“A new diet study just out from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition went to a lot of trouble to prove the obvious. When it comes to weight loss, how much you eat matters more than the proportion of fat, carbohydrate, and protein in your foods.”—Read the comments – I like the first one, which mentions how we’ve developed a belief that we should never be hungry – and how that’s wrong. I have to agree - hunger is a normal part of life. But I’ve found I’ve had to train myself to realize it’s okay to be hungry. What do you think? (Food Politics » Want to lost weight? Eat less.)
Dennis Apple and his wife Buelah came to StoryCorps to talk about their son, Denny. Nearly 21 years ago, Denny came down with mononucleosis. Before going to bed one night, he took some medicine, and talked about where he wanted to sleep.
“Foods like cocoa, which is rich in polyphenols, seem to play an important role in protecting against disease.”—A new study has shown great health benefits from cocoa consumption – but remember that there’s a big difference between raw cacao (as in cacao nibs), processed cocoa powder and a milk chocolate bar from the corner store. Best to make your own smoothies, puddings and other treats from cocoa or cacao rather than buying premade. (Cocoa Could Prevent Intestinal Pathologies Such As Colon Cancer)
“Many people who’ve battled acne attest that certain foods aggravate their skin. Yet most dermatologists contend there’s no scientific link between diet and acne. The prevailing view is that the food-acne connection is a myth. Recent studies are, however, challenging this stance. Dairy products and high glycemic foods (e.g. sugary foods and those made from refined flour) have been shown to worsen acne, while omega-3 fats may alleviate it.”—Diet does matter when it comes to acne - The Globe and Mail
From 1984 to 1992, there was a ban on junk-food advertising to kids in Quebec. According to this new study, it worked – francophone children (who lived in an isolated media environment) consumed significantly less junk food than anglophone kids (who would have been exposed to television from other provinces and the US).
Try-it Tuesday: Hot yin yoga at Iyashi Bedrock Spa in Toronto
Maybe my memory’s deceiving me now that we’re back to a West Coast Winter™, but I think it was cold last week. Right? In any case, when it came to my scheduled hot yin yoga class at Iyashi on Saturday afternoon, I was thrilled to have a chance to relax and soak up the heat.
Iyashi is a fairly new spa on Yonge between Eglinton and Lawrence, right across from the big Sporting Life store. And it’s a spa with a focus: hot rock bathing, a trend that they say started in Japan about a decade ago.
As you can see in the photo, the smooth raised platforms contain black stones – these are black silica, said to release infrared heat and negative ions to help the body sweat. The “stone beds” are kept at between 42 and 44 degrees C and in a rock bathing session you spend 15 to 20 minutes at a time lying on the beds (with a towel or two underneath you) and five-minute sessions in the cool-down room, which is at room temperature, for up to four times. The dividers in the photo weren’t there during my visit, presumably because we were doing a yoga class.
The hot yin yoga sessions are a little different – they start with half an hour of rock bathing, then the yoga teacher lets you know when it’s just five minutes till class so you can cool down for a bit. The hour-long yoga session is split into two halves with a cool-down break in between. Students are encouraged to drink lots of water before and during the class, and at breaks, to stay hydrated.
So how did it feel?
I loved the rock bathing, for starters. I can find standard saunas and steam rooms somewhat claustrophobic, but while the treatment room at Iyashi was certainly hot, the heat comes from the stones, so you feel like there’s a bit more air circulation. It feels amazing to lie on the rocks – think of them like a giant hot water bottle. A giant rock-hard hot water bottle, but you get the picture. Staff encourage guests to try different positions to let the heat penetrate different muscle groups. My favourite was on my back with my knees bent so that my lower back was flat on the floor. Let’s just say I’ve been glued to my desk lately.
And the yoga class was really interesting. I take yin classes occasionally at YogaSpace and what I was always taught was that yin poses, which are held for a long time, should be done with a cold body, because the goal is to move beyond muscles into connective tissue, and that when the muscles are warm poses shouldn’t be held for long periods of time. I asked the instructor at Iyashi about that and she said that while the poses can be held for a few minutes in her hot yin session, they weren’t held nearly as long as in a cold yin class and – I think – that the heat helped the stretch move from muscles to connective tissue faster. (You’ll have to forgive me, I was hot and sweaty and sans recording device when I spoke to her.)
In any case, I felt awesome after, and the session went by really quickly. All participants seemed healthy and happy during and after the session – the break really makes a difference in how the body handles heat compared to your standard hot yoga class – and my only regret is that Iyashi is such a trek from my house.
“People with insomnia are more than five times as likely to experience anxiety and depression, are at more than double the risk of developing congestive heart failure and diabetes, and have an elevated risk of death, the researchers said.”—Good reasons to treat insomnia as a health problem and not just an annoyance. (Untreated insomnia risks other health woes - Health - CBC News)
“Be conscious of all the twisting forces that exist in our culture (and within us) that are constantly trying to pull us from a pattern of healthy eating. These forces include our own misconceptions about ourselves and what we eat… Refuse fast food. Don’t get tricked into accepting big portion sizes. Don’t let social pressures—friends, work situations, travel—derail healthy eating. And don’t get bamboozled by the ‘healthy’ or ‘organic’ labels on packaged food. These are, by and large, marketing tools… Simplicity is the revelation.”—Edmonton-based health law professor Timothy Caulfield in What is the most effective diet for losing weight? - Science-ish - Macleans.ca
“A cautiously encouraging new study from The Archives of Neurology suggests that for some people, a daily walk or jog could alter the risk of developing Alzheimer’s or change the course of the disease if it begins.”—How Exercise May Keep Alzheimer’s at Bay - NYTimes.com
“Helmets should be mandatory for skiers and snowboarders of all ages, a medical group says. The Canadian Pediatric Society on Tuesday urged for mandatory helmet legislation, saying it could reduce the risk of injury, disability and death on the slopes.”—I have to say I agree with this – what about you? (Mandatory helmets urged for skiers, snowboarders - Health - CBC News)
“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”—Charles Kingsley, English Anglican clergyman & novelist (1819 - 1875) (thanks to Bosacks)
I’m allergic to walnuts. It’s not an eat-them-and-I’ll-die kind of allergy, but it’s oral allergy syndrome, which means they make my mouth uncomfortably itchy. I can eat them in things as long as it’s not too regularly, but snacking on plain walnuts is out of the question, unfortunately.
And according to a study from the University of Scranton (it was sent to me by the California Walnut Board, but I’m not sure whether they funded the study), this means I’m missing out on some potent antioxidants. Researchers assessed levels of polyphenols (a kind of antioxidant) in a variety of nuts and in peanut butter (remember that peanuts aren’t technically nuts) and found that walnuts contained the highest amounts – almost double any other commonly consumed nuts, they say.
I’m always cautious to report these kinds of studies because they imply that one food source of a particular nutrient is “better” than any other – and that you should choose that one over others. And I don’t agree with that premise at all – variety is the key to good nutrition. So let this be a reminder to add more walnuts to your nut routine, especially if you tend to depend on, say, peanut butter or raw almonds as staples. The more nuts, the merrier, I say.
What are your favourite nuts, and what recipes do you use walnuts in?
“A new study led by the University of Reading in the UK that examined breast tissue samples from 40 women who underwent mastectomies for breast cancer, found they contained widespread traces of parabens, preservatives commonly used in deodorants, make-up, body lotions, moisturisers and many other cosmetic products. Although the study does not prove that parabens cause or even contribute to the development of breast cancer, it raises questions about their use.”—Gross. Do you really want to be using beauty products that leave chemicals behind in your body? (Deodorant Preservative Found In Breast Tissue From Cancer Patients)
“We still eat way more meat than is good for us or the environment, not to mention the animals. But a 12 percent reduction in just five years is significant, and if that decline were to continue for the next five years — well, that’s something few would have imagined five years ago. It’s something only the industry could get upset about. The rest of us should celebrate. Rice and beans, anyone?”—We’re Eating Less Meat. Why? - NYTimes.com
A little over a year ago I did a weekend trip to San Francisco. I knew I wanted to use Google Maps on the trip (it sure comes in handy) so I pre-bought a data plan that I thought would be more than adequate, by averaging out my monthly usage at home and dividing by 30 for a daily number.
Turns out I went way over and had a massive roaming charge on my bill. Whether it was AT&T or Fido (or both) rounding up a little too aggressively or just the fact that the network there was so slow it was unusable I’ll never know, but I learned my lesson: never again have I turned on data when out of the country.
But now we all have a new option. According to a press release I recently received, Canadian company Roam Mobility has partnered with T-Mobile south of the border to deliver decent voice and data rates when we travel to the US. How does it work? You prepay for a package covering from one to 30 days with unlimited voice and text usage, plus an additional data plan (or you can buy data only). Either buy a Roam phone to go with it or insert a Roam SIM into your unlocked phone and you’re ready to go.
For instance, according to the price sheet they sent me, a three-day talk and text plan – with unlimited calls and texts to and from Canada and the US plus caller ID and voice mail – costs $14.95. 500 MB of data is $29.95. The two together costs less than what I used on that trip to San Francisco, and would give me more, too. Pretty cool.
Is there a catch? I don’t know – I haven’t tried it yet. But it seems pretty awesome to have this new option – and it will be so useful to actually be able to use my phone while stateside.
“Get out of head that your legs need to be straight or that it should look a certain way. If you’re breathing and you’re not compromising your body, then you’re doing yoga brilliantly, beautifully.”—Seane Corn (via kristinapowell)
“Is mycoprotein a beacon leading vegetarians to the dinner table, or a toxic science fiction nightmare hearkening to a Matrix-style world of food grown in vats, supplying amino acids and “everything the body needs”?”—Weird, is all I can say. (Spezzatino » The Next Generation of Protein: Mycoprotein)
“Smoking a joint a week for up to seven years doesn’t hurt lung function, according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. They came up with that number after following more than 5,000 people for 20 years. The results were just published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.”—Study: A Joint May Be Easier On Lungs Than A Cigarette : Shots - Health Blog (via npr)