Archive for October, 2013

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Health and Fitness – The Huffington Post
Halloween Candy ‘Trade-In’ Is Ingenious Answer To North Dakota Woman’s ‘Fat Letter’
It was quite the Halloween buzzkill yesterday when word got out about the woman in North Dakota who threatened to give “moderately obese” trick-or-treating children a “fat letter” instead of candy this Halloween.

“I just want to send a message to the parents of kids that are really overweight,” the crusader told a North Dakota radio station. “I think it’s just really irresponsible of parents to send them out looking for free candy just ’cause all the other kids are doing it.”

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that in 2010 more than a third of children were overweight or obese, a heckling letter to chubby kids on Halloween is certainly not the solution.

But a woman in Hawaii has a much better idea for how to keep Halloween fun while also keeping kids healthy.

This Saturday morning, chiropractor Dr. Micaire Baxter is inviting children and their parents to a “candy trade-in” at her office, in which kids can trade their candy for sports and recreation equipment like footballs, tennis rackets and beach toys. The trade value is dependent on the weight of the candy exchanged.

It’s a genius idea on multiple levels. Kids are motivated to collect as much candy as possible, which means more walking on Halloween evening and more trick-or-treat fun; they have to wait until Saturday, which prevents candy gorging for three days and encourages moderation; and they make a decision to prioritize recreation and exercise over junk food. And since the program is open to any child with a bag of candy, it doesn’t single out kids who subjectively appear at least “moderately obese.”

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Health and Fitness – The Huffington Post
Could It Possibly Be Healthy To Eat Nothing But The Food-Substitute Soylent?
From the Nov. 4 issue of New York Magazine:

A normal person might have considered eating both pizza and kale, and maybe an occasional apple. But this is not the hacker way. Rob Rhinehart decided to create a new, nutritionally complete food from scratch. His roommate, who had a background in biology, provided some basic biochemistry lessons, and he drew further inspiration from local “biohackers,” DIY biotech researchers who approach life’s basic ­functions like programmers to code, ­creating new foods, medicines, and even organisms. He pored over textbooks, open-access scientific journals, and dietary guidelines. “I began to see all the parallels between biochemistry and electronics,” Rhinehart says. “Basically I realized that DNA is information, and proteins and enzymes are gears and transistors.”

After a few months of research, he mixed the first batch of Soylent with ingredients purchased online. He lived on Soylent alone for the next month. “I felt amazing,” Rhinehart says today. “I had more energy; I slept better. I could focus more; I was brighter and more optimistic.”

When his joints began to ache, he added more sulfur to his formula, and the pain went away. In February, Rhinehart revealed his self-experiment in a triumphant post on his personal blog: “I haven’t eaten a bite of food in 30 days and it’s changed my life,” he wrote.

Read more here.

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Health and Fitness – The Huffington Post
Poignant Story Of A Husband Who Documented His Wife’s Terminal Breast Cancer Is Utterly Heartbreaking (PICTURES)
In an incredible photo story called The Battle We Didn’t Choose, Angelo Merendino documented his wife Jennifer’s journey from being diagnosed with breast cancer, receiving the all clear, then being re-diagnosed with metatastic breast cancer.

She passed away on 22 December, 2011.

There are few words that can sum up an entire life so completely, that capture the tiny moments of happiness (whether it’s sharing a beer in the sunshine) and the dark points of pain (the dishevelled sheets of a hospital bed), and Angelo has shown us a glimpse into what it must have been like for him.

On his website, he writes: “My photographs show this daily life. They humanize the face of cancer, on the face of my wife. They show the challenge, difficulty, fear, sadness and loneliness that we faced, that Jennifer faced, as she battled this disease. Most important of all, they show our love. These photographs do not define us, but they are us.”

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HuffPost UK Lifestyle interviewed Angelo to find out more about their story:

What made you want to document your wife’s cancer?

I knew the first time I saw Jennifer that she was the one. I was applying for a job as a bartender at a restaurant in Cleveland, and Jen was the manager. I got the job and about a month later Jen moved to Manhattan to take a job with L’Oreal. We were just friends at this point and after Jen moved I couldn’t stop thinking about her.

The following winter I was visiting Jen in New York and I finally worked up the courage to share my feelings – I turned into a third grader and told her I had a crush on her. As soon as I said this I thought, “What did I just say?” Then Jen’s eyes lit up and she said, “I feel the same way.”

We dated long distance and really learned how to communicate with each other, how to listen. After six months the distance became too much and I moved to Manhattan. On the night I arrived in town Jen and I celebrated by having dinner at one of our favorite Italian restaurants, Frank. After dinner I got down on one knee and proposed to Jen.

The following fall we were married in Central Park. It was a perfect day. I had never been so happy in my life and I couldn’t believe that this beautiful woman who was so full of life and love felt the same way about me as I did about her.

Five months later Jen was diagnosed with breast cancer. I’ll never forget the sound of Jen’s voice coming through the phone as she told me what the doctors said. I was numb immediately. I’m still numb. Before that moment the furthest thought from my mind was that I might be a widower before I was 40.

What was it like after she was diagnosed?

We spent the next eight months going through treatment: Double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and reconstructive surgery. Our support group was amazing. Family and friends sent cards, brought dinner, held fundraisers to help with our medical bills. It was really incredible and I had never witnessed such love and support.

Just past our one year anniversary our oncologist told us Jen was free of cancer and we started to put our life back together. It was difficult because we felt so different from most everyone else in our life. Everything we thought we knew, our whole world, had been leveled and mortality was real.

A year and a half later our biggest fear became our reality when a scan revealed that Jen’s cancer had metastasized to her liver and bone. Jen started treatment immediately and after a few months we started to notice that our family and friends didn’t understand how serious Jen’s illness had become. Our life had turned into a maze filled with doctor appointments, medical procedures, medications, and side-effects. We didn’t expect anyone to have the answers, we just needed our family and friends to be there. Something as simple as sending a text message saying “I love you,” or dropping off dinner after we had spent all day in the hospital, these things made our day.

This is when I started photographing our day to day life. Our hope was that if our family and friends saw what we were facing every day then maybe they would have a better understanding of the challenges in our life.


Beauty Blogger With Breast Cancer Gives Grooming Tips

Living With Secondary Breast Cancer

You said you wanted to humanise it – do you think that some people don’t understand the disease?

We noticed that many people didn’t understand what we were facing and we felt our support group fading away. We would often hear things like, “You just have to be positive,” or, “You can’t think bad thoughts.” We knew people meant well but it wasn’t just about thinking good thoughts.

Jen’s cancer was spreading and there was a good chance that the treatment wasn’t going to work. It was serious. Without being in our shoes, how could people understand? Something as simple as sending a text message saying “I love you,” *or dropping off dinner after we had spent all day in the hospital, these things made our day. You don’t have to know the answers, you just have to be there.

What legacy would you like your wife to have?

For the last few months of Jennifer’s life we would ask each other before going to sleep what the best and worst part of the day was. The day after we found out Jen’s liver was failing we came home with Hospice Care and spent the evening with family and friends. Before going to sleep I asked Jen what she loved the most about the day. Jen thought for a moment then turned and looking deeper into my eyes than ever before, she said, “I loved it all.”

Even in the darkest time Jen saw something light.

I’ve been humbled by the response to our love and seeing our story help others has been the thread that has kept me together since Jen died. I think our story is about love and life more than death and loss. I hope people stop for a minute to tell the people in their life how much they love them. I hope couples let go of silly arguments and hold each other close. I hope people will reach out to loved ones who are facing a challenging time in life. I hope our story encourages dialogue.

Angelo has just released an eBook about their story that is available for the iPad and as a PDF. You can purchase a copy from his website My Wife’s Fight With Breast Cancer – 50% of the net profit of book and print sales will be donated to The Love You Share, a non-profit he is starting in Jennifer’s honor to assist women receiving treatment for breast cancer.

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Health and Fitness – The Huffington Post
Those Little Stabs of Weight-Related Shame
By Scott Mowbray, editor of Cooking Light

2013-10-24-174722757socialdietblogpost.jpgFirst and irreducibly, there was the morning bathroom mirror confrontation. After that, clothes on, the number of confrontations depended on the number of mirrors, and usually that wasn’t many. There’s a wall of mirrors in the office bathroom. But in the normal course of a workday that was about it, because our office building simply doesn’t have many mirrors.

It’s been shockingly different on a business trip to New York. My beloved Manhattan is a fantastic hall of mirrors and mirrored surfaces. You can see yourself 50 times just walking from point A to point B in Midtown. (For example, in the mirrored surfaces of the Abercrombie & Fitch store, at whose entrance a shirtless, beautiful boy often stands, beckoning people 30 years younger and 50 pounds lighter than I am to come in and shop. Everyone else: stay out!) You see yourself reflected back dozens of times per hour, along with the images of legions of thinner people who are racing along the sidewalks like a herd of gazelles, charging around the stunned tourists. I have never been able to avert my gaze from these mirrors; I have always been compelled to look. What I saw on this trip was a guy — the editor of a healthy-cooking magazine! — who needed to lose 20 pounds, and I felt a little bit of shame each time.

Share your thoughts or similar experiences. Comment here, email, and tweet @ScottMowb or @Cooking_Light using #SocialDiet.

Note: This post originally appeared on the Cooking Light blog, Simmer & Boil. Check in on their progress at

For more by Cooking Light, click here.

Photo: Photo: Getty/Michel Setboun

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ScienceDaily: Bipolar Disorder News
Is left-handedness higher among those suffering from psychosis?
Researchers have long studied the connections between hand dominance and different aspects of the human brain. A new study finds that among those with mental illnesses, left-handers are more likely to suffer from psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia than mood disorders.

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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Work-Life Balance: 5 Lines To Draw In The Office And Home
For families, the school year can be one long marathon; for two working parents, it can be a decathlon. Research says parents who share power at home have an easier time. That’s our personal experience too, and one of the reasons Joanna Strober and I wrote “Getting to 50/50: How Working Couples Can Have It All.”

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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Want To Kill A Conversation? Ask Someone What They Do
When you’re introduced to someone for the first time, after you shake hands and exchange names, what’s the first thing you ask? More likely than not, your default question is: “What do you do?”

We tend to drop this heavy question into conversation before almost anything else has been said, as a way to quickly gather information and start forming an image of the person we’re speaking with. While the inquiry might seem harmless, it perpetuates a dangerous habit: The tendency to associate who we are with what we do.

“What do you do?” is the mother of loaded questions. According to Elizabeth Spiers, former editor-in-chief of the New York Observer, the traditional conversation-starter comes with a whole lot of other implicit questions, like “How much money do you make?” “Is what you do significant?” and “Do we have anything in common?”

For those who take pride in their title and the organization they work for, the question may come as a welcome opportunity to assert their status, and a chance to align who they are with the prestige of what they do. And for those who don’t, it’s simply a bad way to start a conversation.

“There is some refuge in institutional affiliation, as there is in certain job titles,” Spiers wrote in a Medium blog post in May. “But what do all of these things really say about who we are? There’s a danger in conflating work with self, even if work has consumed everything we do.”

And this points to the real problem. In our ambitious, success-driven culture, many of us do consider the person we are to be practically one and the same with the work we do — and could use a reminder that, simply, we are not our jobs.

Of course, it’s ideal for your work to be a reflection of who you are and a forum for self-expression. But when we lean on our careers as our main source of personal identity and validation, we risk associating the self entirely with the work we do. And it’s a dangerous association — one that leaves us feeling lost and empty when, inevitably, we leave our jobs and are forced to look elsewhere for a sense of worth.

“When I left my job, it devastated me. I couldn’t just rally and move on,” Erin Callan, former chief executive officer of Lehman Brothers, wrote in a New York Times op-ed. “I did not know how to value who I was versus what I did. What I did was who I was.”

Similarly, entrepreneur Ellen Huerta experienced something of an identity crisis when she left her glossy job at Google.

In a recent HuffPost blog, “Why I Left Google,” Huerta describes the process of letting go of her job:

When I sat down and really thought about why I was resisting, I realized something about myself that I didn’t like, something that I’m ashamed to even admit now. The main reason I was resisting was because I would be giving up the safety and prestige associated with life as a Googler. When I reflected more, I realized that external recognition had unfortunately become a primary motivator for me.

The problem is not in asking others what they do and sharing our own vocations, but in taking the answer as a foundation marker of a person’s character and identity. And much like launching into a monologue about how busy or stressed you are when asked about your day, diving right into “what do you do” can be a surefire way to prevent yourself from making a real connection with the person you’re speaking to.

Some people love what they do and find deep meaning in their careers, while others are happy to have jobs that pay the bills so that they can pursue their passions outside work. And still others have not had the freedom and financial means to pursue meaningful careers. In any case, who we are is a far more complex and wonderful thing that what we do.

Chuck Palahniuk may have described it best in Fight Club: “You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet… You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”

There are a million ways to start a conversation. If you’re not sure how, here are a few ideas about to get things rolling:

Give a compliment
Comment on something awkward about the situation you’re both in
Launch right into a funny story and hope for the best

What’s your favorite way to start a conversation with someone you just met? Let us know in the comments.

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