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Jennie Graham

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How many peanuts does it take to run a marathon?

To answer that question, let’s start with some history and science. Mars Inc. is the company that makes Snickers, the best-selling candy bar in the world. It all started when Frank Mars started breeding racehorses in Tennessee. When his wife’s beloved horse died, Frank added peanuts to the Milky Way and the Snickers bar was born! Let’s look at the peanut and how this non-nut became the super food of sports nutrition. First, how did this bean become a nut and why is it a nutritional rival to meat? Second, how did it find its way to the baseball field? Third, how did horse racing inspire millions to run marathons and fuel their workouts with a candy bar?  The peanut plant has a vine-like spread and an extensive root system. The vines create a canopy over the soil, providing shade and trapping moisture, while the roots draw water from as

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Food Addiction and the Brain

Food addiction can be a normal response to too much stress. Doesn’t matter. There are ways to get your life – and eating habits — back under control. “Betcha can’t eat just one?” Especially if it’s one of your comfort foods – something unhealthy you reach for reflexively when the pressure of life is suddenly too much. Food addiction. It’s that subconscious need to feel good right now, which can only be satisfied by the first bite of something sweet, salty, or savoury that we experience as safety. It’s emotional eating for your mind, where you’re more addicted to the feelings you get from the process of eating than from the food itself. Food addiction is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, there is an organization, The Food Addiction Institute, which is dedicated to the understanding and treatment of the illness. Like drug or alcohol addiction, food addiction can

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Exercise your mind too

In the West, we think of yoga as a workout for the body. From Hot or Power to Yin or Restorative, the focus is usually on the physical. But the truth beyond the spandex is that yoga practice is a state of mind. It is experienced best when the mind is calm, without distractions. That’s when the real mind-body connection can be made. And you don’t need to move through a strenuous sequence of poses to get there. But it certainly helps. The poses in yoga are designed to build strength, increase mobility and improve the ease with which your body moves. But there is a huge, often-forgotten component of a yoga practice that requires no movement at all. Yoga’s ancient text, The Living Gita, presents four distinct paths—Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Ra-ja Yoga and Jnana Yoga. Each is described as leading us back to our True Self. This month

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How SciFi has caught up to our health

The future of health and medicine includes a lot of science fiction that is getting real—fast. GEOGRAPHY used to be about mapping the world, cereal was breakfast food and robots built cars on the assembly line. Now, maps are used for genetic code, cereal provides a better boost than Viagra, and robots can dig you out of a natural disaster. Every day the stuff of science fiction creeps closer to reality. Ray Kurzweil is doing it, lab tests on men prove it, and with stores such as Wal-Mart selling it, you can afford it! Read on for a laundry list of cool technologies that point the way to a new era of health and medicine. Eat this: Bio printed meat First on the list is bio-printed meat. The idea of synthetic meat first appeared on an episode of Star Trek: Jean Luc voices his desire for meatloaf and seconds later a plate

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The value of getting outdoors

For exercise, we are always faced with two roads: indoors or outdoors—the gym, say, or Mother Nature. The first is familiar, a path well worn by routine, control, and familiar faces. The latter is foreign: it tends to be a path explored in good weather, to-and-from the car, and when you go on vacation. Even so, nature is unpredictable, more or less. That’s a good thing. When was the last time you took your gym outside? When was the last time you made the choice to take the road less travelled? In Robert Frosts’ poem, and in your overall fitness, when you take “The Road Not Taken,” it makes a difference. There are many benefits. IT’S SOCIAL In all seasons, outdoor activities tend to be social. Hiking, skiing, garage gyms, cycling, tobogganing, swimming, and even walking are activities we tend to do with others. And when we work out with

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Understanding dietary fats

‘Fat makes you fat’ is way too simple a rule of thumb. In fact, your body needs certain dietary fats to function properly—and even to burn fat! SUMMER brings sunshine and a renewed obsession with getting skinny. It seems that help is everywhere you look, especially in the supermarket. The solution, we are told, is as simple as taking the fat out of our diets and replacing it with grains and fruit. But for a society obsessed with being skinny, many of us are fat. In fact, our low-fat, no-fat, on-the-side, hold-the-fat-at-all-costs society is obese! It’s time to get real, get healthy and get back to fat! The whole “fat makes you fat” idea came from Ancel Keys, a brilliant scientific mind who fudged his own data. Keys went to 22 countries with the help of millions of government dollars to prove his theory that eating fat must make you fat.

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The rise of white bread

It might be better for you than whole grain! What’s soft and fluffy on the inside, golden and crunchy on the outside, effortless to chew, made better with butter and divine with jam? The answer: white bread. It’s heaven on Earth. So why did we stop eating it? Sales of white bread have dropped by 75% since the 1970’s. Many believe that ancient grains and a lack of artificial processing equal greater health. But a team from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel has another view. “Generalizations about which type of bread is better don’t actually apply,” they believe. That’s because healthfulness is determined by chemical composition, rather than fad diets or a government food guide. Plants are natural chemists. They can’t run away. Wheat stalks, strawberries and peanuts can’t throw punches if you come picking. They need an alternative line of defense. That defense is called lectin. Lectins

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