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HEALTH BLOG

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Gym tells woman to cover up because her toned body 'intimidated' others

By Charlene Sakoda on March 19, 2014 5:19 PM

The Planet Fitness gym in Richmond, California is standing behind their dress code policy after one member claimed that she was told to put a shirt over her intimidatingly toned body.

As reported by KTVU Channel 2, Tiffany Austin was recovering from a car accident and getting back in shape with her first workout at the gym. However, her time exercising was cut short when a Planet Fitness employee stopped her. Austin explained, “She says, you know, ‘Excuse me, we've had some complaints. You're intimidating people with your toned body. So can you put on a shirt?’”

Ms. Austin was wearing a spaghetti strap tank top and capri pants with her midriff exposed, and she doesn’t think her attire was out of line. “I don’t feel like it’s anything crazy, but I mean you tell me if it’s burning your eyes,” Austin said with a laugh. Reportedly she was only told that the gym dress code prohibited wearing string tank tops. The Planet Fitness customer agreed to wear one of the shirts the gym provides patrons for free, but while she waited for the tee, another employee approached her with objections to her clothing. Feeling harassed and intimidated herself, Austin decided to get her money back and cancel her membership at the gym advertised as the “Judgement Free Zone” whose policy bans “gymtimidation.” McCall Gosselin, Planet Fitness spokesperson, said that criticizing Austin for being toned, “…is not in line with the Planet Fitness policy whatsoever.”

According to their website, Planet Fitness’ philosophy of a Judgement Free Zone, “means members can relax, get in shape, and have fun without being subjected to the hard-core, look-at-me attitude that exists in too many gyms.” It’s a policy that is attractive to many Americans. With over 5million members, Chris Rondeau, the co-founder and chief executive, says the gym chain is the fastest growing in the U.S. “It’s unfair to like, show off your body and that’s what they don’t want,” said a gym-goer to KTVU. Yahoo! Odd News made a call to the Richmond, California Planet Fitness and was told that while the dress code is not available on the gym’s website, signs within the gym explain the policy.

Director of the Athletic Studies Center at UC Berkeley, Derek Van Rheenen, told the station, “In a lot of ways I actually think what Planet Fitness is doing is a positive thing. I think they obviously need to iron out some of these issues. But you know, sport in the United States is by nature discriminatory. It is selective. It is elitist."

Planet Fitness does have its detractors who say that some of their policies go too far. In November 2006 Albert Argibay was removed by police from the Planet Fitness in Wappingers Falls, NY. Reportedly, Argibay had broken the gym’s rule of no grunting, though he says that he was just breathing heavily. The no grunting policy may be what Planet Fitness is most known for. The gym sounds its “lunk alarm,” a siren and flashing lights, whenever a gym-goer is found displaying lunk-like behavior. Posters are said to define a lunk as “one who grunts, drops weights, or judges.”

With membership rates that start at just $10 per month, and monthly pizza nights and bagel breakfasts, the gym chain is likely to keep attracting their target demographic of occasional exercisers.

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It's not just the sugar that destroys your teeth: Carbonated beverages are all made with acid

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 by: David Gutierrez

By definition, a carbonated beverage is a liquid that has had carbon dioxide gas dissolved into it. This gas produces the fizzy bubbles that have made such beverages so wildly popular.

Yet, a side effect of forcing carbon dioxide gas into a beverage is that some of the carbon dioxide will react with water to form carbonic acid. This acid is responsible for the characteristic "bite" of most sodas, and its absence is part of the reason that flat sodas taste so different.

In addition to the naturally occurring carbonic acid, colas including Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola are made with added phosphoric acid.

No matter how low the concentration, it's not a good idea to drink acidic beverages too frequently. Of people who drink carbonated beverages regularly, this acid gradually wears down the enamel of their teeth and leave them vulnerable to tooth decay.

Combined with the high quantities of sugar found in many carbonated drinks, the effect is obviously devastating. Yet, even if all you drink is diet soda, you're still stripping your teeth's defenses away.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/044273_sugar_tooth_decay_carbonated_beverages.html?utm_content=buffer68859&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer#ixzz2wzCF81Cn

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Yogurt & beyond: 8 foods that are naturally rich in probiotics

By Molly Kimball on April 01, 2013

Probiotics are clearly a hot topic in the food and nutrition world these days, with specialty products like cereals and smoothies – and even candy bars and cookies – all promising to deliver "beneficial cultures."  Unfortunately, not all are as nutritious as they might appear, since there isn't an official legal definition for the word 'probiotic.'

Probiotics, which also are referred to as "good bacteria," are live microorganisms that are linked to many health benefits. Research shows that they can improve digestive health, boost the immune system, and possibly reduce the risk of cancer.

But Mary Ellen Sanders, executive director of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics, is quick to point out that clinical studies on probiotics are done with one defined strain or combination of strains. "It's important to recognize that the health effects of probiotics can be strain-specific. We can't assume that other strains of Lactobacillus will have the same benefits as those found with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, for example."

Sanders recommends that people with specific health concerns look for products that have been tested for that particular issue. (For a summary of probiotics shown to be effective for various conditions, go to USprobiotics.org).

And while each individual micro-organism may not improve every symptom or condition, Sanders says that there is likely a benefit to incorporating more probiotic-rich foods into our diets overall, particularly in terms of general digestive health and immune function.

Yogurt gets much of the glory when it comes to probiotics, and it certainly deserves a mention, but many types of fermented foods can provide us with these "good bacteria." Be aware, however, that not all fermented foods contain live cultures in the finished product. Sourdough bread, for example, is baked, which destroys the live microorganisms. And when fermented beverages, such as beer or wine, are filtered, the microorganisms are removed, as well.

To make it easy to add a variety of these beneficial microorganisms into our diets, here are eight probiotic-rich foods that are naturally filled with live, active cultures:

Yogurt. My preference is plain, lowfat Greek yogurt (since it's protein-rich with no added sugar), but any yogurt with a pure, simple ingredient list that includes 'live, active' cultures will do.

Buttermilk. It's one of those love-it-or-hate-it things, but those of you who love it are in luck. Buttermilk is a good source of probiotics, thanks to the live cultures added to ferment the milk sugars. Cooking with it, however, will destroy the live cultures.

Kefir. It's sort of like a drinkable yogurt, but kefir has different types of probiotics than yogurt. It's made by fermenting milk with a culture of yeasts and bacteria that are referred to as kefir 'grains.' Stick with plain, unflavored kefir to minimize added sugars, and try it in place of milk over whole grain cereal, blend it with fruit to make a smoothie, or just drink it straight.

Cultured cottage cheese. Nancy's (Nancysyogurt.com) is the only brand of cultured cottage cheese that I've seen in New Orleans-area stores (usually in natural food stores). It's different from regular cottage cheese in that it provides live cultures, including L. acidophilus and B. bifidum, as well as four strains of lactic cultures.

Miso. It's made by fermenting cooked soybeans with rice or barley, salt, and koji (a starter culture) to form a red, white, or dark colored paste. Miso can be used in place of salt in your favorite recipes, as well as in salad dressings, soups, marinades, dips and pesto. For maximum benefit from the live cultures, buy unpasteurized miso paste (located in the refrigerated section of grocery stores) and add to cooked dishes just before removing from heat.

Kombucha. It's made by fermenting yeasts and bacteria with sweetened tea, resulting in a slightly carbonated, probiotic-rich beverage. Look for it in the refrigerated section of grocery stores.

Sauerkraut. The fermentation process means that homemade sauerkraut is a good source of live, active cultures. But if it's store-bought, look for sauerkraut that's refrigerated and labeled as containing live cultures. Otherwise, it's likely been heat treated, which destroys the live cultures.

Kimchi. A popular Korean dish, kimchi is fermented and pickled cabbage, mixed with other ingredients, such as red pepper flakes, radish, ginger and onion. The freshly made kimchi found at Asian markets and restaurants is rich in probiotics, but, like sauerkraut, kimchi in a jar that has been on the shelf for months has been heat treated, and doesn't contain live, active cultures.

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Fear is the Root of Your Problems

By Leo Babauta of Zen Habits

Every problem you or I have (and they are many, small and large), is rooted in fear.

For some, that might seem obvious: the question is how to beat the fears. For others, it’s not so self-evident: why are my financial or relationship or procrastination problems caused by fear?

Let’s tackle both questions — the Why and the How.
First the Why: think about each problem you have, and then think about why you have the problem. Or why you aren’t able to solve it.

A few examples:
Procrastination: you probably fear failure, or the discomfort of doing something hard, or your fear missing out on something important (why you check email & social media instead of doing the hard task).
Debt: There are many possible causes, but often you’re spending more than you make because of a shopping habit, or a fear of letting go of some of the comforts you’re used to. The shopping habit might be caused by anxiety (fear that something you want isn’t going to happen) or loneliness (fear that you’re not good enough) or wanting your life to be better than it is (fear that you’re not OK as you are). Letting go of comforts (like your morning Starbucks, or your nice house or car) can be difficult if you fear discomfort, fear that you won’t be OK if your life is less comfortable, fear that others will judge you if your house/car/clothes aren’t as nice.
Relationship problems: There are obviously lots of possible causes (including that the other person has major problems, though you should always look at yourself as well) … but some fears that cause relationship problems include fear of letting go of control (causing you to want to control the other person), fear that you’re not good enough, fear of abandonment and other trust issues, fear of not being accepted, fear of accepting the other person (actually this is a fear of control problem).
Can’t exercise: Again, lots of causes, but some of them include: not enough time (fear of letting go of something else that you’re used to doing), exercise is too hard (fear of discomfort), distractions like TV and the Internet (fear of missing out, fear of discomfort).
Can’t change diet: Same as exercise really. Although there are also often emotional issues, in which case the fears can be very similar to the ones that lead to the shopping habit and financial problems.
Aren’t doing work you love: You maybe don’t know what you want to do, which means you haven’t committed to really exploring (fear of failing), or you know but haven’t taken the plunge (fear of failure), or fear that you’re not good enough.
Stressed about work/school: You have lots to do, but the amount isn’t the problem. The problem is you’re worried about getting it all done, which means you have an ideal (I’m going to get it all done on time, and it’ll be done perfectly) and you fear that this ideal won’t come true. So the fear is based on an ideal, but the ideal isn’t realistic. You won’t get it all done perfectly and on time. No one does. Accept the reality, that you’ll get some done, to the best of your ability, and if you fail you’ll learn from that, and that’s how the world works. 
No one is perfect. The ideal doesn’t exist.
And so on. All other problems are some manifestation of what’s going on in the above examples.

Fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, fear of letting go of control, fear of being alone, fear of abandonment, fear of discomfort, fear of missing out, fear that you’re not OK as you are or your life isn’t OK as it is, fear that some ideal won’t come true.

And these all boil down to the same fear: fear that you won’t be OK, that you’re not good enough. A lack of trust in yourself, and in the present moment.

So what do we do about it?

How to Deal with the Fear
I originally titled this section, “How to Conquer the Fear”, but this is the problem. We see fear as an enemy, to be defeated or it will defeat us.

It’s not. Fear is us. We are human beings in a world of constant change, and this is scary. We are afraid that we won’t be OK in the chaos of change, that we will fail, that we will be judged, that life won’t turn out OK.

The fear is a part of us, and therefore we shouldn’t try to “destroy” it. It can’t be destroyed, because while we can dissipate one particular fear in one particular moment, we’ll still have fears after that. All our lives. It’s not something that can be eradicated — it’s a basic part of life.

So what can we do?

  1. We can be aware of the fear. When we are struggling, suffering in some way, be aware that fear is stopping us. Look into what the fear might be.
  2. Then we can accept the fear. Don’t feel bad about it, don’t try to crush it, don’t wish it weren’t there. It’s a part of you. It’s a part of life. Accept it.
  3. Then we can see how the fear is hurting us. And see how that hurt is self-caused. How we can let go of the suffering by letting go of the fear.
  4. We can think rationally about the fear. Actually give it a little space, and consider it. What’s the worst-case scenario? Would you basically be OK? (The answer is almost invariably yes — maybe life wouldn’t meet your “ideal”, but you’d find a way and be OK.)
  5. We can be grateful for who we are, and what life actually is (as opposed to what it’s not, or what we’re not). Appreciate ourselves, and others, and life at this moment. We can be grateful for the opportunities that this moment has brought, rather than fearing the change it represents. For example, a loss is an opportunity for reinvention, doing something hard is an opportunity to create or do good in the world, and change is always an opportunity for learning and growth.
  6. We can return to this moment, and see that it is perfectly fine as is. There is no ideal when we’re seeing this actual moment and accepting it for what it is. If there’s no ideal, there’s no fear. If we don’t have an ideal of some kind of success, we don’t fear failure. If we don’t have an ideal of what we should be, we don’t fear that we’re not good enough. If we don’t have an ideal of what someone else should be, we don’t get angry at them.

This is a process of awareness, acceptance, seeing the pain, finding gratitude, and being in the moment without an ideal.

It can be done. And then soon after, another fear will appear. And we practice again.

With this practice, we can work with the fear that’s causing our problems. We can accept it without letting it stop us. And this practice, because we are alleviating our own suffering, is an act of self-compassion.

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Nanoparticles in Tattoos linked to Cancer

Friday, February 28, 2014 by: Yanjun

Getting a tattoo has always carried at least a slight risk of side effects. While many of these side effects are directly related to the use of unsanitary equipment, such as the transmission of disease or an allergic reaction, there is also the chance of an infection at the site of the tattoo. This risk is magnified when the site is not taken care of properly.

More tattoo side effects
Historically, the stance on the inks that are used in tattoos is that they have not shown to pose a reaction risk for people. This is in spite of large variety of different formulations and purities of the pigments used. Recently released evidence is painting a different picture, though.

Researchers at the University of Bradford released the results of a recent study they completed. By using an atomic force microscope (AFM), these researchers were able to closely examine the skin of the study participants at the nanoparticle stage. These nanoparticles are ultramicroscopic, allowing them to easily move across the barrier that skin provides and travel throughout the bloodstream via the blood vessels that are located just under its surface.

Traveling ink
By using the atomic force microscope in this capacity, for the first time, researchers were able to determine that the tattoo ink is leaving the site of injection and moving across the collegian barrier of the skin. Not only is this ink evident in the collagen network of the skin, but it was also discovered in the blood vessels there as well. Once these inks are in the blood stream, they have the potential to easily travel to other areas of the body, including the vulnerable organs as well as other tissues.

Unregulated field
As of this writing, the tattoo industry is largely unregulated, including the inks that are used by the artists. These inks have already been proven to contain carcinogens. In fact, the researchers of this study expressed concern that, due to the jump in the number of people getting tattoos in the past decade, this issue could become a huge public health risk.

Black ink is the worst culprit
Though all the tested ink colors, with the exception of white, were shown to be laden with significant amounts of nanoparticless, it is the black ink that is the one that is most often pointed to as containing the smallest of them. This lead researchers from a study published in The British Journal of Dermatology to conclude that they are most likely to carry carcinogens throughout the body.

Though the incidence of cancer occurring at the site of a tattoo is pretty rare, this does not eliminate the possibility of these carcinogen laden nanoparticles traveling to other areas of the body. This could lead to cancer being manifested in those areas instead.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/044098_nanoparticles_cancer_tattoo_risk.html##ixzz2wz7AAXPP

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Overcoming Cardio Fear

By Erika Nicole Kendall on January 20, 2014

Q: In one of your posts you mentioned a fear of having your heart rate go to high. I’ve always felt uncomfortable and kind of afraid when my heart beats “too fast,” but how fast I consider too fast is completely in my head and based on a lifelong avoidance of exercise. Can you speak a little bit about how to overcome that and measure it properly?
Ugh, the stupid Presidential fitness test. Just… ugh. I say that not because I find it useless – I don’t – I say that as an individual eternally scarred from the yearly fail stamp placed on my forehead because of it. Ugh.
At this point in my life, my next mountain to climb consists of becoming a runner. Someone who can run several miles at a time – barefoot, even – without wanting to keel over and die for a little while. And I won’t lie – it stems from that little situation with my 17-minute mile during the stupid Presidential fitness test. (By the way, it looks like President Lyndon B. Johnson was responsible for that. We like him – rather, I like him – so I think I’ll give him a pass.)
There’s an interesting parallel here, that I cannot overlook or deny, though. In order to lose weight, I had to learn my body – what it likes, what it doesn’t; what it benefits from, what it’s harmed by; what it can use, what’s useless. In order to become a runner, I have to learn my heart: what it likes, what it doesn’t; what it benefits from, what it’s harmed by; what it can use, what is useless. I needed to learn what helps it and hurts it as well as what it feels like when it’s working hard, and what it feels like when it’s just truly hurting. These are things that no one can teach us – they are all unique and will be different for each individual, and can only be learned through careful listening to our bodies, minds and hearts.
But how do you do that if you’ve never been a cardio-happy kid? How do you “listen to your heart” if you’ve never paid it much mind before?
First, make sure it’s not a superficial issue. It can’t be because your “boobs are too big,” you’re “embarrassed by how funny you look” or you’re just trying to avoid sweating your hair out. ‘Cause if that’s it… I got nothin’ for ya.
Second, if you’re really taking this cardio thing seriously, don’t be afraid to slow down or stop. I know this seems counter-productive, but it’s real. In this regard, you exercise your heart similarly to any other muscle in the body. You train it by working it as hard as you can stand – go as hard as you can every time you go at it – and the muscle eventually develops the ability to withstand the amount of work you’re putting into it, thus allowing you to work harder and feel less “stress” from it. In other words, it learns how to handle what you’re throwing at it.. you just have to keep throwing work at it.
If you’re someone who has difficulty walking up a flight of stairs, that’s not reason to give up walking the stairs. That’s a reason to keep taking the stairs, stopping whenever it feels like too much to bear on your heart. Throw yourself into it. Eventually, you’ll be able to take the stairs without stopping… perhaps even run up and down the stairs. Repeatedly.
You can even apply that to walking your first mile. It’s OK to stop – as long as you eventually pick yourself up and keep going once you’ve calmed down. Treadmill running is the same way… although I preferred to leave the incline button alone until I better understood what my heart feels like when I’m working hard, hardly working and working too darn hard. For someone who needs to learn how to gauge their “stress levels” on a treadmill, adding an incline – to me – seems like an unnecessary step. Once I felt more comfortable with me, then I played with the inclines.
It’s all about listening to my heart. I had to skip the expectations of where I should be going, what I should be able to do at that point in time, and how fast I should be able to go. I couldn’t use anyone else’s expectations to tell me how to get it done, because they certainly couldn’t listen to my heart the way that I could, right? My heart is unique, deserves my time in listening to it and my attention when training it. It deserves me learning to stop when it feels overworked, and it deserves me always getting back up to try again.

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Monday, February 24, 2014

17 Things That Suck About Being A Little Bit Fat

OCT. 5, 2012 By January Nelson

1. Depending on what you’re wearing, you can either look borderline thin or borderline obese. One false move — one ill-fitting shirt or unflattering pair of jeans — and all of a sudden you’re FAT.

2. People who haven’t seen you in awhile tell you that you look “healthy” and then you cry because you know that just means that you have a fleshier mid-section.

3. Nothing fits exactly the way you want it to. And then when you want to wear something too big that hides your body, you just look even fatter. Only truly skinny people can look good in oversized clothing. If someone a little bit fat wears something that’s a size too big, it just looks like an unfortunate accident.

4. You start to wonder if strangers see you on the street and identify you as being fat. You don’t weigh enough to have it be a unanimous decision but there certainly are people who would describe you as being “bigger.”

5. You can’t tell what’s natural curves and what’s the product of sitting on your ass for the last 25 years.

6. You only really think about losing weight when you see yourself naked. Other times, you’re just like, “Meh. I don’t think I’m fat enough yet. I’ll just wait and see what happens.”

7. There are three rolls on your stomach. Everyone has the first two rolls but the third one is reserved for people who are a little bit fat, such as yourself.

8. Your family used to make fat jokes about you at Christmas because you were always pretty skinny. Now they just don’t say anything.

9. Sex with the lights off. Always.

10. Everyone you sleep with is skinnier than you which makes you feel bad, like you’re not keeping up your end of the 20-something bargain or something.

11. You notice that everyone started to eat healthier except for you. You are the only one who’s still ordering pasta at dinner. When did this happen? When did everyone agree to stop consuming carbs? Was there a meeting about this that you didn’t know about?

12. Your clothes from three years ago still fit. You just look fatter in them.

13. You’re not fat enough to want to change your lifestyle, even though you feel more and more uncomfortable in your own skin.

14. You hate every piece of clothing you own but you avoid going shopping because you can’t bring yourself to buy things in a bigger size.

15. You know it wouldn’t be that difficult to lose the weight which makes you feel even lazier and more pathetic.

16. You see yourself gaining weight in places that you didn’t even know was possible. Like a fat collarbone? Who has that?

17. You know the thing that comes after a “little bit fat” is “actually fat” so start changing your life now! You totally will. Just after eating this plate of spaghetti and meatballs.

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