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Health & Fitness Sunday, June 17, 2012


Health & Fitness

The Daily Dispatch

Those fabulous fruity figs

Figs are a fruit that have been eaten for centuries. Remnants of figs can be traced back to 5,000 B.C. Although they thrive in tropical climes, fig trees can also be grown where the temperatures drop to freezing. Many fig tree owners choose to protect their trees overwinter by covering and insulating them from the brunt of the cold. Despite their far-reaching history, many North Americans have never tried a fresh fig. Some have described their soft pulp as tasting like a mix between a strawberry and a peach. There are many different varieties, and it is important for the new grower to know what

color a ripe fig of their particular variety turns when it is ripe. A ripe fig will be tender to the touch, but not so mushy that it falls apart. Figs only ripen on the trees and care must be placed to wait until they have ripened before picking. Figs do not last long at room temperature, but can be stored for a few days in the refrigerator. Otherwise, turn figs into many different recipes promptly. Bake them into pies, use in loaf breads and muffins or replace the oil component with fig puree to provide the moisture in cakes.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

4 ways to make getting fit a lot more fun Swimsuit season is just around the corner, which means that many people are gearing up to shed a few pounds. This weight loss is often accomplished through a combination of diet and exercise. Although plenty of individuals begin new exercise regimens with high hopes, oftentimes their enthusiasm wanes as time goes on, resulting in less-than-stellar results. The missing component of the fitness equation could be fun. People gravitate toward

things because they are enjoyable. Participation in sports can be fun, as it involves exercise as well as socializing with friends. Too often individuals fail to make fitness fun and that’s why their efforts fizzle out. Here are four ways to make getting in shape more enjoyable. 1. Employ the buddy system. Having a partner to share the ups and downs of getting fit with can make the process go more smoothly. This person can encourage you to stick with the fitness

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routine even if your interest has waned. You can do the same by motivating your partner to press on. Laughing and joking about your fitness escapades can make them seem less like work and more like fun. 2. Stop dieting. Nothing sounds more boring than relegating yourself to tasteless food or no-fat products or eating only one item as part of a fad diet. Diets don’t sound fun, and oftentimes they’re not. Instead, contin-


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The Daily Dispatch

Health & Fitness


Sunday, June 17, 2012

5 Simple ways to reduce fatigue

Fatigue can indicate a host of things. Men and women who are overworked feel fatigue, as do men and women whose diet is low on nutrition. Fatigue can also be the result of a medical condition, which only sheds light on how important it is for men and women dealing with fatigue to speak to their physician about their condition. In addition to working with a physician to fight fatigue, there are steps men and women can take reduce fatigue and start feeling more energetic. • Get off the couch. A sedentary lifestyle will only make it more likely that you will feel fatigued. But including daily exercise as part of your routine will not only boost your energy levels, but also improve

circulation, increase your metabolism and relieve tension, an especially valuable benefit for overworked men and women. • Get some sleep. The notion that sleep can help fight fatigue might sound simple, but a good night’s sleep can elevate energy levels throughout the day, helping the body rest and recover. Failing to get sufficient sleep, which many people find is seven to eight hours per night, can turn today’s fatigue into tomorrow’s fatigue, and so on. • Address any sources of stress. Fatigue can be a side effect of stress. Many men and women find work is their primary source of stress, but finances and relationship issues can be stressful as well. Whatever the source

of your stress, address it and don’t allow it to fester. If it’s work, then look for ways to make work less stressful, whether it’s telecommuting more often or sharing more responsibilities. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress, but men and women fighting stress-related fatigue should address the source of the stress as well. • Reduce sugar intake. Sugar might provide an initial burst of energy, especially for people battling fatigue. However, once your blood sugar levels begin to drop, which can happen rather quickly, you will notice a rather steep decline in your energy level. To successfully combat fatigue, avoid relying on quick fixes that only offer temporary relief.


spending hours at the gym. While there are scores of people who find heading to the gym enjoyable, many others would prefer doing something else. Just about any activity can be turned into a fitness activity. You can run around the yard with your children or hop on a bicycle and find a path through the neighborhood. Avid gardeners get quite a

workout by weeding and planting — all the while enjoying themselves. Find out what you like to do and make that pursuit your fitness activity of choice. 4. Set fitness to music. A range of different musical tempos can rev-up energy levels and entice you to get moving. Start scouting out songs to accompany your fitness efforts.


ue to enjoy all of your favorite foods — just reduce portion sizes. That means you can continue to enjoy a slice of pizza or a burger, provided you don’t exceed portion sizes. 3. Skip the gym. Very often people equate fitness with

• Alter your eating habits. If you’re a proponent of three large meals per day but are battling fatigue, then it might be time to alter your eating habits. Replace the large meals with smaller meals, and snack throughout the day to maintain high energy levels. Just be sure to consume healthy snacks, and don’t forget to drink water throughout the day. Doing so will fight dehydration, which can also cause fatigue.

Including daily exercise as part of your routine will not only boost your energy levels, but also improve circulation, increase your metabolism and relieve tension, an especially valuable benefit for overworked men and women.

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The Daily Dispatch

Health & Fitness

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Are school lunches becoming healthier?

Grilled cheese on a pretzel bun; maple burst pancakes; cold nachos; breaded chicken nuggets — these are some of the lunch options in school cafeterias across the country. Following streamlined government regulations aimed to make school lunches healthier, some parents are left scratching their heads wondering if anything has changed. In January 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled new standards for school meals that will result in healthier meals for kids across the nation. The new meal requirements will raise standards for the first time in more than 15 years and are expected to improve the health and nutrition of nearly 32 million kids that participate in school meal programs every school day. The healthier meal requirements are a key component of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was championed by the First Lady as part of her Let’s Move! campaign and signed into law by President Obama. The new standards align school meals with the latest nutrition science and the

A sample before-and-after lunch menu for elementary students, courtesy of the USDA.

real-world circumstances of America’s schools, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The USDA indicates that there are a few main components of the new lunch and breakfast standards: • Offer students both fruits and vegetables every day of the week. • Substantially increase offerings of whole grain-rich foods. • Offer only fat-free or low-fat milk varieties. • Limit calories based on the age of the children being served

to ensure proper portion size. • Increase the focus on reducing the amounts of saturated fat, trans fats and sodium. These changes are not perfect, but many believe they are a step in the right direction. Some parents, however, feel the new stipulations are not stringent enough, particularly when it comes to work-arounds for some of the new policies. For example, syrupy canned fruit cocktails that are high in sugar count toward the fruit requirement

in many schools. Sodium content is another bone of contention. Research indicates that lowering sodium levels can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension. To adhere to the new lunch program, schools will have to cut sodium in lunches by more than 50 percent within 10 years. Currently, elementary school lunches contain roughly 1,300 mg of sodium. The goal is to lower that to 1,230 mg by the 2014/2015 school year, gradually dropping to 935 mg by

2017. Many parents and health experts feel sodium levels are not going down fast enough. The new plan will also extend nutrition standards outside of the cafeteria. Foods and beverages sold in vending machines and through other venues on campus must also be modified to adhere to a healthy diet. Canadians may learn from the trials in the United States should they develop their own school lunch programs. Canada remains the only westernized nation without

a federally funded school food program. The reason Canada has not developed a national school food strategy (or even a coordinated provincial and territorial program) is that no single ministry takes responsibility for food. Students can bring their own lunches or choose among fast food in cafeterias or snacks from vending machines. One company taking advantage of the United States’ new school lunch standards is Domino’s Pizza. It has developed its “Smart Slice” school lunch program, which meets the revised standards set by the USDA. Freshly baked and delivered to schools, “Smart Slice” features multiple nutritious ingredients like wholegrain crust, light mozzarella cheese and reduced sodium sauce. Reduced sodium pepperoni is also available. More than 3,000 schools in 37 states participate in this food program. Although many changes have been put in place to make school lunches healthier, not all parents think these changes are sufficient. Parents who have concerns about school lunches can prepare lunches for their children that meet their personal standards.



SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012


An exploration of natural remedies

As prevalent as prescription medications are, all-natural remedies for common illnesses and conditions are still a viable alternative to prescription medications for many people. But are these all-natural options safe? In 2011, Apple founder Steve Jobs lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. Reports indicate that Jobs, a devout Buddhist, delayed surgery and other traditional treatments for almost a year while he participated in holistic treatments for the cancer. Some of these included juice fasts, bowel cleansings, acupuncture, herbal supplements, and even a vegan diet. Eventually, Jobs had surgery, but some experts feel he waited too long. Although conventional care is often an effective means to


treating illnesses and other conditions, there are many doctors who agree that implementing natural remedies at times can be safe and effective. Furthermore, not all natural remedies are without merit, and some traditional medicines are actually derived from natural, plant-based ingredients themselves. According to surgeon and author, Dr. Walter C. Thompson, “Herbal medicine is safe because it’s natural. After researching the literature, one can truly say that, at the very least, herbal medicine is safer than conventional drugs.” Those thinking about incorporating natural remedies into their health regimen can consider the following options. • Nervousness and anxiety: Try lettuce,

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chamomile, valerian and rose petals. • Pain relief: Use omega-3 fatty acids, green tea, ginger root and tumeric. • Itchiness: Witch hazel, jewelweed and aloe vera are effective. • Feminine issues: Parsley, basil and goldenseal can alleviate symptoms associated with menstruation. • Antibiotics: Oregano and garlic are purported to have antibiotic qualities and can fend off harmful bacteria. • Infections: Honey has long been used to heal and as an antibacterial and antifungal remedy. Many natural foods are effective in preventing and fighting cancer as well. Although natural remedies can be effective, it’s important for pregnant women to

Feeling nervous or anxious? Lettuce, chamomile (above), valerian and rose petals are all options that people can incorporate into their health regimen for these symptoms.

avoid any herbs and plant supplements until discussing the risks/ benefits with their doctors. Also, some natural remedies can interact with prescription drugs or increase their potency, so it’s important to talk to a doctor about any plans.


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Health & Fitness

The Daily Dispatch

Sunday, June 17, 2012

How to use diet to supplement your workout routine Men and women who have successfully adopted healthy lifestyles know full well that combining exercise with a healthy diet is the key to getting and staying healthy. Simply visiting the gym won’t work if it’s not coupled with a healthy diet. But many people incorrectly assume that a healthy diet is one devoid of taste. That simply isn’t true. In fact, a healthy diet does not necessarily restrict foods, but how frequently some of those A healthy breakfast is a great way to supplement a workout routine.

riskier foods can be consumed. The following are some of the steps men and women can take to ensure their workouts aren’t losing their effectiveness due to unhealthy eating habits. • Start the day off with a healthy breakfast. Many foods make healthy breakfast options, including fruit and whole-grain cereals. Unfortunately, on-the-go men and women often reach for what’s readily available, and what’s readily available isn’t necessarily healthy. Avoid breakfast sandwiches that are high in fat and calories, and avoid eating fried foods for breakfast.

For those men and women who prefer to workout first thing in the morning, keep in mind it’s important to eat before working out, even if those workouts are in the wee hours of the morning. Working out on an empty stomach can cause feelings of lightheadedness. In addition, many people are sluggish if they exercise on an empty stomach, which can make workouts less effective. If eating before a morning workout isn’t your thing, consider going with a small snack before beginning your routine. If even that is not ideal, then consider a snack before bedtime.

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However, this option won’t necessarily prove effective, as your body might just consume all of the energy this snack provides while you’re asleep. • Reassess your snacking habits. If greasy potato chips or sleep-inducing baked goods like brownies are your idea of the perfect snack, then it’s time to reassess your snacking habits. Snacks should not induce sleep, but provide a little extra energy and reduce any hunger pangs. Fresh fruit, yogurt, energy bars, and even wholegrain crackers with a little

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peanut butter each make for a healthy snack that won’t zap you of valuable energy during the day. • Let food help your muscles recover. Some people feel they might negate the positive effects of their workout if they eat immediately after exercising. That’s not necessarily true. In fact, foods that contain protein and carbohydrates can actually help your muscles recover after a workout. Yogurt (Greek yogurt is packed with protein), fruit, dried fruit and nuts make great post-workout food options, and none will negate the effect of that grueling workout you just finished. In general, the longer you wait to eat after exercising, the longer it will take your muscles to recover. • Stay hydrated. Water is an essential part of a healthy diet, and it’s even more essential before, during and after a workout. When exercising, your body will lose a significant amount of water, which can cause the body to dehydrate. Drink water before and after your workout, and don’t forget to focus on staying hydrated during your workout as well. Daily exercise is essential to longterm health. But all those hours in the gym won’t pay off if they’re not combined with healthy eating habits.

The Daily Dispatch

Health & Fitness

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Minerals: sleep like a rock tonight It’s 3 a.m. and you’re staring at the ceiling unable to fall asleep. Or, you’ve drifted off restfully only to awaken and not be able to fall back asleep. If these scenarios sound familiar, you could be experiencing insomnia. Millions of people suffer from insomnia and wonder if there is any treatment available. Statistics by the National Sleep Foundation and Better Sleep Council indicate that anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of people experience some degree of insomnia during their lifetime. Women are more likely than men to have bouts of insomnia. Age, genetics as well mental health play a large role in the risk factors for insomnia. It is estimated that 90 percent of people who are depressed suffer from insomnia. Those experiencing bouts of insomnia lasting more than a few days may grow anxious and concerned about the situation — further compounding the problem. Visits with general practitioners may yield a prescription for sleeping pills for the short term. While effective, sleeping pills are not typically a long-term solution and can become physically or mentally addictive. Global sales for all sleeping pills, called hypnotics, will top $5 billion in the next several years, according to pharmaceutical estimates. You may want to consider other methods for improving sleep quality. Most people experiencing sleep disturbances under-

Several research studies have shown certain minerals can be effective at inducing sleep and helping people fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.

stand the benefits of employing good sleep hygiene. This includes going to sleep at the same time each night and waking at the same time. Alcohol and caffeinated beverage consumption should be stopped several hours before bed time. Exercise and some exposure to the sun can reset a sleep-wake cycle. For those who need a little more help, the use of vitamins and minerals may be all that’s needed. Several research studies have shown certain minerals can be effective at inducing sleep and helping people fall asleep and stay

asleep through the night. Research indicates that taking the supplements magnesium and calcium can do more than just support strong bones. According to James F. Balch, M.D., author of “Prescription for Nutritional Healing,” “A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep.” Lack of these nutrients also may prevent fast onset of sleep. Calcium and magnesium have both been referred to as natural sedatives. Calcium works best

when it’s balanced in a 2-to1 ratio with magnesium. That means for every 200 mg of calcium taken, 100 mg of magnesium should be taken as well. But not all forms of magnesium work best. It has been found that magnesium chloride has the highest absorption rate of many different kinds. Calcium lactate gluconate is also popular for its quick dissolution in water. In a study called, “The Role of Magnesium in Sleep,” magnesium was determined to be a possible method of combating insomnia. Researchers found that sleep was induced rapidly and was uninterrupted. Test subjects didn’t report any residual tiredness the next day, as is common with other sleeping pills. Also, the calming effects of the calcium caused anxiety and tension to be diminished during the day. “Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin,” says William Sears, M.D. “This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods.” While it’s best to get nutritional content from foods, supplementation can be helpful if deficient in certain vitamins and minerals. Before adding any supplements to your diet, it is best to discuss your intentions with your doctor. He or she can determine if this course of treatment is safe or risky.


Health & Fitness

The Daily Dispatch

Sunday, June 17, 2012

All things in moderation, including ... alcohol?

While overindulging is dangerous, drinking alcohol in moderation need not be perilous. In fact, moderate alcohol consumption can be good for you.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than 50 percent of American adults 18 years of age and older regularly consume alcohol. Meanwhile, Statistics Canada states that each person in Canada consumes roughly 116 liters of alcohol every year. While overindulging is dangerous, drinking alcohol in moderation need not be perilous. In fact, moderate alcohol consumption can be good for you. Research by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

reports that moderate drinkers live longer than nondrinkers and heavy consumers of alcohol. Moderate drinking is beneficial to the heart, resulting in a 40 to 60 percent decrease in heart disease risk. Moderate drinking constitutes up to two drinks each day for men and one drink per day for women. As mentioned, overindulgence in alcohol can be dangerous and detrimental to individual health. But moderate alcohol consumption can provide a host of benefits, including:

• Increasing survivability of heart attacks; • Reducing risk of stroke; • Lowering risk for Alzheimer’s Disease and senile dementias. An analysis of 32 studies comparing nondrinkers and moderate consumers of alcohol found that moderate consumption is associated with a 33 to 56 percent lower incidence of diabetes and a 34 to 55 percent lower incidence of diabetes-related coronary heart disease. Alcohol might also help individuals avoid

painful arthritis. According to the European League Against Rheumatism, alcohol consumption is associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing arthritic conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, olosteoarthritis, reactive arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and spondylarthropathy. Overindulging in alcohol is unsafe and potentially very risky to an individual’s longterm health. However, when consumed in moderation, alcoholic beverages can promote healthy living.

Behold, the wondrous healing powers of hot tea

Hot tea may taste good and be soothing on a cool day, but there are also many medical benefits to this drink. Tea is an ancient beverage that has been enjoyed for centuries thanks to its healing benefits. Here are just some of the many ways sipping hot tea can be beneficial to you. • Decreased risk of heart disease: A study published in the journal Circulation indicated that drinking more than two cups of tea a day decreased the risk of death from a heart attack by 44 percent. Even if you aren’t having several cups a day, tea can provide marked improvement in cardiovascular

health and reduction of fatal heart attacks. • Reduction in blood pressure: Drinking merely a half-cup of green or oolong tea may reduce blood pressure by up to 50 percent, say researchers. Because high blood pressure could contribute to stroke, one can surmise that drinking tea may have benefits in stroke reduction as well. • Antiseptic properties: People who rinse their mouth with tea or drink it frequently may benefit from a reduction in cavities or periodontal diseases. The bioflavonoids in tea have antiseptic and astringent properties. A tea gargle can help prevent bad breath and kill germs in the mouth

that contribute to poor oral health, according to the Hibiki-an brand of green tea. Because many viruses, such as the flu and cold, are airborne, drinking or gargling with tea may also help fight cold and flu. • Lowers cancer risk: The polyphenols in tea may be responsible for inhibiting factors that promote cancer growth in the body, according to some studies. In addition, the antioxidants in tea can help improve overall health. In one study, green tea was shown to inhibit bladder cancer cell growth in the laboratory. Some doctors surmise that drinking tea can fend off certain gastrointestinal cancers. • Neurological ben-

efits: Some research suggests that tea is valuable in the fight against neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Many of the benefits of tea are produced through flavonoids — a natural class of antioxidants that are found in many natural plant-derived foods. According to medical experts, antioxidants remove free radicals from the body — molecules that form as side products of damage done to the body by pollution and the natural aging process. The instability of free radicals causes them to react negatively with cells in the body and DNA. This may result in malfunctions

and mutations on a cellular level. These malfunctions or mutations can increase risk of heart disease and cancer. What many people like about drinking tea is that there are no apparent side effects. Even if tea doesn’t produce all of the benefits it promises, there is still the comfort in knowing the beverage is not harmful, either. In addition to its antioxidant properties, tea is a soothing drink that can calm a sore throat, hydrate the body, relieve symptoms of upper respiratory infections, and warm a person up when there is a nip in the air. Add a little honey — which has its own nutritive value — and you may have a potent remedy in a cup.

The Daily Dispatch

Health & Fitness

Sunday, June 17, 2012


What to do when beginning an exercise regimen

At the dawn of a new calendar year, many people decide it’s time to turn over a new leaf and shed those extra pounds that accumulated over the previous 12 months. The resolve to lose weight is perhaps never stronger than at the beginning of a calendar year, when the holiday season has passed but those added inches on the waistline remain. Though it’s noble to want to lose weight and improve health, regardless of what time of year it is, there are precautions men and women should take before beginning a new exercise regimen. • Visit your physician. It’s best to get a full physical before beginning an exercise

regimen. A full physical can reveal if you have any health problems that might limit what you should and shouldn’t be doing at the gym. If anything turns up, your physician can develop a plan of attack for you to address the issue. If nothing turns up, then your doctor will probably give you the green light to go forward with few, if any, limitations. • Conduct a self-assessment. Once you’ve visited the doctor and received the go-ahead to start working out, do an honest self-assessment to see where you are in terms of fitness. Walk a mile and time yourself. Do as many push-ups and sit-ups as possible, but be careful to stretch and not push yourself.

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This self-assessment should not be demanding. Instead, the goal is to gauge where you are and how your body feels when doing some simple exercises. • Establish your goals. The goal of most people beginning a new exercise regimen is to lose weight. However, there are other incentives as well. For example, some people might be starting to train for a marathon or another sporting event. Whatever the reason, know why you’re getting started, as such goals can help you monitor your progress as the year goes on. • Start slowly. Caution should reign supreme when beginning an exercise regimen. Diving into the

deep end at the onset increases the risk of injury, which could limit activity for months to come. First get your body acclimated to exercise, then gradually challenge yourself as you see fit. • Leave time to recover. Though it might feel rejuvenating to get back to exercising, it’s important for everyone, but especially those who are just starting, to allow themselves some time to recover. Allow your muscles and joints to recover between workout sessions. Frequency of sessions can increase as your body gets acclimated, but at first allow a day or two between sessions so your body can recover. • Listen to your body. Exercising after

a long hiatus from routine exercise won’t be easy and your body is likely going to tell you that through certain aches and pains, if not nausea, dizziness or shortness of breath. If any of these symptoms appear, take a break. This could be your body telling you that you’re asking too much and you need to take your foot off the gas pedal for a little while. • Consider hiring a personal trainer. Many people are overwhelmed when entering a gym after a long time away. If you find yourself intimidated

or simply don’t know where to begin, hire a personal trainer. Many charge by-the-session, so you can learn which machines to use and how to use them after a session or two and then continue working out on your own. If joining a gym as a new member, the gym might offer a couple of complementary personal training sessions. If so, take full advantage of this offer. When beginning a new exercise regimen, don’t forget to let caution reign until your body has adjusted to this healthy lifestyle.

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Health & Fitness

The Daily Dispatch

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Common mistakes men make at the gym

Though the clientele at most gyms and fitness facilities is no longer dominated by over-the-top body builders, the atmosphere at many fitness centers is still somewhat of a throwback to the early days of weightlifting. It’s not uncommon to walk into a gym and see exceptionally large men lifting significant amounts of weight while letting out a grunt or two along the way. Such an atmosphere can spark the competitive spirit in many men and that’s when guys could make mistakes that can prove costly. Overdoing it at the gym is common, especially for beginners or men who are

returning to exercise after a long layoff. The following are some of the more common mistakes men should avoid when going to the gym. • Going full bore right away. Though it’s important to challenge yourself at the gym, asking too much of your body, too early is a mistake many men have lived to regret. When beginning a fitness regimen, avoid high-intensity exercises until your body has acclimated itself to daily exercise. Expect soreness at the onset and give yourself a day off between workouts to allow your body the recov-

ery time it needs. As your body grows accustomed to exercise, you can gradually increase the intensity and frequency of your regimen. • Overdoing it with weightlifting. As noted, the environment at many gyms can make men feel as though they need to lift as much weight as possible. However, lifting too much weight will almost certainly affect your form, and bad form can lead to injury. Don’t focus on how much weight you can lift, but how well you can do each exercise. As you improve your form, you can add more weight if you so desire. • Diving right in. Many

men forgo warmup activities, choosing to dive right into their routines the moment they arrive at the gym. That’s a potentially costly mistake, as warmup exercises allow your heart rate to gradually increase and prepare your body for vigorous activities, such as weightlifting and cardiovascular exercise. Men who do not warm up and stretch before attempting more intense exercises are also more likely to pull or strain their muscles. Alter your workout routine so it includes some mild cardiovascular exercise and stretching before you start more intense exercises.

• Failing to stretch. Stretching is essential to maintaining range of motion and avoiding potentially uncomfortable ailments like back pain. However, many men fail to spend enough time on the stretching mat before and after their workouts. If you want to avoid stiffness and maintain your range of motion over a life span, be sure to spend ample time stretching before and after your workout. Stretch all major muscle groups daily, and not just the ones you focused on during a given workout. Hold each stretch for no less than 15 seconds.

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The Daily Dispatch

Health & Fitness

Sunday, June 17, 2012


The vegetarian/vegan lifestyle: navigating an array of ingredients

Vegetarians and vegans face the challenge of finding foods that fit with their lifestyles and ideals. There are many foods that aren’t vegetarianor vegan-friendly but might appear to be so. That’s because these foods contain certain ingredients that are largely animal-based products. Here are some ingredients used in common foods that can be troublesome. • Rennet: Sometimes called rennin, this is an enzyme used in the making of cheese. It is often derived from mammal stomachs, such as the fourth stomach in cows. Rennet is used to coagulate milk products so that they turn into the curds that make many different cheeses.Some cheesemakers offer vegetarian alternatives that rely on vegetable or microbial enzymes. Rennet may not only be in cheese. It might be an ingredient in some chocolate candy bars as well. • Gelatin: Gelatin is made from the structural protein called collagen that is found in many animals. Most gelatin is derived from the collagen in cow or pig bones, hooves and collective tissues.

Gelatin is obviously in gelatin desserts, but can also be found in puddings, whipped creams (to stabilize them) and marshmallows. • Albumin: This is the protein component of egg whites. Albumin is added to thicken or add texture to foods. Many baked goods or icings contain albumin through the addition of cream of tartar, which is a powdered albumin product. • Lard: Different foods are cooked in animal lard rather than vegetable oils. It’s best to check with a restaurant or the packaging of a processed product to see if a food was fried or cooked in lard. • Isinglass: This is gelatin from the air bladder of certain freshwater fish. It can be used to clarify some alcoholic beverages, including wine. • Lanolin: This is a waxy substance made from sheep’s wool. It can be found in chewing gum, ointments and cosmetics. • Tallow: Also known as oleic acid or oleinic acid, this substance is made from the solid fat of sheep and cattle separated from the membranous tissues. It can be used in margarines, soaps, ice

creams, spice flavoring for baked goods and other food products. • Royal jelly: This is a substance formed by the glands of bees. It is now being touted as a very important natural health food for it’s antioxidant properties. • Caesin: This is another milk protein that coagulates with the addition of rennet. It is used in many creams, cheeses and dairy products. • Bone char: Sugar is bleached using a process of running it through bone char, sometimes referred to as natural carbon. You’ll have to read the packaging to determine if it’s in there. • Cochineal, carminic acid or carmine: This is the pigment that makes red candies red. Practically anything colored red is made with this ingredient, which comes from the female Dactylopius coccus costa, or cochineal insect (a type of beetle). • L. Cysteine: This enzyme is used as a dough conditioner in many products, including doughnuts and bagels, particularly those from fast-food giants. This enzyme is made from the feathers of ducks and chickens.

• Chicken and beef fats: Even seemingly vegetarian and vegan foods can contain meat. That’s because beef and chicken fats and flavorings are used in everything from barbecue flavored potato chips to vegetable soups. When adhering to a vegetarian or vegan diet, men and women must monitor the ingredients they use to cook to ensure the foods they eat contain no animalbased products.

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“A Top 25 North Carolina Hospital” Business North Carolina Magazine - March 2012

The Daily Dispatch - Special Section - Health & Fitness - June 17, 2012