All Entries For winter
True or False?
Cross-contamination with salmonella, E.coli and other bacteria isn't only a worry when handling meat. It can occur when preparing fruits or vegetables too.
Answer: True. The grocery store's misting system can contaminate produce with dirt and bacteria that grow in the spouts, says biotechnology scientist Stuart Reeves, Ph.D., director of research and development at Embria Health Sciences. One study found that only seventeen precent of consumers wash cutting boards after slicing each vegetable, upping the odds of items becoming tainted and your family getting food poisoning. Wash your hands, cutting board and knives with a Lysol No-Touch Kitchen System (major retailers, starter kit $10). Read More ›
There's no denying the secret curing powers found in certain everyday items. Salt water, for instance, can take the sting out of a sore throat. And an oatmeal bath can ease eczema. So how about soothing a burn with butter? Not so fast. That and other common home remedies aren't just ineffectual; they can actually exacerbate the issue. So before you go DIY on treating bad breath, colds or cuts, check out these nine tactics to avoid. Read More ›
Your winter woes answered, with tips on how to treat--and weather--cold symptoms, body changes, injuries and more.
Q. I've had a cold for what seems like weeks. Should I see a doctor?
A. Yes. The typical cold lasts just seven to nine days, with people usually feeling the worst on days two to four, says Priya Wagle, M.D., an ear, nose and throat specialist in private practice in Linwood, New Jersey. "If you experience symptoms for a longer period of time, check with your doctor to be sure you don't have something more serious, like a sinus infection. A cold is a virus, so antibiotics won't help, but sinusitis can be bacterial and is treated with a prescription." Read More ›
One of my favorite times of day to run is in the early morning before the rest of the world wakes up. It’s quiet and gives me time to think before the craziness of my day begins. I prefer to run when the sun is already up, but at certain times of the year, that becomes more difficult. When I do head out in the dark, my first priority is safety. Although I never assume that cars can see me, I try to make myself as visible as possible.
I hear of too many runners, walkers and bikers out with no lights, no identification, wearing dark colors and expecting that everything will be fine and that cars will gladly move out of their way. Accidents happen all the time, but you can reduce the chances they will happen to you. Here are some of the products I recommend to help you stay safe and visible when exercising in the dark. Read More ›
Speaking as a native San Franciscan, it's been a great year for professional sports! Between the Giant's World Series championship and the 49ers super bowl berth, our athletes have given us a lot to brag about. Rooting for your team is fun, but thinking about what you eat while watching the game (and the commercials) is just as important. According to USA Today, the Super Bowl is "only second behind Thanksgiving for the average amount of calories consumed in a day." To combat this unfortunate fact, I’ve gathered our favorite healthy super bowl party food so you can celebrate without the super-high calories, fat, and sodium. Don't forget to get up at halftime and dance to the music or get outside to throw the ball with your friends, neighbors, and loved ones. That way you can enjoy some great food and keep moving too. You know who I will be rooting for on the field ("Go 49ers!"), but I'm also rooting for all my fellow Sparkers out there to have a fun and healthy super bowl celebration. Read More ›
Dr. David Bank, dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York
Dr. Doris Day, dermatologist in New York City
Dr. Howard Murad, dermatologist in Los Angeles and founder of Murad, Inc.
1. Skip the bubbles. Foamy lather feels luxurious but tends to strip away natural oils. Opt for a mild, fragrance-free cream cleanser with less than 1% sodium lauryl sulfate.
2. Exfoliate gently. Use a facial wash with no more than 5% salicylic or 10% glycolic acid two to three times weekly. For sensitive skin, dilute with an equal amount of water.
3. Soothe your scalp. Banish dryness and prevent irritation with a five-ingredients-or-less hydrating shampoo and conditioner. Fewer ingredients means less chance of inflammation. If dandruff is an issue, switch to a shampoo containing either zinc
pyrithione or selium sulfide. Read More ›
For many people, cold weather and a lack of sunshine can bring on a mild depression known as the ''winter blues.'' People that experience the ''winter blues'' will generally lack motivation and energy. Others may even develop a clinical depression in the form of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
According to the Mayo Clinic, SAD is ''a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you're like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.'' Those that experience SAD may produce too much melatonin, which is a hormone that helps to regulate sleep and body temperature. Producing too much melatonin disrupts the body's internal clock and may then cause depression, as seen with SAD sufferers.
Some of the signs of SAD may include the following:
- Loss of energy
- Social withdrawal
- Difficulty concentrating
- Depressed mood
- Weight gain
- Cravings for sweet and starchy foods
Believe it or not, outdoor exercise can be enjoyable year round—yes, even in the winter months!
When there is a chill in the air, it's easy to assume you'd be better off to pop in a workout DVD or take your daily walk indoors at the local mall. But as long as you dress properly, there's no reason you can't venture outside for a workout that is both comfortable and enjoyable.
The tricky part is wearing enough that you're not shivering from the cold, but not so much that you're sweating because of all of the heavy layers. Here's a guide to knowing what—and how much— to wear so that you can be prepared all season long. Read More ›
There are at least 62 million cases of the common cold every year, but you can avoid it. Barbara Doty, MD, a doctor in Wasilla, AK, and board member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, gives her three surefire ways to stay healthy.
1. Don't Share
It's a no-brainer to keep your lip balm and toothbrush to yourself, but don't feel bad about also saying "no thanks!" to sharing plates of food, drinks, eating utensils and even office equipment (pens, staplers, scissors) to avoid germs this time of year. Read More ›
When the temperature drops, so can your motivation to get outside and get moving. So how do you resist the temptation to stay curled up under a blanket until spring arrives? According to a poll of SparkPeople.com members, 76% of exercisers have a hard time staying motivated in the winter.
I’m no exception, especially when it gets dark so early. But keeping a consistent routine helps me avoid holiday weight gain and deal with stress during this chaotic time of year.
If you are dreading the cold, you can't always blame the weather. Your attitude and approach go a long way, too. Winter doesn’t have to be a time to abandon your regular workout routine if you’ve got a good plan in place. Here's how to stay comfortable exercising outside—and adjust your plan when getting outdoors just isn’t feasible. Read More ›
February is national grapefruit month--perfect timing since citrus fruit is in season during the cold winter months! Let's celebrate!
Have you ever wondered why a grapefruit is called a "grape" fruit? Yes, it's a fruit, but it's so much bigger than a grape. It all goes back to the land and the growers. When the fruit is at its peak and ready to be picked from the tree it tends to hang out together like a cluster of grapes, hence grapefruit.
Grapefruits are one of the power houses within the tropical fruit family. They are actually a natural cross-fertilization of a pomelo and a sweet orange. Pomelos are more pear shaped and larger. Grapefruits can be found with yellow, pink or red pulp, but I reach for the sweeter, red-pulp ("ruby") variety when I want to peel it and eat it just like an orange and the yellow pulp variety when I am going to bake it topped with honey and chopped pistachios. Read More ›
It was my five-days-without-a-shower (TMI?) trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon that taught me about the amazing properties of wool.
Most of us think of wool as the fabric for our winter sweaters or hats, but as I shopped at outdoor and camping stores for my trip, wool was everywhere. Wool underwear, wool hiking socks, wool base layers, wool running tights, wool everything. "What's with all this wool?" I wondered?
Since then, I've learned (and experienced) what an extremely versatile material wool really is. Beyond winter fashion, wool is one of the best materials for exercise clothing—and not just in the winter. I now have a wool neck gaiter, wool base layers for running, and socks, which are not only the socks I wear every day but also the only socks I'll wear while running.
Still not convinced? Allow me to share the six amazing reasons you should be adding more wool to your workout wardrobe (plus tips for choosing the right wool). Read More ›
You have just had a long hard day at work or school and thoughts of what to make for dinner overwhelm your brain. Suddenly you remember: "I put a stew in the slow cooker this morning. WooHoo!" As you enter your kitchen, you can smell the savory delight and hear the bubbling sound of juices. Dinner is ready.
To be a good slow cooker you first need to understand the equipment and just how that crock traps all the flavors and creates an amazing stew, soup, or even dessert. The crock pot simmers food for an extended period of time. Depending on the recipe, the dish may be ready in 4 hours or 10. Most slow cookers have three temperature settings: low, high, or keep warm. On average, most cookers run at 180 degrees F for low and 250 degrees F for high. A word of caution: Several studies have found that these numbers can vary as much as 40 degrees either way. Just remember that even if you're in a rush, you need to check the internal temperature of the food to ensure that the proteins are cooked to proper temperatures. Dark meat poultry should be cooked to 180 degrees, white meat poultry to 165, beef to 160, and pork, 145 degrees.
Easy clean-up is an added bonus with slow cooking. I always spray the inner liner with non-stick pan coating. Wait until the inner liner has cooled slightly before washing; the extreme change in temperature could cause it to break. When storing your slow cooker, leave the lid ajar to avoid a "funny" smell.
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