Archive for January, 2011

5 Resolutions for Your Pet

I received this from the ASPCA in my in-box. It’s a great reminder to not only consider your own health in this new year, but to also remember the health of (wo)man’s best friend (or feline):

Maybe you’ve made a few resolutions for yourself this year, but how about your pet? Even small changes can make a big difference in the life of your furry friend.

1. Check-up on your pet’s health.

Set up your pet’s annual check-up this year. A nose to tail exam can help your veterinarian spot and treat health issues in the early stages. Opt for wellness coverage including an annual physical exam!

2. Brush those pearly whites.

Pledge to brush your pet’s teeth regularly, and keep an eye out for signs of gum disease like swelling or discoloration. Ask your veterinarian for tips on good dental care. Plus, Level 4 covers an annual dental cleaning.

3. Watch your pet’s weight.

Extra weight on a pet can result in health problems and be like a person carrying an extra 30 to 50 pounds. Hold back on treats and use a well-balanced pet food.

4. Get your pet moving.

Is your pet getting enough exercise to stay fit? Dogs need at least 30 minutes of physical activity twice a day. Cats should get at least 15 minutes of interactive playtime a day.

5. Prepare financially for your pet’s care.

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance can help you manage unexpected veterinary costs. It can also cover wellness care to help you keep your pet healthy year round. Learn more and get a free quote.

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Another great post at one of my favorite blogs at Eating Well discussing four ways to help your metabolism help you help yourself lose weight. They are:

1. Making your food more spicey.

2. Eating more small meals rather than fewer large meals each day.

3. Adding coconut oil to your diet.

4. Exercising.

Read the entire post here.


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I was happy to hear that WeightWatchers has updated its point system to a new PointsPlus that takes into account that not all calories are created equal. The original points system assigned points based on calories alone without taking into account how the make-up of the food, i.e. fats, protein, and carbohydrates, affects the body and weight gain.

Enter PointsPlus, where the goal is not only weight loss but healthy eating with weight loss. According to an article in the LA Times:

The basic program, as before, works this way: A member is given a weekly allotment of points to spend on food depending upon factors such as age, sex, height and weight.

Here’s what changed. Under the old system, the number of points allotted to a food was based mainly upon its calories — a banana and a 100-calorie bag of cookies cost the same two points, for example. Under the new system, points are calculated based on a complex algorithm that takes into account factors such as fiber, protein, carbohydrates and fat.

“We used to say ‘A calorie is a calorie is a calorie,’ ” says Karen Miller Kovach, chief scientific officer and registered dietitian for the organization. “We recognize now that nutrients that provide those calories … also have an impact on the body. The new formula is completely different than how we originally calculated.”

For example, scientists now know more about how food calories are converted into an energy source the body can use. What’s been found, in a nutshell, is that the body works harder to use protein and fiber than it does carbs and fat. And that means carbs and fat are more easily stored by the body.

Read the entire article here or learn about the new program at WeightWatchers.

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Another great post at the Healthy Eating blogs with simple and useable tools to help you get healthy this year! Writer Carolyn’s resolutions are:

1. Eat more omega-3s by eating more seafood.

2. Eat more veggies by roasting them – yum!

3. Eat more fiber by eating more whole grains and experimenting with new kinds of whole grains.

4. Eat less red meat by eating other kinds of protein.

5. Eat less sugar by eating low-sugar treats.

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As I mentioned before, eating gluten-free is not too difficult once you get used to it. Except for bread. Finding good gluten-free bread is hard. Thankfully, I’ve found another great gluten-free bread from Kinnikinnick. Visit their website for more information.

And if you are interested in learning more about how to enjoy food while maintaining a gluten-free diet, check out their blog: The Gluten Free Insider.

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Yes, really. It’s Amy’s. I discovered it a few years ago when I lived in Manhattan and was working crazy hours. I was getting tired of take-out and sometimes just wanted to eat without having to call and wait for the food. But I was busy and tired and had an incredibly small Manhattan-apartment kitchen. And Amy’s saved the day.

All of their products are vegetarian and contain ingredients that are organic and there are no genetically-modified ingredients. And unlike most frozen dinners, they aren’t really high in sodium and preservatives either.  Plus, they have gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan varieties. Don’t let the vegetarian part make you think you aren’t interested if you aren’t vegetarian. My husband is a meat-and-potatoes guy and he likes Amy’s.

You can learn more about Amy’s at their website, including where to buy their products and even try out the Amy’s Diet Plan (which is kinda like NutriSystem but organic).

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According to this article from Consumer Reports Health, the average American gains one to two pounds per year. Doesn’t sound like much until you add it up over 20 years. That’s how most of us end up 20 pounds over weight by 40 years old. Keep doing the math: 30 pounds over weight by 50, 40 pounds over weight by 60…. You get the idea.

Thankfully, there are at least six small changes you can make to avoid this average weight gain:

1. Stop drinking calories.

2. Eat more protein.

3. Eat more fiber.

4. Don’t keep high-calories junk food at home.

5. Walk at least 2,000 steps each day.

6. Don’t spend so much time on your computer or in front of your television.

Read all the details here.

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So it’s been about 20 days since I shared that I have 10 postpartum pounds to lose and decided to eat gluten-free and to reincorporate regular exercise into my life.

And I’m happy to report that I’ve lost 2 pounds so only 8 more to go! One pound every 10 days is not setting any records but the timing doesn’t really matter, does it? I don’t have a deadline of any kind.

I’m just excited that I lost 2 pounds without really trying too hard. Yes, I have to make time in my day to exercise. But as you can see from my exercise log, it’s not every day, it’s not for long periods of time, and it’s not very strenuous. Just activities that burn calories.

And because I’ve cut out gluten, I’m not eating as much sweets (no cookies or brownies or other such treats), not eating many simple carbohydrates (like white bread), and not eating much of anything that you can get at a drive-thru window. When I want a snack, I have nuts and dried fruit. I have chili instead of a sandwich for lunch.

And our microwave bit the dust and it’s not replaced yet, so I am cooking more real food these days, which means I control the ingredients so can control the calories.

How are you doing with your weight loss or health goals? Any successes? Let me know!

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Now seems like a good time to discuss the importance of sleep. Why now? Well, I have an 12 week old daughter who thinks that naps are unnecessary. She has since she was a week old. She slept like a champ in the hospital, but as soon as we got home, no more naps. And now she would rather eat than sleep – including all night. So we are awake every 2 hours so she can eat for half an hour.

Add to that my two dogs who are like needy toddlers whose world has been rocked by the addition of baby to our family.

And to top it all off, I’ve decided to take the CT bar exam in February (yes, I am insane) so I am now studying for that.

As my husband reminded me: sleep deprivation is an effective form of torture!

So what’s so bad about sleep deprivation? Well, according to the really smart folks at Harvard, a lot: Importance of Sleep: Six Reasons Not to Scrimp on Sleep

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Here’s a great post at Real Life Practice about the important of being thankful:

[M]aintaining an attitude of gratitude is good for you.  In fact, an attitude of gratitude can improve your overall health, including your psychological, emotional and physical well-being.   A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that “being grateful forces people to overcome what psychologists call the ‘negativity bias’ – the tendency to dwell on problems, annoyances and injustices rather than upbeat events.”  Focusing on what’s good in your life can also help you ward off depression and deal more effectively with stress.

And if you want to know more about maintaining an attitude of gratitude, check out the the Attitude of Gratitude Project.

What do you have to be thankful for?

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