Monday, November 30, 2009

Eating Disorder/Body Image Myths

Margarita Tartakovsky, over at Psychcentral--Weightless, recently asked me for some eating disorder myths and body image boosters to share with her blog audience. Below are links to the posts where she compiles these myths. Hope they're helpful to you. . . .

Eating Disorder Myths

Body Image Boosters

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Turkey Makeover: Another Look at Food

I came across this press release for more humane and Earth-friendly consumption this Thanksgiving:
Tips from World Society for the Protection of Animals for A for a Healthy and Humane Thanksgiving Table

November 16, 2009 — On Thanksgiving Day when Americans give thanks for the abundance of food on their table, they should also appreciate the global impact of what they are eating. Making humane choices when shopping for a turkey and other holiday groceries is a simple yet powerful way to make a difference, reports the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

According to Sharanya Krishna Prasad, WSPA U.S. programs officer, “Understanding food labels, and in turn, making humane choices for your turkey, eggs and milk can have a substantial impact on animal welfare, the environment and your health. We want people to know that choosing certain foods can help save our planet. What better day to start than on Thanksgiving?”

Humane Turkey Talk from WSPA:

* When shopping for a turkey, look for these labels: “Pasture Raised,” “USDA Organic,” “American Humane Certified,” “Animal Welfare Approved” or “Certified Humane.” These labels indicate that animals were generally raised under more humane standards and were given access to sunlight, fresh air, and freedom of movement. They were also spared non-therapeutic antibiotics and growth-promoting hormones.
* Avoid misleading labels like “Natural” or “Naturally Raised.” While “Naturally Raised” ensures animals were not given antibiotics or hormones, this claim does not require that the animals have freedom, fresh air or sunlight. The term “Natural” has no relevance to animal welfare and merely indicates that the product was minimally processed and contains no dyes or preservatives.
* Avoid serving multiple meat entrées during Thanksgiving. Instead add a meatless entrée choice such as ratatouille, lasagna, vegetable chili or meatless shepherd's pie.
* Do not add meat (like sausage) to your stuffing. Instead use veggies, fruits or nuts.
* Use vegetable broth in place of turkey or chicken broth for gravies and sauces.
* Substitute soy milk, vegetable broth or water, for cow's milk in squash and corn soups.
* Use soy milk instead of cow's milk in mashed potatoes and in corn and green bean casseroles.
* Substitute “Egg Replacer” for chicken eggs in cornbread and other breads, cakes and desserts.
* Substitute soy milk for cow's milk in pie crusts and fillings.
* Try frozen non-dairy dessert on top of pies or cakes.

Prasad explains, “If every person in the U.S. cut meat out of their diet for just one day it would save over 200,000 tons of food and nearly two million tons of CO2-equivalent emissions. That amount could feed an estimated two million people in need. By choosing humane labels, reducing meat in your diet and minimizing meat products in your side dishes, you can curb your carbon footprint and have something to truly be thankful for.”

For more information on food labels and humane eating visit WSPA has built the world’s largest alliance – over 1,000 animal welfare groups in 150 countries –dedicated to alleviating animal suffering. Through its pioneering programs and unique partnerships, WSPA addresses animal welfare concerns on a truly unprecedented global scale.
Enjoy your holiday. Enjoy your food.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Louboutin Legs

Newsflash: Barbie isn't perfect.

I know you thought she was, what with those improbable dimensions, the long, golden locks, her plastic-smooth skin, that Malibu Dream House.

But, she's not. That's what I learned last week, when I was invited to sit on a television panel to talk about Barbie's ankles. It seems French shoe designer Christian Louboutin told Women’s Wear Daily magazine that Barbie's ankles were too "fat" to wear his shoes.

Louboutin, who is designing three special edition Barbies, is reshaping her gams (slimming her ankles) in order to wear his shoes. Mattel, Barbie's maker, reports that the Louboutin controversy (known in the media as "Barbie Has Cankles!") is simply a misunderstanding: "My dear friend, Christian loves my ankles. It was my arch that he wanted to give a little lift to, so I can rock those high heels."

But, you see, one of the wonderful perks about being a shoe designer is that you actually design shoes! So, instead of molding her (fake) foot to fit the (fake) shoe, why not do it the other way around? You'd send the message that we don't have to contort our bodies to find fashion, and you'd keep this Louboutin lover around.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Holiday Weight-Loss

Drstaceyny would like to believe that she lives in a diet-free world. . . but she does not. A reporter recently contacted me and asked for trends in weight-loss that might be influenced by the economy, the holiday season, etc.

Are people changing the way they lose weight? Are they foregoing formal diet programs (e.g., Jenny Craig, Nutri-System, WW) and tossing their diet books, trying to go at it alone?


Monday, November 09, 2009

More on TBL

I may have said it before, but I'll say it again, I hate The Biggest Loser. While I'm all for encouraging healthy eating and exercise, this is not the goal of the show. Instead, contestants are put on low calorie diets and required to engage in extreme exercise, a combination that is simply unsustainable. A recent issue of Us magazine profiles three former contestants:

1) Hollie Self: Self is reported to eat 1,200 calories a day, run four times a week (up to 20 miles per run) and engage in strength training three times a week. Self completed the NYC marathon (5:08) and is training for a Half Ironman next year. For the uninitiated, that's a 1.2 mile swim, a 56-mile bike, and a 13.1 mile run (yes, all in one day). But, on a 1,200 calorie/day diet?

2) Alexandra White: It's reported that White eats 1,300 calories a day and works out for four hours a day, six times a week. This type of overtraining is likely to lead her to burnout and injuries and again, isn't sustainable on 1,300 calories a day.

3) Nicole Brewer: Brewer reportedly eats 1,600 calories a day, as she trains for the Philadelphia Marathon and teaches spinning and strength training classes.

My concern about these lifestyles is that they're unrealistic--the general public is led to believe that it's possible a) to function long-term on low calorie diets b) and to do that while engaging in frequent, rigorous endurance exercise. For most people, it's a set-up, at best, for failure and low self-esteem (If they can do it, why can't I?), and at worst, for illness and malnutrition.