When is Lunch Not Just Lunch?

Would you be jealous if your significant other ran into a past girlfriend or boyfriend at a New Year’s Eve party?

How about if they exchanged emails? What if they actually met for an hour-long lunch — or an even longer dinner?

Turns out most people would be most bothered by the lunch or dinner.


Traffic Light Helps Make Healthy Decisions

Wandering the aisles of the local grocery store, you are faced with hundreds — if not thousands — of decisions.

What food is best for the family? How do I balance nutritional needs with taste with the budget?

Reading food labels is one way to help make those decisions, but they are often in tiny print and contain ingredients you never heard of.

Two recent studies show that putting a traffic light on packages — green for healthy, red for unhealthy and yellow for neutral — helps shoppers choose the most nutritious foods.

In fact, the traffic lights actually increase our sensitivity to making the healthiest choice, according a recent brain imaging study.


Let Food Be Thy Medicine

Since the ancient times, food has been hailed as a restorative factor in our lives.

A phrase attributed to Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine, says it all: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

And while there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to support this — how many of us turn to chicken soup to soothe a cold? — science is now catching up to Hippocrates.


As Memories Fade, Food is Hard to Forget

Towards the end of my mother’s life, her memory became worse. She didn’t have Alzheimer’s, but at 88 she had trouble remembering.

She couldn’t remember friends’ names or what year she visited Alaska. But she always had distinct memories of my aunt’s famous fudge or her favorite ice cream (she had a real sweet tooth).

Every day when I visited, she would recount what she had for lunch that day – even if she couldn’t remember what day it actually was.

What my mother experienced is actually very common, according to a recent study.


Why Some Kids React Strongly to Fast Food Commercials

When kids watch TV, they are inundated with commercials for fast food restaurants.

While many children ignore the commercials, others respond to them quite strongly, with each 30-second or one minute ad intensifying cravings for hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes.

Researchers are now discovering that the children who respond most to those commercials are those who have a genetic predisposition to obesity.

It’s a one-two punch that could contribute to a lifetime of unhealthy eating.


Bullied Children Grow Up to be Overweight Adults

A good friend of mine has a son, who at 31, is severely overweight. Talking to him one day, I discovered he’d been bullied all through school because of a learning disability.

Looking back, he realizes now that the bullying severely impacted his education. He recognizes with the clarity of time that he didn’t take advantage of his educational opportunities because just walking through the halls of his high school was a battle every day.

The wounds from that bullying still sting years later.

He’s also dealing with a weight problem that is severely impacting his mobility, with worries by his family members that he is pre-diabetic or, possibly, diabetic at such a young age.

Unfortunately, this young man’s experience is anything but unusual.


Chaos and Clutter Contribute to Overeating

One of my oldest friends has, to put it mildly, a problem with online shopping. If she sees it, she probably will order it — heck, she’ll order two just to be sure there’s enough.

It’s not unusual for the FedEx delivery truck to drop off several packages at her home every day…yes, EVERY day.

What this means is that her home is chock full of stuff. Every flat surface is covered with something (or several somethings).

The chaos can get overwhelming. Once when I was there, we opened a box that had fallen on the floor and out came at least 60 — possibly more — reading glasses. There is no way in the world she could ever use that many reading glasses, but there they were.

My friend has another problem: A vicious battle with her weight that she has been fighting for years.

I’ve always felt the two are connected and now there’s a bit of science to back me up.