Friday, March 27, 2009

Sandwich Challenge

Take American Idol, add a little Iron Chef and serve between two slices of bread. The Best in Class Sandwich Challenge is on! From now until May 4, kids aged 6 to 18 are invited to submit their original grilled, pressed, toasted or cold sandwich recipes to the makers of Arnold Bread. And it's not just a lot of bologna, winners will receive one of four grand prizes of $1500, plus an additional $5000 for their school.
The company's first kid-centered recipe contest was inspired by their new line of Arnold Soft 100% Natural Breads made with whole grains and without high fructose corn syrup, sucralose, artificial colors, artificial flavors or preservatives.

Contestants will be divided into the following age groups.
  • 6-8 years of age
  • 9-12 years of age
  • 13-15 years of age
  • 16-18 years of age

Twelve finalists - three from each age group - will be selected by a panel of judges. Recipes will be judged on:
  • (#1) Originality And Creativity - 50% - Uniqueness and creativity of recipe.
  • (#2) Healthfulness - 25% - Includes ingredients that are healthy and nutritious.
  • (#3)
    Perceived Ease of Preparation - 25% - Your Entry must be easy for users
    to prepare and include ingredients that are available everyday.
Will the judges be taste-testing every entry? An Arnold spokesperson says, "We've already received over 100 entries so we're not going to end up trying each sandwich, but will taste the sandwiches in contention for the finalist slots ... So far we've received some really different, fun creations!"

Then, once the judges have selected the most original, healthful, delectable dozen, it's your turn. Starting May 24th, the twelve finalist recipes will be posted online and the public will have a month to vote for their favorite.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Rentable Ear

Have you heard? March is International Listening Awareness Month. Defined by the International Listening Association as "the process of receiving, constructing meaning from and responding to spoken and/or non-verbal messages," listening is at the root of all communication.
If you're not lucky enough to have a first-rate listener on hand next time you feel like venting, there is a new service that can help. Consider confiding in one of the non-judgemental, polite and professional listeners at We Just Listen? For just a dollar a minute, any time of day or night, you can count on a supportive, receptive ear on the other end of the line. We Just Listen is completely anonymous. Even your listener won't know who you are.
"I've found that needing to talk and not being able to has been a major source of frustration in my life." says Robert Connerley, company founder. "We Just Listen offers something that can't always be attained from a friend or a loved one -- the opportunity to speak frankly and openly to
an unbiased empathetic listener."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sleep More; Weigh Less

If you are serious about losing those extra pounds, then it's time to get up off the couch - and go to bed. Getting too little sleep may increase hunger and affect the body's metabolism, making it more difficult to stick to sensible eating habits.
A commitment to weight loss should go hand in hand with an increase in sleep, according to
Michael Thorpy, MD, director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. "Sleep loss is associated with striking alterations in hormone levels that regulate the appetite and may be a contributing factor to obesity." said Thorpy.
Specifically, sleep loss has been shown to affect the secretion of cortisol, a hormone that regulates appetite. As a result, individuals who lose sleep may continue to feel hungry despite adequate food intake. Additionally, lack of sleep may interfere with the body's ability to metabolize carbohydrates and cause high blood levels of glucose. Excess glucose promotes the overproduction of insulin, which can promote the storage of body fat.
But, it's not just getting sleep that's important; it's the kind of sleep you're getting. For example, decreased amounts of restorative deep or slow-wave sleep ( non-REM sleep) have been associated with significantly reduced levels of growth hormone 1 --a protein that helps regulate the body's proportions of fat and muscle during adulthood.
"Sleep loss disrupts a complex and interwoven series of metabolic and hormonal processes and may be a contributing factor to obesity," said John Winkelman, MD, PhD, medical director of the Sleep Health Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "What most people do not realize is that better sleep habits may a be instrumental to the success of any weight management plan."
Unfortunately, many of us are not taking advantage of this snuggly weight-regulation technique. According to the National Sleep Foundation, in the past eight years, the number of Americans who sleep less than six hours a night jumped from 13% to 20%, and those who reportedsleeping eight hours or more dropped from 38% to 28%. Two out of every ten Americans sleep less than six hours a night. People sleeping too few hours report being too tired to work efficiently, to exercise or to eat healthy.

If you have trouble sleeping for more than a few weeks, or if sleep problems interfere with daily functioning, speak with your doctor.