Author Archives: Kristina

About Kristina

Kristina is an adventure seeker with a life-long love of sports and a love of cooking that makes her favorite dishes healthier for all who enjoy them. She holds a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism and a master's in exercise science from Wichita State University. Commissioned by the U.S. Air Force, Kristina is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard.

Ashley Johnson Loses 156 Pounds on ‘Extreme Makeover’

Sunday night America was able to witness Ashely Johnson’s extreme transformation that took a year to accomplish. With the help of Chris Powell, the trainer on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition,” Johnson went from 323 pounds to 167 pounds on her final weigh-in.

Her journey wasn’t easy and she had to deal with challenges that included her family. They would bring junk food into the house and holiday meals were full of unhealthy entrees.

On the show she talked about trying to get her family to understand how they were making it difficult for her and they would reply that she just needed to have more willpower. Her family’s lack of support may be because Ashley was the only one in her family who struggled with weight. Arguments between Johnson and her mother also added to the stressful environment.

All of theses issues had Powell concerned when Ashley failed to reach her first weigh-in goal. A friend of Johnson’s offered her to move-in rent free. Being away from all the negative influences of her family, Johnson was able to really focus on her weight loss and succeed.

Powell also had her meet with a therapist so she could find out why she gained the weight in the first place. Through the therapy she discovered the root of her problem and was finally able to admit she was a compulsive eater and had an addiction to food. This helped her begin the inner-healing she needed that was just as important as the weight-loss itself. (more…)

Saturday Morning Drills: Fun Ways to Exercise with Kids

Summer is a great opportunity to spend time with your children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews. Some of the most fun and enjoyable times to have with kids is while playing games with them. The following games are not just a great way to bond with the kids, it’s also a great way for all of you to get exercise!

Children are supposed to get at least 60 minutes of exercise everyday. Making sure they stay active helps increase their life expectancy and decreases their risk of cardiovascular disease. It also helps with controlling weight, increases coordination and self-esteem.

On top of that, exercising with your kids allows you to become a positive example of living an active lifestyle. So find your inner child and head out the door to play these fun games.

There are only two rules:

1. Every one plays safe.

2. Don’t take the games too seriously, just have fun and enjoy the time together!


This was one of my favorite games as a child. Tag is great for cardio and can also be used as a good warm-up. Spend at least 5-10 minutes but if everyone is having a good time, play for as long as you want! (more…)

Children in China More Likely to get Diabetes than Children in America

Teenagers in China are four times as likely to get diabetes than those from the United States. This was discovered by a study led by Barry Popkin, Ph.D., W.R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of nutrition at University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.

The researchers used data from the longest ongoing study of its kind in China, China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS). They analyzed data from over 29,000 people that were followed from 1989 to 2011 in 300 different communities in China.

While comparing data from the CHNS to the National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES) in the United States the researchers found the rates of diabetes were higher in the youth from China. Children aged 12-18 from China had a 1.9 percent compared to 0.5 percent of American children who had diabetes. They also found that 11 percent of Chinese children and 30 percent of Chinese adults are currently overweight.

“Those who are Asian, Native American, African American have more thrifty genes and are more likely to store fat. These populations come from ancestry that experienced bouts of famine and needed to store extra fat to survive,” said Sarah Kahn, Resident Pharmacist with, in an email. “Fat around the abdomen is an indicator that could lead to diabetes.” (more…)

4 Fun Ways to Workout with Your Dog

When it comes to exercise and eating healthy, it isn’t only important for us but also for our pets. A survey done by Association for Pet Obesity found that 53% of our dogs are overweight or obese!

Overweight or obese pets also run the risk of getting diabetes and cancer as well as other conditions. Not to mention that they probably don’t feel as well. What may seem like only a couple of pounds overweight to us is actually a larger percentage for our dogs. For example, a chihuahua that weighs 7 pounds means that it’s 17% overweight. That’s equivalent to a 5 foot 4 inch tall female weighing 167 pounds. A 15 pound dachshund would be 25% overweight and is equal to a 5 foot 4 inch female weighing 181 pounds!

Keeping your pet active is a great way to keep them at a healthy weight. The following slideshow includes four exercises that will get you both on the right path to a healthier future. So instead of parking it in front of the TV, head to your park and have fun!

View 4 Fun Ways to Workout With Your Dog Slideshow

Also Read:

Quick Fat Blasting Tips For an Amazing Summer Body

5 High-Fiber Foods You Should be Eating More Often

Lose 7 Pounds a Year from Drinking Cold Water

Lose 7 Pounds a Year from Drinking Cold Water

Did you know it matters if you drink cold water versus warm water? It seems like there are always tips and tricks when it comes to losing weight. One of the tips I’ve heard is to drink water before you eat and there are a few proven reasons on why this is true. The first reason is that sometimes when your body is dehydrated it confuses the signal of being thirsty for hunger. The signal is sent to your brain and as a result you feel like eating. If it’s actually because you’re dehydrated, drinking a glass of water will help alleviate the urge to eat something.

The second reason to drink water before you eat a meal is because it will make you feel more full. You may have heard this already but do you know whether you should drink cold or warm water? If you are wanting to feel full for longer, you will want to drink room temperature or warm water. Warm water tends to stay in the stomach longer than cold water. The reason for this is because when you drink cold water, it has to leave the stomach faster so your body can heat it up quickly. So when choosing between the two, go for warm water.

Another trick I’ve heard over the years is that drinking ice cold water makes your body burn more calories. Is this fact or fiction? (more…)

GlaxoSmithKline Will Pay $3 Billion in Fraud Settlement; Largest Ever

In the largest ever health-care fraud settlement, GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay $3 billion in fines for wrongly promoting prescription drugs and not properly reporting important clinical data.

More specifically, Glaxo is pleading guilty to three misdemeanor charges. It is pleading guilty to marketing the anti-depressant Paxil towards children and Wellbutrin as a weight-loss aid, neither ways ever being approved by the FDA. Promoting uses for a drug that have not been approved by the FDA is illegal and is known as off-label marketing.

The other charges are for not reporting important clinical data on Avandia, a drug used in the treatment of diabetics, between 2001 and 2007.

The three misdemeanor charges included a criminal fine of $1 billion for the drugs Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia. The remaining $2 billion is connected to the way sales and marketing practices of several drugs, including the asthma drug Advair, were conducted. (more…)

Set Your Metabolism on Fire with These 4 Foods

Finding ways to increase your metabolism is always important when you are trying to lose weight. There are tons of studies done to figure out which foods will naturally help your metabolism as well as products you can buy that claim to also help.

In my opinion, I prefer to stick with more natural remedies. I like to know exactly what I’m taking and how much. I did some research and found some of the most proven natural methods that will set your metabolism ablaze!

Maybe one of the most widely known ways to increase your metabolism is eating hot peppers. The reason they are able to help with metabolism is because of the chemical capsaicin, it is found in hot peppers and cayenne peppers. This chemical will temporarily cause your body to release more stress hormones, which will cause your metabolism to speed up and help you burn more calories. It will also help suppress your appetite which of course means taking in less calories. Eat a tablespoon of chopped red or green chili peppers at each meal by adding it to your meals. You can spice up your favorite pasta, chili or soups by adding these metabolism fire starters.

If you’re not a fan of the spicy peppers, the sweet chili peppers are another great option. They contain a compound called dihydrocapsiate (DCT) which acts similar to capsaicin as far as our metabolism goes. A study done in California found that people who took nine milligrams of DCT experienced more energy expenditure and burned more calories than the control group. They burned an extra 100 calories per day when they took the nine milligrams three times a day. (more…)

Cat Parasite Possible Link to Suicide Attempts in Women

New research finds women infected with Toxoplasma gondii have an increased risk to attempt suicide than non-infected women. Why these two are connected is still unclear.

The study, led by senior study author, Dr. Teodor Postolache, analyzed about 45,788 women in Denmark between 1992 and 1995. Postolache and colleagues found that women infected with T. gondii had one-and-a-half times higher risk of attempting suicide when compared with women did not have the parasite.

Once ingested, T. gondii can plant itself inside the brain and muscle tissues, and once inside cysts they are untouchable from the host’s immune system. Studies looking at this parasite have connected with mental health and brain problems, like schizophrenia and brain cancer. But scientists still are not sure if the parasite is a direct reason for the development of these health problems or if it is more of a side effect. Someone with the mental disorder schizophrenia, for example, might struggle to keep up with their hygiene, meaning the mental disorder could increase the risk for infection and not the other way around. (more…)

Drinking Coffee Could Cut Risk of Getting Skin Cancer

After all the contradicting information out there on coffee and our health there is finally a study that shows it’s not such a bad thing. Researchers have found the more coffee you drink, the more you could be protecting yourself against skin cancer.

A report published in the journal Cancer Research explains drinking more caffeinated coffee could lower the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma. Out of all the forms of skin cancer, this is the most common.

Data from more than 112,000 people was analyzed from the famous Nurses’ Health Study. A quarter of those studied developed basal cell carcinoma over a 20 year period. Researchers found a close relationship in those who did not develop this cancer with the higher amount of coffee they drank per day (more than two cups). (more…)

Study Finds Junk Food is Part of Youth Sports Routine

Children who play organized sports are often faced with unhealthy foods and beverages as part of the lifestyle, a new study finds.

Parents of 60 youth basketball players were interviewed by researchers from the University of Minnesota on what kind of food their children are exposed to while playing sports. The researchers found the kids were commonly introduced to a variety of sweets including candy, ice cream, sodas and sports drinks. The children also commonly ate salty, high fat snacks such as pizza, chips and nachos.

It was also found from the parents that they often took their children to fast-food restaurants when the kids were playing sports.

Even though the parents acknowledged that kind of food and beverage were not healthy choices, they also expressed how challenging it was to fit a healthy meal into their already super busy day. They admitted the unhealthy food was just simply much more convenient. (more…)