Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Melissa's Tip of the Week is designed to help you and your family to live happier, healthier lives.
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 Packing on unwanted pounds? 


Part 1 of a 3 part Series on stealthy invaders that are forcing you into a larger size.

Some surprising and stealthy invaders are making you fat, and I want to help you stop them!  Call it self defense for your body.  But first, we need to know what these enemies are, or we can't fight them.  Below, I've compiled a list of these meanies, and why they are affecting your weight and your health negatively. 
1.  Your beauty and personal care products:  What?!  Come on, now my beauty products are causing this?!  But there aren't calories in beauty products!  Ahhh, but there are endocrine disruptors, in the form of phthalates.  These little buggers are hiding in your shampoo, conditioner, deodorants, and all sorts of cosmetics, lotions and potions, so if the stick thin photo-shopped models weren't discouraging enough, now there's something else to consider.   

Just how do these stinkers hurt you?  They can cause your body to secrete insulin, even when you don't need it.  This disrupts your endocrine system, which is in charge of your metabolism.  And your pancreas can already use a bit of a break, right?  This unnecessary secretion of insulin can lead to insulin resistance, now easily correlated to obesity and a whole slew of other health problems.  
Children are particularly susceptible.  Scientists have actually studied this and found that an alarming number of children have been exposed to phthalates even as toddlers, and the more they found in the urine tested, the higher the body mass index of that child.  If you aren't screaming and running from the computer right now, I'd be surprised!  Children are also at increased risk of allergic conditions, like excema and asthma.  And if you think getting rid of all sweet smelling lotions for your kids will help, phthalates are also what make plastics soft and pliable.  So now you've got to look into car interiors, shower curtains (although I personally have a glass door), children's toys, rattles and teethers.  Yikes!
2.  Handling paper products:  Oh come on!  Gosh, I'm glad I'm just handling sweaty people and weights!  Now theres an even better excuse to go paperless, and it's called Bisphenol A.  It really deserves its bad reputation.  BPA disturbs your endocrine system, but is also fully capable of taking cells that may or may not become fat cells, and makes them fat cells regardless.  It's commonly used in paper products as a color developer, so it'll be in newspapers, business cards, and receipts, along with magazines.  Never has there been a better time to invest in a Kindle, or tablet!  And it doesn't take much:  just two hours of handling receipts leads to significantly higher levels of BPA!  

Perhaps even more concerning is BPA's presence in products such as napkins, paper towels, and toilet paper.  If thumbing through your favorite magazine is allowing this to seep in, imagine what happens when you wipe your mouth, or (ahem) unmentionables. Having read that, I wondered "What about sanitary products?"  And, quite unfortunately, yes, both BPA and Phthalates are in tampons and sanitary pads!  Think about increased vascularity and therefore permeability in the nether regions and that equals even more absorption into your blood stream.  

For more information, read these:
Makes: 6 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh or frozen (thawed) bell peppers, any color
  • 5 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2/3 cup whole-wheat elbow noodles or other small pasta (GF pasta will also work here!)
  • 1 pound frozen mixed soup (or stew) vegetables (including potatoes, carrots, celery, onion), thawed, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen baby lima beans, thawed
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion
  • 1/2 cup diced pepperoni
  • 3 cups lightly packed coarsely chopped curly endive or chard, tough stems removed
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add broth, oregano and thyme; bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook for 3 minutes less than the package directions.
  2. Add mixed soup (or stew) vegetables and lima beans. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; boil until the vegetables are almost tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, pepperoni and endive (or chard); return to a boil. Adjust the heat and simmer until the endive (or chard) is just tender, about 5 minutes. Season with pepper and garnish with Parmesan, if desired.


Per serving: 213 calories; 7 g fat (2 g sat, 3 g mono); 14 mg cholesterol; 28 g carbohydrates; 9 g protein; 5 g fiber; 721 mg sodium; 352 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (50% daily value), Vitamin A (30% dv)
Carbohydrate Servings: 1 1/2
Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 lean meat, 1/2 fat
Captain's Chair Ab Exercise

Ever wonder what in the heck your supposed to do with that chair-looking thing at the gym?  It's actually a great core exercise, and it also build upper body strength.  You begin by resting your forearms on the pads, holding onto the handles.  Lift your body off the ground, and then, while staying off the floor, you lift the knees and lower them.  Do 12 per set, and about 3 sets.  If you try this and it's too easy, try lifting the legs straight out in front of you, or holding a dumbbell between your feet.  If this is too hard, just start to get used to holding your body weight, hanging for a few seconds, and then going back to the floor.

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