October 31, 2008
Are you familiar with Tough Love for troubled teens? Well, think of this email as Tough Love For Halloween.
Here is Wikepedia’s definition of Tough Love- “an expression used when someone treats another person harshly or sternly with the intent to help them in the long run.”
Also, to be defined as tough love, there must also be some genuine feelings of affection behind the stern words.
Ahem, are you sitting down? We need to talk.
I am walloping your inbox this week with tough love emails (meanmails you might call them)
out of concern that unless I demand it, you will not get that candy out of your cupboards, off your desk, out of your candy dishes and car and purse and out of sight.
Do NOT let people bring it to your office! If you see them hauling it in, demand that they put it on their OWN hips!
I bet if , on Monday afternoon, you dumped the whole candy bowl in the lunchroom garbage can everyone would actually THANK you for taking the initiative.
If you do not GET IT GONE it will get itself gone…into your mouth and onto the part of body you are resting on right now.
Now, not everyone becomes a skid in a candy store when faced with their favorite Mr Goodbar, although I don’t really trust people who tell me they don’t like candy (I lump them into my distrust category of people that don’t like dogs) but most people (okay, women) I know do what I did today.
I preached all week about how you all should buy candy that you don’t like or better yet, are allergic to and what did I do when I got to Costco? I bought (or someone who looked just like me, it wasn’t really me) THREE jumbo super duper size combo bags of…
PEANUT M&Ms! SNICKERS! and MINI M&M’s!
I’ll tell you what happened. It’s called compartmentalization. Think Bill Clinton.
In your conscious mind you think one thing and you get determined and psyched and you make a SMART plan and then. And then. And then your shadow mind sneaks up on you and
YOU BUY THE CANDY YOU LOVE.
We all know how this story ends.
I need you to wait until November 1st (that’s tomorrow).Then first thing in the morning you have to clear it ALL out. Let your kids keep only what they promise on their life not to let you have, then ask them to hide it from you or if they are too little to keep it themselves, use
TOUGH LOVE on them.
I apologize for my stern tone but,
Just like with alcohol, no one wakes up the next morning and says “Honey! I wish I’d drunk MORE.” The same theory applies here. No one in your family, and especially not you, will wake up Sunday morning and say, “Damn, I should’ve had ANOTHER snickers!”
Trust me. I know these are hard words to hear on the evening of literally the sweetest day of the year, but if you can get it out of sight, it really will be out of mind.
But if you can see it, you will eat it.
October 31, 2008
Many of you have expressed what I’d describe as guarded curiosity about my last blog post on the newly researched Acai (ah-sah-EE) berry. But when Oprah gets on the bandwagon, we all have to stop and take notice. Oprah’s Dr. Perricone listed Acai as NUMBER ONE of his top 10 Superfoods.
I agree though. Suspicion is a healthy thing.
Anytime I get emails trying to convince me to try the lastest ThighMaster or the almighty Bowflex, I usually do one of two things. I either allow my eyes to glaze over and wonder what’s in the fridge
OR I hit the delete button.
But occasionally something revolutionary comes along that gets me all twittery inside. Spinning was one. The foam roller was another. Wonder Bras and Hanky Pankies come to mind. And don’t forget Starbuck’s Venti Skim Cappucino as another. The hoax-busters try to find the hoke in the hoax, to no avail.
Even still, I would have normally ignored these “Miracle Berry” promos. That is IF I hadn’t just arrived back home from a weekend at Canyon Ranch where their up-to-the-minute staff of physicians were extolling the virtues of this acai berry and other purple skinned fruits.
The acai berry, as well as other highly ranked ORAC foods are related to reduced risk of arthritis, muscle irritation, pain, and the aging of our skin.
Studies are being done around the world to find out the effects of Acai juice on diseases like cancer, heart attacks and cardiovascular issues.
These Canyon Ranch staff physicians are the very same doctors that I heard six long years ago quoting new research on the dangers of heating and freezing substances in plastic. Of course that took 5 more years until I actually heard what they were saying. I remember smirking when they said that I should only freeze or nuke food in GLASS! How inconvenient!
I was unwilling to throw out my Tupperware.
Fast forward to present day.
It took Cheryl Crow’s breast cancer assertions that plastic water bottles had leached toxins into her drinking water to get us to pay attention. I guess People Magazine carries more clout than cutting edge doctors with the American public. I feel pathetic!
Then the following year, those same doctors were recommending a test for CRP (C-reactive protein), which is a test that detects inflammation in the body and can be a marker to indicate heart disease before it shows up on standard cholesterol tests.
Back then, my doctor at home had never even heard of a CRP test, let alone administered it. Nowadays, all doctors worth their stethoscope will order this test as a general rule of thumb during physicals on baby boomers.
So I finally get it. Maybe it’s wisdom. The Canyon Ranch staff calls it the Butterfly Effect-which means that little lifestyle changes we make today can have a huge effect on our health in years to come.
I wish Cheryl Crow was with my Canyon Ranch group six years ago.
But now, instead of waiting for the FDA to post a warning or for People Magazine to feature some celebrity cancer survivor five years from now, I am trying to listen and follow their guidance more promptly.
Acai juice is expensive to make. But production of this native Amazonian berry has created many jobs for the people of Brazil, as there are several pulping and freezing factories located in the Amazon. The harvesting of the Acai berry is still done by hand to protect the rain forest. Acai berries need to be processed within 24 hours to avoid spoilage. A lot of workers will pick the berries fast in an effort to get them to the factory more quickly.
The reason I am putting my endorsement behind MonaVie is that they had the business acumen to patent their freeze-dry method for berry preservation so that the antioxidant benefits remain the same as freshly picked berries. No other company can use this preferred method of harvesting so other products have lesser nutritional benefits.
You will see other juices in stores. The cheaper ones are very diluted. The pricier ones in stores use a makeshift flash drying process that sacrifices nutrient content.
MonaVie will also only sell through distributors-no stores carry MonaVie and EBay type auctions are prohibited. That’s why I am getting on board.
And you can too. by emailing me right now.
Or you can wait to read about it in five years in People Magazine.
October 28, 2008
If you are not sick of hearing me mention my recent stay at Canyon Ranch, stick around, I’m not done yet. Canyon Ranch is devoted to something they call UltraPrevention. They believe that much of the process of aging can be controlled by lifestyle, meaning that if you are willing to exercise and make careful selections about what you eat and drink (and what you don’t eat and don’t drink) that you can actually stay younger for longer. Pick me! Pick me!
Upon returning from Canyon Ranch, there’s usually a few memorable fitness or health tidbits that stick with me.
This year it was their simplified explanation of antioxidants and their evil counterparts, free radicals and how looking and feeling older (not to mention getting age-related diseases) are related to this battle.
Here’s my dummified explanation:
Free radicals form in our bodies as we process food and during other normal bodily functions. They also form from exposure to the sun, pollutants we breathe, eating processed foods, smoking, drinking too much, etc. They are also produced by stress.
Athletes, sadly, also can create free radicals through the additional stress they put on their bodies with long or intense bouts of exercise. This is known as oxidative stress. Just like a car that gets rusty from exposure to oxygen, some of us can get “rust”(arthritis) in our joints from overuse during exercise.
(I believe an excess of free radicals contributed to the early onset of arthritis in my hips from my decades of exercise and my body’s inability to get rid of free radicals.)
Free radicals sometimes weld molecules to each other – sort of like putting handcuffs on them – so they don’t function the way they are supposed to.
When free radicals weld molecules of the skin protein collagen together, the skin looses its elasticity and suppleness and becomes dry and wrinkled.
This explains where our wrinkles come from and why some people get more wrinkles, earlier than others.
This type of damage accelerates the aging process as tissues lose their function due to the steadily increasing number of free radical cells.
And it’s not just wrinkles that we get from too many free radicals in our system. It’s more serious diseases like cancer, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and Lou Gehrig’s disease. These illnesses all have a free radical component to their mechanism of development.
Lots of recent research has been devoted to fighting free radicals and the most famous free radical fighters of all, antioxidants, are my next point.
Simply put, antioxidants turn a free radical into a non-harmful cell. Antioxidants give the free radical the extra electron that it needs to balance it out.
Antioxidants are any substances that prevent or slow the oxidation process. Remember, free radicals cause oxidation – and antioxidants prevent oxidation. Antioxidants work by donating an electron to a free radical so it becomes a stable oxygen molecule.
Has your brain caught up with me yet? I know it’s complicated but stay with me.
Bottom line: Antioxidants stabilize free radicals so you are less likely to get diseases and you won’t age as fast.
There is a standard method of measuring antioxidant capacities of different foods. This capacity is called OXYGEN RADICAL ABSORPTIVE CAPACITY, otherwise known as ORAC (check out orac.org for more detailed food listings). Foods that have a high ORAC rating are things like purple fruits, fruits rich in Vitamin C, red wine and cruciferous veggies.
The higher the ORAC number – the stronger the antioxidant properties of that food.
The USDA recommends we consume 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC units daily. Probably 80% of the population is eating less than 1,000 ORAC units a day. The USDA recommends “5-a-day” fruit and vegetable servings. This consumption is an ORAC score of about 1,750 units.
Fruits and vegetables tend to have the highest ORAC values. Per 100 grams – Apples are rated a 218, Bananas a 221, blueberries 2,400.
But what fruit is the Tiger Woods of ORAC values? A newly discovered berry found in the Amazon rainforest called the Acai berry.
Acai has a 1027 ORAC score. More impressive, freeze dried Acai actually has an ORAC value of over 50,000 per 100 grams.
Why is the Acai berry such a super star antioxidant?
Fruits like the Acai berry that are exposed to strong sun face an extreme amount of ultra violet light stress. This UV light triggers free radicals to form in the fruit. Fruits, such as the Acai berry, develop high levels of antioxidant properties so they can halt the free radicals.
And this story gets better- studies have shown that the antioxidant properties are maintained even after they are eaten by humans.
One problem though is that the Acai berry goes rancid very quickly, within 24 hours after it is harvested so it must be freeze-dried there in Brazil. That’s why you will never see fresh Acai berries in our supermarkets.
Very few companies are able to maintain the ORAC values from the Amazon to your doorstep.
Anyway, I found all this out at the Ranch and came home wondering how to find myself a supply of Acai juice since I am living not so close to the Amazon rain forest.
Funnily enough my sister called the next day and described this new juice she’d been drinking that lowered her cholestoral by 30 points and took away some serious aches and pains that had plagued her for years. In two weeks!
Normally I would harangue her for jumping on this obvious juice hoax. But that was before hearing all that I heard at Canyon Ranch about the Acai berry and it’s through-the-roof antioxidant properties.
She shipped me a bottle the next day and sure enough, within one week, my knees feel less achy and my fingers, which had started to develop some stiffness, feel back to normal.
My theory is that the antioxidant capacity is so great that it immediately reduces inflammation, so you actually feel better right away.
I also need to mention that there is some strong research about Acai juice combating cancer!
A recent Acai research study found that Acai berries triggered a self-destruct response in up to 86% of leukemia cells tested in a test tube. To come to this conclusion, researchers prepared six different extracts from Acai fruit pulp, then prepared each extract at seven levels of concentration. Depending on the extract and its level of concentration, anywhere from about 56% to 86% of the leukemia cells died after 24 hours of exposure to the extract. (Del Pozo-Insfran D, Percival SS, Talcott ST. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Feb 22;54(4):1222-9.)
No wonder Oprah featured this berry on her show a few months back!
The Anti-Aging Bottom Line: Since these results occurred in a laboratory setting more research needs to be done to determine whether they can be replicated in humans. In the meantime, know that Acai research indicates that this deep purple berry offers a rich source of antioxidants. So taking an Acai extract may help reverse the effects of free radicals in your body.
MonaVie is the one company I’ve found that has mastered the shipping of high quality Acai juice. It’s not cheap, $40 per bottle but you only need 3 ounces a day so one bottle lasts over two weeks.
Are you ready to start staying younger for longer? I am! Plus anything that makes my body feel better is immediately worth it.
MonaVie is only available through the mail so I am signing up now to distribute it. I’m convinced people will feel their aches and pains vanish!
Email me if you are interested in having an acai tasting party or if you’d like to try a bottle!
October 28, 2008
October 27, 2008
Do not read this if Halloween candy is not a temptation for you. If you are like my sister, who, when I go for our summer visit in Ohio and I look in her candy jar (five minutes after arrival) and it is chock-full of untouched candy from Halloween the previous fall, then skip this article as none of it will make sense.
On the other hand, maybe you are like me and dole sweets out in the “one for you, three for me” method of sharing. I’m ashamed to say I will eat any candy, even candy I don’t like, even candy with coconut, even stale candy that’s been abandoned in a candy jar for ten months and even when the tootsie rolls are petrified to the wrapper and they practically break your teeth. If any of this rings a bell for you, then this article may be just in time to help you think outside the (candy)box for this weekend’s sugary festivities.
I’m going to start by suggesting that you make an exception to my usual “only what you love” rule and advice you to only buy candy that you do NOT like. If you hate coconut, buy it. If nuts give you hives, think Reese’s.
Also, mini-sizes are evil. Sure, regular size candy bars have more calories (around 300 on average, most of which are nutritionally worth zilch and will also take you more than a half-hour of pretty hard cardio to burn off) but who eats just one mini? I personally would never sneak a regular size Snickers bar, yet I cannot resist the temptation of the tiny size. Then, once I have one, I have to have just one more, then just one more but for sure this is the absolute LAST one, etc.etc.
I love miniaturization; mini ketchup bottles, mini-dachsunds, mini-skirts,mini-liquor bottles.
The problem with candy is that once you get a tiny taste, the odds are against stopping with one taste. The taste-bud dam springs a leak ,so to speak, plus the brain starts rationalizing that you can have more since they are so tiny.
Did I mention not buying your candy until the last minute?
And finally, make a plan to deal with your leftovers the day after. At our health club we are holding a candy drive the day after Halloween so that our members can bring in their leftover candy which we will then drop off at a neighborhood homeless shelter. This will require a pre-conversation with your kids about how you will handle extra candy. Some parents let their kids pick out a certain amount of “keeping” candy and then buy(read-bribe) the rest.
Throwing your candy away is a last resort if you cannot think of an acceptable way to recycle your leftovers but I tell my clients to think of their mouth as a garbage can. They can either throw the candy in the real garbage can or the garbage can of their mouth, both are a waste but if you throw it in your mouth you are going to be dealing with the junk in your own trunk for weeks to come.
I always say that five minutes of eating can undo five hours of exercise but when you are dealing with candy, you are probably talking about more like five minutes of candy equaling seven hours of sweating. Now tell me, does ANY candy taste good enough to make it worth an almost full eight hour shift of exercising?
Often kids are not thrilled about giving up the majority of their loot so I recommend talking to them every day this week about the plan that you’ve made and then stick with it.
Another suggestion that I have is to be accountable to someone. Tell someone who loves you how you plan to deal with the sweets and ask them to lovingly hold you to it.
Or if you’d rather, email me and tell me your plan and I will check in with you on Saturday and be sure you follow through. Sometimes it gives you some extra fortitude if you know you have to file a candy report in the morning.
Finally, get a workout in on Halloween Day, no matter what. Waking up the day after and feeling good will make all your effort worthwhile.
Heading into the holiday season is a great reason to stay strong through Halloween. You will have set the tone for the challenges ahead in the upcoming holiday season.
October 24, 2008
It is a valuable thing to come home from a weekend away not necessarily thinner in my body but actually thinner in my mind. I took a group of women to Canyon Ranch last weekend, which coincidentally, was my birthday -thanks for all the notes and cards by the way. And I actually came back a few pounds heavier on the scale but that makes my mental weight-loss all the more noticeable.
I don’t know how to explain it other than to say that I had a breakthrough in the body-image battleground of my mind.
Canyon Ranch devotes a lot of time to re-educating women about how to be in a relationship not just with their body but also with their mind, meaning that you learn how to talk back to (or ultimately stop) the self-trash talk.
Can you imagine letting go without letting yourself go? How many extra minutes of the day would you have if you took away the wanting-your-body-to-be-different mantra?
I sometimes have those heaviness thoughts swirling in my head before I even get out of bed depending on if I’m feeling left-over guilt about what I ate the night before and it feels like ten pounds of not fat, but ten pounds of not-enoughness.
Now I’m not saying I’m ten pounds overweight. I weigh 136ish pounds and I’m 5’6”, smack dab where the charts say I should be. Don’t misunderstand me. It’s actually my head that’s ten pounds overweight.
Standards for women these days are too high, or rather too thin. Look at any magazine cover. We are brainwashed with airbrushed models who are anorexic to begin with.
It’s a dilemma. As anyone who’s been fat can tell you, thin feels better (and anyone who’s been poor can tell you, rich feels better but that’s another rant.)
But what dawned on me at Canyon Ranch was that by the second of several exquisite meals that were lovingly and artfully cooked to such peak nutritious perfection that tears of joy welled up in my eyes while eating them was the thought that my lycrastretch waistband was awfully tight around the belly and I started the internal trash talk about my pooch (although there was nothing in my digestive track that wasn’t either cruciferous, fiberous or immune-enhancing.)
I caught myself frowning at my profile in the spa area and wishing I could have a flat belly like my friend Viola.
But all is not lost since noticing a problem is the first step towards correcting it which is the exact thing that was mentioned in the next lecture that I attended.
To win the Body Image battle we have to recalibrate our brain. Simple.Become our own thought police. Unlearn what years of reading People magazine has taught us.
The first step, besides not reading magazines, which I highly recommend, towards redirecting your thought is pretty easy. Just start noticing. Turn on the Pantry-cam of your mind and listen for the soundtrack.
I don’t know about you but if someone spoke to my kids that way that I speak to myself in my head, I’d report them to Children’s Services.
Here’s a radical sentence. Sit down and try to hear this without the Thin Nazi in your head hearing it.
Size doesn’t really matter.
That’s not to say that health doesn’t matter.
You know what else matters?
And if chunks of your day are spent beating yourself up because you are focusing on a magic number on the scales because Jennifer Anniston weighs 119 and she is your same height,then you will be very distracted from making yourself happy.
But there’s good news. If we stop struggling to be something that is out of reach, then very possibly, through the vehicle of contentment, you may just find yourself FEELING great and BEING beautiful in a way that celebrates who you really are inside.
It starts with how you feel about yourself. Think of how cool you really are inside. Invisible things like character, style, grace, your ability to laugh, your personality and your smarts are all things you friggin love about yourself on the inside. Make an effort to cherish them about yourself on the outside too.
October 3, 2008
Author Tom Wolfe made me feel outfoxed this week when he wrote an editorial in the New York Times commenting on the fate of the not-really-fictional Masters of the Universe, those million dollar bonus- making hotshots from Wall Street that he described so deliciously in Bonfire of the Vanities.
He poked fun at any of our thoughts of Schadenfreude. The REAL masters of the Universe , he says, left Wall Street six years ago to start hedge funds, what I call the Extreme Sports version of investing.
Mostly they relocated to Greenwich and mostly by strategizing themselves into ingeniously defensive positions that I might as well be blowing spit bubbles rather than pretend to understand.
They continue to reign atop their financial fortune with a nut big enough to support their tasteful lifestyle, which I fantasize as including Evian bubble baths, heated floors, elegant fabrics and classical lines. Their children will NOT attend Technical College or get their ears pierced at age two.
These Masters of the Universe are not worried at all by the past few weeks of financial crisis because they know that THEY are set, with a cache of safe investments nestled away, earning enough to live on the interest alone until about the age of 120.
Well, the rest of us wretches may not be in such a cozy situation financially, but a universe that is within our reach for mastery is our fitness level.
You can be the Master of Your Fitness Universe. It doesn’t take anything more than an investment of time. No matter how low your IQ, how bad your credit, how tasteless you dress or
how out of shape you are, at least, as my Grandma Love used to say,
At least you have your health.
And it really is a priceless investment that will not be devaluated or lose it’s worth.
Just like a tighter budget can make us appreciate those niceties that money can buy,
sometimes an illness, injury or a bad diagnosis can spur us to make health and lifestyle changes that improve our health.
Don’t wait until your body crashes.
Use our financial crisis as a wakeup call to improve this physical investment that money cannot buy.
One of the greatest lessons for me, living in Greenwich, in a house without a stone gatehouse and without the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Long Island Sound and sadly, without a heated driveway (but I do have a driveway) I admit that I’ve spent large amounts of time coveting mansions and imagining me living in them (with help, of course.) But the greatest growth for me and my state of mind is to finally be wise enough to love this house, in spite of how the Masters of the Universe live. I keep it as clean as I humanly, possibly can (which isn’t very) and I never run out of toilet paper or bananas. I take great pride in that. If we can all do the same with this physical apparataus we were born into –by keeping it in good shape, we weather-proof it so to speak, so that in stormy times we are safe and sound.
Think back to the very fittest moment of your life. Make a plan to get back to that level. Tell someone that loves you about your plan and ask them to help you. Start on Monday.