Snow, Snow, Go Away!

Have you ever wished you had the Fairy Godmother skills to simply make something disappear? That’s how I currently feel about snow. I would love to bippity-boppity-boop and not hear from it for the rest of the season. Over the weekend, the city got 26.8 inches of snow – just 0.1 inches shy of reaching the record accumulation!

The issues snowstorm Isaac has cause are wide-ranging, and include public transit delays and the fact that people in Queens haven’t seen the local streets in days. Folks who have a risky time getting to work should take the day off. And if you can’t make it to the nearest store or market for dinner, I recommend ordering take-out. It’s more important than ever during these times to stay safe.

However, the unwelcome white stuff has also been causing some issues around the city more serious than frigid toes and occasional shivering. Five deaths have been reported across the city due to heart attacks induced by shoveling snow. If you have to shovel snow around your home, be very careful and have someone nearby to call for help if needed.

If you’re an active, young adult who still feels invincible against the snow, the city is looking to temporarily hire people to help clear snow from city-owned properties. Perhaps you could even ask if your elderly neighbor needs help – it may save their life.

Do NYC as the Locals Do

When vacationing, it’s often hard to get a sincere experience of the culture. In NYC, this is especially true. Times Square is lined with chain restaurants, tourists and overpriced hotels. If that’s what your dream NYC experience is, then by all means, partake in those staples of American life.

For travelers interested in pretending to be New Yorkers for a few days, I have compiled a list of tips:

  • If you want to see the Statue of Liberty, take the Staten Island Ferry.
    • The ferry gives you great views of the Statue of Liberty and the city. It’s also free, if you take the metro to the ferry.
    • Also, while you are waiting for the ferry, you have the option to purchase beer and drink it on the ride! How fun is that?
  • Buy a week/month long metro pass.
    • Sure it is more expensive upfront, but you will quickly learn that constantly refilling your metro card is both timely and costly.
  • Always carry cash.
    • You would think that in a modern city like NYC, credit cards would be king. Not exactly. Many restaurants have credit card minimums or simply only take cash. For instance, if you want to go to Tom’s Restaurant, the Seinfeld hotspot, you better bring cash or “no soup for you.”
  • Avoid Times Square.
    • This is unless, of course, you’re in the market for some overpriced “I heart NYC” boxers.
    • For a more relaxing time, try the Highline and the nearby Chelsea Market.
  • Walk quickly.
    • Keep up or risk getting run over. Walk the same block a few times if you want to marvel at its beauty. After all, you’re on vacation; you have time.

Not Your Mother’s Dietary Guidelines

Every five years, the Agriculture and Health and Human Services Departments update the federal dietary guidelines. Recently announced, the newest dietary guidelines contain several changes as well as a few surprises.

  1. Limit Your Sugar Intake. Not surprisingly, the guidelines recommend Americans cut back on sugar intake. The new rules suggest limiting added sugars to a mere 10 percent of daily calories.
  2. Eat Less…Protein? A major surprise in the updated guidelines is the finding that many teenage boys and men, in particular, are eating too much protein. While lean meat consumption is still part of a balanced diet, the guide recommends men substitute some consumption of protein for vegetables.
  3. Eat More…Cholesterol?  The dietary guideline previously limited the intake of cholesterol to 300 milligrams daily. The new guidelines no longer contain a limit to dietary cholesterol. This means cholesterol-rich foods are no longer considered a health concern. Egg and seafood-lovers rejoice!
  4. Focus on Patterns. While many of the updated guidelines focus on individual nutrients, the guidelines advise individuals to focus primarily on overall patterns of healthy eating. Note that this is the first time the guidelines recommend a focus on overall habits instead of specific nutrients.

The guidelines suggest three diets, including vegetarian and Mediterranean diets. Before adapting any new plan, speak with a registered dietitian or nutritionist to ensure you’re utilizing the best plan for your individual needs. However, these updated guidelines are a great starting point for a balanced, healthy diet.

How to Travel in Good Health

As a healthcare professional with a penchant for travel, I strongly believe in the health benefits of traveling. Vacationing is a great way to relax, reduce stress and enjoy time with loved ones.

However, Harvard Business Review recently listed several risks to those who travel for business, including an increased risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack, a correlation to unhealthy lifestyles, higher stress levels and sleep problems.

With all these added risks, it is important for travelers to maintain healthy habits while away from home, as I’ve said before. Whether your travels are occupational or recreational, here are some tips for staying healthy while you travel:

  1. Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated is an easy way to keep your immune system strong while traveling. While drinking lots of water is an obvious solution, limiting alcohol intake is equally important. Stay hydrated and swap that glass of wine on the plane for a bottle of water instead.
  1. Sleep is your friend. Sleep is usually at the back of our minds on a jam-packed trip. Among obvious health benefits of adequate sleep, a lack of sleep can lead to feeling hungry even if you aren’t. Get seven to eight hours of sleep nightly to avoid overeating!
  1. Don’t overindulge. Many people look at travel time as a chance to overindulge in food and alcohol. While it may seem appealing at first, overindulging often leaves us feeling guilty and our bodies bloated. Order smaller portion sizes to eliminate the temptation to overindulge.

Traveling is not an excuse to completely derail a diet plan or sleep schedule. While traveling does disrupt daily routines, use the tips above to stay healthy on your next trip. You’ll leave your vacation feeling refreshed – not like you need a vacation from your vacation.