Archive for October, 2013

Smartphone-itus

October 31, 2013

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Several years ago, when my office gave me a Blackberry, I quickly became addicted. So addicted, that my family and friends referred to it as my “Crackberry.” Now, everyone it seems, has some kind of smartphone, and the unnatural attachment to them is causing more than just annoyance.

This week, New York magazine did a feature story on the medical and physiological issues associated with gadget over use. Here are a few of the phone woes to watch for:

Nomophobia:
An acronym for “no mobile phone phobia,” this ailment affects about 66% of the population. Similar to other types of separation anxiety, the user suffers when away from their phone for even a few minutes. Symptoms include sweating, nausea and trembling.

Laptop Thigh and Scrotal Hyperthermia:

After prolonged use, the laptops lower casing can reach up to 125 degrees. Use of said hot laptop on bare legs can result in burns and discolored skin.

This intense heat can increase the temperature of the scrotum more than 6 degrees in one hour, resulting in lowering, or even halting sperm production.

Texting Thumb:

Tendentious of the thumbs is becoming more common, due the extra work they are doing while sending texts.

iPosture:

An astounding 84% of all 18-24 year olds report some kind of neck or back discomfort. The hunched position that we all assume when fiddling with our iphones is contributing to aches, pains and overall bad posture.

To avoid some of these problems, take precautions throughout the day.

Place a towel on your lap to prevent the heat from the laptop from penetrating through to your skin, and your “lap.”

Take a few minutes throughout the day to stretch, doing neck rolls and shoulder stretches to alleviate the stiffness. Move your thumbs across the palm of your hands to stretch them out, and squeeze a small ball to build up grip strength.

Or, better yet, just simply step away from the gadgets. Just try it. We KNOW you can do it!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Scary Facts About Halloween Treats

October 30, 2013

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Halloween is coming and with it, an onslaught of candy and sugary treats. The statistics surrounding the sugar intake of the average American are scarier than a haunted house.

According to The American Dental Association, Americans consume 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day. Teenage boys are the biggest culprits, averaging 34 teaspoons per day, or a whopping 550 calories worth! Most of this comes from sweetened beverages.

The recommended “dosage” for sugar, is no more than 9 teaspoons per day for males, and 6 teaspoons for females.

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While the health risks longterm can include obesity, diabetes and cancer, but the most obvious concern is dental health. While one big Halloween binge will not cause cavities, the there are other risks to consider. Sticky, gooey candies, such as taffy and caramel get wedged between teeth and are more difficult to remove through brushing. They can also stick to dental appliances and cause breakage of fillings and braces.

Many dentists have offered a buy back program to incentivize  kids to give up their candy in the name of oral health. Consider charities that send the excess candy to soldiers serving overseas, or to those less fortunate. Below are some suggestions:

Operation Gratitude (military support)

Operation Shoebox (military support)

Contact  your local nursing homes and homeless shelters to find out if they are accepting donations.

Much of the fun of Halloween is dressing up, carving Jack-O-Lanterns and going trick or treating. Sharing the fun with lose less fortunate will have a positive impact on your family’s health, and bring joy to others who cannot share the experience.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Bringing Eggs to Room Temperature

October 29, 2013

Many recipes call for eggs to be “room temperature” when they are being used for baking. The reason being that eggs disperse more readily and evenly through the batter when they are not too cold, and egg whites beat more quickly at room temperature.

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So what do you do if you are ready to bake, but the eggs are still sitting in the fridge?
To take the chill off of eggs, gently place them in a bowl of warm water for about 5 minutes, or until they are no longer cold to the touch. Do not use boiling water, or the eggs will start to cook.

Dry them off and commence baking!  You will notice a difference.

photo:Glasshouse Images

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Numbers Game

October 28, 2013

Sports reference have been taking over the runways for several seasons now, but the latest version is emerging from the street. Cool fashionistas are wearing sports jerseys for a look that is laid back yet totally chic.

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Addidas adds a high/low hemline to their jersey, making it a sexy, yet sporty option over tiny basketball shorts.

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This football jersey stands in as a dress, paired with sexy heels and a Gucci clutch.

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Layer a basketball jersey over a tee and pushed up slim pants. The unexpected addition of heels, takes the look from the courts to the streets.

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Tommy Hilfiger took the look from the boardwalk to the catwalk, with his sporty take on the theme. Add an upscale sneaker to the mix for a look that is relaxed and edgy.

Light Sleep

October 25, 2013

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Experts have advised against using electronic devices before bed, citing that the light emitted from them can disrupt sleep. New research has emerged that suggests this theory may be a bit extreme.

Dr. Lois Krahn, a psychiatry professor at the Mayo Clinic suggests that either dimming the screen’s brightness, or holding the device at least 14″ away from the eyes keeps the light at a level below that which is believed to effect the production of melotonin, a hormone that promotes sleep.

Good news for those of us who are tethered to our electronics until they are ready to go to bed.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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What Would a Caveman(or Woman) Do?

October 23, 2013

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Back in prehistoric times, cave people were incredibly fit. They didn’t diet, and they didn’t workout. There was no gym, no Soul Cycle and no Crossfit to join.They didn’t count calories, and had no trendy food related ailments or phobias.

While the Paleo diet, based on how our ancestors ate in Paleolithic times has certainly become a craze, there is something to be said for eating and behaving like our forefolks did.

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Cavemen and women travelled everywhere by foot. They didn’t have cars, or subways, or even bicycles. Everywhere they went, they walked. Often, that journey was several miles per day. If a saber tooth tiger was chasing them, they ran: fast!  Reconsider your transportation choices and try walking where possible.

They hunted and gathered their own food, and never, ever called for take-out.     Procuring food was very physical, and preparing it was also a task. Think about the energy needed pick berries, hunt and skin animals and even the act of rubbing sticks together to create fire. While we don’t really expect anyone to be hunting and fishing in urban areas, the act of preparing your own food increases your activity level, and provides you the opportunity to prepare cleaner, healthier meals.

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Our prehistoric pals ate a diet rich in fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries. Fast food, sweet treats and refined carbs didn’t exist. Clean eating was a way of life.  If you aren’t ready to go Paleo, consider giving up things that come in packages and eat only fresh foods.

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Neanderthals had overdeveloped right arms, originally thought to be a result of carrying heavy spears. Recent findings from archeologists in Cambridge debunked this theory, citing the many hours spent scraping animal skins to make clothing as the reason for this discrepancy. What repetitive motion based chores do you do that require a little muscle?

Many of our health woes have emerged due to the conveniences of modern living. Before you jump in the car and drive to the fast food restaurant, ask yourself “ What would a cave man do?” The answer just might be the secret to good health.

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Get the Scoop

October 22, 2013

Last week we made lots of cupcakes for a birthday party. For us, the worst part of making cupcakes and muffins is pouring the batter into the tins.

No matter what spoon, or spatula we use, it’s a drippy mess. That is until we started using a spring loaded ice cream scoop!

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Simply release  one generous scoop of batter into each paper liner that has been set into a muffin tin. It will not only give you more consistent cupcakes, but it is also virtually mess free, and best of all, fast!

For standard sized cupcakes, the scoop should be disher size 24, which holds about 1.33 oz. or 3 tablespoons, For jumbo cupcakes, use disher size 8 which holds about 3 oz. or 4 tablespoons.

For mini cupcakes, use disher size 50, which holds about .55 oz.  or 1.25 tablespoons. This size is great for cookies too!

Owning a few of these spring loaded scoops will speed up your baking, and give you a much more uniform product.

Try it…you will never go back to a spoon again!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Modern Tribal

October 21, 2013

Fashion designers are finding inspiration in artisanal crafts this season, as they reference modern takes on primitive textiles and pottery.

Edun, the socially conscious brand founded by Bono’s wife, Ali Hewson, mixes  black and white geometrics with woven leather for a bold look.

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This weaving, features similar pattern work as does this modernist vase:

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Donna Karan may have been inspired by tribal artwork for her Spring 2014 collection.

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Akris showed free form faggoting reminiscent of this rustic vessel made of woven pear branches.

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Proenza Schouler manipulated pleats in fabric and leather to create the etched quality of this pottery and tribal influenced block print:

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Foods to Shut Down During the Shut Down

October 16, 2013

The government has been shut down for a couple of weeks now, and many of the massive ramifications have yet to be felt.

With most of the Food and Drug Administrations inspectors being deemed “non-essential” our food supply is in grave danger.

While the agency only has enough power in its workforce to inspect 2% of all incoming food from other countries, it still prevents a large amount of unsanitary foods from hitting our supermarkets.

Below are some of the foods experts are most concerned about during this period:

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Shrimp:

Inspectors often reject shrimp from other countries due to the conditions in which they are farmed. Southeast Asian shrimp farms are akin to overcrowded sewers. The water is not filtered or recycled, and pesticides, additives and antibiotics are often used to prevent the shrimp from dying. The processing plants are filthy, and often very hot, resulting in spoiled food that is then shipped to the USA.

Wild, domestic shrimp from the Gulf Coast is a safer way to go.

Tilapia:

Tilapia is a farmed fish that is often rejected by inspectors for reasons similar to those associated with shrimp. In China, tilapia is often fed a diet of untreated animal feces. We say choose something else until the inspectors are back on duty. (Or maybe longer)

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Fresh Produce:

About 50% of our fruit, and 20% of our vegetables are imported. With nobody checking the quality and cleanliness, eating these can be risky business. It is best to buy organic, and local during this time if you can. Use a fruit and vegetable wash, or soak in a vinegar and water solution and scrub with a brush to try to get your produce as clean as possible.

One of the other horrifying parts of the shut down, relative to our food supply is the furlough of those whose jobs are to track foodborne illness outbreaks to identify the source. If there are outbreaks during the shut down (and the recent salmonella infected chicken is a prominent case) they will be harder to control.

Buying local, organic foods from reputable farms is the safest alternative to the uninspected foods in the large supermarkets. Wash all produce carefully, and cook foods thoroughly to kill any possible bacteria. Be sure to wash all cutting boards, surfaces, utensils and your hands in hot soapy water after handling raw foods. Being extra safe is better than being sorry when it comes to food.

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Coffee Ice Cubes

October 15, 2013

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Today’s tip is a great way to use up the extra coffee at the bottom of the pot. Simply pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it.
Not only is it the perfect way to chill iced coffee, but you can thaw them out and heat them to make brewed instant coffee.

Be creative: how about adding a few to a glass of Bailey’s Irish Cream or Kahlua? Chocolate milk? Grinding them up in a smoothie?

The possibilities are endless.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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