Coffee accolades

researchers believe coffee consumption may decrease risk of melanoma

Drinking coffee is my favorite morning ritual. When the smell of brewing beans wafts up the staircase from the kitchen it is just a little bit easier to rise, and during the first silent moments of the day, as I sip my cup of joe, life feels calm, beautiful, and full of quiet potential.

And so, I savor these few minutes each day, and I would not trade them in, even if the scientific literature told me it was bad for my health.

Fortunately for me, and perhaps you, coffee continues to get good press for its health-boosting properties. The latest benefit of this morning starter? According to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, drinking caffeinated coffee can protect you against cutaneous melanoma, the fifth most common cancer in the US. If you drink more than one cup, no worries. The risk of melanoma decreases with higher consumption. Overall, you can reduce your risk by up to 20%!

Enjoy your cup friends, guilt-free.


The 2-pound wake-up call

stay on top of your weight to keep it in check

I had a rude awakening Saturday. I pulled on my jeans and they felt mighty tight.

Panicked, I hopped on the scale and found I'd gained 2 pounds. This realization prompted an impromptu elliptical session followed by my favorite calorie burning barre sequences.

As I came out of my endorphin high, I began to reflect on the last couple of months. I'd gotten sloppy with my eating and, frankly, I was surprised it had taken so long to catch up with me.

Here's where I erred:

  1. The kids begged me to buy those never-ending snack bags from Costco, and I obliged. The problem? The kids weren't the only ones indulging
  2. When I pulled out the after school snacks I almost always sneaked a taste of my own, even if I wasn't really hungry
  3. I was making school lunches in the evening before dinner. Often ravenous at this time, I'd have a bite here and there, which wasn't helping me control my calorie intake

So, how will I tackle this weight gain?

Here's my plan:

  1. I will not eat packaged snacks when I'm hungry. Only whole foods will do. I'll reach for baby carrots and hummus, apples, grapes, cherry tomatoes, nuts
  2. I won't punish the whole family while working out my issues. Instead, I will avoid buying snacks I can't resist and opt for the ones they like and I find disgusting (like Cheez-its).
  3. I will amp up my exercise routine
  4. I will focus on drinking water, which will help me feel full
  5. I will make lunches as soon as the kids get home, so I'm not ravenous when making them
  6. If necessary, I will chew gum while preparing dinner, so I won't be tempted to taste too much of it
  7. I will make sure I never eat unless I'm truly hungry
  8. I will allow indulgences, like biscotti after dinner, so I don't go absolutely crazy :-)
My husbands find this full-on assault amusing, and perhaps you do, too. But putting the brake on weight gain as soon as possible makes keeping one's weight in check doable. I know I don't want to wake up one day and realize I need to address a 15-pound weight gain. That's just too overwhelming. How about you? How do you control your weight?


2015's power vegetable

kalettes may be the new power vegetable
Source: kalettes.com

It's been introduced as the vegetable match of the century. There's a Facebook page and a website dedicated to this new powerhouse green, and both marketers and growers are hoping you will jump on the bandwagon.

They hope you'll tap into your love for kale and Brussels sprouts to dig into their new hybrid, otherwise known as Kalettes.

But will you like them? The round, purple-hued veggies are a bit sweeter and milder than Brussels sprouts, and they have a great nutty flavor. Another bonus: they are versatile. You can add them to your salad and eat them raw; you can sauté them with olive oil and add citrus fruits or mushrooms; you can take them outside this summer and grill them; you can oven roast them with cheese or fold them into an omelette. Check out the Kalettes website for more cooking and recipe ideas.


Beating chronic pain

1 in 5. 19%. 40 million: that's how many Americans suffer from chronic pain.

And what do we do to address it? According to Nightline reporters, most of us pop a pill. 80% of all pain killers, they say, are taken in the US.

But what if you worry about the risk of drug dependency, or you don't want to experience a host of scary side effects? What are your choices? Researchers, whose study was published in the Journal of Pain, say there is an unmet need for solutions to address chronic pain in the US.

However, there are some solutions, and I'd love to introduce you to MELT. MELT is an innovative self-care technique anyone can learn to do. With MELT you can take control of your own health. In a few short weeks you can learn how to rehydrate your fascial tissue and rebalance your nervous system. The result? You get out, and stay out, of pain. It's no joke. Take a look:

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Sugar, not salt, leads to high blood pressure

Limit sugar to reduce high blood pressure

It's a health claim most everyone knows: limit salt intake in order to control blood pressure.

But is it true?

New research shows that added sugar, not salt, is the biggest culprit when it comes to high blood pressure. Researchers, whose study was published in Open Heart, indicate that diets focused on decreasing added sugar are more effective in controlling blood pressure than diets focused on reducing salt intake.

What can you do? The researchers stressed that sugars found naturally in foods isn't at issue, it's the sugar added to foods when they are processed. Therefore, the easiest way to tackle the problem is to limit processed foods as much as possible. Skip the snack and cookie aisles at the grocery store, and don't shop for groceries at the drug store or convenient marts.


The skinny on egg claims

Beware of food labeling

Do you find shopping for eggs a baffling experience? I do. I could stand in front of the refrigerated section at the grocery store and come up with dozens of questions as I scanned the egg cartons: Is it worth the money to buy cage-free eggs? What does hormone-free mean? Which hens run around more: the cage free or the free range? How do eggs become Omega-3 enriched?

Here's the skinny:
  1. Free range may seem to indicate that hens can wander around freely, but this isn't the case. The term is regulated by the USDA, and it means that the hens had unlimited access to food and fresh water and were able to get outdoors. However, the amount of time they are allowed outside, and the quality and size of the outside space, is not regulated.
  2. Unfortunately, Cage free doesn't mean the hens are allowed to roam freely outside soaking up the sunshine. Instead, it means the hens had unlimited access to food and fresh water and were able to move around freely in either an indoor or outdoor area.
  3. Hormone-free is a redundant claim. The USDA doesn't allow hormone use in raising any poultry, so don't pay extra for eggs making this type of claim. 
  4. Omega-3 enriched eggs come from hens that were fed diets rich in omega-3's: their feed was enriched with ingredients like flax seed and fish oil. Experts are divided on whether or not these eggs are healthier than the regular variety. 


Feel better now

Did you know that you can erase pain and tension in your hands, feet, neck, and low back brought on by everyday stress, overuse, and age in just 10 minutes a day, 3 times a week? It may sound improbable, maybe even impossible, but I'm here to say that this is no gimmick.

I should know. For 2 long years I suffered from chronic pain due to a herniated disc in my neck. Every day and every night my neck bothered me. I could not carry grocery bags. The weight of my purse on my shoulder was excruciating. Even hugging my children at night was a challenge, as a tug too hard sent pain shooting up to the base of my skull.

When physical and manual therapy yielded few positive results for me, I decided to try MELTing. I was skeptical, but I was desperate, and I figured I had nothing to lose. I'm not going to lie. It was a bumpy road, but after 9 weeks of consistently MELTing, I am now pain-free, and I've been pain-free for 8 months now!

Let me share this innovative method with you. Join me March 10 at the Hanna Perkins Center in Shaker Heights for an introduction to the MELT Hand & Foot Treatment. Learn how the connective tissue in your hands and feet gets dehydrated, the common aches and pains it can cause, and how to rehydrate this essential system in our bodies for vibrant health and pain-free movement.

If you decide to continue, you can sign up for a 4-week intensive series of sessions. This series will provide you with all the information and tools you need to make your whole body feel better, relieving you from neck and low back pain, arthritis, bunions, plantar fasciitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. But that's not all. It can also enhance athletic performance, reduce the risk of injury, improve sleep and digestion, and even reduce wrinkles and cellulite.

What are you waiting for? Sign up here. I can't wait to join you on your path to healthy, active, and pain-free living.

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