Author Archives: SarahS

About SarahS

Sarah Shultz is a connoisseur of trying new things, from food to hobbies. As a recent graduate of Central Christian College she is working on trying life in the real world. When she isn't hanging out at the DIR office she enjoys healthy baking, running, and cycling.

Stomach Balloon May Aid in Weight Loss, but You Have to Go to Canada for It

As the amount of weight loss surgeries in the U.S. continue to rise, doctors are finding different and better ways to surgically treat obesity. One of the newest players in the game is called an intragastric balloon, and as it’s not approved for use in the United States, many patients have chosen to cross the border to Canada to do the procedure.

The intragastric balloon is less invasive than traditional bariatric surgery. It involves inserting a tube down the esophagus into the stomach, so there’s no surgical incision. A deflated balloon is then threaded down the tube, and once placed, blown up to the size of an orange and filled with sterile blue water. It can stay there for up to six months, at which point it is removed to prevent ruptures. This can be done multiple times if the patient continues to need the support the balloon provides. The balloon decreases the patient’s feelings of hunger, making them eat less and lose weight.

Although the average weight of Americans continues to bound upward, there are still very few bariatric surgeries performed annually. Less than one percent of individuals who meet the criteria for bariatric surgery actually have surgery, according to the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery. Each year, about 250,000 Americans choose to have some form of weight loss surgery, the most popular being gastric bypass, a gastric band, sleeve gastrectomy, or duodenal switch. These involve removing a portion of the stomach, restricting how much food can go into the stomach, rerouting the intestinal system, or a combination of these methods. The gastric sleeve is cheapest, costing around $10,000, while the others range from $17,000 to $35,000, according to the Consumer Guide to Bariatric Surgery. (more…)

10 Essential Foods for Alzheimer’s Prevention

Alzheimer’s: The word conjures up scary thoughts of slowly losing your memory as you become a shell of your former self. Experts project that diagnoses of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is the primary cause, will triple worldwide by 2050. But scientists tell us that preventative measures can go a long way in protecting the brain from memory loss diseases, and they are as simple as doing things like making changes in your diet.

Here are 10 super foods that work to boost brain power and, in turn, lessen your chances of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. No one food has been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but healthy eating habits appear to be one of the top factors in lowering your risk for developing Alzheimer’s or dementia.

1. Wild Salmon, Tuna, Sardines (Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week because it contains vital omega-3 fatty acids. These good fats help the body function properly and may slow cognitive decline by 10 percent, studies show.

“The main concept is that a diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids creates BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), a protein between nerve cells that helps increase the strength between connections,” said Michael Gonzalez-Wallace, author of “Super Body Super Brain.” Trout, mackerel, and herring are also good choices, and taking a fish oil vitamin can also help your body obtain this much-needed nutrient. (more…)

Find the Right Diet for Your Personality in “Who Are You Meant To Be”

Every year, more new diets pop up claiming to be revolutionary and suitable for everyone. And every year, millions try them out, hoping that they’ll finally find the solution to losing weight.

Dr. Anne Dranitsaris, PhD and Heather Dranitsaris-Hilliard believe that this model is not how weight loss should be approached. In their new book, Who Are You Meant to Be?, released January 1, 2013, they outline how an individual’s personality affects their behavior and, in turn, their dieting styles.

“We’re looking at [dieting] through a different lens than most. What is it that’s driving our behaviors? Why do we people behave like we do around food?” said Dranitsaris-Hilliard.

The mother-and-daughter team’s book is not a diet guide, but it may be applied toward eating styles as part of an integrated look at human behavior. Through their research, they have identified eight different “striving styles” and find most individuals fall under one of these. (more…)

Get Healthy Snacks from NatureBox for You, Give a Meal to Feeding America

I love snacks. I especially love when they are healthy and tasty. But have you ever, like me, gone into the kitchen for a snack, opened the cupboards and fridge, and turned away dejectedly, only to return and do the same thing in five minutes? Or, worse yet, grabbed whatever was closest to munch on no matter how unhealthy it was? Enter NatureBox here to help.

NatureBox is a service that sends a package of nutritious snacks to your door every month. No more trouble finding a snack when afternoon hunger strikes, you need to grab something on your way out the door, or dinner isn’t ready yet and you need a nibble to tide you over.

But as its name implies, NatureBox doesn’t send candies or brownies or anything of the sort, they pick five different, minimally processed foods each month to keep their subscribers guessing. Standard fare looks something like bags of dried fruit, interesting combinations of granola, and flavored nuts and seeds. Some of the snacks are unusual, but all look worth a try, like Garden Tomato Crunchies, Big Island Dried Pineapple, Roasted Umami Nuts, and Country Ranch Peas. Each box contains fifteen to twenty servings. (more…)

Illuminutri Takes the Guesswork Out of Supplements and Nutrition

With the hundreds of supplements on the market today, it can be confusing to pick the right ones for you and to know that they are safely manufactured with the best ingredients. The FDA does not evaluate supplements before they reach the market so it is up to the consumer to know if what they are taking is healthful and beneficial.

Dr. Stephen Barkow began to see this as a problem in his practice when many patients would come in asking about a particular supplement. He noticed that most people don’t have a direction when taking supplements.

Out of those experiences, the idea for Illuminutri was conceived. Dr. Stephen Barkow and his wife, certified clinical nutritionist Pamina Barkow, decided to combine their expertise to create their own line of supplements to use with their patients as part of a comprehensive health plan.

“Patients come in with a variety of pain, from inflammation to complications from surgeries to chronic pain. I ask myself, ‘What can I do more naturally to reduce pain?’ and then I come up with recommendations for patients. It’s more of a lifestyle change than easy fixes,” said Dr. Barkow. (more…)

Claire Danes’ Post-Baby Body Rocked the Golden Globes

Just one month ago, Claire Danes had a baby. No one ever would have known last night at the Golden Globe Awards, though, as she showed off her stunning post-baby body in a fire red Versace dress on the red carpet. The actress garnered a Globe Award for Best Actress in a TV Drama for her role in “Homeland.”

Although the star did not divulge details of how she slimmed down in time for the award ceremony, she did mention her new son, Cyrus Michael Christopher born December 17, in her acceptance speech, thanking him and husband Hugh Dancy for their support.

Danes told Access Hollywood, “It’s very startling, to find myself on a red carpet. I’ve been in sweatpants for a while.”

To maintain her weight over the years, the 33-year-old tries not to go on extreme diets, instead preferring whole foods while avoiding heavily processed ones. In interviews, she says she eats in moderation but occasionally indulges, telling Femail.com.au, “Every now and then it’s good to indulge the soul.” She also works out with a trainer, but admits to hating the gym. Although Danes exercises at the gym when it is necessary to prepare for a role, she prefers other activities like dancing instead. (more…)

Al Roker’s Diet Revealed on Today Show With Debut of His Book “Never Goin’ Back”

Ten years ago, Today Show weather anchor Al Roker decided he needed a drastic change in his lifestyle when he tipped the scale at 340 pounds. He decided to have a gastric bypass surgery in 2002 and lost 100 pounds in eight months, eventually reaching 190 pounds lost. Then, five years ago, he received the devastating news that his mother had cancer, and his weight crept back up as he dealt with her terminal illness. After regaining and losing another 40 pounds through a 28-day cleanse and strict diet and exercise regimen, Roker writes about it all in his memoir “Never Goin’ Back,” released Dec. 31, 2012.

He talked about shedding the “fat guy image” and his new book this morning on Today.

Roker relates in his book that he chose to have bariatric surgery after losing his father to lung cancer in 2001. He had yo-yo dieted for years with no lasting results. He describes his aha! moment in an interview with PARADE magazine:

“[My father] was at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and I would go in every day. We’d talk and joke, and then one day he got serious and said, ‘Look, we both know I’m not going to be here to help you with my grandkids, so you gotta promise you’re ­going to lose weight.” Seven days later he was gone. A few weeks afterward, [Deborah and I] found out we were pregnant with our son Nicky. I said, “Okay, I’m going to have to do something.”

Roker found success with a gastric bypass, but admits it is not for everyone, calling it just another tool for losing weight that was a very difficult choice for him. When his mother got sick, his healthy living routine went to the wayside as he balanced spending as much time as he could with her with the normal pressures of his work and family life. He thought he could handle a few slip-ups with his diet, eventually reverting back to old habits and secret binge eating, and used food as a form of self-medication. (more…)

The Dos and Don’ts of a Healthy Way to Detox

Detox diets can be great at cleansing your body of unwanted toxins and chemicals. However, there is a right and wrong way to detox. Starting an unnecessarily restrictive detox diet can leave you feeling fatigued, cramping, and moody while it provides only fleeting results. A healthy detox program, however, can lead to more energy, a sense of well-being, and a jump start for positive lifestyle changes.

Let’s start with what doesn’t work. Juice or liquid-only detoxes and fasts can be harmful in the long run because they rob your body of needed nutrients. “In a fast lasting longer than a day or two, the body starts to breakdown some of its muscles and organs to generate fuel for the central nervous system,” said Mary Hartley, RD, our resident nutrition expert, in this article. That doesn’t sound very healthy at all.

If you are detoxing to lose weight, choosing an extreme detox diet like the Maple Syrup/Master Cleanse Diet will provide fast results, but the chances of keeping the weight off are extremely slim. Most weight lost while doing a strict cleansing regimen is water weight, so when you go back to whole foods, the weight will be regained. Not only that, but you may gain more weight, as now your metabolism is slower as a result of the cleanse. (more…)

The Real Way to Cure a Hangover

The New Year’s celebration is one of the biggest in the world. For many, the revelry involves alcohol, and lots of it. But when a new day (and year) dawns, party goers often feel the aftereffects of their festivities in the form of a nasty hangover.

If this is your predicament, don’t reach for greasy foods, caffeine, or medications, which can worsen the effects of alcohol on your body. Use these natural remedies instead for a fast and healthy hangover recovery.

1. Water

One of the most tried-and-true, widely recognized remedies for too much alcohol is to drink lots of water. Many hangover remedies sound strange and follow bad logic, and will probably not do any good, but this simple tip makes sense. Water will dilute the alcohol in your body, minimize alcohol’s dehydrating effect on your body, and flush out toxins. Try to stay hydrated before, during, and after drinking and its negative effects will diminish considerably.

2. Fruit and fruit juice

Once you’re properly hydrated, start replenishing the vitamins you’ve lost and get your blood sugar back to normal with a tall glass of juice. Orange or tomato juice will replenish lost vitamins and contain natural sugars to help your body metabolize alcohol faster. Bananas are great for restoring depleted potassium levels associated with overindulging, and they have magnesium, beneficial for headaches. If you don’t have any fruit juice, down a Gatorade or other electrolyte-containing sports drink.

3. Ginger

Ginger has been used for centuries as an aid for motion sickness, nausea, and vomiting. Brew some ginger root tea for soothing relief, or pop open a ginger ale for a quick fix. (more…)

Carla ‘MizFit’ Birnberg Debuts Weight Loss eBook, Saying Healthy Living is Simple

The popular fitness blogger with a large online following, MizFit, brings her expertise to the realm of ebooks with the release of her first digital copy, “MizFit: How to Build Weight and Lose Muscle Without Losing Your Mind,” available on Nook, Kindle, iPad, and as a PDF file.

MizFit, whose name is Carla Birnberg, candidly writes about how to start and maintain a fitness and eating routine that embraces the idea of living fulfilled and in the moment. Her story includes gaining 35 pounds in college, learning how to lose it permanently, becoming a bodybuilder, personal trainer, and then embracing a gluten-free lifestyle long before it became popular. Her ebook combines the knowledge she’s gleaned over the years into a comprehensive handbook for healthy living.

“I wrote, pulled together, added to and enhanced all of the information I wish I’d have had when I first started my healthy living journey. It’s the same information I still need today, close to two decades and a thirty five pound loss maintained later, to remain on my path,” said Birnberg. (more…)