Archive for » May 4th, 2012«

Dog Diet Tips: How To Slim Down An Overweight Pet

From Mother Nature Network’s Morieka Johnson:

A friend recently shared that she would have a major problem if someone tried to control when, what and how much she ate.

“I would KILL them,” she said. “And maybe eat them.”

Pet owners dictate exactly how much kibble goes into those bowls each day — yet the majority of our pets are overweight. Perhaps those sad faces and lingering looks weaken our resolve. Whatever tactic your pet uses to score extra treats, a good offense often serves as the best defense. When one of her three cats was diagnosed as obese, Vryce Hough got creative and installed high-tech doors that limited each cat’s access to kibble. Dog trainer Sarah Wilson offers a few low-tech options to help dogs shed excess baggage in multiple-pet households.

List and captions courtesy of the Mother Nature Network

  • Separate Pets During Mealtime

    “Feed the dogs in separate rooms and tether the one who finishes first,” says Wilson, author of the book “Childproofing Your Dog.” She also suggests tethering the overweight dog during meal time so it can’t scarf up another dog’s food.

  • Don’t Leave Kibble Out All Day

    Leaving bowls of kibble around for easy access, also known as free feeding, can be problematic. I learned that the hard way when two pooches visited Lulu and me. Only one dog had free run of the house. (Guess which one packed on the pounds.)

    “With overweight dogs, there are few ways to manage it if you free feed,” says Wilson, who recommends feeding dogs twice a day. “They don’t starve.”

    ema href=”” target=”_hplink”Flickr image courtesy of Sh4rp_i/a/em

  • Enjoy Additional Playtime, But Keep It Light

    It’s tempting to head outside for a few rounds of extreme Frisbee to drop those pounds. But make sure you don’t overdo it with overweight dogs during hot spring and summer months, particularly if the dog is older. Watch for signs of overexposure, such as excessive panting, and keep dogs hydrated. If there is a pet-friendly swimming pool nearby, opt for a few laps to burn calories.

    Rough play, and even a simple game of fetch, can be problematic for overweight dogs so take it easy. “An overweight dog can run to stop and slam to the ground,” Wilson says. “Don’t let eagerness guide your decisions.”

  • Tiptoe Through The Tulips

    Walking burns calories and helps relieve stress for pets and people. Grab a few leashes and take the pack on long walks around the neighborhood. “If you walk them together and say, ‘That was fun,’ then schedule regular outings for the entire pack,” Wilson says. “If you come back and say, ‘I hope that doesn’t happen again tomorrow,’ then set a play date for the young dog and the older dog may need consistent walking.”

  • Practice Portion Control

    Whether it’s a bowl of kibble in the morning or a treat for being good later in the day, monitor your dog’s food consumption. Wilson suggests measuring to ensure consistency. Consult your vet for advice on how much to feed your dog, and visit the a href=”” target=”_hplink”Association for Pet Obesity Prevention website/a for handy tools such as a daily feeding and a href=”” target=”_hplink”activity log/a to track your pet’s caloric intake.

    “One of the big things I see with overweight dogs is people think the size the biscuit or treat arrives in is the size to feed the dog,” Wilson says. “It is shocking when owners see me break the biscuit into four or more pieces.”

    Treats should be closer in size to pencil eraser rather than a penny. I typically use dehydrated lamb lung to keep Lulu motivated. With cheese she is practically putty in my hands. “Make [treats] the smallest amount your dog is willing to work for,” Wilson says.

    ema href=”” target=”_hplink”Flickr image courtesy of anneh632/a/em

  • Try Interactive Toys

    Treat-dispensing toys keep pets moving, which burns calories as they work for their reward. Wilson suggests adding high-value treats such as tiny bits of low-fat string cheese to keep overweight pooches engaged during play time. Slices of apples or carrots also can serve as satisfying rewards. Just be sure to factor in those calories during feeding time.
    Here are a few interactive toys, listed in order of difficulty, that help burn calories by getting pudgy pooches to move and exercise those brain cells. Be sure to monitor all dogs during playtime to avoid potential choking hazards.
    strongKong Classic toy/strong: Dog owners with destructive dogs (aka power chewers) know the a href=”” target=”_hplink”Kong /abrand well. Puncture-resistant rubber toys such as the Kong Classic can be filled with low-calorie treats or string cheese. “With the Kong, overweight dogs can stay entertained and amuse themselves,” says dog trainer Sarah Wilson of a href=”” target=”_hplink” Available in five sizes, the Kong Classic ranges from $6.99 to $21.99 on a href=”″ target=”_hplink”
    strongOrbee-Tuff Strawberry with Treat Spot/strong: Strawberries can be in season all year long with this super-durable chew toy from Planet Dog. Fill it with treats and even the most aggressive chewers will remain occupied — at least until the goodies are gone. It’s available for $10.45 at a href=”″ target=”_hplink” Round out your produce assortment with the Orbee-Tuff artichoke, eggplant and giant raspberry. Prices range from $6.95 to $14.95.
    strongOmega Paw Tricky Treats Ball/strong: A cratered surface helps older dogs grasp and hold this bright orange ball. Place treats inside, and dogs must roll it around to access hidden treasures. This soft, vinyl toy is not for the power chewers. Available for $16.99 at a href=”” target=”_hplink”
    strongIQ Treat Ball/strong: My dog Lulu detests the idea of working for a meal, so this toy doesn’t get much action in my house. Plenty of other a href=”″ target=”_hplink”pets/a, including a miniature a href=”” target=”_hplink”piglet/a, give the IQ Treat Ball high marks. Fill it with kibble or other goodies, adjust the treat setting and let your pooch roll away. This hard plastic toy is available in two sizes — three inches and five inches — for $5.99 and $6.99, respectively, ata href=”” target=”_hplink” Doctors Foster and Smith/a.
    strongWobbling Treat Ball/strong: A weighted bottom keeps this hard plastic oblong toy moving at all times, with your pooch in hot pursuit. Adjust the treat opening to make it more difficult for pudgy pooches to access goodies, then grab the camera. Available for $12.99 at a href=”″ target=”_hplink”
    strongNylabone Treat Hold ‘Ems/strong: If your dog prefers to sit in a quiet corner and gnaw away at his toy, this may be a good option. Fill Nylabone’s extremely durable Romp ‘n Chomp toy with your pet’s favorite healthy treat, such as carrots or apples, and then set it loose inside or outside. Available for $13.99 to $17.99 on a href=”″ target=”_hplink”
    strongKyjen Dog Games Star Spinner:/strong a href=”” target=”_hplink”Kyjen/a specializes in interactive games that keep dogs occupied. Puzzle toys such as the Hide a Squirrel, Lulu’s absolute favorite, re-create exercises implemented at zoos to reduce boredom in animals. With the Star Spinner, dogs must use their noses to access hidden treats. Available for $16.44 at a href=”” target=”_hplink”
    strongTrixie Activity Chess Dog Toy/strong: Any toy that comes with an instruction manual presents a challenge to pets and people. This unique toy requires pooches to slide squares and lift cones to reveal hidden treats nestled inside the board. Prepare to capture the fun on video. Available for $29.99 at a href=”” target=”_hplink”
    strongDog Fighter Treat Dispenser/strong: After the birth of her two children, Nina Ottosson developed a line of “brain teaser” toys to keep her a href=”” target=”_hplink”Bouvier des Flandres/a active and occupied. Made in Sweden, the Dog Fighter requires pets to move wooden blocks along four separate channels if they want a reward. It scores a 2 out of 3 in difficulty level so you may have to nudge pooches a bit to help them learn the game. Available for $49.44 on a href=”″ target=”_hplink” (Check out video in the next slide of this toy in action.)
    strongDog Worker/strong: One of the most challenging interactive toys in the line from designer Nina Ottosson, the Dog Worker requires pups to uncover treats hidden under various blocks. Victory comes only after dogs spin the rotating disc to slide or lift wooden blocks. Available for $51.74 on a href=”″ target=”_hplink”

  • Dog Fighter Treat Dispenser In Action

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The Mediterranean Diet Plan is About More Than the Food

What makes the Mediterranean diet plan so special? The cuisines of Spain, France, Italy, Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Malta, Tunisia, Turkey, Algeria, Albania, Greece, Israel, Croatia, Libya and Lebanon – all countries that have a border on the Mediterranean – certainly are not the same. Some use rice as a staple, others rely on wheat. Some feature pork, while others forbid it. Some drink wine every day, yet some abstain completely.

Could the health benefits be due to something other than the food?

What Foods Make the Mediterranean Diet Plan Special?

In the 1960s researchers first reported longer lifespans and less chronic disease among people in Spain, southern Italy, and Greece compared to the US, Japan and several European countries. The scientists attributed the health and longevity of the people living along the Mediterranean to their diet.

After 50 years of continuing study into what they were eating, a Mediterranean Diet Pyramid was published in 1995 (we had Food Pyramids before we got My Plate), then it was updated in 2008.

The current version includes foods recommended for every meal in the first tier: fruits, vegetables, grains (mostly whole), nuts, legumes, seeds, olives, olive oil, herbs and spices. The next level adds fish and seafood, to be eaten at least twice a week. The third tier introduces moderate amounts of poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt, either daily or weekly. Then the top and final space is for sweets and meats, both to be eaten sparingly. Water and wine are the only beverages called for.

The major distinctions from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are the emphasis on foods from plant sources at every meal, using olive oil as the primary fat, choosing minimally processed food, and eating very little red meat. But that’s not all that’s different.

What Else Makes the Mediterranean Diet Plan Special?

As it turns out, the way people eat is as important as what they eat. For folks living the good life along the Mediterranean, mealtimes are social occasions enjoyed in the company of family and friends. That does not mean they eat off their best china at every meal, but rather, they spend time at the table savoring their food without the distractions of their jobs or beeping electronic gadgets.

And that just might be the best way to begin your journey towards a more Mediterranean diet. Yes, the whole wheat couscous, Kalamata olives and fresh fish are important, but who knows what else might happen if you come to the table ready to sit down, log off, and tune in to one another?

How are you going to celebrate National Mediterranean Diet Month this May?

Why is the American Diet So Bad?

Being Busy Interferes with Regular Meals


Small portions key to healthy diet

“Eating red meat isn’t a good thing to do,” said Dr. Ralph Vicari, a MIMA cardiologist who teaches at the University of Central Florida. “A lot of the beef industry would tout that red meat has low cholesterol. Some red meats do have low cholesterol, but they’re loaded with saturated fat.”

Less is best, but you don’t have to give up meat entirely, said nutritionist Kristine Van Workum, owner of Brevard Nutrition in Indialantic, Fla. She and her husband, Kevin, enjoy grilling. Alongside vegetarian dishes, fish and chicken, there’s occasionally a cut of red meat.

“More fruits and vegetables, more of a plant-based diet are generally healthier,” she said. “But I always tell people, too, there’s lots of different cuts of red meat that are pretty lean cuts. So if you do love red meat, it’s fine to plan in small amounts.”

Small is key.

“The standardized recommended serving size for a cooked piece of meat is 3 ounces,” she said. “When it says the ounces on the menu, it’s raw, so it cooks down a little bit, but restaurant portions are always larger than the standard.”

The Harvard study, published in March by the Archives of Internal Medicine, observed 37,698 men and 83,644 women over several years. It concluded that red meat, and especially processed meat, increase the risk of death overall, as well as from heart disease and cancer.

It also found that substitutions of one serving a day of other foods, such as fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, whole grains and low-fat diary, were linked to a 7 percent to 19 percent lower risk of death.

Eating more of these healthful foods can increase fiber intake, and because they’re filling, they can help manage hunger and weight, Van Workum said.

Starting young

Vicari advocates education, especially of young people, which studies have shown already are showing signs of hardening arteries.

“If you want to make a difference, I think, in anybody other than a captivated audience, like somebody who’s just had a heart attack … you’ve got to start in the school system,” Vicari said.

He also condones lots of fiber. If you’re going to grill, make it lean chicken or fish, especially cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and cod, for heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

He points out misconceptions about other foods: For instance, while shrimp, lobster and crab are high in cholesterol, it’s not metabolized in the same way as cholesterol from saturated fat, and it’s fine to eat — as long as you don’t eat enough to gain weight.

Meanwhile, pork is not a “white meat,” as a certain ad campaign suggested. It belongs in the same family of high-fat meats as beef, veal and lamb, Vicari said.

And while diets like Atkins might lead to weight loss, and weight loss can lower cholesterol, the high saturated-fat content isn’t healthful.

The beef industry cites a small Penn State University study that showed lean beef as part of a heart-healthy diet can help lower cholesterol as much as other lean meats. Pressure is still on the consumer to find those cuts of beef.

Preventing cancer

What’s good for heart health also is good for preventing colorectal cancer.

“Up to 18 ounces per week of cooked red meat does not significantly raise cancer risk,” said Alice Bender, a registered dietitian with the American Institute for Cancer Research.

“Because red meat can contribute some important nutrients and proteins as long as it’s lean red meat, we don’t necessarily recommend that people avoid it completely.”

Processed meat, which is associated with higher risk, should be eaten sparingly, Bender said. That includes hot dogs, sausages, anything smoked or preserved, some lunch meat, and the favorite that wags have dubbed “the candy of meats” — bacon.

One concern in such meats is nitrates and nitrites used as preservatives.

The institute recommends that your plate be two-thirds filled with plant-based foods, and one-third or less animal foods. Alcohol should be limited to one drink a day for women and two for men. And obesity is always a risk factor.

“I think what we’re seeing here is a picture of a healthy lifestyle and how many of these chronic diseases are related with similar mechanisms,” Bender said.

Assess your risk

Research on nutrition guidelines is relatively underfunded, Van Workum said, plus it’s hard to control factors in human studies. Guidelines will keep changing, but “some knowledge is better than no knowledge,” she said.

Heart patient Debra Baldwin, who at 57 had a heart attack, has seen the dramatic results of her dietary change, and with more fish and veggies on the menu, she’s enjoying it.

“If you know you need to do something, make a change in your life, then find a plan that works for you,” she said. “Go out and search it.”

Are you a hunter or a farmer? Know your type to better lose weight

Whether it is low carb, low fat, gluten free or vegan – you name it, there is a diet plan out there for it.

But if you’re like many Americans, total commitment to a diet doesn’t necessarily mean it will be successful for you.

Dr. Mark Liponis, author of The Hunter/Farmer Diet Solution, said failure with a diet isn’t your fault.  You may have been following the wrong diet for your metabolism.

In his book, Liponis places people in two different categories – the hunter and the farmer.

“These people are really very different kinds of people, and they need different eating strategies and different diets to lose weight,” Liponis said.  “The hunter is the one who is putting on weight more around the middle of the body….The farmer puts on weight more under the skin and in the hips, the thigh area.”

According to Liponis, if you’re unsure about which category you fit into, there are simple blood tests you can take to better understand your metabolism.   Hunters tend to have higher triglycerides in their blood and lower HDL levels than the farmers.

When it comes to picking a diet to follow, Liponis said it’s important for people to understand their specific metabolic type.  He also noted that exercise isn’t always an effective weight loss strategy for some people either.

“Exercise doesn’t always make us lose weight,” Liponis said.  “We go to the gym, we burn 300 calories, then you know what happens? You have a sports drink, a smoothie, a granola bar and there go the 300 calories.  And when you exercise, of course, you’re a little hungrier.”

To learn more about whether or not you’re a hunter or farmer, visit

Extreme K-E Diet to Lose Weight for the Wedding ; Nasogastric Tube Diet, What???

Real-life Barbie mimic, Valeria Lukyanova 

Women in our culture are compelled to look like Barbie dolls, and if they can’t sport huge breasts and tiny waists, they MUST absolutely be slender or be “out of the loop,” especially if they are known “brands.” For the average women, depending upon whether she lives on the coasts, in the south or the mid west, there are varying degrees of the obsession with obesity and thinness. But no matter how much women may deceive others that they are fine with 20-30 pounds of extra weight on their bodies (over the BMI weight calculator’s Normal range) most feel uncomfortable about it and will attempt to diet and exercise. This is especially true if they are going to a big event like a wedding. Those wedding pictures, if they are in the bridal party? They must do everything in their power not to look fat into perpetuity (so the thinking goes).

What if the woman is the bride? OMG! She must be stunning, a fairy tale princess like the reigning Duchess Cate. And regardless of socio economic background and culture, she shouldn’t be fat because thin is the crucial beauty standard. So slender beauty is a cultural folkway for brides. Even black women more and more are being held to this ideal. People Magazine has named Beyoncé as the most beautiful woman in the world, sans the weight she had gained with her baby; she appears thinner than she did before, and it’s probably because she is on a strict protein diet with regimented exercising three times a week for 90 minutes at a time. But she’s Beyoncé and can afford to spend millions to get back into shape to compete with Jennifer Hudson.

What do you do if you’re an average women and can’t afford trainers and specially made chef meals that taste yummy and are full of protein? Fat and fairy tale princess don’t fit. Do you do what many women do: diet and exercise, lose enough weight to look OK and once you’re married balloon to a weight heavier than you were before the diet, gorging on the pizza, chips and croissants you didn’t eat to get into your bridal dress? Or do you just suck it up? Are you just a fat bride in denial, spending hundreds for wedding pictures you never display or view again?

 Jessica Schnaider, courtesy ABC News, see article below

Continued on the next page

Washington state mayors in weight loss battle

Sean Guard watched other people exercising from the window of his car or his office in City Hall, as the pounds piled on slowly, a little bit at a time. The Washougal mayor left his city’s bike trails and foot paths to those more inclined to exercise while he made short work of chicken-fried steaks.

In neighboring Camas on the Columbia River, Scott Higgins leaves up a skinny picture on his online resume, but the truth is a little harder for the city’s mayor. He has ratcheted up and down the scale, but on Wednesday landed at a firm 300 pounds.

Together, the two present a familiar picture of the ever-expanding American waistline- or, at least the kind of weight problems that contribute to higher health care costs and shortened life spans. Higgins has lost a significant amount of weight two or three times, he said. Guard has never tried.

With a health coach and a new diet program, the two mayors hope to lead their respective cities to a collective weight loss. But first, they talked a little trash.

“I’m planning on sabotaging you at every chance I get,” Higgins said. “You might want to tell your office staff to not accept any packages from the city of Camas.”

“The more calories the better,” Guard responded. “I know how to share.”

Taking inspiration from television’s “The Biggest Loser,” the cities are making it competitive in a contest to see which can lose the most weight in 12 months.


At a Wednesday press conference, Guard and Higgins stepped on the scales. Neither was particularly happy with the number – Higgins was 10 pounds heavier than he said he weighed during an interview last week.

The cities have long been sports rivals, and the mayors are trying to capitalize on that rivalry to get residents to participate in the pound-shedding campaign. Local businesses have already started signing up employees for the contest.

“Camas definitely has a higher percentage (of obesity and overweight people) than we’d like,” Higgins said.

The southwest Washington cities are less than 40 miles from bike-friendly Portland, Ore., and both mayors said they and their cities could make more use of the myriad trails in the area.

“There’s great places to walk, we’ve just got to do it,” Guard said. “We just have to plan more meetings together, we just have to walk.”

There’s more at stake than thinner elected officials. Insurance companies support the idea, and offer a small incentive to the city of Camas.

“Those health care costs continue to rise,” Higgins said. “If we have wellness programs and events like these, our insurance providers give us a 2 percent discount.”

At his weigh-in, Guard read Higgins his weight. Higgins dropped his head and chuckled.

“Oh man,” Higgins said. “We got work to do.”