Healthier 2021: Laura’s Got Her Mojo Back!

This post appears as part of our Healthier 2021 series, in which we follow three WebMD team members as they strive to improve their health this year. You can follow their journeys here.

By Laura J. Downey

Whew! I made it past my birthday week. People told me that calories don’t count on your birthday, so I took the liberty to indulge a smidgen on that day. But the following day and the rest of the week, it was back to business for me. I stayed on track with my goals and refused to let anything get in my way.

For my birthday, I treated myself to a stay at a nice hotel. Before I hit the spa, I changed into my gym clothes and jumped on a Peloton bike. (Maybe I can challenge my colleague and fellow Peloton app user, Mark Spoor, to a friendly competition next month!) When I was finished, I walked on a treadmill for 30 minutes. On last year’s birthday getaway, I most certainly did not use the gym on my special day, so I consider this progress.

And when it was time for dinner, I ordered salmon, Brussels sprouts, truffled whipped potatoes, and lobster macaroni and cheese. I didn’t stuff my face and stopped eating when I felt full. The waiter asked me if I wanted dessert; I said no because I savored a mini red velvet cake in my hotel room earlier, and I did not want to overdo it. Normally, I would have said yes to dessert even if I just had sweets a few hours earlier. I see this as more progress, too.

The next morning when I ordered room service, I was intentional about my food choices. Instead of getting my usual waffle with a side of bacon, scrambled eggs topped with cheese, wheat toast and jam, I opted for an egg white omelet with a side salad to replace the home fries. Another small victory in my book.

Later in the week, I got together with a few of my sorority sisters for an intimate chef-prepared dinner. After our temperatures were checked at the door, I headed straight for the appetizers and filled my plate with salad. I steered clear of the cheese tray and was looking forward to eating the pan-seared red snapper, garlic French green beans, and roasted herb potatoes. More progress, right?

I will admit, some nights I struggled wanting to eat more because that’s the time I usually crave additional sugar. But I stayed strong and put my retainer in my mouth. (That’s one of the tricks I use to stop overeating.)

During the week, I continued running 3 minutes straight on the treadmill. There were a couple of days that I ran up to 5 minutes straight, and in those exact moments, I felt like I was getting my mojo back.

Every choice I made was intentional. Whether it was taking the stairs instead of the escalator or buying grapes and apples instead of chips, I chose to be a better me. And honestly, I like how I’m feeling on the inside. Because when I make unhealthy food choices, I usually feel physically and mentally weighed down. So I’m going to do my best to stay focused and keep my eyes on the prize.    

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Healthier 2021: Mark’s Fitness Fell Flat During Quarantine — Now He’s Making a Comeback

2020 was a wild ride. And for many of us, healthy eating, exercise, and self-care habits went flying off the rails.

If you’re feeling ready to get back on track, we’re with you. Three of our editorial team members are making big changes in the New Year, and they’ve offered to take us along for the ride. For the next few weeks, we’ll be following Laura as she ditches her sugar habit and jump-starts her fitness routine, and we’ll be rooting for our dynamic dieting duo, Bill and Mark, as they work hard to drop pounds and improve their health. Here’s to a healthier 2021!

By Mark Spoor

When I started at WebMD a bit more than 5 years ago, I was — let’s just say — a bit off-brand.

I wasn’t very active. I had spent the previous 12 months as a freelance writer and editor at home (where all my food is). Before that, I was in sports media, where they don’t let you eat anything that isn’t fried.

I was heavy and I knew it.

Since I wasn’t feeling great, and I had just started a new job at WebMD, I thought it’d make sense to get a physical, something I hadn’t done in years.

That appointment will forever be known as “my butt kicking.”

I was the heaviest I had ever been (by a good bit) and, as a bonus, I had prediabetes. That first part was bad enough, but the second part scared me straight. After all, I have a wife and a now-teenage daughter. I needed energy. More than that, I’d needed to make sure that I was going to be around for them. So I had to get back on track right away.

I went headlong into fitness. I was in the gym in our office building every weekday morning at 7. I never missed. I was a slave to routine. I’d start with 20-30 minutes of elliptical work, then follow that up with some weights and some core work. I could do all of that, get a good sweat on, and still be at my desk by 8:30. I had no excuses. I cleaned up the diet, too. Very strict on weekdays and a bit more lax (but not crazy) on the weekends.

The work paid off. I was getting compliments at the office and at home, my numbers were going down, and I felt great. What’s more, I was proud of myself for overcoming my health hurdles.

And then came COVID-19.

When we started working from home in March of 2020, we all thought it’d be for a week — 2 weeks tops. So I really wasn’t concerned that I’d get off track. I moved my workouts to the garage and went old-school: push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, planks, and some brisk walks around my neighborhood.

It all sounded good, but some important things were working against me. For one, I wasn’t really getting the cardio workout I needed. The walks weren’t enough, and I dislike running. Like, really dislike it.

Did I mention that I don’t like to run?

What’s worse, all my food was just a few steps away. Again, I thought it’d only be a week or two, so I thought a few snacks here and there wouldn’t matter.

Before long, the snacks became a habit, and the workouts weren’t as strong as they needed to be, so the numbers went back up. They aren’t as high as they were. My “thin clothes” still fit (albeit a bit differently), but I can tell a change, so frustration and disappointment have set in.

Hence, I start Round 2.

For Christmas, my wife bought me an exercise bike and a Peloton membership. I’ve worked on them for about a week. The sweat is back, but the food is still there, as is the stress of needing to turn things around, to say nothing of the COVID stress.

I need accountability. That’s where you guys — and this weekly blog — come in.

Each week, I’ll share what’s been going on in my journey of redemption. My friends Bill Kimm and Laura Downey will share their stories, too. In fact, as the weeks go on, you’ll probably read Bill and I engaging in some friendly trash talking. We’ve been friends for years and it’s just what guys do, particularly guys who worked in sports together.

One of the doctors here at WebMD, who’s actually a weight loss specialist, is gonna give me some pointers along the way, too.

We’ll all keep each other honest, and hopefully motivate you to take the journey with us.

Let’s get after it!

Mark Spoor is a senior health editor with WebMD. He spent more than 2 decades in sports media, working with groups like the NCAA, NASCAR, and the PGA TOUR. Most weekends, you can find him and his wife, Chris, cheering on their daughter’s softball team. 

While Mark has spent a lot of time with athletes, he’s not one, so fitness has always been a bit of a challenge. He hopes this endeavor will help him get a little closer to winning that battle.

You can follow Mark on Twitter @markspoor.


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Healthier 2021: Bill Lost Weight Before — Now He’s Starting Over

2020 was a wild ride. And for many of us, healthy eating, exercise, and self-care habits went flying off the rails.

If you’re feeling ready to get back on track, we’re with you. Three of our editorial team members are making big changes in the New Year, and they’ve offered to take us along for the ride. For the next few weeks, we’ll be following Laura as she ditches her sugar habit and jump-starts her fitness routine, and we’ll be rooting for our dynamic dieting duo, Bill and Mark, as they work hard to drop pounds and improve their health. Here’s to a healthier 2021!

By Bill Kimm

I have to start over.

It’s been so hard to accept. To say I’m disappointed in myself would be an understatement. 

In 2016, I lost 100 pounds. I was a runner — dozens of 5Ks and 10Ks, six half marathons, and then a marathon. I was in shape. I was skinny. I was in my 40s and the healthiest I had been in my adult life. I was determined that there was no way I was going back to the old me; this was who I wanted to be. But I got lazy. I stopped logging my every bite. I started making excuses to skip runs and workouts. Desserts and sweets became the norm again. And then, a pandemic hit, and any good habits I had left were thrown out the window.

It was a gradual gain, but here I am, at the start of 2021 weighing more than 250 pounds and barely able to run 2 miles (when 3-plus used to be a light day). It’s a hard pill to swallow, but — I have to start over.

As I wrestle with yet another weight loss/”time to get fit” chapter of my life, I’ve tried to put some thought into why this happened, how it happened, and what lessons I can apply to my journey this time around.

1. Accept My New Reality (and be OK with it). When I told my mom I failed, she quickly countered, “You didn’t fail, you just — took a step back. It happens.” She’s right. I’m not a failure. What I’ve accomplished in my 40s — I’m impressed with myself! I took a break, and there is nothing wrong with that. The sooner I quit beating myself up and come to terms with where I am, the easier it will be to find my self-discipline again.

2. Mental Is More Important Than Physical. It’s natural and very easy to fall into a funk and even become depressed when you realize you’ve gone backward. Most of my clothes don’t fit anymore; I’m out of breath easier; I have body pain I didn’t use to have; I see myself in pictures and I’m disgusted; and the heaviest burden: I’m disappointed in myself. All of those thoughts and realities lead me right back into horrible habits and poor food choices. If I want to be healthy again, I need to first focus on and improve my mental and emotional health.

3. I Have The Answer Key. This is perhaps the biggest realization and helps me with No. 1 and No. 2. I’ve done this before. I know how to eat properly; I know how to exercise; I know what to expect when I go for a run for the first time; I know what a 1,700-calorie diet looks and feels like. I’m not going into this blind; I know what worked for me and what didn’t. I’m going into this with a huge advantage!

4. I Have Some Exciting and Fun Accountability. Sharing my journey through this blog will definitely keep me focused. But even better, I have my friend, co-worker, and fellow blogger Mark Spoor as some friendly competition. There will be good natured trash-talking, but there will also be some much-needed support and encouragement with someone going through similar experiences. Challenges are always easier when someone is along for the ride with you.

I have to start over. As difficult as it is to say, it’s my reality and I accept it. Let the weight loss and fitness journey begin (again)!

Bill is the Senior Manager of Funded Content Strategy for WebMD. He’s been trying to find balance with his weight, exercise, and overall wellness for 15-plus years. As Bill approaches 50, he understands how important it is to keep good healthy habits and take better care of himself. He has the support of his wife and two children (ages 22 and 15) and hopes this blog humanizes the difficulties of weight loss in middle age and offers hope to others who are experiencing the same. For more on his journey, follow him on Instagram


and on TikTok



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Healthier 2021: Laura’s Ready to Make Some Changes

2020 was a wild ride. And for many of us, health eating, exercise, and self-care habits went flying of the rails.

If you’re feeling ready to get back on track, we’re with you. Three of our editorial team members are making big changes in the New Year, and they’ve offered to take us along for the ride. For the next few weeks, we’ll be following Laura as she ditches her sugar habit and jump starts her fitness routine, and we’ll be rooting for our dynamic dieting duo, Bill and Mark, as they work hard to drop pounds and improve their health. Here’s to a Healthier 2021!

By Laura J. Downey

It’s a new year, and I’ve got to make some changes.

I’ve done it before. A couple of years ago, before I turned 40, I told myself enough is enough. The time for hiding behind oversized clothing and people in photos had come to an end. So I joined WW (formerly Weight Watchers) and committed to the program. Twelve months later, I lost 23 pounds. Although I didn’t hit my goal weight, since then, I’ve been trying to keep the weight off.

When COVID-19 surfaced in the U.S., I stopped going to boot camp classes and started taking walks in the neighborhood. As much as I enjoy the fresh air, I’m definitely not pushing myself as much as I would with a trainer shouting, “Drop and give me 20 push-ups, Laura!” Months later, my body just doesn’t feel the same as it used to, and in the past few weeks when I’ve gotten on the treadmill to run, I could barely get through 5 minutes. Before March 2020, I was able to run 15 minutes straight.

Being at home more meant finding things to occupy my time. I started baking treats like brownies, shortbread cookies, and cakes to cheer people up. I would drop off the goodies to friends who were having a hard time coping with the pandemic. It put a smile on their faces but ended up putting the pounds on me because I started eating whatever I didn’t give away.  I had to ask myself if I was eating because I really wanted something sweet or if I was eating out of boredom.

My eating has gotten especially bad recently. Knowing I’d be committing myself to healthier habits after the New Year, I’ve been eating everything in sight. I think it was a form of self-sabotage. I went to McDonald’s twice for breakfast (I ordered my favorite, a sausage biscuit), I ate two huge slices of red velvet cake that a co-worker made for me (how could I turn that down?!), I made chocolate chip cookies from scratch, and I ate an entire bag of Pirate’s Booty in one sitting.

I’ve been out of control — I need a reboot. I want to start eating healthier and feeling better about myself. This doesn’t just mean looking good on the outside and dropping a few pounds. This for me means being intentional with my food choices (I need more vegetables in my life!) and choosing to live a healthier lifestyle altogether.

I am still on WW and I do a weekly check-in every Saturday morning. I will continue to do that and attend group meetings for support. Plus, my job offers me access to a health coach, and I plan to call them at least once a month for some guidance. It’s nice to have accountability since clearly I don’t hold myself accountable as much as I should.

Now, this doesn’t mean I’m not going to eat sweets anymore. I’m not doing a complete overhaul here, people! But I am going to make smarter choices and I am going to push myself to be a better me. Every new year, my sister and I create our own personal slogans. This year, mine is: “Get the job done in 2021.”   

Laura J. Downey is the executive editor of WebMD Magazine. She hopes this blog will help others see that every small step can lead to a more well-balanced, healthful, and fulfilling life. For more on her journey, follow her on Instagram



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8 weeks to better sleep

The biggest takeaway from 2020: the importance of a good night’s rest. As more of us turn night owls, battling stress, isolation and work, here’s some help to reboot your routine.

Last year, we lost sleep: working at odd hours, worrying about the future, about falling ill, about financial security. The time we saved on the commute or evenings out didn’t always translate into better work-personal life balance. Instead, confinement and anxiety turned many of us into night owls.

Insomnia is never good news. While it is a nascent subject, sleep research tells us that without the right amount of zzzs (different for each of us) our reaction time slows down, our attention becomes short and scattered, and we risk the increase of serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia and Alzheimer’s. It is not just social distancing that’s becoming the new norm, it is tiredness from lack of sleep, too.

Even as studies look into sleep as the latest casualty of the pandemic — a recent review of Covid-19 sleep research by Northumbria University, of over 50,000 people from 13 countries, indicated that around 40% have experienced sleep problems — research is exploring if melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle, could play a role in the fight against Covid-19 (preliminary research was published in PLOS Biology, the peer-reviewed scientific journal). The bottom line, sleep is key.

So this year, why not pay attention to the night rather than the day? Not only will it help you get up on the right side of the bed, but there are also added benefits such as better cognition and memory consolidation. Dr Abhinav Singh, Medical Director of the Indiana Sleep Center in the US, who has practised sleep medicine for 15 years, gives The Hindu Weekend a two month, step-by-step guide to better sleep.

8 weeks to better sleep

Week 1: Turn off the (night) light

The bulb heralded the death of sleep

Thomas Edison patented the light bulb in 1879, and while we can’t blame him for today’s light pollution, “light has been rapidly invading our nights”, says Dr Singh. Physiologically, our bodies are not designed to experience light at night, as it upsets the circadian rhythm, the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. “When the sun sets, it is a signal for the hormone melatonin to cyclically rise. When you expose yourself to bright artificial light, it suppresses your melatonin,” he says.

Take away

* Don’t wear sunglasses in the morning. Getting sunlight between 9 am and 12 pm optimises the wake-sleep cycle.

* Use motion sensors at floor level, rather than having a night light.

* Stare at the dark sky to help your pupils dilate and melatonin to kick in, before you head to bed.

Week 2: Dull down screens

What junk food is to nutrition, screens are to sleep

Blue light impacts wakefulness and sleepiness, suppressing sleep rhythms. “If you must expose yourself to light, the yellow is a touch better than the tube light [white light has a higher spectrum of blue light],” says Dr Singh. And for screen time, use the built-in filters to block the blue spectrum.

Take away

* Set devices to night mode at 7 pm and be screen free from about 9.30 pm onwards until bedtime.

8 weeks to better sleep

Week 3: Perform sleep ‘fourplay’

Look to babies who can sleep anywhere

We are born with the intrinsic knowledge of how to eat and sleep, but “as we grow older, we fight the feeling of sleep with substitutes: the access to caffeine, screens”. Dr Singh suggests we follow zeitgebers (natural cues that help our circadian rhythm) such as “the first rays of the sun [being a] signal to the brain that it is time to wake up”.

Take away

* Finish your last meal with the setting of the sun, or about three hours before sleep. Avoid heavy meals, caffeine, alcohol, or any stimulating activity that revs up your brain in the evening.

* It is possible to put your body into sleep mode. An hour before bedtime, take a warm shower to dilate the blood vessels. This makes you lose heat from the skin, so the core (head, neck, chest, abdomen) cools down, signalling the body to release more melatonin.

* For 15 minutes each, journal, read a book or listen to an audio book, meditate or do a slow breathing exercise.

You know you’re getting quality sleep…

  • When you fall asleep and wake up naturally, without an alarm clock in the morning or a stimulant like alcohol at night. Feeling an afternoon lull is normal, but if you don’t feel refreshed with a 20 minute nap, you’re not rested well at night.

Week 4: Give anxiety a chair

Research says sleep deprived people perform worse on tasks involving alertness and cognition than those intoxicated with alcohol

A stressful episode during the day will make the body release cortisol, a stress hormone that wakes us up. “It chops your sleep up, so [the hours in bed] is never good quality,” says Dr Singh. Higher cortisol levels also lead to disruptive dreaming during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.

Take away

* Aerobic exercise, meditation, listening to soft music, all reduce cortisol levels.

* Schedule worry, to offload the brain. Dedicate a time to it — 15 or 20 minutes — to jot down your troubles. You could designate a space or chair to it, so you take the time to acknowledge it and then move on.

8 weeks to better sleep

Week 5: Take the exercise superdrug

It lowers everything from diabetes to anxiety

Exercise — “that will get your heart rate to above 120 beats per minute, about 30 minutes, five times a week” — is anti-diabetes, cholesterol lowering, anti-hypertensive, anxiety controlling, an anti-depressant, appetite regulator, and a sleep promoting agent. In terms of mental exercise, it is OK to do a crossword or Sudoku close to bedtime, “as long as you’re not fighting to win”. A gentle hobby like playing the piano, or unwinding with a gentle walk, is good too. Similarly, intimacy is a window to sleep.

Take away

* Wrap up exercise before 6 pm (before sunset), because it increases cortisol levels.

* Even if you’ve had a bad night’s rest, it is best to do some form of exercise with a reduced intensity, because you’re using it as a zeitgeber.

Week 6: Regulate environment temperature

The body warms up in the daytime and cools down at night to prompt sleep

A couple of hours before bedtime, the body’s temperature begins to drop, reaching its lowest point at about 4 am (the deepest phase of sleep), and then begins to rise. In its cool down phase, the body sends its warmth out to the extremities (arms and legs), so you may find that in winter, your feet are warm at night, but cold during the day.

Take away

* A colder room drinks the heat from the body, promoting sleep. Sleep promoting temperatures range from 15 to 20 degrees Celsius. “The idea is to just feel cold enough to want a sheet or light blanket,” says Dr Singh.

8 weeks to better sleep

Week 7: Skip the wine, wind down with water

Coffee takes six hours to break down into half, so a potent cup at 8 am will still see half of it in your system at 2 pm, and a quarter at 8 pm.

Staying hydrated through the day is important, because symptoms of dehydration — headaches, dry mouth — may wake you up at night. Heaters, some medicines (like allergy and blood pressure), and breathing through the mouth can also cause a dry mouth. Snoring at night or having a bladder condition (like in menopausal women), could also rouse you. If this is happening regularly, do check with your doctor.

Gift yourself

  • Are you trading sleep for more Netflix time? You might think you need the stress-buster after a long day, but it only feeds the cycle of tiredness. In a New York Times article, Dr Alex Dimitriu, founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine clinic in the US, recommended getting yourself to sleep early by having “something fun or desirable to look forward to in the morning”, before work begins. It can be anything from coffee, listening to the news, or uninterrupted smartphone access.

Take away

* Taper off drinking water after 7 pm to have uninterrupted sleep. Later in the evening, green tea or herbal teas work better than coffee.

* Alcohol triggers snoring, and while it is a sedative that helps in the initial hours of sleep (acting in the same place as Valium does in the brain), in the second half, it interrupts slumber. If you’re drinking, three to four hours before bedtime is a good gap, and not more than a couple of small drinks.

Week 8: Breathe to kill cortisol

Yoga and pranayama activate the parasympathetic (rest system) in the body

A block of five hours of good sleep is better than eight hours of broken sleep. Social jet lag — coined by German researcher, Till Roennenberg, in 2006 — is the concept of not sleeping enough during the week and trying to catch up on it over the weekend. “Sleep loss is sleep loss. You cannot drive on a road with potholes five days a week, and on day six and seven, drive on an expressway,” says Dr Singh, because the damage is already done.

Take away

* Pranayama exercises the lungs, so build it up like an athlete would do a particular muscle. Studies haven’t clearly established its benefits, but it does help with reducing anxiety.

* If you do have a bad night’s rest, the next day, aim to get to bed at the same time as usual.

* A short nap (less than 40 minutes) is OK in the afternoon if you need one.

8 weeks to better sleep

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Tech News

Apple’s New Privacy Policy Explains Its App ‘Nutrition Labels’

Apple is launching its new privacy policies and upcoming apps will come with a label to tell you about the data that they’re collecting. The company already announced this earlier this year, and now it’s updating its published policies so that users are more aware of the decisions. But some app makers say this gives Apple an unfair advantage, and that it’s not protecting user privacy, but rather, monopolising it. Apple has also promised that it will manually review reports of apps that don’t represent their data collection properly, that could render the exercise moot, given the scale of the App Store.

Apple’s new privacy page, updated on Monday night, used to just talk about app permissions, but now it clearly talks about user data and promises easy-to-read summaries. In a virtual briefing, Apple explained that this will be a glanceable, easy-to-use summary of developers’ self-reported privacy practices.

“We are now starting to publish this information for users across all our platforms. This reporting of privacy processes is part of the app submission for all users, including Apple for its own apps,” an Apple executive explained. 

Unfair treatment?

However, not all developers agree. Last week, WhatsApp criticised the move, and said that mandating “privacy nutrition labels” on the App Store gives Messages, Apple’s pre-installed messaging app, an unfair advantage. Apple responded by saying that all of its apps will also get labels on the Web — although of course, since they are not on the App Store, a user will have to go searching to come across this information.

Apple, however, also stressed that this process is still developing. “It’s creating an easy-to-use system for all apps, and will evolve over time,” the Apple executive said.

“This new privacy information is required for all apps in all of our app stores — including iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS — when developers submit updates or new versions,” the company added. “This reporting of privacy practices is part of the app submission process for all developers, and the same questions must be answered by every app developer globally, including Apple.”

The App Store label will show the type of data an app is collecting, and whether that will be used to track the user, and also whether this data will be linked to a person. If your information is used in an app and then linked to data from another app or website or platform, Apple sees it as tracking. And data linked to a user is tied to your identity via your user account on the app, your device, or other details.

Relying on self-reporting

Going forward, developers will be able to create and update the labels on the developer portal — there is a form that contains all the information they can fill, and this will then be displayed on the App Store. This information is not going to be verified by Apple, the executive explained — instead, it will rely on community reports.

“We will rely on self-reporting, this works well for a number of things, like Age Ratings,” Apple said. “If we come to hear or understand that there might be inaccuracy, we will reach out to that developer to try and understand if there is an inaccuracy.”

Gadgets 360 clarified that this means Apple will not take automated action against a developer if there are user reports about data collection that is not on the nutrition label. An executive said, “we will personally speak to them,” in case of any inaccuracies.

Is MacBook Air M1 the portable beast of a laptop that you always wanted? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Best Foods for Lung Cancer

There’s no special menu plan that will cure or even treat lung cancer. But you can give yourself a leg up during treatment and beyond by picking smart eats that will support your body and help keep up your strength.

Instead of thinking of food as a “cancer fighter,” it can be helpful — and maybe less overwhelming — to step back and think about getting good overall nutrition, says Alicia Romano, a registered dietitian at Tufts Medical Center and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.

“Eating a well-balanced diet has the potential to aid in treatment tolerance, maintain strength during treatment, and speed recovering,” she says.

A key point to remember, though, is that the “right” diet isn’t a one-size-fits-all prescription. The foods that work well for your type and stage of lung cancer may not work for everyone else with the disease.

“Every lung cancer is different,” says Zhaoping Li, MD. She’s chief of the Division of Clinical Nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles, and an investigator at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“The best diet for you depends on your personal goals. If you’re about to have surgery for lung cancer, you have different nutritional needs than when you’re recovering from treatment.”

Still, there are general guidelines you can follow as you make your diet choices.

Foods to Choose

As you plan meals and grocery shop, here are some nutrition tips to take with you:

Get enough protein. Your body needs protein for cell and tissue repair. “Protein is the building block of your immune system and essential for your organs to be in good shape,” Li says. She recommends aiming for about 20 grams per meal. For lean meats such as chicken, fish, or turkey, this means a piece about the size of a deck of cards. Other sources of protein include:

  • Eggs
  • Low-fat dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese)
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Beans
  • Soy foods (miso, tofu, edamame)

Put plants on your plate. Colorful fruits and vegetables add powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients to your diet, which can help ward off cell damage. Whether your fruits and veggies are raw or cooked, the key is variety. Fill up on about five different servings a day. For most fruits and vegetables, a serving is about 1 cup; for leafy greens, it’s 3 cups.


Go with whole grains. You need carbohydrates to help keep your energy up. Get your carbs from whole-grain sources instead of the refined kind. Good options include:

Include healthy fats. All fats aren’t created equal. Omega-3 fatty acids and other healthy fats help support your brain and nervous system and reduce inflammation in your body. These choices fit the bill:

Keep it simple. You don’t need to overhaul your entire diet, Romano says. “If you’re feeling well — no treatment side effects, no weight loss or poor appetite — focus on adding quality nutrition foods to your diet.” She suggests easy changes like adding a piece of fruit as a snack, subbing half your grains for whole grains, or choosing fish as a protein option once a week instead of meat.

Eating Tips for Treatment Side Effects

Some of the most common side effects of lung cancer treatments include nausea, lack of appetite, weight loss, dehydration, and fatigue.

You can help manage these discomforts with your diet:

  • For nausea: Eat frequent small meals. If strong smells and odors set off your nausea, choose bland and low-fat foods.

  • For lack of appetite: Eat snack-sized portions every few hours, about four to six times a day. Add calorie-dense foods to all your meals, such as peanut butter, olive oil, avocado, butter, or cheese. These will give you a lot of calories in a small volume. Ask your doctor or dietitian about adding liquid nutrition supplements to help add calories to your diet.

  • For weight/muscle loss: Getting enough calories is key. Small meals more often and calorie-dense foods help, as well as protein-rich foods such as eggs, poultry, fish, dairy, meats, peanut butter, and tofu.

  • For fatigue: Prep freezer meals when you have energy, so you have ready-made dishes you can simply heat and eat. Keep nutritious snacks on hand for when meals feel like too much. Stock up on granola bars, nuts, cottage or string cheese, peanut butter, yogurt, and fruit for east-to-grab healthy calories in a pinch.

  • For dehydration: Aim for at least 64 ounces of decaffeinated fluids each day. If you can’t seem to stomach plain water, try sports drinks, juice, or milk.



Zhaoping Li, MD, professor of medicine and chief, Division of Clinical Nutrition, University of California, Los Angeles; investigator, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.     

Alicia A. Romano, registered dietitian, Tufts Medical Center; spokesperson, Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.

American Lung Association: “Nutrition and Lung Cancer Treatment.”

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Pearlpoint Nutrition Services: “Lung Cancer.”

Mayo Clinic: “1-2-3 approach to eating fruits and vegetables.”

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “Choose Healthy Fats.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Nutrition During Lung Cancer Treatment.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Headline USA

What is “Baby Led Weaning” and how does it affect the baby’s nutrition and health | The State

Commonly, weaning the baby is an activity carried out by the mother as the time approaches for the baby to consume something other than breast milk. It is the traditional way of weaning our children, but not the only one.

The Baby Led Weaning It is an alternative mode of weaning where the child sets the rhythm of his feeding transition, according to Bioguia. If you want to know more about this, we invite you to read what we have prepared for you.

What is the Baby Led Weaning?

The Baby Led Weaning is a feeding modality where the baby guides himself in the transition between breastfeeding and the consumption and intake of solid foods. This is a break with respect to the traditional modality, where the mother has a more leading role.

This modality starts from the idea that babies are able to feed themselves, and that parents should only provide the most appropriate foods so that the baby does not suffer mishaps while exploring the new foods in front of him.

A baby who practices this modality would not only be able to eat solid foods on his own, but also he would also know how much to eat from what he has around him.

According to nutritionist Gill Ripley, the ideal to start with this modality is offer the baby easy-to-chew foods that are already part of the parents’ diet. This streamlines the process, and also gives them an idea of ​​how likely your child is to be able to digest it.

Advantages of Baby Led Weaning

In this process, the baby can share the table with the parents at mealtime. Source: Shutterstock

One of the main advantages of Baby Led Weaning is that Babies may be more accepting of food flavors and textures. In this way they would accept them better with respect to the traditional modality based on their own experience.

On the other hand, babies would eat the exact amount of food their bodies need, and they would also absorb the exact nutritional intake that your system requests for the moment in question.

It is also worth indicating that This feeding method encourages autonomy in the baby while he feeds guided by his own curiosity, deciding to some extent what he likes and what he does not like.

Babies also reach know the characteristics of the food separately and not in the form of triturates or mixtures, which is characteristic of the traditional method of weaning.

Finally, since the baby usually eats the same as adults, it is an opportunity to take him to eat at the table as a kind of equal to his parents.

Not all foods can or should be offered to the infant in this way, so we have to be careful about the food that we will give to our babies so that the Baby Led Weaning does not give complications to the baby or to us.

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Technology US

Apple will require privacy “nutrition labels” from developers starting December 8th

Apple debuted a collection of privacy features when it announced iOS 14, but the company’s privacy “nutrition label” concept did not arrive with the launch of the new operating system in September. Today, Apple announced that developers will be required to provide the information for those “labels” starting December 8th.

Like a normal nutrition label that lists ingredients and caloric content, these privacy “labels” should give you a better idea of what’s going on inside an app before you download it from the iOS App Store or Mac App Store. The labels will list what information an app collects, and present that visually on the app page, much like looking at the backs of labels in a grocery store.

A mockup of an iPhone displaying the App Store labels
Image: Apple

The catch, of course, is that while developers are required to disclose this information to continue releasing and updating apps, all of the information developers provide will be self-reported, which could still leave some possibility for foul play.

Apple’s Developer site cautions that developers will be required to disclose all the information they and their third-party partners collect and keep their “labels” up to date. For example, if an app needs to know your precise location to work, you’ll know that before you even download it. If GPS functionality is ever removed from the app, a new label will have to reflect that. Apple does offer some exceptions when these label disclosures are optional, but the important thing to know that if an app intends to track you consistently, you’ll know about it before it’s on your phone.

Providing this information is an easier-to-digest way to keep users informed on how exactly their phone is being used to track them. Apple already aggressively manages permissions inside apps, but these labels could be an even earlier line of defense. Developers can start submitting their apps’ information now ahead of the December 8th deadline.

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Big Story

Study reveals exercise, nutrition regimen benefits physical, cognitive health

Researchers studied the effects of a 12-week exercise regimen on 148 active-duty Air Force airmen, half of whom also received a twice-daily nutrient beverage that included protein; the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA; lutein; phospholipids; vitamin D; B vitamins and other micronutrients; along with a muscle-promoting compound known as HMB.

They found that both groups improved in physical and cognitive function, with added gains among those who regularly consumed the nutritional beverage, the team reports.

The findings appear in the journal Scientific Reports.

Participants were randomly assigned to the two groups. The exercise regimen combined strength training and high-intensity interval aerobic fitness challenges. One group received the nutritional beverage and the other consumed a placebo beverage that lacked the added nutrients. Neither the researchers nor the participants knew who received the nutrient-enriched beverage or placebo.

“The exercise intervention alone improved strength and endurance, mobility and stability, and participants also saw increases in several measures of cognitive function. They had better episodic memory and processed information more efficiently at the end of the 12 weeks. And they did better on tests that required them to solve problems they had never encountered before, an aptitude called fluid intelligence,” said Aron Barbey, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who led the study with postdoctoral researcher Christopher Zwilling.

“Those who also consumed the nutritional supplement saw all of these improvements and more. For example, they were better able to retain new information in their working memory and had quicker responses on tests of fluid intelligence than those taking the placebo,” Barbey said.

Physical power increased in both groups as a result of the physical training, Zwilling said.

“Power is a measure of physical fitness that is based on several factors, such as how fast a participant can pull a heavy sledge over a set distance, how far they can toss a weighted ball, and how many pushups, pullups or situps they can perform in a set time period,” he said.

The physical training reduced participants’ body fat percentage and increased their oxygen-uptake efficiency or VO2 max. The airmen also performed better than they had initially on several measures of cognitive function. The most notable of these was an increase in the accuracy of their responses to problems designed to measure fluid intelligence.

“But we also wanted to know whether taking the supplement conferred an advantage above and beyond the effect of exercise,” Zwilling said. “We saw that it did, for example in a relationship to resting heart rate, which went down more in those who took the supplement than in those who didn’t.”

Participants who consumed the nutritional beverage also saw greater improvements in their ability to retain and process information. And their reaction time on tests of fluid intelligence improved more than their peers who took the placebo, the researchers found.

“Our work motivates the design of novel multimodal interventions that incorporate both aerobic fitness training and nutritional supplementation, and illustrates that their benefits extend beyond improvements in physical fitness to enhance multiple measures of cognitive function,” Barbey said.

The U. of I. team conducted the intervention with study co-author Adam Strang, a scientist in the Applied Neuroscience Branch of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, along with his colleagues in the Air Force Research Laboratory. The U. of I. team also worked with research fellow and study co-author Tapas Das and his colleagues at Abbott Nutrition, who led the design of the nutritional beverage, which is a mixture of nutrients targeting both muscle and brain. The specially designed beverage provided ingredients that previous studies have shown are associated with improved physical cognitive function.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)

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