Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Cleanse Naysayer

Noun1.naysayer - someone with an aggressively negative attitude

Yep, I am a "cleanse naysayer".  I think the whole concept of cleansing and detoxing and fasting for improved health is dumb.  Physiologically, it makes no sense.  There's no reason why detoxing for several days is going to release all these built up toxins in the body.  And there isn't a reputable physician or nutrition scientist out there that thinks it's essential for optimal health.  Personally, I think it's smoke and mirrors.  

So why did I just spend $100 on the David Kirsch 5-Day Detox???  

Because I want to be a credible naysayer; one with direct experience in detoxing.  I've never done a cleanse and I should at least try it once in my lifetime.  And January is always a good time for starting something new, right? 

Why the David Kirsch detox plan???

Because damn, detoxing is expensive!  I looked into several options and just couldn't swallow the exorbitant costs involved...some are close to $300 for 2-3 days!  Seriously, people pay $300 for juice?   I can't believe I just paid $100!   And that was the most reasonably priced cleanse I could find. 

Plus, I figured that David Kirsch is a brand himself and its in his best interest to make sure his products are safe.  These other cleanse companies could be run out of someone's garage with a juicer and bag of vegetable scraps for all I know.  

So, starting next week, I'm officially in dietary detox.  If anyone is kicking off 2011 a similar way, please chime in with your plan and how its going.  Would love to share detox notes.  

Have a safe and healthy New Year's Eve!!!   

Monday, December 20, 2010

On Becoming Mrs. Heatmeiser

I was inspired to start this blog because of my friend, Debra.  On her 39th birthday, she declared it would be the "Year of Deb".  Her declaration was a commitment to herself, a means to remove the imaginary barrier that was keeping her from accomplishing several life goals she set to achieve by her 40th birthday.  

Saturday was my 39th birthday.  And like Debra, I saw this birthday as an important milestone in my life.  But unlike Deb, I did not set any future goals or reminisce on my past achievements.  Instead, I lit myself on fire.

I'm okay, everyone was okay, it's all okay, which is why I get to joke about it.

And because irony knows no boundaries in my life:

1. About a week ago,  I paid big bucks to go from being a blond to a brunette with new bangs (it was bangs or botox...I opted for bangs for now) and a new layered hair cut.
2. My hair caught fire at a friend's holiday party as I was blowing out my candles following a 60 person a cappella version of "Happy Birthday". 

You would think after 38 other birthdays that I would be well trained in the art of candle blowing.  And I am...quite good.  I just didn't expect the candles to re-ignite themselves after I blew them out the first time. Yes, I was actually fooled by trick candles.  Didn't see that coming.  But luckily, when 60 people are staring at you as you blow out candles and catch fire, lots of people jump in rather quickly to put you out.  

And they all assure me that my hair looks even better with shorter layers. 

So if the position of Mrs. Heatmeiser is still available, I'd like to apply.  I'm working on my song (to the tune of the Heatmesier song):

I'm Mrs. Heatmeiser, hair like the sun
Ignited by trick candles, the day my 39th year begun

They call me Heatmeiser, but its only fair
Since my hair lights up like a flare
Noxious gas in the air....

It's a work in progress....

Mrs/Dr T is not that I am against the emoticon, I just don't know how to use them properly except for this one  :)
I was also recently introduced to this one (o)(o) which is either in support of breast cancer awareness or just dirty...depending on who's using it.  :-)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Breakthrough Science: Sleep Deprivation Makes You Ugly

Shocking new research out of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine in Stockholm, Sweden.  Participants were asked to rank pictures of people that had 8 hours of sleep versus people that had been awake for 31 hours.  In what is sure to stun the entire scientific community and world at large, people that had been awake for 31 hours were rated as less healthy looking, more tired, and less attractive than those who slept.  

Can you believe this?  Thank goodness this research has been conducted.  Here I thought I actually looked good when I stayed up all night.   

But maybe you should be the judge? Here's what I looked like the other day after I stayed up all night watching the E! channel:

Here's what I look like today after sleeping all night:

What do you think?

[If I used emoticons, I'd have one winking right here]

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Get on Your Loin Cloth and Eat Like a Cave Woman?

Approximately 10,000 years ago, humans ate a diet that most likely consisted of the following: animals (small ones, big ones), fish, fruit, root vegetables, eggs, nuts, and some wild grasses.  Humans that lived closer to the equator ate fewer animals and more vegetables and those that lived in colder climates ate more animals and less vegetables. In general, protein and fat intake was high and carbohydrate intake was low.

No one cared about this until 1985, when a Dr. Dork team named Eaton and Konner published a paper on the "paleolithic diet" or "hunter-gatherer diet".  They hypothesized that we have an evolutionary "mismatch" on our 2010, we have the same DNA as our ancestors from 10,000 years ago but we don't eat the same diets...and because of the mismatch, we end up with obesity, heart disease and diabetes.  

Is it true?  Well, it's hard to say. Scientists are still debating about exactly what humans ate 10,000 years ago.  They are studying 229 groups of humans from around the world, trying to reconstruct their lifestyles from fossils, DNA samples, old writings, etc.  It's not easy.  Plus, there appear to be differences between the 229 groups in terms of what they ate, so there may not be just one paleolithic diet but several.  It's safe to say that at the present time, there is no black and white evidence that we're suffering from obesity, diabetes, and heart disease from NOT eating the paleolithic diet.

Has the paleolithic diet been tested?  Yes, there have been several studies on the diet.  In almost all cases, the paleolithic diet reduces risk factors for heart disease and diabetes versus a typical American diet.  Plus, studies have shown that it's more satiating than other diets.  I think most nutritionists would agree that a diet containing only unprocessed, whole foods like in the paleolithic diet is a healthier approach than eating fast foods and highly processed foods like most Americans. 

Does the research suggest that dairy foods and cereal grains are bad since they are not part of the paleolithic diet?   No, not according to all the other research out there on diet and health.  Certain individuals might feel better by minimizing these foods in their diet whereas other people might feel horrible.  Even though we all have basically the same DNA, there are differences which make each of us as individuals respond differently to different diets. 

Should we all start eating a paleolithic diet?  My personal Dr. Dork opinion is that we all should be eating more whole foods, more vegetables, and more protein.  If you'd like to spend $10 on a paleolithic diet book, here's the one I recommend.  Otherwise, save your money and spend it on a jar of peanuts or brussel sprouts or spinach.    

One last comment...the paleolithic diet is very low in calcium and vitamin D, so if you consider such a diet for yourself, pay close attention to these nutrients so that you're consuming adequate levels...especially vitamin D in the winter if you live in cold climates.  

And congratulations to Annie, the winner of the Naughty Betty give-away!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Naughty Betty Give-Away: Is Your Life Like a Cocktail Napkin?

When asked if I'm bilingual, I am quick to respond with the following:  "Why yes, I am fluent in English and Sarcasm."  And it's not just that I enjoy sarcasm (both giving and receiving...I'm that kind of gal)...what I really value and appreciate is humor.  After all, it's healthy!  People live longer, healthier lives with humor. 

And so, because I want to live a long and healthy life, I want 'funny'.  Pretty much all the time.  So when I stumbled upon this pack of cocktail napkins, I was thrilled!  I tied  them around a bottle of wine as part of a hostess gift to a friend in pharmaceutical sales.

She told me she was bringing them to work because she thought they were so funny.

And because the world is small and weird, it turns out that a SHE friend of mine (Roxy) is friends with the owner/creator of this brilliant cocktail napkin and many other fabulous and humorous products.  How great are these:
I think this is my new mantra
I think the mere mention of the word "colonoscopy" is funny..of course, I haven't had one yet.

This is a greeting card...this could be my mantra too. 
This is a melamine tray...beautiful and so true, so true

These products by Naughty Betty have been in my shopping cart since the company started in 2006, so I was eager to learn more about the SHE-owned company (dynamic duo, Courtney and Christine).  Here is what I found out:

Mrs/Dr. T: What inspired you to start Naughty Betty?

NB: We were working, having babies, raising our kids, and life was such a ride, we knew that a lot of women must be going through the same thing.  And there was a lot of comedy in everyday stuff.

Mrs/Dr. T: How do you come up with the ideas for your products?  
NB: We look at the types of things we would love to give and get, and take it from there. We also think there is a huge need out there for some funny hostess gifts! Anyone can bring wine, but we want to bring the funny.

Mrs/Dr T: What was the biggest hurdle to getting your business started?

NB: The mad mad juggle that every mom deals with. Switching gears a thousand times a day and still keeping a sense of humor.

So in the spirit of the holiday season, Naughty Betty has graciously offered to give away a travel mug to a The Decade of She reader.  If you comment on this blog post, I will randomly select one of you on Sunday to be the lucky winner!  Give it away, keep it for yourself...whatever! 

And if you're wondering where to buy these humorous, yet stylishly beautiful items, check out   There are so many great holiday cards, party goods and hostess gifts for these last crazy weeks of the holiday season!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Why All the Fuss About the New Vitamin D Recommendations?

The new Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for vitamin D surprised a lot of us Dr. Dorks, including myself, this week.  Why?  Because every Dr. Dork conference I've been to in the last 5 years has included discussions about vitamin D implying that we're all running around America deficient in this vitamin.  Plus, there's a new study released almost daily on the benefits of vitamin D on a number of conditions ranging from cholesterol to dementia to cancer.  Most thought the requirement was going to be increased to 1,000 IU/day, so when the news was released on Tuesday and it was only increased to 600 IU for adults, it was a bit of a shock. 

In reading the report, it is clear that the committee took a very thoughtful, though conservative approach to reviewing over 1,000 studies.  The committee also clearly outlined what new research needs to be conducted so that we better understand that relationship between the vitamin D we eat, that which we make in skin, and health.  So who knows, the next 5 years could reveal new information that might lead to more changes in the vitamin D requirement.  

Here's what's more shocking (or is it entertaining?) to me...the fall out.  I have been reading comments posted to the news articles and various blogs and just thought I'd take an opportunity to respond to a few of these statements:

  • "It depends entirely on your lattitude and the seasons."  Yes, it is true that vitamin D level in your body is partially determined by where you live and what time of year it is.  However, the RDA is based on studies conducted in northern latitudes mostly in winter.  The Dr. Dorks did this on purpose so that they can better estimate how much vitamin D to consume, without the influence of vitamin D being made in the skin. 
  • "Well, I’m not sure how much credence to place in this report. It seems like nutritional advice is very trendy- veering in one direction and then another."  Um...or, it could be that nutrition is a science and as new techniques are developed and new information becomes available, we discover new findings that affect public health recommendations?  Plus, the media too frequently reports on studies (often erroneously) that just confuse the public (fyi, rats are not people no matter whom you've dated).  AND, people are receiving nutrition advice from folks that are not nutritionists and then when the actual nutrition experts weigh in, they throw their hands up in confusion. Bottom line: nutrition advice will change over time...get used to it and get the information from nutrition experts. 
  • "They [meaning, the committee that established these recommendations] are in bed with the filthy rich drug manufacturers, and are paid handsomely to dupe the general public. God forbid we should all do whatever it takes to stay or get well on anything but chemical concoctions. They do not want a healthy population for this is bad for their business, the prescription pill industry which just so happens to be one of the most profitable entities in the world."  This person clearly needs a Xanax.  I know several of the individuals that were on the committee and can assure you that they are not "handsomely" paid by the pharma industry.  Certain physicians may take money from pharma companies, but it is not a common practice for a university nutrition professor on a research track and these are the folks that make up most of the committee on vitamin D.  In fact, some university professors will not work with any food or pharmaceutical company because they are concerned that others may perceive a bias in their research.  Most people that pursue a PhD in nutrition are doing it because they firmly believe that diet influences health and they want to further that's certainly not for the money (which I can personally attest to).     
  • "I heard that many doctors who currently recommend vitamin D supplements plan to continue to do so, as they do not agree with the study's conclusions."  If your doctor falls into this category, I would ask him/her if he/she reviewed over 1,000 studies on vitamin D to draw that conclusion.  

Based on reading the report on vitamin D, here are my conclusions:

1. Taking more than 4,000 IU/day of vitamin D is bad.  
2. People living in a colder climate that do not drink milk fortified with vitamin D may benefit from taking a vitamin D supplement.  I take 1,000 IU vitamin D mixed with fish oil 2-3 times a week in winter and will keep on doing it.
3. People worried about their vitamin D levels in winter can have them tested.  The new report states that levels below 20 ng/mL are inadequate or at risk for becoming inadequate.  Folks below that level can talk to their health professional about a reasonable supplement plan.
4. The report specifically expresses concerns about very high doses of vitamin D that are often prescribed by a doctor (e.g., 50,000 IU).  If this was prescribed to me, I would immediately ask for plan B...a more reasonable supplement plan.  There are concerns that high intakes of vitamin D may increase risk for cancer and other conditions. 
5. Finally, and this may be the most important one, tropical vacations in the winter are good for you.  If only my insurance plan would pay for one!             

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Think I May be a Korean Supermarket

I've never felt more connected to a grocery store than when walking around in H-Mart this past weekend, a Korean market with locations across the United States.  If you haven't been to H-Mart, I highly recommend it.  Here are the highlights:

Eggplants...lots and lots of them
Fuzzy squash...I don't like hairs on/in my food, I'm just sayin'

This is fresh ginseng...a purported aphrodisiac

There were roughly 20 different types of tofu...a serious amount of bean curd

Those are giant aloe vera leaves (which I would turn into tequilla)

If only I were braver, I would have bought these giant roots to eat...based on the shape, I bet these are considered aphrodisiacs too 

Fishies in a bag...I wouldn't eat these, but I love that someone does

I'm always amazed at things people will eat...these don't even look edible to me

Manhood tea...hilarious

Ah, Female Joy...makes you happy to have a uterus

Horny goat the gardening world, this is called epimedium.  It's a lovely shade-tolerant plant.  There are about 60 different varieties out there.  As the legend goes, a Chinese farmer noticed that his male goats became particular  interested in the female goats after grazing on a patch of epimedium.  Next thing you know, horny goat weed was part of Chinese traditional medicine for stimulating "manhood".  

It has been shown to produce Viagra-like effects in animals (although it's funny to think about how this is tested).  I'm not sure if it's been tested clinically in humans yet and no, I'm not volunteering to run a such a study.  :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

According to Scientists, You Will Probably Gain 1 Pound Between Now and New Year's Day

In the last 3 days, I've seen about 10 different "lists" with suggestions about making healthy eating choices on Thanksgiving.  Some of the points I agree with (e.g., use a small plate, choose more vegetables, go for a walk before dessert) and others I just can't get on board with (e.g., avoid alcoholic beverages).

All these lists got me thinking about holiday weight gain.  Do most people gain weight between now and New Year's Day?

Some 'healthy living' websites indicate that people gain 5 lbs during the holidays.  But the scientific research does not support that number.  Most studies show an average weight gain of 1 pound between Thanksgiving and New Years Day.  This number is higher for those that are already overweight or obese.  But even then, it is less than 5 lbs for most people.  Of course, these are averages, which means that an individual may be higher or lower than the 1 pound average. 

This is much less than I thought it would be.  I almost always gain weight over the holidays (unless I luck out and catch the latest norovirus)...and it feels like more than 1 pound.  But since I don't know how to use my bathroom scale, I'm not entirely sure how much weight I really again.  [I also "don't know how" to use power tools, take out the garbage, put up Christmas lights, or cut the dog's nails.]   

But what is most concerning is that most people do not lose this weight after the holidays.  Which means that what you gain between now and New Years stays with you.  Weight gain during the holidays may be the primary reason why adults gain 1-2 pounds a year and migrate from normal body weight to overweight to obese over a lifetime.  It's almost like the rings on the trunk of a tree...with each year, there's another layer that makes the trunk thicker and thicker over time. 

And so with with that happy thought in mind, enjoy your Thanksgiving!  :)   

P.S.  Just a few "tips" that most of these lists seem to be missing:
  1. Weight gain does not happen overnight, so eating light on Wednesday and Friday will allow for more flexibility on Thursday.
  2. Champagne has fewer calories than most other alcoholic beverages...and is oh so yummy.  The "loaded/unloaded" drink rotation (alcoholic drink/water) is always a good idea. 
  3. Soup (the brothy kind) is low in calories, but studies also show that it makes you feel fuller than most other foods.  A big bowl of chicken or bean soup for breakfast or before Thanksgiving supper might be the best appetite suppressant out there. 
  4. Take the dessert to go and have it for breakfast on Friday.  It'll be something to look forward to (a naughty treat to eat dessert in the morning) and will spread the calories out over the next day.  
  5. Chew gum.  If you're (politely) chewing gum during social occasions, you're much less likely to keep grabbing for another appetizer or small taste of something. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

What Grilled Cheese Sandwich Burns More Calories??

TwinkiesRegrettably, a professor at Kansas State University received quite a bit of media attention after losing weight on an 1800-calorie/day junk food diet.  I don't know why this is news.  It's a fact that if you consume less calories than you burn, you will lose weight.  It doesn't matter where those calories come from.  It's a math equation.  If you only eat 1 stick of butter every day, I guarantee you will lose weight (1 stick butter = ~800 calories).  The only major exceptions would be people on certain medications or with extreme hormonal conditions.  

There are many reasons why it's not a great idea to go on a Twinkie diet for weight loss.  Besides the obvious ones (not very satiating, low in vitamins and mineral and other "good stuff" found in real foods, high in sugar, etc), I wanted to highlight a study that was published this summer that on processed food.

The purpose of the study was to measure how many calories were burned after eating a cheese sandwich made with white bread and processed cheese versus one made with whole grain bread with real cheddar cheese.  Both sandwiches provided the same number of calories and the carbohydrate, protein, and fat content were the same.  

Not surprising, you burn a lot more calories after eating the sandwich made on whole grain bread with real cheddar cheese!  

Burning calories after you eat is called "diet induced thermogenesis".  It takes a lot of energy for your body to digest and process food.  In general, it takes more calories to digest and process protein and much less after eating fat.  But up until this summer, no one ever tested how many calories are burned eating a processed sandwich versus a more wholesome one.

So this professor did lose weight on his Twinkie diet, about 27 pounds in two months (which would probably never happen to a SHE...we're not that lucky with weight loss...but we do live longer so in the end, we WIN!)  But just imagine how much more weight he would have lost if he were on a whole food diet!  

I don't know about you, but I will choose the whole foods that burn more calories than the Twinkie diet.  This strategy would also help prevent weight gain and might explain why people who eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are leaner than those that eat more processed foods.  Sure, Twinkies have their place in the food supply but I wouldn't base a weight loss diet on them.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chronicles of NYC

This is not a blog about  my life.  If it were, it would be called something like or  My goal with this blog is to educate and inspire.  But several of you have asked me about my recent trip to NYC so I thought I would just take one post to highlight a few parts of the trip.  

The trip was a gift to my oldest daughter for her birthday.  We met a friend of the family there for a long weekend.  If I could summarize the trip in one word, it would be "connections".  Here are the highlights:

Unlike me, our family friend has other friends in high places.  We stayed in her friend's penthouse in mid-town east with this view from the balcony.  [Note to self...find some well-connected friends]

We saw the tree go up in Rockefeller Center (see that tiny, tiny man on the platform?  That is one big tree!)

If you look carefully, you will see a chihuahua on that van.  I just thought that was funny.  I've seen those little dogs in lots of places (purses, fanny packs, strollers, cleavage), but never on top of a utility van. 

Someone told me this was culturally significant in some way???  Something about sisters and Bruce Jenner???  OK fine, I watch it!  I admit that I watch the E! channel.   And I like it.  And if you're looking for stretch pants with holes in the knees that cost $295, you can get them here.  And you're welcome.

Again, because my friend has "connections", we got to go back stage after The Lion King and see all the cool costumes and scenery.  This is James Brown Orleans, the lead hyena.  He was gracious, passionate, and informative.  I love this guy!

Here's "my biggest" on the stage...thinking this is all normal to be walking around the stage of a Broadway show.  I'm thinking, "It's all downhill from here, honey" and "I'm the coolest mom ever".  

Here are the guitars that we played in James' dressing room til' 1 am.  What's that you're thinking?  Did I allow my 11-yr old to play guitars in the dressing room of a Broadway hyena until 1 am?  Yes.  Again, I should be blogging over at  

Look at all the people in Times Square at 1 am!   

I ate a chicken gyro sandwich made by a man in a truck while sitting across the street from the new construction at Ground Zero.  It was sad and inspiring all at the same time.  Still hard to believe that happened.  

And then the finale of my trip, a drag queen wedding.  It was depressing that this man looked better in a dress than I ever have/will.  Best wishes for a happy life together Frostie Flake and Honey!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

That Eggplant Looks Fabulous With Your Dress

I'm just off of a weekend in NYC.  I came home, pulled my stack of mail, and lookie lookie what I got in the mail:

I've never actually purchased anything from Barneys, so am confused as to why I received this particular issue of the catalog.  But I am happy to have it!  This "Foodie Holiday" issue is a tribute to Barney's "passion" for the "foodie culture" and highlights their efforts to keep everyone "well-fed".  This means that they gave $$ to the Food Bank for New York City.  

Look at these beautiful, and often comical, photos from the catalog (sorry for the shi++y photos that I took with my own camera):

That's a $1985 trench coat.  Yikes!

This dress is ONLY $1550.  Bargain!  NOT

These are called scapes, I just recently learned

How do I get one of those gigantic whisks?


Photographer: Hey model, wear this octopus on your head
Model: Sure. What's an octopus?

Sadly, most food banks are not getting these "foodie" foods.  If you have ever been to a food bank, and I suggest that you do at some point in your life, most foods are your basics.  There is no kale, romanesco, eggplant, octopus, etc.  There are cans of vegetables, bread, milk, eggs, baby formula, etc.

Some might think this is unfortunate.  But I've got to tell you, I've had some experience working with families that frequent food banks.  Most of these families are looking for familiar foods...they are's not about the flair of food, but about satiation.  They are not trying to impress their friends or family with their cuisine.  They just want to eat.

As a graduate student, I was involved in the university outreach program that went to the homes of families in need.  I still think about these experiences.  One family asked me what part of the cow the portabellas come from.  [They were referring to portabello mushrooms that were included in a box of food.]  Another young teenage girl told us she was pregnant, even though she was receiving free birth control pills.  She swore she never missed a pill and so was confused as to how she got pregnant.  After a long conversation, she finally revealed that she was using them vaginally.  

I applaud Barneys New York for trying to help feed those in need.  If anything, this catalog reminded me of several things:

  1. I am very lucky to have the knowledge to eat healthy foods and the ability to be able to do so. 
  2. There are many, many folks in need of food for themselves and their families.
  3. I will never have a trench coat that costs almost two-thousand dollars.  
  4. Sometimes models have to do strange stuff. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Poor, Poor, Spinach...Has to Resort to Label Claims

I'm rarely shocked by food, which makes the following two things kind of a big deal.  

First off, let me say that almost ALL processed foods take advantage of the FDA labeling laws and highlight certain nutritional aspects of their food.  Almost any food can do this, as evidenced by this:

Here is something that is more or less junk food, touting the fact that it has a few redeeming qualities...7 vitamins and minerals.  Big whoop.  The only reason those vitamins and minerals are there is because the base of a Poptart is enriched flour, which has added nutrients lost in the processing of whole wheat.  [For the record, I did not buy these Poptarts.  They were a gift.]

I'm used to seeing stuff like this.  Food companies are trying to make us feel good about crappy food.  I get it.  

Here is what I'm not used to seeing:

How sad is it that the De Jong Brothers have to do this???  Have we come to a point where people don't know that spinach is fat free and good for you?  Egads, I hope not!

On another note, here's something that shocked me.  Check out this vegetable that showed up in my organic produce delivery box this past Friday:

This is called romanesco.  It's kind of a mix between broccoli and cauliflower.  It was AWESOME!  I want more of these!  I want to grow these and eat them all the time!  Has anyone had this before?  Did you love it as much as me?  Isn't it sort of weird looking?  

I'm off to NYC tomorrow with my biggest...hoping to do a whole bunch of stuff that I've never done before!  

Monday, November 8, 2010

On Running, Hot Chocolate, and Why I May Exercise Outside this Winter

On Saturday, I joined thousands of other Chi-Town runners in a 9.3 mile jaunt along Lake Michigan.  Here is where we hung out before the race:
Here is me right before the start wearing a Hefty garbage bag to try to keep warm (it was 27 degrees...brrrrrr):

And here are some dudes heating up chocolate over these giant grills for the post-race fondue:

I ran almost the same course for a race in May, except it was 45 degrees warmer.  So this got me thinking about exercising in the cold.  And even though I find the cold extremely unpleasant, I may have convinced myself to suck it up and run outside all winter.  Here's what I learned from digging into the scientific literature:

  1. Most people burn more calories when performing the same exercise outside in the cold versus inside or at a more comfortable temperature.  This is for a few reasons....first off, your body has to generate more heat to warm you up and it does that by burning calories.  Second...just shivering burns calories.  Third, exercising with more gear (layers of clothes, boots, hats, etc.) is more of a physical burden, which can burn more calories. 
  2. How many more calories are burned in the cold is hard to find in the scientific literature.  I found one study that suggested that daily energy expenditure increased by 2% in women exercising in the cold.  That means an extra 40 calories for an average woman that burns 2,000 calories a day...that's just 2 tootsie roll midgets a day.  That hardly seems worth it!  But if you run outside 4 days a week, that's 160 calories a week and that starts to seem a bit more significant.  If you start thinking about it on a monthly basis, it gets even more attractive.
  3. In general, women get colder than men and faster.  This is scientific fact, so if my HE could kindly get off my back about being cold all the time, I'd greatly appreciate it!  Women have a larger surface area for a given body weight and that makes for SHE-sicles. 
  4. Women feel colder on days 14-28 of their menstrual cycle.  So if your significant other calls you "frigid" while you're PMS-ing, they are probably right!   
  5. Supposedly, one can acclimatize to the cold after 10 days.  I find this hard to  believe since I still haven't acclimatized to Chicago weather after 10 years.  I think they should repeat that study in women and define "acclimation" as the "absence of violent feelings toward inanimate winter objects such as icicles, slush, and salt trucks".  Then lets see how many days/months/years/decades it takes to acclimatize to the cold!   
Now I just have to upgrade my garbage bag...and wait for the cold weather again...because today in Chicago, it was 68 degrees.    

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What Did You Eat Yesterday?

In today's issue, the Chicago Tribune highlighted a new book titled, "What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets".  The book, written by a husband-and-wife team (photographer and former TV producer), documents the daily meals of 80 people in 30 countries.  In addition, they estimate the calories of the day's food and drink and comment on the costs of the food, body weight of the folks, their jobs, etc.  What I found most interesting about the article was the camel broker in Egypt who had potato chips for breakast...with a side of boiled water.   

I just ordered the book, so cannot comment on whether it's a good read or not.  I'm just fascinated by the concept of this question, "What did you eat yesterday"? 

Here's what I ate yesterday:

  • Zone nutrition bar
  • Non-fat grande latte
  • Panera You-Pick Two with black bean soup, Greek salad, and an apple
  • Diet Coke
  • 5 vanilla tootsie rolls (damn you Halloween candy!)
  • 1 long, skinny tootsie roll (I hate you Halloween candy)
  • Green lettuce with blue cheese dressing (need to grocery shop for salad fixin's)
  • Leftover creamed spinach and shallots from last week...or the week before, not sure, still alive today so perhaps last week
  • 5 slices of pepperoni (and yes, I consider myself a vegetarian)
  • Small sliver of the Stromboli I made with the pepperoni
  • Pizza bone from 1 slice of my HEs Lou Malnati's pizza
  • More slivers of the Stromboli (lost count)
  • Water

So what did YOU eat yesterday?  Anyone start the day with some boiled water?  Potato chips?  Tootsie rolls for breakfast?