Archive for the ‘Women’ Category


Healthy eating choices to get you through the season.

Red or White Wine?

The Better Choice: Red Wine
For that you can thank the skin of the grape. “That’s where the antioxidant resveratrol is found,” says Ann Yelmokas McDermott, Ph.D., a nutrition researcher at
Tufts University, in Boston. Resveratrol, a phytochemical with a structure similar to estrogen’s, has a number of beneficial properties, such as anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant, and cholesterol-improving effects.
But… The grape skins that make red wine healthy are also the source of tannins, which can cause headaches in some people. White wine doesn’t contain tannins, so it’s less likely to trigger headaches.


Mixed Nuts or Olives?

The Better Choice: Olives
Like olive oil, olives are high in monounsaturated fats, which help lower cholesterol. They’re also low in calories. Each olive has only about five calories and less than a gram of fat, while one pecan, for example, has almost 14 calories and nearly two grams of fat. And though you can toss back numerous nuts almost too easily, olives often require a little more work. And when you’re left with a plateful of pits, you’ll know exactly how many you’ve put away.
But… Nuts are also high in monounsaturated fats, and they’re a good source of fibre and arginine, an amino acid that helps keep blood vessels relaxed and open.

Cheese and Crackers or Crudités and Dip?

The Better Choice: Crudités and Dip
A platter of nutrient-rich vegetables wins over a saturated fat–filled cheese board. But even here some offerings are better than others. “Favour colourful vegetables, like red peppers, carrots, and broccoli,” suggests Kristine Clark, a registered dietician and the director of sports nutrition at
Penn State University, in State College, Pennsylvania. Filling your plate with such a mix guarantees that you’re eating a wide variety of vitamins and antioxidants.
But… If the dip contains sour cream or mayonnaise, you’ll be scooping up lots of extra calories and saturated fat along with every bite. So don’t double-dip.


Roast Beef or Ham?

The Better Choice: Roast Beef
Roast beef is less processed, contains about half as much saturated fat, and has three times as much iron. It’s also rich in B vitamins. Both meats are great sources of protein, but the ham has almost three times as much sodium.
But… Research has linked red-meat consumption with an increased risk of colon cancer. One study published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that women who ate two or more ounces of red meat a day were 30 to 40 percent more likely to develop colon cancer than those who ate little or none. Whichever option you choose, eat it sparingly.


Champagne or a Cocktail?

The Better Choice: Champagne
Bring on the bubbly. From a purely caloric standpoint, Champagne is the clear winner of this contest. A flute has about 75 calories, while a mixed drink, like a whiskey sour, can have up to 240 calories. Some experts say the bubbles may even help fill you up, so you won’t feel as tempted by the endless cocktail-party treats.
But… You can slim down a cocktail by using a sugar-free mixer or club soda instead of fruit juice, tonic, or a sugary mix. And although a screwdriver or a Cosmo does contain juice, the health benefits are probably not worth the extra calories.


Source: realsimple.com


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Festive season traps


The holiday looms, and so does Christmas. All you want to do is chill out after what’s been a hard year. But that’s not always the easiest thing to do – you know the bit about life being “the thing that happens while you’re making other plans”.

For some, chilling out may mean booking a camping site 20 km from the nearest village a year in advance. Or going into a Trappist monastery until the festive season is over.

But most people will have a more sociable time – either at home, visiting relatives, or at the seaside somewhere. Who knows, you might need to get back to the office in January to get some rest. In order to get the most out of your break, try and avoid the following festive season stressors.


Guests galore. You have a big house, and over Christmas it fills up with aunties, grannies, nieces, uncles – you name it. Instead of looking after four people, you are now looking after twelve. This is no holiday for you, as you are the unofficial entertainment committee, the caterer, the conflict resolution specialist, and the local cleaner. If you live in a popular destination, you might have to put your foot down. Or at least put together a duty roster for the cooking and the cleaning. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t feel you have to be the unofficial tour guide. Take a day or two off and let the guests entertain themselves.

 Feeding frenzy. Food, food, food. It’s all over during the Christmas season and it’s lying in wait for you everywhere, and we’re not talking about celery sticks either. It’s chips, cakes, cheese snacks, chocolates, to name but a few. And, after all, you’re on holiday. So why not? That’s fine, but just don’t get into a new habit. Most people end the festive season with quite a few kilos that were not there in November. Don’t become a festive season fatty.

Booze bonanza. From the office party to friends’ homes, to family barbecues – booze is no stranger to the festive season. And often, other people are paying for it. By all means have a beer or two, if you’re not driving, but don’t binge on booze. Drinking too much is something that carries its own punishment with it, a bit like eating that second helping of hot Indian curry. And do remember, that everyone likes you to have a drink or two, but nobody likes having a social embarrassment at their parties. Fall down drunk, or insult one of the other guests, and you can be sure you’ll be off the party list. Forever.

 I’m so lonely. Some people wish everything could be a little quieter. Others wish for a break from the peace and quiet and they dream of the phone ringing or a horde of guests arriving. The secret is to arrange a few things in advance. Invite people for supper, get a friend to go with you to a movie, or organise a day or two away in a different place. Don’t wait until the festive season is upon you before doing something about your social calendar. It’s not going to happen by itself.

Exercise inertia. Most people give their exercise regimes a break during the festive season. It is, after all, the end of the year. Problem is, many people overindulge completely on the food front at the same time, and coupled with a fortnight of couch-potato-ism, your waistline might be expanding at the rate of knots. Go for a walk with the family, run along the beach, play volleyball. Do anything to burn up those extra calories. And get back into it early in the new year.

Credit card crisis. The last of the Big Spenders. If that describes you in the shopping centre with your Christmas bonus and your credit card, you’re obviously a sucker for all those Christmas ads. And you’re going to be stony broke in January, and depressed in February when the credit card statements start arriving. Point is that you can probably buy just as nice a present for R100 as you can for R200, or R400. You just need to plan it well. It’s the thought that counts, not the size of the present.

Sunburn stress. The sun in the southern hemisphere is vicious , and skin cancer is a real danger. And remember that the damage is cumulative. Burning yourself to a crisp or having a whimpering and sunburnt child on your hands, is no way to spend Christmas. Speak to your pharmacist and get a high-factor sunblock before you head for the beach. And speaking of the beach – watch out for bluebottles or pieces of broken glass in the sand.

 Crowd control. Think of Christmas, and what many people see are teeming masses of people in a shopping centre, all of them with a mission, and accompanied by at least two unwilling and exhausted kids. It can be avoided – do your gift shopping in November and do a bulk grocery shop before 15 December. Milling crowds can be exhausting, and elicit everything but the Christmas spirit in you. In fact, it can bring on a bout of trolley rage.

Gift of the grab. Frantic last-minute gift-buying is a killer – not only don’t you get what you are looking for, you also spend a fortune on it. Rather than give unwanted and expensive presents, go for gift vouchers – at least people will appreciate them, even if they are not the most personal of offerings.

Family fest. Family. You get them, you don’t choose them. And never is it more obvious than at Christmas time when Uncle Freddy is holding forth on all his achievements, or Aunt Doris is slurring after her third beer. Or your cousin’s kids are running around screaming, chasing your poor cats. Then there are the endless questions about when you are going to tie the knot, have babies etc. Family get-togethers seldom do much for your self-esteem. Just repeat the mantra, “It will soon be over for another year.”


Source: women24.com

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The festive season is famous for bringing family and friends together. This will undoubtedly result in more social eating and of course drinking. Here are some principles to apply this season:


Know your limits:

Safe and healthy alcohol intake levels are 30g/day for men and 20g/day for women (women generally have less of the enzyme that helps break down alcohol in the body).

This means that one unit of alcohol a day is considered safe and healthy for an adult female and two units for a male. One unit = 340ml beer, tot (25ml) spirits, 50ml port, sherry or muscadel or 120ml wine.

Moderation is key:

Spread your weekly alcohol allowance as evenly as possible over seven days. Infrequent bingeing on alcohol can bring on attacks of gout or pancreatitis, and may cause abnormalities in heart rhythms and increases your risk of cancer.

 Stretch your intake:

Use plenty of ice, water or soda water in spirit drinks or white wine (to make a spritzer); this dilutes the alcohol while increasing the volume so you drink less. Ensure your first drink is some other liquid e.g. a mineral water or a cooldrink — your alcoholic beverage should not be used as a thirst quencher.

Arrive alive:

On average it will take the liver about an hour to break down one unit of alcohol. So even after a night’s sleep, if you have had six cans of beer or two bottles of wine, you could still be over the legal limit the next day. Remember that, when driving.

Being fitter makes no difference to the rate of absorption. But, the absence or presence of food and the type of fluid that accompanies the alcohol does. Alcohol consumed on an empty stomach is more rapidly absorbed. Water and fruit juices mixed with alcohol slow the absorption process, whereas carbonated drinks (because of the carbon dioxide) will speed it up. Warm alcohol is absorbed quicker than cold alcohol.

Weight gain:

The calorie content of alcoholic beverages (which depends on the percentage of alcohol, the type of beverage and the type of mixture) plus the behaviour associated with drinking all have their part to play in the effect it will have on your weight.

When drinking alcohol, you tend to snack more, especially on the high fat foods, often available in social drinking environments. Eating high in fat take-away food (e.g. pies or burgers) late at night is another typical problem which arises after drinking, especially in students and young adults.

If you are watching your waistline, consider that one unit of alcohol is roughly equivalent to a slice of bread. It is then prudent to occasionally substitute a carbohydrate during the day to compensate for a drink or two that night.

Apply the 24 hour rule for training:

Avoid alcohol in the 24 hours prior to exercise. After exercise, once you have rehydrated and refuelled with carbohydrates, enjoy alcohol (and here I must include the ‘in moderation’). However, if you have any soft tissue injuries or bruising, abstain from alcohol for another 24 hours.

Fake it:

My personal favourite — a Rock Shandy (soda water, angostura bitters, ice and a slice of lemon) gives the impression of being an alcoholic drink, but hardly contains alcohol and calories — a sneaky option when friends continuously want to buy you a drink when they spot you standing empty handed.

Did you know?

Using thinner, taller glasses (especially wine glasses) can help you reduce your consumption. Research shows that people consume more alcohol when drinking out of shorter, wider glasses.


By Karlien Smit RD (SA), Dietician for the SSISA Healthy Weight Programme, Shelly Meltzer & Associates, Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA).


Source: iafrica.com

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Holiday packing made easy


Top holiday packing tips for a fabulous and stress-free holiday

Do you pack as if you are going away for a month when you are only going away for a week?  Do you end up taking a whole lot of clothing that you never wear, or do you arrive at your destination only to realise that you left behind your most important item? Then these packing tips are for you.


Put some thought into what you’d like to take with you a week before the time.  Go into your wardrobe.  Choose two basic colours e.g. white and denim. Depending on your destination, your basics will either be trousers, shorts or skirts in basic colours. Then you select several tops to go with this and bear in mind that you might have some evenings of going out on the town, so select a glamour top that can also be worn with your basic items (trousers, shorts or skirts). This allows you to mix and match with ease.

Make a shopping list.See if anything you need is missing and make a shopping list. For example, do you have the correct bra for that top that you wish to wear? You might think that you have that cami, but find that it’s missing in action. 

 Select clothing that you love to wear and travels well. Most women enjoy wearing fabrics that breathe, such as cotton for a summer holiday. Choose items that have a slight stretch to them, such as cotton blends. This reduces creasing.

Pack to minimize creasing. Iron everything prior to and lay them as flat as possible with as little folding as possible. Take along with you a little travel steam iron. These are small and extremely easy to use.

Take along a little well sealed container of washing powder. This allows you to hand wash underwear or small items and reduces the number of items that you pack. If necessary, make use of your steam iron to get rid of the creasing after washing.

Put thought into shoes. Most women take too many shoes along. Make a list of the activities that you’re likely to embark on and pack your hiking boots for walking and then restrict your other pair of shoes to a thong or pair of shoes that you can easily dress up or down.

 Don’t forget your swimsuit. Take along a sarong or shapely kaftan if you prefer a bit of a cover-up.  Make sure that your sunhat is floppy or small so that it doesn’t get ruined and can literally be pushed into your suitcase.

Don’t forget your essential skin products.  Make sure to take a large container of sun screen lotion that best suits your skin typeToo much sun may give you a tan this season, but a lot of wrinkles a few years from now.  Throw in a tube of ‘after-sun’ or aloe gel to cure sunburn for the patches of skin you possibly missed when applying your sun screen lotion.  Aloe gel is also really handy for insect bites, stings and burns.

 Decant your toiletry items into smaller plastic containers to increase space. Woolworths sells a wonderful little travel pack of small plastic containers that make packing your toiletries easy.

Most importantly, always pack clothing that will make you feel fabulous, reflect your holiday mood and enhance your holiday pleasure.

Source: spice4life.co.za

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The perfect present


The eternal question looms: What is the ideal, universal gift for hosts, friends, business associates, service workers and, not least, the family physician?

I’d submit that – barring such obvious exceptions as Alcoholics Anonymous members or hardshell teetotalers – it’s hard to top a gift of wine. Wine is broadly available and widely enjoyed. It comes in a convenient size package and commands a range of prices all the way from the budget level to wretched excess, offering you something at every price point depending on your desire to impress.

When you’re looking for a wine gift that’s a perfect match for your recipient, though, there’s one little gotcha: Fine wine comes in almost infinite variety of style, flavour and price, and individuals’ tastes vary. A truly thoughtful giver may want to make an effort to find out what particular wines the recipient prefers: Red, white or pink? Bone-dry, just a touch of sugar or outright sweet? Bubbles or not? So many decisions! An easy alternative might be to stick with the most popular regions and grape varieties in an appropriate price range, figuring that you can’t go far wrong with the wines that fly off the shelves.

Here are a few specific suggestions aimed at making your wine-gifting experience a happy one for you and the person who opens your surprise package.

Sure, you can pick up a cheap jug of mass-market wine at a neighbourhood liquor store, but your city’s better wine shops will likely offer you a broad selection of wine types and prices, and you can rely on the staff to give you savvy advice.

Small wine shops are typically run by the owner; some large fine-wine shops seek to hire floor staff who can competently answer questions.

If you’re shy about asking for help, or find yourself in a warehouse-size store with no one to assist you, check out the popular wine regions and grapes and check the price tags to find something in your range. Red wine? The movie Sideways made Pinot Noir immensely popular, and Pinot is also the grape of French Burgundy, arguably one of the world’s great wines (and priced to match). Merlot is widely popular (despite being badly dissed in that same wine-country comedy) because it’s usually made as a fruity red wine with a mellow character. If you want a white, you can rarely go wrong with popular Chardonnay or a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.

Just about everybody loves Champagne and similar sparkling wines, and the sound of a popping cork lets the world know that it’s party time. Genuine Champagne, the real thing from France, is pricey, ranging from R300 or so right up to the three-figure range. But it’s uniformly good, and when you’re looking for a more upscale gift, it’s hard to beat as a sure-fire pleaser.

If you want bubbles without breaking the budget, there are some more wallet-friendly Méthode Cap Classiques or Charmats such as the Arniston Bay Sparkling Brut which also makes a great gift.

Dessert wines are rich, sweet and sumptuous; many of them also tend to be strong, many of them (like Port, Sherry and Madeira) “fortified” to 20 percent alcohol or so with a splash of brandy added to the sweet wine. There’s a wide range of dessert wines, from those mentioned to wines made from overripe, late-harvested grapes.

Things get a little more complicated if you’re seeking a spare-no-expense wine gift for someone you really want to impress. With the exception of Champagne, most “collectible” wines require years of maturing in a wine cellar under controlled temperature conditions before they’re ready to enjoy. Unless you know your recipient has a wine cellar and knows how to use it, it may be best to bypass this niche.

Most wine comes in a standard 750 ml bottle. But for a particularly spectacular gift, seek out a magnum (double the size of a standard bottle) or even such rarities as a Jeroboam (3 litres or four bottles), and on up to the man-size Nebuchadnezzar (15 litres or 20 regular-size bottles in one). At the other end of the scale, how about a gift basket with a half-dozen “half-bottles,” the undersize 375 ml bottle that’s just enough when you’re drinking abstemiously or having dinner with a partner who doesn’t do wine.

There’s a huge range of options, and once you solve the basics, this is a great advantage: There’s something for just about everyone at just about any price. Happy holidays, and bottoms up!

Source: wineloverspage.com

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Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank has bought the film rights to best-selling lifestyle book French Women Don’t Get Fat.

According to news agency AFP, the 34-year-old US star (pictured) will produce a romantic comedy based on the book, which extols the virtues of a continental diet – meals rich in fat and carbohydrates.

Written by Mireille Guiliano, a former executive with Champagne house Veuve Clicquot, the book examines the reasons why Guiliano, who was used to a continental diet of bread, pastries, wine, and three-course meals, went to the US as an exchange student and ‘came back fat’.

According to Guiliano, the book ‘unlocks the secrets of the “French Paradox” – how to enjoy food and stay slim and healthy’.

The book topped the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list and has sold over 2m copies worldwide.

Although not as wine-led as recent wine films Bottle Shock and Sideways, according to reports, the film’s protagonist will be the boss of a Champagne house.

Swank has won two Academy Awards (Oscars): one for her role in the 1999 film Boys Don’t Cry and one, in 2005, for her portrayal of a boxer in Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby.

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