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!