KRON 4 | Beware of “Drinksgiving”

Did you know that Thanksgiving Eve has skyrocketed to be one of the biggest binge drinking days of the year? Some call it “Drinksgiving”, or “Blackout Wednesday”, and it’s become an extraordinary night for the bar industry. I explain to KRON 4 Morning News weekend anchor, Marty Gonzalez, the why’s and why not’s of this big drinking holiday.

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Drinkers and Drivers Beware!

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, high-risk binge drinking and DUI- related injuries increase by 33 percent. In some cities, there are more DUI’s and hospitalizations due to alcohol consumption during Drinksgiving. According to MADD, more people are KILLED during the Thanksgiving holiday than the Christmas holiday.

Habitual Homecoming 

Since around 2012, Thanksgiving Eve has become known as one of the biggest drinking holidays of the year — right up there with St. Patrick’s Day, Super Bowl Sunday, and July Fourth. Why? Thanksgiving Eve is a big holiday homecoming party. A lot of people are visiting their parents for the long weekend and kick off the event by meeting up (and drinking) with old friends.

Some bar owners say their business goes up as much as 400% compared to an average Wednesday. It’s considered the “holiday before the holiday”.

Most Popular Drink During Thanksgiving

  • Wine – about 65% of drinkers 
  • Beer – 20%
  • Mixed liquor drinks – about 15%

What is a Standard Drink?

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One standard drink is defined as 0.6 fl. oz. of “pure” alcohol.

In the U.S., one “standard” drink is defined as 0.6 fl. oz of “pure” alcohol which equates to:

  • 12-oz regular beer (about 5% alcohol; light beer about 4.2% alcohol)
  • 5-oz. glass of wine (about 12% alcohol) 
  • 1.5-oz. shot of distilled spirits (gin, rum, tequila, vodka, whisky, etc. — about 40% alcohol)

What’s Considered Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is defined as having the following within a two-hour period:

  • Women: 4 or more drinks
  • Men: 5 or more drinks

One bottle of wine = 25 ounces (five 5-oz servings)

On the average, 2 people can finish a full bottle of wine in about 2 to 2.5 hours.

Long-Term Health Dangers from Binge Drinking

  1. Heart Disease: Binge drinking can cause weakening of the heart muscles (“alcoholic cardiomyopathy”) even in 20- and 30-somethings and results in congestive heart failure.
  1. Blood Pressure: There is a definitive link between blood pressure and the amount of alcohol consumed. Binge drinking, in particular, has been                associated with dangerous surges in blood pressure.
  1. Cancer: Alcohol is a known carcinogen for areas of the head and neck — the mouth, esophagus, throat. Long-term binge drinking may also increase the risk for cancers of the liver and breast.
  1. Brain Damage: Binge drinking impacts the developing brain whereby a person in their 20’s is especially vulnerable to long-term memory loss and an inability to learn new skills in the years to come. That’s because the brain is continually changing and alcohol can interfere with those changes. Alcohol in large quantities is toxic to the delicate cells within the brain.
  1. Alcohol Poisoning (Death): From 2010 to 2012, alcohol poisoning was responsible for approximately 2,200 deaths each year, or six deaths per day. Most people who die from alcohol poisoning are white men ages 35 to 64, according to the CDC.
  1. Injuries: Per the CDC, binge drinking is responsible for 80,000 DEATHS in the U.S. each year.

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: More than 38 million U.S. adults binge drink. Know your limits, watch your intake, and consider the immediate and long-term health risks.

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KRON 4 | Motivation… What Makes YOU Move?

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If you have trouble sticking to your exercise program, and it’s not due to a lack of desire to get fit, then it could be because the exercise doesn’t fit your personality. Everyone has their own exercise goals and needs, that is, everyone has their own ‘fitness personality’. I go through the five distinct fitness personality types with KRON 4 Morning News Weekend anchor, Marty Gonzalez.

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Fitness Personality Types

  1. Predictable
  2. Methodical
  3. Competitive
  4. Social
  5. Dynamic

#1 – Predictable

  • Thrives on routine
  • Is a reliable, independent and stable exerciser
  • Goes to the gym and develops rigid schedules and regimes

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Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: Due to the lack of variation in your exercise program, you may hit a plateau by doing the same routine and become frustrated. By incorporating resistance, circuit or high intensity interval training and/or adding new activities each week, the positive physical changes may help reboot your enthusiasm.

#2 – Methodical

  • Likes organization, discipline and routine (but isn’t as rigid as the ‘Predictable’ exerciser)
  • Thrives on social interaction
  • Loves structured group exercise

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Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: Exercising alone would de-motivate you. You would benefit most from joining a gym, hiking/biking in groups, or taking a group fitness class.

Continue reading “KRON 4 | Motivation… What Makes YOU Move?”

KRON 4 | Tailgating 101: How to Party and Picnic Safely

Football and baseball are synonymous with tailgate parties, cooking outdoors, and picnics. That means you’ll need to pay special attention to menu planning, preparation, and safe food handling practices. Since you’re without a refrigerator and running water, here’s how to keep your food safe all day.

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What to Pack

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  1. Lots of clean utensils for preparing and serving safely cooked food.
  2. Insulated coolers to keep food protected and cold OR hot.
  3. A meat thermometer to be sure meat and poultry are cooked at high enough temperatures to destroy harmful bacteria and foods are reheated to safe-to-eat temperatures.
  4. fridge and freezer thermometer for coolers.
  5. An oven thermometer for hot insulators.
  6. An instant-read thermometer for reheating leftovers.
  7. Clean, wet, disposable cloths, hand sanitizer, and paper towels for cleaning hands and surfaces.
  8. Disposable gloves for cleaning or touching raw meat.
  9. Smaller containers or foil for leftovers.
  10. Water for cleaning.

Danger Zone for Cold Foods – Above 40ºF

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Fridge and Freezer Thermometer
  • Place a fridge and freezer thermometer in your cooler. Be sure your food stays at 40ºF or below.
  • Cold food should be stored in a well-chilled cooler.
  • Do not leave the food out for more than two hours (one hour if weather is above 90ºF).
  • Keep food in the shade and out of the sun.
  • Keep perishable cooked food, such as luncheon meat, cooked meat, chicken, and potato/pasta salads “refrigerator cold”, so keep it next to the ice.

Danger Zones for Hot Foods – Below 140ºF

  • Do NOT partially cook meat or poultry at home ahead of time, then transport the half-cooked food to the party/picnic. Doing so allows harmful bacteria to thrive and multiply.
  • Hot foods like chili, soup and stew need to stay hot (140ºF or above).
  • Eat hot food within two hours.
  • To transport and store piping hot foods, use an insulated container* like a cooler.
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Your cooler can become a hot insulator.

*How to prepare a hot insulator:

  1. Heat up some hot bricks. Wrap them in heavy-duty foil first, then heat up in a 300 degree oven for at least 30 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, warm up your insulator (e.g., a cooler):  Fill it with boiling water, let stand for a few minutes, and empty.
  3. Place newspaper and brown paper grocery bags on the bottom to insulate.
  4. Add your hot bricks.
  5. Oven thermometerLine the insulator with thick towels to further insulate and prevent melting the plastic if inserting a hot pot off the stove.
  6. Place an oven thermometer in the insulator to ensure it stays hot enough.
  7. Keep the insulated container closed and the food should stay hot (140º or above) for the whole game.

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How to Cool Large Pots of Hot Food

If you’re cooking hot food the night before (e.g., a pot of chili), it needs to be refrigerated after cooking. WARNING: Food needs to chill quickly to avoid bacteria growth during the cooling process. To do so, separate into smaller containers and set the containers in an ice bath. When cool, refrigerate.

Handling Raw Meat, Poultry and Fish

    • Cooking raw meat is risky unless all food handlers are diligent about keeping utensils, hands and surfaces clean to prevent cross-contamination.

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  • If transporting perishable raw meat (e.g., hamburger patties, sausages, chicken, fish), place it in an insulated cooler packed with several inches of ice, frozen gel packs, or containers of ice.
  • Wrap raw meat securely to prevent juices from cross-contaminating ready-to-eat food. Ideally, keep these raw foods in a separate cooler.
  • Use a meat thermometer to measure internal cooking temperatures.
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Use a meat thermometer when cooking raw meat.

Remember… a cooler is not a refrigerator. Keep the most perishable items next to the ice.

Safe minimum internal temperatures:

  • Beef, pork, lamb, veal steaks, roasts, and chops (145ºF)
  • Ground meats (160ºF)
  • Poultry (165ºF)
  • Leftovers (165ºF)

NOTE! If cooking marinated raw meat at the tailgate site, be sure not to reuse the marinade unless it’s boiled first to destroy harmful bacteria. Be sure cooked food is placed on a clean platter free of any raw meat juices.

Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: If you can’t keep the food hot while transporting it to the picnic/tailgate party site, cook the food the night before, and cool it in the refrigerator. On the day of the party/picnic, pack the food in a well-chilled cooler and reheat it to 165ºF on a camping stove.

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KRON 4 | Tricks to Beat Halloween Treating

Halloween parties, potlucks, and trick-or-treating can break even the most disciplined of dieters. Here are my top 10 tips to survive this annual sugar fest that I shared with KRON 4 Morning News Weekend anchor, Marty Gonzalez.

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The Top 10 Tricks

1. Buy trick-or-treat candy you don’t like. Buy a candy that won’t tempt you.

2. Buy candy the DAY OF Halloween. There will ALWAYS be candy left in the stores — unless of course, you’ll looking for your favorite candy! You may also save some money (thanks to clearance sales) as well as save on calories.

3. Eat dark chocolate — 85% or more of cacao. 

  • Milk chocolate contains more added sugar and fat. Due to their antioxidant content, deep dark chocolate can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by nearly 40 percent, and reduce the risk of dementia. 
  • Per a 2004 study published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition, dark chocolate improved blood flow in arteries.
  • Eat in moderation as it still packs plenty of calories. Limit to 1/2 to 1 ounce.

Note: White chocolate is highly processed which means it’s lost most or all of its antioxidants.

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4. Keep the wrappers. Keep evidence of what you eat in front of you. It’s easy to forget how many times you’ve dipped into the candy bowl.

  • Two studies showed that people tend to rely on visual cues, such as the number of chicken bones on their plates, to decide whether they’re full or still hungry.
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One handful is equivalent to 1,400 jumping jacks!

5. Avoid the candy dish. The candy dish encourages eating mindlessly — i.e., “grab-and-go syndrome”. 

  • Scientists believe you make hundreds of unconscious food decisions daily, but seeing food pushes you to consciously decide whether to eat it. Seeing it more often increases the likelihood you’ll choose to eat the food.
  • A handful (1.5 oz; about 1/4 cup or 1 shot glass) of M & M’s can pack on 210 calories. To burn off just one handful, the average size person would need to do 1,400 jumping jacks which would take about 24 minutes (1 jumping jack per second)!

6. Stay on track and meet your fitness goals on the 31st. Don’t let the occasion be an excuse to give up on your goals.    Continue reading “KRON 4 | Tricks to Beat Halloween Treating”

KRON 4 | Here’s Why You May Be Carrying a 40-lb Head

Occupational and recreational habits have led to real pains in the neck. Tension and poor posture rank high as the most common pain generators. KRON 4 Morning News anchor, Marty Gonzalez, helps me demonstrate the effects of poor posture and how to fight the aching forces of gravity.

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Forward Head Posture (FHP)

One of the most common postural problems is forward head posture — for both young and old. Forward head posture is also known as:

    • Text neck, computer/notebook neck
    • Sofa neck
    • Book or reader’s neck
    • Driver’s neck

KRON 4 PosturePain1Your head should sit directly on your neck and shoulders. Think of a golf ball on a tee. But the head is more like a bowling ball (weighing about 10 to 11 lbs) than a golf ball. Your neck and shoulders have to carry the burden of this “bowling ball” all day. Supporting and moving the human head is a challenging and tiring task.

Carrying your head is an isometric contraction — you’re actually “strength training”. An isometric exercise is a static hold where the joint angle and muscle length does not change during the muscle contraction. 

Posture_AdobeStock_113073952_croppedCorrect posture: Your ears line up over your shoulder blades.

Incorrect posture: Along with forward head posture, your shoulders also “round” and roll forward.

Causes of Forward Head Posture

Repetitive use of computers, TV, video games, trauma, and even backpacks/laptop bags have forced the body forward. Also, general muscle weakness from illness or aging can cause FHP —  that is, you’re too weak to hold your own head up anymore.

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When you’re holding your head forward (out of alignment), you are putting additional strain on your neck, shoulders, and upper back muscles. The result? Muscle fatigue and an aching neck and back. Here’s why…    Continue reading “KRON 4 | Here’s Why You May Be Carrying a 40-lb Head”