Thursday, November 20, 2014

A bit of wine for thy stomach's sake

David Zulberg, author of The 5 Skinny Habits: How Ancient Wisdom Can Help You Lose Weight and Change Your Life Forever, says alcohol can have many benefits--if used correctly. Especially dry wine.

He bases this on his own weight struggles and extensive research into the bible, philosophy and scholars.

The five benefits include: Improved heart health, prevention of various diseases, fewer common colds, boosts in mood, and yes--weight loss.

Hippocrates, the bible, and many other sources approved of the vino.

At the holidays, alcohol enhances the experience, Zulberg says. People laugh more, let down their guard.

But--of course--this is in moderation. Seventy-nine thousand people a year die from not drinking in moderation.

What is moderation? According to Mayo, one drink a day for women and men over 65. Up to two drinks a day for men under 65.

What is a drink? 12 fluid oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1,5 oz of distilled spirits.

If you think you will run over this allotment, prepare yourself before going out. Resist peer pressure.

Start with water, drink water between drinks if you have more than one.


No shots--they go in too fast. (Yes they do! I remember shots.)

Don't mix--if you start with wine, stick with wine, etc.

If you can't do this or don't want to, alcohol may not be the enjoyable health elixir you want.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Young kids may choose "healthy" food, but do they eat it

I try to stay away from politics on this site (I have other places for that), but our present administration is fixated on controlling kids' diet at school.

And now, a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health Study of 274 K-2nd grade NY public school kids. At one chicken and veggie entree day, they watched to see if the kids chose a fruit, a veggie, whole grain bread, or low fat milk.

Seventy-five percent chose the lean entree. Only 58% grabbed a piece of fruit. Fifty-nine percent took a veggie.

But--sadly--only 75% even took a bite of the entree, and 25% ate a morsel of the veggie.

Inerestingly, the kids were more likely to finish their food if a teacher ate in the cafeteria with them. More ate fruit and veggies if the atmosphere was quiet.  Also, food cut in smaller pieces was more likely to be consumed.

If lunch hours are too short, noisy, and distracting, little kids may pick or rush off.

I also venture to think that soggy, steam table veggies may not be appealing or even taste bitter. Apples may be hard to eat with teeth missing. That sort of thing.

I know some of the admin programs have drawn complaints that calorie counts are too low for kids with athletics after school and that kids toss a lot of the food.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

You don't need fancy software to have creative kids

Remember Baby Einstein--a popular set of games to enhance your youngster's intelligence? It was sort of pooh-poohed along the line. And it was spendy.

Now, Richard Hass, a visiting asst prof of psychology at Rowan University in New Jersey, has said that any activity can be a creative one--from making dinner to developing your career.

But, he adds, kids are not getting the right training to develop these processes. Only "gifted" children are considered eligible.

So what, as parent, can you do?

Try to take kids to museums, street fairs, cultural events--not just plop them in front of a video.

Play word games. Tell jokes.

Play UNO with your child--it requires adaptation to changing rules. Or work on a puzzle or collage with your kids.

Sometimes kids are only "creative" in one area--that's OK.

Acting or improv is fun for kids.

Encouraging "pretending" with toys.

Let kids fail sometimes--it's part of the creative process.

This isn't about raising a genius--it's about having fun, being interesting, learning, and feeling a sense of wonder and accomplishment.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Be a better pill popper

For some people, swallowing a pill is like running downstairs two at a time. If you think of it, you will fall. Or in the case of pills, choke.

But some German scientists are thinking about it. In a story in the LA Times by Karen Kaplan, Univ o f Heidelberg researchers came up with two techniques to make pull swallowing easier.

The first is the "pop-bottle method." And the second is the "lean forward" technique.

One hundred fifty one volunteers tried these (half reported trouble taking pills). They tried all shapes and sizes of pills.

Tablets were the worst. For this, the scientists suggested the pop bottle method. Put the pill in your mouth, close your lips around a flexible water bottle opening and suck. About two-thirds noted improvement. The ones without previous difficulty could swallow even larger pills.

For capsules, the docs suggested the lean forward method. Put the pill in, put the water in, then lean your head forward from the neck and swallow.

It seemed like tilting the head back would work better--my mother's method, by the way--but leaning forward won.

This morning on National Public Radio, some pill averse people tried these--and I did hear some choking noises.

My mother tilted back and stamped her feet three times like a horse counting. We used to laugh about it.

Friday, November 14, 2014

"Larks" and "owls" not only types of "people"

My ex and my kid--night people. They happily stayed up until all hours--while I slept. In the morning, I was raring to go--and they were slug-a-beds. This is the "lark" (day) and "owl" (night) body clock thing.

Olga Khazan, The Atlantic, Nov 12, 2014, writes about this, telling the story of Erwin Schrodinger, the Austrian physicist, who turned down a prestigious speaking invitation saying he could not work in the morning. For him--they changed the time.

Now scientists in Russia think there are actually four chronotypes. The other two are people energetic morning and night and people who feel lethargic all day.

They studied 130 people (J of Personality and Individual Differences).

Twenty-nine (according to their questionnaires) were larks with high energy at 9 am than 9 pm. Forty-four were owls, who were opposite, going to bed two hours later.

But--there was a high energy group of 25 who felt spritely morning and evening. And 32 others who felt dozy morning and evening.

What bird name can we assign--albatross and peregrine falcon? Nah--that part needs work.

How about hummingbird for those who keep on ticking and turkey for the slugs?