Be Fruit(and Veggie)ful and Multiply!

“Whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains and beans contain literally THOUSANDS of (other) substances that are protective, having anti-aging, anti-cancer and anti-heart disease properties.  These include fiber, isoflavones, carotenoids, bioflavonoics, retinols, lycopene, genistein, and on and on.” 

Dr. Dean Ornish as quoted in The Veganist

Dr. Ornish then goes on to talk about the fact that when people adopt his low-fat, plant-based diet to lose weight or reverse heart disease, their sexual function, mental clarity and energy all improve as well.  As he puts it, they adopt the diet because they “fear dying,” but very soon, they see dramatic, positive results and they stay on the diet because they now enjoy living.

When you think about all the goodness that comes from those foods that grow in the ground and on trees and vines, it’s easy to see that what will help us in the long run, will surely make us feel better in the immediate.  Cleaning out our arteries is exactly like cleaning out our pipes.  EVERYTHING flow better!

Can’t You Hear My Heart Beat?

A public demonstration of aerobic exercises

 In answer to the question “How much aerobic exercise is enough?” — Adults should get a MINIMUM of 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week.  Or, you can opt for a MINIMUM of 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.  Intensity is dependent upon your heart rate and your age.  The good old equation that works every time is to subtract YOUR age from 220.  This gives you YOUR maximum heart rate.  Next you would multiply that number times 60% to get your light intensity target heart rate, 70% to get your moderate target heart rate and 80% to get your maximum target heart rate.  Or…you could just use a scale of perceived exertion and ask yourself “how hard am I working on a scale of 1-10?”  Running would be intense, jogging or brisk walking, moderate and walking at a regular pace, light.  Keep in mind this varies with how fit you already are.  Of course, you could also use a fancy heart-rate monitor, an app on your smart phone, or a device like a Fit-Bit.  Additionally, if you are looking to lose weight, remember that you will probably need and want to do more than the minimum.

While aerobic activity is the basis of a good exercise plan,  we also must engage in some activities that strengthen our muscles and build our bone density.  Lifting weights,  doing push-ups, yoga, Pilates,  using resistance bands and even doing squats and lunges will count towards this important aspect of our fitness.


Exercise—it’s not just medicine for your body, it’s the magic bullet to health and happiness.  Get your fix today!






Facing Our Fears and Eating Our (healthy) Fats

Last night Biggest Loser was all about facing one’s fears.  It hit home for me, because I have a couple of fears I simply refuse to face.  Probably the case for most of us.  Anyway, at the top of the show Alison explains that one person will go home for the week and who it is will be determined by a little friendly competition.  At home, that person will have not have a trainer or a gym, they will be facing life like a “regular” person.  So the competition involves each contestant placing blocks in front of other contestants huge photos.  Once the picture is covered, that person is safe.  The last picture left uncovered, will be the person that goes home.  Everyone wants Gina to go home, but Jackson begs and pleads to be the one, and in the end, he is.  He is also told to pick someone to go home with him and he picks Jeff.  The person who placed the most bricks wins a one pound advantage at the weigh in and that happens to be Joe.  (Who looks like he already won the whole competition—he looks great!)

In our weekly update of contestants that have already been eliminated, we see Francelina who looks fabulous, down almost 100 pounds!  We then see Jackson and Jeff arrive at what was supposed to be Jackson’s home, but it all looked rather staged to me.  They do find some bikes and weights there, and have money to go shopping to stock their fridge and pantry for the week.  Back at the ranch the trainers are talking with the “kids” as they all had to face their fears as well.  Lindsay will be talking to someone with diabetes, Sunny will confront her mom about her obesity and Bingo…Bingo will eat vegetables somehow or another.  Later on we see how all this goes down, and Bingo’s mom uses the pureed vegetable method that Jessica Seinfeld made kindof famous a few years ago.  His mom manages to get 4 pureed vegetables into a turkey meat loaf and Bingo says he likes it.  I have mixed emotions about this method, but it does seem to work.   We also see Jeff and Jackson at the grocery store keeping each other in check and Jeff lets Jackson know his greatest fear is waking up at 40 or 50 and feeling that his life has been a failure.  We also see them climbing a mountain in California.  Good workout boys!

Back at the ranch, more about facing fears.  Gina is scared of dying and Jillian makes her lay in a closed coffin.  I hated this!!!!  Hated.  Then its time for the challenge and Jackson and Jeff are back for it.  They are all strapped up, 7 stories high, holding onto a weigh that is 40% of their own body weight.  If they drop the weight, they will also drop.  The last one holding on will win the coveted prize of immunity.  At 18 minutes in, it is between Gina and Danni and amazingly, Danni drops the weight and Gina wins.  I am starting to get the feeling she is going to win the whole season.

More about facing fears.  Danni sings in public (quite well) and  Joe swims in mucky waters to overcome a fear of sharks.  Then it’s last chance workout and the weigh-in.   Finally.  They all pulled huge numbers.  How does this happen at this point of the season?  I honestly don’t believe this week’s weigh in truly represented one week.   What do you think?

Gina…down 7…Danni down 10…Joe down 12….Jeff down 13…Jackson 11 and Alex 8.   This puts Jackson and Alex below the yellow line and the others must vote.  Please, please don’t send Jackson home.  They didn’t.   When we see Alex at home she is down 70 pounds and honestly looks like a completely different person.

NEXT WEEK IS MAKEOVER WEEK with Tim Gun and Ken Paves.  YAY!!!!   And for the first time they get to take their made-over selves home to their families and friends.

While I know this blog entry is already a long read…this is way more important than the above stuff…There has been big news  on a study done on the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, vs a low fat diet.  We know the keystones of the Mediterranean Diet are lots of fruits and vegetables, olives and olive oil, nuts, salmon and lean poultry and red wine.  No red meat.  The study was very large and long and involved people that had already been diagnosed with some cardiac issues.  The findings were so positive for the group that was following the Mediterranean plan, (versus the group that avoided the oils and nuts and stuck to a low fat diet)  that they released the findings early because they felt it was wrong to not let the public know.  I honestly don’t remember all that I heard on the news, but I am sure it’s all over the news today.  While they recommend up to 4 tablespoons of olive oil a day, remember that if you are on a weight loss plan, you need to watch your overall calories.  When we are talking about eating nuts, we are talking about a small handful (up to 18 of them).   Having some healthy fats in our diets is not only good for our hair, nails, skin and digestive system, but it’s apparently really good for our hearts, too.  I have yet to find a sound diet that doesn’t encourage eating lots of vegetables, so no matter what plan you follow, make sure to load up on them.  On Weight Watchers, they are free…on Eat to Live, they are encouraged by the pound-ful.  If you can’t embrace your vegetables, maybe you need to do what Bingo’s mom did…..


Carpet Winners, Shaker Losers

Well, last night we got to watch the Oscars and the beautiful stars walking the Red Carpet, beforehand.  I bet many of them have just come off of fad diets and crazy fasts as well as watching their calories and points and avoiding too many carbs, sugar and salt.  Last week I promised to come back with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s list of the “Salty Six”– common foods that may be loaded with excess sodium that can increase our risk for heart disease and stroke.  The average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day–more than twice the 1,500 milligrams recommended by the Association.  While so many people tell me they hardly use the salt shaker, the problem is that 75% of our sodium consumption comers from processed and restaurant food.  Here’s a quick look at the Salty Six.

1.  Breads and rolls.  While it doesn’t taste salty, one piece can have as much as 230 milligrams.

2.  Cold cuts and cured meats.  Deli or pre-packaged turkey can contain as much as 1,050 milligrams, added so they don’t spoil.

3.  Pizza.  So this one I think we all realize is not really a health food, but one slice can have up to 760 milligrams, and who of us eats just one slice, except Lesley??

4.  Poultry.  The range of sodium in poultry ranges drastically so choose wisely.  Reasonable portions of skinless, grilled chicken are OK by know that they may still contain sodium solutions.

5.  Soup.  This one gets me, personally, because I love soup and it’s often recommended to eat soup before a meal to cut caloric intake of the entire meal.  But just look at the sodium in a can, or even in the broth you may use to make your own.  When I make my own I often use water in place of broth, or at least mix it 50/50 to cut back on the sodium.  If you go to your pantry for a can, consider that just one cup of canned chicken noodle can have up to 940 milligrams and again, most people have more than one serving.  2 cups will put you way over the daily recommended amount.  Oiy.

6.  Sandwiches.  We already covered the bread and the cold cuts.  Put that together with some ketchup or mustard and you can easily surpass 1,500 milligrams in just one sitting.

Keep in mind that every brand and every restaurant prep, will mean different levels of sodium, but use the above for general guidelines.  If you struggling with hypertension especially, but all of us, should take a day or two to tally our daily sodium intake.  It may help us find places we can easily cut from and lower our intake and our pressure!

Back to the Oscars for just a minute.  While the Red Carpet winners, nominees, presenters and guests, may be out indulging in the foods they avoided the weeks prior and celebrating as they should, it’s important to remember that real life goes on in the rest of the world.  Congratulations to all the winners.  Please know that while Argo was a great story and took the award for best picture, the family of Bob Levinson would like to remind us all, that he is still be held hostage (day 2,178).  Wishing someone could get in there and rescue him and finally bring him back home to his family.

Tonight—Biggest Loser week 9.  Hope Danni and Jackson make it through another week and get to do their own walk on the makeover “red carpet”….

To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse…And if So, Which One?

Thanks to the folks at for some great articles about blogging, which I am gleaning lots of good info from!  If you are reading this and know someone who blogs, you may want to suggest they visit the site…

Now I am going to use some of the advice they gave me, by putting a question out there to all of you.  Time and time again I get asked about cleanses/detoxers but I have never done one.  I know that some of you have and I am curious about your experience with them, what brands, etc.,  Remember, when you comment, it will take a day to appear on the site as I have to approve ALL comments.  This is to keep you safe from Internet problems.  I would greatly appreciate any info you can share and look forward to your feedback.

the juice is loose!
the juice is loose! (Photo credit: skampy)

Thanks.  Have an awesome Saturday.

Effects vs. Side Effects

English: Digital photo taken by Marc Averette....
English: Digital photo taken by Marc Averette. A typical winter day on South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


While I blog, the morning news is always on behind me.  I sat down to write about hypertension and the “Salty Six,” only to find my ears working harder than my fingers.  I just heard a reporter going through his morning news and in the most nonchalant way, stated that this year’s flu shot is only effective in 9% of adults, but still everyone over 6 months of age should get the shot.  Since the shot has potentially negative side effects, I’m not sure 9% is worth the gamble.  Personally, I opted out (have never had one).  And speaking of side effects, after seeing the movie with the very same name the other day, (which was an excellent murder mystery and I recommend it) I am even more weary of the pharmaceutical industry than ever.  This news about the flu shot doesn’t surprise me even a little.  In fact, I bet the number, 9% is even inflated.  We are told one thing at the beginning of the season, and quite another now that the season is coming to an end, but mega bucks were made along the way.

Now on a somewhat different note, the news I am watching happens to be NBC and the show is broadcasting from South Beach (Miami) instead of NYC, this morning.  I just read in the newspaper (yup, we still read those at Casa Zipp) that bidding wars are going on over property here as the real estate market continues to be on the rise.  Somehow, I am thinking after the rest of the country watches the news from Miami this morning, (from their heated homes and snow filled yards) the existing homes on the market will get gobbled up.  Sure, there are a lot of things about the Sunshine State that are less than ideal, but seriously with properties that one can steal and a summer that never ends, it’s hard to believe their are ANY places for sale!

And putting these two thoughts together, I can count on one hand (with fingers left over) how many people I know here in Florida that had the flu this winter.  Just saying…

Wherever you are, have a safe, healthy day….much love from


I’ve Looked at Life From Both Sides Now…

This past Sunday I posted a comic of a male lion entering his home and saying to the female lion “it’s a city out there.”  (For those that didn’t see it, or didn’t get it, it was a spoof on humans saying “it’s a jungle out there.” )  It was all about perspective, and perspective IS everything…so this morning it rubbed me the wrong way when television reporters did a story on a fire that occurred at a strip mall in Miami during the night.  The reporter said “thankfully no one was injured…” and then went on to say “30 dogs died from smoke inhalation.”  I am sure it’s just semantics, but couldn’t he have said something like “while no humans were involved in the incident, sadly 30 dogs died….”  I am picking, but we all need to be sensitive to others perspectives.  For those 30 dogs it was a really, really bad night as they must have been very scared, especially being in cages as it was a pet store.  In my opinion, pet and store shouldn’t even really exist in the same sentence, but that’s just me.  There are just way too many animals that need to be adopted…

And another news story has me thinking about perspective, and what I write in this paragraph is definitely going to offend some people, so I apologize in advance, but please know that it’s not my intention to offend, just make us all think.  I totally, totally understand how upset people are that horse meat is showing up where only beef should be…I just wonder how those people would feel if we grew up riding cows, or keeping them as pets.  There are countries, by the way, where eating horse meat is not weird. It’s all about perspective.

As we go through our day, remember that perspective is everything.  Also hoping you will consider a meatless (if you don’t eat beef, you won’t have to worry about the horse thing) meal or 2 or 3.  It will do as much good for your soul as it will for your body!

Dog sunny Day Afternoon
Dog sunny Day Afternoon (Photo credit: allert)


Retsu06 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


There are so many “fancy” and “extreme” ways to get in fitness these days.  From booty barre ballet to CrossFit training, and everything in between, people are finding niches that keep them motivated and interested.  BUT fitness doesn’t have to be fancy, extreme, or cost a lot (or even ANY) money.  Next time you are pressed for time and still want to get in a quick work-out, try picking just 3 exercises like jumping jacks, push-ups and crunches.  For example…do a set of jacks to warm up, then a set of push-ups, flip over and do crunches and start again.  (You can pick your own 3, but try to make at least 2 full-body exercises). Repeat for as many sets as you can, or set a timer and keep going until time is up.  If we could all commit to just that every day the world would be a much more fit place to live!  Fitness can be fancy, but it certainly doesn’t have to be.  Like Nike says, you just have to do it!

The Dreaded Red (Line) and Another Love Story


This week, week 8, the Biggest Loser contestants had a chance to all win immunity if, as a team, they lost 70 pounds.  Sounds like a crazy number, but then came the ops to lower that number.  Enter “the kids,” who were asked 5 questions regarding nutrition.  Each correct answer took one pound off of the 70.  The kids did well, getting 4 out of the 5 questions correct.  Next the kids had a chance to earn more pounds off for the contestants by performing some physical challenges, as they did in the beginning of the season, trying to beat their earlier numbers/times.  Thankfully, they all did better than they did 8 weeks ago.  Good thing! Now the goal for immunity is 61 pounds.  Still a lot for 8 people, 4 of them female.


In the gym, emotions run high as they often do by this time of the season.  Gina can’t handle Joe and she walks off (again) but Dolvett brings her back and gives her her own space away from Joe.  Joe is pissed she gets a personal trainer.  Jillian has a melt down when she asks Alex to run for 5 minutes on the treadmill and she can’t.  Jill asks Gina to do it and Gina tells Jill to leave her alone, which doesn’t fly well with Jillian who asks Gina to leave and then starts yelling at Bob and Dolvett.  She keeps screaming that this behavior is unacceptable and as much as I relate to what Jillian is ranting about, I think she handled the whole thing unacceptably!  All I could keep thinking was “hello, Jillian—YOU are the trainer who has only 1 contestant left from your original team….”  Maybe running for 5 minutes isn’t everything!

The challenge takes place on Long Beach and it’s a digging challenge.  Teamwork.  If they find all the green arrows and get them to the finish line in 30 minutes they can shave another 10 pounds off of their goal number.  Blah blah blah, Gina isn’t a team player, but somehow they pull it off with 4 seconds left.  Now they need to lose 51 pounds, much more realistic.

Jared of Subway diet fame stops by to bring the contestants lunch.  This part always just cracks me up, especially since I remember being told that Jillian makes them spit out the Subway after they take a bite…Just because you can lose weight a certain way (cutting calories) doesn’t mean it’s healthy or smart, but Jared tells the contestants that Subway saved his life and since it’s been 15 years since he lost all the weight, who am I to question?!?!  And….the winner of this season will be appearing in a Subway commercial with Jared.

I admit to missing most of the last chance workout, so I am not sure how that whole rope building,  team building thing went, but next was the weigh in.  The numbers were all pretty low for the show, but still great for anyone else!  Danni lost the most, 7 pounds and entered ONEderland!  YAY!!!!  She has such potential to be THE Biggest Loser.  Joe looks great down another 6 pounds and looking like the athlete he once was.  My boy, Jackson, pulled a 5 and was very happy with that.  Alex, 3…Jeff, 4….Gina,4…and Francelina is last to weigh in.  We already know that she and Jeff have gotten very close and now if she loses more than 2 pounds, that will send him home—2 or less, and she goes home.  She puts up a 2 and falls below the dreaded red line and is sent home.  At home we see she has also entered ONEderland, and tells us that while she and Jeff got close on the ranch, they have actually become a couple since her elimination.  Another love match made on the ranch where losers are always winners.

I gotta admit…I really miss some of my old favorites.  Hannah and Olivia.  Sam and Stephanie (who are expecting their first child) and Ali who I wonder about as we haven’t seen much of her.  Actually, we haven’t seen much of any of the old timers.  Makes me wonder.  Maybe Jared has the right idea….