Happy Sunday! Hope you had safe and fun St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, if you chose to celebrate yesterday. I ran a local 5K (just for fun, not for speed) with some former colleagues … it was a fun start to the morning and there were TONS of people dressed in green. Are you going to make some green food tomorrow?
7 Interesting Things I Read This Week
- US Childhood Obesity Rate Plummets. We’re not there yet, but this is amazing news, and shows that we’re really headed in the right direction as a country! Over the past decade, obesity rate in 2-5 year old children dropped an astonishing 43% – the first drop since the obesity crisis began. The article states that “children who are overweight or obese at 3 to 5 years old are 5 times as likely to be overweight or obese as adults.” While we don’t know if the drop is due to better nutrition, more exercise, better government programs, or some other combination of factors, this is something to celebrate in my book. Let’s keep encouraging our children to move daily and eat their veggies!
- How Fat May Harm the Brain and Exercise May Help. This study made my jaw drop! Basically, overweight mice performed more poorly on cognitive tests. When scientists simply took the fat pads out of the mice and inserted them into other mice, the performance was reversed without any other changes in the body, showing that it actually was the fat impairing cognition. And exercise helped restore cognitive performance! Of course, we don’t know if this correlates perfectly to humans, but just reading and thinking about this kind of blew my mind! (picture source)
- Why People Do Extreme Sports. Research is still in its early stages about the true danger of endurance sports, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s likely healthier to do 30-60 minutes of moderate to high intensity exercise on most days of the week than it is to run for 4 hours straight. Still, that’s another post for another day. The point here is why we continue to do things like marathons, and I wholeheartedly agree: the sense of accomplishment cannot be beat. Maybe I’ll get into MMA next … and by maybe I mean definitely not.
- The Best Parts of Fruits and Vegetables You’re Not Eating. I love things like this, which is why something similar probably appears every week I do this. I’m good at eating things like apple and potato skins, and I’ve recently discovered a love for pumpkin seeds, but I’m going to make more of an effort to incorporate things like beet and turnip greens. As for the watermelon rind, I’m still not sure I’m convinced!
- The FDA’s Proposed Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label. I wrote an article for a magazine on the proposed changes this week, so I’ll save most of my opinions for there, but suffice it to say that I’m thrilled that the new label will allow focus on added sugars (see my opinion on added vs. naturally-occurring sugars here), and I’m also excited that there will be more clarity around serving sizes, which I feel can be very misleading today.
- Northwestern Mutual’s Longevity Game. Let me first start by saying I don’t actually believe this is accurate, and there are way too many factors that go into longevity for any of us to stress out about what this quiz spits out. But if you like dorky little quizzes like I do, this one is pretty fun, and will help you recognize your healthier and less healthy habits! Here is my output … looks like I’ve got a good 65 years to go!
- Why It’s OK to Be Overweight. (I realize this is a sensitive topic, and as always, anything I say is not meant to offend.)
- I completely agree with the author that there is a lot of focus on being “skinny” and that we often equate “skinny” with “healthy.” They are certainly not the same thing – there are “skinny” people who eat junk food, do not treat their bodies well, and just happen to be thin. They are still not healthy.
- I also agree that BMI is not a great measure of health, since it doesn’t take body composition into account.
- Third, I agree that incorporating exercise and a healthy diet into your life is far more important than your weight.
- I have seen a lot of research correlating overweight with increased risk for disease (and others, like #2 above, which correlate it with other adverse effects). I get the point that most of the studies use BMI as a measure of overweight, but part of me doubts that most people with a high BMI are heavier due to muscle, so I’m not sure we can wave off those studies completely.
- Also, I do worry slightly that articles like this give those that are overweight an “excuse” to ignore the harsh reality that they need to pay more attention to their health. If you are overweight and ate one salad last week and walked for 10 minutes … it’s a whole lot better than nothing, and I’m glad you’re taking steps in the right direction, but that’s NOT grounds to say “Oh, it’s OK that I’m overweight … I eat healthily and exercise so I don’t need to worry about it.”
8. (BONUS!) Colin Powell Takes a Selfie in the 1950s and shows Ellen his funny side. If you’re a health and fitness blogger like me, you’ve probably taken your fair share of post-workout selfies, and this cracked me up. Stay tuned on Tuesday for a guest post by me, talking about workout selfies!
(All pictures are from same sources linked in the titles of the articles unless otherwise indicated).
Spill It Sundays
I’m not going to share my full thoughts on protein (this week’s “Spill It Sundays” theme) here, but suffice it to say that I love and prioritize protein (although I think some people go too overboard on protein). I shared 7 benefits of protein here, if you’re curious. I will answer 2 of Arman’s questions, just for fun!
- My favorite sources of protein are: my go-to post-workout meal of an egg scramble loaded with veggies, a green smoothie, and plain Greek yogurt (with lots of mix-ins!).
- I think tofu gets too much flack. Yes, some people (with existing hormone issues or a history of cancer) might limit soy due to isoflavones that can act like estrogen, but some delicious organic tofu eaten in moderation will not give you “moobs” or cause estrogen issues. Eat it and enjoy it! Here are a few of my tofu recipes: Cauliflower Fried Rice with Tofu and Veggies (remember to vote here by “liking” my picture here or commenting here!), Back-on-Track Bok Choy Delight, Kale Lettuce Wraps with Tofu, and Balsamic Tofu Mushroom Bites.
So tell me in the comments … Which article was your favorite? What was your age in the longevity game?