Ten easy ways for you to ensure that you keep your health in check
1. Have a PERF-ect day
Essentially, there are four things you should monitor every day to make sure you are living healthily: the amount of fruit and vegetables you ate that day (fresh Produce); whether you walked and were active (Exercise); whether you got at least 15 minutes of laughter and fun time for yourself (Relaxation); and whether you got enough beans, grains and other high-fibre foods (Fibre). If you can say you did well on all four, your day has been extremely healthy. (Needless to say, this doesn’t apply if you spent the rest of the day say, drinking, smoking and eating chocolate.)
2. Get naked every two to three months
Then, with your partner (or a really close friend), conduct a head-to-toe skin check, looking for any new moles, changed moles, suspicious spots or rashes. Be sure to check your scalp, between your toes and fingers, and also the underside of your arms. If you find anything worrying, see your doctor.
Do the ABCD test when checking moles, looking out for these possible danger signs: - Asymmetry: the two halves don’t match. - Border irregularity: the edges are jagged. - Colour: uneven. Different shades of black, brown or pink can be seen. - Diameter: more than 6mm.
3. Monitor your sleepiness
There are three good ways to tell if you’re not getting enough sleep. First, do you require an alarm clock to wake you up most mornings? Second, do you become drowsy in the afternoon to the point that it affects what you’re doing? Third, do you doze off shortly after eating dinner? If the answer to any of these is yes, you need more sleep. And if you’re getting enough sleep (about eight hours) and still have these troubles, talk to your doctor about your low energy.
4. Measure your height every year after you turn 50
This is especially important for women as a way of assessing posture and skeletal health. A decrease in stature can be as informative as a change in a bone density test for monitoring your overall bone health. If you’re concerned, speak to your doctor.
5. Keep a mental colour chart of how dark your urine is
It may sound weird, but it’s a useful health indicator. Your urine should be a clear, straw colour; if it’s dark or smells strong, you may not be getting enough fluids. If it stays dark-coloured even after you increase your liquid intake, make an appointment to see your doctor. If it’s bright yellow, it may be the B vitamins in your multivitamin tablets (if you take them).
6. Check your heartbeat after you exercise
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women with poor heart rate recovery (HRR) after exercise had twice the risk of having a heart attack within ten years as those who had normal HRR. Next time you exercise, like a strenuous 20-minute walk or a jog, count your heartbeats for 15 seconds immediately afterwards, then multiply the result by four to get your heart rate. Sit down and wait two minutes before checking again. Subtract the second number from the first. If it’s under 55, your HRR is higher than normal and you should consult with your doctor.
7. If you have diabetes, check your feet every day
You will be susceptible to foot damage, so examine your feet carefully for any blisters, fungus, peeling skin, cuts or bruises. Because people with diabetes often have some nerve damage in extremities such as the feet, these daily self-examinations give critical clues as to how well you’re monitoring your blood sugar and if you might have nerve damage.
8. Have a cardiovascular check
If you’re over 40, you can request a full cardiovascular screening assessment (for future heart attack and stroke risk) with your doctor. You can also request one if you’re under 40 with a strong family history of heart attack or stroke. Blood cholesterol levels are just one of several factors that need to be measured and assessed, along with smoking status, blood glucose level, ECG results and blood pressure. Measuring cholesterol alone is not enough, as other risk factors may be missed; normal cholesterol levels do not necessarily mean that your overall cardiovascular risk is normal. Ask for advice at your doctor’s surgery.
9. Check your blood pressure every six months
Check with a home blood pressure monitor, or at a clinic. If the top number is more than 140 (130 if you have diabetes) and the bottom number is higher than 90 (80 for diabetics), wait a day, then check it again. If it’s still high, make an appointment with your doctor.
10. Check your hairbrush
If your hair’s falling out, ask your doctor to check your levels of blood ferritin, an indication of how much iron your body is storing. Some studies suggest low levels may be related to unexplained hair loss. Thyroid disease is another fairly common cause.
From the book, 5 Minute Health Boosters, published by Reader’s Digest (January 2010).
With over 25 vital nutrients, avocados pack a punch with Vitamins E and B. Replace your pricey conditioner with a ripe avocado and apply to wet hair after using your favorite cleanser and let it linger on your locks for a few minutes. Rinse throughly and you’ll have a clean, fresh, and shiny head of gorgeous hair.
Beans are a great source of vitamin B6 and folic acid; and the minerals magnesium, sulfur and zinc. Add black beans to your favorite Tex-Mex recipe or workday lunch for a vitamin and protein boost that will keep you and your hair shining throughout the day.
3. Coconut Oil
The ancient Indian practice of Ayurvedic medicine has relied on the power of coconut oil for centuries. Coconut oil is used as an anti-aging and stress relieving treatment - in addition to a miracle hair treatment. Massaging coconut oil throughout your hair just a few times per week can keep your hair free from dandruff, split ends, and hair-loss. Plus, the fresh coconut scent will instantly transport you to the beach - how’s that for stress relief?
Not only does dairy build strong bones, but it also keeps your hair strong with calcium and Vitamins D and B12. Fill up on low-fat milk and cottage cheese to keep your gorgeous hair growing strong.
Whether you like them scrambled, poached, over-easy, or sunny side up; eggs are an inexpensive way to get the protein you need to start your day off right. But did you know that you can skip the pricey organic shampoo for a natural egg shampoo that will cleanse your hair and give it a gorgeous luster? Massage egg yolks into your hair and let it sit for 10-15 minutes and then rinse with cool water. Your hair will be sparkling clean and your wallet will thank you.
Seafood is a great way to stay slim and keep your heart healthy, and it can also benefit your hair. Halibut is full of more iron than other seafood, keeping your hair strong. Broil, bake, or grill this tasty fish for a great way to get the iron that your hair craves.
Not only will honey sweeten your tea, it can also add some sweetness and shine to your hair. Mix 2 tbsp of honey with 2/3 cup of olive oil, massage into hair and wrap with a warm towel for a half-hour, rinse with warm water. Although it may seem a little sticky, your hair will appreciate the sweet effort.
Peas provide an excellent way to get the carbohydrates and potassium that your hair needs to stay vibrant and strong. Although they contain more calories than other green vegetables, these nutrient-filled calories will keep you full and your hair at its healthiest.
Full of lean protein, turkey is an excellent choice for iron, which makes for healthy, strong hair. With less calories and fat than beef, turkey can be eaten more frequently and that means more ways to get solid protein in your diet. Replace bacon with turkey bacon and throw a few turkey burgers on the grill for a lean, mean way to keep your hair strong.
An excellent source of Vitamin E, walnuts provide a crunchy and satisfying way to give your hair the oils it needs to stay full of shine and luster. But walnuts can also be used to replace expensive hair color treatments. Grind the nuts and boil in hot water, strain, cool and apply to your hair for 20 minutes. The walnut mixture will naturally keep the pigmentation in your hair, keeping those pesky grays at bay.
MANILA, Philippines – “Tonight’s like graduation for us,” Stacy Ann “Fergie” Ferguson said towards the end of a two-and-a-half-hour concert in Manila, “before we take a break.” With that, the Black Eyed Peas launched into “I Gotta Feeling,” punctuating the night with an extended encore, and heralding a long reported break for one of the world’s biggest music acts.
“No, we’re not breaking up,” BEP member Allan Pineda assured in an interview with Yahoo Philippines last August. But the Black Eyed Peas has professed being due for a hiatus, for creative preservation as well as to allow each member to pursue their respective projects. ”We always have a cycle where we take a break and pursue our individual projects,” Pineda said in August. “We’ll never break up. Black Eyed Peas is a friendship that can never be broken.”
“You can be a leader. You can be a hero,” he told the audience, as he announced a partnership with Smart Communications and the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation to build school buildings across the country.
Fergie, for her part, has been reported to be eager to start a family with her husband, the actor Josh Duhamel. She fought back tears as she thanked her “brothers” on stage — apl.de.ap, Taboo (Jaime Gomez), and BEP leader will.i.am (William Adams) — and the individual members who make up one of the most successful musical acts of the first decade of the 21st century hugged each other through their encore, without missing a beat.
"This is a special night," Fergie said.
Taboo and will.i.am echoed the sentiment, at turns graciously letting their Filipino partner take in the hometown adulation, then acknowledging an anxious chapter about to unfold for their group.
In their press conference on Saturday, will.i.am had said: “It’s only right that as we began as the Black Eyed Peas performing before Filipinos in their homes back in the United States, we would end it before a Filipino audience in their home country.”
Pineda indeed took on the show like a step onto a new stage, a testimonial not so much for himself as for a Filipino who made it to the world stage with his identity and sense of national purpose intact. This was the BEP’s second concert in Manila, and even more than in their last outing in the Philippines, Pineda’s banters with the audience were proudly in Filipino. He pointed repeatedly to his mother, professed his love and longing for lost brothers, and sang crowd-pleasers like “Bebot” - the BEP ode to Filipino women - and “The apl Song”, Pineda’s biographical theme song whose chorus borrows reverentially from Pinoy rock legend Asin’s “Balita”.
The Party was BEP: global in appeal, and generous with all the group’s hits, fashion, and techno funk. But the lovefest was largely rendered in Filipino.
"You are a role model to me," Taboo told Pineda, as the show segued into the apl.de.ap show past the midway point of the concert. "I thank you for showing us the beauty and kindness of the Filipino people."
Part of the Black Eyed Peas’ “Where is the Love? This is the Love?” world tour, the concert was produced by Futuretainment Inc. and Music Management International, with Smart and San Miguel Beer Oktoberfest Beer Festival as the major sponsors. The concert also had support from SM Mall of Asia, Cebu Pacific, Guess, McDonalds, AKTV, Crocs, and Samsung Smart TV, and TV5. (InterAksyon.com is the online news portal of TV5.)
Healthy skin comes from the inside out. What you choose to put into your body will reflect itself on your skin. Diets filled with processed foods often leave skin looking and feeling dull, oily, and discolored. But nourished bodies that are fueled with whole foods containing the recommended amount of vitamins often display a much healthier appearance. What vitamins do you need and what exactly do they do? Here are the basics on vitamins and skin health.
1. Vitamin A
Necessary for the maintenance and repair of vital skin tissue, vitamin A is the key to healthy skin. If you’re deficient in vitamin A, your skin may take on a dry, flaky complexion. Get your daily recommended allowances of vitamin A through foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and dark, leafy vegetables. Research by the American Academy of Dermatology has shown that when used on the skin, lotions containing vitamin A can help control acne and reduce lines and wrinkles.
2. Vitamin B Complex
Found in foods like oatmeal, rice, eggs, and bananas, vitamin B complex contains the nutrient, biotin, which forms the basis of nails, skin, and hair cells. Too little vitamin B complex in your diet can cause dermatitis or hair loss. Topical creams and ointments made with B vitamins can instantly hydrate cells and give a healthy glow to skin. Using some creams containing vitamin B has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and to even out skin tone.
3. Vitamin C
Fill up on citrus fruits, leafy greens, bell peppers, and cauliflower, all of which are full of this vital nutrient. Vitamin C has been known to fight colds and when used on the skin, vitamin C can help collagen production. Vitamin C can also help reduce wrinkles, improve skin texture, and reduce photo damage.
4. Vitamin E
Use vitamin E on your skin to help reduce the appearance of scars and rough, dry skin. To keep skin looking supple and soft, try adding more nuts, olives, and spinach to your diet, all of which are high in the vitamin. These foods will not only help your skin stay soft, but will help your hair’s luster and strength. For stubborn scars, try rubbing vitamin E oil on the scar to reduce its appearance.
5. Vitamin K
Vitamin K can be best used on the skin to help with dark circles and bruises. Look for lotions and creams that contain this vitamin to help fade discolorations on the skin, and help with wrinkle reduction. Though a diet filled with dark, leafy greens will help your vitamin K needs, the best way for your skin to get the most benefit is to use it topically.
Here are 10 secrets for keeping your pearly whites in tip-top shape
Clean your tongue. Photo: Jupiterimages Corporation
1. Go on a white-teeth diet. If you’re quaffing red wine and black tea, or smoking cigarettes or cigars, expect the results to show up as not-so-pearly whites. Other culprits to blame for dingy teeth include colas, gravies, and dark juices. Bottom line: If it’s dark before you put it in your mouth, it will probably stain your teeth. Brush immediately after eating or drinking foods that stain teeth and use a good bleaching agent, either over-the-counter or in the dentist’s office. For convenient teeth-cleaning action, eat an apple.
Consume Plenty Of 1. Calcium-rich foods, such as low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. 2. Fresh fruits and vegetables for vitamins A and C, and for chewing in order to promote healthy gums. 3. Tea, which is a good source of fluoride.
Limit 1. Dried fruits and other sticky foods that lodge between the teeth.
Avoid 1. Sweet drinks and snacks. 2. Steady sipping of acidic drinks for prolonged periods.
2. Chuck your toothbrush or change the head of your electric toothbrush at least every two to three months. Otherwise, you’re just transferring bacteria to your mouth. According to Beverly Hills dentist Harold Katz, D.D.S., the best way to brush is by placing your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gums and gently moving it in a circular motion, rather than a back-and-forth motion. Grip the toothbrush like a pencil so you won’t scrub too hard.
3. Clean your tongue with a tongue scraper every morning to remove tongue plaque and freshen your breath. One major cause of bad breath is the buildup of bacteria on the tongue, which a daily tongue scraping will help banish. Plus, using a tongue scraper is more effective than brushing your tongue with a toothbrush, says Dr. Katz.
4. Eat ‘detergent’ foods. Foods that are firm or crisp help clean teeth as they’re eaten. We already mentioned apples (otherwise known as nature’s toothbrush); other choices include raw carrots, celery, and popcorn. For best results, make ‘detergent’ foods the final food you eat in your meal if you know you won’t be able to brush your teeth right after eating.
5. Gargle with apple cider vinegar in the morning and then brush as usual. The vinegar helps help remove stains, whiten teeth, and kill bacteria in your mouth and gums.
Photo: Veejay Villafranca
Setting Off a Chain ReactionAmazing PetsMy Friend Suu
When Jay Jaboneta spoke at a bloggers summit in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines last October, he encouraged participants to use social media to foster nation building and improve people’s lives. Little did the Manila-based communications manager know that within weeks he would be putting his words into action.
While in Zamboanga City, Jaboneta heard about a nearby village where young children had to swim 2 kilometres and walk another 5 kilometres to get to school. During his flight home, he thought about how he could help. “I had so much admiration for these children,” he says. “I felt they deserved to be rewarded and helped for all their efforts.”
Back in Manila he discovered that the children came from the village of Layag Layag, a cluster of more than 200 Muslim families living in shanties built on stilts over the sea. The villagers survived on seaweed farming and fishing but could not afford a boat to ferry their children to school.
In November, Jaboneta posted a story about the children’s plight on his Facebook page. He thought that was enough, but his friend Josiah Go encouraged him to do more. With Go’s help, Jaboneta created Zamboanga Funds for Little Kids, which sought donations through his Facebook page to build a boat for the Layag Layag children.
“It was not a formal organisation but there was an enthusiastic show of support, and we managed to raise $1600 in a week.”
Looking for help on the ground in Zamboanga City, Jaboneta contacted Anton Lim, a local liaison officer with the Tzu Chi Foundation, a Buddhist humanitarian organisation. Lim, who admits he had never heard about the plight of the children of Layag Layag, travelled to the village. “I saw first-hand how the children struggled to swim across the murky water, holding their bags on their heads with one hand while they paddled with the other,” he recalls. “I was alarmed that they received no assistance to make their situation safer.”
Lim also spoke with Tito Gadon of Zamboanga City’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources, who agreed to donate logs confiscated from illegal logging activities.
Next, Abraham Mawadi, a boat maker living in Layag Layag, was contracted to build the boat. “I have seven children and each of them had to swim to school because I didn’t have money to buy wood to build a bigger boat,” says Mawadi. “I was excited when I learned this boat was for the children. I volunteered to take care of it and be its official driver.”
On March 27, Jaboneta, Lim and a group of 16 volunteers formally turned the boat over to the Layag Layag community. Christened Bagong Pagasa (New Hope), it began ferrying children, 20 at a time, on June 6, the first day of the new school year. While the children are in school, the boat is used to transport goods and produce to the market. The benefits of the new boat were felt immediately. “There was a sudden increase in the number of students this year, especially in the preschool,” says Nuljambri Jayari, principal of Talon Talon Public Elementary School, which the children of Layag Layag attend.
And children are showing a new sense of confidence. “They used to come to school with their heads bowed and looking tired,” says Clarissa Cruz, a sixth grade teacher at the Talon Talon school. “They were ashamed because they were poorer than the other students. They were dressed in wrinkled and often damp clothes.
“Now they come to school dry and fresh looking. The children have a new eagerness to learn and a visible sense of pride.”
The boat has also lifted an enormous burden from the shoulders of the parents. “I didn’t go to school but I knew how important it was,” says Nur-Ma Hamsain, a mother of two toddlers and five stepchildren. “I used to stand watching them swim away with the younger ones clinging to the shoulders of their bigger siblings when the waves were high. When they had to stay in school later than usual, I worried about all the children swimming in the dark.”
Nur-Ma’s 20-year-old stepson, Abdulbasik Salim, is one of the first in the community to go to college, thanks to Jaboneta and the Tzu Chi Foundation, which financially assisted him in securing a scholarship to study marine science at the Zamboanga State College. “After I graduate I will help the community in Layag Layag set up new livelihood projects,” he declares.
As word spread through Facebook and the media, additional help poured in for the people of Layag Layag. The Tzu Chi Foundation used the donations to give the village clothes, school supplies and boat repair kits.
“I envisioned the boat would improve the lives of the children but I didn’t imagine how it would open a whole new world of opportunities for the entire community so quickly,” admits Jaboneta, who has contracted Abraham Mawadi to build a second boat for community.
In May, Jaboneta travelled to the Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California, to share his story with other social media experts, and the following month he accompanied a crew from Facebook to Layag Layag to film a documentary. He has also been named one of seven Modern Filipino Heroes by Yahoo! Philippines. Jaboneta’s good work continues to grow in unexpected ways. Like many others, Dr Ofelia Sy, a cardiologist and a volunteer for a charity coalition based in the province of Bicol, was touched by the story of the children of Layag Layag. After learning about children on a remote islet in the province of Masbate who get to school by either getting into a tiny boat or swimming to the next island, she called Jaboneta to see what could be done for them.
He quickly arranged for a television crew to visit the island. After the story aired, donations of books, clothes, school supplies and cash to build boats poured into the newly formed Masbate Funds for Little Kids.
“We now have 25 boats and pledges to build more, which will also be used to fetch drinking water since the island has no electricity or fresh water,” Dr Sy says. The Department of Education has also set up a makeshift school on the island, and more than 130 children have enrolled.
Jaboneta, Dr Sy and Anton Lim are now setting up Philippine Funds for Little Kids to help needy schoolchildren across the country. “Jay changed the lives of many people who have been long suffering,” Dr Sy says. “He reminded us that as citizens of this country, we can empower ourselves by helping each other.”
In the end, Jaboneta argues, the children of Layag Layag are the real heroes. “They inspired us to develop a sustainable operation in their community. My vision is to be able to move more individuals and organisations to take up the challenges of education. I would like to get more children to school so one day, no child will be left behind.”
Beauty, the saying goes, is only skin-deep. But the importance of skin goes a lot deeper. Most of us think of skin as just our body’s visible outer layer, but doctors consider skin an organ, meaning that it is very much alive and charged with many important duties.
In particular, the skin is the first layer of your immune system, serving as a shield between you and legions of germs such as viruses and bacteria. It also protects your insides from sun, cold, scrapes, cuts, and moisture. And, of course, your sense of touch is crucial for everyday function.
Like any part of your internal body, your skin can be healthy or ill. It can be well nourished or malnourished. It can be exercised, and it can wear down with age or abuse. In particular, as we age, our skin becomes thinner and drier. Plus, other, more unpleasant things happen to our skin. Things like wrinkles, age spots, dark circles, and large pores, which tend to turn up like uninvited guests at a wedding.
While you can’t control your age, you can control numerous other factors that accelerate this aging process, including excessive exposure to sunlight, loss of estrogen during menopause, poor dietary habits, stress, and cigarette smoking.
Unlike the other organs of your body, you can apply medicines, moisturizers, and other healthy potions directly to the skin. For that reason alone, there is absolutely no reason you can’t have healthy, attractive skin throughout your life. To keep your skin and face young and healthy, and to maintain its natural, protective moisture, follow these tips.
1. Skip the long, steamy showers and opt for shorter, cooler sprays. Long, hot showers strip skin of its moisture and wash away protective oils, says Andrea Lynn Cambio, M.D., a New York City dermatologist. So limit showers to 10 minutes and keep the water cool.
2. Check the dryness of your skin by scratching a small area on your arm or leg with your fingernail. If it leaves a white mark, your skin is indeed dry and needs both moisture and exfoliation (that is, removal of the outermost layer of dead skin cells).
3. Treat your neck and chest like an extension of your face. Your neck and upper chest area is covered by very sensitive skin, making it a prime spot for telltale signs of aging such as dryness, sun spots, and wrinkles, says Susie Galvez, owner of Face Works Day Spa in Richmond, Virginia, and author of Hello Beautiful: 365 Ways to Be Even More Beautiful. To keep this area youthful, use facial cleansing creams that hydrate and cleanse gently rather than deodorant soaps, which can be drying. Top it all off with a good facial moisturizing cream. If this area is extra dry, use a facial moisturizing mask twice a month.
4. Run a humidifier every night in the winter to moisturize the air in your bedroom.Not only will it ease itchy, dry skin, you’ll be able to breathe the moist air more easily.
5. Take 160 milligrams of soy isoflavones per day or pour soy milk over your cereal.Soy consumption may support skin health by supplying high-quality protein needed for building and maintaining collagen, the material essential to connective tissues, says Aaron Tabor, M.D., CEO and medical research director at Revival Soy in Kernersville, North Carolina. Soy isoflavones may also act as antioxidants to protect collagen from damage caused by free radicals, highly reactive molecules that can weaken or destroy cell membranes. Free radicals can also damage DNA, create age spots and wrinkles, and depress the immune system, increasing the risk of skin cancer. Good sources of soy isoflavones include soy milk (20-35 mg soy isoflavones per serving) and tofu (20-30 mg soy isoflavones per serving).
6. Switch from a deodorant soap to one with added fat, like Dove, Oilatum, or Neutrogena. Deodorant soaps can be drying, whereas added-fat soaps leave an oily, yet beneficial, film on your skin.
7. Keep your beauty products clean and simple, particularly if you have sensitive skin. Stay away from products with color, fragrance, or those that produce bubbles or have “antibacterial” on the label, says Dr. Cambio. These can all irritate skin.
8. Smooth a couple of drops of olive oil over your face, elbows, knees, and the backs of your arms every evening. The oil contains monounsaturated fat, which refreshes and hydrates skin without leaving a greasy residue.
9. For soft, young-looking hands and feet, slather on moisturizing cream and then slip on thin-fabric socks and gloves while you sleep.
10. Tone your skin with a sage, peppermint, and witch hazel combination. Sage helps to control oil, peppermint creates a cool tingle, and witch hazel helps restore the skin’s protective layer. Combine 4 ounces of witch hazel with 1 teaspoon each of sage and peppermint leaves and steep for one to three days before applying to your skin.
Here are some simple tips to make your brain better, faster, and smarter
1. Move It Quick — what’s the No. 1 thing you can do for your brain’s health? Differential calculus, you say? Chess? Chaos theory? Nope, the best brain sharpener may be … sneakers? Yup. Once they’re on your feet, you can pump up your heart rate. “The best advice I can give to keep your brain healthy and young is aerobic exercise,” says Donald Stuss, PhD, a neuropsychologist and director of the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care in Toronto.
Mark McDaniel, PhD, professor of psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, agrees, but adds, “I would suggest a combined program of aerobics and weight training. Studies show the best outcomes for those engaged in both types of exercise.”
As we age, our brain cells, called neurons, lose the tree-branch-like connections between them. These connections, or synapses, are essential to thought. Quite literally, over time, our brains lose their heft. Perhaps the most striking brain research today is the strong evidence we now have that “exercise may forestall some kinds of mental decline,” notes McDaniel. It may even restore memory. Myriad animal studies have shown that, among other brain benefits, aerobic exercise increases capillary development in the brain, meaning more blood supply, more nutrients and — a big requirement for brain health — more oxygen.
The preeminent exercise and brain-health researcher in humans is Arthur Kramer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In a dozen studies over the past few years, with titles such as “Aerobic Fitness Reduces Brain Tissue Loss in Aging Humans,” Kramer and his colleagues have proved two critical findings: Fit people have sharper brains, and people who are out of shape, but then get into shape, sharpen up their brains. This second finding is vital. There’s no question that working out makes you smarter, and it does so, Kramer notes, at all stages of life. Just as important, exercise staves off heart disease, obesity, diabetes and other maladies that increase the risk of brain problems as we age.
2. Feed It Another path to a better brain is through your stomach. We’ve all heard about antioxidants as cancer fighters. Eating foods that contain these molecules, which neutralize harmful free radicals, may be especially good for your brain too. Free radicals have nothing to do with Berkeley politics and everything to do with breaking down the neurons in our brains. Many colorful fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants, as are some beans, whole grains, nuts and spices.
More important, though, is overall nutrition. In concert with a good workout routine, you should eat right to avoid the diseases that modern flesh is heir to. High blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol all make life tough on your brain, says Carol Greenwood, PhD, a geriatric research scientist at the University of Toronto.
If your diet is heavy, then you’re probably also heavy. The same weight that burdens your legs on the stairs also burdens your brain for the witty reply or quick problem solving. The best things you can eat for your body, Greenwood notes, are also the best things you can eat for your brain. Your brain is in your body, after all. Greenwood’s recommendation is to follow the dietary guidelines from the American Diabetes Association (available at diabetes.org).
3. Speed It Up Sorry to say, our brains naturally start slowing down at the cruelly young age of 30 (yes, 30). It used to be thought that this couldn’t be helped, but a barrage of new studies show that people of any age can train their brains to be faster and, in effect, younger. “Your brain is a learning machine,” says Michael Merzenich, PhD, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco. Given the right tools, we can train our brains to act like they did when we were younger. All that’s required is dedicated practice: exercises for the mind.
Merzenich has developed a computer-based training regimen to speed up how the brain processes information (positscience.com). Since much of the data we receive comes through speech, the Brain Fitness Program works with language and hearing to improve both speed and accuracy. Over the course of your training, the program starts asking you to distinguish sounds (between “dog” and “bog,” for instance) at an increasingly faster rate. It’s a bit like a tennis instructor, says Merzenich, shooting balls at you faster and faster over the course of the summer to keep you challenged. Though you may have started out slow, by Labor Day you’re pretty nimble.
Similarly, Nintendo was inspired by the research of a Japanese doctor to develop a handheld game called Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day, which has sold more than two million copies in Japan. No software out there has yet been approved by the FDA as a treatment for cognitive impairment, but an increasing number of reputable scientific studies suggest that programs like Merzenich’s could help slow down typical brain aging, or even treat dementia. The biggest finding in brain research in the last ten years is that the brain at any age is highly adaptable, or “plastic,” as neurologists put it. If you ask your brain to learn, it will learn. And it may speed up in the process.
To keep your brain young and supple, you can purchase software like Merzenich’s, or you can do one of a million new activities that challenge and excite you: playing Ping-Pong or contract bridge, doing jigsaw puzzles, learning a new language or the tango, taking accordion lessons, building a kit airplane, mastering bonsai technique, discovering the subtleties of beer-brewing and, sure, relearning differential calculus.
“Anything that closely engages your focus and is strongly rewarding,” says Merzenich, will kick your brain into learning mode and necessarily notch it up. For his part, Merzenich, 64, has “4,000 hobbies,” including a wood shop and a vineyard.
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The world of investing may seem confusing. We’ll show you how and where to start
Photo: Andrew Tan
You asked and we are responding. Our ‘Money’ issue last October discussed the basics of money management – budgeting and saving. This time around, we’re building upon that by focusing on how to make your money grow.
The world of investing may seem confusing, and sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin. We’ll help you break it all down, first by showing you how to calculate your net worth and then taking you step-by-step, through the different ways you can invest your money.
As with all financial plans, we’ll talk about insurance. Planning for your future also means planning for a rainy day. You’ve worked hard for your money, now learn how to make it work for you on your path to becoming money savvy.
CALCULATING YOUR NET WORTH
Knowing your own net worth is like getting a snapshot of your current financial standing and fiscal health. Once you know your net worth, this becomes a good way of tracking your financial progress.
Calculating your net worth is easy – it’s all your assets minus your liabilities or debts. In simpler terms, what you own minus what you owe. How do you do this?
Take a look at the worksheet on the opposite page. In one column, list everything you have that has a monetary value, that is, you can sell it and get cash in return. We’ve listed some examples for you.
With the exception of cash, use your best estimate of what each item is worth today. Don’t write down what you paid for it or what you think it should be worth. Be realistic. For property, use the current valuation.
In the next column, list everything that you owe, that is, your liabilities.
Now do the math. Assets minus Liabilities = Net Worth.
Hopefully, the result is a positive number. If not, it’s time to take a long, hard look at how you can reduce your debts, increase your assets and work towards a positive net worth. If you’re already in the black, that’s your starting point. From here on, you want to see that number grow year to year.
There’s no absolute benchmark when it comes to evaluating your net worth. Efren LI Cruz, a Registered Financial Planner in the Philippines and best-selling author of Pwede Na! The Complete Pinoy Guide to Personal Finance says, it’s not really what you have, but how you manage what you have.
That being said, it’s useful to keep a few things in mind. Angeline Tan, a certified Financial Planner with Great Eastern Financial Advisers tells her clients they should have enough cash in an emergency fund that’s worth at least six times their monthly expenses. If you don’t have your rainy day account established, then work first to build this fund up before considering investing.
Cruz adds that your net investment assets (the value of your investments minus any loans) should make up at least half your net worth. He explains that in any household there are two sources of income – one comes from your employment or business, and the other comes from income you generate with your assets. “If only one of them is working,” Cruz says, “then it’s like you have a two-cylinder engine with only one cylinder firing.”
To start making your money grow, get a copy of our October issue to learn different types of investment products and the action plan to start investing wisely.
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ACTION PLAN FOR INVESTING When should I start to invest? How much do I need to start? What should I invest in? I’m new to investing, how do I go about it? Where can I learn about investing? How do I research what to invest in? What common mistakes should I avoid? Why should I invest? After what happened in the markets the last couple of years, it all seems so risky.
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Discover whether your waistline is putting you at risk for brain drain as well as simple strategies to send this hidden fat packing
Doctors have known for years that visceral fat increases the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Now they’re beginning to recognize the dangerous role it plays when it comes to your brain. Bottom line: If your waistline increases, over time you can expect your brain power to decrease.
The fat in your gut isn’t like the stuff that causes bottoms to jiggle or thighs to thunder. It’s an active organ, secreting chemicals and hormones that affect your health, including your ability to remember where you parked the car or the name of your second cousin, not to mention balance your checkbook without tearing out your hair. Even if no one would accuse you of having a beer belly, you still might have too much of this fat. (See “Ricky Waistlines” at the bottom.) Here’s how it wreaks its havoc.
It shrinks your “memory center” That’s your hippocampus, a horseshoe-shaped group of neurons that plays a major role in the formation and recall of memories. Researchers at the University of California used MRIs of the brain to show that a big waist and a smaller hippocampus go hand in hand. Studies have even shown a direct correlation between a big waist and a reduced ability to memorize words.
It creates “brain rust” Your brain cells communicate with each other via a superhighway of connections - think of them as information cables - called axons. Brain scans of people with wide waistlines show areas of damage to these cables. Doctors sometimes call these areas brain rust, which is typically seen in people with dementia. But some experts think this “rust” may drain memory and thinking power even in people who don’t develop dementia.
It fuels metabolic syndrome Visceral fat is the number one risk factor for metabolic syndrome, a group of health problems that includes slightly high blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides (and sometimes blood sugar), plus slightly low levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. Metabolic syndrome paves a path to diabetes and heart disease. Now it has also been linked with sludgy thinking. In one Dutch study, people with metabolic syndrome scored about 10 percent lower on tests of mental processing speed and about 6 percent lower on memory tests than people without it.
It raises blood sugar Visceral fat churns out chemicals that make the body less sensitive to insulin, the hormone that lets blood sugar into cells. When that happens, insulin levels rise and, ultimately, so do blood sugar levels. The combo is bad for your brain. In fact, researchers suspect it’s one reason that people with Type 2 diabetes score lower on memory tests than people without diabetes.
It heats up inflammation Inflammation is a tough concept to grasp, but think of it as your body’s response to injuries of all sorts, even at the microscopic level. Visceral fat increases inflammation, which appears to affect the brain. In one study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, inflammation raised the risk for cognitive decline by 66 percent. On one standard test for cognitive decline, which looks at skills such as concentration, language use, and immediate and delayed recall, volunteers with chronic, low-level inflammation scored at least five points lower than volunteers without chronic inflammation.
ARE YOU AT RISK?
To find out, measure your waist on bare skin. Use a soft, flexible measuring tape (the kind used for sewing). Don’t wrap it around the smallest part of your waist and don’t use your belly button as a landmark. Instead, align the bottom of the tape measure just above the top of your hip bones. This ensures that you’re measuring the part of your abdomen where visceral fat is thickest. Make sure the tape is straight, not twisted, and don’t pull it too tight. Take your measurement at the end of a normal exhalation of breath (don’t suck your tummy in!).
What do the results mean? According to the National Institutes of Health, health risks begin at 35 inches (89 cm) for women and 40 inches (102 cm) for men. But some experts warn that trouble begins at waist sizes 3 inches (8 centimetres) smaller than that. About one in two adults has dangerous levels of visceral fat, and that percentage continues to grow as the obesity epidemic intensifies.
Not overweight? Don’t assume you can safely ignore the threat; there’s a convincing body of evidence that even some relatively thin people have too much belly fat hiding inside. When British researchers took MRI images of the torsos of more than 700 women and men, they made a sobering discovery: Forty-five percent of the thin women and 65 percent of the thin men had enough visceral fat to raise their risk for health problems. The scientists concluded that these TOFI (Thin on the Outside, Fat on the Inside) people were actually pre-overweight-they didn’t exercise much and ate diets packed with high-fat, high-sugar foods.
The take-home lesson: Track your waist measurement even if the number on the bathroom scale is in the healthy range.
RISKY WAISTLINES Check out the numbers below for a sense of the risk your waistline poses to your overall health. Note that experts recommend lower waist sizes for people of Asian descent because of greater inherited risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
2 cups red seedless grapes, halved 1/3 cup capers, drained and rinsed 1 shallot, minced 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 1 tablespoon olive oil salt and black pepper to taste 4 (8 ounce) tuna steaks 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil grate.
2. Stir together grapes, capers, shallot, parsley, and olive oil in a bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside. Place tuna steaks onto a plate, and brush with lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Cook tuna steaks on preheated grill until cooked to desired degree of doneness, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Serve with the grape and caper salsa.
In the last few years, executive resume writer Mary Elizabeth Bradford has noticed more of her clients seeking a career switch, even after having built successful careers in another field.
Nowadays, mid-level career changers — such as software developers who now work in finance or entrepreneurs who come back into corporate life — make up more than 45% of her practice. Many struggle to create an attention-grabbing resume, she says.
“The ability to objectively match up relevant skills to the position of choice is invaluable,” Bradford says.
Eager to switch careers? Here are 10 ways to improve your resume:
1. Do a Comprehensive Rewrite
Most job candidates make a few quick changes to their resume before submitting it for a new role. If you are switching careers, re-analyze your skills during the editing process and include every area of the business that you’ve been able to impact, says Jill Smart, chief human resources officer at Accenture, a management consulting and technology firm with employees in 120 countries.
“People changing careers need to make sure their resume shows the full breadth of their skills — operations, leadership, management, communication,” explains Smart.
For example, Accenture hires former doctors to work in their health and public service practice. Their resumes need to demonstrate not only their relationship-building skills but also how they’ll fit into the new business setting.
2. Use the New Job Description to Write a Summary Paragraph
Experts’ opinions are mixed on the need for a resume summary or objective for those looking to stay in their field, but it’s an important feature for a career changer, says Bonnie Marcus, a New York-based business coach and founder of Women’s Success Coaching, a career coaching firm targeting women.
Include a summary paragraph at the top of your resume and tie “everything in the job description with everything you’ve accomplished in the past,” she says.
For example, if the new position calls for online marketing expertise, make sure any marketing or Web experience is mentioned in this opening paragraph. Since most managers spend less than a minute scanning your resume, make sure the first thing they read ties directly to the job description.
3. Know What to Exclude
While conveying your skills is important, your resume shouldn’t be a dumping ground for every minor accomplishment in your career, says resume expert Alesia Benedict.
4. Demonstrate Accomplishments With Numbers
Include bullet points that show how you’ve contributed to the bottom line. Numbers, especially those given in dollars, can quickly give hiring managers an idea of your contributions — even in an unrelated field, says recruiter Craig Libis, founder of Executive Recruiting Consultants based in Dell Rapids, S.D.
While important on all resumes, for a career changer, numbers can be a simple way for hiring managers to relate to an unfamiliar work history. “Specific numbers [allow] the hiring company the ability to apply what the applicant can do for their company in the future,” Libis says.
5. Add Relatable Job Title Descriptions
Adding a short descriptor after the official job title can help hiring managers easily identify your transferable skills.
“For example, if your job title was ‘software engineer,’ but you want to transition to project management, consider demonstrating the job title as ‘Software Engineer (with a heavy emphasis on Project Management)’,” Feldberg explains. But be careful not to exaggerate the truth. “You only want to use this approach if you can do it honestly,” she adds.
6. Match up Keywords
When it comes to resume writing, keywords help you move past the electronic filters. For a career changer, that’s the first potential barrier in stepping into a new role; a resume full of accounting keywords, for instance, will have a hard time getting past filters for a job in marketing.
Bradford recommends using job aggregator sites like Indeed.com to identify applicable keywords. Find several job postings for your ideal job, paste the job descriptions into a document and find keywords by highlighting any terms that are job descriptors or mention specific needed skills. Then pick out those keywords that match up with your previous experience and include them throughout the first page of your resume, says Bradford.
“Most job seekers are surprised how many matching and relevant skills they find in these job descriptions,” she says.
7. Use a Mixed Format
When working with career switchers, resume writer Robyn Feldberg creates a functional-style resume on the first page and includes the traditional chronological format on the second page. “In other words, the first page looks like a glorified profile,” says Dallas-based Feldberg who runs Abundant Success Coach, a career coaching and resume writing service.
Since the functional format focuses more on skills, you can use it to draw the hiring manager in with relevant experience without worrying about the chronology. Combining both resume formats helps to highlight the various transferable skills while still providing a look at the job history, she adds.
8. Drop Names to Show Previous Success
Showing that you’ve been able to succeed and work with established industry leaders in your previous career shouldn’t be saved for the interview; instead, weave it into your resume to get a hiring manager’s attention, says Theresa Szczurek, chief executive Radish Systems, a Boulder-based software firm. A bullet point may read: “Closed $2 million in new sales in 12 months with industry leaders XYZ,” she explains.
Especially when applying for a position where you don’t have prior experience, it’s important to show that you’ve have the support of top industry leaders and were able to make a difference in your previous role.
9. Highlight Non-Work Related Experience
As a career changer, the extracurricular activities on your resume will carry more weight, say experts. Be sure to include activities that relate to your desired role like professional association memberships, volunteering, internships or part-time consulting.
For example, “if you’re looking to move into Web or database development, volunteer [your] time … creating a website or database for schools, churches, non-profits,” and then highlight your role on your resume, suggests Mike McBrierty, chief operating officer of the technology staffing division of Eliassen Group, an IT recruiting firm based in Wakefield, Mass.
10. Find Natural Alignments
From a human resources perspective, there are certain accomplishments that are similar across different management structures and firms.
“Look for things about your current position that would have meaning to the person considering you for the new position,” says Luke Tanen who left the music industry to work as the director of the Chicago Innovation Awards. For example, Tanen’s mention of closing sponsorship deals was similarly impressive in both fields. “In seeing that the Chicago Innovation Awards were [free] in the job posting, I was quite certain that sponsors play a big role in this program. So I made a point to highlight it as my top bullet point from my past experience securing music sponsorships.”
Just as not all dietary fat is bad, not all body fat is bad — or at least some types are better than others. The extra padding you may carry around on your hips, butt, and thighs doesn’t seem to be all that harmful to your health. The fat that collects in your midsection is a completely different animal. A bulge around the belly is a sign that visceral fat — also called intra-abdominal fat — is enveloping and marbling your internal organs, which is every bit as dangerous as it sounds. Visceral fat doesn’t just sit there in case it’s needed one day. Instead, it churns out hormones that can interfere with insulin, increasing the likelihood that you’ll develop diabetes. It also lowers “good” cholesterol, driving up production of “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides and putting you in danger of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
Everyone has some visceral fat, but if you’re overweight, you might be hauling around 5 to 10 pounds of it. The good news: It’s easier to lose than the stubborn fat on your hips, thighs, and butt. A little effort yields big rewards. When 173 women walked briskly for just 50 minutes, three times a week in an American study, they dropped an average of 2 inches from their waists-and said good-bye to 13 per cent of their visceral fat. Here’s how to vanquish it.
Hit the pavement, the pool, or the pedals of your exercise bike. Aerobic exercise-the kind that gets your muscles moving in a steady rhythm and your heart pumping-is your first line of defence against visceral fat. In one study of overweight men, those who exercised for an hour three times a week at a moderately brisk pace (can hold a conversation, but not able to sing “Happy Birthday”) lost a significant percentage of the visceral fat packed around their hearts, Japanese researchers report. (Visceral fat can occur anywhere in the torso, including the heart.)
If you choose not to exercise, you’re allowing this stuff to continue to grow. When 175 overweight, sedentary women and men volunteered for an exercise study at Duke University, those who got most vigorous routines - equivalent to jogging 20 miles a week - saw visceral fat levels fall by 7 to 20 percent, while those in the no-exercise control group saw visceral fat level increase by 9 percent to 17 percent in just 8 months!
Add strength-training. Sit-ups and crunches may make your tummy look tighter, but you can’t spot-reduce deep ab fat. What does work: A whole-body strength-training routine (one that works all the muscles, including the legs, arms, abdominals, and back). In a study of overweight and obese women, those who strength-trained twice a week lost almost 4 per cent of their body fat and were more successful at keeping off visceral fat than those who didn’t. Strength-training increases your metabolism by building muscle mass, which means your body will burn more calories around-the-clock. More muscle also means you’ll burn more fat and calories during aerobic exercise, supercharging your fat-fighting efforts.
Banish the “bad” fats. Ice cream, fatty meats, 3.25% milk, cheese, yogourt, and the cream for your coffee are all loaded with saturated fat-the dietary fat that one study showed raises your odds for packing on more visceral fat. Other research suggests that the human body may also store more trans fatty acids-the processed fat in commercial fried foods, bakery treats, and snack items-in deep abdominal fat.
Welcome the “good” fats. Numerous studies suggest that putting more monounsaturated fats on your plate discourages the accumulation of visceral fat and may even help you shed it more easily. When Spanish researchers studied the impact of three diets-one packed with monounsaturated fats, one with saturated fats, and one with carbohydrates-they discovered that the “good fat” diet helped slash visceral fat. The others didn’t.
To get more of these good-guy fats, snack on a small handful of nuts instead of pretzels or chips, use olive and canola oil in place of butter or other vegetable oils, have avocado slices on your sandwich in place of cheese, and go for all sorts of nut butters on your toast, in your sandwich, and at snack time.
Eat more fibre and fewer refined carbohydrates. Eating whole-grain bread and whole-wheat pasta instead of the white stuff, and high-fibre cereal instead of, say, rice or corn cereal, can help your brain not only by preventing blood-sugar spikes, which are toxic to brain cells, but also by fighting visceral fat. People whose diets boost blood sugar the most tend to have more body fat, especially around the abdomen. Eating fibre-packed foods, on the other hand, helps you to shed this fat.
Whole fruits and vegetables are also great sources of fibre. A Harvard School of Public Health study of 486 women found that those who ate the most fruit and vegetables-equivalent to 1 1/2 apples, a cup of cooked green beans, and a handful of baby carrots a day-were 20 per cent less likely to have a dangerously large waist.
Put it all together. People who exercised for 30 minutes at least five times a week, cut saturated fat, increased fibre, and lost 7 per cent of their body weight (that’s 10 pounds if you weigh 150) saw their visceral fat trimmed by a very significant 18 to 22 per cent in a landmark study.
Soothe stress. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol prompt your body to send more fat into storage in your abdomen. Researches suspect that this is an ancient survival mechanism, intended to maintain reserves of fat in emergencies. It was an ingenious lifesaver way back in Fred Flinstone’s day, but today, stress is a near constant, which means cortisol sends fat into your torso 24/7. Fight back by de-stressing daily in any way that works for you.
Organic food is less ubiquitous than pesticide-covered produce. It can also be pricier. But if you are eating any of the following foods, it’s worth buying organic, as they are more saturated with pesticides than any other foods.
Potatoes often retain pesticides even after they are washed and peeled. Almost 80 percent of potatoes contain pesticides.
Babies are the most vulnerable to pesticides, and they eat a lot of this.
Dairy cows are routinely fed hormones, antibiotics, and pesticide-covered grains, all of which can end up in your milk. The higher the fat level of the milk, the higher the level of pesticides. And toddlers drink lots of whole milk.
Apples are near the top of the high-pesticide-level list. They’re also a favorite of kids; apples, apple juice, and applesauce are among the most common foods eaten by children ages 1 to 5, according to a USDA survey. So buy organic if you can.
Animal feed is often laced with antibiotics and synthetic growth hormones. Residue from these chemicals may still be present in meat. The use of antibiotics in food production could contribute to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
About 97 percent of nectarines have been found to contain pesticides, according to the USDA.
Spinach and lettuce have lots of surface area for pesticides to cover. More than 83 percent of spinach contains pesticides.
Peaches and pears
Nearly 94 percent of peaches and pears contain pesticides. Peaches are number one on the Environmental Working Group’s list of foods with the most and the highest concentration of pesticides.
Thin skins make fruits particularly vulnerable to pesticides. Some 90 percent of strawberries contain pesticides.
Peppers absorb pesticides like a sponge. About 68 percent of peppers contain pesticides and many are imported from countries with looser standards than the US has.
Pesticides may pass from chickens to eggs, and from there to the many foods you make with them. Organic eggs come from birds that eat organic feed and are not pumped up with growth hormone or dosed with antibiotics.
Imported grapes (from Chile, etc)
Some 86 percent of these grapes contain pesticides. And it’s pretty hard to peel a grape
Actually, yes. Award-winning science journalist Gary Taubes explains (finally!) why conventional diets don’t work – and what you can do to lose weight.
Photo: Getty Images
If obesity researchers are so smart, why are we so large? That’s the question at the heart of Gary Taubes’s book, Why We Get Fat – and What to Do About It. After all, public health authorities have been hammering home a very simple message for the past 40 years: If you don’t want to be fat, cut the fat from your diet. And in those years, obesity rates have continued to go up.
Taubes thinks he knows why: Obesity experts have gotten things just about completely backward. If you look carefully at the research, he says, fat isn’t the enemy; easily digested carbohydrates are. The very foods that we’ve been sold as diet staples – white rice, fat-free yogurt, plain baked potatoes (hold the butter), and plain pasta (hold the olive oil, sauce, and cheese) – actually reset our physiology to make us pack on the pounds. And the foods that we’ve been told to shun – steak, burgers, cheese, even the sour cream so carefully scraped from that potato – can help us finally lose the weight and keep our hearts healthy.
According to Taube, eating less calories and exercising won’t keep people thin, it will just make people hungry. Paying attention to the hormonal and enzymatic regulation of the fat tissue will give us the answer for what causes obesity and what cures it.
As you might imagine, Taubes has stirred controversy with his contentions. Though he’s known as an obsessive reporter and a science nerd (Taubes studied applied physics at Harvard and aerospace engineering at Stanford and has won numerous science-writing awards), he’s been called a dangerous cherry picker of data – someone who searches through decades of studies to weave together the bits he likes. However, a series of studies in the past five years has compelled researchers to rethink their long-held prejudices against low-carb diets. These days, scientists like Dr Mitchell Lazar, who directs the diabetes institute at the University of Pennsylvania, and cardiologist Dr Allan Sniderman, at McGill University, take Taubes’s argument seriously.
2 slices bacon cooking spray 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil 8 mushrooms, stems removed and chopped and caps reserved 1 clove garlic, minced 1 jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened 3 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese sea salt to taste ground black pepper to taste
1. Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate. Crumble the bacon slices and set aside.
2. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the chopped mushroom stems, garlic, and jalapeno; cook and stir until the mushrooms release moisture and soften, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a bowl, and stir in the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the cheese mixture generously into the reserved mushroom caps, and arrange the stuffed caps on the prepared baking dish.
4. Bake in the preheated oven until cheese begins to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
Nutritional Information Amount Per Serving Calories: 151 | Total Fat: 13.4g | Cholesterol: 35mg