The secret to getting kids to make healthier food choices? A bright green smiley face. Yes, seriously.At least that's what researchers from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center found in a two-pronged study at a 300-student, inner city Cincinnati elementary school. When the emoticons were placed near cartons of plain nonfat milk in school cafeterias, the proportion of kids who took them shot up from 7.4% to 48% — a staggering 549% increase. Meanwhile, chocolate milk selection dropped from 86.5% to 44.6% of total milk sales. You might assume that kids and vegetables could never get along, but after the green faces were introduced, they put 62% more vegetables on their trays. Fruit selection, too, rose 20%.
Why is changing our behavior and habits so difficult? Why do we always start with the best intentions to get in shape, quit caffeine, stop smoking or reduce alcohol consumption, but end up indulging in the same old habits that prevent us from changing? It seems like the odds are against us when it comes to change, but instead of being pessimists, why don’t we look to the people who've successfully changed their behavior and try to learn from them?I'm one of that minority. I’ve made a lot of changes in my life, including completely changing my diet (I’m an ex-junk food addict turned plant-based health nut), and quitting smoking, caffeine and alcohol. On top of that, I’ve lost over 40 pounds and managed to keep it off.There are plenty of reasons why I was successful, but one of the most important things to consider is how ready you are to make a change and how you'll adjust your life accordingly. I wasn't familiar with the "stages of change" model when I was giving up my bad habits, but after studying it, I can now say I've intuitively used all its principles. The stages of change model shows that for most people, a change in behavior occurs gradually, with the person moving from being uninterested, unaware or unwilling to make a change (precontemplation), to considering a change (contemplation), to deciding and preparing to make a change. Genuine, determined action is then taken and, over time, attempts to maintain the new behaviour occur. Relapses are almost inevitable and become part of the process of working toward lifelong change.
Queens elementary school PS 244 — also known as the Active Learning Elementary School — made headlines in 2013 for being the nation's first public school to go completely vegetarian.
Robert Groff, the school’s principal, co-founded PS 244 in 2008 on the idea that health and wellness are inextricably linked to academic performance. A few years ago, the school decided to stop serving chocolate milk, suggested at first by a third grader who was learning about nutrition labels. Then, after other menu changes that emphasized healthy eating, PS 244 became the test kitchen for the entire city. Instead of sloppy joes, they served veggie meatballs. They introduced a salad bar. And by January 2013, with the help of the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food and NYC’s Office of School Food, PS 244 had a full, meat-free breakfast and lunch menu — surprisingly, at no added cost compared to the city’s meal program.
What happens when a divorce lawyer, marital therapist, and dating coach convene for lunch? A rich conversation, that's what. I invited Carolyn Byrne (a matrimonial attorney) and Aimee Hartstein (a marriage therapist) to join me (a dating coach) in conversation as to how people could be dating smarter.
Who better to query than two professionals who have witnessed hundreds of relationship successes and failures? We not only drew upon our professional expertise, but our collective wisdom as women who dated and found love in New York City (with all the incumbent trials and tribulations for which this city is notorious).
Almost everyone can relate to the fact that most romantic relationships move from "the honeymoon phase" at the beginning to a far less idealistic place later on. And while this is a natural progression, it doesn't mean that every relationship should turn sour.
Yet based on her experience in matrimonial law, Carolyn told us that approximately 90% of her clients said they knew their marriage would end badly before they took their vows. Alarmed by this anecdotal statistic, we then turned to our resident marriage therapist for an explanation: “People tend to ignore their intuition in the early stages of a relationship in an effort to accommodate and please the other person,” explained Aimee.
I have this (somewhat ridiculous) belief that my productivity and mental state are an exceptionally delicate ecosystem that needs constant monitoring.
I wake up somewhere other than my own apartment and can't start my day running That Specific Hill, eating my Special Breakfast? ALL IS LOST.
I fall down an Instagram hole for an hour? I guess I'm not accomplishing anything today.
I find myself eating an enormous bowl of pasta for lunch? MIGHT AS WELL FOLLOW IT UP WITH THREE DONUTS.
I succumb to Newton's First Law more often than I’d like to admit. You know: an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon. And in this case I'm an object that's very busy refreshing her email and wearing yoga pants all day.
How much happier and freer would you be if you stopped worrying about what to and what not to eat? When we try to improve our diets, we usually use willpower. But if we're relying on willpower alone, we're almost always destined to fail. If you approach a change with the attitude that you'll make yourself do it, you'll end up fighting yourself. When you force yourself eat a certain way, you fight your natural hunger.
How will you ever win if you are your own enemy?
The answer is to stop fighting yourself, and instead listen to and trust your body again. The answer is mindful eating, deliberately paying attention to what you're eating moment by moment, and being aware of what's happening inside your body without judgement or criticism.
As someone who has "dieted" for the past 10 years, this is the only way of eating that I've never grown bored with, frustrated by or fallen off the proverbial wagon. When I practice mindful eating, I naturally eat what’s good for me because I want to.
When you experience stress, it is your body’s way of letting you know you are out of balance. Without stress, you would not get up in the morning, get to work on time, put food on the table, or shift positions when uncomfortable.
The good thing is you actually have several tools available to you that enable you to use stress to your advantage; they enable you to minimize the stress response and keep from overreacting to it.
Here are seven action steps that will help you use stress, rather than letting stress use you:
April is “National Garden Month” and there's really nothing like the joy of gardening, connecting to nature, the pride of growing your own plants, flowers and food and of course, the amazing health benefits.
The garden is a delightful place to achieve a great mind/body workout.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, gardening is compared to “moderate cardiovascular exercise.” Gardening 30 to 45 minutes a day can burn 150 to 300 calories. This isn’t just standing there watering the flowers, but weeding, digging, hoeing, raking and planting. And there's nothing like being at one with nature to help create a calming, relaxed state of mind while you let go of the pressures and anxiety of everyday life.
Here are nine ways gardening is good for your mind and body.
Thyroid disorders affect millions of people around the world. Millions more are undiagnosed, going years of their lives not knowing why they have symptoms like debilitating fatigue, weight gain, depression, anxiety, hair falling out or digestive problems.
Research estimates that up to 90% of thyroid conditions are autoimmune in nature. Autoimmune conditions are a combination of genetic susceptibilities and environmental triggers, so knowing what can trigger them is one of the first steps to regaining your health.
Here are some of the most common lifestyle triggers that may trigger your immune system to attack your thyroid, known as an autoimmune "thyroid storm."
Chia seed puddings are one of our favourite go-to breakfasts these days. It’s an amazingly simple recipe that can be thrown together the night before to make breakfast time a breeze – and when you have a family rushing out the door that’s a must! Made with almond or soy milk, these delicious puddings are more like having a tapioca to start your day, and I see no problem with that.
A maple syrup-kissed, velvety pudding, adorned with a luxuriously sweet cherry compote touched with star anise and topped with toasted almonds is an easy, healthy, and beyond awesome breakfast to begin your mornings! Who am I kidding? I’d eat this anytime of the day. Vegans – you’re on to something here.
When new clients start coming to see me, I often begin by discussing the state of their kitchens. Sometimes I actually visit them at home, because a disorganized, junk-filled kitchen can lead people with the very best intentions astray. This is why it's essential to prepare your kitchen for success. If you've had a bad day and get home feeling tired and hungry and open the fridge to nutrient-lacking foods, then it will be pretty hard to avoid eating them. But people do this all the time! In fact, I've heard all the excuses in every shape and size:“I got home from work at 8pm and there was nothing in the fridge so I ordered take-out.” “I had a stressful day and wound up eating a whole pack of biscuits in front of the TV.” “I couldn't be bothered to cook so I just had pasta again.” With my kitchen detox, these scenarios just won't happen. Let's get the foundations right and get rid of the junk to allow for a smoother transition as you build on ONE thing to change over time.Now, I’m very strict that you throw away ALL the junk — not keep a few cookies in case of emergencies or worry about the waste. Yes, it's wasteful to throw away food but you are not a human dustbin, so fill your bin with this junk and not your body. Make a decision about what’s more important — wasting food or wasting your health. If you have these foods in the house you will eat them eventually, usually when you are tired or stressed. Once you've completed my kitchen detox, you won't waste food again because everything you will buy you will use.
A recent study conducted by two Emory University economics professors provides more evidence, documented by formal research, that money can’t buy happiness, or to be more precise, that spending a lot of money on a lavish wedding doesn’t make a...
"...That little voice in the back of your mind that says don’t trust them, don’t walk down that alley, don’t go to that party tonight, and think twice before investing stock, isn’t just a passing subconscious. We thrive in a culture that believes rationality and prevailing scientifically proven logic rules over the knee jerk reaction to pull out of the parking lot or investigate a partner’s alibi. There are just certain feelings humans obligatorily follow without concrete reasoning.
A 2011 study published in the journal Psychological Science revealed how the body is able to speak intuitively to the mind by dealing out a card game. Researchers designed a game based on no obvious strategy but forced participants to rely upon their hunches. Each participant was hooked up to a heart monitor and a finger sensor to measure sweat secretion. Most players figured out how to improve and eventually win the game, and researchers realized the winners were those who listened to their heart rate. It would speed up before they made a certain choice, but people mistook the subtle bodily changes for intuition.
“We often talk about intuition coming from the body — following our gut instincts and trusting our hearts,” the study’s coauthor Barnaby D. Dunn, of the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, UK, said in a press release. “What happens in our bodies really does appear to influence what goes in our minds..."
Often, the mundane aspects of life get in the way of those aspects which we value highly. The mundane taking priority over the valuable seems paradoxical, and yet so many of us can relate. Whether it's because we take the things we value for granted or simply because stress gets in the way, consciously tuning into those aspects of our lives that we wish to cultivate can be a challenge. For many people, one of these aspects tends to be connecting with their partners.
It’s not as if we want to feel disconnected to our partner on a particularly busy week of work. It’s just that sometimes our stress and responsibilities get in the way, and distract us from our desire to be more mindful and present in other areas of life — including in our relationships. The concern here is not that stress will make us distracted from time to time, but that it may become a habit.
And like with all precious things in life, sometimes we have to work to preserve them. The same way we might make the effort to keep a nice watch in a special pouch or box, we must make an effort to treat the aspects of our life that we especially value with intentionality, tenderness and care. In other words, we must make the conscious choice to maintain a strong sense of connection and interest in our partners. Here are seven simple ways to do so, especially during the busy times.
From the time girls hit puberty, we’re taught to hate our periods. We’re taught to hide it (just shove a tampon in),complain about it when it comes and dread the cramps, cravings and cranky moods.
Well, here's a thought: imagine we were taught to embrace — even love — our periods. Imagine if we saw our periods as something lucky, a unique opportunity we get to experience once a month? Imagine if our periods were celebrated and honored instead of dreaded and cast away as an unnecessary evil.
Well I have come to see "that time of the month" as a sacred time, and here are five reasons you should love your period too:
1. It's a natural time for detox.
As women, we are exceptionally lucky to have a monthly detox built into our biology: each month, we get to through a physical shedding of the old.
Being fit and healthy doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to working out for hours a day and eating nothing but chicken and steamed broccoli for every meal. In fact, there are several more effective (and less painful!) habits you can adopt today that will not only help you get in shape in the short-term, but will help you stay that way for the long run as well.
Before I decided to launch my own business, I worked for a busy corporate consulting firm. There was a lot about that firm that was great: the staff was bright and talented, we took pride in our work and we made important contributions to the businesses we helped.
However, there was one aspect of the culture that was a real problem. Because our goal was to fill every possible minute with billable work, taking breaks wasn’t always looked upon positively. Our goal was to be there for our clients as much as possible, so we frequently scheduled back-to-back meetings — sometimes even through lunch, early in the morning, in the evenings, and during vacations.
The irony of it is, if we had wanted to truly be at our best, we would have been taking breaks. Why? Because science tells us to!
Read on, and you'll be comforted to learn that contemporary scientific research is supporting your choice to give yourself a break.
Removing sugar from your diet is the single most important step you can take to improve your health. We've become so addicted to the added sugars in our diet that we don't really taste what we're eating.
To help my patients better understand, I have a simple rule of thumb, "if it tastes good, don't eat it: unless you read the label." If it has sugar in any form it's going to spike your insulin. Over time, this can lead to metabolic syndrome, diabetes, neuropathy and eventually cancer.
Here are some easy-to-remember guidelines to help you make better food choices to improve your health.
My husband and I get to the hotel late and pull out the room service menu. We’ve got that I’m-so-tired-but-so-hungry look drawn on our faces. The door knocks. It’s the in-laws. We’re on family vacation for a week in Florida. Beach, ocean, fun, and, well, the in-laws. They want to go out for supper. We want to eat in bed. We know we’re going to lose, but with one last attempt my husband and I look at each other again, silently saying, “Choose your battles, babe.”
It's no surprise that the tagline for TLC's newest reality show Surviving the In-Laws acknowledges this less-glamorous part of the marriage equation: “Marriage has many benefits, but in-laws aren't always one of them." And it's true: getting along with your in-laws isn't always easy. But the reality is that marriage means learning how to get along with others using skilled communication and compromise.
Tofu’s proponents have tried to get us to see all the ways to improve its texture — freezing or pressing or boiling to rid it of spare water, broiling or roasting to crisp it up. These are all effective at making tofu friendlier to cook with, but nothing is as guaranteed to seduce a skeptic as dredging tofu in cornstarch and pan-frying it to a shiny crisp, while the inner bits go soft and custardy.
The just-fried nubs are almost too crunchy to eat, which is why it’s a good idea to add them to a pan of shallots, chiles, ginger, and garlic that have stewed in butter and soy and heaps of black pepper. In the sauce, the fried cubes will relax just enough, but main- tain all the integrity you’ve fried into them.
This — with some brown rice — is as impressive a vegetarian dinner party main dish as you can get. And cheap, too — despite the 11 tablespoons of butter and 5 tablespoons of black pepper. The tofu called for, even organic, costs less than $6 and feeds at least four, generously.
Why hot cross buns should be homemade By Bee's Bakery | March 31, 2015 | In Baking, Special occasions
According to ancient superstition, baking your own hot cross buns on Good Friday will help you win friends, influence people, protect against kitchen fires, and guarantee that all bread baked in your kitchen turns out perfectly.
It’s not as though we should need to be persuaded to tackle a bake like the hot cross bun (the home bakers’ “challenging-but-achievable” holy grail), but if I did then the list above would swing it for me every time. There are tonnes of stories, superstitions, fables, bits of folklore and even a well-known song about hot cross buns, but my favourite part of their history is a certain decree passed by Queen Elizabeth in the 1500’s. Lizzie said that bakers could only sell hot cross buns on Good Friday and Christmas, which led to good home-bakers (and those who had enough money to buy in the spices and rich ingredients needed) to covertly bake them at home, and risk full-batch confiscation if busted by the hot cross bun cops. Consider the uproar if our Royal Family today banned the baking of, say, doughnuts, cronuts or even our famous jammie biscuits – I like to think that late-night black-market baking clubs would spread amongst those with a big enough kitchen and black-out blinds. Another of my favourite hot cross bun fables is the idea that the gifting of a hot cross bun guarantees ongoing friendship for the coming year. On a more general-baking level I can certainly attest to this one – I’ve managed to solve staffing problems, call in free meals, and even bribe delivery drivers through the use of a parcel of cookies still warm from the oven, and hot cross buns are no different. Being the world’s best pal might just be as easy as whipping up a batch of warm Easter treats as a present.
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