A nutritionist explains how to fill your grocery cart with stress-busting foods
Stress can put a damper on your day and wreak havoc in your body. Not only can high stress levels leaving you craving sugary and high-fat foods, stress has been linked to more serious conditions, too—from asthma to diabetes to heart disease.
We asked Willow Grove dietician Joan Gangwer to help us find ways to reduce our stress. Her solution? Eat (and shop) your way to a stress-free life—here’s how.
How to Shop
Getting more stress-busting foods in your diet starts with what you put in your grocery cart. To help get you on track, Gangwer suggests shopping on the perimeter of your grocery store, and avoiding most of the aisles in the middle. All of the healthy basics, she says, can be found in the outer sections: First you hit the veggies, then the lean meats and finally the dairy products. Greasy, fatty foods like potato chips and mac-and-cheese are usually located in the middle of the store. So by avoiding those aisles all together you’re eliminating those temptations—and the opportunity to stress-eat.
With a sky-high obesity rate, we take a top spot in the Daily Meal's new list
Tons of fast food is making Philly fat
This morning, foodie website the Daily Meal released a list of America’s 20 Most Gluttonous Cities, and our fair city ranked number 10 with an adult obesity rate of 30.27 percent, second only to Detroit’s 33.7 percent.
The Daily Meal combined data from the Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control, and the Census Bureau to figure out which towns had the most food stores per capita—including grocery stores, fast-food joints, and full-service restaurants—and the highest obesity rates.
While a high number of grocery stores seems like a good thing to me (it means more access to fresh food and healthy cooking options), our supermarket-to-restaurant ratio is conspicuously out of whack. According to DM’s stats, we have only 462 grocery stores, compared to 983 fast food stops and 1,196 full-service eateries.
All it takes is a ... BOO!
Looking to lose some extra pounds? Just in time for the scariest season of the year, researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands have come up with a novel weight-loss regimen: Have your dining companion make like Frankenstein—or Dracula, or Michele Bachmann, or whatever scares you most—across the supper table.
They designed an study in which participants were presented with either a yummy-looking plate of food or a non-edible control object, then shown facial expressions that indicated fear, disgust, or no reaction at all. The study subjects who were most vulnerable to visual food cues reacted less impulsively to the treats when shown the fearful faces, though the disgusted ones had no effect (which explains why your Great-Aunt Ida’s nauseated expression when you go back for seconds at Thanksgiving dinner only ticks you off). So haul out those Freddie Kruger masks and lose weight now!
Maybe this is what happens when you finally beat Super Mario Bros. (I wouldn't know.)
The time has come to take back every nerd joke you’ve ever made about video game fiends: Researchers at the University of Washington are reporting that online gamers playing a game called Fold-It seem to have solved a mystery that has puzzled scientists for 10 years—and it may prove useful in finding a cure for HIV.
After just three weeks of play time, gamers were able to decode the molecular structure of a viral enzyme that belongs to the same family as HIV. Their work was then translated to 3D model of the enzyme that can be rotated and manipulated, allowing researchers to better understand how it works—and, hopefully, pinpoint targets for potential drug therapies. Pretty neat, right?
A word about Fold-It:
Fold-it was developed in 2008 by computer scientists at the University of Washington in collaboration with the Baker Laboratory to team online gamers to unfold chains of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.
Players come from all walks of life. The game taps into their 3-D spatial abilities to rotate chains of amino acids in cyberspace. New players start at the basic level, “One Small Clash,” proceed to “Swing it Around” and step ahead until reaching “Rubber Band Reversal”, according to UW.
Puzzling together the shape and misshape of proteins contributes to research on causes of and cures for cancer, Alzheimer’s, immune deficiencies and a host of other disorders, as well as to environmental work on bio fuels.
You can read more about the research over here.
A study finds that adults with children are fatter than those without
Go ahead; blame Junior.
A new study found that parents gain significantly more weight over time than adults without children. Parents reach an average BMI of 31 by the time they’re in their late 60s—that puts them squarely in the obese category, which is defined as having a BMI over 30. Adults without children peak in the overweight zone, with a BMI of between 25 and 29.
Apparently, 26 is the golden age for childbearing: Parents who have their first kid at about that age gain the least amount of weight over time. The further you get away from age 26 in either direction—whether younger or older—the more rapid the weight gain.
And there are differences between parents, too. Fathers gain more weight than mothers, on average, likely because their lifestyle choices—smoking, drinking—are impacted most. As fathers give up those habits, they turn to food, researchers suggest, which leads to more pounds over time. For women, having more than one child increases the weight gain.
The takeaway? Try, oh, try to be in good shape before you dive into parenthood. Once those pounds creep up, they become more difficult to shed as you age.
We want to get your questions answered
We’ve all been there: Head to the doctor’s office with a list of question, but by the time you get there you’ve forgotten them all. Or, let’s be honest, you whimp out.
Be Well Philly wants to help. If you have a medical question—whether it’s something you’ve always wondered about the human body or a question you’re too sheepish to ask your own doc—we’ll find the right doctor to answer your question. After all, we have a whole boatload to choose from. So why not put our resources to good work?
Then, every so often we’ll post an Ask a Top Doctor question here on the blog (we’ll ask permission to publish your name, of course). Because if it’s something you’re wondering about, there’s a good chance someone else has been thinking about it, too.
So go ahead—lay ‘em on us. The doctor’s in.
E-mail questions to Emily Leaman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or tweet us @bewellphilly.
It's finally soup season! Let's celebrate
What better way to ring in fall than with a delicious bowl of soup? This recipe for spicy tortilla soup packs a ton of flavor without adding calories.
Interested? Get the full recipe over here on our Office Challenge blog. Every week, our contestants get to work in the kitchen trying out a healthy, delicious recipe designed by health coach Maura Manzo. You should get on the boat, too—your tummy will thank you.
Want to follow the Office Challenge fun? Join the Twitter conversation by using the hashtag #BWPOfficeChallenge. And follow us at@bewellphilly.
Enjoy yoga, tacos and drinks to benefit the Whole Kids Foundation
Enjoy the fresh Autumn air with yoga on the roof
Take your yoga practice to the next level at the Garden Gala Rooftop Yoga and Happy Hour on September 30th. Held by health guru—and Be Well Philly recipe czar—Maura Manzo, this hourlong session will be set to live music and suit yogis of all levels. Unwind with downward dogs under the setting sun, and then enjoy the taco and beer specials provided afterwards.
Your $20 admission fee will help the Whole Kids Foundation fund local gardens in the Plymouth Meeting area. The non-profit foundation supports community efforts to improve kids’ nutrition and overall well-being.
All you need to bring is your own mat and an empty stomach. The class will be held on the rooftop of the Whole Foods store in Plymouth Meeting. Check out the Facebook page for more info.
$20, September 30, 6 to 8 p.m., Whole Foods Market, 500 West Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting.
A new study links coffee drinking with lower depression risk in women
• Just as I’m considering switching from coffee to tea comes this study, which found that women who drink coffee are 20 percent less likely to be depressed than nondrinkers. Other sources of caffeine—from chocolate to soda—don’t appear to provide the same effect. The link was found in women who regularly drink coffee (up to six cups a day, which seems excessive to me, but whatever). Of course, just to cover their bases, the study authors also warn of the negative health effects—anxiety, insomnia—associated with drinking too much.
• Who you eat with—not just what you eat—can make an impact on your health, a new study finds. Friends, it seems, nudge each other to eat snacks and drink alcohol (duh), while brothers might influence you to eat meat, of all things. Eating with a spouse could lead to healthier choices (did ya hear that, Chris Leaman?). No word on what eating alone does to you.
An outdoor yoga and wellness festival in Downingtown
Head to Downingtown from noon to 5 on Saturday for a yoga and wellness community celebration called Yoga Fest West, highlighting local studios and businesses. The outdoor festival, which is free admission, will include music and food, but there will also be yoga classes at nearby studios throughout the day. Classes are $16 for one, $30 for two, $45 for three, or $75 for an all-day class pass. A portion of the class fees will go to local charity the Lord’s Pantry.
FREE, October 1st, noon to 5 p.m., The Center, 15 Green Street, Downingtown, 610-269-7171.