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Quick Hits



— February 6, 2020

Quick Hits


Healthy Diets, for Dudes

Nearly a decade ago, Serena Wolf was concerned about her fiancé, Logan Smith Unland, and his food choices.

His primary food groups were meat, cheese, white bread and Coors Light, each consumed in large portions, she writes in the introduction of The Dude Diet Dinnertime: 125 Clean(ish) Recipes for Weeknight Winners and Fancypants Dinners (Harper Wave), the second and latest of her Dude Diet books. When her fiancé, who disdains health food, ate vegetables, they were typically limited to the lettuce and carrot shavings on which his fried chicken fingers rested.

Wolf, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris who has worked as a private chef, culinary instructor and recipe developer, responded with her Dude Diet recipes, a collection of comfort foods that would appeal to Logan, now her husband, but with healthy touches. Cases in point are hearty and mostly heart-healthy dishes featured in The Dude Diet Dinnertime: Buffalo Chicken and White Bean Chili; Chicago Dog Baked Potatoes; Spinach-Artichoke Grilled Cheese; and others that make for a sensible transition to a healthier body.

If the marriage of taste and healthful ingredients is creating a happy marriage for Wolf, that approach could likely do the same for many couples and families in which meals are a contentious issue. The Dude Diet rules. —Allan Richter


Fake Sweetener, Real Weight Gain?

» Figure you’ll avoid picking up extra pounds by using artificial sweeteners? Not so fast.

A team of Australian scientists reviewed the available research, including a seven-year US study of more than 5,100 people, and found that people who used the largest amount of artificial sweeteners actually gained the largest amount of weight.

According to results in Current Atherosclerosis Reports, the team concluded that people who went the fake-sugar route were eating plenty of the real stuff as well, and “may psychologically feel they can indulge in their favorite foods.” Ouch. 


An App for Your Whole Crew

 Do you and and your friends like to spend time eating and traveling but are finding it hard to keep track of who was going to do (or pay for) what? GROTU lets you arrange dinners, outings and other activities with functions for  trip surveys, expense splitting, potluck invites and other get-together tools, as well as shareable photo albums and an organized chat section. You can download it for free at Google Play or the App Store. 


Did You Know That…
The Body Can Protect Itself in Cold Water?

Falling into an icy lake can produce one of two reactions: The cold shock response—gasping, sputtering, drowning—or the dive reflex.

Stronger in animals like dolphins than in humans, the dive reflex occurs when your face hits the water; your heart rate slows and your body shunts blood from the limbs to the vital organs.

This reflex is one explanation for why people have been successfully revived after cold-water immersions of up to 40 minutes. Want to avoid the cold shock response? Try swimming in chilly water on a regular basis.



Support Your Immune System with Probiotics 

Most of your immune cells reside in your digestive tract, which means that the beneficial microbes called probiotics can help bolster your immune defenses. Make plain yogurt that contains live cultures a regular part of your diet and consider taking a supplement that contains not only intestinal probiotics but also S. salivarius K12, which occupies the mouth and nose.


Yoga Appears to Build Your Brain 

You may do yoga for stress relief or to stay flexible. But now it turns out that you may be doing your brain a favor, too.

Scientists at the University of Illinois reviewed 11 studies in which either some people did yoga and others didn’t or non-yogis started a regular practice. All the studies included scans of the participants’ brains.

 What the UI team found was that taking to one’s mat appeared to increase the size of a brain structure called the hippocampus, which plays a key role in learning and memory. Other structures crucial to cognition also showed increases, according to a report in the journal Brain Plasticity.

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