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Taking care of our bodies

April 3, 2009

My life is riddled with term papers, group projects, and exams right now. But just about everything is due on Monday so it will all be over soon! And I will be a happily stress-free camper once again.

In between the studying and researching and writing, I have been taking breaks by learning more about health. These are a couple interesting articles that I found which apply to us all. Let me know your thoughts on them!

Oral Health

I’m always surprised by how much people neglect dental care. I religiously brush and floss every day; there is a ton of stuff that brushing alone just does not get. Up until the Sugar Challenge, I also used mouthwash daily. But after taking a look at the ingredients on the bottle, I couldn’t justify using it. There is some nasty stuff in mouthwash. I’ll stick to an extra brushing instead! Remember to always take care of your teeth, tongue, and gums.

Shoulder Strength

We rely on our shoulders for lifestyle activity, so we have to take care of them, too. Throughout the day I like to roll my shoulders a few times to prevent them from getting too tense or stressed. I did this before I knew much about health just because it feels good- and if a stretch like that feels good, it probably is good for you. Your body needs all the support it can get for the shoulders. Although not mentioned in this article, keeping the hips and back in good condition is also crucial. When practicing aikido we learn that all the movement in the technique should be coming from the hips rather than putting too much strain on physical force of the arms. So often we forget about the shoulders and hips, as well as the back, when those areas really carry a lot of weight and are designed to perform tasks all the time.

Binging Vegetarians?

I know that there’s lots of vegetarians out there, so I’d love to hear what you think of this somewhat controversial piece! Do you think there’s any truth to the idea that vegetarians might binge more than omnivores? I can see this being the case for supposed “vegetarians” who just eat processed crap and no meat, but for all of you vegetarians who actually eat well (and I’m guessing you’re the ones that would be reading a blog like this), did this ever apply to you? Or is it yet another twisted study?

Have a wonderful weekend. Let me know in the comments if you’ve found any newsworthy tidbits of information circulating in the health community- I wouldn’t mind having some back-up material to read on my breaks between paper-writing!

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26 comments

  1. Great tips here Sagan. I never really thought about the vegetarian thing. I used to be a veggie (for over 15 years) and now mostly still maintain the same sort of eating habits with an exception of eating out (which is pretty rare) 🙂

    GOOD LUCK with all your stuff this weekend! It’s going to feel so great on monday!

    Have a fab weekend!


  2. I don’t know about that binge eating article. I’d like to know what constitutes “binge eating”. What are they binging on?

    I admit, I eat a TON of a vegetables, but I wouldn’t call myself a binge eater. It just takes alotta veggies to fill this hungry stomach!

    As for teeth. I think about this one a LOT. Well, not so much teeth as mouth health in general. I get canker sores (TMI?) and I recently discovered that switching to SLS-free (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – the stuff that makes your toothpaste foam) toothpaste has really reduced the canker problem. And since switching to swanky toothpaste, I’ve kinda gotten INTO brushing. I now use an electric toothbrush, and brush 3 times a day. I don’t floss enough, though. One thing at a time. =)


  3. I went vegetarian for about two months, and I think that the risk of binging more does have a correlation with going vegetarian. Obviously, everyone is different, but when I couldn’t really eat meat, I felt sort of deprived, so there was always that chance for me to try to fill that void with unhealthy food.


  4. Definitely important to take care of one’s oral health, since it can lead to (or prevent) all types of potential health problems.

    Shoulder strength is vital – gotta lug around those backpacks!! 🙂

    I don’t have an opinion on the binge eating, since I don’t have that issue.

    BEST OF LUCK WITH THE EXAMS AND WORK!!


  5. I never used to floss, but I finally got into it last year, and once you get in the habit, it’s really not so hard 🙂


  6. Before I started blog reading, almost ALL of the vegetarians I know were not practicing what we’d call ‘healthy eating habits.’ It wasn’t until I started blog reading I found vegetarians who could successfully find that healthy balance. For myself, I’m afraid I would feel deprived and it MIGHT lead to binging. That is so interesting, though!


  7. I’m a flosser.

    I also think that “vegetarians” included people who eat processed crap. A former suitmate of mine once announced she was going veg. to lose weight. The girl ate pizza, all kinds of desserts, white bread toast or sugary cereals, and cheesy pasta, while refusing to give up a drop of alcohol or go to the gym. Guess who gained the freshman 30?

    The people who do it for their health and research it? Probably eat a lot of veggies, etc., which are lower in calories, and therefore you might need to eat more to get full.


  8. Love this post. I need to remember to floss. 😛


  9. Rupal- thank you! “Vegetarian” is like the word “organic”; we put this halo on it even though neither of these words are necessarily synonymous with “healthy”.

    Monica- very good point that we need to define “binging”. Really interesting about the toothpaste! I had no idea about that.

    Tony- hmm, now I’m wondering, is it just restrictive diets in general that people binge more?

    VeggieGirl- thanks, I’ll need it! And yes, gotta keep them shoulders strong for carrying around school books 🙂

    Chocolated-Covered Katie- agreed. If I DON’T floss, I get annoyed because my mouth doesn’t feel so clean. Funny the way those healthy habits do that.

    Holly- ah yes. It is good to know yourself so as to avoid diets that could potentially lead to binging.

    Tricia- exactly what I’m talking about. Those kinds of people give vegetarians a bad name, unfortunately.

    Sharon- it’s a habit that feels good!


  10. Great article, I’m glad I found your blog through twitter. I don’t have any experiences with binges, per say, as a vegetarian. However, I do eat more than I used to now that I’m veg. I believe this is due to the food I eat now being less calorie dense than what I ate before. Also, I’m more in tune with my bodies natural craving for nutrients and I don’t hesitate to satisfy those cravings! =)

    Jenn
    @helloveggie


  11. eeek! thanks for the goodies! will blog about them tonight yah!


  12. what a fun surprise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  13. I think studies that say vegetarians binge more are not valid. Reason being that it’s probably too common for people who already have eating disorders to try veg. eating as a last resort. The diet doesn’t cause the eating disorder, it’s the other way around.

    Enjoy the weekend, Sagan!!


  14. Well huh – for me being vegetarian isn’t about being deprived. Most of the time I genuinely don’t like meat. And if I ever do want to try a bite? Then I eat it and don’t worry about it. So no, vegetarianism hasn’t made me binge. Although eating the Primal Blueprint (super low carb) sure did!! I think it’s all about that feeling of deprivation and how you perceive your food.


  15. That was a really interesting article Sagan….I have found that when I try to be really careful about what I eat and leave out certain things that are not in a program that I suddenly become obsessed with them…maybe it is in my head…….I need what I cannot have….maybe it is my body type crying out for what it needs….hmmmm..who knows for sure!


  16. Given that they admit in the article that vegetarianism may be being used by impressionable young people as a type of diet, it makes sense. There is a category mistake here, because the ‘unhealthy’ vegetarians are probably a division of the group ‘dieters’, rather than ‘dieters’ being under the larger group of ‘vegetarians’. Does that make sense?


  17. Jenn- thanks for the input twitterfriend! I’ve found the same thing when I eat less meat.

    RhodeyGirl- so glad that you got them finally! 😀

    Dr. J- chicken-or-egg scenario… I think you’ve got a great point.

    Charlotte- completely agree. It’s about figuring out what’s right for YOU and then rolling with that. And not depriving ourselves in the process.

    Rebecca- sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what the real triggers are!

    Westwood- makes perfect sense. I think you and Dr. J are on the same sort of track here.


  18. Great tips. You are so right about the dental neglect. I manage a dental office and you should see it. Some people haven’t had their teeth cleaned in 15 years. Oral hygiene is so important to your overall health. Glad to see you agree 🙂


  19. -hangs head guiltily-

    I admit, I should floss more than I do. I use Tom’s natural toothpaste though! Haha, baby steps.

    I’m not vegetarian, but I want to try being vegan for one week (starting Monday, as the second part of Operation Decrapify). I was “stocking up” on a few vegan-friendly items…and realized I was naturally drawn more towards vegan cookies…much more so than I would when normally shopping.

    And I’m so with you on the natural foods thing. It’s amazing how much BETTER you feel just by getting off of processed stuff. And natural does not equal plain, either. I love to cook!


  20. I can’t see how the correlation would work, unless it’s a weird teenage thing. Perhaps if they’re going veggie out of peer pressure, or they don’t yet know what they’re doing and are eating crap (pizza, grilled cheese, etc.), that could lead to bingeing. I know I tried to be vegan for a while in my teens, so I didn’t have to face cheese, meat, anything fattening. I’m sure we all know how that worked out.

    As for the shoulders, I do these body sculpt classes, and we often do obscure sets involving muscles I never knew I had. They’re quite weak, and I usually have to use the barbie weights, and often have to put them down half way through. This is why I do the classes, I would never even know about half these obscure muscles, let alone know how to work them.


  21. i know i need to improve my posture, although strength training helps with that… i usually remember to floss at night:)


  22. I’m a vegetarian and was interested in reading the article. I thought the hypothesis was interesting, but there was no argument or facts to support or substantiate their claim.


  23. I totally agree on oral health!! I brush and floss twice a day. My dentist says I’m one of the only patients he has that LOVES flossing. Yep, I’m weird but I find it so rewarding!


  24. Kristisummer- eek! You must see some traumatizing things 😉

    Mimi- you’re one-up on me with that natural toothpaste! I should look into that, it’s intriguing.

    Julie- it’s great to learn about obscure muscles that we didn’t know we had. Feels so good to work them.

    ttfn300- *straightening up for better posture*

    Leila- yes; as with any study like this, it’s got some holes.

    Juliet- I feel the same way! It feels so good to floss. I like feeling all nice and clean from it 🙂


  25. For your mouthwash issue, a dentist suggested to me that I mouthwash with a little salt water. Apparently it is enough to dissinfect the mouth around any damage done to the gums while flossing.


  26. Hmm,I don’t know about that vegetarian article. it didn’t seem there was enough “meat” (haha!) to back up the claims. I mean, “former vegetarians may be at increased risk for extreme unhealthful weight control behaviors”.. Really?!

    And thanks for the reminder about shoulders. I’ve been doing Jillian’s Shred and that really works my shoulders but I need to do more stretching to relieve stress in them!



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