A health and fitness blog: With an occasional food item

Thursday, September 30, 2010


So 20 years have flown by and I'm going to my 20th college reunion this weekend.
Twenty? Really?
Am looking forward to seeing people I haven't seen since the 10th. Sadly, some of our crowd can't make it but maybe we'll catch them at the 30th. (A shoutout especially to Kelly and Jeff.)
Things we didn't have 20 years ago: Blogging, the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, iPods, iPads, iPhones, etc. etc. No personal computers.
However, I distinctly remember that bag phones for cars were coming on the scene (this would have been in '89 or '90); and a friend of mine put one of those fake antennas on her car, to make people THINK she had a car phone.
Fads change, but the instinct to copy fads--or look cool in school--does not.
I remember that my dad wrote me letters several times a week and included copies of the Far Side cartoon (which I still miss) in the envelope.
This is where I went to college. I was very fortunate to have gone there.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tiger Woods: Ryder Cup

Newport, Wales--It's an unfortunate concept but, sadly, a truth, too, that in golf, nice guys aren't always as successful as their talent suggests.
Adam Scott is a nice guy, as are Freddie Couples and Sean O'Hair. But are they too nice to step on people's throats Sunday afternoons?
Phil Mickelson ruffles the feathers of his peers, as could Vijay Singh. Jack Nicklaus wasn't too friendly when a championship was on the line, and let's not even talk about Ben Hogan.
And be sure that Tiger Woods earned his stripes in that league, too.
"No matter how friendly you are with him, he wants to slit your throat on the golf course," said O'Hair after Woods beat him last year to win at Bay Hill.
An interesting analysis by Robert Lusetich at FoxSports.
Read the rest here.
Isn't this true in any profession? Sure, golf is played on the world stage (and the Ryder Cup will only further secure that); but think of the really successful people you know: The ones at the top of the heap GENERALLY aren't so concerned with their competitors. Or is it the focus that makes them seem, well, prickly?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A portrait of grief

From one of my all-time favorite movies, "Steel Magnolias."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Nutrition 101: What's healthy, what's not

This is a great link on the Duke University Web site.
So many times, you go to research calories or meal portions or what-have-you and you land on a site with products for sale. It can be discouraging.
Thanks, Duke U, for compiling this list.

Fast food wins bout with veggies

It’s been a busy week for vegetables.
The baby-carrot industry tried to reposition its product as junk food, starting a $25 million advertising campaign whose defining characteristics include heavy metal music, a phone app and a young man in a grocery cart dodging baby-carrot bullets fired by a woman in tight jeans.
On the East Side of Manhattan, crates of heirloom vegetables with names like Lady Godiva squash were auctioned for $1,000 each at Sotheby’s, where the wealthy are more accustomed to bidding on Warhols and Picassos than turnips and tomatoes.
Both efforts, high and low, are aimed at the same thing: getting America to eat its vegetables.
Good luck. Despite two decades of public health initiatives, stricter government dietary guidelines, record growth of farmers’ markets and the ease of products like salad in a bag, Americans still aren’t eating enough vegetables.
Read the rest of the Times article here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Swiftwick cycling socks

Bought some of these socks today.
They rock.
Wicking, as you probably know, keeps moisture away from your skin. I always wear shirts that wick--usually some combo of polyester and rayon--and your shirt can be soaking wet but it doesn't cling to you.
Hope everyone's having a super weekend. Supposed to be 80 degrees here tomorrow. We'll take it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Maryland candidate for Senate hit, killed while cycling

This is so sad.
Natasha Pettigrew, a Green Party candidate, was cycling early Sunday and was struck and killed by an SUV. She died Monday evening.
As much as I'd say "be careful out there" (to cyclists and drivers), accidents can still happen. We have a good friend who was hit here a few years ago. He, too, was on an early-morning ride and a driver didn't see him. I seem to recall it was foggy. He was not killed, thankfully, but broke his back. Word to the wise: Practice defensive driving and cycling, y'all.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

EAS Peak: Performance Nutrition

Got this package in the mail today. It was three bottles of EAS Peak, each with 10 grams of protein. The press release boasts of 3 P's: Push, Performance and Protect. There's no caffeine. It does contain the following scientific words: Beta-alanine: an amino acid used to produce carnosine in the muscles. (Which is said to delay fatigue); isomaltulose: a slowly digesting carb; and HMB: an ingredient that can help slow muscle protein breakdown while promoting the production of new muscle tissue.
Wanna know what HMB stands for? beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate. Whoa.
Did it help get me through Spin? Yes, and it tasted pretty good too.
Thanks, EAS.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wired: Double amputee swims English channel

Did y'all hear about this?
Frenchman Philippe Croizon, who lost both arms and legs in an electrical accident in 1994, successfully swam across the English Channel yesterday in just under 14 hours, using a snorkel affixed to his face as well as some specially designed prosthetic flippers.
Croizon, who trained more than 30 hours a week for two years for this attempt, had been hoping to make the swim in roughly 24 hours. Instead, he made the 21-mile crossing from Folkstone, UK, to Wissant, France in just over half a day.
Back in 1994, Croizon made his living as a French metal worker when he climbed the roof of his house one day and made contact with a nearby power line. His life-threatening injuries required the amputation of all four of his four limbs, although that hasn’t affected Croizon from living his life.
In fact, you’ll likely soon find his name on the official list of Channel-swim record-holders.
Read the rest here.

AP photo

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Garrison Keillor: Leave me alone

"One short weekend, so much to do -- an invitation to go swimming at night by moonlight, the Iran protest march downtown with our mouths taped shut, a dance at the Eagles Club with a hot horn band playing '70s funk that propels people onto the dance floor as if shot from guns -- but here I am stuck with houseguests who are unable to sit in a room without me for more than 15 minutes. They follow me around like faithful collies. We ran out of conversation on Friday and they're here until Wednesday. I have had un-Christian thoughts about them. I may have to run away from home.
The problem, dear hearts, is a common one here in the American heartland: an inability to express personal preference in simple declarative sentences, no modifiers.
E.g., 'I vish to be alone.' "
This is the rest.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Well: What doctors don't know about nutrition

Some of the most common questions patients ask their doctors focus on the link between diet and health, according to the Well blog on NewYorkTimes.com. But as Dr. Pauline Chen explains this week in her Doctor and Patient column, many of the nation’s medical schools are failing to provide new doctors with adequate nutrition education. She writes:
"Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill asked nutrition educators from over 100 medical schools to describe the nutrition instruction offered to their students. While the researchers learned that almost all schools require exposure to nutrition, only about quarter offered the recommended 25 hours of instruction, a decrease from six years earlier, when almost 40 percent of all schools met the minimum recommendations. In addition, four schools offered nutrition optionally, and one school offered nothing at all. And while the majority of medical schools tended to intersperse lectures on nutrition in standard, required year-long or semester courses, like biochemistry or physiology, only a quarter of the schools managed to have a single course dedicated to the topic."
Read the rest here.
I like one of the comments: "Money talks and the beet growers associations can’t afford TV advertising like Lilly can."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Slow cooker: Take the slow-cooker quiz

All hail the slow cooker. This marvel of modern cookery is an asset to busy home cooks everywhere. The set-it-and-forget-it technique means dinner will be ready at the end of the day with a minimum of prep in the morning. Are you a smarty when it comes to slow cooking? Prove your know-how with this challenging quiz.
Good luck!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

MCAT: How the scoring breaks down

In case you are curious about the MCAT--the medical school admissions test--here's how the different sections break down, scoring-wise.
I have a friend who just took it and she feels pretty solid about it. All the best to her. She has to wait about three more weeks for results. Imagine THAT agony.
The sections are: Physical Sciences; Verbal Reasoning; Biological Sciences; and Writing. Not so sure how I'd handle Physical and Biological Sciences--which, yes, sort of counts me out for this particular profession.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Consumer Reports: Rate those heart surgeons

Medical groups that perform heart bypass surgery are now being rated alongside cars and toaster ovens in Consumer Reports.
In most parts of the country, data-based ratings of doctors are not available to patients. Only a few states, including New York, provide them.
The magazine published ratings of 221 surgical groups from 42 states online last Tuesday and will print them in its October issue. Groups are rated, not individual doctors. The groups receive one, two or three stars, for below average, average or above average. The scores were based on complication and survival rates, whether the groups used the best surgical technique and whether patients were being sent home with certain medicines that research has shown to be beneficial after this type of surgery.
Read this rest here.
And why not? If you can get a good sense of the best toasters, why not someone--or a group of someones--operating on you?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

U.S. Open: Federer falls in five-set thriller

What a match!
I'm definitely a Roger Federer fan and would have wanted him in the final against Nadal. But Novak Djokovic prevailed and overall, toward the end, looked fresher.
Here's my question, though: How do you go five sets, at more than four hours, and still look like you've just walked out of your living room? (I'm a major sweater.)
Another question: Whom to root for Sunday?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Livestrong.com: Guilt

What is guilt?
Guilt is:

* Feeling of responsibility for negative circumstances that have befallen yourself or others.
* Feeling of regret for your real or imagined misdeeds, both past and present.
* Sense of remorse for thoughts, feelings or attitudes that were or are negative, uncomplimentary or non-accepting concerning yourself or others.
* Feeling of obligation for not pleasing, not helping or not placating another.
* Feeling of bewilderment and lack of balance for not responding to a situation in your typical, stereotype manner.
* Feeling of loss and shame for not having done or said something to someone who is no longer available to you.
* Accepting of responsibility for someone else's misfortune or problem because it bothers you to see that person suffer.
* Motivator to amend all real or perceived wrongs.
* Strong moral sense of right and wrong that inhibits you from choosing a "wrong" course of action; however, you assign your own definitions to the words.
* Driving force or mask behind which irrational beliefs hide.
How do others play on your feelings of guilt?
Read it all: here.

Admittedly, I am one of those who takes on too much. (Guilty!) I often take on responsibility for things that aren't mine. But the other day when I had one of my "episodes" of guilt, I was able to work through it. At least mostly. Guilt can be a great "check" on you; you can right wrongs. Yet there are some who feel no guilt at all, about anything, and perhaps have no issue with doing things that might lead to a feeling of guilt, such as robbing a bank.
Anyone else want to weigh in?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Jamie Lee Curtis: Recovery is 'single greatest accomplishment'

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis has said that recovering from years of drug abuse is her "greatest accomplishment" in life. (Well, that and motherhood.)
In an interview on NBC's Today, the actress admitted that ending her addiction is what allowed her to lead a successful life.
"My recovery is the single greatest accomplishment of my life. And without that, the rest of my life would have fallen apart," she explained.
Read the rest here.
Mainly I applaud Curtis, and others like her in the limelight, for naming their struggles with addiction. It takes the power out when you say or write things. However, the mixed-bag I have with Curtis and others is two-fold: One, that recovery work can be glorified. (We seem to hear every day about so-and-so actor going to rehab. So it becomes sort of the "in" thing.) And two, I tire easily of celebrity news. "Actress X stubbed her toe today while shopping for a bathing suit. News at 11."

Monday, September 6, 2010

Harvard Medical School: Students look down the road 10 years

"Therefore, if you know one Dominican patient, you know exactly one Dominican patient, and not all Dominicans."

Here, a few first-year medical students at Harvard weigh in on the future of their future profession. And I like what the one guy said above, which should be a lesson to us all--whether in medicine or the arts. Generalizations, while helpful in making certain categorical judgments, miss the particular. What patient/person doesn't want to be seen and heard?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Medical school: Seeing patients on Day 1

Fascinating shift from a formula enacted 100 years ago: Medical schools, such as NYU, are putting medical students in contact with real-life patients on the first day.
Read the New York Times story here.
Of course it's not clinical training, yet--mostly testimonials from patients in the classroom. But it seems necessary. If nothing else, I presume, the would-be docs can associate names and faces with long names of diseases. And in the long run, become more-compassionate physicians.

Friday, September 3, 2010

U.S. Open: Poet-in-residence?

That seems kind of weird.
But this columnist offers a "return of serve" to the tradition at Wimbledon. And the concept of poet-in-residence wouldn't have to be limited to tennis tournaments. What about restaurants? Waffle House?
Here's a Waffle House Haiku (just written by Yours Truly):
Scattered, smothered, chopped
Hashbrowns ready when you are
Ceramic mugs: coffee

If you're laboring this weekend, don't work too hard.
Meanwhile, catch U.S. Open action here.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tiger Woods: What recession?

The housing market in the United States may still be in the tank, but that hasn't stopped Tiger Woods from taking out a hefty sum for his newest residence.
Just days after he finalized his divorce with ex-wife Elin Nordegren, Woods took out a $54.5 million mortgage for the mega-mansion he's building on Florida's exclusive Jupiter Island, according to TMZ.com.
Tiger has agreed to pay the loan back by January 15, 2016.
Legal documents filed in Martin County and obtained by TMZ.com indicate that Tiger's property will span across three parcels of land. The mansion will also include a tennis court, oxygen therapy room, multiple pools and a state-of-the-art fitness center.