Monday, March 23, 2009

I digress

This blog was created to discuss all health, fitness and nutrition news worth highlighting.

But, fingers crossed, we're about to sign a book contract this week that may take a lot of my time in the upcoming months. I'll not only be busy writing and researching but traveling a bit to get to better sources. Alas, not everything can be found in NYC!

Very exciting! 

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The White House Victory Garden

This week, Michelle Obama broke ground on a project close to my heart: A White House organic "farm." I wrote about it in detail in my column, Food for Thought, on

The Obamas are not the first First Family to grow one on the White House lawn. Eleanor Roosevelt introduced the idea during WW2. Families across the country followed suit with small plots of land where they grew their own fruits and veggies to put on the household table.

Above is a neat diagram of what the new plot at the White House will look like. Alice Waters has been petitioning Presidents for years to start one but I can't imagine Laura Bush nor Hillary Clinton getting their nails dirty. And they didn't.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Exercise and cravings

I don't consider swimming as a form of exercise. 

Part of this is conditioning: growing up in an urban environment, the pools were often humid, musty places in the basements of even my local prestigious private schools.

The other reason is more emotionally charged. What if this happens?

Finally, swimming makes you fat. The very act of it keeps limbs soft and pudgy, not lean and well-defined.  A University of Florida study found that swimmers have a harder time losing weight than runners.

A recent report goes one step further. Runners have different cravings than swimmers. Runners, say the scientists, actually crave light, watery foods like fruit and have suppressed the hunger hormone, called ghrelin. Meanwhile, swimming, even in cold water, increases this nasty little hormone , plus drives a hankering for more fatty, rich, processed carbs like bread or biscuits.

So there.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Did you see 60 Minutes last night?

Me neither.

So here's a recap of the grand dame of farmer's markets:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shake it up

I'll forgive this journalist's light reporting because the facts are intriguing. We eat salt to boost our moods, say University of Iowa scientists this week. 

Even though our bodies only need about 8 grams a day, Americans crave higher intakes of the old NaCl, say researchers, because it activates a pleasure mechanism in the brain to elevate our mood.

I like this one because I am an addict to anything that triggers my happy hormones. Anything. It goes this way: life is just too short to endure or suffer through unpleasantries. And while this may suggest some destructive behaviors on my part (which I can be guilty of, but never regretful of!), it doesn't always. Sometimes my rationale to happiness can be circuitous, such as: skip the party and forgo the fun because I have to get up early tomorrow to get on a plane to take me to an even better venue (say, a Miami beach for my wedding anniversary which we're doing next month!). 

In other words, moderation for me is often regulated by my need to weigh my options to decide which is the more advantageous and make me happier in the long run.

So today, it's salt.  Husband and I are sneaking over to Esca for fish from the salty seas and we don't have a rezzy. We're celebrating a bunch of things. They're all in the works and thus not yet open to announcement. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thank you "dal-ing"

In appreciation of all the help my cool-ass brother and his girlfriend have provided me in the last 10 days, I will prepare a dinner tonight recognizing my bro's gf's Indian heritage:

Lentil Dal c/o the January 30th New York Times. 

The accompanying photo is silly. Why are lentils piled high in what appears to be a salt shaker? I hate stagey vignettes in print or real life. By real life, I mean in homes where the residents put a bunch of knick-knacks in an arbitrary arrangement in a corner or by a window and ta-da, consider it home decor. I consider it corny.

Anyway, if the dish tastes good enough, I'll even bring a dish over to their place tonight. I'm trekking out to Brooklyn every night for the last week anyway.

This is from a girl who could count on one hand how many times she visited that borough in 2008.

(By the way, why is everything so much cheaper out there? Josh doesn't believe me when I say I pay $1.50 for 1 apple here. In Brooklyn, they're 60 cents a pound.)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

60 degrees and counting

I have been remiss lately with the posts. A lot is going on (sites launching, teachers testing, doctors prescribing, friends socializing) alas so I've not been able to get to blogging here.

Still, I was able to sign up for this road race in May, called the Five Boro Bike Tour for May. It goes 42 miles through all five boroughs.

I don't get the thrill out of biking like I do running (so, for instance, yesterday I did both). But it's low-impact and gets me outside on a sunny day, all day.

Join me!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Good morning!

It may still be 18 degrees out there but Spring is here. You can see it in the light, the blue sky and the tiny crocuses I eyed breaking out of the ground in the Park today.

I'm so happy for a lot of things these days. But off the top of my head, I'd list my acceptance in this year's New York Marathon (I have an email to prove it!) as a teeny, but good one. My acceptance even includes the right to forward this acceptance to the 2010 26.2-miler should I not be able to achieve this before a big birthday this December. Awesome.

I love it when I forage on, despite initial obstacles, and win. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Nobel Cause?

I'm on the fence about the current format of Tuesday's Science section of the New York Times. It's due to a nostalgic bias: My very first memory of loving newspapers and news reporting took place when I was in fifth grade at a small, private primary school on the Upper West Side. My teacher, Mrs. Hofstedter, required that we follow a section of the New York Times for an entire month. Then we'd "analyze" the day's stories in class. I chose the Science Times back then. I have been tracking medical and science stories ever since. But instead of going into science, I grew to love reporting from this exercise.

Only these days, this section can often be confused with the paper's Wednesday's Dining section. That's because under a meta-category callled "Nutrition," the paper has decided to focus on a particular wholesome ingredient, like lentils or eggplant, and delve into which phytochemicals or vitamins one is rich in and to offer up some recipes.

I don't think the Science section should carry this kind of coverage.

Still, I saw a recent package on winter squash soups that I am excited to try. Butternut and acorn squashes, two examples, are rich in beta-carotene (cancer-fighting) and folate (good for women of child-bearing age). 

I plan to make their Pureed White Bean and Winter Squash Soup at my next dinner party.

The only one tentatively planned is with an old friend of my husband's and her husband. Indeed they are the most prestigious. I've never hosted a dinner for Nobel Prize winner. They sent us a wonderful wedding gift along with a truly thoughtful note on the state of marriage. She has a fantastic way with words. Is this an appropriate dinner choice. Or should we just go out....

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Doctor's Orders

Starting tomorrow, I can't drink wine or martinis for awhile. I begin taking some meds that require the abstinence of alcohol. The upside is the amount of calories I'll save. The downside is I'll be a little bored. 

Therefore, a trip down Memory Lane seems fitting. This video showed up in my Facebook Inbox this week. I attended this little movie's screening about a year ago. And a year prior to that, in July 2007, I spent a summer weekend at this funny, sweaty, dirty (not that kind of dirty. But sleeping in a pump tent, having just 2 Port-o-Johns and 1 outdoor shower for about a hundred people was a bit too intense for me. Who knew I was high-maintenance?) happening in the Hamptons. Anyway, around minute 6:30 and thereafter, you can see some fun footage. 

To the days of neverending parties (bug spray, optional), click play. The weekend was a salute to Leafy Living. We cooked on open pits, used foods and herbs from the Ryans' vegetable garden and in general tried to leave as little impact on the untouched land that is their property as possible.