Archive for September, 2012|Monthly archive page

Exercise May Protect Against Emotional Stress, According to Study

In exercise, heart health, lifestyle, stress, Uncategorized, wellness on September 18, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Here’s just more proof of the importance of exercise:  On the heels of a news report stating that people who experience intense workplace stress are at greater risk for heart attack, came another report of a study conducted by the University of Maryland School of Public Health suggesting that even moderate exercise can help people cope with the day-to-day anxieties of today’s world.

First, every participant’s stress levels were measured. Then all participants were split up into two groups:  Those who experienced quiet rest for 30 minutes and those who exercised at a moderately intensive pace, like cycling.

They were all shown a series of photographs, ranging from pictures of families, babies and puppies to pictures of appetizing foods and then escalating to violent and gruesome images.

All participants were reassessed, and the researchers compared the effects of 30-minute periods of quiet rest and with those who exercised at moderate-intensity.

Those who exercised showed a lower level of anxiety.

The following statement appeared on the school’s website:

“While it is well-known that exercise improves mood, among other benefits, not as much is known about whether these positive effects endure when we’re faced with everyday stressors once we leave the gym,” explains Dr. J. Carson Smith, the study author and an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology. “We found that exercise helps to buffer the effects of emotional exposure. If you exercise, you’ll not only reduce your anxiety, but you’ll be better able to maintain that reduced anxiety when confronted with emotional events.”

Want to know more benefits of exercise?  Please read my previous post here.


Weight isn’t the only indicator of overall health and fitness. Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP is a certified health and nutrition coach who helps people get off the diet roller coaster and live a lifetime of health, vitality, passion and overall physical and emotional wellbeing.  Author of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day:  Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, her website is:  While there, be sure to sign up for her free, twice monthly newsletter, Power Wellness,” full of information on healthy eating and lifestyle.

Also the wellness expert for the 4-legged, she writes a popular pet health blog:


Pets May Help Autistic Children with Socialization Skills, Study Shows

In ASPCA, autism, Humane Society, Uncategorized, veterinary on September 8, 2012 at 1:22 am

Just more proof of the way pets can help humans: French researchers studied 260 autistic children and found that giving them a cuddly pet after age five could actually aid socialization, suggesting that introducing companion animals to the autistic child might also help with human bonding.

The key seems to be the arrival of the animal; those children who grew up with pets were not affected.

Bringing a pet into the home not only calmed, but increased, the child’s ability to share and to comfort; those are two skills that autistic children often lack, because they depend on the ability to understand people’s thoughts, feelings and emotions–and then be able to empathize with them. While the pet doesn’t necessarily need any extra training, some do use therapy dogs.

While no one really knows why timing is so important, one thought is that the autistic child may just see pre-existing pets as part of the background, or that the pets may already be more strongly bonded with other family members by the time the child enters the household.

Some also suspect that the arrival of a pet might strengthen the family bond and increases interaction, giving the child the opportunity to see petting, cuddling and other responses.

“In individuals with autism, pet arrival in the family setting may bring about changes in specific aspects of their socio-emotional development,” the researchers wrote in their study, according to Web MD.


Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP is a certified nutrition and health coach who refers to herself as the wellness expert for both the 2-legged and 4-legged. Author of the e-book, Sugar’s Sour Story and of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day: Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, her website is:

Her twice-monthly, free newsletter, “Power Wellness” is full of tips, recipes and other information for healthy nutrition and living. Subscribe here.

Cook Once, Eat Twice–and Other Ways to Deal with that Time-Guzzling Monster

In heatlhy eating, nutrition, Uncategorized, wellness on September 5, 2012 at 12:31 am

You can still eat healthfully and mindfully, maintain your weight and increase your energy, even when you’re short on time.

  • Cook Once, Eat Twice: No, I’m not talking about leftovers. The idea is to plan meals based around key foods that can be one recipe for  one meal–and an entirely different recipe for another.

    You can do all kinds of things with apples, from making dipping sauces to rolling in peanut butter and freezing as truffles–to creating more traditional soups and pies.

For example, one of my clients told me she hated making brown rice because it took too long; she worked long hours and often came home late, ravenous, and to an equally hungry family. She learned about “cook once, eat twice and, before long, the rice also became a salad and breakfast porridge, in addition to its role as a supporting player as a side dish at dinner. By the way, she added some almond milk and created cereal out of those little loose grains that fall to the bottom of rice cake packets.

  • Boost Nutrient Values! Sometimes our schedules just leave us no choice but to use a prepared food. If that happens, first, select the best version you can–I like Vitalicious, which tastes great and is low in calories, fat, salt and sugar–and packed with vitamins and minerals. Add fresh veggies and fruit; for instance, a VitaTop can become a healthy, convenient and fast breakfast, a VitaBun, a yummy and low-cal  pizza. Amy’s has an assortment of soups and frozen foods, and I personally love the Mayan bake from Kashi.

If you have to eat from the salad bar, choose lots of vegetables and some lean, grilled chicken or fish. Don’t add those fatty or fried items, because they’ll just increase the fat content. Skip dressings entirely, or use some fresh lemon wedges.

  • Slow Down Eating: I can just hear the protests: “I’m too busy to slow down!”  That old cliche, “penny-wise, pound-foolish” pertains also to eating.

When we gobble our food our parasympathetic nervous system ceases to function efficiently and digestion is inhibited, resulting in decreased energy to our heart, lungs and muscles. By slowing down your eating, you’ll actually end up getting more nutrients, fewer calories (and who doesn’t want that?) and less stress. You’ll be much more productive and will have more energy to get more done in less time to balance your life–and who doesn’t want that?

  • Eat Mindfully: Everyone can spare 5 minutes so, when it’s lunchtime at the office, shut your door, turn off  the computer and let your phone go into voicemail. At the end of five minutes, one of two things will happen: You’ll either decide that you DO  have time for a bigger lunch break or you’ll return to business refreshed and much more productive.
  • Be prepared for Snack Attacks! Forget those energy-zapping and money-draining runs for donuts, cookies and other junk. Instead, keep little bags of veggies, fruits,      nuts, seeds. Some people even bring a small bag containing a couple of turkey slices or a cooked chicken breast.
  • Drink Water: Why? Because it is probably one of the fastest way to get some nutrients; water transports nutrients and oxygen to your cells and it’s responsible for every  function, from immune to digestion. Water also decreases signs of aging  and will keep your energy increased. An added benefit is that drinking a glass of water often puts an end to a craving!


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