/crockpotvegcurr.htm?nl=1
Crockpot Chili Recipe
INGREDIENTS: 2 tbsp oil; 4 cloves garlic, minced; 1 onion, chopped; 1/3 tsp
red pepper flakes; 1 tsp oregano; 1 28 ounce can tomatoes; 1 tbsp soy sauce;
1 tbsp chili powder; 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth; 1 6 ounce can tomato paste;
2 cans black beans, drained; 2 cans red kidney beans, drained.
PREPARATION: Sautee the onion, garlic and red pepper flakes until the onion
is soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chili powder and cumin and cook for
two more minutes. Place the onions and the remaining ingredients in the crock
pot, stirring to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. http://vegetarian.about.com/od/soupsstewsandchili/r/crockpotchili.htm
Super Easy Chili
INGREDIENTS: 1 can black or pinto beans, drained; 1 can kidney beans, drained;
1 can diced tomatoes; 1/2 onion, diced; 3 cloves garlic, minced; 1 bell pepper,
diced (any color); 2 tbsp olive oil; 3 tbsp vegetable broth; 2 tbsp chili
powder; 1/2 tsp salt; 1/2 tsp pepper; dash cayenne pepper (optional); dash
red pepper flakes (optional); 1/2 cup TVP + 1/2 cup water (optional).
PREPARATION: In a medium to large soup pot, sautee the onion, bell pepper
and garlic in the olive oil. Add tomatoes, vegetable broth and chili
powder and stir. Reduce heat to medium low and add beans. Stir occasionally
and cook for at least 20 minutes. Add TVP and water 10 minutes before done
cooking. Of course, the longer you cook chili the better, but if you're pressed
for time, 20 minutes is fine.
Raw Vegetable Recipes
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The primary sources cited
above, New York Times (NYT),
Washington Post (WP), Mercury News,
Bayarea.com, Chicago Tribune, USA Today,
Intellihealthnews, Deccan Chronicle
(DC), the Hindu, Hindustan Times,
Times of India, AP, Reuters, AFP, womenfitness.net,