Thursday, February 28, 2008

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Obesity more dangerous than terrorism: experts

obesitySydney - World governments are focussing too much on fighting terrorism while obesity and other "lifestyle diseases" are killing millions more people, an international conference heard Monday.

Overcoming deadly factors such as poor diet, smoking and a lack of exercise should take top priority in the fight against a growing epidemic of chronic disease, legal and health experts said.

Global terrorism was a real threat but posed far less risk than obesity, type two diabetes and smoking-related illnesses, US law professor Lawrence Gostin said at the Oxford Health Alliance Summit here.

"Ever since September 11 we've been lurching from one crisis to the next which has really frightened the public," Gostin told AFP later.

"While we've been focussing so much attention on that we've had this silent epidemic of obesity that's killing millions of people around the world and we're devoting very little attention to it and a negligible amount of money."

The fifth annual conference of the Oxford Health Alliance -- co-founded by Oxford University -- has brought together world experts from academia, government, business, law, economics and urban planning to promote change.

Like terrorism, some passing health threats get major government attention and media coverage, while heart and lung disease, diabetes and cancer account for 60 percent of the world's deaths, the meeting was told.

"It is true that new and re-emerging health threats such as SARS, avian flu, HIV/AIDS, terrorism, bioterrorism and climate change are dramatic and emotive," said Stig Pramming, the Oxford group's executive director.

"However, it is preventable chronic disease that will send health systems and economies to the wall."

The conference is due to end Wednesday with a call on governments and big business among others to take action to avert the millions of premature deaths due to chronic disease. (*)

Source @ Antara News

Friday, February 22, 2008

What's Your Office Style?

Take a look around your desk. What do you see? A chipped mug with the congealed remnants of yesterday's latte, a mountain of unopened mail, a pen holder so overstuffed that it can't accommodate the pens you use? If so, enjoy your stay--because you are probably going to occupy cubicle hell for the long term.

But if your desk is only conspicuous because of its absence of clutter, exuding an organized, professional ambiance, don't get too attached. The next promotion could very well be yours.

It's not your fault. You've probably been wrapped up in a demanding project, up against deadlines and haven't had time to organize, or maybe you just got back from vacation and haven't had a chance to create mayhem. Regardless, your current cube decor and office style speaks volumes about your personality--and your colleagues and bosses are taking note.

"It sounds cliché," says Sam Gosling, a personality researcher at the University of Texas, Austin, and author of the upcoming book Snoop, which examines the behavioral footprints people leave behind, "but the more research I've done, the more I've come to believe that what's going on outside the mind reflects what's going on inside the mind."

For instance, if you find yourself surrounded by knick-knacks and symbols of personal relationships with friends, family and pets, you're more likely to be in a woman's office. Men's offices, on the other hand, tend to display items pertaining to sports and personal achievements.

Since we spend more waking hours at work than we do at home, it's natural to want to decorate our office or cube spaces, creating a home away from home.

Go ahead; personalizing your space is a win-win that's good for you and your company. Meredith Wells, a researcher from the University of Eastern Kentucky who has examined people's relationships with their work spaces, says people who decorate their offices often have higher levels of job satisfaction and psychological well-being, leading to higher levels of employee morale and lower turnover.

Location, Location, Location
Where you place your adornments can reveal even more clues. Anything displayed on the outside of your work area is not necessarily about conveying honest or inspirational messages, says Gosling, but rather about sending a specific message to co-workers.

Don't be fooled, for instance, by those cutesy family photos. When called on to analyze the office of ABC's Good Morning America presenter Mike Barz, Gosling found a slew of photos of Barz's smiling wife and kids lined up neatly on the windowsill facing anyone who entered. While Barz had to turn around to view the pictures, the display gave outsiders a glimpse into his values.

On a bulletin board in his line of vision, however, were a dozen small photos of his kids--hung for his benefit. These, according to Gosling, are "a social snack that tides [Barz] over until he can reconnect with his loved ones in person."

Other revealing personality signs include plants, Post-It Notes, clocks, calendars and candy bowls, which can represent everything from strong roots to a welcome mat.

Ellen Hendrickx, a partner at the Manhattan-based architectural and design firm Milkie Hendrickx, says she's had clients who use office design and décor to set a tone.

"Recently a CEO told me he wanted a very traditional-style office, even though the rest of the offices were contemporary," Hendrickx says. "He was older and was very used to the hierarchy configuration. Traditional furniture such as a large intimidating desk and imposing chairs sent a clear message that he'd reached the upper level of his firm."

That's in contrast, she says, to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has forgone the plush corner office to sit in a cubicle surrounded by his employees.

But while it is well documented that in interviews, employers make up their minds based upon their first impressions, we tend to forget about the truism when it comes to our offices.

"People draw opinions about who we are and how we operate based on what our space looks like, sounds like and even smells like," says Jen Zobel Bieber, a New York-based life coach.

So, no matter how much or little work you have on your plate, maybe it's time to start paying attention to what's on your desk. Just remember that you probably won't be able to completely control the memo being sent.

"Every time we hang a poster on a wall, toss a cup of coffee in the trash or download an album from iTunes, we leave cues about who we are," Gosling says. "And although we may attempt to arrange our stuff to outfox others, our true personalities inevitably leak out."

Source @ Forbes

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I Love You, but You Love Meat

SOME relationships run aground on the perilous shoals of money, sex or religion. When Shauna James’s new romance hit the rocks, the culprit was wheat.

“I went out with one guy who said I seemed really great but he liked bread too much to date me,” said Ms. James, 41, a writer in Seattle who cannot eat gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.

Sharing meals has always been an important courtship ritual and a metaphor for love. But in an age when many people define themselves by what they will eat and what they won’t, dietary differences can put a strain on a romantic relationship. The culinary camps have become so balkanized that some factions consider interdietary dating taboo.

No-holds-barred carnivores, for example, may share the view of Anthony Bourdain, who wrote in his book “Kitchen Confidential” that “vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans ... are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit.”

Returning the compliment, many vegetarians say they cannot date anyone who eats meat. Vegans, who avoid eating not just animals but animal-derived products, take it further, shivering at the thought of kissing someone who has even sipped honey-sweetened tea.

Ben Abdalla, 42, a real estate agent in Boca Raton, Fla., said he preferred to date fellow vegetarians because meat eaters smell bad and have low energy.

Lisa Romano, 31, a vegan and school psychologist in Belleville, N.Y., said she recently ended a relationship with a man who enjoyed backyard grilling. He had no problem searing her vegan burgers alongside his beef patties, but she found the practice unenlightened and disturbing.

Her disapproval “would have become an issue later even if it wasn’t in the beginning,” Ms. Romano said. “I need someone who is ethically on the same page.”

While some eaters may elevate morality above hedonism, others are suspicious of anyone who does not give in to the pleasure principle.

June Deadrick, 40, a lobbyist in Houston, said she would have a hard time loving a man who did not share her fondness for multicourse meals including wild game and artisanal cheeses. “And I’m talking cheese from a cow, not that awful soy stuff,” she said.

Judging from postings at food Web sites like and, people seem more willing to date those who restrict their diet for health or religion rather than mere dislike.

Typical sentiments included: “Medical and religious issues I can work around as long as the person is sincere and consistent, but flaky, picky cheaters — no way” and “picky eaters are remarkably unsexy.”

Jennifer Esposito, 28, an image consultant who lives in Rye Brook, N.Y., lived for four years with a man who ate only pizza, noodles with butter and the occasional baked potato.

“It was really frustrating because he refused to try anything I made,” she said. They broke up. “Food is a huge part of life,” she said. “It’s something I want to be able to share.”

A year ago Ms. Esposito met and married Michael Esposito, 51, who, like her, is an adventurous and omnivorous eater. Now, she said, she could not be happier. “A relationship is about giving and receiving, and he loves what I cook, and I love to cook for him,” she said.

Food has a strong subconscious link to love, said Kathryn Zerbe, a psychiatrist who specializes in eating disorders at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. That is why refusing a partner’s food “can feel like rejection,” she said.

As with other differences couples face, tolerance and compromise are essential at the dinner table, marital therapists said. “If you can’t allow your partner to have latitude in what he or she eats, then maybe your problem isn’t about food,” said Susan Jaffe, a psychiatrist in Manhattan.

Dynise Balcavage, 42, an associate creative director at an advertising agency and vegan who lives in Philadelphia, said she has been happily married to her omnivorous husband, John Gatti, 53, for seven years.

“We have this little dance we’ve choreographed in the kitchen,” she said. She prepares vegan meals and averts her eyes when he adds anchovies or cheese. And she does not show disapproval when he orders meat in a restaurant.

“I’m not a vegangelical,” she said. “He’s an adult and I respect his choices just as he respects mine.”

In deference to his wife, Mr. Gatti has cut back substantially on his meat consumption and no longer eats veal. For her part, Ms. Balcavage cooks more Italian dishes, her husband’s favorite.

In New York City, Yoshie Fruchter and his girlfriend, Leah Koenig, still wrestle with their dietary differences after almost two years together. He is kosher and she is vegetarian. They eat vegetarian meals at her apartment, where he keeps his own set of dishes and utensils. When eating out they mostly go to kosher restaurants, although they “aren’t known for inspired cuisine,” said Ms. Koenig, 25, who works for a nonprofit environmental group.

Though the couple occasionally visit nonkosher restaurants, Mr. Fruchter, 26, a musician, said he has to order carefully to avoid violating kosher rules. “We’re still figuring out how this is going to work,” he said. “We’re both making sacrifices, which is what you do when you’re in love.”

Even couples who have been eating together happily for years can be thrown into disarray when one partner suddenly takes up a new diet. After 19 years of marriage, Steve Benson unsettled his wife, Jean, when he announced three years ago that he would no longer eat meat, for ethical reasons.

“It had been in my head a long time, but I could have done a better job of talking about it,” said Mr. Benson, 46, a math professor at Lesley University, in Cambridge, Mass. Ms. Benson, who is also 46, and devises grade school curriculums, said she worried her husband would judge her if she continued to eat meat, “but we talked it out and he is not proselytizing.”

Another concern was whether she would be able to cook vegetarian meals that would meet the nutritional needs of everyone in the family, including their teenage daughter. “I wanted us all to eat the same thing for pragmatic, household economy reasons, but also because that’s part of being a family,” Ms. Benson said.

So, she cooks vegetarian dinners and makes lunches for herself and her daughter that include meat. She and her daughter have “meat parties” when Mr. Benson goes out of town, she said.

“There’s this feeling that if we eat the same thing then we are the same thing, and if we don’t, we’re no longer unified,” Dr. Zerbe said. She and Dr. Jaffe said sharing food is an important ritual that enhances relationships. They advise interdietary couples to find meals they can both enjoy. “Or at least a side dish,” Dr. Zerbe said.

For people who like to cook, learning to bridge the dietary divide can be an enjoyable puzzle. Ms. James, the gluten-averse writer, eventually found a man who did not love by bread alone. On her first date with Daniel Ahern, in 2006, she told him that she was gluten-free; he saw it as a professional challenge.

“As a chef, it has given me the opportunity to experiment with new ingredients to create things she can eat,” said Mr. Ahern, 39, who works at Impromptu Wine Bar Cafe in Seattle. Ms. James said she fell in love with him after he made her a gluten-free salad of frisée, poached egg and bacon. They married in September.

Since then, Mr. Ahern has given up eating bread at home, though he still eats it when he goes out. For her part, Ms. James has begun eating offal and foie gras, which were once anathema. “We’ve changed each other,” she said.

Source @ New York Times

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Friday, February 8, 2008

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

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Friday, February 1, 2008

Beauty rules worth breaking

I've always cleansed, toned and moisturised by the book. Like most girls with a serious gloss habit, quiz me and I could rattle off a list of dos, don'ts and assorted cosmetic commandments as long as my exfoliated arm. I've always followed the rules.

But so much for that. While getting together some recent how-tos and feature stories for beautyheaven, I got to sneak inside the secret world of some of the best skin, hair and make-up experts in the biz, and what I saw inspired me to rebel. You see, the pros have their own code of conduct - and the old beauty school rules don't apply!

So let the rule breaking begin...

Old rule:
You must moisturise daily, whatever your skin type.
New school: We've all heard that mantra a million times, but skincare guru Fiona Tuck says, "There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to moisturiser. Each person has a very different skincare need. Someone with dry skin will of course benefit from the correct moisturiser, but a very oily, congested skin may not need one. The one important product to use daily is sunscreen."

Old rule: You must have your hair cut every 6-8 weeks.
New school: A clever stylist can save you serious salon time and spend. Celebrity hairdresser Brad Ngata reveals, "A good cut should still be apparent after 12 weeks, though you might start to feel your hair get heavier and more difficult to manage." To stay smooth and glossy between snips, he suggests you simply step up the conditioning care. A tip: When tying long hair into a bun, add a shot of leave-in treatment; the heat from your head will help it soak in.

Old rule: Don't exfoliate everyday; it just strips the skin.
New school: New-gen exfoliants are actually made for secret scrub junkies, confirms Emma Hobson from the International Dermal Institute. "Try a microfoliant," she says. "These slough off surface debris, leaving the skin soft and smooth without the risk of overdoing it." Super sensitive? "Go for a chemical [AHA or BHA-based] exfoliant. In general, these aren't as active [as scrubs] and can be used more frequently," she advises.

Old rule: Never apply oil-based products to spot-prone skin.
New school: Oil is the new way to cleanse. "Think of it as like attracting like," explains Hobson. "Applied to dry skin, a cleansing oil will gently encapsulate excess sebum and allow it to be swept away properly with water. It leaves oil-prone skin very clean and, because it doesn't need harsh chemicals to break down the excess oil, doesn't dry you out and stimulate the skin to overcompensate with extra sebum."

Old rule: Never, ever tweeze above your brows.
New school: Oh please. "You can tweeze hairs above your brow," sighs Linda Ayoub, brow specialist at Shimmer Face & Body salon in Sydney. "To say you shouldn't is such a myth! You need to be careful of the arch, but removing strays up the top really brings out the shape."

Rules, shmules, huh? My favourite beauty sin to commit is the cardinal one: I wake up wearing make-up. Lazy girls, meet skin-loving minerals. Blending healing zinc oxide and other so-good-you-can-sleep-in-them goodies, pure mineral make-up gets a girl up on the beautiful side of the bed with none of the usual skin suffocation. Breaking the rules is a beautiful thing! It can be hell on your pillowslips, though...

Source : Yahoo Lifestyle!