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Don’t Quit Your “Wine-ing”

"To take wine into our mouths is to savor a droplet of the river of human history." -New York Times, 1967 Let’s Start With A Little History Wine has captivated the interest and the palate of humanity for thousands of years. There is evidence the first winery was started as far back as 4100 B.C. Unlike other libations that were intentionally man-made (or woman-made in the case of beer), wine was most likely discovered by accident. An ancient Persian story tells of a Princess who lost favor with the King. Distraught, she tries to kill herself by eating table grapes that had spoiled in a jar. Instead of dying, she gets drunk and giddy and falls asleep. The next day, she wakes up free from the stress of...

How to Say Good-Bye to Your Summer Body Fat

While camping recently, I couldn’t help but notice my boisterous neighbors overflowing from the site next door. It was a double site and they filled it up—it must have been at least two families, and the kids were everywhere: a blur of energy running back and forth between swims in the nearby river, galloping around the campsite and banging in and out of two big RVs. These folks weren’t obnoxious or rude; they were just a loud and happy group buzzing with activity. Well, at least the kids were busy buzzing. Upon closer attention, the adults were mostly not moving all that much. Most of them were “busy” lounging around the campsite, or sometimes sunning by the river. Their buzz was mostly from a beer or a...

Your Technicolor Fat: Help with Weight Loss?

Believe it or not, fat comes in multiple colors. We have yellow, also known as white fat, and we have brown fat. Brown fat is found in high levels in newborns and hibernating mammals. Brown fat cells contain high levels of iron-containing mitochondria, the turbocharged power-packets of cells. That is how brown fat it gets its color. It also contains lots of capillaries, which increase its utilization of oxygen. White fat is found around the waist and thighs, while brown fat is in the front and back of the neck. Brown fat burns calories to generate heat and white fat stores calories. The big question, is there a way to increase our brown fat and increase our metabolism as a result? Perhaps. Be Cool A very small...

Healthy Eating? Time for Something Different, Something Better

One of the most common topics of conversation at any restaurant or cocktail party is dieting! It is estimated that as many as 45 million Americans go on a diet each year. Approximately half of women and 90% of teenagers are on a diet. No wonder every time you turn around there is a new diet book on the market—the irony? Diets don’t work! Researchers at UCLA analyzed 31 long-term diet studies and found abysmal results. “Several studies indicate that dieting is consistent predictor of future weight gain,” the researchers note. You have probably seen the same thing, either from your own dieting failures or from watching your friends and family fail. We suggest you throw the whole idea of a diet out the window! Here are...

Why Do We Stuff Ourselves? Unexpected Traps that May Expand Your Waistline

Nutritionists and scientists have long tried to unlock the secrets of overeating. But some of the best information is coming from an unexpected source: marketing experts! It turns out that even the most self-aware individuals are subject to mindless eating. Most of the research comes from a marketing professor, Dr Brian Wansink, from Stanford University. He wrote a book called Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. Beware! • Size matters In one study, two groups of people were given free, but stale (five-days old) popcorn while watching a movie. Half of the group got a medium-sized tub; the other got a large tub. The people with the larger tubs ate 53 percent more than those with the medium tubs. They ate the popcorn regardless of taste...

Love Heals

Listening to the Sunday news pundits and watching recent breaking news has caused us to look at what might make a difference—individually and as a nation. There is one thing: love. Its power is amazing. We’ve all heard the stories of people losing their will to live after a partner dies. They say that often a long-time love will follow a sweetheart into death, passing in less than six months, or often much sooner, of their spouse. The occurrence even has a name: the Widowhood Effect. At first glance, this may seem the stuff of fairytales (or perhaps nightmares), but a study published in the American Journal of Public Health verifies the facts. The Widowhood Effect “is one of the best documented examples of the effect of...

Time to Dance–With Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s is a disease of the brain. It’s progressive. It gets worse over time, usually many years, even decades. Top Five Signs and Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (note: there are more) 5. Tremors and shaking, upright posture becomes a stoop, and gait slows down. 4. Fatigue and weakness, loss of appetite, and problems with memory are common, along with a softening of the voice. 3. Sexual problems. 2. Pain and progressive body stiffness and balance issues worsen as the disease progresses. 1. Physical and mental incapacitation. For more information, check out the National Parkinson Foundation website. It’s excellent: http://www.parkinson.org/. You will find that it is not contagious and it doesn’t seem to be hereditary. In short, the researchers don’t have the answer. Yet. Did we mention there is no cure? True. Despite the...

Kindness: Good for your Health and Good for the World

If you listen to the news, it’s easy to see our country and our world is rife with conflict and divisiveness. It can be hard to remain positive and hopeful. One thing we can do in response to this sometimes-overwhelming feeling is to simply turn off the news for a while. This strategy is officially called a news fast. The other thing we can do is to actively work to make our own personal world a better place; this can have far-reaching effects— particularly on our own health. The Health Benefits of Kindness There have been a large number of studies conducted by The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love. (Yes, this is an actual institution. Learn more at: http://unlimitedloveinstitute.org.) Headed by Stephen G. Post, PhD, bioethics professor...

When It Comes to Weight Loss, Timing Is Everything

There is an age-old argument about whether eating breakfast is important. I have so many patients who tell me how hard it is for them to think about eating anything in the morning. Unfortunately, the majority of these people are overweight; they crave sugar and are totally pooped out by the end of the day. The connection between their lack of sustenance in the morning, their carbohydrate cravings, their low energy level throughout the day and overall weight problem has not dawned on them. There’s a proverb that advises, "Eat your breakfast alone, share your lunch with a friend, and give your dinner to your enemy." In other words, eat a big breakfast, a middle-sized lunch, and a light dinner. It turns out this proverb is right...

Got Stress? Deal with it.

Stress is inevitable in our lives. It is something that causes us to react with a fight or flight response. This response is something that has protected us through the ages. When confronted with a perceived dangerous situation, a chemical reaction in the body takes place that can improve alertness and our ability to move quickly. This allows us to flee the danger. If stress continues without relief, it can have a negative, wearing effect long term. The acute symptoms of stress are a rapid heart rate, dry mouth, clenched jaw, muscle tension; possible upset stomach and loss of appetite. Long-term symptoms include depression, eating disorders, skin and hair problems, and chronic fatigue. In the US, forty-three percent of all adults suffer from adverse health effects. Three...