Category Archives: Health

Detox Diet Vs. Clean Eating

“The idea that your body needs help getting rid of toxins has no basis in human biology,” says Frank Sacks, MD, of the Harvard School of Public Health. “Your organs and immune system handle those duties, no matter what you eat”. A detox diet may be a quick and temporary solution for losing weight but you’re likely to gain the weight back after you go off of it, as with any extreme diet.   I’ve heard of detox diets like drinking nothing but water with lemon juice and cayenne pepper for a week straight but to not consume any calories or nutrients all week sounds absurd to me.  This is the week everyone should be eating their healthiest, avoiding alcohol and drinking plenty of liquids to avoid bloating, cellulite, extra pounds and thin skin.

So rather than invest in a diet where you practically starve yourself, try a clean eating or organic diet for the week.  Shape Magazine’s Cynthia Sass recommends this seven day clean eating challenge to bring you ‘skyrocketing energy’, weight loss, better control over your appetite and yes, better looking skin.  Follow these 5 simple rules to slim down and feel your best before spring break:

  1. Eat only whole foods: If a food contains any ingredient you can’t pronounce or don’t know what it is, don’t buy it for the week you eat clean.  Ex: Blueberries and oats instead of a blueberry muffin
  2. Keep meals simple.  Your body only needs sources like whole grain, lean protein and healthy fat during each meal.  Ex: Veggies and shrimp over rice
  3. Eat slower.  Put your fork or spoon down during every bite and actually enjoy the different tastes and textures instead of inhaling your food like you’re in a hotdog race.
  4. Eat on a regular schedule.  Sass suggests not letting more than 4 hours go by between each meal to better regulate your digestive system, blood sugar, insulin levels and appetite.
  5. Listen to your body.  Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied, not stuffed.

You’ll thank yourself for eating healthy all week when you have a slim stomach on the beach and more energy to cram spring break activities.

Prevention During Spring Break

For you few lucky college students who are traveling in a few weeks for spring break, the goal is to have fun and keep your bodies nourished and protected while you do it.  The number one rule of going anywhere warm and sunny is obviously SUNSCREEN.  Sun protection is essential to skin cancer prevention – about 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 65 percent of melanomas are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun.  In a rigorous study of more than 1,600 adults over the course of a decade, researchers determined that subjects applying sunscreen with an SPF of 16 daily reduced their risk of melanoma by 50 percent (Sunscreen Safety: The Reality).

My second rule to laying out in the sun all day and for that matter, performing any physical activity under the hot sun, requires drinking extra water and eating lush foods like fruits and vegetables that contain high percentages of water.  Dehydration can cause problems like swollen feet, headaches or life-threatening conditions like heat strokes.  I suggest wearing a brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect delicate facial skin from sun spots, wrinkles and leathery skin down the road.

Sticking to your workout routine over any kind of vacation can be very challenging once you’re faced with all the sweet cocktails, good food, beach merriment and night clubs on your vacation but it’s possible to avoid any extra weight gain.  Wake up early and eat the good kinds of carbs and protein like eggs, bacon and whole wheat toast before going on an inspirational run on the beach for 30 minutes.  In addition to your cardio run, here’s a powerful 30 minute workout from Health Magazine you can do without gym equipment; a perfect vacation solution to keep the weight off while you party.

  • 2 minutes of jumping jacks
  • Side lunges w/ 5-8 pound dumbbells for 24 reps, each leg
  • Dancing squats w/ 8 pound dumbbell for 24 reps, each leg
  • Line hops or jump rope for 2 minutes
  • ‘Tipsy’ Bridge and Lift for 24 repps, each side
  • Biceps and Arm Circles w/ 5-8 pound dumbbells for 16 reps, each arm
  • Fast Feet for 2 minutes
  • Triceps w/ a Twist using 8-10 pound dumbbells for 24 reps, each side
  • Supermans (aka Roll Over and Sit Ups) for 16 reps back and stomach
  • Cross Crawl for 2 minutes

Stretch it out and you’re done, ready to relax and carry on with your festivities!

Who cares if pot becomes legal in MD?

Thousands of people testified and showed their support for or against the legalization on marijuana in the state of Maryland Tuesday. In the first set of hearings, members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee weighed measures proposing to make recreational use of the drug legal for people 21 and older; another proposal would shift possessions of small amounts of marijuana to a civil, rather than criminal offense. Proponents of both bills pointed to negative consequences of prohibiting marijuana, including the barriers to employment and education created by marijuana-related arrests and the racial disparities that often surface in arrests.  More…

“We have criminalized and demonized tens of thousands of our fellow Marylanders, we have ruined many of their prospects for success in the labor market and the job force, we have been spending more than $100 million a year on criminal arrest prosecution and supervision of people for marijuana related offenses, and yet we didn’t put a dent into the demand for the drug, and so indirectly we have been supporting the drug gangs and the international drug cartel.”–Senator Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery, sponsor of the legalization bill.

Law enforcement officials testifying in opposition pointed to unintended consequences of the legislation, such as a potential increase in “drug driving” and a hike in the number of people trying the drug for the first time. There are zero known deaths from marijuana use itself but mental and physical effects are not limited to altered perceptions and mood, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and disrupted learning and memory. Marijuana smoke is an irritant to the lungs, and frequent marijuana smokers can have many of the same respiratory problems experienced by tobacco smokers, such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illness, and a heightened risk of lung infections. Most pot smokers aren’t hurting anybody and mind their own business…but try to imagine living in a world where it is completely legal to smoke before work, school or before driving.  Do you think this generation could handle the responsibility?

Alcohol and Your Body

Drinking can seem like one of the biggest social events on a college campus but when weekend fun turns into a daily routine, your body will start crying for help.  The liver is the largest organ in the human body and it has over 500 different roles.  One of its most important roles of the liver is to break down food and convert it to energy when you need it most.  It also helps rid the body of waste products and plays a crucial role in fighting infections.  When the liver is damaged, you generally won’t know about it until things get serious.  Drinking too much alcohol can damage the liver in two main ways: oxidative stress and toxins in gut bacteria.  The end result?  Liver disease that can lead to serious hospitalization or death.

So how do you know if you’re drinking too much?  You may have an alcohol problem if you:

  • Feel guilty or ashamed about your drinking
  • Lie to others or hide your drinking habits
  • Have friends or family who are concerned about your drinking habits
  • Need to drink in order to relax or feel better
  • “Black out” or forget what you did while you were drinking
  • Regularly drink more than you intended to

If you need to drink more than you used to in order to get a buzz and can drink more than other people without getting drunk, these are signs of tolerance which can be an early warning of alcoholism.  If you experience any of the following signs, you may be experiencing withdrawal from the heavy amounts of alcohol your body is used to consuming.

  • Anxiety/Jumpiness
  • Shaking/Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or  vomiting
  • Insomnia/Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache

Alcohol abuse can lead to destructive decisions like drinking and driving, performing poorly at work or school, increased probability of overdosing when mixing alcohol with medications, disorderly conduct and embarrassment or heartbreak for yourself and others.  If you or somebody you care about think you might have a drinking problem, visit www.helpguide.org for information, support and help.

If You’re Getting Sick…Try Not to Panic

Lately I’ve been surrounded by people who have been sneezing, coughing, losing their voices, vomiting or weak from a fever.  I have always had a weak immune system because I have several autoimmune diseases  so I was surprised to find myself in pretty good shape this entire week.  If you find yourself getting sick, try and quarantine yourself from others you recognize with cold or flu symptoms (it’s often hard to tell the difference between the two).   Both can be treated with medicine to shorten the time spent sick but once the cold or flu has started, there’s nothing more to do than temporarily mask the symptoms and ride it out.

Experts say that Vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients.  It protects against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease and even skin wrinkling.  It may not cure the cold or flu but if you eat enough fruits and vegetables or take an additional supplement to get the recommended daily 500 mg, Vitamin C can play a large role in keeping you out of your bed and on top of your daily life.  If you don’t prefer straight fruits or vegetables, visit www.smoothieweb.com for over 500 healthy, multi-purpose smoothies.

I’m sure everyone could feel this one coming but exercising daily is a great preventative to battle the cold, flu or fatigue.  Exercise not only helps your immune system fight off simple bacterial and viral infections, it decreases your chances of developing heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer.  Physical activity can help by flushing bacteria out of the lungs (preventing cold, flu and other airborne illnesses) and prevent cancer-causing cells by increasing output of wastes, like urine and sweat.  Read more…

Last but certainly not least, your water intake is the key to any aspect of your physical health.  The average human body is comprised of 50-65% of water; mental performance and physical coordination start to become impaired after about 1% dehydration.  Water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues: the main tissues affected by a cold.  For more information on the cold, flu or any health-related topics discussed above, visit mayoclinic.org or webmd.com.