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Hey, I am a med student who likes to write. Each week I provide a handful of tips that will help you in your quest to become healthier.

Simplest Physical Activity You Can Do Daily To Stay Healthy

Written: 09/27/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

  • You are convinced that doing an exercise is good for health.

  • You want to protect your health.

  • You are asking yourself what activity and how much of it must you do to keep yourself healthy.

  • You are asking yourself how to integrate such an activity in your daily life.

Day after day, a regular physical activity associated with healthy eating habits, keeps you in good health, helps you to avoid putting on weight and protects you from heart diseases. Most people do not have the time to do this physical activity. But for every problem there is most of the time a simple solution and the solution here is... WALKING!

Benefits of walking

  • Safe exercise: It is one of the safest exercise. It does not put much strain on the body and there is no risk like that accompanying high impact workouts like martial arts. It is therefore recommended even for people who are recovering after surgery. It is also the safest exercise for women before and after pregnancy. It suits all age-groups too.

  • Convenient: You can choose to walk at any time, late at night, early in the morning at your own convenience. However walking when the sun is too high is not advisable.

  • Low cost: You don’t need any expensive equipment apart from loose fitting comfortable garments and a pair of comfortable sports shoes.

  • Aerobic workout: Regular walking increases the demand for oxygen so that you inhale more air without an effort and thus do not tire easily. Circulation of the blood and the respiration improve. Walking prevents cerebral strokes and heart attacks. It also reduces the blood pressure in hypertensive patients.

  • Burns calories: If you are overweight, walking is the ideal exercise because it puts less strain on bones and joints as compared to other aerobic exercises. Brisk walking can pep up your basal metabolic rate and burn up calories.

  • Prevents osteoporosis: Walking stimulates formation of new bone tissues which tend to prevent calcium loss from the bones. This helps prevent osteoporosis, especially in women after menopause.

  • Stress fighter and mood enhancer: A regular fitness walking program relieves you of stress by improving the secretion of neuro hormones, which beat anxiety and depression by giving you a pleasant feeling, while at the same time restoring vitality and promoting a sense of well-being.

  • The recommended duration for walking as a physical activity is 30 minutes of daily brisk walking. Brisk walking is an activity which makes you breathe more rapidly than usual but which allows you, at the same time, to speak without additional effort on your part. If you are walking and you feel you can't speak quite well, decrease the pace. Brisk walking is about 4-6 kms per hour.

    Why must we walk daily?

    It's simply because daily walking has great benefits on your health. The ideal way to perform this is to do it about 5 times per week but 7 times is best. The effect of doing 210 minutes of exercise on a sunday is not the same as doing about 30 minutes of exercising 7 times per week.

    Examples of Walking

  • Light intensity: Slow walk, sweeping floors with a broom, water the garden, playing billard, bowling and slow danse.

  • Moderate Intensity: Rapid Walk, washing the car, vacuuming your house, washing the windows, light gardening, picking up fallen leaves, aerobic, dance (disco, rock...), playing badminton.

  • High Intensity: Brisk walking, going on long walks, jogging. This is the kind of walking you must do for 30 minutes per day.

  • Is it absolutely necessary to do these 30 minutes in 1 go?


    It is possible to do this at different times of the day. Nevertheless, whenever feasible, do the walking in periods of 10 minutes. Like that, you can achieve the goal of 30 minutes of walking per day easily.

    Some practical tips

    These are all commonsense tips but it doesn't hurt to go over them again.

    • Go shopping or to buy your bread on foot.

    • Walk to your work.

    • If you are taking the bus, stop one station before your destination stop and walk the remaining distance.

    • Park your car about 400 metres from your destination and walk the rest of the way.

    • Use the stairs.

    • Make a few breaks during your work period or when you are watching tv and take a walk around your house or your workstation. Never sit down for long periods of time as this may cause back pain.

    • Spend more time in your garden than usual.

    • If you have got a dog, take a him for a walk more frequently and for a longer period of time.

    Walking is one of the most pleasant and easiest methods to keep slim and fit for life. So take a walk as soon as you finish reading this sentence!

    How to Prepare a Healthy Family Meal

    Written: 09/25/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

    I received a few mails and requests regarding the article, 5 Golden Tips to Why You Must Enjoy A Daily Family Meal. The requests were on the following general line, "Eating a family meal is a very good thing to do but how do you actually prepare such a meal to cater to everybody's specific nutrient needs?"

    I came up with different responses but finally I decided to turn to an "expert"s point of view on the following subject. The following guide to preparing a healthy family meal is taken from tips by Chef de Cuisine (Kitchen's Chef) Olivier Roellinger.

    Making varied dishes by following proper diet etiquettes is a good way to rectify the mistake of others and compensate the good habits of some. The portions of each plate will vary in relation to age, physical activity and appetite of everyone. A meal is sufficient when everybody is full and can not eat any more.

    • Privilege vegetables cooked or uncooked... or fruits. There is no scientific reason as to fruits must be consumed at the end of a meal. Fruits can also be eaten at the beginning of a meal.

    • A salad can combine the opening dish and the main course: uncooked vegetables or fruits, cooked vegetables, eggs, fish, cubes of cheese, cooked potatoes, peas or lentils.

    • A thick vegetable soup can replace a plate of cooked vegetables.

    A few examples of entrées are:

    : Green salads, tomatoes, carrots, melon
    Cooked: green peas, zucchinis, sweet peppers, leeks, beets

    Main Dish

    Make the main dish from vegetables, starchy foods (potatoes, spaghettis, rice, wheat, maizes, lentils) accompanied by meat, fish, ham or eggs.

    • Use only lean meats whatever the sources of the meat: chicken, beef, turkey, etc.

    • Eat fresh, frozen or canned fish regularly. If you are bored with fish, you can vary your dish with other sea foods like prawns, octopus,etc.

    • If you are a eating a "main dish" rich in fats, use fresh fruits or vegetables as entrées or desserts.

    • Starchy foods will make you full which will prevent 'snacking' in between meals.


    Bread is an important part of dinner. It helps to avoid hunger pangs and can be a complete meal if you are eating breads made of wheat.

    There is no limit to how many breads you can eat in one day. Eating one bread per day is fine but make it more if you have active people in your family. Actually the quantity of bread must be balanced with other starchy foods in the meal.

    Dairy Products

    Every family member must eat 3 dairy products per day. There is a great variety of dairy products which can satisfy all the members of your family: milk, yogurt, white cheese. Beware though because some cheese are loaded with fats. Just remember that the more hard a cheese texture is, the more calcium it has. Alternating milk, yogurts, cheese and other dairy products allow for the recommended milk intake without consuming a lot of fat.


    Like the "entrée", focus on fruits. They contribute essential nutrients to your body while allowing you to end the dinner on a satisfying dish. Choose fruits according to their seasons.


    • A fruit yogurt cannot be an alternative for a fruit because it contains very little fruits in it.

    • Even if it's not the same as a fruit, a fruit juice, with the mention "100% pure juice" can be a good alternative to a fruit. Other fruit juices are very sweet; they are made from very little and sometimes no fruit at all. They contain food additives.

    • In case of weight problems, do not take fruit juices. It does not provide the same amounts of nutrients as a fruit and it is full of calories.

    Preparing a family meal is a great responsibility but if you follow the guidelines above and take into account the nutritive needs of each member of your family, you will find having a family meal at home is far more easier and better than eating outside.

    Note: I personally do not find some tips on par with my idea of a healthy meal but you must keep in mind, that in the health/diet sector clashes occur frequently. The idea is to learn to keep an open mind and to focus on the tips that work for you but that is another article in itself. So I hope you enjoyed this article and tell me how you find it.

    Acknowledgments: The following tips are from Chef de Cuisine (Kitchen's Chef) Olivier Roellinger but they were passed on to me by one of my teachers who wishes to remain anonymous.

    Update: I found an article by Anne Z which lists her top 5 resources for preparing a family meal.

    5 Golden Tips to Why You Must Enjoy A Daily Family Meal

    Written: 09/24/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

    A family meal is an ideal moment to share great time with your close ones. Sitting down for regular family meals can be a real challenge today. Parents are busy, kids are busy. Teens may desire more autonomy and want to eat away from home with friends. Family members may be dissatisfied with their relationships with each other and avoid spending mealtimes together. Kids may just not like the food being served. If you don't have a family meal time, you should start one. It need not be only "family". It can be friends too. Here are the reasons why you should not let family time go extinct:

    1. Shield for children and teenagers

      The frequency with which a teen eats family meals appears to be associated with a variety of psychosocial and behavioral variables, including cigarette smoking, alcohol and marijuana use, grades in school, depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Family mealtime is a protective factor in the lives of adolescents for nearly all of these variables, particularly among girls. Specifically, kids who reported eating more family meals per week reported significantly less substance use and significantly better academic and mental health than those eating fewer meals with family. These associations were apparent across the spectrum of meal frequency each additional meal per week conferred some additional benefit.

    2. Strenghening Family Bond

      The divorce rate is continuously increasing as more and more couples get into unpleasant divorce lawsuits. Divorce Rate estimates that "Probably, 40 or possibly even 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce if current trends continue.", which is actually a projection for couples in America. Freeing about 30 minutes of your time each day to spend with your family on a simple and healthy meal can have very powerful countereffects to the divorce rate.

    3. Ordered eating habits

      Actually eating with your family each day helps to eliminate disordered eating habits or the "skipping of meals". Family meal frequency and other characteristics were related to disordered eating behaviors: those eating more frequent family meals which were prioritized by the family, and structured and positive in atmosphere, result in fewer health problems related to diet.

    4. Eating a family meal can be fun, healthy as well as educational

      A Harvard University study found that family dinners are the most significant childhood event for helping children to develop language skills. Bring the children to the “big table” and engage them with questions about what is happening with their friends and what their interests currently are. In addition, discuss family history and stories about yourself as you were growing up. In short, make eating pleasurable, nutritious and educational.

    5. Healthier Diet Control

      Eating with your close ones, actually allows you to monitor what they are eating. Rather than let your children eat outside all day, make it a must to atleast have one healthy meal at home and that is the family meal.

    So forego the "each to his/her own meal" attitude and start planning for a daily family meal and you will eventually find cooking and eating an enjoyable activity.

    Reference: Some of the observations and studies mentioned are from Project EAT (Eating Among Teens). Project EAT (Eating Among Teens) is a comprehensive study of eating patterns and weight concerns among 4,746 adolescents, conducted during the 1998-1999 school year.

    5 Celebrity Tips and Philosophies to A Perfect Body

    Written: 09/22/2007 | Join the discussion (1)

    Celebrities are often criticized for their unhealthy diets, anorexic looks and careful make-ups, all attempts to a perfect body. Often stereotyped, but despite their limitations, most celebrities are considered as the ultimate standard for a perfect body.

    The following article from CNN claims that despite their genetic inheritance and their tight schedules, celebrities have to invest a large amount of time in exercising. Here are 5 Training Philosophies and Tips from 5 top rated Hollywood trainers.

    1. Valerie Waters

      Considered as Hollywood's 2002 hot trainer by US Weekly magazine September 2002, Valerie is establised as the premier personal trainer in Los Angeles -- one who can produce the results, and fast. Featured in top publications ranging from Glamour, Vanity Fair and In Style to Fitness, Self and People, Valerie Waters is the first person called by Hollywood’s elite when they need to either get in shape or stay that way. She has trained celebrites like Jennifer Garner, Rachel Biels, Kate Beckinsale, Cindy Crawford and Matt Dillon.

      Training Philosophy: "Get in, get out, get a life." Waters' workouts last less than an hour, incorporating circuit training with weights and a "kitchen purge" to clear out bad food which she replaces with healthy options.

      Best Tip: "Don't be afraid of weights. They're the quickest way to change your body"

    2. Gunnar Peterson

      Gunnar Peterson is a Beverly Hills-based personal trainer whose clients include celebrities, professional athletes, and everyday people. Gunnar works with each client on an individual basis, focusing on achieving long-term results through challenging and constantly varied workouts. With a client list as diverse as his training methods, Gunnar emphasizes strength training modalities that can be transferred from the gym to daily life, from training camp to championship. He has worked with athletes from the NBA, NHL, NFL, USTA, professional boxing and various NCAA sports. Many film and television celebrities have also sought Gunnar's guidance in preparing for roles and have stayed on to become devoted clients, making him a part of their regular fitness regimen.

      Training Philosophy: Peterson creates different workouts for different clients every day. He has clients eat protein early in the day, making breakfast the largest meal and dinner the smallest.

      Best Tip: Peterson creates different workouts for different clients every day. He has clients eat protein early in the day, making breakfast the largest meal and dinner the smallest.

    3. Ashley Borden

      Ashley Borden is a fitness and lifestyle consultant to some of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces. Her unique approach to fitness can be attributed to having tackled her own personal struggles, transforming them into a positive philosophy and dynamic training program – making her one of the most sought-after experts in her field. Clients have included: Christina Aguilera, Chaka Khan, Mandy Moore, Sean Hayes, Tori Spelling, Poppy Montgomery, Sydney Poitier, Lauren Graham, and top professional athletes.

      Training Philosophy: As one of Karl List's master trainers, Borden focuses on mio-fascial release, or deep tissue stretching; biomechanics with resistance and balance exercises; cardio, proper water intake and diet. She suggests drinking 100 ounces or water a day and gives her clients cardio homework, which they track using a heart rate monitor.

      Best Tip: Take care of the arches in your feet. "When your arches collapse, your knees rotate inward, and your hips rotate outward giving you a saddlebag appearance. It then pulls your sternum down, it pulls your neck forward, and everything collapses." She suggests orthotics and mio-fascial release to combat chronic pain and posture problems.

    4. Michael George

      As one of Hollywood's most sought after fitness experts and certified training consultants, his intention is to strengthen the spirit along with the body. Michael uses motivation, commitment and consistency as the integral components to achieving one's health and fitness goals, along with lifestyle transformation. His work encompasses almost all conditioning activities, including: aerobic and strength conditioning, yoga, core training, self-defense training, boxing, breathing exercises and meditation.

      Training Philosphy: George varies his workouts to keep clients engaged. He borrows from Eastern and Western philosophies, using martial arts, yoga, Pilates and meditation in conjunction with strength training. He saves time by using multiple muscle groups in each exercise, like a squat with a bicep curl. He also incorporates pliometrics and core boards.

      Best Tip: Don't wait too long to integrate a healthy diet and consistent exercise into your days. "I've seen a lot of people come to me when it's a little bit too late," he said, "I've had [clients] pass away due to illnesses, cancer, heart disease, whatever it may be. The time is now. If you don't put your health first you're never really going to truly be happy."

    5. Bob Greene

      Bob Greene is an American exercise physiologist and certified personal trainer specializing in fitness, metabolism, and weight loss. Greene has authored over 10 books concerning weight-loss, diet and health, including two books co-authored by Oprah Winfrey. He is a frequent guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, has a radio show on the "Oprah and Friends" satelitte radio network and is a contributor to O magazine.

      Training Philosophy: Greene tries to look at the entire individual and get clients to visualize how doing all the exercises he suggests will improve their lives. He says the physical benefits are almost meaningless if they don't translate to "you having a better life overall ... especially those areas not related to fitness."

      Best Tip: "First thing is, know what you want," Greene said. He said a lot of people want to work out because it's "in" or they know they should be doing it, but don't have a specific goal. "Know the reason you are making these changes in your habits, what is it you really want to achieve." He also said most people need to do both weight training and cardio.

    Back to Basics - Do you Really Know what a Calorie is?

    Written: 09/20/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

    Today I was talking with my friend's daughter. She's 5 years old. She was asking me what I do for a living (I'm sure at one time or another you have been asked this question from a child). My usual answer is that I'm currently studying and I write articles for a health site. Oddly, she was interested about the "writing" part. I told her a bit about the health topics and about weight loss, diets,etc. I was talking about "reducing calorie" when suddenly she asked me, "What is a calorie?"

    I just gaped there for a second unable to come up with a simple answer. I then told her it was a measure of the amount of energy in our body like she needed a certain amount of calories for running and playing other games.

    So the topic of the day is, "Do you Really Know what a Calorie is?". I'm sure all of you have heard about calories and have a vague idea as to the meaning of this term. If you are a dieter, my hope is that your knowledge of calories is higher than the average person since all nutritive values in foods are based on calories.

    What is a calorie?
    In basic terms a calorie is a unit of measurement of energy. Calorie was used in ancient days as measurements of "heat" or energy but it has gradually been replaced by the unit "Joule". For example, a gallon (about 4 liters) of gasoline contains about 31,000,000 calories. But we continue to use calories in relation to food.
    The small calorie or gram calorie approximates the energy needed to increase the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 °C.
    Calories and food
    A mistake many people make is that when they see a can of soda with 200 calories, they assume the can has 200 calories in it. This is actually not the case. In America for example, when you see 'calorie' on a food package it actually means "KiloCalorie". A kilocalorie is 1000 calories.

    For example, in the can of soda mentioned above, it does not contain 200 calories but 200 kilocalories (or 200,000 calories). The same applies to exercise -- when a fitness chart says you burn about 100 calories for every mile you jog, it means 100 kilocalories (100,000 calories).

    In the United Kingdom, the label is "KCal" but it means the same thing. In France, the label is in "KCal" and "Kj". 1 kilocalorie is equal to 4.184 Kj.

    Note: For the rest of this article, when I say "calorie," I mean "kilocalorie."

    How are calories calculated?
    The number of calories in a food is a measure of how much energy that food possesses.

    1 g Carbohydrates: 4 calories
    1 g Protein: 4 calories
    1 g Fat: 9 calories

    Let's say you have bought a packet of biscuits which has 320 calories, 4 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein and 64 grams of carbohydrates.

    Of these:

    Carbohydrates: 64 * 4 = 256 calories
    Protein: 8 * 4 = 32 calories
    Fat: 4 * 9 = 36 calories
    Total: 324 calories

    If you add it up, you have 4 calories in excess of what is mentioned.

    Manufacturers always round up to a whole number, so bear in mind that there is always a few surplus calories in every food item you buy and that over time, these surplus calories accumulate.

    What are our caloric needs
    Caloric needs vary from person to person depending on your sex, age, weight, professional activity and how much energy your body needs to work properly (also known as basal metabolic rate) and the thermic effect of food which I'll explain further down.

    Basal Metabolic Rate: Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of energy your body needs to function at rest. This accounts for about 60 to 70 percent of calories burned in a day and includes the energy required to keep the heart beating, the lungs breathing, the kidneys functioning and the body temperature stabilized. In general, men have a higher BMR than women. One of the most accurate methods of estimating your basal metabolic rate is the Harris-Benedict formula:

    * Adult male: 66 + (6.3 x body weight in lbs.) + (12.9 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years)

    * Adult female: 655 + (4.3 x weight in lbs.) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)

    The second factor in the equation, physical activity, consumes the next highest number of calories. Physical activity includes everything from making your bed to jogging. Walking, lifting, bending, and just generally moving around burns calories, but the number of calories you burn in any given activity depends on your body weight. Click here for a great table listing the calories expended in various physical activities and for various weights.

    The thermic effect of food is the final addition to the number of calories your body burns. This is the amount of energy your body uses to digest the food you eat -- it takes energy to break food down to its basic elements in order to be used by the body. To calculate the number of calories you expend in this process, multiply the total number of calories you eat in a day by 0.10, or 10 percent. If you need some help determining how many calories you eat in a day, check out these sites:

    The total number of calories a body needs in a day is the sum of these three calculations. If you only want a rough estimate of your daily caloric needs, you can skip the calculations and click here.

    How are calories burned in our body
    It’s easiest for our body to get (extract) calories from fat (just 2-3%), less easy from carbohydrates(about 10-15%) and least easy from protein (sometimes as high as 30%!). On average you can assume that the body expends 10% of the energy in the food you eat just to extract that energy. So now you can see that calories themselves are the same, but since some foods tend to give them up so easily, they should be treated with a greater “weight” or “importance” - that’s all. Calories from fat are no different from calories from carbohydrates except that your body expends more energy getting it from carbs.

    Calories, diet and nutrition
    Although your body treats all calories the same when trying to use them for energy, the source of these calories are important in the context of nutrition because calories from fat are more easily absorbed and stored (especially in dangerous areas like arteries, restricting blood flow and in the stomach near major organs reducing their ability to function optimally).

    Moral of this story: Kids ask touch questions!

    Other References:

    Wikipedia - Calorie
    Calorie Calculator
    Calories and Kilojoules
    Fitness Mantra - What is a calorie?
    How calories work

    5 Things You Must Know About Eggs

    Written: 09/19/2007 | Join the discussion (1)

    Scrambled, boiled, fried, chicken eggs serve as delicious "entrées" or healthy breakfasts. Here is an objective breakdown on 5 things you need to know about eggs:
    1. Composition of an egg

      An egg consists of the yolk, the white and the eggshell. One egg is the least expensive source of protein.

      Yolk: The yolk is extremely high in cholesterol, containing more than two-thirds of the recommended daily limit of 300 mg! It contains good amounts of B Vitamins, Vitamin A, iron and riboflavin all which are essential nutrients for immunity, healthy skin, nerves and vision.

      The yolk contains all the fat and approximately half of the protein of the egg. It also contains choline, an extremely important nutrient for the brain development. A large egg yolk contains approximately 60 Calories (250 kilojoules).

      Egg White: Also known as albumen, egg whites are very low in calories, little fat, no cholesterol, and are loaded with protein. The egg white contains about 15 Calories (60 kilojoules).

      Egg shell: Egg shell has little nutritional value. It is just a build up of a calcium compound.

      Fried Egg 92 calories

      Hard-Boiled Egg 76 calories

      Poached Egg 76 calories

      Scrambled Egg 100 calories (includes addition of milk in recipe)

    2. Health Risks of Eggs

      Cholesterol: As mentioned above, an egg contains about 200 mg of cholesterol all which are found in the yolk of the egg. Most people prefer not to eat the yolk because of the high cholesterol content. Two ways of countering this problem is firstly to use egg beaters, a product sold in the United States as a substitute for whole chicken eggs. It is composed of egg whites separated from their yolks and fortified with vitamins and other nutrients. By eliminating the yolk, Egg Beaters has significantly less food energy than whole eggs, but has no fat or cholesterol.

      Another simple method I mentioned in a previous article on how to decrease cholesterol is instead of an egg, better use the egg white with 2 tsps of oil or 2 egg whites.

      Fat: About 60% of the calories in an egg come from fat; Chicken egg yolks contain about 10 grams of fat. This may not pose a health risk though because most of the fat are unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fat helps lower the bad cholesterol (LDL).

      Salmonella Infection: Salmonellosis is one of the most common bacterial infections. More than 95% of cases of Salmonella infection are food-borne. Bacteria can be on the outside of a shell egg. That's because the egg exits the hen's body through the same passageway as feces is excreted. That's why eggs are washed and sanitized at the processing plant. Bacteria can be inside an uncracked, whole egg. Contamination of eggs may be due to bacteria within the hen's ovary or oviduct before the shell forms around the yolk and white. SE doesn't make the hen sick. It is also possible for eggs to become infected by Salmonella Enteritidis fecal contamination through the pores of the shells after they're laid.

      Researchers say that, if present, the SE is usually in the yolk or "yellow." However, they can't rule out the bacteria being in egg whites. So everyone is advised against eating raw or undercooked egg yolks and whites or products containing raw or undercooked eggs.

      Young children, older adults, pregnant women (the risk is to the unborn child), and people with a weakened immune system are particularly vulnerable to SE infections. A chronic illness weakens the immune system, making the person vulnerable to foodborne illnesses.

      No one should eat foods containing raw eggs. This includes "health food" milk shakes made with raw eggs, Caesar salad, Hollandaise sauce, and any other foods like homemade mayonnaise, ice cream, or eggnog made from recipes in which the egg ingredients are not cooked. However, in-shell pasteurized eggs may be used safely without cooking.

    3. Refrigeration and Hard-Cooked Eggs

      Temperature fluctuation is critical to safety. With the concern about Salmonella, eggs gathered from laying hens should be refrigerated as soon as possible. After eggs are refrigerated, they need to stay that way. A cold egg left out at room temperature can sweat, facilitating the growth of bacteria. Refrigerated eggs should not be left out more than 2 hours.

      When shell eggs are hard cooked, the protective coating is washed away, leaving bare the pores in the shell for bacteria to enter and contaminate it. Hard-cooked eggs should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking and used within a week.

    4. Safety Guidelines for handling eggs

      • Wash utensils, equipment, and work areas with hot, soapy water before and after contact with eggs.

      • Don't keep eggs out of the refrigerator more than 2 hours.

      • Raw eggs and other ingredients, combined according to recipe directions, should be cooked immediately or refrigerated and cooked within 24 hours.

      • Serve cooked eggs and dishes containing eggs immediately after cooking, or place in shallow containers for quick cooling and refrigerate at once for later use. Use within 3 to 4 days.

    5. Fastest way to peel an egg

    Further Reading:

    How to peel an egg
    How do you boil an egg
    About consuming raw-egg yolk


    Wikipedia - Egg(food)
    Dietbites - Egg Calories
    USDA - Shell Eggs from Farm to Table

    9 Signs You Are Not in Good Shape

    Written: 09/18/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

    Although Diethack is geared more towards dieting, fitness and healthy eating habits, I occasionally like to touch on health topics that allow me to provide you with healthy tips to lead a better life.

    Today was the official launch of Diethack and as such I had a lot on my mind. [I want to welcome the new readers by the way! :)] I started feeling an aching in my head which I cast aside considering it to be stress due to the anticipation of Diethack's launch. The pain continued to grow until I could not think or work well without feeling an intense pain inside my head. So I let go of all my work and hit the bed. After I woke up, I felt more refreshed. What I had just had was a "cluster headache".
    Cluster headache is a terrible pain, but it is very different from migraine. The pain is said to be the worst pain a human can experience. It is likened to the brief “ice cream” headache the sometimes happens when a large piece of ice cream hits the throat. Imagine that pain lasting for an hour. Patients become agitated, desperate, and are said to commit suicide. The headache lasts only up to about 3 hours, and is accompanied by intense tearing, redness of the eye, drooping of the eyelid, and nasal congestion.
    So sometimes it is safer to acknowledge you are not in great shape and to take a break from your work to give your body time to get in shape. If you feel in worse shape after the break, go and see a doctor. Here are 9 frequent signals that you are not in good shape:

    1. Headache

      Everybody knows what a headache is but few knows that there are different types of headaches and that sometimes they can leave you paining for hours if you do not know how to get rid of it. There are five different types of headache: Migraine, Tension Headache, Cluster Headache, Episodic Headache and Sinus Headache. Migraine is the most common type of headache. The usual triggers of headache are Hunger, Smoking, Alcohol, Dehydration, Environmental Stress and sometimes the weather. Earlier I wrote a comprehensive article on how to get rid of headaches which you can refer to.

    2. Breathing difficulties

      Occasionally you feel that you are breathing rapidly without any exertions on your part and sometimes you are just lying about - suddenly you find yourself out of breathe. All these signs are signals of an underlying health problem such as a problem with your heart (blood clot) or lungs, an asthma attack, hypertension or anxiety and panic attacks. Taking some medication can get rid of the problem but I seriously recommend you have a check up with your doctor if you are experiencing breathing difficulties.

    3. Loss of weight and appetite

      Sometimes it happens that you experience a sudden loss of appetite and weight. You do not feel like eating or drinking anything. This can be due to depression or sudden mood changes or there may be more important underlying problems such as liver disease, cancer or other noncancerous disorders, or disorders that interfere with how well your body absorbs nutrients (malabsorption disorders).

    4. Persistent nausea and vomiting

      Persistent nausea and vomiting may happen during a severe headache but they can be signs of pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer and ovarian cancer. So if you continue to experience persistent nausea and vomitting over a period of a few days, you need medical help.

    5. Flashes of light

      You may experience flashes of light during the day or the night. During the day, it may be due to the effects of sunlight on reflective surfaces but if it persists through the night, it may be due to a disease in the retina (surface which absorbs light) in your eyes.

    6. Painful and swollen joint

      Sometimes you may feel pain in your wrists and back after you have worked a lot at your desk. Some desk exercises may get rid of the pain but if you continue experiencing severe pain in your joints, this may be due to illnesses such as "gout" or "rheumatoid arthritis".

    7. Persistent fever

      Persistent fever which does not disappear over the course of a few days may be due to infections or reactions to certain drugs or medications. Fever is common with treatable infections, such as urinary tract infections. But if a low-grade fever persists for more than two weeks, check with your doctor. Some underlying cancers can cause prolonged, persistent fever, as can tuberculosis and other disorders.

    8. Unusual Bowel Habits

      Unusual Bowel Habits are:

      • Diarrhea lasting more than two days

      • Constipation lasting for more than 2 weeks

      • Urges of bowel movements without any stool

      • Bloody stool

      Changes in bowel habits may signal a bacterial infection, a viral or parasitic infection. Among other possible causes are inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer.

    9. Sudden loss of vision, speech and movement control

      These are the most alarming signals of all and may be signs of a stroke. If you experience the following, lose no time to go and see a doctor as it may mean a matter of life or death or you can be incapacitated for life:

      • Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg on one side of your body

      • Sudden dimness, blurring or loss of vision

      • Loss of speech, or trouble talking or understanding speech

      • A thunderclap headache

      • Sudden dizziness, unsteadiness or a fall

    Reference: These "signals" are all signs, medical students must learn in a course known as semeiology or symptomatology: the science of symptoms of a disease.

    10 Most Expensive Diets

    Written: 09/18/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

    Dieting can be very cheap or very expensive. Losing weight has become a very successful business owing to the increasing value placed on fashion and image. A great figure is no longer an option but a must. The following quote from an article on MSNBC points out the average expense incurred by a dieter.
    The median diet worked out to a costly $85.79 a week — that's 58 percent more than the $54.44 the average single American spends on food. Our price calculations for the foods on each menu were done on a per-serving basis. Prices came from New York City-based online grocer Fresh Direct and were adjusted to the national average to control for any price differential.

    Here is a study from Forbes portraying the 10 most expensive diets:
    1. Jenny Craig

      Weekly Price: $137.65

      The Jenny Craig method is a three-level food-mind-body plan to help people lose weight and keep it off.

      At the first level, the program teaches clients how to eat the foods they want -- in small, frequent portions.

      At the second level, the program teaches clients how to increase their energy levels via simple activity.

      At the third level, the program teaches clients how to build more balance into their lives in order to maintain weight loss and healthy diet.

    2. NutriSystem

      Weekly Price: $113.52

      The NutriSystem Nourish program is all about convenience. They sell pre-packaged (heat and eat) meals from their website and ship them to your door. They have an ongoing deal that will supply one weeks free food with every 4 week order (see the free deal here). This amounts to $280 for 5 weeks food. In an age where foods are chosen according taste, price, and convenience - it should come as no surprise that Nutrisystem is so popular. This is effectively fast food for weight loss. If you are not prepared to eat processed food (i.e. increased sodium), then this is not for you.

      With the autoship option, the price gets cheaper each month, going from $280, to $270, to $260 and so on.

    3. Atkins

      Weekly Price:

      The Atkins Diet represents a departure from prevailing theories. Atkins claimed there are two main unrecognized factors about Western eating habits, arguing firstly that the main cause of obesity is eating refined carbohydrates, particularly sugar, flour, and high-fructose corn syrups; and secondly, that saturated fat is overrated as a nutritional problem, and that only trans fats from sources such as hydrogenated oils need to be avoided.

    4. Weight Watchers

      Weekly Price: $96.64

      Weight Watchers NYSE: WTW, founded in the 1960s by Jean Nidetch, is a company offering various dieting products and services to assist weight loss and maintenance.

      Weight Watchers usually has a 'minimum weight' level, to protect those who are not actually overweight. If those interested in Weight Watchers are above this 'minimum weight' then they can set up their weight loss goal with their local Weight Watchers leader. Height, age, and beginning weight are recorded in order to establish their goal weight.

      Varying on location, Weight Watchers generally offers two distinct programs:

      * The Flex program
      * The Core program

    5. Zone

      Weekly Price: $92.84

      The Zone diet is a diet popularized in books by Barry Sears. It advocates balancing protein and carbohydrate ratios instead of caloric thinking as an approach to eating. It is not primarily a weight-loss "diet" (though it can be used quite successfully for that purpose; rather, it is a way of eating food that complements the body's own evolution.

    6. Ornish

      Weekly Price: $78.74

      The Ornish Diet is a somewhat popular diet that was developed by Dean Ornish M.D. in his book Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease. It is a diet that is specifically formulated to reverse heart disease but has recently been used as a weight-loss program. This vegetarian diet emphasizes low-fat, filling foods, including legumes and other high-fiber choices.

    7. South Beach

      Weekly Price: $78.61

      The South Beach diet is a diet plan started by Miami, Florida-area cardiologist Arthur Agatston which emphasizes the consumption of "good carbs" and "good fats". Dr. Agatston developed this diet for his cardiac patients based upon his study of scientific dieting research.

    8. Slim Fast

      Weekly Price: $77.73

      Slim-Fast is a brand of shakes, bars, snacks, packaged meals, and other dietary supplement foods sold in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil and Mexico by Unilever. Slim Fast promotes diets and weight loss plans featuring its food products.

    9. Sugar Busters

      Weekly Price: $69.62

      "Cut Sugar to Trim Fat" proclaims the dust jacket of Sugar Busters! Inside the book, you read that "Sugar is toxic!" And that's the basic premise of the diet. The authors tell you to eliminate all sweets made with refined sugar and certain fruits and vegetables with a high-sugar content because they wreak havoc on your biochemical system. The diet also promises to lower your cholesterol, achieve optimal wellness, increase your energy, and help treat diabetes and other diseases.

    10. Subway

      Weekly Price: $68.60

      SUBWAY® is the name of a franchise that mainly sells sandwiches and salads. It was founded in 1965 by Fred De Luca and Peter Buck. The corporation that owns the trademarked name of Subway is Doctor's Associates, Inc. (DAI). The company has over 28,048 franchised units in 87 countries as of November 21, 2006 and is the fastest growing franchise in the world. This rapidly growing chain added over 2,000 locations in 2005.

      Subway uses the advertising slogan "Eat Fresh" to explain how every sandwich is made on freshly baked bread, using fresh ingredients, in front of the customer to their exact specification, by employees who Subway terms "Subway Sandwich Artists®".

    Dieting need not be that expensive. By following consistent, simple, cheap and healthy weight loss methods coupled with some moderate exercises, you are bound to lose weight.

    101 Ways to Fight the Stress Out of Your Life

    Written: 09/17/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

    Most of us are feeling the strain of stress: stress at work, stress at home, stress to meet a deadline, stress to live up to someone's expectations. Stress as a matter of fact and health, has been linked to obesity as well as many other issues.

    As a medical student, I am accustomed to stress. But what with harnessing Diethack and doing internships, finding time to actually study has become somewhat a daunting task. I am feeling the burden of stress more than ever.

    So here are 101 ways to combat stress, free up your mind, boost up your physical and mental energy and live a healthy lifestyle. When possible, I linked to a story or helpful article to help supplement the idea.

    1. Plan your work. Become super-organized.

    2. Enjoy your work. Life is too short.

    3. Take a walk, appreciate nature.

    4. Nuke a bad habit - Bad habits are most of the time sources of our stress.

    5. Adopt the 7-Day Mental diet.

    6. Find time to talk to your loved ones, family or friends.

    7. Sincerely help others without expecting anything in return.

    8. Get a good night's sleep.

    9. Enjoy fine dining from time to time.

    10. Make a loan and help fight poverty - Making a difference in the world can bring a sense of well being.

    11. De-stress by finding inspiration from success stories.

    12. Laugh!

    13. Cry!

    14. Listen to uplifting music/songs.

    15. Do some desk exercises if you are stressed at work.

    16. Enjoy a comedy show on TV, even it is reminds you of work.

    17. Get out of debt if you have financial problems.

    18. Clean up your desk if you have stressed out and cannot still find this file.

    19. Avoid stress by learning how to tame these evil credit cards.

    20. Hug someone. This one actually works for me. ;)

    21. Unclutter your life

    22. Become an early riser

    23. Take a break.

    24. Eliminate distractions

    25. The right attitude counts. Become positive
    26. .
    27. Start now and avoid stress

    28. Learn to manage kids and parents within the Sandwich Generation

    29. Enjoy what you have instead of what you want

    30. Embrace the key elements of an ideal life

    31. Cut down junk mail

    32. Start with small expectations and increase them as time goes by.

    33. Make yourself a cup of tea. Inhale the warmth and scent coming from it. Enjoy it slowly by sipping it.

    34. Have the courage to be yourself.

    35. Acquire a wealthy mindset.

    36. Procrastinate.

    37. Get Things Done.

    38. Don't be over committed.

    39. Make your first year of marriage easier.

    40. Let go of "emotional baggage". Grudges do nobody any good.

    41. Define a healthier lifestyle for yourself

    42. Join associations, go to clubs and surround yourself with people. Connecting with others on a personal and emotional basis serves as an outlet for stress.

    43. Taste some of the world's healthiest and "tastiest" foods

    44. Take a rest break

    45. Heal old wounds

    46. Sing a song.

    47. Learn to cook and avoid the stress of harming your body with junk foods.

    48. Stop smoking, alcohol and other addictive drugs!

    49. Do some moderate exercises

    50. Visualize a peaceful scene and this will have a soothing effect on your mind.

    51. Kick start your day with some great foods

    52. Do regular health checks.

    53. Take deep breaths to clear your head.

    54. Massage is a good way to fight stress.

    55. Aromatherapy is also very good to get rid of stress.

    56. Lay an energy line.

    57. Avoid temporary reliefs by taking medication like Prozac.

    58. Yoga has been a longtime tool to achieve a zen life.

    59. Tai Chi Chuan promotes health and longevity and eliminates stress at the same time.

    60. Take power naps.

    61. Set some time aside to do what you love.

    62. Accept your limitations and know that sometime you cannot do it all.

    63. Don't get stuck in the past and move forward.

    64. Studies have shown that noise have a profound impact on our well-being. So as far as possible, avoid stress sounds like the roar of a carnivore, the crack of a falling tree, the scream of a child, wailing sirens, etc.

    65. Don't rush through meals.

    66. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. They are rich in serotonin, a chemical that reduces the effects of stress.

    67. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Reverse count slowly from 10 to 1. This is a technique used by anger management therapists but which also works for stressed people.

    68. Do some stretching in the morning to exercise your joints and avoid stress pains later during the day.

    69. Relaxing in the sun is a great way to forget about the worries of this world. Learn how to sunbathe safely.

    70. Build confidence in yourself. Lack of confidence is a huge stress generator.

    71. While working sure will leave you stressed out, the satisfaction of a job well done often surpasses the stress you will feel. So work hard and savor your successes.

    72. Let passion drive you instead of the "getting things done" mentality.

    73. Sometimes the simplest prayer helps.

    74. Finding a great gift is sure a stress for me. Try the following cheap gift ideas.

    75. Avoid tight-fitting clothes on your head and around your neck. It suppresses blood flow to the brain and can cause headaches for you.

    76. Have sex.

    77. Watch a movie.

    78. Smile!

    79. Play with a yo yo.

    80. Avoid negativity.

    81. Take a hot shower.

    82. Live, not merely exist!

    83. Find a day to recuperate and power up for the coming week. On Sundays, I stay at home, tend to household jobs like cleaning,etc.. and prepare myself for the coming week.

    84. Organize your life.

    85. Psych yourself up.

    86. For those that are afraid of burglars and stress out at bedtime, start a neighborhood watch program.

    87. Manage your energy effectively.

    88. Body image is one stress generator. Learn how to get back in your skinny jeans.

    89. Learn relaxation techniques to enjoy life.

    90. The hipster pda (hPDA) has been a real blessing. It's the only tool I use to organize my life and eliminate stress.

    91. Nagging can be very unpleasant and stressful. Learn how to stop the nagging.

    92. Get an ideal job.

    93. Take a vacation.

    94. Think well before deciding on a career.

    95. Do it now!

    96. Keep busy when stressed. An idle mind is the devil's workshop.

    97. Get rid of shyness by learning how to speak in public.

    98. Sometimes sleep disorders are at the roots of your stress.

    99. Turn off the television. Too much visual overload is bad for the brain processes.

    100. Often times, people are not capable of coping with the stress in their life. If you are in that group and admit to it, it's better to seek help from counselors.

    101. Find a day of the week to let go. For me Saturday is blast day where I meet with my friends and have a fun.

    102. Communicate. Not saying the things we feel can lead to a sense of frustration, hurt, anger or anxiety, all which are stress burdens on our mind.
    “If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn't ask me, I'd still have to say it.” - George F. Burns

    There is no way that all 101 methods will apply to everyone. However, by choosing a couple to implement, you will feel less stress and it will make you healthier.

    Energize Your Life With These 5 Moderate Exercises

    Written: 09/17/2007 | Join the discussion (1)

    Sedentary lifestyle is becoming more and more commonplace. Before it's too late and you find yourself the victim of heart diseases, change your life with these 5 moderate activities.
    Moderate physical activity is defined as an activity that burns about 150 calories of energy per day. The more vigorous the exercise the less time each day is needed to meet these requirements.

    1. Walking 1.75 miles

      Duration: 35 minutes

      Walking, the simplest of all exercise, is actually a very good way to get more active and burn more calories. Park your car a few roads away from your workplace and walk the rest of the distance to work. Use the stairs instead of the elevators. Walk to the local grocery in your area to buy foods. Get a pet and work it every afternoon. Walk when you are talking on your mobile phone.

    2. Running 1.5 miles

      Duration: 15 minutes

      Running is very good to get rid of muscle stiffness when you are seated at your desk all day. Running tones up your muscles, makes you sweat heavily and thereby cleansing your skin at the same time. Running clears up your head and makes you more relaxed.

    3. Gardening

      Duration: 30 - 45 minutes

      Gardening is a very pleasurable activity in that you get a satisfaction in creating something beneficial for you and for your health. You can plant vegetables and reap them fresh afterwards for your meal. Those who do not have a garden can do this by planting flowers, vegetables in pots. Here is a very interesting article to grow houseplants in your apartments: 5 easy care houseplants for a touch of nature.

    4. Dancing fast (social)

      Duration: 30 minutes

      If you love to shake it, a night at your local club can shake more calories than a few days of walking. Dancing prevents osteoporosis and exercises your body for increased blood flow. It is estimated that dance burns anywhere from 5 to 10 calories per minute depending on speed and intensity. For example, swing and mambo burn more calories than a slow waltz. And of course if you are lucky, you can find yourself a date while dancing! ;)

    5. Shoveling snow

      Duration: 15 minutes

      Shoveling snow may seems a grueling task for the uninitiated but actually it is a very good exercise for muscle reinforcement and increased blood flow. It actually helps you exercise the joints of your wrist and arms. It prevents stiffening of the joints and muscles in the arms.

      NOTE: Please be aware that people with back problems should not try shoveling snow as it may place a load on your back. It may cause lumbar hernia, a condition where a disc in your vertebra is dislocated from its position.
    It is not necessary to perform complicated exercises, have equipments or go to a gym in order to maintain an active life. Moderate exercises like the ones mentioned above are more than enough and if performed adequately, will help you live a long and full life.

    Reference: The above examples are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (PDF doc)