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Family, Friends & You Food, Fitness & Health Secret's Service

Hummus everyone loves!

I’m feeling generous, so here’s a great entertainment secret. Hummus. NO, not the kind you buy cold and pre-made at the local food store. Homemade — just moments before you eat it! Warm with just the right amount of smoothness, a swish of topping (see below) and purely emotionally satisfying. Honestly, before this, I never even understood why anyone liked the stuff.

At The Hummus Place (it’s Kosher), you can grab a quick table but they also deliver and cater. They’re four around the town: West Village, Greenwich Village, East Village, and the Upper West Side. Try their Hummus topped with fava beans, chick peas or mushrooms (the latter being my favorite, but I don’t see it on their online menu so maybe it’s just on the Upper West Side?). All fabulous! Their health salad is also surprisingly fresh and tasty; some swear by their tahini and grape leaves, but those are truly not my thing. HINT: If you’re going to have delivered to serve for a small crowd, ask them to use the small bowls rather than those kind of ugly compartmentalized square containers. When you see you’ll order, you’ll understand why you’ll mess-up the aesthetics if you just scoop it into another dish. Also, you can get a big bowl for serving up to 20 (I find it serves more than that). Pita bread (warm, of course) comes with …

Check out:
www.HummusPlace.com
West Village: 71 7th Ave South 212 924 2022
Greenwich Village 99 Macdougal 212 924 2022
East Village 109 Saint Mark’s Place 212 529 9198
Upper West Side 305 Amsterdam Ave. 212 799 3335

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Travel & Work

All those useful free things Google brings you …

One of our favorite techie writers David Pogue digs through the depths of Google,* uncovering some little-known offerings — everything from how Google can help you find pizza in your area, to warning you of flu outbreaks, to stopping you from sending those inebriated emails …

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Food, Fitness & Health News to Know

Do smokers take bribes?

Old habits die hard, unless of course, money enters the picture. Case in point: According to the Wall Street Journal,* a recent study found that “smokers who are paid to quit succeed far more often than those who get no cash reward…”

The study, conducted by a team from the University of Pennsylvania, worked with General Electric employees to see if cash incentives would sway smokers to quit. GE employees scattered around the nation were tested, and of those offered $750 over a period of one year to quit smoking, 14.7% had quit smoking within a year, as opposed to 5% of those offered no monetary reward.

Though The Wall Street Journal cites a 25% to 20% drop in smoking among US adults during the past 10 years, research still shows that less than 3% of those attempting to quit do so permanently — making smoking a leading cause of premature death in the country, and, thus, resulting in major costs to employers with smoking workers.

The study proved so successful, that according to the BBC,* “GE will launch a similar scheme in 2010 for all US employees, believing it will be cost-effective in the long term. It aims to save some of the estimated $50m spent annually on extra costs for smoking employees.”

But according to The WSJ, “Smoking experts say previous studies have found little clear evidence that such financial incentives help in getting smokers to quit, although most have involved far fewer patients and much smaller incentives.”

With nearly 900 GE employees taking part in the study, it is one of the largest of its kind.

“Ric Barton, a GE lighting specialist from Cleveland, said he had been thinking about quitting before the study,” The WSJ article reads. “A smoker for four decades, the 62-year-old said finding places to light up had become increasingly difficult, and he was tired of rising cigarette prices. ‘It was icing for me to get a monetary reward for something I was already planning to do,’ Mr. Barton said.

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* Post Sources:

The Wall Street Journal, “More Smokers Quit if Paid, Study Shows,” by Robert Tomsho, February 12, 2009, Page D1

BBC News, “Cash bribes ‘help smokers quit’,” February 12, 2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7884994.stm

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Food, Fitness & Health News to Know

Dieting: Do Calories Count?

Atkins, Dean Ornish and Mediterranean Diets– they’re all right … and wrong

Apparently it doesn’t matter what type of food you cut out of your diet, but rather, the number of calories you cut out in general. According to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, kicking carbohydrates is not the key to successful weight loss, and neither are high-fat, low-fat or high-protein diets for that matter.

“The key really is that it’s calories. It’s not the content of fat or carbohydrates, it’s just calories,” says Dr. Frank Sacks, a professor of cardiovascular disease prevention at the Harvard School of Public Health, in the article “Low-fat? Low-carbs? Answering best diet question” from CNNhealth.com.*

The study, conducted by researchers at Harvard and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, followed 800 people in Boston and Baton Rouge, putting each participant in “one of four diets that reduced calories through different combinations of fat, carbohydrates and protein. Each plan cut about 750 calories from a participant’s normal diet, but no one ate fewer than 1,200 calories a day,” reads “Study Zeroes In on Calories, Not Diet, for Loss” in The New York Times.*

On average, participants lost 13 pounds after six months on their diets, which were also coupled with optional counseling sessions (finding that higher attendance at the sessions resulted in more weight loss). Participants also managed to keep about nine pounds off after two years, but many picked up their old eating habits within a year’s time.

The Times article also points out that with these findings, “‘It really does cut through the hype,’ said Dr Frank M. Sacks, the study’s lead author and professor of cardiovascular disease prevention at the Harvard School of Public Health. ‘It gives people lots of flexibility to pick a diet that they can stick with.'”*

So sweep all those “miracle diet” books under the rug and dust off your calculator. It’s time to go back to losing weight the old fashioned way– calorie counting.

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*Sources:

CNNhealth.com, “Low-fat? Low-carbs? Answering best diet question,” by Madison Park, February 26, 2009

The New York Times, “Study Zeroes In on Calories, Not Diet, for Loss,” by Tara Parker-Pope, February 25, 2009

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Food, Fitness & Health On Harriett's Mind

My Diet Secret that truly works

.

My diet secret.  It really works!

This new Harvard/Pennington two year research study that’s out on which diets work,* made me remember to share with you the ultimate diet secret that I’ve been using for years … But first, a comment, and, then, the secret.

Comment:  I could have saved these researchers a lot of time and money because I know all about the impact of calories.  This started back in my college days when my evening “snack” consisted pretty much of Pizza, mexican food and Sugar Daddy’s. When my clothes got so tight that a new wardrobe was in the offing, I bought a book that gave me the calorie count for most foods, learned the numbers and started counting. This worked, and to this day, I still count.

However, while this obviously imposes a sort of reality-check, that’s not my “secret”.

My major secret is quite simple. Never tell yourself you can’t have anything (we’re talking food here). Because the minute you do, all you’ll focus on is eating that one thing – seriously and obsessively.  So, rather than denying yourself, tell yourself instead, “Well, you can certainly have this, but not until later.” What typically happens is that by later, you’ll be busy doing something else.  However, suppose later comes and you still want whatever, don’t say No!, just put it off again.  Now there are times, that — regardless of how hard you try, you just can’t wait.  Go ahead.  It’s okay.  No need for guilt. Do indulge — but commit in advance to how much. And, stick to it!

Well, you didn’t think it would be totally easy, right?

Now, here’s my minor secret. Chocolate. Very dark bitter chocolate (really best if you melt a bit in a microwave). Maybe one square or two — not the whole bar!  It cuts your desire for a sweet – because it is one – but because it’s bitter, you don’t eat too much of it. You lose the craving.

Last note. People are always saying things to me like, “Well, you’re lucky, you’re thin.” Okay, I do have “small bones,” but, guess what – this thin business takes real effort.  And, the mantra is:  “DON’T do today what you can do tomorrow (or, actually, five minutes from now).” If you try never saying no but waiting a few minutes instead, it becomes self-rewarding and natural –  a habit that’s a good one.

Try it, and let me know.

Harriett
Harriett@snoety.com

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*Learn more about this study in this week’s snoety News to Know, “Dieting:  Do calories count?”

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