Archive for the ‘Expert Interviews’


SHOP SMART: 5 Ways to Up Your Buy-Local IQ

38603_article1Hey, guys! I’m also the health and fitness editor at Philadelphia magazine, and I love, love, love our health and wellness newsletter, Healthy Life. It’s packed with such great stuff that I’ve decided to start sharing things whenever I think they can help out you and your darling BFB! So here’s the first re-post. Even though it has a Philly slant, the basic ideas are still really useful and should help you when you’re out at those local stands this season! Happy summer eating!

Shop Smart: 5 Ways to Up Your Buy-Local IQ
Liz Solms, owner of Sweet Pea Nourishment, shares her local shopping secrets and tells us how to make sure “local” produce is legit
By Jenna Bergen

You’ve long heard the buying local buzz, but it can be much easier to do in theory than in real life, where the Acmes and Whole Foods of the world make one-stop shopping entirely too easy. And even worse, sometimes what you buy at a farmstand that appears to be local, actually isn’t. So we chatted with Liz Solms, owner of Sweet Pea Nourishment — a Philly catering company that only uses local ingredients — to get the lowdown. Continue Reading →

Fizzle-ing Out at the Gym? It Could Be From Too Much Cola

sodasIf the fear of guzzling down hundreds of sugar-filled calories hasn’t been enough to curb your—or your honey’s—cola consumption, this new study might help you both kick the can (or, um, two-liter bottle) for good. German researchers have linked excessive cola consumption—two or more liters of pop a day—to hypokalemia, a potassium deficiency that can lead to muscle weakness and heart problems. The soft-drink offenders that could cause you to tire out too quickly at the gym? Glucose, fructose (aka, sugar), and caffeine.

But what about non-cola sodas? And does diet soda count, too? I wrote to Dr. Clifford Packer from the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Centre in Ohio (who has also looked at this phenomenon and seen this problem crop up in his own patients) to get his thoughts on why some soda addicts are suffering. Continue Reading →

The Big Fat Truth: Stop treating it like the dirty F-word. Here’s why you need fat to lose weight, improve your mood and boost your immune system

picture-3Hey, guys! Check out the story I did for FITNESS magazine, on page 142 of the June issue. I love the magazine and was so thrilled when they asked me to do a story all about … you guessed it, fat! (Fittingly enough, the title is “The Big Fat Truth,” which, after the title of my book, made me laugh! The words “Big Fat” must be magnetically drawn to me, and I couldn’t be happier!)

I had the chance to talk with some amazingly smart women (including Dr. Barbara Roberts, who spoke to us about the differences in guys’ and girls’ hearts back in February!), all of whom cut through the haze of confusion on everything from exactly how much fat you need and why you gotta make sure you get it to why we crave fat and just exactly what all these fact cells we’re carrying around do (and it’s way more than bother you when you’re bathing-suit shopping, I promise! We need these little guys!)

But the story really got me thinking about fat and my own relationship to it, and would love to hear from you guys! How do you view fat? Of course, there is obviously more than one kind: we have dietary fat, the kind in our foods, and then we have the accumulation of extra calories, which ends up stored as fat on our awesome, awe-inspiring bodies (although we don’t always think about them that way, do we?). So tell what you think of one or the other or both! Do you make sure to get your monos?? Have you decided to wear a bikini this summer, flat abs be dammed? Let me know! xoxo - J

Applebee’s New Realburgers Are Real Bad For You (Probably, Anyway. They’re Not Saying.)

picture-1By now, you’ve probably seen at least one commercial heralding the arrival of Applebee’s new Realburgers. Recently, airwaves have been saturated with good-looking guys chomping down like real men into real burgers. “Real Juicy. Real Deal.” It’s advertising good enough to get any BFB salivating.

Curious to find out the calorie content, I clicked over to Applebee’s website. But a few minutes of looking only left me real annoyed—there weren’t any calorie stats to be found. (Though I got a good eye roll out of the sneaky slogan for their Fire Pit Bacon Burger: “A Healthy Appreciation for Bacon.” Haha, Applebee’s. So clever.) Considering that other chain restaurants like Chili’s and Ruby Tuesday share nutrition info for all of their menu items, I was surprised. If the Buffalo Chicken Crisper Bites are 1,600 calories at Chili’s, they’re 1,600 calories, and they say so clearly on their website. They don’t try to hide it.

So, I decided to give Applebee’s a call to see why they weren’t sharing their stats. They passed me to their PR contact, Miles McMillian. Check out his response, with my inserted comments, below. Continue Reading →

A Strained Relationship May Lead to Metabolic Syndrome in Women

angrycoupleEverybody argues, but if your relationship leaves you down almost daily, you could be putting your health at risk. Researchers at the University of Utah found that women in strained marriages were more likely to feel depressed and suffer from obesity, high blood pressure and other signs of metabolic syndrome, a state that can lead to heart disease, stroke and diabetes, than women who’s relationships weren’t battle zones.

Whether you sling spars or simmer quietly, the end result is the same: increased stress. “The body responds to chronic stress by producing stress homrones like cortisol,” says study author Nancy J.M. Henry, M.S .”These stress hormones play a part in facilitating fat deposits around the waist, as well as glucose intolerance—both of which are components of metabolic syndrome.”

Even though men may feel down, the study showed it didn’t increase their risk for metabolic syndrome. “Women tend to be the proverbial peace-keepers or tenders of the relationship,” says Henry. “The theory is simply that women are more stressed about relationship difficulties than men.”

Though eating a healthy diet, staying active and not smoking are all important when it comes to avoiding metabolic syndrome, Henry says being aware of your relationship is a huge part: “Relationship health and emotional health can also play a part in physical health. Keep an eye on how much stress is in your life, particularly in your relationship. When you have a fight with your husband or boyfriend you feel like an emotional wreck, and most of us have some physical symptoms, too. If this is a continuous, ongoing feeling, it can’t help but take its toll on your health.”

How you can tell if your fights are normal or too much? “Relationships can be hard, but they shouldn’t be hard to the point of being a major source of stress,” says Henry, who warns that feeling like you’re walking on eggshells, feeling anxious all the time, being put down or criticized, or, most importantly, physically or verbaly abused, are all huge signs your relationship needs some rehab—or you need to call it quits for good. “If your relationship is really stressing you out, it’s not right,” says Henry. “Period.”

Men Are From Mars and Their Hearts Are Different, Too

People joke that they’re from another planet and, in honor of National Heart Month, I decided to find out how different their hearts were, too. (Let’s say I had a hunch, considering the only tear I ever saw a BFB shed over a movie was when Frodo disappeared at the end of The Lord of the Rings saga). To get to the bottom of things, I asked Barbara Roberts, MD, FACC, director of the Women’s Cardiac Center at The Miriam Hospital in Providence, RI, and author of How to Keep From Breaking Your Heart: What Every Woman Needs to Know About Cardiovascular Disease, if she could set the record straight—and while I had her attention I asked her what else us girls can do to show our tickers some TLC. Her answers were so interesting! Get this: High levels of triglycerides, aka fat in our blood, put women at a greater risk for heart disease than when levels are elevated in men. And did you know we should all be getting our cholesterol checked yearly once we hit 20 or that women are more likely to have a “silent” heart attack or that smoking puts us at a higher risk of diabetes than it does boys? Do you know your numbers?? Check out Dr. Roberts thoughts below—and let me know if you have any other Qs! Thanks so much for talking with us, Dr. Roberts! Our hearts thank you! Continue Reading →