Monday, December 23, 2013

The Biggest Diet News of 2013

I feel like diet news is nothing new.  We all know what we need to do, right?

  • Eat real food: fruits, veggies, nuts, fish
  • Avoid the fake stuff loaded with sugar, white flour and processed crap 
  • Move more  
We know all this.  To paraphrase Nike: we just don't do it.



I'm right there with ya.  The season of holiday indulgence has left me with little extra muffin top and we're not even through Christmas!

Still there is always a new discovery or scientific data that might have us rethinking our approach to a healthful diet.

Health magazine (which is FABULOUS) profiled the "15 Biggest Diet and Weight Loss Stories of 2013."

Some of the Interesting Ones: 
Make sleep a major priority - Researchers at UT Southwestern Med Center determined that not enough sleep causes us to eat more and gain weight.  Think about it.  You just crave crap when you're sleep-deprived.

I am also hearing from more and more women that sleep is their "secret weapon" to staying beautiful.  {Shameless Plug Alert: Check out my new website TheBestBeautySecrets.com}.

Ditch the Diet Stuff - fake sweeteners might make you crave sugar even more.

Anti-inflammatory foods
Fight the Flame - focus on anti-inflammatory plant-based foods.  "Anti-inflammation is the key to disease protection, regardless of weight."  This is big news and might explain why some overweight adults remain healthy. What are anti-inflammatory foods?  All the stuff you think: fatty fish, dark leafy greens, berries, nuts.  Think colors of the rainbow.

The Takeaway
This is a great read if you're gearing up for "getting back on the wagon" in 2014.

I say, though, why wait?  Start now.

If you make plant-based foods a mainstay of your diet and indulge moderately (better said: when it's REALLY worth it) you can fit back into your skinny jeans on New Year's Eve....and won't have to start 2014 on a crash diet.

The best way to do this?  Adopt a Mediterranean approach to eating.  It works.
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How To Win Your Fantasy Football League

With apologies to fantasy experts, stat geeks and all wanna-be gm's, winning your fantasy football league isn't as difficult as you think.

Yep. I auto-drafted my players and didn't even spend a second thinking about my team and won my league.

The Back Story
I played fantasy football once before, when I worked in Knoxville at WBIR-TV in the late 90's.  This was in the pre-internet days.  Fantasy football was a freaking full-time job.  Setting lineups, making trades, you know how it goes. Beating.



Fast forward five years.  I'm working for the Dallas Cowboys and a local sports reporter approaches Emmitt Smith in the locker room.

"Hey Emmitt, how do you feel?" asked the reporter.

"Fine, man," Smith replied.

"Sweet!" the reporter almost shouted.  I'm trying to figure out whether to start or sit you against the Eagles this weekend."

If looks could kill, this reporter would have been dead.  Emmitt gave the reporter the ultimate visual "F-U".

Add to that, the constant fantasy football dialog I endured during football season year after year and, I'm sorry, I just thought it was dorky.

The Fantasy Football Project
In effort to create engaging, compelling content for The Fan Sports Show, the CBS11/TXA21 sports department created a fantasy football league this Fall for TV purposes.  We would briefly discuss it on the air and promote our website as a place to find exclusive content and expertise. Riveting, right?


I decided to get involved since, at the time, I was the host of The Fan Sports Show but I did it with a caveat: only if I didn't have to think about it and spend a single second focusing on lineups, trades, etc.

Our "commissioner", the great Mike Marshall AKA the Machine, ensured me I wouldn't have to put more than five minutes worth of thought into the entire process of managing my team, the Inarajan High Governors.  (named it after a village in Guam where I lived for six months out of college as the sports director for KUAM-TV).

Done.

I autodrafted my team.  I automatically set my lineup every week.  I don't think I made a trade.  I wouldn't know.  I never looked at my roster, league standings or who I was playing.

Turns out, my team didn't suck.  On the contrary, it kicked ass.  Or so I was told.  Remember, I didn't pay attention to it.

In fact, Steve Dennis had to text me Sunday morning to let me know that we were playing each other for the league championship.

And look what happened.

I won.  Or should I say the Inarajan High Governors and CBSSports.com's Auto-GM won the whole freaking thing for me but who gives a crap!  I WON!

Now, I no longer work at CBS11/TXA21.  I don't have the opportunity to rub my victory in my colleagues faces, except maybe on Twitter, but I do think the victory means something.

For one, it hurts the credibility of the services provided by many of the "fantasy football experts".  I know people who actually PAY MONEY to subscribe to expert newsletters and follow their advice.  You don't need to shell out a cent for expertise or spend so much time agonizing over lineups that it becomes a full-time job.

More importantly, it's a lesson: perhaps fantasy football IS about the camraderie, the verbal jabs, the celebration of the victory and, to steal from ABC Sports, the agony of defeat.  It's fun to play fantasy football, not so much the beatdown of the weekly game itself but fun to experience the season with your friends in your league. That is what makes the experience so rewarding.

Crap, I didn't even experience the majority of the season with my league after leaving CBS11/TXA21 but I still had fun rubbing my success in their faces.

So who did I have on my team?  Peyton Manning, Jamaal Charles and 4 kickers.

I think.
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Monday, December 9, 2013

Healthy Diets DO Cost More and Are Worth Every Extra Penny

Eating a well-balanced diet is more expensive and undoubtedly worth it.

A Harvard School of Public Health study recently determined eating a healthful diet full of fruit, vegetables, nuts and fish costs, on average, about $1.50 more per day than a diet constituted of processed foods, meats and refined grains.

At the end of the year, this can cost about $550 extra per year per person.  Undoubtedly, that can create a burden on some families but the price of consuming a well-balanced diet is nothing when compared to the cost of diet-related diseases (diabetes, heart disease, etc.).  In fact, the study points out that the cost of treating these diseases is about...wait for it....$393 BILLION per year in the U.S. or about $1200 per year per person. 


Remember this:
It is better (and easier) to prevent disease and illness than it is to treat it. 

Wouldn't you rather pay a bit more to consume delicious, quality food that nourishes your body than pay for expensive prescriptions and medical treatments? 



This study actually hints at a bigger issue indicating that "unhealthy diets may cost less because food policies have focused on the production of 'inexpensive, high volume commodities', which has led to 'a complex network of farming, storage, transportation, processing, manufacturing, and marketing capabilities that favor sales of highly processed food products for maximal industry profit.' Given this reality, they said that creating a similar infrastructure to support production of healthier foods might help increase the availability — and reduce the prices — of more healthful diets."

Fair enough but when it comes to our health, we're all going to pay one way or the other.  I would rather pay upfront for high-quality food items than go bankrupt treating an awful disease caused by a terrible diet.  

My grandmother was a Type 2 diabetic.  Her poor diet combined with inactivity led to a painful death for her and our entire family.  She was a wonderful, engaging woman who suffered, in large part, because of her diet which was dominated by processed food later in her life. 

The Takeaway
Healthful diets might cost more but the longterm benefit of potentially reduced healthcare costs and a life free of diet-induced medical issues make them worth every extra penny.

A typical day on the Mediterranean diet
I've said many times but I'll say it again: I LOVE the Mediterranean approach to eating.  It's a diet full of fish, vegetables, fruits, olive oil, chocolate and wine.  It's so abundant you don't feel deprived.

There's also the latest research from the UK that says eating the Mediterranean way is an effective way to fight dementia.

You can't go wrong eating this way.

Here is one of my favorite Mediterranean diet recipes: Halibut with Roasted Tomatoes & Balsamic Glaze.

*photos courtesy of Shutterstock








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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Why I'm a Working Mom Who Is NOT Guilty

Having gone through a wonderful professional transformation recently, I have had too many conversations to recount as to what my career change means for the time I spend with my daughter.

In short, now that I am working for myself, I have more control over my time.  My days and nights are not ruled by breaking news and sports schedules.  Unlike before, I am able to enjoy nights, holidays and weekends with her but I am busier than ever and loving it.

When I mention that to friends and colleagues they are shocked.
Thanksgiving 2013
"Didn't you want to spend more time with your daughter?" they ask.

"Sure, but I'm still working," I respond.

"Why?"

That simple question leads to lengthy discussions of career goals, working motherhood and choices.

Simply put, I enjoy working and love my "job".  Granted, having been a fulltime sportscaster for almost 20 years, I have had more fun on the job in one day than most people have throughout their careers.  Now that I am consulting for great clients like D&M Leasing and the Dallas Cowboys, the work is just as rewarding.

I am happiest when I am productive.  As a mother, I value the fact that I provide for my family and am setting an example for her.  The income I am able to contribute to our family enables us to travel and have experiences we wouldn't otherwise be able to enjoy.

I believe if more working mothers adopted this philosophy there would be less "guilt dialog".

Paris 2013
I am asked about feeling guilty.  Candidly, I haven't had an ounce.

Okay.  Check that.  It sucked when I had to miss her first birthday celebration in 2012 because a colleague called in sick and I had to work late on a Wednesday to do the 10pm news.  Sure, I missed the celebration that night but that weekend, we had an even better celebration that lasted two days.

Beyond that, there has been no guilt.  None.  In fact, I feel guilty when I am not working.  I want my daughter to realize that anyone, man or woman, can accomplish his or her goals through perseverance, hard work and dedication.  I want her to realize that she can achieve what she wants by working for it.  Trust me, I'm a testament to it.  Can you imagine the shock in 1992 when I told my parents I wanted to study to be a sportscaster?  Blank stares.

That's not to say working for an employer or running a business is right for every parent.  I have many friends who are fulfilled being at home fulltime, running their households and taking care of their families.  It works for them and that's fabulous.

The concept, though, of every working parent, particularly mothers, sitting at the office and saddled with guilt is false. There are plenty of us who are content balancing the challenges and rewards of working, being a parent AND taking time for ourselves.

We are out there.

And loving every minute of it.


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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

People Your Age Are on Instagram?!?!? Yes, We Are.

"People your age are on Instagram?!?!?!" asked the 13-year in front of me.

"How old do you think I am?" I asked a bit too aggressively, fighting my reporter's urge to raise me voice another decibel.

"I'm just kidding," I awkwardly said trying to soften the exchange.

She couldn't imagine someone my age (ugh) taking selfies.  I would argue that my approach to Instagram goes beyond the selfie or picture of my latest manicure but a recent review of my profile might prove otherwise.

I digress.

Selena Gomez and Gina Miller
People my age ARE on Instagram
I was speaking to a group of smart 8th graders at a local middle school for Career Day.  My focus was TV/Print/Radio/Web and the opportunities that the evolving media industry presents.

Some of the entrepreneurial teens were already making a career for themselves blogging, posting videos on YouTube and earning advertising revenue for their efforts.

Even more interesting was their social media habits. I asked the approximately 90 students about their social media consumption.  Across the board, they were on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

When I asked them about Facebook.  Crickets.

A small sample size, yes, but my informal poll reiterates what experts are finding in much more scientific studies. Twitter is a young person's game and Facebook is for people, um, my age.  

Facebook acknowledged as much in their recent earnings report that it was seeing a "decrease in daily users, specifically among teens."

A recent study from comScore illustrates this.


The numbers are even more interesting when you look at the mobile usage numbers. 


Twitter has a larger share of younger users up to the age of about 24.

Teens and young people are also going messenger app crazy.  Platforms like WhatsApp, KakaoTalk and WeChat are gaining ground.

Scared yet?

Why Should You and Your Business Care? 
You know you need to be in the social media game, right?  You know you need to be Tweeting about product launches, sharing news germane to your industry and more, right?  You understand that your social media efforts are, many times, the first line of communication with your target customer, yes?

Well now you gotta really be in the game to connect with those tweens, teens and young professionals.

Scared now?

Don't be.  First and foremost you need to be where your customers are.  What demographic does your business focus on and appeal to?  That needs to be your main focus.

Does your business cater to women 35 and older, then Facebook and LinkedIn might be better suited for your content marketing campaign.  Trying to connect with kids?  Get on Twitter.

Confused by where to go to reach your target audience?  Don't be.  The team at That Sports Girl Media can help. We know how to talk to people, we know where they hang out and we know how to create a message that resonates with them.

We also won't waste your time or money creating a campaign on a platform that your key consumer isn't using.

Contact That Sports Girl Media to find out how we can ease your communication pain so you can focus on your business.

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Take the Pain Out of Home Juicing with This Easy Trick

Before juice bars became the 2013 version of the cupcake and yogurt shop boom, I was quite the home juicer. From kale blends and green lemonade to pineapple mint juice and a grape lemon medley, I could have opened my own juice bar with all the mixing I was doing.

green lemonade
Green Lemonade
Why did I stop doing it so religiously?  For one, the ubiquity of juice bars and offerings from Whole Foods made the process easier.  Mainly, I hated the beating of cleaning my Breville Juice Extractor.  It sounds lazy but cleaning the pulp out of the feeder chute and the blade is a pain.  The leftover pulp in the pulp collector can sometimes attract fruit flies if the weather is warm.  It's just a whip.

One way to ease the pain is to place a grocery store produce bag in the pulp collector.  This makes cleaning this portion of the juicer a breeze, serves as a great way to recycle those bags and collects the majority of the pulp in a bag that can be tied shut so it doesn't attract fruit flies.  The video illustrates how to use the bag.


You still have to clean the blade, which can be a challenge, but it makes one step of the process easier.

Looking for homemade juice ideas?  Try this one:

  • One bunch of kale - this provides vitamins A, C and K
  • One half a pear - vitamins A, B1, B2, C, E, folate and niacin
  • One entire celery heart, think about 6 stalks with leaves and all - this provides a bevy of vitamins B1, B2, and B6
That mixtures yields this tasty green juice:
kale, pear, celery juice
YUM! 
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