Tag Archives: diet

The Importance of Health and Kick-Ass Mothers

16 Mar

A pretty powerful photo:

I don’t weigh 120 pounds. Honestly, I don’t know if I would ever want to. I do have an “ideal weight” goal, but it’s higher than 120 pounds. Both sides of my family produce rather curvaceous women, and I started developing secondary sex features (*cough* boobs *cough*) in the 5th grade. I’ve never been the petite or slender type, and I am perfectly okay with that. I don’t mind my current weight, nor do I care about the stretch marks on my tummy.
What I care about is my health. My cholesterol and glucose values are far more important to me than my dress size.

Health was a huge deal in my childhood. My mom was adopted and her biological family’s medical history remains unknown, so the best she and I can do is lead a healthy lifestyle. She taught me to decipher nutrition labels as soon as I could read. She showed me a bunch of little tricks, like how to compare not only calories, but serving size, carbohydrates, fat, sugar, etc.

She also taught me that:

  • Mayonnaise is Satan in culinary clothing.
  • Salads should be a part of Every. Single. Dinner.
  • There is no such thing as too many vegetables.
  • Bacon is delicious meat-candy which will make your heart absolutely hate you. And can also be microwaved. She would always microwave bacon in a 2 inch layer of paper towels to absorb the grease. It wasn’t until I was 13 did I realize that bacon could also be fried in a pan. It wasn’t until I was 18 that I realized that’s how most people actually cook bacon. 

However, she did forget to teach me that bacon is very useful when it comes to making meat-themed Nativity scenes, but hey, nobody’s perfect. She was probably too busy being an awesome mom.

She preached against dangerous fad diets, explaining that true weight loss is a lifestyle choice, and there is no easy way. Weight that is easily lost is easily regained. She never complained about her own weight struggles in front of me, instead pursued them with steady perseverance and patience. She never once made a negative comment about my weight, try to guilt-trip me into dieting, or do anything else that would have crippled my self esteem. The goal wasn’t to be thin or to hate your body; The goal was health, because your body deserves to be loved.
I cannot thank her enough for that.

Parents play the biggest role in their child’s health, and too often don’t fully realize it. The Mayo Clinic has a wonderful online resource with simple and effective steps for families to battle childhood obesity in a way the promotes healthy lifestyle choices and doesn’t damage self esteem. I highly recommend checking it out, it’s a quick read. Best of all, while the article is written for parents, their simple suggestions can be applied to all ages:

  • Eat nutritious foods
  • Don’t bring junk food into the house
  • Control your portion sizes
  • Save treats and high-calorie snacks for special occasions
  • Turn off the TV and computer
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine
  • Stress the importance of healthy lifestyle choices, rather than a number on the scaleFor other great resources, be sure to check out The University of Michigan Health System, the Help Cure Childhood Obesity website, or simply Google childhood obesity. Another great resource for families on a budget (and poor college students like me) is this super awesome Hamilton Health Science Eating Guide. Money should not be an issue when it comes to eating healthy, and may even save you money.Teaching your child good nutritional habits doesn’t end when they turn 18. Even though I’ve grown up and live in another city, she still gives me handy tips on eating healthy. Just recently she introduced my to a variation of peanut butter on celery sticks. She substitutes peanut butter with a Laughing Cow Lite spreadable cheese wedge. One wedge will fill 3 sticks, at only 35 calories. Genius.

    It smiles because it knows it can kill you.

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Black Tea = Happy Heart

14 Mar

Black Tea Is Shown To Lower Blood Pressure


Western Australian tea drinkers are helping build evidence that black tea may aid in maintaining cardiovascular health — with local researchers showing three cups of black tea daily lowers blood pressure by 2 to 3mmHg.

Lead author Jonathon Hodgson from the University of Western Australia’s School of Medicine and Pharmacology says many studies have looked at black and green tea in relation to heart and vascular disease outcomes.

“Meta-analyses of these studies indicate that drinking more tea, compared to drinking less or no tea, is associated with about a 10 to 20 per cent lower risk of heart disease and stroke,” Prof Hodgson says.

Seeking to investigate if this association was causal, the team from UWA and researchers from Unilever, conducted the first human intervention study to look at black tea and blood pressure outcomes.

“There have been a number of human intervention studies looking at effects on vascular function, with reasonably consistent findings that tea can increase the relaxation of blood vessels — an outcome linked with blood pressure and risk of heart disease,” he says. “This was the first large study specifically designed and powered to look at blood pressure as the primary outcome.”

Ninety-five Australian participants aged between 35 and 75 were required to drink three cups of black tea or three cups of a placebo, with the same flavour and caffeine content as the tea, daily for six months. Using 24-hour blood pressure measurement taken at the end of the trial, the group found a reduction in the systolic and diastolic blood pressure of the tea-drinkers of between 2 and 3mmHg.


According to Prof Hodgson, while a reduction of 2 or 3mmHg is not large, it is still a valuable effect when combined with other interventions.

“If you put the effect of tea together with other dietary and lifestyle changes, such as weight loss or reduced salt and alcohol intake, you might get up to a 10mmHg reduction in blood pressure without drug therapy,” he says.

The group believe high flavonoid levels in black tea cause an increase in nitric oxide, a compound that acts on cells in blood vessel walls to cause relaxation, blood vessel dilation and, ultimately, a reduction in blood pressure. According to Prof Hodgson, the findings also show promise for those who prefer to not drink tea.

“You can get the same benefits if you eat enough of other flavonoid-rich foods such as apples, plums and red grapes — no tea required.”

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Quite a bit of research has been done over the years demonstrating the benefits of tea. So if the mood strikes you today, here is a handy dandy tea brewing chart. Drink tea and enjoy a happy heart ^_^