THIS Is What Everyone Should Talk About During Heart Month (But They Don’t)



You may have heard that February is American Heart Month. (Hint: It’s why half your coworkers are wearing red today.) Heart disease—a fairly broad term that encompasses the many health problems related to plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries—is the number one cause of death among women and men in the United States. An estimated 600,000 people die each year from the disease.

Startled? You should be. But what’s even more startling to me is the fact that, in large part, this disease is preventable—and yet there are so many people who are doing nothing to prevent it.

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“People Can Be Mean”: An Open Letter to Controversial Biggest Loser Winner Rachel Frederickson

Biggest Loser/NBC

Biggest Loser/NBC

Editor’s note: I watched the internet blow up yesterday with comments about Rachel Frederickson, the newly crowned winner of season 15 of the Biggest Loser, who, the world learned on Tuesday night, lost a staggering 155 pounds over the course of the reality weight-loss show—59.62 percent of her body weight. The 24-year-old, 5’4″ contestant shrunk from 260 pounds and a size 20 at the show’s outset, to 105 pounds at its conclusion; that puts her at a size 0 or 2.

Not surprisingly, viewers were shocked by the dramatic change (as were BL trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper, by the looks on their faces), and some were outraged, accusing Rachel of developing an eating disorder and saying she was dangerously thin. Many people pointed fingers at NBC, too, for promoting a too-thin body image by crowning her winner. 

Yesterday, Philly dietitian Katie Cavuto reached out to me, saying she wanted to weigh in on the brouhaha. She said she felt profoundly sad for Rachel “for so many reasons.” Here, in her own words, are her reasons. I’m betting some of them will surprise you. — Emily

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The Cheat Sheet: Where to Get a Quick, Healthy Lunch in Philly

The ingredient options at Sweetgreen are endless. // Photo via Facebook

Imagine this: You’re crazed at work, famished at 2 p.m. (which is the first time you’ve had a chance to even think about eating since breakfast) and although a sausage sandwich from the food cart on the corner is easy, you know you’ll pay for that later.  Sound familiar?

Yeah, we’ve all been there. Luck for you, Philly’s practically bursting with healthy grab-and-go options that offer satisfying meals to give you the energy you need to tackle the rest of the day. Here are my picks for quick lunches around town because let’s face it—a salad with balsamic dressing everyday isn’t going to cut it.

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The Cheat Sheet: Peter Woolsey of Bistrot La Minette

Chef Peter Woolsey in the kitchen // Photo via Facebook

When you think about French cuisine, what immediately comes to mind? Butter? Cream? Cheese? Those decadent ingredients are ones that most health-conscious people try to avoid. So then why are the French healthier than most Americans? One word: moderation.

Chef Peter Woolsey of Bistrot La Minette agrees. He and his wife (a vegetarian) are very health conscious, so I was eager to learn about what a healthy lifestyle means for them and how he stays healthy in the kitchen. Read on for his answers.

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The Cheat Sheet: Chef/Entrepreneur Marcie Turney

Marcie Turney // Photograph via Barbuzzo

Have you visited 13th and Sansom lately—the block chef Marcie Turney calls home?  She and her partner Valerie Safran practically own the neighborhood, with shops and restaurants up and down the block. Examples: Lolita, Barbuzzo (previous Cheat Sheet here), Grocery, Verde, and their newest gem, Jamonera. With so much going on (how does she do it?), we wanted to know how Marcie finds time for herself and what healthy means in her crazy-busy world. Lucky us, she threw a few recipes our way , too! Read on for more.

Complete this sentence: “When I was 16 healthy meant … “

You did the latest gimmicks or diet. Well, that was 1986, so for me it was probably more about excelling at sports. I was on the field hockey, basketball and softball teams at my high school. But my mother, who always struggled with her weight, was eating Lean Cuisine, drinking TAB cola and working out with Richard Simmons.

To stay in shape I … “

Just got a personal trainer at 12th Street Gym. Like many other people, it’s easy for me to let work rule my daily routine; I don’t work out unless I treat it like an appointment.

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I Tried It: Watsu Aquatic Bodywork

My first experience with Watsu was a few years ago at a spa in Sedona, Arizona. While planning my spa vacation I asked a staff member to recommend a “must-try” service; her pick was a Watsu treatment.

A what?

She explained that Watsu is a water massage performed in a non-chlorinated pool warmed to body temperature. The fairly vague description left me curious and anxious, but I figured, why not? I’m always up for trying new things and thought perhaps the treatment could be something life-changing—or, at least, funny story to share with my friends at home.

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The Cheat Sheet: Rich Landau of Vedge

Rich Landau with wife/co-owner Kate Jacoby

It’s rare to find someone who truly practices what they preach, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Vedge’s Rich Landau is one of those people. If you’re not familiar with Vedge, it’s an amazing vegan restaurant (we’re talking not a single animal product, people) that has caused a significant amount on buzz here in the city. The food is nothing short of amazing and people are loving it, whether they are strict vegans or die-hard carnivores.  I recently dined at Vedge, and my friend and I agreed that we didn’t miss the meat, cheese, cream sauces, etc., and left feeling more than satisfied.  If Rich and his team cooked for me everyday, I could happily be vegan!

I wanted to find out more about this meat-free chef to see what he eats at home, how he stays fit, and what ingredients he likes to cook with most. Here’s what he had to say.

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The Cheat Sheet: Aimee Olexy of Talula’s Garden

Aimee Olexy // Photograph courtesy of Starr Restaurants

I’ve always been a fan of Aimee Olexy’s take on fresh, farm-to-table fare. I recently enjoyed an intimate evening and fabulous meal outside of her newest venture, Talula’s Garden (the garden is nothing short of magical, by the way), and had the chance to hear more about her take on healthy eating, moderation and, of course, cheese!  Yes, cheese can be included in a healthy diet; most foods can. The key? Use fresh, local ingredients that speak for themselves and need very little else to please your palate. That’s what Amy is all about.

Finish this sentence: “When I was 16, healthy meant …”

Running and enjoying the sun!

Are you more “sweet” or “savory,” and what’s your go-to guilty pleasure?

I am a savory, leaning towards a salty. I love my cheese and protein! I crave scrambled eggs with gooey cheese and a glass of champagne.

Another one: “To stay in shape I …”

Drink tons of green tea and water, and get off my ass as much as I can.

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How Olympic Athletes Snack for Peak Performance

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been glued to the TV night after night cheering on team USA in the 2012 Summer Olympics. As a gymnast for over 18 years, I have always lived an athletic life, which gives me a lot of perspective on the amount of dedication, determination and hard work these athletes put into their sports. As a dietitian, I can also speak to the importance of nutrition for optimizing performance.

Sure, most athletes—even Olympians—indulge from time to time, but you may be surprised to know that some really simple foods provide pretty amazing performance benefits. Here’s a peek at some of the foods our Olympic athletes nosh on day after day. As you’ll see, most provide more than just calories, fat and protein.

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