Monthly Archives: November 2015

Applebee’s Will Remove Soda From Kids’ Menu

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The Applebee's kids menu is getting a major makeover. 

According to the nonprofit, Center for Science in the Public Interest, the popular family-dining restaurant chain will be the first company of its kind to remove its soda offerings from its kids' menus. Other fast-food chains like McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Subway, Chipotle, Panera, and Dairy Queen have already done the same, but this latest announcement makes Applebee's the initial dining restaurant to make the change. 

More: How Soda Destroys Your Body

"Soda and other sugar drinks promote diabetes, obesity, tooth decay, and even heart disease, and a kids' menu is no place for disease-promoting drinks," said CSPI nutrition policy counsel Jessica Almy. "Kudos to Applebee's for taking this important step to promote children’s health."

In 2014, the nonprofit launched a campaign to help encourage chains to completely eliminate soda from the entirety of kids' menus, and DineEquity, the parent company that owns both IHOP and Applebees, has made the change. 

"Responsible restaurants are on the fast track toward making soda for kids a thing of the past," Almy added. 


A Simple Meditation Exercise for Beginners

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Mindfulness is an effective tool against compulsive habits like binge eating because it interrupts automatic behaviors. It enables you to see and understand your actions without judging them to short-circuit the process that connects stress with comfort eating. In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, researchers tracked the eating patterns of 140 binge eaters and found that using mindfulness based interventions reduced bingeing episodes from four times to only once per week.

More: What's the Best Time of Day to Exercise?

Practicing mindfulness also can help you become better at another key stress buster: self-compassion. What often happens when you eat an extra slice of chocolate cake or you notice a roll of fat bulging out of your shirt as you pass by a mirror? Many women default to judging themselves harshly and criticizing themselves. It’s a self-inflicted attack that becomes a real threat. The body automatically acts to defend itself against the attack by releasing excess cortisol. Researchers studying these processes have concluded that criticism and shame are among the most powerful triggers of the cortisol stress response. And as you already know, cortisol can upset your body clock. This is the very reason why you need to be kind to yourself.

My dear friend and colleague Adrienne Glasser is an experiential psychotherapist in New York City who founded Experience Wellness Group. The group combines experiential methods, the creative arts, and meditation in a therapy called Active Mindfulness. She shares some effective techniques to help increase body awareness in the simple beginner meditation below. Find a quiet space and give it a try.

• Find a comfortable seat that allows you to feel strong but also has a sense of softness or gentleness.
• If you’re on the floor, make sure your hips are above your knees. If you’re in a chair, make sure you’re in an upright position that isn’t stiff.
• Allow your shoulders to drop and softly let your arms fall to your sides.
• Gently place your hands on your midthighs or in your lap.
• You can choose to close your eyes, keep them open and gaze about 3 to 4 feet in front of you, or look at these words on the paper as you practice.

More: 5 Pillars of True Nutrition

Check-In (a few moments)
• In these few moments, observe the quality of your mind. Is it fast? Slow? Hazy? What is the temperature of the mind in this moment? Notice these qualities as if you’re looking at the ocean, accepting any waves that come.

Intention (a few moments)
• Set an intention of observing a sensation in the body and distinguishing it from thoughts about the body. This distinction affords you greater clarity to more intimately know your body and its needs.

Notice the Breath (a few moments)
• See where you notice the breath the most in this moment. Is it in your chest, rising and falling? Your nostrils? Your belly? This point where you notice the breath can be like a lighthouse on the ocean, a beacon you can come back to anytime you become lost.

Notice Sensations around the Breath (a few minutes)
• Notice what sensations you feel in your body. These sensations are like the different qualities of water in the ocean. Notice whether the sensations make your body want to move or be still. If organic movement starts, just allow this to happen and then let it pass.
• You can label sensations as pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. Feel free to use your own one-word sensation labels describing the quality of sensation, such as hot, cold, tight, soft, numb, etc. Always come back to the breath as the sturdy lighthouse that accepts all without wavering.

More: 6 Surprising Benefits of Meditation

Observe Thoughts Passing (a few minutes)
• Envision thoughts that may come in as if they’re boats on the ocean. Notice how thoughts about the body are different from sensation felt in the body.
• Allow the boats of thought to freely float through the waves of sensations. If a boat of thought grabs your attention, perhaps see what message it wants you to hear and then allow it to pass.
• Know you can always come back to the lighthouse of the breath if you get lost at sea.
• Continue to label the sensations in the body simply, distinguishing these simple observations from thought: pleasant, unpleasant, neutral …
• Repeat this observation of sensation, thoughts floating, then back to breath.

Gratitude (a few moments)
• Honor your higher sense of knowing, which helped you throughout this practice.
• Thank yourself for your efforts, knowing that the merit of your practice will benefit your body and those you love.

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Amy Schumer’s Honest Post May Inspire You to Strip Down

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The Pirelli Calendar, released today, took a new turn this year. Instead of featuring slender models, famed photographer Annie Leibovitz decided to go in a different direction: Powerful, diverse women with backgrounds in everything from philanthropy and entertainment to sports and arts. Among the honorees include Serena Williams, Patti Smith, Tavi Gevinson, Agnes Gund, and Yoko Ono among others.

More: Adele Says She Hates Working Out

Making a splash? This shot that comedian Amy Schumer shared on her social channels this morning:

Now that is one powerful message. Looking for even more inspiration? Check out these motivational quotes your daily dose. 

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‘Baked’ Granola Apples

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The secret behind getting these "baked" apples on the table fast? Cooking them in the microwave, which quickly steams the fruit until perfectly tender.

More: 5 Apple Recipes to Better Your Health

Use a spoon or melon baller to core the halved apples. Top the finished dish with a dollop of yogurt for a protein and calcium boost.

'Baked' Granola Apples
(Makes 4 servings)
Per serving: 185 calories, 29 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 2 g protein, 8 g total fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 36 mg sodium

2 large crisp apples, such as Gala, halved and cored
2 tablespoons chopped dried tart cherries
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 teaspoons butter
1/2 cup granola, such as Almond-Cherry Granola

1. In a microwavable dish, arrange the apple halves cut side up.

2. Top each apple half evenly with the tart cherries and brown sugar. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Dot evenly with the butter.

3. Cover the apples with a microwavable dome lid. Microwave on high for about 4 minutes, or until the apples are tender.

4. Transfer the apples to serving bowls and sprinkle each apple half evenly with the granola. Drizzle any juices remaining in the cooking dish over the top.

Adapted from Runner's World Meals on the Run