Blog Posts by Tips on Healthy Living

  • Tori Spelling's Do's and Don'ts of Party Planning

    Limit the cheesiness factor and have a great theme party: Keep it classy with these guidelines from Tori Spelling's CelebraTORI: Unleashing Your Inner Party Planner to Entertain Friends and Family.

    I like a party with a concept. Okay, I'm absolutely mad for concept-driven parties. But even I know that there's such a thing as going overboard. I want you to go over-the-top, but I still want you to keep it classy. Here are some guidelines:

    DO: Maximize your color scheme.
    DON'T: Buy out the Internet with any and everything related to your concept. Get the lay of the land before you make any purchases.

    DO: Dress according to your concept.
    DON'T: Take on some concept-related personality, like speaking with a Spanish accent at a fiesta party.

    DO: Applaud guests for participating in the concept.
    DON'T: Require guests to participate in the concept, or express disappointment if they choose not to do so.

    DO: Go all out with concept-related desserts.
    DON'T: Spend so

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  • 12 Easy Ways to Be the Healthiest Person Alive

    By A.J. Jacobs
    Author of Drop Dead Healthy

    Three years ago, I was fat. Not fat all over. I was what they call "skinny fat"-a body that resembled a python after swallowing a goat. My wife had a repertoire. She'd ask me when my baby was due. She'd subtly sing the Winnie the Pooh theme song. And she'd tell me about this legendary place called "the gym." If I went there, maybe I wouldn't get winded playing hide and seek with my kids. I ignored her. Then came a freak case of tropical pneumonia, a three-day hospital stay, and a now-urgent plea from my wife: "I don't want to be a widow in my forties."

    Thus kicked off a two-year quest to remake my body, a journey I chronicled in my new book Drop Dead Healthy. As with my other books The Year of Living Biblically and The Know-It-All, I pledged to become the world's greatest expert in a field I know nothing about.

    My goal? To test out every diet and exercise regimen on planet earth, and figure out which work best. I sweated,

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  • Hurt by a Family Member? Get on the Path to Healing

    The people we love the most hurt us the most, even if they don't mean to. Mary Hayes Grieco, author of Unconditional Forgiveness: A Simple and Proven Method to Forgive Everyone and Everything, shares how after 25 long years, she mended her broken relationship with her father.

    Painful dramas aside, the people in our family are ours for a lifetime, to live with, to learn from, and to enjoy the best we can. All too often, we don't appreciate the goodness in these people that we see every day, and we take them for granted, like they're part of the scenery. It's a shame when we do not realize a family member's ordinary preciousness until he or she is gone. There is so much more enjoyment to be had in our relationships if we consciously try to see the good in people and take the responsibility to clear out the buildup of irritation that gathers inside us from a series of disappointed expectations.

    I am so thankful that I managed to forgive and heal my relationship with my father,

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  • The Cake Boss's 17 Must-Have Baking Tools

    What the heck do you do with parchment paper? How do you use a pastry bag? Buddy Valastro, author of Baking with the Cake Boss, lists everything you need for at-home baking success-including how to avoid grating your knuckles on a microplane zester.

    I recommend that you have three types of brushes as part of your kitchen arsenal. A pastry brush is the best way to apply syrups and other soaking liquids to sponge cakes, to work with melted butter, and to apply water to fondant if you don't have a water pen (see page 195). (A squeeze bottle with a sponge tip applicator or a spray bottle will also work.) A bench brush has long, stiff bristles and is made for sweeping flour off your work surface. I rarely see these in home kitchens, but I recommend you own one because it makes it very easy to get your surface clean. A large makeup brush, sometimes called a powder brush, is useful for patting down sugar or cornstarch on your work surface when you are working with fondant.

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  • How to Overcome Negative Thoughts that Keep You from Getting Fit

    You know it's good for you, but a million excuses can get between you and a workout. Here's how to change your thinking-and your health-with tips from The Ultimate Stress-Relief Plan for Women: Heal the Destructive Effects of Stress on Your Body, by Stephanie McClellan, M.D., and Beth Hamilton, M.D.

    Negative: I'm too exhausted even to think of moving.
    Positive: I always have much more energy after I exercise.

    Negative: I'm just so slow.
    Positive: When I started I was winded so quickly. I may not be a speed demon, but I've really built up my endurance.

    Negative: My whole body hurts from that last workout.
    Positive: If I stretch well or take a hot bath, my muscles will be warmed up, and I'll be feeling no pain once I start moving.

    Negative: I had to skip three days because I had a virus. It's always impossible for me to stay with it. Something always gets in the way.
    Positive: Each day is a new day, and I can pick up where I left off.

    Negative: It's

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  • The 8 Basic Principles of Attachment Parenting

    From natural births to co-sleeping, Mayim Bialik, Ph.D. defines this growing style of parenting in her book, Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way.

    So what is attachment parenting really about? Attachment Parenting International (API) identifies AP as guided by eight principles. The practical application varies greatly but it often looks something like this:

    1. Birth: Prepare for birth and become educated about natural birth options and their benefits for baby and mother.

    2. Breastfeeding/breast milk: A human mother's milk is the optimal food for human babies, and bottle feeding should mimic as many aspects of breastfeeding as possible.

    3. Be sensitive: Respond sensitively to your children.

    4. Bonding through touch: Use physical contact such as baby wearing, breastfeeding, and massage to convey tenderness, love, and affection.

    5. Bedding: Parent your children at night as well as in the day,

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  • How Crafting Can Save Your Health

    By Kristin Sidorov
    The do-it-yourself movement is in full swing, and homemade decorations, foods, and fashions are all the rage. Getting crafty is a great way to find a little "me time"-and it just so happens to be a top-notch stress reliever that can actually help you relieve pain, control blood pressure, beat back depression and anxiety, and aid in sleep.

    Recent trends (home pickling, Etsy shops, flea markets) have breathed new life into the pursuit of crafty interests. Today, it's a broadly chic category that can contain pretty much anything that gets your creative wheelhouse working. The key is finding the right project for you. From photography to knitting, DIY carpentry projects, and cooking, you can turn it into your personal diversion from the stress of everyday life.

    VIDEO: "We Can Pickle That" (from IFC's Portlandia)

    It works, too. Doctors and therapists have suggested creative outlets to help cope with and relieve stress for years. Our lives demand a lot

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  • 5 Steps to Perfect Portion Control

    By A.J. Jacobs
    Author of Drop Dead Healthy

    My kids and I recently watched the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. This is the one where giant steaks, ice cream scoops, pancakes and, of course, meatballs plummet from the sky and terrorize a town. It was funny. But it with a few tweaks, it could be turned into a terrifying documentary. OK, a lot of tweaks. Food isn't falling from the sky. But food is getting bigger and bigger and terrorizing America.

    In recent years, portions have experienced a puberty-like growth spurt. Consider: In 1916, a bottle of Coca-cola was 6.5 ounces. Today, it's 20 ounces. A hamburger used to be about 300 calories. Now you can enjoy Hardees's Monster Thickburger with 1,420 calories. (The average man should eat about 2,500 calories a day).

    This portion inflation is why nutritionists offer the following sage counsel to Americans: Stop eating so much damn food. Below are the five best ways I found to tame the portion while writing Drop

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  • How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Has Become a Public Health Threat

    What is the cost of Jenny McCarthy appearing on Oprah to blame her son's autism on vaccinations? Or notable pediatricians such as Dr. Jay Gordon and Dr. Bob Sears downplaying the risks of vaccine-preventable diseases? Unfortunately, when one family decides not to vaccinate, other families can pay the price-even those who've chosen to vaccinate their kids, explains author Seth Mnookin in The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear.

    The notion that people should base medical decisions on what is "right for them" is particularly problematic in a public health context, where individual choices cannot be cordoned off from each other. Consider the case of Julieanna Metcalf, a fifteen-month-old fully vaccinated girl who was taken to the hospital on January 23, 2008, with what her mother thought was a particularly bad case of the flu. It was only after extensive tests that doctors discovered that Julieanna had a compromised immune system that rendered the vaccine for

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  • How to Start a New Craft Project

    By Carol Endler Sterbenz
    Author of Homemade: The Heart and Science of Handcrafts

    Have you been thinking about learning a new craft? If so, I hope you will feel inspired to try whatever it is that has been intriguing you. I have been making pretty things by hand for a long, long time, and yet I am still captivated by crafts I know little about. Learning a new craft is still compelling and possible to me as long as I keep in mind the following tips, which I discovered along the way.

    1. Foremost, love what you are going to make, really connect to the design (or to the materials or to the anticipated zen of getting the new methodology). Your enthusiasm will carry you through the unfamiliar steps and motivate you to finish the project to your standards and satisfaction.

    2. Invite a friend to join you. It's always more fun learning a new craft when you have company, someone who gets as jazzed about craft stuff as much as you do. Put on the music and the tea kettle,

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