Blog Posts by Healthy SELF, SELF Magazine

  • Winter Health: The Truth About Sanitizers and Sprays

    Courtesy of PurellCourtesy of PurellAmanda MacMillan, SELF magazine

    Happy New Year, SELF readers! Here's hoping you're all starting 2013 out on a healthy and happy note. Of course, that's not the case for everyone: Cold and flu season usually peaks in January or February, and this year it's already off to a doozy. And my Twitter inbox has been flooded with questions about hand sanitizers and sprays--and if they really work in warding off winter illness.

    To get the real scoop on all of these OTC sprays, sanitizers and antiseptics, I talked to Nathan Litman, M.D., a cold and flu expert at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. Here's his take on a few of the products on shelves today--and his best advice for your healthiest year ever.

    See more: The No-Cook Diet

    Thumbs Up: Alcohol-Based Sanitizers
    One of the best ways you can prevent cold and flu is to wash your hands frequently throughout the day, says Litman. Regular soap and water work just fine--but if you're not near a sink, an alcohol-based

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  • McDonalds Vs. Chipotle: Who Has Healthier Options?

    Courtesy of ChipotleCourtesy of ChipotleSarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine

    As a part of Google's Zeitgeist 2012, the site revealed the most searched calorie counts--and McDonald's nabbed the top spot. Right behind, though, was Mexican fast food eatery Chipotle. But if you're counting calories, which drive-through should you head to? Here's the low down on which place you should go to chow down.

    See more: The Flat-Abs-Fast Secret

    While McDonald's does have several items on their "Favorites for Under 400" menu that may be helpful if you are counting calories, calories only tell part of the story when it comes to finding healthy options, as we know. Chipotle, on the other hand, allows you to customize your meal, choosing what you want in your burrito, taco or salad bowl, thus making it is easier to stay within a calorie budget. Plus, they have a bevvy of proteins, whole grains and veggies to pack your plate with. Yum.

    See more: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss

    When I compared the ingredient lists of several of

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  • Superfood of the Week: Eggs

    Sarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine

    Ahhhh, eggs. They're a breakfast classic--and a great quick-fix for lunch or dinner. Eggs are not only loaded with muscle-building protein, but they're also low in calories, too. Leave behind the usual omelets and scrambles, and try these unique ways to enjoy this slimming superfood staple instead.

    See more: The Flat-Abs-Fast Secret

    Eggy Oats: Whisk an egg into your morning oatmeal before cooking it for a super-easy protein boost. Top with some chopped nuts and a handful of berries for a true superfood-packed start to your day.

    Peanut butter & Egg White Wrap:
    You can get a savory egg wrap anywhere, so why not give a sweet egg wrap a whirl? Start by scrambling or microwaving 1/2 cup of egg whites. Then, spread one tablespoon of peanut butter on a whole wheat wrap and top with egg whites, a dash of cinnamon and a handful of sliced strawberries or bananas. Protein, fiber and deliciousness all wrapped into one--yum.

    See more: The No-Cook Diet

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  • Lightened-Up Beef Stew

    Courtesy of The Beef CheckoffCourtesy of The Beef CheckoffSarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine

    Nothing sounds better on these cold nights than curling up with a nice, hearty bowl of beef stew. It's savory, filling and super-yummy--what else could possibly be better this weekend?!?! This Bistro Beef Stew from The Healthy Beef Cookbook written by my friend and colleague, Betsy Hornick, MS, RD, is actually quite healthy. One serving of the stuff clocks in under 300 calories, and yet you still get all the nutritional benefits of lean beef including protein, B vitamins and iron. The veggies add fiber and the herbs, wine and slow simmering add that comfort-food flavor. #NomNom.

    See more: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss



    • 2 pounds boneless beef bottom round roast or boneless beef chuck shoulder roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 medium onions, chopped
    • 6 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves,
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  • The Secret to Creativity

    Courtesy of Country Walkers Courtesy of Country Walkers Amanda MacMillan, SELF magazine

    Taking a few days off over the holidays? If one of your resolutions is to be more creative in 2013, a new study suggests that you might want to spend that time surrounded by nature--and off the grid. (Yes, it's hard to believe, but apparently it is possible to be creative without Instagram.)

    See more: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss

    Okay, okay, we love Instagram. But back to the science: Psychologists from the universities of Utah and Kansas sent 56 hikers, all about 28 years old, out in the Alaskan woods on a 4-day Outward Bound hiking trip--no digital devices allowed. Half of the hikers took a creativity test (think brainteasers and problem-solving questions) the morning before their expedition, the other half one on the morning of Day 4.

    The study, published today in the journal PLoS ONE, found that the first group solved an average of just 4.14 out of the 10 test questions, while the second group solved an average of 6.08--about a

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  • Winter Solstice: 4 Things You Need to Know About the Shortest Day of the Year

    Courtesy of Udo BernhartCourtesy of Udo BernhartAmanda MacMillan, SELF magazine

    It's coming. Next Friday, December 21 is the the dreaded winter solstice, a.k.a. the shortest day of the year. (It also happens to be the unofficial end of the world, but I digress.) Sure, winter means Christmas carols and cozy sweaters--but no matter how much of a snow bunny you are, you've gotta admit that the whole getting-dark-at-4:30-in-the-afternoon thing is kind of a bummer.

    And not just a superficial bummer, either: Short days and long nights can affect us in real ways, from our mood to our safety to our physical health. I asked Scott Amit, MD, associate professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., on what we need to watch out for--and how to stay at our best--all winter long.

    See more: Yoga Moves for Flat Abs

    1. Our Vitamin D Levels Can Dip.
    "Whenever we don't get enough sunlight for months in a row, we should think about vitamin D deficiency," says Amit. Only your doctor can tell you if you're deficient,

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  • Holiday Parties: Save Calories with These Tricks

    Sarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine

    No one wants to hear the word "diet" at a holiday soiree or be the party-pooping food police. We all want to have our cake and eat it too (it's the holidays for crying out loud!). At SELF, we feel the same way.

    See more: Yoga Moves for Flat Abs

    And since SELF's holiday party is tonight (make sure to check us out on Instagram), I drummed up some commonly-seen appetizers that are perfect SELFy splurges. Each of these bites are 200 calories, so you're able to indulge without feeling food coma-esque post party. After all, you don't wanna feel anything less than totally fab in your gorgeous holiday cocktail dress. Here's your fail-safe guide to navigating any appetizer spread.

    See more: Foods That Fight Belly Bloat

    For 200 Calories, You Can Have:

    • 2.5 pigs-in-a-blanket
    • 2 mini grilled cheese sandwiches
    • 4 pieces sushi (non-tempura kind)
    • 2 chicken skewers
    • 4 mini knishes
    • 3 mini quiches
    • 3 small seafood-stuffed
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  • Superfood of the Week: Greek Yogurt

    Superfood! Greek YogurtSuperfood! Greek YogurtSarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine

    Greek yogurt in all its tangy, creamy glory is super-popular these days--sales are skyrocketing, and even niche yogurt bars have opened up, like the Chobani flagship in NYC's hip SoHo 'hood. And, oh yeah, the white stuff boasts nearly double the protein and half the sugar of regular yogurt, not to mention all the calcium and healthy live bacterial cultures. But forget your typical granola-covered 3 PM snack: We've got five unique ways to incorporate Greek yogurt into your diet.

    See more: Yoga Moves for Flat Abs

    Creamy Onion Dip:
    The tangy thickness of Greek yogurt makes it the perfect sour cream stand-in for this quick and easy party favorite! Simply combine two cups of low-fat Greek yogurt with one packet of low-sodium onion soup mix for a healthy appetizer in seconds. Serve with baby carrots, celery and whole grain crackers.

    Speedy Salad Dressing:
    Whisk together a bit of Greek yogurt, olive oil, minced garlic and herbs like basil or

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  • Holiday Spices that Have Serious Health Benefits

    Sarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine

    These famous holiday spices offer much more than terrific tastes and scents, they all provide health-boosting benefits.

    See more: Yoga Moves for Flat Abs

    Enhancing your health and warding off colds this season may be as simple as adding a dash of sweet and spicy cinnamon to your oatmeal, let's say. It turns out cinnamon actually lowers you "bad" cholesterol and keeps blood sugar in check, which possibly aids in weight loss, too. The spice also has anti-inflammatory properties: You can lower your risk of heart disease with a mere half teaspoon a day. And as if you needed one, cinnamon is also an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent.

    See more: Yoga Moves for Flat Abs

    Who doesn't love a minty mocha this time of year? This classic holiday spice is famous for relieving stomach problems, so sip on a festive cup of peppermint tea to ease bloating, nausea and cramps. It doesn't end there--you can also rub peppermint oil

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  • Lightened-Up Potato Latkes for Hannukah

    Courtesy of U.S. Potato BoardCourtesy of U.S. Potato BoardSarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine

    With Hannukah starting tomorrow, here at SELF we only have one thing on the brain--yummy potato latkes. But since they're usually fried, I searched for a slimmed-down version of the holiday treat, and found one courtesy of the U.S. Potato Board. The recipe cuts back on the amount of oil and eggs traditionally used in the recipe, and let the potatoes be the star. These starchy roots (or tubers, as they're formally known) are rich in important nutrients like potassium, fiber and vitamin C. Dip 'em in a bit of homemade applesauce for a seriously delicious dish.

    See more: Foods That Fight Belly Bloat

    Lightened-Up Potato Latkes


    • 2 1/2 cups shredded, un-peeled russet potatoes (about 1 lb.)
    • 1/2 cup grated onion
    • 1/3 cup peeled, shredded carrot
    • 1/3 cup flour
    • 2 Tbsp snipped fresh chives
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
    • 1 egg + 1 egg white
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

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