Superwoman Syndrome

Somedays I feel like I can’t catch up. For instance, I’m at least three days behind with my German history readings and I have laundry at home that doesn’t seem to be getting washed. Even after a long day like today, I’ll more than likely go home, flop down on the couch and fall asleep watching a Seinfeld re-run. Even though I feel this way, I know it just takes getting up 15-30 minutes earlier and turning off the tube at night to get these tasks done. Unfortunately for some women my age and older, resorting to medication is all to familiar.

In an article on the MSNBC website, contributor Karen Asp reports on the rise or discovery of existing problems with prescription drug abuse among American women. Almost 6 percent of American women, that’s 7.5 million adult women, report using prescription medicines for a boost of energy, a dose of calm or other non-medical reasons, according to the latest numbers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Asp reports that some are calling the reason for this abuse “Superwoman Syndrome”. This stems from women who are overworked and exhausted from juggling work, family and friends.

The article also talks about prescription drug abuser Laurie Besden who began her battle with addiction when she stole a box of Vicoprofen to help her study for the bar exam after she had graduated from the Dickinson School of Law at Pennsylvania State University in 1999. Eventually she began dealing with a doctor who prescribed these pills for her. This doctor was caught and lost his medical license. In 2002, she was arrested for the first of what would be five times before she was convicted in 2004 for prescription fraud and jailed for almost a year.

One of the things that startled me the most about this article is the number of people I personally know who has used drugs like Adderall to help them study. The story I hear the most is how they “just need one to study for a killer exam” and then they’ll be fine. This always turns into one more exam and one more pill. Eventually they start using it because they stayed out late the night before and need to be “on their game” for work or school. To an outsider like me this seems down-right terrifying, but to them it is justified. The need to do everything is becoming increasingly high in most young women my age and it’s damaging their bodies. Most of them don’t even realize the effect this vicious cycle has on their bodies.

The bottom line is that we, men and women, cannot do everything. I know I’m someone who must complete whatever task is asked of me. I must finish it and it must be perfect. Maybe it is because I’m a Virgo and maybe it’s because I’m crazy. I really don’t know the answer to this, but I do know that when I’m at my limit, I must say no. If I have studying to do and someone asks me to help them with something unrelated, I must prioritize. When I say “it isn’t worth the stress,” I mean it. No favor or task is worth risking your health or like Laurie Besden, your rights. Realize your limits and do the best you can do.

Advertising Using Children

I saw a commercial this morning that really sparked a question of ethics. It was for Kellogg’s Frootloops cereal and it involved children telling another child that eating that cereal would make him healthy. Watch the commercial below and see if you can figure out why I was bothered by this.

Did you figure it out? The first point that I would like to raise is that 3 grams of fiber in this cereal doesn’t even come close to what the recommended amount for children actually is. According to the American Heart Association website, children ages 4-8 need at least 25 grams per day and for children ages 9-13, 26 grams is needed for girls and 31 grams is needed for boys. This 3 grams of fiber ploy is also a way to mask the fact that Frootloops contains 12 grams of sugar per serving. Thats not a ridiculous amount, but considering a typical serving portion is around 3/4 of a cup, it’s crazy to think that much sugar will make up a child’s breakfast. According to an article on CBS.com, the USDA recommends capping added sugar at 6-10 percent of daily calories.

Another big problem I had with this commercial was the fact that children were being used to push this information. It seemed so forced to see little kids pretending to know why fiber is good for the body and how eating a bowl of Frootloops will make them healthy. Getting past the personal bias against processed food, it is fair to suggest that the consuming of this cereal probably isn’t written on a doctor’s prescription for the stomach flu. By using children to promote this product, the advertisers for this company are clearly working under the assumption that children watching this commercial will more easily relate to the message and in turn tell their parents that they need to eat Frootloops to be healthy. Brilliant!

Finally I’d like to offer an alternative for the parents of children who are concerned with not only making their child happy, but also keeping them healthy. The first is a cereal that I personally have tried and find to be very delicious. It’s called Clifford Crunch by Cascadian Farm. It offers the same amount of fiber that Frootloops does, but with half the sugar. With only 6 grams of sugar, this cereal is not only good for you, but is also tasty! It is also organic, which is just icing on the cake. Just remember, when in doubt about which cereal is best for your child, remember that the lower the sugar content, the better!

Healthy Pizza

A few days ago I was at Star Salon in downtown Morgantown waiting for my hair appointment. My hairdresser and friend, Mandy, had several of my favorite health-related magazines available for me to read. While browsing an issue of Health magazine, I came across a great pizza recipe. I know I’ve said this time and time before, but I am a pizza addict. If I could eat it everyday, I definitely would. I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but I’m definitely looking forward to it.

Spicy Margherita Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of arrabbiata sauce
  • refrigerated pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup of shredded smoked mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup of part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Roll out 1 (1-pound) whole-wheat or regular store-bought pizza dough on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round or 13- x 12-inch rectangle.
  2. Lightly spray a large baking sheet with olive oil; sprinkle with cornmeal. Transfer dough to prepared sheet. Roll up sides 1-inch to form a rim.
  3. Let dough sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling it out, and arrange your oven rack at the lowest position.
  4. Spread arrabbiata sauce on prepared dough; sprinkle on smoked mozzarella cheese and part-skim mozzarella.
  5.  Bake at 450° for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Top with fresh basil.
  6. Cut into 5 slices; serve.

Nutritional Information:

  • CALORIES 266
  • FAT 7g (sat 0.0g, mono 0.0g, poly 0.0g)
  • PROTEIN 0.0g
  • CARBOHYDRATE 0.0g
  • FIBER 0.0g
  • CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg
  • IRON 0.0mg
  • SODIUM 0.0mg
  • CALCIUM 0.0mg
  • Sophomore Year

    My friend recently posted this video on Facebook that he and his friends found on a college information website. I did this interview my sophomore year for a college promotions website. I never saw it afterwards until now. I’m sure you’ll all get a chuckle.

    It should also be noted that I never went to another football game after this interview.

    Tough Decisions

    Today my dad, who is a prosecuting attorney, won a big case. It involved someone who shot and killed his girlfriend. He was sentenced to life in prison without mercy. Although I was very happy for my dad’s victory, I felt a twinge of guilt when I saw his picture on a local news website. It was an odd feeling that we had actually just talked about today in my ethics class. We talked about how you hear about a murder and think that the person who did it must have really been a bad person, but sometimes you hear the background of the person and it changes your view a little. I’m not saying that’s the same situation as this particular murder trial, but it still makes you think. I saw this guy’s picture and I thought “Wow. This man will never have the opportunities that the rest of us will have.” His life is basically over and it was all because of a bad decision.

     It also made me think about what it must have been like for my dad. I can’t even begin to comprehend what it would feel like getting up in front of a courtroom and being in the position of deciding a man’s sentence. My dad was the one who had to decide whether or not this guy deserved life in prison. I’m not saying any of this to spark sympathy for this man because he killed someone and that is wrong. No matter how you look at it, it is never okay to murder someone. However, it does make me think about everyday choices we all make. If that guy would have just kept his cool, maybe he wouldn’t be in the position he is in. I guess that’s what makes my dad’s job so rewarding and yet so tough. He is the guy that has to decide the fate of someone’s life when they have broken the law. He has to do the right thing no matter how much it will hurt a family, or upset a community and that to me is amazing. I can’t imagine getting up everyday knowing I had to make decisions like that. I really do have the coolest dad and he probably doesn’t even know it.

    Though this isn’t a food related blog, it is an entry that I consider good for the soul. It may not touch any of you and it may not make you think, but it sure made me thankful that we have people in the world like my dad who volunteer to make these difficult decisions for us. It made me look at my own life and see that if I keep making good decisions, I’ll be okay no matter what.

    Morgantown Running

    My contact with Girls on the Run sent me an email a few weeks ago and I kept forgetting to post info about it. So here it is. 

    New Balance is running a promotion now through early April that will help raise money for GOTR. The retail partner involved is Morgantown Running, which is located in downtown Morgantown. Below is more information.

    PROGRAM OVERVIEW

    NEW BALANCE

    INSTANT GIVE PROMOTION

    February 1 – April 4, 2010

    Try on a pair of New Balance footwear and we’ll donate $1 to one of our three favorite charity partners. Buy a pair and we’ll donate $5 more. With your help we will donate up to $150,000 to these worthy causes:

    DETAILS:

    When you try-on your pair of NB’s, you’ll receive one “Instant Give” game card with a unique code you can use to trigger the donation online at http://www.newbalance.com/instantgive or via text message from your mobile phone. In addition, if you purchase a pair of New Balance, you’ll have the option to get a $5 rebate or you can choose to donate as well. Step in. Step up. Show you care. Step in and try on a pair of New Balance footwear and we’ll donate $1 to one of our three favorite charity partners. Step up to the counter and buy a pair and we will send you a $5 rebate or donate it to the charity of your choice.*

    With your help we will donate up to $150,000 across these worthy causes.

    WHEN IS IT HAPPENING?

    The program runs from February 2nd through April 4th, 2010. The last chance to enter your donation or rebate request is May 4, 2010.

    WHERE IS IT HAPPENING?

    Participating retailers include New Balance stores nationwide, local running & specialty shoe stores, and national retailers including Hibbett, Sports Chalet and Champs Sports. Not all locations are participating for every retailer, so make sure to check with the store you plan to visit first before making your trip.

    HOW CAN I HELP?

    New Balance is proud to contribute up to $150,000 to our cause partners through this program. How much of that will go to your cause is up to you – the more you spread the word and encourage supporters of your organization to try on a pair of New Balance footwear, the more donations you will get. Even better, we’ll be tracking the try-ons by location so all of the donation generated by people in your area will come back to your local affiliate / council / office!

    Here are a few ideas on how you can help spread the word:

    • Post on your Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or other social media pages

    • Send an email to your participant/supporter mailing list

    • Post on your website

    • Plan group trips before or after events, meetings or other events you have planned

    We’re sure you can come up with even more. Have fun & best of luck!

    Visit http://www.newbalance.com/instantgive starting February 1 to see how it’s going!

    RAM OVERVIEW 

     

    Website Popularity

    I was on Walmart’s website a few weeks ago looking at grocery products and I thought about how many times I’ve hopped online to check out a review of something. Just the other day, after receiving one of my many Eat This, Not That emails, I decided to visit the Post website to compare cereals to those that are made by Kashi. I found this little bit of research to be very useful when it came time to decide which cereal was the healthiest choice for me. Now this may sound incredibly boring, but it actually was kind of neat checking the small nutritional differences.  I also found online product research useful this past December when I was trying to decide what laptop to purchase. Having access to product info, consumer reports and other data made the decision a lot easier. What I’m getting at, besides the fact that I’m a total dork, is that businesses need to keep their websites up and functional, because consumers really care. Thankfully, a recent survey showed that businesses are recognizing their demand for web access and are taking it seriously.

    The 2010 Business Website and Interactive Marketing Usage Survey conducted by interactive marketing and consulting company AIS Media (www.aismedia.com) found the following results:

    • 91% of respondents have a website
    • 64% of businesses plan to invest in improving their website design
    • 70% plan to invest in improving functionality
    • 91% plan to either decrease their traditional advertising budget or keep it the same
    • Only 9% plan to increase their traditional advertising budget
    • 71% of respondents indicate that their web site will play a larger or the same role in their overall business and/or marketing strategy as it did in 2009.

    This is so crucial for businesses, because traditional advertising just isn’t cutting it anymore. More and more people are spending their leisure and business time online, which means this is time they aren’t listening to the radio or watching television. By expanding to the web, businesses are opening themselves up to all sorts of new opportunities that can be cost efficient for them as well. The Internet is such a great way to advertise and it’s relatively cheap. Take what I’m doing for instance. Just as I publish this very blog I’m giving myself free press. I’m creating something for others to read that is reasonably priced. The point is, by utilizing this growing medium, businesses are helping their growth immensely.

     FOR THE FULL ARTICLE REGARDING THE SURVEY

     

    Florals

    Okay, I’m officially a blogging fool. Now don’t worry about this being a long post. I just thought I’d put up some pictures I’ve taken over the years of the beauty of spring. Here are some of my favorites.

    A Slip Up

    I don’t know about you, fellow dieters and healthy eaters, but this weather makes me hungry! I’m not talking about craving veggies with low-fat hummus dip; I’m talking about ice cream and pizza. Despite my better judgement a few nights ago, I made a bold purchase at the Sheetz near my house. I bought my first container of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in nearly a year. I bought the coffee ice cream with chunks of Heath bars in it, despite my search for their frozen yogurt version. Of course I couldn’t just get the ice cream, so naturally I grabbed a small bag of jalapeño flavored pretzel bits and trust me when I say this isn’t one of my weird cravings. I grabbed a copy of Us Weekly and headed home for a much anticipated pig-out session. However, I was pleasantly surprised by my control.

    I got home and grabbed a spoon before even sitting down. I had originally planned to just eat the ice cream straight out of the container, but after examining the nutrition information, I reconsidered. Normally I would disregard this information when eating something as fantastic as Ben and Jerry’s, but this time I thought I’d see how much time I was going to have to put in at the gym to work this off. After thinking about the advice of my many fitness and health magazine websites, I decided to consider why I felt I needed to eat as much as I planned. I couldn’t really think of a reason why I shouldn’t just eat a little and save the rest for later and this was when the guilt started to set in. Now I’m sure many of you are thinking, “Why would you spend this much time agonizing over food?” and I too have struggled with this thought. Why would I buy something so bad if I was just going to wrestle with the idea of even actually consuming it? Well I decided that even though it was going to be a boat-load of empty calories, I should at least obey the recommended serving size and try to stay within the realm of diet reason. I grabbed a measuring cup, scooped out 1/2 a cup and placed it in a bowl. After doing this I examined how much ice cream was actually in the bowl. Surprisingly, it was a lot! I couldn’t believe how much 1/2 a cup was. Now maybe it’s because I’ve been used to counting out each almond and measuring out my soy milk before putting it on my cereal, but this made me feel a lot better. Even though I was still consuming nearly 300 calories of fattening goodness, I still felt like I was at least getting a decent deal. It made me realize that I don’t need to eat the entire carton of ice cream to get my sugar fix and it reaffirmed my belief that I do have some self-control when it comes to eating. After nearly two years of work I finally feel like I can control my cravings. Who knew ice cream could cause such an epiphany?

    …Unfortunately this all went out the window after I devoured the bag of pretzels.

    Still a lesson was learned and I now feel comfortable with my diet. I’ve finally reached a point of control that I’ve never felt before. *I don’t have to worry about resisting unhealthy foods anymore because I know that I really can. I think maybe that’s half the battle when trying to lose weight, shape up or just maintain a healthy diet. I think maybe the reason so many people fear dieting is the worry that they can’t stick to it. Maybe they feel they won’t be able to eat junk food occasionally, or that they won’t be allowed to eat at all and this isn’t something that can be corrected by word of mouth or by reading success stories. This is something we all have to come to terms with in our own time. We all have to overcome the fear that a slip up will cause all the work to come crashing down. Once we get past that, it seems like it all will be a little easier.

    *The day after the ice cream epiphany, I sat through an entire movie at the theater without even touching my boyfriend’s popcorn and Sourpatch Kids!