Quitting Time

More than 438,000 premature deaths from smoking occur each year in the US, according to the National Cancer Institute. The habit harms nearly all organs and causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, and lung disease. The good news: Nonsmokers substantially reduce their risk of these diseases, and the percentages increase the longer a person remains smoke free.

Withdrawal symptoms (weight gain, sadness, anxiety, and restlessness) can be difficult, but are obviously worth enduring. Millions quit for good every year; here’s how:

  • Customize the advice: Consult with your healthcare provider to develop a personalized quit plan. Know where you’ll turn for additional help.
  • Add nicotine replacement: 5 forms of nicotine replacement products — patch, gum, lozenge, nasal spray, and inhaler — are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
  • Get a grip: Realize that withdrawal symptoms are most challenging during the first 3 days of quitting; a typical craving lasts only a couple minutes.
  • Never have another smoke: Once you quit, stay there. Just a puff can lead you back to addiction.
  • Think of the benefits: Ex–smokers have more control over their life, experience better health, and set a good example.

Fitness Fountain of Youth

Sure exercise helps slim you down and tone you up. But the compounded results of working out do more than just reduce your pants size. Besides the fact that physical activity lowers your risk of developing illnesses like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes, it has a holistic effect on mind, body, and spirit — prolonging life expectancy and enhancing quality. In fact, staying active may slow or even reverse the aging process. So let go of the excuse that you’re too old — it’s never too late to turn back the clock.

  • Adjust: As you journey through life, your body changes. Make accommodations that match the needs of each stage. Incorporate both strength and aerobic training to keep your muscles and bones strong and your metabolism up.
  • Engage: You’re less apt to work out if it feels like a drag. Try something new to break up monotony. Look for activities you genuinely enjoy. Listen to your favorite music or read something engrossing while you’re on the treadmill. Take part with others — not only can they hold you accountable, but the social dynamics help spur motivation.
  • Build: Avoid the all–or–nothing temptation. Something is always better than nothing, so if those creaky knees are keeping you off the courts, take up walking or biking — movement is movement as long as you pace yourself into a routine that’s doable vs. one you’ll abandon when soreness and fatigue set in.

Try Before You Buy?

Before you head into the dressing room, know how to safely try on items so you’re not bringing home more than you bargained for.

  • Undergarments: Your safest bet is to avoid the in–store audition. If you must, try them on over your undies. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling underwear regardless.
  • Hats: Sure you like to model that baseball cap before dropping the dough, but how many other fans have taken it for a cranial spin? While lice is usually considered a kids’ disease, adults aren’t immune — those little buggers thrive on human blood and require nothing more than direct contact with your scalp to start their infestation. The good news is they usually die within a day, but if a carrier tries on a hat right before you, the parasites could upgrade to your hospitable head.
  • Shoes: It’s best not to buy shoes without trying them on. But if you do so without socks, you could risk contaminating with fungal foes. Wash the socks when you get home and spray down the interior of your new footwear with a disinfectant to clear out infectious stowaways.

Deception Deficit

Lying is more than just an ethical misstep. Deceit gobbles up energy while inducing emotional and mental stress. And while you might think fudging the truth is sometimes necessary, guilt can creep in, ruffling your spiritual feathers. So before you weave a tangled web, try these tips for sticking to the facts:

  • Swap shoes. Philosopher and theologian Augustine of Hippo said, “I know many who have deceived but I know no one who wishes to be deceived.” Before launching into a lie, consider your reaction if the tables were turned. It’s easy to discard or justify dishonesty if you’re doling out the fib, but think twice about how you’d feel on the receiving end; the shift in perspective may encourage more truth.
  • Assume a charitable stance. The truth doesn’t have to be in your face. If you need to redirect a misguided friend, lead the conversation with positives, and use I messages to convey your feelings (ex. Red is a great color on you; I feel like that yellow shirt isn’t as flattering).
  • Hold your tongue. Withholding the truth is not necessarily the same as remaining quiet until you have all the facts. If you’re unsure of an answer or feel your real story lacks substance, don’t be tempted to contrive one. Sometimes the best approach is simply silence.

Curbing GERD

Ever felt that burning sensation creeping up in your chest? More than 60 million Americans experience gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) at least once a month. But indigestion doesn’t have to have the last word. Before you pop that next antacid, consider these tips for tackling heartburn before it starts.

  • Break slow. Gulping down a quick morning meal stirs up stomach acid. Instead, get up 10 minutes earlier and sit down to eat. One of the best breakfasts for suppressing symptoms: oatmeal with sliced bananas or applesauce — the bland nature of both the fruits and high–fiber cereal are easy on your belly. Sprinkle with a little ginger, which has anti–inflammatory properties believed to calm upset tummies.
  • Steer clear of the red zone. Tomato sauce, salsa, even ketchup can trigger acid reflux. If you’re experiencing symptoms, go with light broths — which are mild but flavorful — and avoid spicy dishes. But even if it doesn’t flash that ruby color, don’t be deceived. Heavy sauces like Alfredo and gravy can be just as potent.
  • Incline and decline. Avoid lying flat on your back. Propping yourself up with an extra pillow can help refuse acid’s attempt to bubble up. Be especially mindful of what you eat and drink before bedtime — chocolate, alcohol, coffee, and carbonated beverages can not only disrupt your sleep, they stir up reflux.

Ask the Sports Dietitian – What Foods Help Speed Up Recovery?


Are some foods better than others in aiding recovery after a rough run?

– Amber




As far as I am concerned, the WHEN and HOW MUCH are as important as the WHAT.

WHEN: For the best recovery, refuel within 15-30 minutes of a run. Make it a priority!

HOW MUCH?: Aim for a post run appetizer (about a tennis ball size amount of food), not a full meal. Often, you may finish a run without an appetite, so remember less is more.

Recovery can also carry into the following meal. Your post run meal should include ¼-1/3 of a plate full of carbs (rice, pasta, potato, bread, tortilla or cereal), ¼ plate full of protein (lean meat, poultry, fish, soy foods, beans, eggs, low-fat dairy), fruits/vegetables for the remainder of the plate, plus some fat (oil, avocado, nuts, nut butters).

WHAT: Be prepared. Bring non-perishable snacks to store in your car or locker so you don’t have to wait until you get home or to a restaurant to start refueling. Follow this trifecta for optimal refueling: replace 24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost during a run, eat 12-15 grams of protein, and 35-50 grams of carbohydrates immediately after a run.

If you’re too tired to chew, you can refuel with beverages (provided they’re other than plain water). A 12 ounce glass of low-fat flavored milk, a ½ cup of trail mix of roasted soynuts/dried fruit and cereal, or a sports bar with enough carbs and protein (but under 200 calories) should work fine.

A few special items of interest to consider:

  • Ginger may help to prevent delayed onset muscle soreness, so you could add ginger to a stir-fry, or mix a little candied ginger into a trail mix, or even add ginger root to tea.
  • To expedite recovery, think about the type of carbs you choose: higher glycemic index items such as cereal, crackers, a small amount of honey/syrup may aid in faster muscle glycogen recovery.
  • You don’t need a special recovery product, or supplements. Just time it right, and in terms of the quantity—keep it light!

Recover, Restore, Replete!