{FOF Woman of The Week} Staness Jonekos

I’ve known Staness Jonekos for four years and I’ve never met a woman quite like her.

She’s (really) smart. (Really) beautiful. (Really) real. Giving. Honest. Forthright. Determined. And she has a generous spirit. Since most of you won’t have the privilege to meet her in person, meet her here. Her new book, Eat Like A Woman (and never diet again), is as smart as she is.

Staness wants every single girl and woman to benefit from the scientific knowledge she’s amassed over the years about nutrition, health and fitness. She’s a true women’s health advocate and her biggest reward is our happiness and well being.

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Step Up To The Bar(s)

You will not have to study the list of ingredients, and their nutritional value, in these Eat Like A Woman energy bars.

That’s because they’re the first and only bars prepared especially for us, that can provide lasting energy for women-on-the-go who want delicious guilt-free nutrition. Staness Jonekos, health advocate and author, personally selected every single ingredient (from organic peanut and almond butter to gluten-free rice cereal) with our needs in mind, because we metabolize food and lose weight very differently than men, and really shouldn’t be eating the same bars as they do.

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7 Foods That Make You Sad

We all know we should generally steer clear of certain foods—but many of them do more than just affect our physical health. They can also affect our mental state. These popular foods could leave us feeling sad and sluggish. Are a few minutes of joy worth the after effects?

Because caffeine affects your sleep patterns, it also affects your mood, and can increase anxiety and nervousness.

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It’s Time To Bone Up On Bone Health

Whoever dreamed we’d be thinking about our bone health when we were swinging from the parallel bars in junior high or sprinting down the stairs, two steps at a time.

But now that we are, take these solid steps to ensure that your skeletons stay strong, balanced and flexible.

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Does Your Belly Fat Make You Crazy?

Stop obsessing and read this.

Being FOF comes with so many great things—wisdom, levity, experience, humor… And one not-so-great thing: belly fat.

So we paused in the middle of our daily sit-up regimen to speak with Dr. Michael Kaplan, one of the nation’s foremost experts on weight loss. Dr. Kaplan revealed the truth behind belly fat over fifty—why it’s there, what you can do about it, and why you should stop obsessing.

We hear it from FOFs all the time: ‘It’s so much harder for me to lose weight now, and I’m gaining in my belly area. What can I do?’

The unfortunate consequence of aging—for everyone—is that your metabolism slows by about 5-10 percent per decade. When women hit menopause, it slows an additional 5-10 percent. Many women spend their lives at a normal BMI [body mass index] of 23 or 24, and then they hit menopause and find themselves at a BMI of 27 or 28—ever so slightly overweight. And they can’t take off the pounds. Also, the body is programmed during menopause to lay down extra subcutaneous fat in the abdomen. So even if you’ve never had fat in your abdomen, all of a sudden you have a belly.

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{Health} Keep your New Year’s Resolution to get FOFit

FOFitness guru Margo Kamin says she’s “eliminated all excuses” for not working out. Her fitness sessions don’t require any equipment, or even a trip to the gym. She employs the use of resistance training, paired with video chat capabilities like Skype and FaceTime, to train her clients. Margo has clientele all over the U.S–some of which she’s never even met in person! Read on to find out more about her video chat training sessions and why video training sessions are the new secret weapon for getting FOFit.

Want to win a 30-minute video training session with Margo? Enter to win by answering this question in the comments below: What are your trouble areas? (more…)

{Weight Loss} This product helped one FOF “shake” her menopause weight

Dear FOFriends,

I am forever astounded (actually, stupefied) by the mind-boggling number of weight-loss plans, programs, blogs, formulas, books, and foods available to us today.  It’s odd, though, that Americans continue to get bigger and bigger despite the myriad of methods we have to get smaller and smaller.

Like many FOFs, I’ve gone on countless diets over the years. Sometimes I’ve found plans that work for me; other times, my efforts have been a complete bust. Surely, there’s no foolproof formula for everyone, so I guess we’ve each got to experiment with those that sound good, until we hit on something that is good.

When Nancy Welk, one of our members, e-mailed me about a weight-loss program that worked well for her–so well, in fact, she’s become a rep for it–I invited her to advertise on the site to tell other women about it. Nancy took me up on my offer, so I also wanted to give her the opportunity to tell us a bit about her experience.

Here’s a Q&A we did with Nancy. As she says, she’ll be happy if she can help even one woman who is as frustrated as she was.

oxo, Geri

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Tell me a little about yourself.
I am 51, a mother of two children in college and married for 26 years. I have always been active and in good shape. I swam as a child. I have gone to the gym my entire adult life. I never liked red meat and was raised eating healthy foods. I’ve continued this with my own family. I kept my shape after delivering both of my children.  Everything started to change when I turned 45.

What happened at 45?
Many things were changing in my life. We moved out of state and I tried to re-establish a new life. My weight started to creep up despite maintaining the same eating habits and workout routine. I also started waking up in the middle of the night. At 47, my menstrual cycle started to skip. By 50, I was officially in menopause, 60 pounds heavier with a protruding abdomen and hot flashes. I was miserable.  I didn’t recognize the woman in the mirror.

What did you do to help alleviate your symptoms?
I visited six different doctors during this period. Five of them wrote me off as a middle-aged woman who was trying defy the aging process. One said,  ‘If you’re here for diet pills you’ve come to the wrong place.’ I left in tears. Another said, ‘I have sick people to take care of and there is nothing medically wrong with you.’  Again, I was shocked. Another told me,’ It’s just the aging process, just exercise more and eat right.’ One doctor put me on on a compounded progesterone and estrogen pill. Although it helped me with my thyroid balance, hot flashes and sleep, my weight was continuing to rise. I refused to accept this and continued my research.

What led you to find ViSalus?
A friend of mine invited me to a Challenge Party. She knew how frustrated I was with my weight and thought it would benefit both of us. I had never heard of ViSalus before that and the information was intriguing. I thought to myself, why not try it? How can all these people be wrong?

What is the basic premise behind the products?
The company promotes a 90-Day ‘Health Challenge’ and being proactive with your health, before illness strikes. First you choose your challenge, then you choose the kit which is designed to help you reach your transformation. The Vi Shake is a highly absorbable, Tri-Sorb soy protein blend developed by Dr. Michael Seidman, who has over 20 years experience as a physician of Otolaryngology (head and neck surgery) and human nutrition. He’s a consultant to the NFL, NBA and NHL. The product is diabetic friendly and doesn’t have harsh stimulants or caffeine. It’s also free of isoflavones and GMOs (genetically modified organisms.)

Once you started taking ViSalus, what happened?
First, I bought the ‘Shape Kit,’ which replaced two meals a day. Although the scale was not moving, I was losing inches. I also had more energy and was sleeping well. Then I switched to the ‘Transformation Kit’ because I wanted to lose more than 20 pounds. I started to lose weight and inches. I was elated!

Is ViSalus for every woman?
There is a kit for every woman. The ‘Balance Kit’ is for balanced nutrition. The ‘Core Kit’ is for an athlete or if you’re looking to improve your health. The ‘Transformation Kit’ is for those who want to lose 20 pounds or more. The newest kit, the ‘Fit Kit,’ is for those who want to build muscle and get proper nutrition. If you’ve never had a protein shake, you may feel full the first day or two, but the body adjusts. The product is lactose free, gluten free, Kosher and heart healthy. It has helped people lose a total of 10 million pounds to date. It tastes like cake and there are hundreds of recipes–you can make Vi-pancakes, protein balls and more.

How can someone purchase ViSalus?
You purchase it from a ViSalus promoter. My website is www.nwelk.bodybyvi.com. If you purchase from my site there is a 30-day money back guarantee.  But, remember, the results are designed to be achieved in 90 days. The cost per shake is $1.70 and the kits range from $49 to $299 for a 30-day supply. If three of your friends join you in the challenge, your kit is FREE! Just for taking it, you’re entered to win prizes such as vacations and makeovers. I hope to help even just one person who is as frustrated as I was.

7 workouts you’ve probably never tried…but should!

With so many new workout options available, it can be hard to figure out which one is right for you. Luckily, we’ve done some of the work for you! Here are 7 FOFriendly workouts that you’ve probably never tried but should! Plus, they were all started by FOFs! Visit the slideshow below to read about all the different workouts and tell us in the comments below: which would you most like to try?
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{Health} Drink to your health!


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Have you ever toasted “to good health!” while secretly wondering if your cocktail was going to harm your overall wellness?  While any behavior can be overdone “it can’t always be all or nothing,” says Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and FOF Debra Meadow. “If you want to enjoy an adult beverage now and then, and you have no health contraindications, it’s okay to enjoy in moderation.”

With this in mind, we asked FOF mixologist Cheryl Heisler to mix up a bevy of beverages for summer that incorporate healthy ingredients. You may recognize some of these concoctions as old stand-bys but, with Debra’s help, we’ve kicked the nutritional value up a notch or two.

To REALLY maximize the health benefits, turn any of these into “mocktails” by leaving out the booze altogether!

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This drink is not only perfect to share with your BFFs over a summer Sunday Brunch but aids in digestion, too.

Rim a chilled rocks glass with unrefined sea salt. Add:

1 oz. vodka
Splash fermented pickle juice
2 twists fresh pepper
2 dashes Thai Red Curry Seasoning
Lemon wedge
1 drop Tabasco, jalapeño, Sriracha or other hot sauce (optional)

Fill with low-sodium tomato juice.
Garnish: pickle or cucumber slice

Juice from “live, fermented pickles has good bacteria, or probiotics, that help keep digestion running smoothly” says Debra. Stick to pickles in the refrigerated section of your store, though, because pickles that “are heat-packed to be shelf stable, or in a vinegar brine, are not alive and won’t net you the same benefits.” Coupling low-sodium tomato juice with unrefined sea salt for taste adds “lots of trace minerals your body needs” without all the extra salt it doesn’t.

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Mix up a pitcher of this crowd pleaser in a pinch and enjoy it at a backyard barbecue. Your guests will be delighted because not only is this drink super refreshing, it fights allergies, too. ( Serves 8 )

In a 64 oz. pitcher mix:

Juice of 8 fresh organic lemons (use additional lemons if you like it tart)
8 oz. tequila
8 teaspoons raw, locally processed honey (dissolve in warm water before adding)

Fill the rest of the pitcher with cold water.
Stir well, and pour into tall, iced glasses.
Garnish: lemon or lime wedges, squeezed, then set on rim

Use raw honey instead of sugar or syrup because it “is anti-microbial, aids digestion and contains live enzymes,” says Debra. Many people find that using raw honey from their own locale can also “help combat seasonal allergies.”

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Originally from Trinidad, bitters are a combination of 38 medicinal herbs and spices that aid digestion. According to Debra, bottled bitters like Angostura or Peychaud’s or bitter liquors, like Campari or Pimm’s, are all good digestives. We’ll drink to that!

Blend equal parts Campari, sweet vermouth, and grapefruit juice in a shaker with lots of ice.

Strain into an iced martini glass.
Garnish: a fresh rosemary sprig

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This highball cocktail is also high in health benefits—due to the addition of fresh herbs.

1 oz gin
1 teaspoon agave nectar
3-4 fresh mint leaves
4-6 lime wedges
Tonic

In a highball or rocks glass, muddle mint, lime and nectar. Add ice, gin and fill with tonic water.
Garnish: mint leaf

“Fresh mint is good for digestion and fresh herbs in general have scores of health benefits, including antioxidant activity,” says Debra.

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Think of this as a low-in-calorie, high-in-fizz screwdriver.

In a rocks or tall glass with ice, add:

1 oz. vodka
1 oz. orange juice (or the juice of one fresh squeezed orange)

Fill with seltzer
Stir.
Garnish: orange circle

“Fruit juice, even fresh, is very high in sugar, so keep it to a splash to flavor your drinks and make up the volume with sparkling water. Since alcohol is a diuretic, adding seltzer or sparkling water will help keep you hydrated. I also recommend drinking one extra glass of water for every alcoholic drink.”

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For a healthier spin on sangria–replace the fruit juices with brewed unsweetened iced tea.

Fill a tall, chilled wine glass halfway up with a medium dry red table wine.

Fill the rest of the glass with your favorite, unsweetened fruit-flavored tea (pre-brewed and chilled).
Garnish: a slice of summer fruit (pick one that compliments your tea flavor!)

“Freshly made tea has antioxidant properties and is much healthier than fruit juice,” says Debra. Add red wine with its many possible health benefits and we practically have a fountain of youth on our hands with this drink.

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You’ll hardly be able to discern the taste of kale in this banana-raspberry frozen drink but the health benefits are certainly sizable.

1 large banana, very ripe
2-4 Kale leaves (no stems)
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup cold water
1 cup ice
2 oz Southern Comfort

Blend the first four ingredients well. Add the ice and blend well a second time. Add SoCo and blend once more.
Makes 2 tall servings or a round of shots for the whole group!

“I’m for almost anything that works more veggies into your day, and kale is king in the vegetable realm” says Debra. “Among its many healthy properties, kale is a potent detoxifier and anti-cancer food.” So take a shot at working a shot of this into your daily diet—it’s worth getting the blender dirty!

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Debra Meadow is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner helping clients get healthy and stay healthy with whole food. She works with clients all over the country in customized programs and offers a free 1-hour consultation to anyone interested in finding out how real food can help them look good, feel great and soar. Visit blueravenwellness.com or email debra@blueravenwellness.com.
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{Weight Loss & Diet} What’s the beef with red meat?

A recent Harvard study linked red meat consumption with a sharply increased risk of cancer, heart disease and, well . . . death. As we head into barbecue season, what’s an FOF to do?

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This March, a study from the Harvard School of Public Health left vegans smiling, the meat industry grumbling–and the media buzzing. The 30-year study showed that eating red meat was associated with a sharply increased risk of premature death–especially from heart disease and cancer. Researchers followed more than 120,000 men and women from 1980 to 2006, and found that each daily increase of three ounces of red meat carried a 13-percent greater risk of dying during the course of the study. The risks linked to processed meat were even greater–eating one hot dog or two strips of bacon per day was linked to a 20 percent increased risk of death.

What are we to make of this? “The public health message is pretty straightforward,” said Dr. Frank Hu, co-author of the study and professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. “We should switch from a red meat-based diet to a plant-based diet with healthier protein choices.”

But should we stop eating red meat entirely? Or is there a healthy middle ground? For answers, we turned to three doctors, all of whom consider nutrition a key component of their medical practices. All three take the risks of red meat seriously. Read their opinions, below, and then tell us, do you plan to change your red-meat habits this summer?

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Dr. Melina Jampolis, an internist specializing in nutrition and preventative medicine, favors significantly reducing red meat, but leaves some wiggle room if you’re a die-hard steak lover. “I believe that red meat can be consumed in moderation by most if you really enjoy it. According to The Alternative Healthy Eating Index [a “food pyramid” created at Harvard as a contrast to our standard American food pyramid] you should ideally be eating a 4:1 ratio of white meat and fish to red meat in order to decrease inflammation in the body. That is what I tell patients. If you are at high risk of heart disease or cancer (genetically or pre-existing condition) I would advise reducing red meat as much as possible.

“If you are going to eat red meat, choose the leanest cuts of red meat possible (such as round and loin) and opt for grass fed beef, as it contains less saturated fat and is higher in several nutrients including beta-carotene, magnesium, potassium and healthy fats including omega 3 fatty acids and CLA. Research shows that processed meat increases your risk of colorectal cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and death. I recommend limiting processed meat considerably and eating a balanced, anti-inflammatory diet to balance out consumption.

Dr. Jampolis’s burger alternative: “In my book, The Calendar Diet, I suggest slimming down your burgers by combining lean ground beef with ground mushrooms. Also, cook red meat lower and slower to decrease charring, which causes the formation of cancer causing compounds. Be sure to load up burgers with lots of disease fighting, anti-oxidant rich foods like leafy greens (romaine lettuce or spinach), fresh sliced tomatoes and onions (allium family veggies are great for detoxifying).

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Dr. Ulka Agarwal, chief medical officer for The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, takes a hard-line against red meat and processed meat. [Note: PCRM is a nationwide organization of physicians, scientists, educators, and laypersons that “promotes preventive medicine, especially good nutrition, and addresses controversies in modern medicine.” It was founded by Dr. Neal Barnard, a noted researcher in the field of diet and nutrition and a longtime advocate of vegetarian and vegan diets.]

“This study is one of many studies supporting the growing body of evidence that red and processed meat adversely affect health. As a physician, I would recommend to all of my patients to stop eating red and processed meat entirely, because of the increased risk of overall mortality, colorectal, prostate and other cancers, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. In addition, red meat is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, and has zero fiber or protective antioxidants. In 2007, the body of research on colorectal cancer, including nearly 60 independent studies, was deemed to provide convincing evidence that red and processed meats cause colorectal cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends avoiding processed meats entirely.

In the recent Harvard study cited above, they showed that replacing just one serving of red meat with nuts, whole grains, or legumes decreased risk of mortality by 19%, 14%, and 10%, respectively.”

PCRM suggests this bean burger recipe as an alternative to your typical ground-beef burger.

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Dr. Robert Ostfeld, MD, a cardiologist at New York’s Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart and Vascular Care says cutting out red meat is a great first step…but cutting out all meat is ideal for optimum health.

“This recent study supports a variety of other studies that suggest that red meat is not helpful for cardiovascular health or health in general. I believe that, ideally, a fully plant-based diet–meaning no animal products–is ideal. Clearly not all organizations support that recommendation–and it is not the formal recommendation of the cardiology society. It is simply my personal belief, based on work done in part by progressive doctors such as Dean Ornish, MD, and Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn (cardiologist and author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease), a considerable number of studies and data, and my experience in my own cardiology practice. I have a number of patients who have shifted from a traditional western-style diet–with significant animal proteins including red meat–to a plant based diet, and they have had substantial improvements in their cholesterol levels and their overall health. I have one patient who dropped his LDL cholesterol 80 points that way–without the use of statin drugs.”

“Ideally, most patients need to make a global change to a more whole-food and plant-based diet. Cutting out red meat is better than nothing. It’s a good thing, but it’s not gonna get us all the way we need to go.”

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So tell us, do you plan to change your red-meat habits this summer?