Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

ID-10036733As the legalization of marijuana gains momentum, more data pours in that is NOT good news. Here are some of the findings:

Sometimes, marijuana is addictive. If you begin as a teen, you have a higher chance of developing an addiction. According to the National Institute of Drug Use, about 9% who experiment will become addicted. The risk rises to 17% if you are in your teens when you begin using.

One of the problems is that today’s marijuana is much more potent than pot of the 1970s. Thus, more people are getting in to car accidents and overdosing. And if you get your hit from cookies or food, the impact is often felt later, causing people to consume more because they don’t feel the immediate effects.

Furthermore, the developing brain doesn’t do well with pot. This includes all people under the age of 25. Researchers point to a specific decline in IQ and cognitive functioning. Judgment is impaired and teens take more risks.

Also, consider the association of pot smoking and  a variety of lung problems–inflammation of the airways, chronic bronchitis, and an increase risk of respiratory infections and pneumonia.

Right now, the news isn’t good. We are adding another health issue to an already growing problem with other drugs including alcohol. So, if you haven’t tried pot, don’t. Just because it is legal, doesn’t mean it is harmless!

The news that Robin Williams had died, hit me hard. This incredible funny man was introduced to me as an alien on Mork and Mindy. Immediately, one could see the quick wit of a comedian destined for stardom. He made us laugh! Then he broadened his stage to movies and made us cry, cheer and feel intense emotions. Both laughter and sadness were emotions he managed to bring out in all of us. And now, as it appears he died at this own hand, we feel sadness as we remember his laughter.

Williams, like so many people, battled depression. We know in 2006, he checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation center after 20 years of sobriety. Alcohol and drug use often co-exist with depression. He talked openly about his cocaine addiction during the 1970s and 1980s. We know that in 2009, Williams underwent aortic value replacement surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. Depression is not uncommon for people with heart disease. Depression can increase the disease or heart disease can cause depression.

We know that as late as June of this year, Williams went back to rehab once again to deal with his sobriety.  And we know that as of late, he was struggling with severe depression.

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S. It is highest among the young and the elderly. More men complete suicide than women. The risk of suicide with major depression is about 20 times greater than the general population.

Warning signs of depression include:

Sad or depressed mood

Weight gain or loss, change in appetite

Restlessness, agitation, irritability

Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, guilt

Problems with thinking and concentration, indecisiveness

Thoughts of death, suicide attempts or a plan to die

If you know someone struggling with depression, get him or her help. Depression is treatable but less than 25% of those depressed receive adequate treatment according to the World Health Organization.

Sadly, Williams didn’t win his battle with depression and we say goodbye. He’ll be remembered for all the laughter he gave to so many.

 

ID-100188767Are you on the go and too busy to cook? Before you pull in to that chain restaurant for a quick meal, consider the calorie count of some of the meals. You might be a little sticker shocked when it comes to the high count.

One group hands out awards for those meals that go over the top in terms of calorie count. The Center for Science in the Public Interest gives out the Extreme Eating Awards for meals at chain restaurants with the highest calories, fat, sugar and salt.

This is one award you probably do not want to win. Still, we have a winner!

And the winner is…..

Red Robin’s Monster Burger Meal- This meal is a double burger with bottomless fries and a large milkshake. The meal boasts a whopping 3540 calories! Just to give you an idea of how hard you would have to work to burn off those calories, try walking for 12 hours ! Or rethink your order!

In the past, winners have weighed in around 1500 calories, so the Monster Burger Meal really takes the cake. Well, not the cake. The Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake at the Cheesecake Factory is about 1500 calories!

Other notables were Famous Dave’s spare ribs plate, Joe Crab Shack’s seafood platter and Maggiano’ s Little Italy’s steak dish.

Keep in mind that you could order skinny versions of these meals. Simple substitutions like a lettuce wrapped turkey burger with steamed broccoli would make a big difference. And most of these chains have skinny menu options that won’t use up your entire calorie count for the day. So be aware of the monster within, or in this case, the monster without, and make a good choice towards your health.

ID-10084065My daughter and I made a Starbucks stop the other day. She was in the mood for an Iced Caramel Macchiato Coffee and I wanted a Caramel Latte.

So we pulled up our fast food app and looked at the drink calories in our choices.

Iced Caramel Macchiato — Grande Whole Milk–233 calories,  30 carbs

Make it nonfat and it reduces to 173 calories.

And I made my Grande Caramel Latte Skinny with no whip–130 calories, 0 g, 9 carbs

Compare this to the Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino that weighs in at 480 calories.

Maybe this doesn’t sound like much, but reducing the fat and sugar in drinks takes the calories and carb count down, leaving you more room to eat a little something extra.

And liquid calories just don’t give us that feeling of fullness that we need to prevent overeating. Purdue University research supports the idea that people who drink their calories tend to overeat later in the day. Apparently, our bodies don’t register liquid calories the same as solid ones.

Here is what a study reported in the American Journal for  Clinical Nutrition found:

  • Cutting 100 calories a day from liquids resulted in weight loss of about 0.5 pound (0.3 kilogram) at 6 and 18 months.
  • Cutting 100 calories a day from solid foods resulted in a loss of about 0.1 pound (0.06 kilogram) at 6 and 18 months.
  • Eliminating 1 serving, or 12 ounces (335 mL), of sugar-sweetened beverages a day resulted in the greatest weight loss — 1 pound (0.5 kilogram) at 6 months and 1.5 pound (0.7 kilogram) at 18 months.

So if you are trying to lose those 5 extra pounds, what you drink may be more important than what you eat. For example, I love the peach milkshakes at Chick-fil-A, but considering the whopping 850 calories and 21 grams of fat, I am passing! I’ll use those 850 calories on some solid food!

Maybe change out that morning protein shake for eggs and turkey bacon. Eat an apple versus drinking apple juice. Also, know the liquid calories in many of the popular drinks.

Consider your liquid calorie intake, reduce it and see if you start losing weight.