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January 22, 2008

That Dieting Thang

That Dieting Thang, Ya'll/Youse Guys


It's the third week of January, pushing into the fourth, and many of us are hitting the diet-for-2008-slump. The new is wearing off both our slimmed down menus and our resolutions. Time to kick it back up a notch as we continue on our weight loss journey.

Here are some goodies I culled from a newsletter and web site. Click on the headings to select. I call it - "The Cream of the Crop" from
National Body Challenge

Calculate Your BMI (Body Mass Index)

A little plug in the numbers and play. Gives you the bare minimum you need to lose to get back in the happy, healthy part of the graph.

Handling Cravings

Strategies for defeating those dastardly cravings that threaten to derail us at every turn.

Eating Mindfully

Pay some attention to what you're putting in your mouth- really! It's good for you...

Healthy Cooking Tips (plus recipes)

Not just healthy but also fast ways to get something on the table so you don't let hunger make you do something stupid.

Stress Eating
Yes, there are alternatives to that late-night double-fudge half-gallon of ice cream!

January 16, 2008

Chris Jordan's Stats: Hits You in the Gut

Photographer/Artist Chris Jordan has a gift for translating icy, dry statistics into art that hits you right in the gut, as these selections from an article by Richard Woodward detail.

Be sure you check out the interactive presentation to see the art in the "Numbers in Art" interactive feature.

The illustration shows a few of the nine million building blocks in the massive piece representing U.S. children without health insurance, a shameful statistic since such children are twice as likely to die from medical issues as those who are insured.

Chris Jordan Numbers Photo Essay -

Running the Numbers

by Richard B. Woodward January 2008 Issue


Photographer Chris Jordan turns cold, hard stats into provocative statements on economics, culture, and the American way of life.

Chris Jordan keeps his eyes open for staggering statistics, and the more alarming the better. What sets his 44-year-old heart racing is some new figure expressing American excess and neglect--the number of disposable batteries manufactured by Energizer every year (6 billion) or plastic beverage bottles used every five minutes (2 million) or children without health insurance (9 million). Think of him as the unofficial artist of the Harper's Index.

The puzzlelike photographs he makes in response to these big numbers are designed to illustrate "the scale of consumption of 300 million people" and what such rampant profligacy, if unchecked, might mean for the future of the planet. He has completed 19 pieces for the sardonic series he calls "Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait," and he has more in the works.

Please check out the rest of the article.

January 06, 2008

Low-Energy Bulbs: Still Need the Old Ones

In light of global warming and our depleted energy resources, many nations, including the US and Britain, are starting the process to phase out incandescent light bulbs in favor of energy-saving ones. Some problems that were not considered are now coming to light, as these excerpts from a British article show. As I take medication that makes me sensitive to light, I hope I will still be able to buy the bulbs I need to remain healthy in my own home!

BBC NEWS Health: Low-energy bulbs worsen rashes

The switch to energy-saving light bulbs may put thousands at risk of painful skin reactions, health charities warn.

Fluorescent bulbs can exacerbate skin rashes in people with photosensitive skin conditions, experts said.

The government is planning to prevent the sale of conventional bulbs by 2011 to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Several groups including the British Association of Dermatologists called for exemptions to allow those affected to continue using traditional bulbs.But representatives of the lighting industry said there would be alternatives to fluorescent lighting available.

Health conditions which can involve some form of light sensitivity, include the auto-immune disease lupus, the genetic disorder Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP), certain forms of eczema and dermatitis, photosensitivity, and porphyria.

Other groups have warned that low-energy bulbs, which use approximately a quarter of the energy of conventional bulbs, cause migraines and increase the risk of seizures in people with epilepsy.

Campaigners want people who have light sensitive conditions to be able to continue to buy conventional bulbs for their homes.

They warned that employers must also be able to purchase incandescent lighting as employees have a right to such adjustments under the terms of the Disability Discrimination Act.

The switch to energy-saving light bulbs may put thousands at risk of painful skin reactions, health charities warn.

Conventional or "incandescent" bulbs are being phased out in a voluntary agreement with retailers and will no longer be on sale from December 2011.

Andrew Langford, chief executive officer of the Skin Care Campaign, one of the charities involved, said: "Incandescent light bulbs are the only source of electric light for many thousands of people with light sensitive conditions.

"Add to this the thousands of people whose conditions or treatments may secondarily cause them to be light sensitive, and you have a large number of people potentially being isolated in the dark.

"We certainly don't want to say no to greener bulbs just that other bulbs need to be available."

Dr Colin Holden, President of the British Association of Dermatologists, said: "It is important that patients with photosensitive skin eruptions are allowed to use lights that don't exacerbate their condition.

"It is essential that such patients are able to protect themselves from specific wavelengths of light emitted by fluorescent bulbs, especially as they are often trapped indoors because they can't venture out in natural sunlight."

Kevin Verdun, chief executive of the lighting association said only two-thirds of incandescent bulbs were being phased out.

"These things have been taken into consideration and there will be bulbs they can still use.

"There are also halogen bulbs and LED bulbs coming in in the next two or three years."

January 04, 2008

You Are What You Eat- COPD and Processed Meats

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is one of several illnesses now thought to be made worse or perhaps even caused by high levels of nitrites in processed meats. If you eat things like bacon, sausage, and hot dogs plus if you are a smoker, you could be putting yourself in harm's way through your diet. You may want to reconsider before stuffing that hot dog in your mouth at the next sporting event. Check it out in excerpts from the article below.

Processed Meats Up Chances of Developing COPD, Emphysema, Other Lung Ailments

Nitrites in processed meats might be putting some people at risk of developing serious lung diseases like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. According to emerging research, men who smoke may be increasing their risk of developing emphysema and chronic bronchitis if they eat lots of cured meats such as sausage, ham, bologna, bacon, and hot dogs which contain high levels of nitrites. Nitrites are added to these meats to prevent rancidity and bacterial growth and to also enhance the meat's pink color. And just like cigarette smoking and air pollution, nitrites generate molecules known as reactive oxygen and nitrogen species that have been linked to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Dr. Raphaelle Varraso of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and colleagues note.

COPD is a lung disease in which the lungs are damaged, making it hard to breathe because the lung's airways become partly obstructed, making it difficult to get air in and out. In healthy people, each airway is clear and open. The chief risk factor for COPD, which encompasses chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is cigarette smoking. Research by Varraso and colleagues suggests that eating cured meats may worsen the harmful effects of smoking on risk of COPD.

Researchers reviewed data on 42,915 men participating in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, 111 of whom were diagnosed with COPD within 12 years of enrolling in the study. Men who ate cured meats at least once a day were 2.64 times more likely than those who almost never ate cured meats to develop COPD, the researchers found. Cured meat consumption has also been linked to diabetes and certain types of cancer, Varraso noted in comments to Reuters Health. "Uncured" versions of processed meats are likely no better for health, according to the researcher. But regardless of the current findings, Varraso added, the most important way to protect oneself from COPD is to quit smoking.

Another recent study presented new evidence that backed up the theory that eating a lot of red and processed meat can increase the risk of bowel and lung cancer. The study found that those who ate the most red meat exhibited an increased risk of developing colorectal, liver, lung, and esophageal cancer compared with those who ate the least red and processed meats.